Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Radvent Day 7: Relaxation

Relaxation in progress: two cats on a heating pad on a couch

I am a study in contradictions. I am incredibly competitive, but an extremely poor competitor (yeah, that's as messed up as it sounds). I am very driven, smart and ambitious, but lack follow through and suffer from a fundamental laziness. I could achieve anything I wanted, if only I felt it was worth the effort (and I don't). It's a strange combination of traits. I blow hot and cold, all the time. I'm sure it confuses people when I go on a bender of achievement then sit around in my pajamas for a month. Believe me, it confuses me too!

It may come as no surprise that I like to think I am a world class relaxer. I like to think I'm very good at it. That's tapping into the laziness aspect. I do believe in "work hard, play hard," especially since part of the reason why my father died when he was 51 was because he forgot what it was to do anything but work. I refuse to be like that. I am very good at taking relaxing vacations, for instance (something he lost the ability to do as I was growing up) and I don't take work home with me.

But the truth is: I'm not actually very good at relaxing. I want to be good, but I'm the one always freaking out about my career and the consequences of sitting on my ass (and sleeping) and why can't I just go-go-go 24/7 and have a Time-Turner like Hermione ... you know, because it worked out so well for her. Ha. Anyway, I often find myself taking "a break to relax" and then creating all kinds of tasks to accomplish, trouble to get into, and quagmires to become ... well, mired in. I need to figure out how to stay still. Fortunately, one thing I seem to be very good at is sleeping, when I'm not staying out all night and pretending not to be 30 years old and responsible with my life. Sleep comes very easily to me. So do naps, which I try to take every weekend. I was never a napper when I was growing up, so this is an adult indulgence (and one that I love ... and one that is made better by the wonderful cats who are always up to nap with me). Also, that husband of mine is a huge fan of naps, so ... hey girl, naps!


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I would love to share a topical poem today by my second-favorite poet, Pablo Neruda.


Keeping Quiet 

Keeping Quiet
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still. This one time upon the earth,
let's not speak any language,
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.

The fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.

What I want shouldn't be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.

If we weren't unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,

if we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and then everything is alive.

Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I'll go

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this bad boy knows how to relax with the best of 'em

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I'm participating in Radvent this year via the ever-awesome Princess Lasertron, and you should too!

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