A New Year, A New Earth and Hamilton

A New Year,  A New Earth,  and Hamilton

I read Eckhart Tolle’s,  A New Earth,  Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, way back in January,  meandering through it slowly as if I were on vacation, reading the same paragraphs over and over until the import of them sunk in:  live in the here and now; dispel negativity; take care of yourself; jettison the ego; and when you do all that, watch your world take flight.  I dog-eared so many pages that the depth of the book expanded half an inch.  I wrote thoughts and ideas down in my journal, tearing them down and reconstructing them, hoping to synthesize some of Tolle’s wisdom into my marrow.  

By February, I couldn’t recall a thing I’d read.  Did I absorb any of it?  Or despite my re-readings, never understood it? Could there be another theory, one that involves a message being so intrinsic to my own way of thinking that I can no longer distinguish it as something new?  I’m going with latter because I feel like less of a slacker, plus it gives me hope for humanity in general.  The truth is, we all feel this way, think this way, know this way, and want to be this way; we’ve just forgotten how.

Another month, and a series of late winter snows holds March in the crosshairs.  I’m swirling in long-range ideas, trying on decisions like cocktail dresses, ones that I hope will carry me through the next decade of my life.  I’m at a crossroads now, the daily demands of parenting all on long-term hold with the kids off to college, and me, eager to try a more creative approach to making a living, something that uses more of the skills I’ve acquired over the last several decades.  

This means leaving the security of the known to venture out into the unknown, a scary prospect for those who think we should have everything pinned down, managed, tidy, and socked away in neat little bundles that we can point to when someone asks an innocuous question like,  “so what is it you do?”  Altering course can be tough for us as adults since every new experience puts you on the bottom rung of the learning ladder, not a comfortable place for those who’ve earned the upper rungs with years of experience.  But eventually, even the most exciting job can become the same old thing and we grow tired, our hands work reduced to repetitive stress syndrome, leaving reinvention as the only option.  

For me, it’s not a question of should I choose a new path, but which one?  A little divine intervention would be dreamy right now because:  a) I have a lot of interests and it’s hard to choose, and b) who doesn’t love a good Deus ex Machina, although I doubt resolutions are still being delivered this way in the 21st century.  So I keep working, writing, thinking and feeling my way toward the next plot point that is my life, hoping for a thunderbolt of clarity to strike where all will be revealed for the next decade or so.

What can a person do while waiting for their revelation? I recommend a good soundtrack.  I’ve been listening to Hamilton pretty much non-stop since the new year began.  Other than a summer-long stint with the soundtrack to Hairspray some years back — my daughter and I in the car, belting out the tunes as I drove her to school — I don’t remember ever listening to a musical on full repeat.  Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is a hip-hop odyssey unlike any other, historically accurate says my college history professor friend, an inspired and inspiring work of genius.  

Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury, an immigrant and polymath who created a stunning career through force of will and left an indelible mark on our country with his financial policies, a visionary and self-starter who ingratiated himself at the highest levels of government, a man determined to leave his mark on history, an inspiration for anyone embarking on a journey into the unknown with a secret desire to make the world a better place.  Miranda spent a year rewriting the song My Shot, until he got it just right.  That kind of tenacity breeds amazing results and Hamilton the musical is the proof.  

Hamilton encourages action in the face of adversity.  Is it any wonder that in these precarious times Miranda’s show is such a success?  The world is balanced on the head of a pin:  climate change, mass extinctions, a global water crisis, a restructuring of the world order, governments in disarray and more bad news than any of us can take in anymore without imploding.  Can we ever return to simpler times?  I suspect not, but while we’re sifting through the morass, at least we’ll have good music.

I counsel my college-aged kids to be patient, follow the things that have heart and meaning, breathe into the stress, write down your hopes and concerns, don’t worry about long-term outcomes because the bigger pieces always seem to fall into place when you stay in the moment and pay close attention to the minutiae because it’s the little things that form the bedrock of any new endeavor.   After a time of slow growth and introspection, the road forward will suddenly open to you, paved, well-lit and ready for travel, your own new earth, waiting to be discovered.  

Time to go ahead and take a shot.

pjlazos 3.7.19

 

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in clean water, climate change, Hamilton, mass extinction, musical, water, writers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to A New Year, A New Earth and Hamilton

  1. Great read Pam. Your post made me think of an answer to “What is it you do?” I’m just trying to reinvent myself and survive a crazy world. That’s my job now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cath says:

    This is such good advice, and so easily forgotten. I wonder if too many of us still drift along waiting for Deus ex Machina, instead of making an effort. Posts like yours are a good reminder that sometimes I need to be braver – I so rarely fight my inclinations towards inertia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pjlazos says:

      Oh my, so few of us do, Cath. Sometimes it takes everything I have to address the big issues, preferring to be carried along by the current until something happens to really upset things, but as I get older I seem to have more — what is it?, courage? insight? — to fight the inertia and actually go for creating the life that I want. It takes a lot of focus though and there are soooo many distractions. :0) Thanks for stopping by. pam

      Liked by 1 person

  3. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – this will be short … but I’ll be back to read again – as I really need to consolidate my life and get on with things … so I can have the freedom for the future. Living for the now – and not worry about what might be – is so important. The now being lived with value, love, trust in oneself, while pushing on and not letting myself linger in doubt. I need to get a grip … and thanks for this wonderful post as we move forward to Spring … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan Scott says:

    Great post Pam – the comments and yours back were enriching. I’m not sure I have much to add. Maybe it’s an existential question or phase we all experience at some stage in our lives which some pay attention to; others avoid it and continue willy nilly. Maybe Pauline’s got it right: TTP – trust the process. A mind map maybe? I reckon there’s always value in expression on paper – you already do this. I’m using my smart phone to respond- always tricky. When I get to computer I’ll write more -easier for me to use computer. 🌼

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan Scott says:

      A few thoughts as I was going about my morning and now with computer plugged in, in my upstairs study. I was thinking a bit more vis a vis your post which I have just re-read and love it even more. Is it a leap of faith and trusting the process? Which means paying attention to everything. I suspect you do Pam – more than that one cannot do, excepting knowing that there comes times when one has to take a leap of faith and TTP. Timing is everything of course. You are heading into Spring – with Autumn to look behind at –

      It is always helpful to reflect on what you have already gained in your life so far. I am ever grateful that my two grown sons are who they are and what they’ve become thus far. Good solid citizens aware of the complexities of life. Each following their dreams and making them real. One an an animator, the other a musician. And to reflect on what our footprint has been in other ways. Passing on to your children Pam the best that you could and will continue to do. Like caring for the earth, being passionate about it. Writing as well … and a few books under your belt 🙂 Your ego deserves a swelling 🙂 Pat it on the head as you say (or rather ET says) and say thanks and let it go.

      So where to next? Definitely an existential question – you could always pop over here for a break? ‘n boere kan altyd ‘n plan maak .. Let me know –

      ‘After a time of slow growth and introspection, the road forward will suddenly open to you, paved, well-lit and ready for travel, your own new earth, waiting to be discovered’. I love your closing lines – which are also an opening …

      Liked by 1 person

      • pjlazos says:

        And I love your words and analysis, Susan! It’s like having your own psychologist or best friend on speed dial!! I have been taking stock, although admittedly, I give the gratitude part short shrift. I spend so much time trying to make everything just so I forget to be grateful for the many accomplishments. Seems like those two things — being grateful for where you’ve been and stepping onto the path with confidence — must go hand-in-hand since you can’t completely commit to a new endeavor until you’ve finished the old one. So I’ll sit with that awhile and give thanks for where we all are while the snows melt and the ground prepares itself for another blossoming. Perhaps they’re be a little flooding in between — we are literally going from 12 degrees F to 57 degrees F in a span of a few days with half a dozen inches of snow on the ground — water washes everything clean (plus we live in a hill) so I think we’ll be fine.

        Also, what does “‘n boere kan altyd ‘n plan maak” mean?

        Have a fabulous day, dear friend. oxo

        Liked by 1 person

    • pjlazos says:

      Smartphones, while amazing and transformative, are not the best for working out the kinks. I like this TTP. Funny that my next post on the 12 Virtues of the Merchant Priests from the book, Sacred Commerce, is to be on trust. I think I need to incorporate all these delicious thoughts into that post. A mind map. hmmmm.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pam, whatever you decide to do career-wise, one thing is for sure: you’ll be good at it and will get a kick out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. TanGental says:

    I’m not sure at what point I thought to stop planning ahead, but pick things up as a I go. Maybe thts what made me leave the law, decide I want to just be. Of course I had writing and blogging around which to spin things and that’s as structured as it gets. I struggle if I’m challenged to do something that requires a lot of planning in an emotional as opposed to a physical sense – I don’t want it, that’s the truth. Others often think they know better and try and involve me and get disappointed if I don’t show the same excitement as they have. Mind you my family haven’t given up on organising me…

    Liked by 2 people

    • pjlazos says:

      Yes, that’s part of what I’m going for, Geoff – the freedom to pivot as your interests move in different directions, a complete luxury, I think, but essential to living a well-balanced life.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Ken Dowell says:

    I’ve found the best way to end the “So what is it you do conversation” is to respond, “nothing.” You can then move on from there.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ally Bean says:

    Your thoughts resonate with me. I, too, am somewhat adrift right now, wondering about what to do/where to go next in my life. I believe in being in the moment as much as possible and I tend to let the negative go, so in some ways I might be where I’m supposed to be. But I cannot help but think I could do more, different, better. Is that ego? Or is it destiny? Difficult to discern the difference sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pjlazos says:

      Tolle says that’s ego and that we shouldn’t let it rule the day, just pat it on the head and says thanks for your help, but I got this. Obviously, we need ego to navigate our lives, but it’s the incessant hammering away at us that makes ego not the best dance partner. I don’t know if this will help you or not, Ally, but I’ve been doing “morning pages” a la Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way” and it really helps get the lead out of your life because your writing down the things that come to you upon first awakening. Maybe it’s dream bits that are still floating around in your head or a problem that you’ve been working on for weeks that you’ve had trouble resolving, or even that you need to pick up milk at the grocery store, but when you let stuff like that have a voice then you don’t need to keep perseverating on the issue as you’ve already written it down. I feel like it’s helped me take a series of little steps toward a future that I may have just kept thinking about but never acting upon because I’m scared to make a wrong choice. Try it for a few months and see if anything shifts. Cameron recommends three pages each morning, but I just don’t have that kind of time so I do one and it feels like enough. Good luck! This life stuff is not for the faint of heart! :0)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ally Bean says:

        I used to do Cameron’s morning pages, for years, and found them enlightening… to a point. Oddly enough I now get up early and use that energy to write my blog posts. Most of the ideas I toss onto The Spectacled Bean came from my first thoughts of the day. Of course, by the time I publish my posts they’ve been polished and refined. I’ll start paying more attention to my rough drafts wherein I might find some clues as to my future path. Thanks for the idea.

        Liked by 2 people

      • pjlazos says:

        That’s great. I never thought to do that, Ally. What a time saver!!😂 Really, I don’t think the format matters, but rather clearing the path for the real You to get through with that message about your soul’s mission. It’s life’s work so we’ve got time no matter how we do it. 😘 But it means paying attention, something I’m not always good at.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I love your winter field shots–so like the world around my town here. As for paths–oh, how exciting, and terrifying! Well I’d be terrified. 🙂 But it sounds like you’ve a wealth of directions to take, both paved and not. I’ll pray a wee bird tugs the cord of your headphones as you blast Hamilton, leading you to take those first steps towards something new. xxxx

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    • pjlazos says:

      Heehee — thanks, Jean. I welcome birds, butterflies, dragonflies, squirrels, hawks, eagles, egrets, really most all of nature (not really fond of alligators because they might eat me), anyone, really, that wants to pitch in. Some of the most important things I’ve done in life happened on a whim. Joining the swim team in high school — my mother’s idea, and it gave me discipline like nothing else ever has, discipline I use every day to this day. The path to me becoming a lawyer started with me becoming a paralegal — again, my mom’s idea (God bless mothers) since, with a criminal justice major, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing after college. My writing career began when a friend dragged me along to a writing class. My major life plot points all seemed to start in a serendipitous even circuitous fashion. And yes, I’m kind of terrified, too, since by the time I can take early retirement next year I will have been doing the same job for 30 years, my dream job when I got it, and since I’m too young to sit around and eat bonbons the rest of my life, and there’s always the money part, a new adventure is in order. Can’t wait to see what comes together! Have a great day out in the Wilds of Wisconsin. Yes, the light was just right on those photos which is always a bonus. oxo

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Ah Pam – you are stepping into a new stream and who knows where it will carry you – my best wishes for all you will experience and discover in this exciting new phase of your life. I read Tolle when he was first published and found him quite dry and cerebral though everything he says is accurate, it is hard for a gal to get her head around what one must practically do to get there. Once, a few years back I threw the towel in and decided to finish my working life doing what I really loved and made me feel good – life coaching and mentoring disadvantaged women. It was a crazy risk that seemed on the one hand to be a dismal failure – the women were poor and couldn’t afford to pay me more than the $10 per session that was my minimum fee. I lived on my life savings and ran them dry. But the work was so rewarding as I watched so many women begin to value and respect themselves and take those first little steps towards living a healthier and happier life. I still work with some even though I have since retired. Working with them I finally understood what it means to trust myself, to live in gratitude for all I have lived and learned and experienced in my life. And as I learned to trust and love and be a good role model for them my life grew and deepened and changed and modelled me and itself in ways that were unimaginable to me before. I began to live what Tolle wrote about through managing my thoughts and feelings and looking for the good in the world, in people, in life events and in myself. I’m telling you this because I think when we have a dream we need to follow it, we need not to be afraid and we need to be prepared to accept that we might not quite end up where we thought we might go, but will probably find we end up enormously richer than we ever imagined – just in other ways. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and dreams in this post, I felt really privileged to be reading it and do so hope my long rambling response makes some sense to you xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • pjlazos says:

      Ah, Pauline, you don’t need Tolle; you’re a living embodiment! Thank you for giving me the backstory as I had not known this about you. What a rich and wonderful life experience you’ve had and how many lives you must have touched with your coaching work. (The part about draining your life savings is a little scary and I hope you’ve recouped that!) Have you heard of Women to Women International? It sounds like you’ve been doing their work for them long before they even started. Yes, I long for something more rewarding and fulfilling at this stage. My current job did those things for the old me, but I do think as you evolve you need to keep changing and incorporating what you’ve learned or risk becoming like stale bread and I don’t want to get moldy (although the penicillin part is pretty cool). :0) I, too, am trying to focus on the good in the world and let the more messy stuff float by. You’re totally right, when you just relax and let go and follow the bread crumb trail that your interests and excitement spread before you, then you can find that new work your hands are looking for without too much effort, right where your supposed to be even if it’s not what you imagined at the start. It’s a little unnerving for a box-checker like me, but I have time — always my biggest foe — to decide everything, and I just need to settle into the reality of that. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are we. What if evolution is the only real goal of life? If so, then we’re always exactly where we’re meant to be. Have a terrific day and thanks for being a bright spot in the world, Pauline!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I was really scared when I took the plunge Pam, I can’t begin to tell you 🙂 then somewhere along the way I realised that being scared would just be me being scared all the time so I decided to practise trusting. I’ve always thought we are probably always right where we need to be in any moment and the choice is always ours to make where we are a learning point, a jumping off point, a feeling point whatever is required of us. The thing I find most fascinating is the discovery that learning to trust might be the secret to our contentment. Whenever I step outside of trust I feel at odds with my life. When I move back into being okay with whatever is going on it seems to me that nothing changes but everything is different…… I haven’t heard of W to W International, I’ll google and see what I can find out later on. And I’m inclined to agree with you – (what if) evolution is the whole aim of life!! I love hearing people’s life stories, you can always see the points where they stepped into their stream and began to float………..

        Liked by 2 people

      • pjlazos says:

        I love this, Pauline: “learning to trust may be the secret to our contentment.”❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 2 people

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