By Sandra J. Cohen and Roger Cormier
This posting marks the beginning of our fourth year of “Tips for Growing Older,” available to you on this Amigos de Bucerias web site. We are revisiting the topic of personal daily delights and world needs with a description of a daily practice that may appeal to you. At the third anniversary of “Tips” and going forward, we welcome your feedback and suggestions.
Seniors and younger baby boomers often find themselves torn between wanting to address the big picture of people and planet problems and getting through days filled with too many tasks, choices and decisions. How can we resolve this dilemma?
Comparing ourselves with people featured in the media for chucking a career and starting an amazingly innovative and effective medical, social or environmental program can be very discouraging. Putting ourselves down because we barely get our day-to-day activities done and cannot even find time to volunteer in our community will make matters worse. Even resolving to stop thinking about it may make us feel guilty.
We sometimes hear exhortations such as, “Follow your passion or your heart’s delight and you’ll find your role in the world and your own personal happiness.” Yes, we can pay more attention to what makes us feel good about ourselves and alive to our experience. But how can we be sure that such attentiveness will help reveal who we really are, and how we can make a difference in a world full of so much injustice, suffering and waste of the Earth’s gifts?
Talking about it with a professional or personal friend can help. Putting it aside at times can give us much needed relief. We can, however, try a practice that can both nurture us and at some point help reveal what will draw us forward in a direction that will feel right and enliven us.
The practice is to write a list, at the end of each day, of experiences that gave us delight, made us feel lighter and more alive, and perhaps told us something about who we really are.
We will be surprised with how many small, quiet experiences and unexpected twists brought a smile to our face and left a good feeling in our mind and heart. Some days, we may recall just a few such moments. At other times, we may fall asleep before completing a long list.
It may include things we saw, heard or tasted; what someone said to or did for us, or something we said or did that brightened someone else’s day; an insight we gained, or an incident that made us laugh out loud. All we need is a small pad, a pen, and a commitment to revisit our daily delights.
Sandy Cohen & Roger Cormier (email: firstname.lastname@example.org; free blog: starguide4growingolder.wordpress.com)