Friday, January 2, 2009

Love the life you live!

The roots of love sink down and deep and strike out far, and they are arteries that feed our lives, so we must see that they get the water and sun they need so they can nourish us. And when you put something good into the world, something good comes back to you.
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Merle Shain

My mother always admonished me to 'bloom where you're planted.' I never much cared for that idea since I wanted to experience more of the world and grow beyond my roots at the time she shared that adage with me. Her priority was to stay safe, to protect me and keep control. Since she brought me into this world, she felt a certain responsibility.

I still don't completely agree with her. What I do believe: we should all live the life we love.

Being stuck in dead-end jobs, at the mercy of corporations and bosses and whims and budgets. Living paycheck to paycheck and hoping we can pay our bills at the end of the week -- that's not living. It is merely existing.

Now and then people cross my path and I get a glimpse of someone truly 'living' his or her life. One such person is Sandra Friend. I met her on the Internet Writing Workshop and she was kind enough, when we were relocating to Florida, to tell me about the little town of Oviedo, which is where we now live. The above photo was taken in Tallahassee in the governor's mansion. She was donating her books to add to the governor's library of Florida writers.

I was impressed with the books she was writing at the time about 50 hikes to take in several regions of Florida. Since then she's covered the whole state and then some, amassing more than 12 books to her credit. And she has co-written with photographer Bart Smith an exquisite book about hiking in Florida. Bart is another person living the life he loves.

But Sandra doesn't just write about the outdoors, she embraces it. Walks the walk and talks the talk and this girl from New Jersey has become an advocate for saving Florida's natural beauty.

She has a tough opponent since Jeb Bush and several cronies wish to develop the state and turn it into something artificial and environmentally unfriendly. Now the legislature is trying to balance the budget and the first thing to jettison will be the state parks. They're talking about turning the lands over to companies to develop. I fear Florida is not the only state whose natural preserves will get paved over for a big box store parking lot.

It is sad to drive around Central Florida. The first time I visited here (granted I was eight years old), the land was orange groves for miles and miles and MILES. The air literally filled with the scent of orange blossoms. But Orange County, land of Disney, has become strip malls, box stores, highways, and worst of all -- crime riddled. The sad few orange groves left are struggling. Polk County has retained many of its groves, but they are dwindling, too. Making a living as a farmer of any kind has become a losing proposition, it seems. But still there are people 'living the life they love' in touch with the soil. Of course orange groves are not the 'natural' Florida, but they're closer to nature than asphalt.

But back to Sandra -- she lives what she loves and devotes her life to preserving it. She may not be rolling in money, wearing the latest fashions or building a lavish house, but she does take some very interesting vacations. And everyday she goes to work, she knows she's doing the right thing with her life.

I miss having that kind of passion for anything. Does it take tons of money to get involved? No! It isn't the money, is it? It is finding your passion. Think about what you'd love to do if you had a 'do over' with this life. That's perhaps the first step. The next step, most important step, is to tell yourself THIS IS IMPORTANT -- and follow up those first two steps with more that will bring you in line with the life you would love to live.

Because, you see, the odds are that the life you would 'love to live' is the one you should be living. Find it NOW!