Saturday, September 3, 2011

Heart of Gold

No sooner do I make the grand declaration of being a writer, then I suddenly spend my time in carpentry clothes. Projects on my own apartment, for a friend and for some quick cash from an old and loyal client keep me busy and distracted from the work where my heart authentically lies.

Curiously, the energy in my finances dips immediately back into that frantic place of scramble I had known so well in years before. With the delightful certainty of dollars earned for hours worked, it would seem easy to calculate the corresponding emotional gain, but panic rises hyperbolically instead. After reaching such a settled place of simplified peace of mind in these last two years, the contrast and connection to wearing carpentry clothes is compelling.
 Fully healed physically at last (I am swept over by exhaustion after a few hours of concentrated exertion, but am otherwise fine), I have no excuse not to be fully engaged in gainful employment. 
The bleak reality of the economy, however, returns virtually no response to my cover letters and resumes submitted online, while knocking on doors only elicits the polite request from a twenty-something fresh smile to make all applications through the internet. There is no escaping the headlines that the unemployment rate stands steady at a recessionly high number.
 Comfortable with entrepreneurial spirit, rather than succumb to depression, I take charge of my life by this recent declaration and commitment to use my words to earn my way. I have a book ready to publish, a collection of short stories available through My pen slides so easily across the pages, it seems logical I should be able to equate dollars as easily as I could driving nails in the past.

The internet has changed everything about the way we live and do business, creating an enormous demand for written communication if not of quality, at least for speed, but the world is changing even more rapidly. No longer can the less adventurous feel confident that their hands on the corporate ladder are any more secure than my stance on the scaffold that bounced me from the hospital to the couch for twenty months. The old rules no longer apply and we are forced to adapt.

The dream fulfilled that brought so many tears of hope, joy and optimism with Obama's inauguration has dried and evaporated in the harsh reality that some things never change. The politics of government are too selfishly intransigent to make a positive difference in our personal lives and the Wall Street executives continue to amass ridiculous fortunes whether their clients profit or lose. Foreclosures are old (and boring) news compared to Lady Gaga, but still forcing human beings out of their homes, and even the marriage of William and Kate has settled into daily chores.

After witnessing catastrophic disaster on the other side of the world in March, my own neighbors in Vermont are the headliners this week, devastated by water so peaceful that surged horrifically and receded to the same calm flow, but surrounded by completely different lives. Like my own body, repairs can be made, but the view for many right now is topsy turvy and no one affected will be the same. Transformation of one kind or another is not optional.

Each morning the sun rises and we plan as best we can to make our way. We earn our keep, help our neighbors and love our family, praying to whatever belief that by nightfall we are safe to rest. I want to say the only constant is that we have each other, but the truth is that friends move away, children grow into their own busy lives, marriages end. We truly have no one but ourselves.

It is vital, therefore, to live as best we can, open our hearts to the beauty around us in each moment. When all else fails, the coin of the realm is our love for each other today and our capacity to be generous. Rich in that, my friend calls and I head out to live another day.

How will you choose to live this day?

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