Saturday, August 18, 2012
I started the 137 Project with the most fabulous Patti Digh. At first, it spoke to me because it is a daily prompt, a community, little pieces of writing or reflection or whatever-I-choose-to-make-it. It is about living like you're dying. I'm a fan of living in that manner. Both like you're dying (which we all are) and like you'll live forever. Patti encourages us to make the most of every day and at the start of the project there were 137 days left to the end of the year. 137 days to make a difference. 137 days of perfectly messy living.
I signed up for many reasons, not the least of which is to support Patti's family as they face medical bills due to lack of insurance and a battle with Renal Cell Carcinoma that her husband was just diagnosed with. I wish our method of providing health care weren't so jacked up. But it is. And that leaves a lot of us vulnerable, without insurance. We need to take care of each other in such times.
The first assignment was to simply find 137 objects to help count down the days. 137 of what? I don't like assignments. I balk at prompts. I could think of nothing meaningful to use as a touchstone. I didn't want to do it. So I stayed with the feelings and decided I might just read and be a wallflower in the 137 Project community. Patti finds some really cool people. The kind of people I might want to have tea with or discuss this living and dying business with or learn from. Yeah, that's what I'll do. No assignments for me.
I sat with that thought. I sat and read about marbles and beads and buttons and beans and beautiful stones and collected items and thought how cool and artistic these people were. They posted pictures. They told about the significance of the items. My friend Gail even put up a pegboard that belonged to her Dad, who had died some time before. They were so much more organized and thoughtful than myself. Why does it always come to comparisons? Years of comparison and grades can't be undone easily.
Behind me sat a basket with garden seeds. Seeds for a garden that is being neglected right now. Seeds that are waiting for their turn to die and grow something new and die again and become something new again....and on and on and on. Just like we all do.
And that's when it hit me. I don't like more "stuff". I don't want little objects cluttering me up more than I already am. I am trying to eliminate more stuff. Seeds die to allow for the growth of the plant it becomes. The plant grows and in death nourishes more life. From microbial to tree, all of that cycle is such a great way to watch what all life on this planet becomes. Cells being used up, dying, being reborn as other things with the same molecules and ingredients that have been here for millions of years...eons.
Life, death and rebirth. Not in some mythical sense, but actual rebirth. The rebirth that happens with my compost pile and the letting go of my mothers hand or kissing her cheek for the last time. The letting go that we must learn if we are to live well.
Seeds. Seeds I can do. I can allow these to be my symbol, because they are the perfect analogy for living well. They won't clutter my home except for a short time. They will be planted at various times throughout the next 137 days and they will die and be turned under to nurture my soil for future crops. I can do this 137 Project...maybe not on time, maybe not in an organized fashion but if nothing else, I will face more of myself and in doing so face more living and dying.
Pea and Oat seeds beware. Your time has come.