Wishing You the Joy of This Day

Despite the predominately religious meanings of today, such as Easter and Passover, there is a personal spiritual meaning in it for all of us — that no matter how down (or up!) we are, we can find a renewal, a liberation, a breaking open of the constraints that bind us so we can burst forth into a new day, a new way of being.

I didn’t do anything special with this new day except water my grass, bushes, and other plants, didn’t go looking for anything spiritual, though a sense of renewal seems to come automatically when I’ve spent so much time outside with all the green surrounding me as well as the patches of colorful tulips.

Many people claim to feel a more general sense of renewal, a sense that the world is on the brink spiritual awakening and enlightenment. Considering all that is going on — wars and murders and mass killings and wildfires, to say nothing of new strains of The Bob — it doesn’t seem as if this a time of renewal. It could be, I suppose, but since each person’s definition of enlightenment is different from everyone else’s, chances are we will always be teetering on the brink without ever managing to rise to a better way of being because everyone insists their way is the correct one and vilifies everyone who does not agree.

Still, even if we’re not headed toward a better way of being, all the unrest does remind us of what’s important, such as family and friends.

And gardens.

It’s hard not to feel a sense of all being right with the world when one is outside on a beautiful still day. It’s hard not to believe in a renewal of sorts when one sees evidence of dormant plants pushing their way to the surface again. Growing a garden is such a slow process that it’s important to enjoy the moment, to celebrate new growth, to take a step back and see the yard as a whole and not always focus on the plant that shows so little change from the day before.

I often feel a push for more — to walk more, to write more and better, to get stronger, healthier, wiser — that it’s good once in a while to burst out of the winding cloths I’ve wrapped myself in, and step out into the joy of simply being.

I’m overdoing the resurrection metaphor a bit, but so what? It’s a new day — a day for thinking of new possibilities, of being in the moment, of celebrating life.

Wishing you the joy of this day.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Feeding My Adventurous Spirit

I always walk home from work, even now when it’s dark and the roads are slick from snow. To my surprise, it doesn’t worry me. In fact, I enjoy the small adventure of making my way home in the wilds of this town.

The “wilds” part is just me being facetious. The trek is but two city blocks with street lights. Still, I am alone out there, which adds to the enjoyment. I stop, look up at the sky, look around, listen, feel the chill air, take deep breaths. Sometimes I imagine myself in the wilderness as if I had taken that winter backpacking trip I had once (briefly) considered taking. Mostly I just enjoy the moment.

Not so oddly, this adventure of mine does worry other people.

It’s nice to have people concerned about me, but it’s also a bit amusing. As I’ve been explaining to various folks who think I’m doing something inordinately dangerous by making this brief trek, I have often gone adventuring on my own.

I hiked in the mountains alone. I hiked along beaches alone. I hiked in forests alone. I camped alone. I backpacked alone. I took a cross-country trip alone, going from coast to coast and back again. I took an upcountry road trip alone, going almost from Mexico to close to Canada. Many times I took a half-country trip, from California to Colorado, making the trip so often, in fact, that those roads are very familiar to me.

Even though people flat out told me I couldn’t do each of these things alone (not “shouldn’t” as in a suggestion, but “couldn’t” as is in an order), I went about my merry way. If I had waited for someone to accompany me on any of my various adventures, big or small, I wouldn’t have been able to go anywhere. Looking back, my adventures seemed blessed. The problems I had were minor and easily fixed — a dead battery, a cracked fuel line, a broken speedometer — but even if there had been larger issues, I would have dealt with them.

Now that I have a home, I tend not to travel far, so currently my biggest adventure is that two-block hike in the snow at night.

I’m not stupid — I am cognizant of my age, the weather, and the conditions of the road. I wear waterproof, non-skid hiking boots in the snow and I use my Pacer Poles to help me navigate the icy areas. I also have pepper spray, though since it’s in my bag, it wouldn’t do me much good if I needed it. Besides, I need both hands for the poles. I also have a phone, and all along those two blocks, I get good cellular coverage in case I need to call for help. Lately, because of the snow and the two hiking poles, it’s been bright enough I don’t need a flashlight, but when the streets are clear, I carry a hiking stick in one hand and a flashlight in the other.

Yesterday, when I told friends about my nightly trek and they expressed concern, I just shook my head and mentioned all the things I’d done alone. “But that was years ago,” they said. I agreed, and it was only later I realized they probably meant when I was much younger. What I meant by “years ago” was a mere two years in the past. Most of my adventuring didn’t start until I was sliding down the bannister into old age. (I’m still sliding. Spending so much time with a woman decades older than myself makes me feel young since I can still do most things as well as ever. A bit slower, perhaps, but I am still out and about, for which I am grateful. And she thinks I am just a kid, which helps the illusion.)

So you can see, as adventures go, this one is rather mild, though it does help feed my adventurous spirit.

***

My novel of a quarantine predated this real life experience by a decade. You can read the first chapter online here:  http://patbertram.com/A_Spark_of_Heavenly_Fire.html

Buy it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024FB5H6/

Download the first 30% free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1842

Wishing You the Joy of This Day

Despite the predominately religious meanings of this time of year, such as Easter and Passover, there is a more personal spiritual meaning — that no matter how down (or up!) we are, we can find a renewal, a liberation, a breaking open of the constraints that bind us so we can burst forth into a new day, a new way of being.

I’m not really doing anything special with this new day, not actively trying to find any sort of renewal, but we are all being herded into a new way of being, whether we want it or not. Since I am a conspiracy novelist who has already written about a pandemic and the ramifications of a novel disease, I tend to see the coming political and financial fallout of this situation, but other people see this crisis in a more spiritual sense. They see an awakening, a renewal.

We are being forced to see what is really important in our lives, not just because of paring our lives down to the basics, but also because of what we are missing. For some people, that could be a good meal in a restaurant or a shopping spree. For others, it’s get togethers with family and friends.

It would be nice to think that those who see renewal in this time of house arrest are right, and that the world is on the brink of enlightenment or resurrection. Of course, each person’s definition of enlightenment is different, so chances are we will be right back where we started with everyone insisting their way is the correct one and vilifying everyone who does not agree.

Still, for now, it’s good to enjoy the moments, even the moments of doing nothing but staying safe. I also enjoy those moments when I am doing something, of course, but when I am not doing “nothing,” the enjoyment is sort of a tagalong feeling to whatever it is I am doing — walking, reading, playing on the computer — rather than enjoyment as a separate entity.

I so often feel a push for more — to walk more miles, to write more and better, to get stronger, healthier, wiser — that it’s good once in a while to burst out of the winding cloths I’ve wrapped myself in, and step out into the joy of being.

I’m overdoing the  resurrection metaphor a bit, but so what?

It’s a new day. And today I can do whatever I want. Be wh0ever I want. Well, in my own mind at least. There is still the matter of a body that doesn’t want to cooperate and a crisis that is keeping us virtual prisoners, but those are matters for another time.

Today is a time of thinking of new possibilities, of being in the moment, of staying safe.

Wishing you the joy of this day.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Wishing You the Joy of This Day

A new month starts today, maybe even a resurrection of sorts. Despite the predominately religious meanings of this time of year, there is a more personal spiritual meaning — that no matter how down (or up!) we are, we can find a renewal, a liberation, a breaking open of the constraints that bind us so we can burst forth into a new day, a new way of being.

Or something like that.

After yesterday’s feeling that much of what I’ve been doing is just plain silly, today I am taking a break from all of those things. Well, most of them. Obviously, I am blogging, but I did not go sauntering with my pack (though I did chat with a fellow on FB about various sections of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington), did not go to dance class (that counts even though there was no dance class today), have not added any words to my book (though I did delete some, which doesn’t seem anywhere near as silly as adding words).

So did doing not much of anything feel silly? Nope. It felt good just to be. To enjoy the moment. I do enjoy the moments when I am doing something, of course, but when I am not doing “nothing,” the enjoyment is sort of a tagalong feeling to whatever it is I am doing — enjoying the desert while sauntering, enjoying the energy of dancing — rather than enjoyment as a separate entity.

I so often feel a push for more — to carry more weight in the pack, to walk more miles, to write more and better, to get stronger, healthier, wiser — that it’s good once in a while to burst out of the winding cloths I’ve wrapped myself in, and step out into the joy of being

I’m overdoing the metaphor a bit, but so what?

It’s a new day. And today I can do whatever I want. Be whatever I want. Well, in my own mind at least. There is still the matter of a body that doesn’t always cooperate, but that is a matter for another time.

Wishing you the joy of this day.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.