Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘thankfulness

Great Indoors

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You know the saying. It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. I don’t know what phenomena might be pushing the local dew point temperatures to extremely tropical levels, but it is driving our heat index into the triple digits again. I’m not a fan.

At the same time, I really don’t have much to gripe about. The workplace indoor temperatures are air-conditioned down to a level that keeps my arms cold all day in a short-sleeved shirt. From there, I step out to my car and turn on the AC for the long drive home. Our house is perfectly comfortable with the geothermal system making great use of that constant underground temperature in the upper 50s(F).

Of course, this works because I’m done with the time sensitive chores outside, enabling me to pick and choose whether I’ll go out and deal with the immediate elements, or avoid them.

It makes it difficult to pay true attention to the present moment. I’m off in some other world, down a maze of insignificant Reddit posts like hatted cats pawing attention-getting bells to trigger repeated delivery of a treat, or highlight videos of soccer players tangling for a header where one uprights the other and then guides his flip to a full rotation that lands the opponent upright again before ever crashing to the ground.

Cute, but basically mindless, compared with what is available in and around the space where I’m breathing.

Yesterday evening, I was describing my June week of biking and camping to a visitor and reminded myself of how in-the-moment that activity can be. We are out in the elements all day, sleeping on the ground in tents all night. Breathing the air, inhaling the scents, hearing the birds and freight trains.

We notice everything about the wind.

When I’m not biking, I pay no attention to what direction the wind is blowing. Why do I neglect to notice?

My habit of not truly being fully present in a moment allows for obliviousness to that kind of detail. My mind can wander to expectations of watching the World Cup final on Sunday, or mulling over imagined reasons why our 4 acres of hay-field have yet to be cut by the neighbor who, back in the beginning of June, volunteered so to do.

In my comfortable car during the long commute, lately I’ve been listening to deep cuts from my library of music, allowing it to carry me off to distant rekindled memories or fantasies of mastering my own version of various enticing songs.

I’m thankful I don’t have to be out in the heat, but at the same time, I regret how my avoidance accommodates a distancing from the realities of the present moment.

I take some solace in having just sweated through every layer of several sets of grubby clothes over the recent three days of heaving hundreds of hay bales. We were reasonably enmeshed in the moment for those hours of each day.

There is some balance there… and, always an opportunity to strive for better attention to the immediate pleasures of the artificial environment of a comfortably conditioned “great indoors.”

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Thankful

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

January 31, 2018 at 7:00 am

Concocting Thankfulness

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Amid the backdrop of societal problems of racial injustice, religious violence, political corruption, patriarchal rape culture, unbridled banking industry crimes, insane sports and entertainment industry salaries, over-commercialization of holidays, and overall people’s misplaced priorities, we pause in the US today to give thanks.

Our Thanksgiving holiday harkens back to a time when one tribe of people gathered together with the indigenous people whom were seen as lesser-than, to feast over their bounty and good fortune. Somehow, the feast became an annual tradition, despite the despicable behavior of the dominant group that whitewashed deeds to allow themselves to feel okay with their means to an end.

DSCN2604eToday I enjoy the luxury of living with horses. They give me many reasons to be thankful. I am acutely aware of the privilege that contributed to the opportunity for me to achieve this luxury. It requires some mental exercise to get beyond the guilt and shame over the behavior of the people who came before me to pave my way.

Our horses help me focus on the present moment. They live without pretense, ask for little, and give to no end.

For the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I struggle to identify with the thanks being brandished about, but for the genuine art of being thankful, I am all in.

There is much love and plenty of family and friends to be thankful for, and in that regard I am richly blessed. My solution to dealing with all the ills of the world is to send love equally in all directions. Where I don’t feel love, I can produce it. From that effort comes genuine feelings of love, suddenly manifest. It’s not unlike thankfulness.

Love and thanks are not far apart. I am thankful for very many things, and today I will contemplate that. I send my love to you all, and hope that you find much to be thankful for, too.

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Written by johnwhays

November 27, 2014 at 7:59 am

Posted in Chronicle

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