- From the Desk of Dr. Sands
It is so important to make room for the pleasure and joy of solitude as well as the realization that we are not nor should we ever be perfect or perceive ourselves to be the center of the universe.
Over Thanksgiving week I stopped counting. Well, not altogether, but I have to cop to a weird discipline about exercise that has been all about the numbers – steps, miles, laps, weights, etc., and I have found that what I purport to be doing in order to feel good is actually counterproductive. Whether I am swimming or walking, I have been so busy documenting that I have not taken a moment to smell the roses, or even the chlorine.
One of the best parts about getting older is a true and authentic gratitude for each day, and so over this break, I stopped counting laps and miles. I went swimming every day and moved into the rhythm of my strokes, kicks, and most importantly, my thoughts. I gave my mind over to dreaming, not making lists of things to do or accomplish. Now, rather than it being a chore, I enjoy this time alone, relishing being in my own company and having back and forth conversations about everything under the sun, or in my case, the stars. Over break, I chose to swim at around 4:30 p.m. when the sky is lush with color and I am suspended in that time between dusk and evening. The majesty of the setting sun overwhelms me as I celebrate allowing the beauty and power of nature to wash over me.
It is so important to make room for the pleasure and joy of solitude as well as the realization that we are not nor should we ever be perfect or perceive ourselves to be the center of the universe. If nothing else, gazing at the night sky is a lesson in humility and an antidote for hubris. And for me, no number of steps or laps will guarantee anything other than my watch being very proud of me. I don't count how many books I read; how many times I clean the kitchen; or how many times I tell my children that I love them, and while they know – as it's a given – I show them by listening more than talking and by validating their ideas and opinions. This also has to do with living with your eyes, ears, and heart more open than your mouth.
My swimming is now a bit chillier, and as I only have before dawn and after dark as my windows, this may be a short lived exercise until the weather warms. But until I raise the white flag, I will remain motivated by the idea of entering into the warm kitchen and John's company. As I reflect on my day, I want to think less about my lists and more about the ways my heart has been filled and my ears opened to all that is around me.
Please, as ever, feel free to call, come in, or write. I will always keep your daughter at the heart of all that I do and when we meet, I will always remember that she is at the center of your life.