I helped a friend move today. She is my age and this is her first ever place of her very own. Her marriage of 17 years has ended and having decided she would be the one to move out, has been struggling to get settled for the past year. Her finances and emotional states are somewhat precarious, so of course when she asked for some help I said yes, though there are few things in the world I hate more than moving. I know she appreciated it a lot, and I felt bad leaving her in a strange new apartment full of boxes and chaos. As she said to me, she still can’t quite believe she has left her husband and is truly starting over. It appears it is starting to sink in, what it’s like to make such big changes in life at this age. So in this respect, while our circumstances in other ways differ, we are in a similar boat. It felt good to be there for her, as she has been for me, in supporting the changes I am making to my own life. And I get the whole “I can’t quite believe that I am actually doing his” sense. I have it often myself. Feeling outside myself at a meeting, or in my studio painting (by the way the image at the top is my latest creation).
I believe that a sense of the spiritual is borne out of questioning our purpose in life. Not in an ego driven way, but rather in asking how we fit into the bigger picture, how we can make a difference. Being 40 does that for many of us; it certainly did for me, and is a big part of my own “starting over”. I find a lot of purpose in my creative endeavors. Painting and writing make me feel alive in ways that almost scare me sometimes. Oddly in this way it can make me crave a drink, because I think I am not used to these feelings, even though they are good, connected thoughts. Probably as close as I come to the buddhist concept of samadhi, meditative concentration on one object. Writing, as a way of thinking about and articulating ideas is similar, though less focused at times.
What I think I have figured out though is that for these endeavors to be spiritually edifying, they cannot be tied into specific personal ambitions. It is the process, the path as it were, that provides the sense of connectedness. Not my ego, or desire to achieve some idea of “success”. Of course that is easier said than done but I like the idea of a goal not to have goals; maybe that itself is a koan to meditate on. At any rate it seems to fit with the imperative to live one day at a time.