Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘hope

Not Knowing

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If only we knew. Have I been infected? Do I have antibodies? Will illness strike someone I know? Will the economic depression last very long? Will the food supply chain normalize? Will hospitals near me become overrun? When I get the virus will I have no symptoms, or will I need to be hospitalized? Will there be a second wave?

Thus far, the COVID-19 pandemic has barely impacted my life. I could avoid contributing to the oversaturation of media information on the topic and only write about home projects and the weather as if there is no life-altering virus outbreak disrupting the world all the while. I’d prefer that, actually. But the reality is, there is an undulating ripple that is disturbing the universal foundation of how everything used to work, which makes pretending there isn’t seem conspicuously disingenuous.

Of greater distress to me than not knowing the answers to all the questions in my first paragraph is the growing reality that I no longer have plans on the calendar for going out with friends or family for dinner to celebrate events, or for going to see live music performances, or to go to the lake this summer, or take a week off work to go biking and camping with friends.

We don’t know what we are going to be doing next week, next month, all summer, or next year. That puts a real crimp in the realm of feeling hopeful and inspired.

It’s just not very sexy to replace that kind of hope with the more realistic desires of hoping we all get through this alive and with some semblance of our incomes, assets, and health still intact.

I struggle with a little guilt over feeling like I would prefer to just get the virus and be forced to stay home and do nothing for two weeks just so I could have a few days of certainty and also a little justification for allowing myself to lay in bed until I honestly didn’t want to anymore.

I’m tired. I don’t want to simply appreciate the sunlight shining on the newly blossoming flowers. Dewdrops on the grass. Pond frogs starting to sing again.

I don’t want to meditate on the zen of not knowing.

Well, maybe I do want a little of that meditation, especially in place of hearing one more government briefing about how they are going to ramp up testing or whether or not it is wise to speculate about injecting disinfectant that works on hard surfaces into human bodies.

Is it possible to inhale UV light? That might work.

I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be sarcastic.

I feel for those who suffer every day with the fear of getting infected and for the people who are already suffering significant financial disruptions. As well, for those who are needing to work long hours for days and weeks on end at higher risk of infection to care for seriously ill patients.

Here’s to achieving the art of finding peace with not always knowing.

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Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2020 at 6:00 am

Grasping Hope

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I’m trying. Against an onslaught of gloom and doom coming from the extreme escalation of Middle East tensions by an impeached President who hasn’t been removed from office, I am trying to dredge up some hope for the triumph of peace and love around the planet. It involves squelching a feeling that my tiny contribution to the world is woefully inadequate toward fulfilling this dream, and as a result, futile.

We are back at Wintervale this morning, being smothered with love from Pequenita and surrounded once again by fields and forest, animal tracks, snow, and chickens.

There is a fire in the fireplace. I’m home for most of the weekend before returning to the regular routine of my 4-day work week and the commuting it involves.

We will be out for a little bit tomorrow to gather with Hays siblings for a post-holiday get-together that tends to happen only rarely.

Cyndie’s increasing role of support for her parents as needs dictate will shift a little as they prepare to return to Florida. I expect she will be taking an increased number of flights south in the coming months as a result.

Today we will try putting away Christmas decorations and clearing snow from the icy valleys on the roof, as well as shovel the deck and a few paths that I skipped when I came home to plow last Tuesday.

This place is such a sanctuary. It is hard to meld in my mind the peace here with unrest in other parts of the globe.

I will grasp for hopeful embers of energy to fuel an escape from worst outcomes being bantered about in the media and within the vengeful souls who have suffered offense. Somewhere in the universe, there must exist a remedy with power to forever sever cycles of violent revenge.

I tend to perceive it as, simply, the power of love. Obviously, it requires significant investment from all parties involved, but the secret (and not-so-secret) ingredient has to be love.

Unfortunately, love isn’t a very quick solution for the climate catastrophes of fires and floods that Australia, Indonesia and other parts of the world are suffering.

I don’t envy the task of mustering hope by the people living in the vicinity of major weather impacts.

It makes the blessings of our precious home all the more impressive.

Sending love as best I can!

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Written by johnwhays

January 4, 2020 at 10:48 am

Rosier Color

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There is a way that the slowly transitioning angle of light moving through the seasons silently changes our perspective of everything. Because we tend to be oblivious to the subtlety, curious circumstances that materialize in our daily affairs often appear as having some outward cause, when in fact, it originates from within.

It’s the way we see events from inside our own minds that colors the realities.

It would behoove more people to consider choosing a rosier color. The trick, however, is in having enough sense to recognize when the worst of history begins making its way back for an encore. How do we keep “never again” alive?

We don’t have the luxury of voting bums out, because our system is built on voting people in. The majority might agree on not wanting any more of a current administration, but they struggle when it comes to needing to agree on the replacements.

One difference from everything that came before, is the amount of industrial pollution fouling the planet. Our amazing progress is conjuring up weather events that wield uncharacteristic intensities. The calamities that grab our attention now are not the challenges that our parents faced.

If only a twitter or facebook message could fix all that ails us.

A simple slice from the surface of a thumb can wreak havoc on buttoning a shirt, or turning a page. Little things that were once inconsequential, become monumental challenges. Is that because the way our mind sees it? Or simply because, that’s the way it is?

Rhetorical questions. The kind that beg to be erased by the onset of heavy eyelids, demanding to give in to the pressure of sleep. Deep sleep. REM sleep. Never hear the alarm sleep that only ends when saturation has been accomplished.

Or when the light slanting through the window in the morning provides a color of hope that our hearts fail to resist.

Who doesn’t love a moment of feeling a little hope filling their hearts at the break of a brand new day?

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Written by johnwhays

May 3, 2019 at 6:00 am

Better Sink

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I am always learning, and thanks to George’s comment on yesterday’s post, where he reminded me about something he shared on a recent visit, I have a renewed appreciation for the value of our grassy fields. Improving our planet is not all about planting more trees.

Grasslands are actually a more reliable carbon sink than tree forests, because they store much of the carbon underground in the root systems.

George pointed me to a podcast where I was able to learn about the Santa Maria Cattle Company in the Chihuahuan desert ecosystem where they are successfully reversing the desertification and building grassland using cattle as the primary tool.

Seems like inverse logic, doesn’t it?

Mismanaged, cows can overgraze and destroy the grassland. Luckily, better thinking is leading to a more enlightened perspective. It is possible to learn from our mistakes and choose a better way. Fernando Falomir and his family are showing what is possible and sharing what they have learned so others can do the same.

Inspiring!

George also turned us on to Gabe Brown and the work he is doing to champion regenerative agriculture. Turning dirt into soil! Seems so simple.

Instead of the convention of tilling the earth to plant one crop and ply herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, while also needing to add irrigation to achieve results, Gabe reveals how farmers can succeed by mimicking the diversity of nature instead.

The compacted and deadened dirt can be exchanged for a thick aerated biomass soil that seems so obviously logical as to not require harsh and harmful chemicals to be viable. It can be done, because that is the natural way things worked before we started slamming our short-sighted mass production methods across the land.

In fact, we have a wonderful example right in the heart of Minnesota, where George has returned to his family land to put these precious principles into practice with Walker Farms.

It’s not all about trees.

I’ve definitely learned that.

Thanks, George Walker!

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Stare

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

October 5, 2018 at 6:00 am

Two Wolves

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Last week, Cyndie and I squeaked in time after a hard day’s work to watch the Disney movie “Tomorrowland” (2015) that arrived in the mail on our Netflix subscription. We liked it a lot. It includes significant references to the popular teaching legend about two wolves, which highlights the importance of how our thinking influences our lives.

We have been repeating variations of the punchline with noticeable frequency in the days since.

A simple synopsis taken from the movie:

Casey Newton: “There are two wolves” … You told me this story my entire life, and now I’m telling you: There are two wolves and they are always fighting. One is darkness and despair, the other is light and hope. Which wolf wins?

Eddie Newton: Whichever one you feed.

This resonates for me, because it reflects my direct experience from my years of chronic depression through the ensuing years following wonderfully successful treatment. I learned to feed the good wolf instead of the bad one.

This recent focus on the two wolves legend has renewed my attention to how often I still automatically default to a negative perspective, despite my desire and intentions to do otherwise.

I stepped in the house at the end of a long, strenuous day of laboring on our property and Cyndie checked in with me, commenting on the vast number of things we accomplished. Without missing a beat, my response grabbed the equally vast number of tasks that remain in need of attention.

Luckily, that default response no longer goes unnoticed by me. I caught myself and admitted I was feeding the wrong wolf.

It’s as if I feel the cheery perspective of the state of things requires a counterbalance to keep it from being a false representation of reality. But, thinking about it, I could see that no matter how I chose to frame it, either mental perspective did not physically change how many projects we did or didn’t complete that day.

The reality of whether the grass needs mowing or downed branches need to be turned into piles of wood chips does not change based on how I assess our achievements of the day.

So why not feed the good wolf?

In life’s ongoing battle between darkness and despair, and the alternative of light and hope, which one should we be feeding? I vote for light, hope, love, peace, compassion, understanding, and even more love.

Thank you, Tomorrowland, for sowing the seeds.

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Thereof

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I’m trying to think what it is
that’s eating at me
I’m sentimental
this much I know
but I think there’s more to it
than that
it’s a feeling
or something that is creating
a feeling
deep in the farthest reaches
of what constitutes
me
or it could be a lack
I know there is something missing
something I’ll never get back
just like every other time before
what is it about this instance
that makes it any different
I was lost when I got here
why should it feel any different now
other than the added loss of foundation
in all I hold dear
daily being victimized by a bumbling buffoon
who somehow hoodwinked enough people
to make off with a prize
thoroughly and completely
undeserved
as if just to make some point
at the expense of all that’s good and right
and now an invisible sooty stink
sticks to everything
while the best and brightest
stumble around trying to make sense
of a system that is collapsing beneath them
like sand castles against unrelenting gusts of wind
I no longer remember
where I set the things
that mattered to me most
and the grains are flowing fast
through that graceful narrow space
of my delicate hour-glass
yet my work seems hardly done
pushing so many stones
up all of these grassy knolls
with all the water rising
and glaciers sadly waning
none of the genies
will ever go back in their bottles
and maybe that is what’s eating at me
but I have my doubts
my mind is a fragile thing to trust
busy both directing and reacting to
the chemistry experiments
simmering and sublimating
within my flesh and bones
while the invisible forces
of heart-fields and magnetic solar waves
simultaneously push and pull at us all
blindly gliding through
their ephemeral energized confines
we’re all distracted by shiny things and squirrels
dashing for the proverbial carrots
dangling in our minds eyes
sentimental racing rats
too often forgetting to focus
on the ultimate binary truth
concisely boiled down to
love
or
the absence
thereof

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Written by johnwhays

March 25, 2018 at 9:18 am