Possumhaw: Pick something you could be good at



Shannon Bardwell



If you're not having a good time, find something else that gives you some joy in life.  


Penny Marshall - Actress, Director, Producer (1943-2018) 




Few things are so calming as sitting in a sun lit room with two cats tightly curled into a ball by your side. Outside the window cedar trees are swaying madly and dried oak leaves are swirling. Sam says a northwest wind descended from Canada bringing with it a cold front. Only the day before temperatures reached almost 70 degrees and there was no need for a coat or even a jacket. Not so on this particularly blustery day. Though the sun is bright a chill is in the air. How fortunate we are to live in the South and to receive short reprieves from long, cold winters. A little warmth and sunshine go a long way to lift the spirits. 


There's a young blogger living in England who has recently moved to the "countryside." Jessica Rose Williams seems wise beyond her years and I thoroughly enjoy her blog post. Recently she shared her New Year's resolution by saying she didn't commit to doing something or not doing something anymore but in the past few years had chosen simply a word. Her word for 2019 is "acceptance." Accepting of herself and accepting of others. Increasing one's acceptance is not as measurable as say losing 10 pounds or building your savings account but I think at year's end it may be measured by an increase in well-being for both yourself and others. Perhaps anything that increases one's well-being could be a wonderful New Year's resolution- it's a win-win situation. I know my not buying anything resolution one year did not increase anyone's well-being not even for five minutes.  


Before reading Jessica, I decided there would be no New Year's resolutions this year as they never turn out well. I don't think I can narrow my goals down to one word but a few words came to mind. "Be creative with what you have." That phrase is so much more palatable than "Don't buy anything." What was I thinking? Being more creative will be a whole lot more fun. 


Somewhere in there will be the word "calm." Though I'm really pretty calm on the outside sometimes I stress on the inside about deadlines, to-do lists, tight schedules, grocery shopping, and so on. When you think about it, all those things I stress about are things I can ultimately control so I'm stressing myself. Whether or not I pick up the vitamins today or tomorrow is not going to kill anybody. Hey, I'm liking this.  


The back-cover blurb of Ruth Haley Barton's book "Invitation to Solitude and Silence" grabbed my attention "[such books are] often written by mystics who occupy some rarified, ethereal realm in which I don't seem to live..." 


So, I read the book and tried sitting quietly with no agenda. I set my phone alarm for 10 minutes so I wouldn't keep checking the time. For 10 whole minutes I sat peacefully not planning anything. It was wonderful. I think I could be really good at this. This is my plan for the new year.


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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