I've been thinking about a couple of important ways to keep myself centered, proud, useful, loving and sane. I think they're worth sharing.
1) Pay it forward. When I was a graduate student at NYU and living at the St. Mary's Residence for Working Women (i.e., my worst nightmare, cheek-by-jowl with nuns), on a budget of $700 a month that had to cover everything except tuition, one of my professors from Cornell sent me $250. It was a fortune and it saved my ass. In coming to the end a difficult year, I've been able to help a few people out both financially and with my time/knowledge. It hasn't been much. I no more expect to be paid than I repaid my former teacher. I understand now why he did it and I think such gifts carry not only a small morsel to distract the wolf from the door, but a karmic morsel as one. That which is freely given and freely taken holds a glimmer of what we all want: freedom.
2) When a dog asks for a belly rub, make it twelve times as long as you think you have time for. The one exception is first thing upon waking when peeing is urgent.
A brief post. I began the fall quarter today by getting completely lost. Bad address, bad Mapquest -- I don't know. But in the heavy air between rains, I saw a part of Wall Street that made me feel I was back in Prague again. It's easy to forget that the steel-and-glass cauldron of evil is also the oldest part of New York and, therefore, the tiniest.
And there is a new batch of roses in bloom. They flourish in June and make another appearance in September. In ways, I will always be a Montanan when it comes to seasons.
I promised Dr. It's-Never-a-Cigar I would try to take time to myself this quarter rather than getting worn out by academic details. We decided that I would continue to pursue what I began in my week off: decluttering and editing a friend's novel. I did not get rid of anything today or put anything away. I came home to wait for the cable company to install a new cable box, a task which in itself is an accomplishment for one who was too deer-in-the-headlights to schedule the call last quarter. I had to clutter up my apartment in order for him to do that voodoo that he do so well, moving junk off the TV hunk and pulling out the bags of clothes stored behind it.
Needless to say, Cable Man, despite calling at 4.30 to say he was on his way, did not show up.
So now I have three big bags of clothes mauling my room and have not yet made a new appointment. I suppose I have to put them back but I'll still be overwhelmed with the plastic Brownie Scout and eyeglass sprays and whatnot.
So here's my question. If I actually made more of a mess, did the half-bag of dog hair and grit that I swept up from behind the TV mountain count as decluttering???
It's the latest example of abusive policing -- a black man taken to jail for sitting in a public area, after somebody tells him he can't sit there...