For most of my life, much of each day has been planned. When I was a child, my parents planned my life. I had lots of free time to roam and wonder, to play and have fun. When in school for many, many years, life revolved around school, homework, friends, and finding time to do all the things I wanted and needed to do.
Once I began working, life continued to revolve around the hours of work, and since I’ve always had more than one job going at a time, life was filled with meetings, events, and activities including preparing for meetings, events, and activities. While working, I was also going to school, and because people have always been important to me, life revolved around friends...most of whom I met while, you guessed it, working or going to school, or both. While working and going to school, I was also starting my own family. I had my Daughter in my early 20s, and after 2 years, became a single mother until my mid-30s. I married, continued mothering, began helping take care of my parents who were now aging and in fragile health, and doing all the other things I had been doing. As a teacher, administrator, and counselor, life continued to be about meetings, planning, preparing, activities, researching, learning, writing, discovering, activities, events, and more meetings. For many years, this lifestyle appealed to me, in fact fed me and nourished me, and I was perfectly happy in the rhythms of life.
When I was working an executive level administrative job on the East Coast, my Daughter had her first child. My granddaughter’s birth was a turning point in my life, and within a few months, I had moved to the Bay area to help my daughter with my Granddaughter. From that moment, my priorities shifted. It was a 8.0 earthquake event in my life. One week I am working 24/7, responsible for multiple programs, budgets, obligations, and 5-year plans. The next week, I’m sitting in a rocking chair in my bathrobe in the middle of the day rocking a 2-month old child--my granddaughter, and I thought at that moment, “There is nothing more important to me than being right here where I am with this beautiful child.” I felt then, and I continue to feel so grateful that my Daughter allowed me to come and help her take care of this lovely child who is now 6 years old.
At the same time I became Yaya, I also resolved to commit myself to running my own businesses. From that point, I have been a self-employed writer, photographer, and spiritual counselor. Like many who work for themselves know, we can drive ourselves hard. Our work no longer depends entirely on someone else’s whim or plan. We operate according to our own schedules (often late into the night or days without a break), and we decide the direction of our work. A little over 6 months ago, I began leading workshops and meditation groups at a local yoga studio. I love what I’m doing, and am only committed to be there 2-3 hours a week. I see clients in my home, at the studio and at other venues (bookstores, care facilities). My writing and photography work I do daily, and I arrange counseling for a couple of sessions a week.
So, as you might see, though I am in charge of the planning of my life, it continues to be full of meetings, activities, and events. At this moment, I am longing for some time to try out a different style of living. I realize that when I have a spare moment, I long for quiet and calm. I long for an intimacy about life that doesn’t include work, obligations, meetings, or events. I long to live next door to my daughter and granddaughter so we can drop by one another’s house on a daily basis for tea, a laugh, a walk, or a talk. I long to have someone else in the house that has been mine alone for too long. I long to get into the stickiness and fun and chaos and joy and struggle of life lived in close connection. I long to catch up on all the years I’ve missed with the man I love. I long to find out what it feels like to just ‘be’ without anything on my schedule. I long for a vacation that is actually about relaxing and not about more plans, meetings, projects, and events.
Why am I writing this to address the question, “why I don’t like to make appointments? I long to not have to set my life aside or take up space in my brain awaiting the telephone meeting or long-awaited call to a friend. I’d rather be with my friends. I’d rather be with my family and those I love, and not just experience them as a date on a calendar, an item on an agenda, a plan on an itinerary, or a dream for the future. Life, for me, is in urgent need of living, now. Clearing my calendar, setting aside plans and schemes, and heading into a time when I am enjoying life as it is, regardless of where I am or who I am with.
Making appointments means I’ve set time aside to meet; it also means until the meeting, I will be spending a great deal of time and energy preparing myself to be in some contrived experience that aims to create connection. Not sure that’s how I want to do it any more. I’d like to see what it’s like to live day to day. To take some time to smell the flowers and plant some. To go where my whim takes me, and to invite in more intimacy, connection, and love. Some who think writers and photographers live lives of leisure, will think I already live a life of ease. Others who know, may understand. It really doesn’t matter whether anyone understands, and this is something that I will need to remind myself of, because living up to the expectations of others is part and parcel with the way most of us live; indeed it’s what has been a defining aspect of my life. Now I wish to live from the motivations of love, connection, and communication with those who are truly the loves of my life.
I long to hear the call of Spirit within me, that asks that I follow the longings that lead me to live an authentic life of love, devoted to beauty, harmony, and connection. Peace within, peace without. A life lived mindfully can be of more benefit to humankind if for no other reason that to help recapture the simple need to appreciate ourselves, our lives, and our place in Creation.