What Nourishes Me?

I sit quietly and wonder about the activities I choose to do, the thoughts that I allow to proliferate. Will the choice I make right now enhance or diminish my life, and the lives of others?

I wonder some more. Here are the nourishments I’ve discovered while sitting under a tree in London’s Victoria Park:

1. I need to open my heart, when I’ve allowed it to close, and keep it open throughout the day. My eyes need to be soft as I gaze out at the human beings near me. I need to feel into their joys and sorrows and let those energies sit within me. More than anything, I need to “be with” my fellow travellers, in a state of union, rather than separation.

2. I need waving leaves and dappled sunlight. To see the massive trunk of this maple tree sink into the earth and to feel the softness of the grass beneath my feet. Simply, I need to be outside in the natural world.

3. I need to have conversations that matter with one human being at a time, hopefully many throughout the day. To look into each other’s eyes and see the universe there. To touch each other’s essence and smile in response. To see who’s there.

4. I need to have children in my life, to bathe in their spontaneity and giggles. For that to happen, I’ll keep volunteering at the elementary school nearby, probably staying in Grade 6. Many of those 12-year-olds love to talk. I need to show the kids one example of a positive male role model, and let them decide whether to emulate me.

5. I need to write for an audience. “Bruce’s Blog” will do just fine. Whether there are three of you out there or three hundred, I hope that my words touch you and contribute to your life. I intend to continue saying what’s true for me, knowing that my heart is good.

6. I need to meditate, to close my eyes and watch what appears, to allow anything to emerge. The stillness opens me to life’s energies and allows me to be in place. I am being held gently by something very big and I’m grateful. I need these moments of awareness.

7. I need to move … walking, the elliptical at the gym or (gulp) riding my bicycle. The last choice still elicits huge fear, so it remains on the back burner for a bit. But I need to feel the tendons stretch and the muscles press, the deep grabs of air, the bowed head of fatigue.

8. I need to sing. I need to harmonize with others. I need to have tender love songs fall from my lips. I need to speak lyrics that tell of the human condition, in all its sweetness and despair. I need to vibrate way down deep.

9. In the spirit of “not this”, I need to be vigilant, to avoid that which has me contract: mean people, surface conversations, overeating, mindless TV watching, the urge to keep busy, wondering “How am I doing?”

***

I get to choose
And those choices determine my impact on others
Choose wisely, Bruce

Hiding

Sometimes I need to.  Be away from people for awhile, but maybe watch them from a distance.  Hunker down into my shell rather than embracing all that life sends my way.

Late this afternoon, I was hungry after a workout at the gym.  I decided to go to Mai’s Café in Wortley Village, a funky area of London, full of cute shops and comfy restaurants, with a tiny library just down the street.

I walked into the itsy bitsy Mai’s and felt right at home.  To the left of the front door was a two-person window table wedged in between two walls.  If I was with a dinner partner, she would just have been able to squeeze past the table towards the chair.  Immediately I knew it was perfect.  But why?

I looked out on the world from my secluded niche, a window wall on the left and another one straight ahead.  I smiled at my need to be protected and yet to see Londoners passing by on the sidewalk.  I was a voyeur, and happy.  The walls so near were comforting.  I was friendly to the waitress as I ordered my pad thai but I really wanted to be alone, revel in the flavours and check out the sports section of the Toronto Sun on my phone.

The thought came: “I should be more ‘out there’, engaging with human beings.”  But goodbye, dear thought.  That wasn’t what Bruce needed at the moment.  I didn’t want to hide myself under a blanket on my couch but nor did I want constant conversation.  Just give me my little spot, please, and leave me alone.  I’ll fantasize about the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I’ll watch the infinite variety of folks out on the street, going from here to there.  That will make me happy.

Near the end of my meal, I had a good conversation with Kai, my server.  She told me I was funny.  Assuming she meant “funny hah hah” rather than “funny ooo”, I smiled.  Just a little bit of human interaction was all I needed.  And the food was so good.

Tomorrow I’ll throw myself more fully into the arena.  Today?  Table for one, please.