18 May 2006


I suppose this is really elementary, but just past midnight I had a quick moment of clarity, and then this morning a sister thought. Big sister: my day to day, hour to hour goal could be as plain as welcoming and maintaining the companionship of the Holy Ghost and working to create interactions with others that would invite them to feel and comprehend that same Spirit. Ta-da: a life plan. Last night Rob and I attended a memorial poetry reading in honor of our friend, Leslie Norris. Somewhere around a dozen people took turns at the podium and shared anecdotes and favorites works by Leslie. Rob was one of the readers. He was very nervous and we'd been praying that his part (and the whole event) would go well. When he stood up to read, I prayed silently again, hard, knowing that he was anxious to be on the performance roster with so many people with "experience" at public reading and teaching, etc. I prayed he would do well and be pleased with his own participation, and then it occurred to me to pray that the Spirit would be with him and that the people in the audience would also be touched by that Spirit as he read. Of course you'll say I'm biased (and I am, I am), but it was amazing what a lovely job Rob made of his part. Such a sweet feeling sang out as he shared brief remarks and read two of Leslie's poems. There was a tangible brightness and a tender cheer that augmented his effort. It seemed that others felt it too; so many people complimented him afterward with unabashed surprise and delight. I wish I'd taped those remarks as well as the program itself. (The rest of the program was good too, lest you think I only paid attention to Rob.)

It comes down to this: What are we here for, if not to increase the amount of light in our souls and to help others do the same? I want to spend my life flinging open the windows of my mind and heart and chasing out the cold shadows inside that darken and undermine my confidence and my ease of being with others. Why ever be intimidated? Why feel afraid or hold back? There are so many better ways to spend energy and life can be a brighter experience than we typically allow it to be. I came away from rubbing shoulders with poets and writers and teachers and cityfolk feeling more keenly my responsibility to share what light there is in my soul and, in the first place, to enjoy it myself. I could probably sum up these feelings best by quoting Doctrine and Covenants 108: 7, "Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings."

Little sister: This morning it came to me that being angry at someone is a waste of time. It makes more sense to adjust your plan of action when someone lets you down and view his choice as a greater loss for him than for you. I'm not talking about bypassing natural feelings of real loss and healthy grieving; I'm referring to the daily "little good-for-nothings" of life, the annoyances. Last night we learned that a person who had agreed to do a certain job for Rob by this morning had consciously blown off the agreement, leaving Rob in the lurch along with all of the students in the bi-weekly university class he teaches; they are consequentially without means to work on their first major hands-on assignment of the term, which was scheduled for their two-hour class today. Rob and I were initially very bugged and I grumbled quite a bit before we went to bed. This morning I woke up, not feeling superior, but understanding that this friend did himself a greater injury than any of us--he cast a little dark spot on his own reputation and he lost the chance to make some money now and perhaps gain a few future clients. Rob will have to get creative, but luckily he's good at that, and I'm sure the class will be a success in some other way. It's annoying, but it's not worth spending out brain cells on anxiety or frustration.

So I think of all the times I let myself get sidetracked with unnecessary negative responses. Why fret? Just get creative, adjust the plan, and move on. Get back to the light-gathering project. Let the "offender" own the problem and work it out . . . or not. Keep trying to share light, and don't waggle your finger in somebody's face, not even in your mind. I'm saying this all to myself. I'm here to learn and to teach, but not to "teach you a lesson", so to speak. This all comes back to another scripture that's been on my mind for weeks, from 2 Nephi 2: 26, "And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given." Act, rather than be acted upon. And rather than attempt to act upon someone else because you don't like that he's "not doing it right".


Jamie said...

You really, really are my soul sister! That scripture is ON MY WALL, right here!! I love it! And it has been really getting me down when people don't do their part. I am annoyed AT MYSELF (and my hormones?) for REacting instead of paying attention to my own self and my own progress and enjoying the great people who not only do their part, but always go the extra mile. Thanks for this perspective! PS: so glad teh reading went well--what a sweet experience!

Geo said...

jamie: I hear you about the layers of annoyance. We're intimately acquainted! Well, it's a great goal to express charity toward others AND toward yourself every day--hard work at times, but rewarding when you manage to let go and love in spite of us all.

Rachel said...


what a fabulous post! your insights are amazing. i love the clarity moments....too bad i don't have them more often. it is true that we need to be less intimidated, concerned, affected. life is too short to be hindered...

compulsive writer said...

Thank you Geo--your posts always touch me in some way or another, but this one was especially right on target.

I needed that.

Geo said...

rachel: That's it exactly--life is too short to waste time and effort on anything less than the pursuit of joy. Sounds lofty, right? But it's true.

compulsive: You're welcome and thanks yourself--I get so, so much good stuff from reading you too.

~j. said...

geo - I echo compulsive. Reading your approach is so much more acceptable to me than the standard, cliche, "attitude determines altitude". I love your spiritual, working approach.

Incidentally, I've been wondering about this Leslie Norris, from your posts and also from Emmie's. Just last night, I bought a CD of a band which features one of the teachers at my oldest daughter's school, and guess who's on it? Leslie Norris, telling about a poem he wrote, which is put to music, which the band performs. It is so lovely. Just from that small, small bit that I've listened to on the CD, I'm smitten.

LuckyRedHen said...

Great scriptures! Thanks :o)

Geo said...

~j.: I never know quite what to say in answer to compliments that are so generous and unexpected. Thank you!

Who's the band that recorded Leslie's work? Wow, that's great. I'd love to hear it to. As a companion piece to the first book Rob and I did with Leslie, we produced a 2-cd set of readings and interviews with him. They are a joy to listen to. Someday I must share them with you. I can't think of anyone I'd rather listen to read or tell stories than Leslie. Okay, maybe Rob, but that's for other reasons, of course.

i.s.f.: You're very welcome!

LuckyRedHen said...

BTW... You run a printing press, yes?

Come to my birthday dinner GNO this Friday at 6pm in Orem. See my blog for more juicy details!

I love your guessing on the LRH name ;o) I think you'll like it.

Geo said...

i.s.f.: I have more guesses--

Little Red HUT . . . will Pizza Hut object?
Little Red HAT . . . will the Red Hat Society object?
Little Red HONK . . . will the neighbors object?
Little Red HEART . . . will your cardiologist object? or your lover?
Little Red HUMAN . . . will you ever get any business?
Little Red HORSE . . . ???
Little Red HOLGA . . . oh, but you're not doing the cheap camera art shots, you're using the high-end digitals, right? (Personally, I'd rather be shot with a Holga--my imperfections might get more of a chance to hide behind the texture and "atmosphere" . . . .)

Oh, how do I ever get to sleep at night? Why don't you just tell me?

Thanks for the invitation to your partay. i have plans with two friends tomorrow, but if we're done early, I might be able to Carrabba with y'all.

Oh, and yes, it's a letterpress studio.