park sunriseYesterday, a friend who was feeling … in his words … despondent asked me for some suggestions as to how to lift his own spirits.  My friend and I are a lot alike in this way: we are doers.  When something, even lifting ourselves above the blues, needs to be done, we take action.  I suggested taking some time to do something for himself.  He said, Well, I take time to be with my sons and I swim every morning.  Ah, yes.  Productive.  We want to be productive, even when we relax.  As a father and grandfather, I know that spending time with offspring can sometimes be fun and sometimes fulfilling, but most times, it’s not restful.  And as a former swimmer, I know the joy of slipping through the water to the rhythm of my own arm strokes and the satisfaction of knowing I’m doing something good for body.  Restful?  No.

In the 12-Step program I belong to, one of the most practical guides is a list known as the Dos and Don’ts.  Among a list of things we can do and not do to have more serenity in our lives is this one:

Play – find recreation and hobbies

It is perhaps the Do I hear spoken of least in my Men’s Meetings, probably because it runs counter to the need men like my friend and I harbor to always be productive.   But there’s that word – recreation.  Mirriam-Webster: refreshment of strength and spirits after work; also :  a means of refreshment or diversion.  Ah, yes, and from the Latin, recreare – to create anew.  Yes, Re-creation.

SAWGRASSThis is true for me:  I need Re-creation that feeds my soul.  No, I don’t know exactly what my soul is but I know it when I feed it.  It’s not work.  It doesn’t have the word should or productive attached to it.  It is usually done alone.  After I got off the phone with my friend, I closed my tablet and took a stroll … not a power-walk and certainly not a jog … through the park, camera in hand. looking for small, beautiful things to photograph.

Music works for me, too, or sitting on the sand, listening to the surf.   This morning I sat quietly watching our backyard birds take turns in our bird bath.

Re-Creation.  How do you Re-create yourself?

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5 Comments on “Re-Creation”

  1. Bud, for some reason, your posts no longer show up in my reader list on WP. It’s happening with a few of my favorite bloggers, so I had thought you’d gone quiet… an unusual move that then had me theorizing you were using your SONAR experience to help search for the Malaysian Airlines jet. I had to type your blog into my URL bar to find out the truth.

    That said: obviously, my music is recreational for me, but lately it hasn’t been terribly relaxing because damn, that Adams piece is hard. I know it less well every time we rehearse it. But I think for me, even spending time with friends is reinvigorating. Sometimes when I think what I need is a few days’ solace at home (which is what I have this week), it turns out that what I really need is a day or two with friends. Saturday I was out canvassing for a friend who’s running for office, then sang at mass, then attended an art auction fundraiser for a nearby charter school, and then went to hear a friend’s band play (check out my latest post to see the funny coincidences that unfolded that night). Sure, some of that was productive for other people – we got votes for my friend and raised money for a school – but mostly, it broke up my routine and left me exhausted, but reminded of how fun my life is.

    • oldereyes Says:

      Well, it doesn’t help that I haven’t been coming around to read and comment. Life has been very hectic, mostly good stuff, but hectic. We were suddenly asked to submit a proposal for a job that would bring me work for the next two years and we’re already under contract for what they call the “bridge contract,” usually a good sign you’ll get the real thing. So, I may be less than semi-retired soon. Ant then taxes.

      The thing I meant to say in Re-Creation but forgot (a product of almost 70 brain cells and a hectic life) was that everyone has to find for themselves what re-creates them. So many people I know don’t “get” my obsession with music or my odd little smartphone photos of life going by. I’m sort of a solitary re-creator but maybe that’s because I have a network of friends I sometimes take for granted. I’ll be by to catch up (I promise, he said, meaning it at the time).

  2. Russ Says:

    Thanks Bud,

    You are correct. Most of us seem not to re-create but to produce. My subliminal mantra is ‘always be acheiving’ . Thus there is not much room for the feeding of the soul we all need. When I do, I find it is mostly when I am outdoors, in nature, just soaking it up. The woods on a trail, the beach in my sand chair, the riverside with a book in the shade of a beech tree or just in my back yard.

    Thanks for the reminder.


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