My niece asked me if I had seen The Bucket List when it was out a few years ago. “I’ve been living it, my dear” was my instant reply. I have lived at an accelerated pace for most of the last 15 years. It has been great. I have traveled, created a career or two, and had wonderful lovers. No regrets ... and the next learning edge is usually enhanced by doing things differently: To put it simply, it’s time to do less and be more.
This came up for me at a retreat for gay caregivers this past weekend. It was refreshing to be among men, gay men, who have gone beyond many of our society’s prejudices and included sexual healing as part of their mission as therapists or body workers. I loved joining this particular subgroup of my tribe. I had gone there to explore adding new dimensions to my work as a therapist. Much to my surprise, I realized that I didn’t need to expand my modalities. I needed to go deeper within the work I am already doing, personally and professionally.
One of my closest friends is in a six-week silent retreat. No books, no music, no writing ... dare I confront myself without distractions? The very idea of it is both thrilling and terrifying: an inner challenge, an inner journey ... Now that’s sitting on the edge of the unknown — mindfulness is at the core of everything that matters to me.
And I have avoided that quiet space: Every time my life becomes peaceful, I have created a project, whether it’s changing professions or buying an apartment or land in Brazil or the DR. Being able to discern the difference between quiet contentment and boredom is a fine art that I have, up to now, lightly explored. It is time to commit. This will mean not letting opportunity take advantage of me. It might mean less travel, not changing domiciles for a while, having a less frantic romantic life: less drama.
I seem to have begun the process: I turned down the opportunity to buy an apartment this week. No hurry: I will move when it is time. My glass is overflowing with my work at Friends in Deed, my private practice, writing, and my relationships of various stripes.
I love to say yes! And at this point in time I have got to be able to say no.