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Leslie Garrett | pg.4
My feet have served me well.
Although I wasn’t an early walker, I have always been an enthusiastic one. Family lore has it that I was tied like a dog to a stake in the backyard because I was such a dedicated wanderer. Living close to a river meant that my trailblazing could lead me to trouble, so my mother kept me tethered. I maintain that she could have simply kept an eye on me but, it being the ’60s and all, perhaps that would have cut into her cigarettes and activism.
A friend recently confided in me that she, too, was increasingly alarmed by news of climate change, water shortages, chemicals in our kids’ toys — letting me know she was prepared to take action. From now on, she announced triumphantly, she planned to reuse gift bags. “And if people think that means I can’t afford new ones, well … that’s fine.”
My main goal at 12 years of age was to own a pair of plastic mouse ears, a salute to Mickey Mouse. Of course, this would require a vacation to Disney World, something every kid in my neighborhood had achieved. Getting there was possible … but sure looked unlikely. My parents, you see, saw no point in traveling to a fantasy world when the real world was so fantastical. I never did acquire that mouse-ear crown.
I dream of a meditation retreat. But, with three high-energy children, three dogs, three cats, a rabbit, an absent-minded husband and a career guiding others to mindful living and travel, that dream remains a long way off. Peace, for now, often comes in the form of clean sheets and a soft pillow each night. I’ve learned, however, that in order to be my best, I need to seek out those Zen moments. Those all-too-fleeting times in my busy day when I get filled from within. When all else falls away and there’s only me. In the moment.
My grandfather, not one given to understatement, frequently declared many modern-day foods to be “poison” and dismissed them with a wave of his hand. Among the offenders? Margarine (“anything that doesn’t freeze at freezing temperatures isn’t right…”). Pam cooking spray (“work of the devil!”). Whipped cream in an aerosol (“Unnatural!”).
I can only imagine his response to today’s offerings.
It’s not that my mind isn’t teeming with important thoughts. It is. I read literature. I watch documentaries. I bandy about intellectual ideas with my Ph.D.-waving friends.
But that doesn’t seem to stop my mind from obsessing about the little things.
For example, just this morning I was picking up a few things at the market. I noticed a bottle – from an eco-conscious company – of fruit and veggie wash.
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. —Joseph Campbell
Just be yourself. —Mom
Advice like this always baffled me. Who was I being if not myself? After all, what choice did I have? All the good personalities – Joan of Arc, Jane Austen, Wonder Woman – were already gone. I was stuck being me, like it or not.
Karen, my yoga instructor, doesn’t claim to offer answers. Actually, she’s more of an “ask a question” type of instructor, consistently encouraging each of us to look within for wisdom.