Last week I watched a documentary titled; “Pioneer Quest: A Year in the Real West.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_Quest:_A_Year_in_the_Real_West) It was the story of two couples who gave up everything from the 21st century to live life in the 1880’s for one year. They didn’t have electricity, running water, indoor or outdoor plumbing. They planted and hunted for their food, depended on a cow for milk and a team of two horses to do everything from plow the land for farming, to pulling a sleigh in the snow, and to get them wherever they needed to go. The biggest obstacles were to adjust their mindset from present day to the late 1800’s and their bodies to work harder and longer than they ever had before. The two couples, who didn’t know each other before, had their differences but needed to work together well enough to make it to the end of the year and possibly collect the $100,000 prize money.
The show is a slow burn. It takes a while for the couples to get used to the pace of living in a way that required time and effort to do everything and for the viewer to accept that each episode won’t be non-stop action or suspense. However, once this is done there is a rhythm to the living this way and the watching this show.
I won’t spoil the ending but watching it made me long for a slower pace of life. The folks in the documentary didn’t have the luxuries we have now, they lived in a one room log cabin, had to walk in all sorts of weather to go to the bathroom. No internet, no fast food, no power tools, no zipping to town to grab something forgotten at the store. If they didn’t have it they learned to live without it.
I wonder if these are the keys to a simpler life; you don’t need everything and if you don’t have it you’ll still find a way to live and possibly thrive.
For more reflections, posts and other writings, please visit: http://www.thewannabesaint.com
Today I’ve been thinking about the eclipse which happened yesterday. It was awesome and am thankful I was alive to see it. However, I’ve also been thinking about the fact that we see the sun and the moon every day. All we have to do is look up at the correct time, as with the eclipse, and we can see both in much if not all of their glory. What made yesterday’s event special was the two occupying the sky at the same time. It was so spectacular we bought dorky looking glasses, closed down schools and businesses, marked the day on our calendar and watched the time closely. All so we wouldn’t miss two objects in the sky, hundred of thousands of miles away from us, come together.
The moon is about 200,000 miles from the planet we call home. This seems like a huge number until we realize the sun is almost 93 million! Yet, for a few moments yesterday, the moon, which is much smaller, blocked out the sun. The difference is compared to the sun, the moon is sitting right next to us.
Reflecting on this I begin to wonder about our proximity to each other and the troubles we are all trying to overcome. Sometimes the obstacles and dangers we face seem so big and terrible. They are daunting and overwhelming until someone does something kind for us. Then, even if for a few moments, the act of mercy and grace is what we see not the enormous challenges we are fighting to overcome.
There are people we know who are fighting for their very lives. An enemy, a disease, a crisis of a sort that we ask; “What can I do?” The answer is simple; be kind. We will be amazed at the difference a random act of kindness can make.
After several weeks of building an extension onto our porch, yesterday evening it was time to demolish. There was a section which had been built many years ago and needed to be removed so we could match it with the extension. As I began to remove the old, rotten and piecemealed section I wasn’t sure what I’d find underneath. Would there be critters? Would the support beams be rotten? Would it be wet and moldy or dry? To my surprise, the not-so-good-looking porch was nice and sturdy underneath. It was also dry with no water gathered. There should be no problem attaching the new, matching wood.
I spoke with a man today who’s had a rough week. The subject of disappointment came up and we talked about setbacks, struggles, and obstacles on life’s journey. We agreed the path of life will take us through the valley of humility and stresses and pressures can weigh us down making the journey hard. When these times come our surface selves get stripped away. Life has a way of demolishing what’s not solid, sturdy, and revealing what’s underneath.
If there is a strength within, if we can withstand the ripping away of the pieces of ourselves which can’t handle the strain, then we will be able to start again, build anew. Our wisdom, our spirit, our enlightened lives do not come from never facing the chaotic struggles but allowing them to take away what’s not needed and reveal what’s greater within, underneath.
Out of nowhere they come. Like an assassin’s bullet or blade. Unexpected, unwanted and overwhelming. Moments, seasons which reveal our most painful weaknesses, deepest struggles, greatest need and darkest secrets.
The path of life is never easy nor allows us to become too comfortable. Setbacks, those sections of the journey where our way seems blocked, progress grinds to a halt, backwards the only direction, retracing our steps, navigating through places we thought we’d left permanently behind.
Setbacks. Getting stuck. Walking in circles. The journey of life can drain us of our purpose and passion. We wonder how long we’ll wander, why the journey must be this difficult, if it’s worth the struggle, why we wrestle with the same demons and obstacles so often.
A favorite wisdom quote, and comfort, when the way is hard and setbacks many;
The obstacles (setbacks) in your way are your path to freedom.