Saturday, March 24, 2007

100 % Contentment And Simplicity

Oprah and Gail visiting the Amish on their big USA road trip

I have laryngitis and I literally cannot talk. Literally. Not even squeek or squawk, only whisper. Problem is, I have this big throat phobia so colds and yes, laryngitis doesn't bode well for me. What if I need to yell for help?(H-E-L-P) It makes me feel cut-off from the world and this morning, after resorting to the aid of an anti-panic pill (thank God for that), I just started writing in my journal to deal with my silly phobia and asking myself, why the heck do I physically react while I rationally think of it differently? Of course, I did not solve my problem although I can think of when it started; this fear of dying has been with me since my dad died when I was 12 years old. Watching an Oprah episode yesterday (a rare occurance because the tv is usually occupied by the kids) actually reminded me of someone else's insight, Paula Deen.

On another rare occurance of myself watching Oprah, I saw Oprah having Paula Deen as a guest. She's very southern for those who don't know and one of those celebrity food tv chefs. She cooks southern and probably would not be allowed to set foot in New York City with all that transfat that accompanies any Southern loyal chef but anyhoo..
First Paula got interviewed before doing a cooking demo. The thing that peeked my interest (since southern cooking does not) was that miss Paula used to have agoraphobia that was developed after her father passed away when she was a kid. Even though she got married and had two kids, she basically passed on a lot of life's experiences by staying at home, literally. For 20 years, she was gripped by this fear until one day she decided to recite the Serenity Prayer and I guess a light bulb went off in her head.
And while I am writing in my journal thinking about what that Amish couple talked about, their words of 'simplicity' and '100% contentment' came back to me over and over again. Even they, not being of this world but reading plenty about it could see that for all the material acquisition, life was just too busy, too stressed and not too contented. If I look at the Amish way of life, I am tempted to automatically see the things I would miss if I ever had the thought of joining them; my computer for one (!), electricity, the conveniences of our grocery stores, driving, going to the movies etc. And yet, I have been wanting to plant, and to go back to nature if you will. Not really to sequester myself, but to get back to the very thing that in 'our' life is constant and seems to be a place of spirituality; nature. I don't know about you, but speaking for myself, I do feel more at peace when I am working in the garden, walk among the trees, boating on a waterway of sorts. This Amish young woman whom Oprah was interviewing happens to have a published father, David Kline. He once said this:
...the intention of the Amish lifestyle is not denial for its own sake. Rather, the purpose of the simple life is to preserve those things they value most. "We are not against technology," he said. "We just hope to not allow the technology to be masters of us. That's liberty—to slow down and to enjoy life, visit with friends and have the family at home."

David Kline suggested that many people in modern society are searching for fulfillment in all the wrong places. "It seems as though people almost have a void they want to fill and they go to the store and are consumed by that urge to buy more and more," he said. "This material stuff just doesn't satisfy in the long run."

My kids go to a Montessori school and the younger one has this thing about making a pattern with hers and my son's hotwheel cars. It is part of her age to want to 'order her environment'. Maria Montessori observed that once children become more aware that there is a world outside of theirs, they need certain consistencies in order to feel rooted in that bigger world they just discovered. I would even say that inspite of all the grown-ups' material wealth and accumulation, people still have the need for an 'ordered world'. One that is harmonious like nature. One that predictable and reliable, like nature. One that say, you are part of something greater but you have a part in this too, like everything in nature.

These are some of the thoughts that have been floating through my head.

Check for an interview with David Kline in the Mennonot (scroll down a bit)

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6:17 PM  

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