A Few Surprises

Nearly one year has passed since I’ve retired, and I haven’t travelled. I’d imagined that I would have gone at least to Italy by now, if not Riyadh, but I’ve become settled and even complacent.  Sharon and I still talk about going back to Riyadh together. Last year we talked about doing it this year, and this year we’re talking about doing it next year.

Another surprise is that I’ve become physically lazy. Instead of going to the gym daily, as I’d intended, I have not even increased my frequency of going two or three times a week, and I’ve certainly not increased the intensity with which I exercise. My body displays this neglect.

One good habit I’ve picked up is going to the masjid for jummah most Fridays. Our new mosque is lovely and clean, and our imam impresses me with wisdom, depth, passion and dedication based upon common sense and thought as well as education.  I’m not much of a Muslim in this country, weak as I am in faith and subject to the influences of non-Muslims around me. This blog has always been a place for me to explore my relationship with religion in general and Islam in particular. I’ve remained somewhat anonymous in order to protect my freedom to explore ideas that would not be appreciated by family members or friends. Now, I’m going to admit that I’ve started to learn about Buddhism.

I’ve always wanted to learn about diverse systems of religious thought, not necessarily to practice but to draw lines of consistency from one to the other. I’ve never abandoned the hope that the best religion is that which espouses whatever runs as a common thread throughout all religions. That would mean something like a Ten Commandments faith system.

Now that I’m retired, I have the time to study all of those Great Courses I’ve accumulated over the years, most of which focus on religion and psychology. I’ve got courses in Buddhism, Judaism,  and Axial Age religions. I’ve got courses on the “great minds” of the Eastern traditions as well as philosophies and psychologies. I chose to begin with the Buddhism course because I’ve been corresponding with a Buddhist who is open and willing to share the experience of that faith, and can answer my questions in a personal way.

Another retirement goal– of returning to the study of Jungian theory and practice– is just now starting to get activated. I once asked my friend Ellen if Depth Psychology could be a religion, because if so, I would join up. She said no.

I met Ellen in Ireland, at the annual Jung in Ireland seminar. I’ve always wanted to go there again. Two days ago I received the brochure for the 2017 seminar, and noticed immediately that it will be conducted at the same place in which it was conducted when I attended back in…2002? I would love to go. Can I afford it? I don’t know yet.

That reminds me of another surprise: I have not resumed studying to become a leader for Progoff’s Intensive Journal. That was to be my post-retirement vocation. I was quite devoted, and spent lots of time and money preparing myself.

Falling away from Journal work occurred organically, in 2007, when several circumstances combined to draw me away. The grandkids started getting born, and my father got ill. Then, Jon Progoff deemed me ready to start leading workshops, even though I hadn’t quite finished the preparatory work. I tried to organize a workshop.

I tried hard, contacting at least four potential sponsors, having meetings, spending time and money courting them, all while still working in the laboratory, and not a single one of them agreed to help me sponsor a workshop. I became discouraged.

Granted, I disliked the public contact, the salesmanship involved, the effort I expended without guarantee of pay-off. I’ve never been a successful salesperson, not from lack of ability or lack of opportunity but for distaste of the process. I’ve tried, even before the Intensive Journal effort. I’ve tried real estate, cars sales, and Shaklee products. Always enthusiastic about the preparatory work, the intellectual effort and the logistics of these activities, I consistently slowed down as I approached the meat and potatoes of salesmanship– interacting with the public.

I thought I’d be successful with the Journal because leading workshops is not about salesmanship. What I learned fast, however, was that organizing workshops was about nothing if not salesmanship, Jon Progoff’s comments notwithstanding. I once told him I disliked sales, and he adamantly asserted that the Journal was not about sales. How many workshops has he organized? I don’t mean sitting at his desk and putting together workshops that other people have started. I mean pavement-pounding.

What my failure to lead workshops means is that I cannot deduct an Ireland trip from taxes because it would not be a continuing education function. It is expensive, and maybe more than necessary because most participants are professionals who deduct the expense.

I’ve achieved yet another failure this year in developing a nice activity that relies upon public content. I’ve opened an on-line store as a sales outlet for my knitwear. I loved the work of establishing the store, but I haven’t sold anything because I haven’t followed through with the tasks necessary to reach the proper customer base, and guess what?

I don’t care. I don’t care if I never sell a single item. The knitting itself has been a joy. One hope remains, and that is in developing my own patterns that I can offer for online purchase. I can set things up so that I don’t ever have to contact with anyone. I simply post the patterns on line and offer them for sale on the appropriate web sites, and wait for sales. I will pursue this line.

My return to knitting in such a big way has been yet another surprise, even though I always knew I’d return to knitting, after retirement. I will also return to sewing, though not until the knitting energy has been dissipated.  I intended only to start knitting items here and there for myself and the kids, but I started looking at patterns and yarns, and realized that knitting can become another art form for me, especially in the designing of patterns. That’s what I’ve been doing all year, and I my first published pattern will come out in December. After this first one, the others are developing nicely and more quickly.

Another surprise is that I haven’t increased my study of my languages, nor have I kept up this blog or any other personal writing. Though I’ve, “got my life back”, as I like to describe retirement, I’ve been somewhat absent from it. Maybe I’m simply on an extended vacation. Maybe I’m still indulging in the decompressive process called retirement.

In any event, I find myself content, and sometimes downright happy.

 

 

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