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November 25, 2009

This Wonderful Life: I can say No, but I prefer Yes


You know what I’ve always wanted to do? Grow a massive organic garden. Sign me up.

And these two pigs we have in the back field will be gone by next month.

Time to start thinking about new baby animals for next spring. Maybe dairy and fiber goats. We’ll make our own cheese and I’ll learn to spin mohair. But first we’ll have to build our own barn and expand the fencing.

There’s no way that will get in the way of my schedule of growing my new business and taking a half-time load of writing-intensive college classes.

And it will leave plenty of time for being a parent and a wife and a person who wants to live in a house that is not in danger of health department condemnation. These are not chores or burdens. They’re passions and delights.

And the notion that I should be forced to choose between them, limit them or outright reject them is unfair in the extreme. Back in January, I decided to focus this year’s columns on attempts to live more mindfully. Incredibly, I don’t think I’m on anyone’s short list for Bodhisattva of the Year Award.

It’s a process. And for some of us the process toward more mindfulness is longer than for others.

What I have learned is that I am not good at saying no to myself. Not only do I want to have lots of experiences, but I want to pursue each and every one of them as though that were my only pursuit. It’s not sustainable.

So I am going to learn to apply my editor’s discipline to my artist’s joie de vivre. I will say yes to things that make me happy. But I will say yes to fewer of them.

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