In California, we have an unrelenting heatwave the first few weeks of September most every year. It is summer’s final farewell, and like a low-grade fever, we enter a period of internal struggle, which favors achievement over idleness. As much as I miss those lazy crazy days I also crave the structure and routine of fall. I get swept up in new lesson plans, block schedules, and the culture of a high school campus. I’m learning to juggle adolescence angst, challenging curriculums, and an evolving pedagogy with ease. Not! And yes, the rash is stress-related.
Mike Murdock says, “The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine,” and like Indiana Jones, I go in search of this elusive treasure, the hell with obstacles.
There are no GPS coordinates for this type of adventure but I’ve learned that adequate sleep, food, and exercise will keep me going when all else fails. I know that commitment, effort, and a positive attitude are part of the secret but so is a good day-timer and a strong wing man. When I stay grounded, congruent, and humble I am much closer to finding my truth but less popular on Twitter. #IthoughtIwascool
Mother Teresa adds, “Work without love is slavery.”
Although I might feel shackled to my job (especially on Monday), I love what I do, and like eucharist, it nurtures me time and again. I share this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson with my students at the beginning of the semester. “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Maybe it’s less about finding – more about sowing and reaping – right where you are?
Finding your purpose in this world is like winning the lottery. I think one of the many gifts of middle age (aside from excessive tummy fat and wrinkles) is having the time to commit to the things you truly love. With the sun slipping below the horizon of my life, I’m spending more time with the people I love, meditating in the backyard, sipping coffee, watching the birds, and shooting a few squirrels. I’m writing whenever possible and scarfing up novels at the Goodwill store I always meant to read. Giddy about every second I get with my granddaughter, keeping Amazon’s toy department all in a frenzy, and the economy afloat. Thoroughly enjoying the fruits of my labor along with the fruits of the vine. I’m scratching the itch left by the travel bug and hoping to expand my horizons. I say if not now, then when?
I’ve been studying the Stages of Life according to Hindu tradition with my World Religion students. The first two stages are consumed with developing your intellect  followed by marriage . Stage  begins with the birth of your first grandchild and retirement. This is the Forest Dweller stage because you are now free from the burdens of academia and being a householder. You go out into the metaphoric forest and focus on your own spirituality, finding your true self, going within, and emerging with a sense of oneness with the universal reality. This is liberation which is the ultimate goal of Hindu thought. It is a time to detach from all the anchors that held you in place for the last five decades. I just entered this stage with the birth of my granddaughter Audrey and on many levels Hindu theology appeals to my urge for freedom from the constraints of modern society. #retirement
I love this quote by Frederick Buchner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I want the world to hunger for the words I splash across the page but my disordered attachment to a regular paycheck puts a big old chasm between me and my deepest desire.
Andrea Mathews says, “Maturity is the result of having faced and overcome obstacles by gathering deeper and deeper aspects of self. In other words, when faced with a challenge we don’t repeat a rote behavior, or do what someone else taught us to do, or just do what we’ve always done.” This requires self-reflection, learning to resolve problems with creativity and agape, but “wise enough to close our eyes in the presence of God.”
Eventually we’ll retrieve that elusive Grail, discover a few secrets along the way, find ourselves in the process, and like Indiana Jones learn to “let it go.” This is how we start imagining a world where “our deep gladness meets the worlds greatest need.” #Igotyou
*Agape – unselfish love, love of god for human kind
A version of this post was previously published on Cheryloreglia.blogspot.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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