I believe this past Sunday was one of the most fulfilling I have enjoyed in some time. A perfect summer day in September, sparkling with gentle rays of sunshine, complemented by a soothing light breeze across blue skies. With those elements in place, how can one not embrace such a day?
It was embraced joyfully, beginning with lovely drive down Lake Shore Drive to a challenging morning ballet class at Hubbard Street Dance, from which I departed with renewed determination to grow and refine my practice. The requisite trip to the neighboring Target followed, along with a jaunt to Chicago Dance Supply. Amazing how much one can spend at those two places!
The Edgewater Fall Art Fair also provided creative stimulation and prompted several purchases of local goods and art pieces. Accompanied by equally creative friends, I so enjoyed having this festival on my own street! The sounds of classical, jazz, and pop music floated through the alleys, dancers performed on found spaces, and artisans proudly displayed their works to curious neighbors. The energy was contagious and the sense of community was invigorating.
More importantly, though, this Sunday featured an overdue visit to my beach, which I haven’t visited in a few weeks. It never ceases to be a source of serenity and rejuvenation, which was helped along by reading the poetry of Words Walk by Ronald Ruble. Beach and poetry? A perfect pairing. The following passage especially spoke to me:
I feel that this poem perfectly captures the conundrum of competing interests and involvements which sometimes split attentions asunder. My happiest state is a busy one, but that business requires a definite focus on each pursuit; you must fully invest in the present moment to reap the rewards later (An example would be the aforementioned ballet class– I’m feeling those muscles today! Ouch).
If we do not devote the necessary energies to each individual task, we can get caught up in the act of juggling various dalliances and forget where we really are in life: What spurred the pursuit of these activities initially, and what is the desired end goal? How do you stay true to yourself while staying on track? How can you move forward while maintaining the true you? What is your essence? My definition would be that ultimate state of mindfulness and exact focus on present activity, with simultaneous awareness of where you have come from, where you are, and where you hope to be. At times, that seems like a high order to meet.
Emerging into the post-college world, I have discovered a new city, a new career, new friends, new mentors, new challenges, and new opportunities. These changes all make the prospect of staying true to my essence a bit impossible. To be sure, personal growth and evolution of life outlooks are to be expected, but undergoing these adjustments can also result in feeling lost and misaligned.
But then I read words like this, which I can carry with me through my walks of life. And I know I will not lose my essence. Thank you, Ron!