Wisdom and knowledge- a dailypost on mastery

IMG_1532 land i sikte

Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

This is among my favorite quotes from T.S. Eliot. Even if I really am curious about almost everything, I did not think I was going to do any other exams in my whole life. There is a time for everything.  I thought the time was come for applying my knowledge, let it merge with my experiences, reflect upon it and mature into wisdom.

Not anymore!

Not anymore!

Then we moved to California. I bike along the not so quiet Pacific every day, marvelling at the view, and my wanderlust paired up with my curiosity, wouldn’t it be fun to sail over those waves? I could have lived with the dream, but my husband seized the opportunity to get his Country Girl join him on the seas. Now we’re in the middle of the first course, the exam is tomorrow, and my brain is crowded with all those words that I honestly did not think anyone was using anymore. “Helms-alee” and “ready about” for instance.

P1020743 st[ kursWhat I do find that learning a new skill, just for fun, helps me see new aspects of everything I thought I knew. For me, it releases creativity and reflection, and do make me wiser. While I will never be a master sailor, I know that just using my brain, my hands and my body in new settings enriches my life and helps me living it to the full. To me learning is not about amassing theoretical knowledge anymore, it is all about getting to see more and more pieces of the wonderful puzzle called life.IMG_1190 b;lge

While waiting for the answers

IMG_5622 skyerWould it not be nice if we could do the math of life first, then go ahead and fill in the unknowns in the equation, and then…just sail through life? Even when it is almost unbearable to wait for an answer, a solution, for healing or for success, that is just what we have to do. I listened to an inspiring talk on mathematics some days ago, which made me write this post on going on even when we do not see the end of the road. I borrowed an expression from the lovely blog of Gleaning the nuggets, I do not think luck comes to the prepared mind. I think the prepared mind is able to glean those small nuggets, to see the tiny steps that eventually will take me where I need to go. Not being able to see the whole road before me or remembering every bend until now is not really a valid excuse for not staying on the road, is it? I think the big answers, like” is this a road?”, and “where does it take me?”, also gets answered through the tiny nuggets, the small steps.

IMG_3323 childhood church

My dream home

Building a nest.

Building a nest.

It was a rainy, cold sunday afternoon, one of many in a rainy, cold summer. We would have loved to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee. Our children were running wild though, back and forth in the living room, having so much pent-up energy. We just looked at them and each other, and went for our rain gear. Come on, we are going for a walk, in the woods! They were jumping and running in front of us for a little while, then they stopped and walked very silently close to us. What’s the matter with you guys? You may jump and shout as much as you like here, why are you so timid? The youngest looked up at us, with eyes that said “you do not really understand much, do you?” then he explained it all to us. “You know, when I am at home the world is this big and I can run everywhere” he said and stretched his small arms in front of him. ” But when I am outside” he continued, and crossed his arms in front of him and made himself even smaller ” when I am outside the world stops just here”, he said and wiggled his little finger in the crook of his arms. His words ring in my heart whenever I get too ambitious in any homemaking projects. Building a dream home means nothing if it does not make its inhabitants able to call the world their home. Building my dream home is done by nourishing and supporting everything in myself, my husband, our children and our guests that make us feel happy, content, safe and also daring, confident and able to be at home wherever and with whoever.

I love flights of fancy, I do dream of beautiful homes and wonderful settings. I do spend lots of time making our houses lovely and welcoming. But most of all I dream of a world where all of us, no matter who we are or where we live, may safely and happily go out into the world, jump and shout for joy, and know, I am at home. I think I already won that lottery, I am building my dream home, every day.

Listless is clueless

Mad Hatter Teaparty

Mad Hatter Teaparty

I was having some girl friends over, and some of us had quite a lot on our plates just then. You know that middle age means being in the middle of all ages did you not? There were parents, spouses, kids, grandchildren, obligations and careers, and we were in the middle of it all, comforting, helping, advising and supporting. We got to talking about how we tackled stress, and how we sorted our priorities. No one surprised the others by saying she made a list, because we all do that.

Too much to consider

Too much to consider

The interesting part is how we make different lists and how we make lists differently. One of my friends said the trick was to make a narrow list, just wide enough for a single item, that would convince her that one step at a time would guide her through her day, and it would. My mother used to go to the other extreme, the bigger sheet of paper the better. She would make columns for each hour of the day, allot tasks to each hour, and then force ahead, being sure that if nothing happened it would be possible to achieve it all.

Too much on you plate...

Too much on you plate…

Then of course, as most of the elements on her lists were living creatures who did not know that we were committed to paper, she was always behind her schedule. She found it comforting to know though that life was the messy part, not her planning. To me all sorts of lists are basic survival tools. My head is always filled to the brim with ideas, plans, projects, dreams and pictures. I can handle that, what makes me reach for my notepad is when worries are trying to take over.

Just one task at the time

Just one task at the time

If I think I really have too much to do, I use a list to tell me it is not true.To me list making is a way of making sure that the pieces of my life’s puzzle will fit together and make a beautiful picture in the end. I jot down every thought that comes to mind, not categorizing or sorting, just everything. Like emptying the puzzle box on a big table. The rationale is that if it is crowding my head it needs to get out so I can see what it is all about. Normally it takes only a couple of minutes to know that whats left in my head might stay where it is.

They do not really care about the fuzz

They do not really care about the fuzz

Then I start sorting. Normally the categories would be family and friends, work and church. These are the corners holding my picture together. Then of course there will be different projects to do and to remember. The surprise that always elevates me is that is normally boils down to the small details of the big picture. Thinking it over, having a look at the pieces that want to be in my picture I can confer with the picture on the box of the puzzle and say, sorry you do not belong, or I can turn it over and say, this piece goes with the border, so let’s just keep it out of the middle for a while.

Let's get to work

Let’s get to work

Doing this I also discover that life is just like the old jigsaw puzzles at our cabin. Someone has been lazy when sorting the pieces. Mostly you will discover that by emptying the box. As in life, I can easily  spot and remove the big, clumsy pieces that clearly not belong.

One big picture

One big picture

It get’s tricky though, sometimes you can make a piece from another box fit. Not quite, but almost. That is when I get stressed, that is when I sense something is wrong, when I try to fit something into my life because somebody has dumped it into my box. As I get older, I am learning. Doing what others should do is not taking responsibility, it is robbing someone else of the blessings to being allowed to  walk in the work prepared for them.

Different tasks

Different tasks

Of course, when nobody is shouldering the task, when there is a real emergency, that is something else. If not, I have learned it is wise to just wait it out, sorting through my pieces once more. Resting in the blessing that I will have time for what I am called to do, quietly putting the other pieces back where they belong.

First things first, as pigs see it

First things first, as pigs see it

The pictures are from the County Fair this weekend. Busy, teeming with life, everybody concentrating on their own tasks.

Teamwork

Teamwork

Messy neatpins

Beautiful order

Beautiful order

We stayed with some friends this week. As they left early for work we made our own breakfast, and I was impressed by the total order of her kitchen. I had to comment on that later in the evening. Oh, she said, I just keep it that way, my grandmother organized it when we moved in. That was ten years ago.

Very well ordered, but for whom?

Very well ordered, but for whom?

As for me? I de-clutter and organize several times a year, but as soon a I start living in the neat, clean space, life takes over. I talked this over with another dear friend some days ago. Her home is as organized as mine, everything has its place, and most of the time that’s  where you’ll find it. To me order has it’s own beauty. So why do we strive to stay organized? Because the well-ordered universe is not our natural habitat.

well ordered, but not living

well ordered, but not living

And we both know that keeping organized is our survival tool to be able to do all the thing we want to do, or have to do. We both are impulsive, creative, active, imaginative…and at least for me, messy. Not when doing ordinary things like cooking or cleaning, but say gardening…..I’ll start in a corner. I find a plant that does not thrive, I find a new spot, I discover a rose that should have been cut back, I trim that rose and start the compost cutter, I spot some twigs that are too big and go to the landfill with those, or saw them into logs, then I see that the wood shed should have been cleared….

Where to start?

Where to start?

Hopefully I put the poor plant in the ground before I started on the roses, life is a messy business! Not to talk about painting, quilting or sewing. Pulling everything out, looking at the colours, feeling the material, gets me going, while nothing stops me as having to look for the handy tool or the scrap that would make this project perfect. Then again,  if I really am stuck, the best strategy is to clear up, sort out, to take stock. To me, that is true about everything, not only visible projects.

To untangle life enough to be aware of the single rose

To untangle life enough to be aware of the single rose

Actually, even more so if I do not know where to go next. I think life’s messes are like balls of wool, if they are entangled it makes things worse to pull at one thread even if it is the right one. Stop, think, tweak and pull softly, perhaps even cut a knot. And then I will be knitting again, until the next knot. At least I will know where my yarn is, and if need be where my scissors are, hopefully.

Nostalgic- weekly photo challenge

IMG_6234 what we wereI once read that nostalgia originally was an illness. The diagnosis army doctors put on boys from the Austrian mountains that simply were not able to thrive in the flatlands. Now we allow nostalgia to have a more genteel ring to it, almost like a reverence for the things passed. Sometimes it can be stifling too, making only what was, or what we remember about it, be the ideal state, not being able to tackle change and challenges. At the World Museum of Mining last week I saw this sign, perhaps the only way to balance looking back, looking forward and being here, just now? I think the quote is from T.S Eliot’s “Wasteland”. Anybody nostalgic about high school and EngLit able to help me out?

This doll symbolizes the stifling nostalgia to me. She has been standing, waiting, in this dollhouse for decades, looking for people who will never return, and as she is in a museum she is not allowed to engage in play with real, living children.IMG_4643 dukke