‘Thinking today about yesterday.’

My friend Bonnie sent an email this morning: “Thinking today about yesterday.” We were together most of yesterday in Lexington, Virginia, midway between our homes.

The day was beautiful for its ease, companionship, and welcome change in weather. Bonnie and I have always said, no matter how much time passes between our get-togethers — years sometimes — we always pick up and carry on as if we’d seen each other just the day before. Such is the nature of a friendship that spans nearly fifty years. We’ve shared  life’s joys, heartaches, triumphs, secrets, and laughs…so many laughs.

Yesterday was no exception. It was ten months since we our last visit. We talked through lunch at Kind Roots, a delightful little cafe, and we talked while we strolled Lexington’s quaint downtown. We talked about children and grandchildren, books and poetry, gardening and bees. We didn’t dwell on our lives’ nasty stressors, instead we spent considerable time in one shop deciding which teapot we’d buy if we could buy only one. We grumbled about ever-changing, mind-numbing technology and the hobbling effects of age.

Everybody should have a friend like Bonnie. Over the years she has stared down personal issues that would have crippled a lesser woman. Recently, she built herself a tiny house (she was the mastermind, not the builder) and shed all the stuff she’d accumulated over the years.

She loves her newly unencumbered life in a perfectly tailored little house that is set in a field spread wide with buttercups.

Confucius say what?!

Screen shot 2015-01-08 at 2.36.56 PMFor more than twenty years I believed that our dear English friend Louie came up with the phrase “Wherever you go, there you are.” I’ve learned that not only did Confucius say it, but dozens of writers use it as titles on their blogs, and mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote a book with Confucius’ words as the title. It has been centuries since Confucius (551-479 BCE) made that astute observation, so plagarism isn’t an issue.

I learned all this in the most roundabout way. I requested permission to quote from Kevin O’Keefe’s “Real Lawyers Have Blogs” post, “Blog to people, not at people.”  His words about blogging resonated: “I was taught to blog as if it were a conversation. … At times I have thought of blogging as letter writing. The kind we did by hand from college forty years ago. At other times, I have thought of blogging as being the late night DJ talking to a radio audience of one. … Blogging is about getting to know each other. Developing trust. Developing relationships. Developing reputations. This requires a conversation. Writing to people, not at people.”

O’Keefe referred me to author and business consultant Euan Semple, “The Obvious,” who approved my request to use his thoughts about good writing: “Good writing is more like letter writing. It is written to you not at you. It draws you closer, is offered to you deferentially, like two people who know and trust each other having a conversation, taking turns, listening as much as talking. It is our natural way of writing. …”

Semple referred me to John Kabat-Zinn  I didn’t know — duh-h — until I Googled the mindfulness guru about the book he’d written in 1994, “Wherever you go, there you are.” It’s still in print and I’ll have a copy for myself before another sunset. Here’s one of many memorable quotes: “Wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that’s what’s on your mind, Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is, how are you going to handle it?”

Kabat-Zinn, the father of modern-day mindfulness, further defines the practice like this: “Paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” He also says, “Writing can be an incredible mindfulness practice.”

Ooo, I like that!

Old Confucius offered another twist on the words so many of us use: “Wherever you go, go with all of your heart.”

Like that, too. Maybe it explains my absolute obsession love affair with blogging.Screen shot 2015-01-13 at 2.11.12 PM

Post postscript:
No sooner did I decide I’d polished this post enough,
than I got a surprise.
At our recent writers’ group meeting,
writer/friend John handed me a book.
“Look what I found!” he said.
It was a copy of Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever you go, there you are.
My friend didn’t know I’d been planning this post
nor that I wanted a copy of the book.