I guess it is appropriate to say long time, no see to many. Many others I have kept up with on ye ole Facebook. It's amazing how much life changes in mere months especially in this post-Bushian America.
My family and I have had it much like most other American families over the past six-months, rough. Back in a financial hole after my sudden job-loss at the end of March. I finally gained employment the first week of August and have been working myself ragged since.
What makes it more fun is that I drive an hour to and from work, work about ten more hours per week on the job and I'm making less money than I did at my prior job. But no woe is me as I am employed. In this quagmire of a sub-economy I'm thankful for that.
In my leisure time (which is very sparse) I have turned to reading rather than writing and it re-ignited a passion in me. The utter fatigue I feel each day at the end of my new work day has made me appreciate better the free time I have with my family. I started thinking like my old self again. It's not the quantity of time you have, it's the quality.
I haven't missed the bickering that so often drew me into its uselessness. I do still speak out in my personal life about my belief that this country has gone to hell in a hand basket and that right wing hate speak is going to get people killed. I just don't write about it or dwell on it too long at a time any more. I have been re-embracing my Taoism. That has included reading several wonderful books that I haven't read in years.
I read "The Art of War", "Wherever You Go, There You Are" and the central piece of Taoism, "The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu". Reading this one book in particular led me to introspection that I was at many times my worst enemy. I should say most of the time. The 80 chapter book is readable in an hour or so and that has allowed me to read and re-read it several times.
I guess you could say I am in pursuit once again of the Tao of Greg. As the translator of the book so eloquently writes, "I gratefully acknowledge the wind and rain, the snowo, the sun, each and ever one of the trees, the water singing under the ice frozen rivers, the mountains and valleys, the cold ground and the warm grass, the light and the darkness, the creatures, poetry, music, family, friends, the gift and myster of my life, the eternal Tao."
I bolded the word music above because I now find that I am reconnected to my passion for making music, not just listening. I make it a habit to practice at least a half hour each night. That may not sound like much time unless you've ever played a trumpet. It takes a heavy toll on the chops. Music is a beautiful experience regardless, but when you're making it there's so much more of a personal connection.
The opening chapter of "The Tao Te Ching" pretty much summates the reason I am again on this journey.
"Tao is beyond words and beyond understanding. Words may be used to speak of it, but they cannot contain it.
Tao existed before words and names, before heaven and earth, before the ten thousand things. It is the unlimited father and mother of all limited things.
Therefore, to see beyond boundaries to the subtle heart of things, dispense with names, with concepts, with expectations and ambitions and differences.
Tao and its many manifestations arise from the same source: subtle wonder within mysterious darkness.
This is the beginning of all understanding."
So I continue down my path and on my journey. I aspire be the best I can be and if that contributes to others then so be it. As long as my being never hurts another and I achieve my goal of always being mindful, then I will have found nothingness and hopefully bearable lightness of being...