I’m in a quandary. Sort of . . .

I have a doggone good life.  I have a great profession that has blessed me in so many ways.  How many of us actually get to spend our lives doing what brings us pleasure every day?  I am one of those individuals.  Shortly after finishing my Ph.D. in 1979, my husband and I had dinner with friends who asked me what I hoped to do now that I was done.  I had taught at the University of Minnesota throughout the time I was in graduate school, and I was eager for a change.  I surprised myself when I said I want to write.

Just over three years later I published my first book: EACH DAY A NEW BEGINNING, DAILY MEDITATIONS FOR WOMEN.  And I haven’t stopped writing.  I have more than two dozen books still in print and another one is at Conari now.  It’s publication date is fall, 2015.  So why am I in a quandary?  I’m in a quandary because I want to slow down, to cut back on my output.  But I seem to go full force or not at all. I should allow myself to enjoy the fruits of doing nothing, for a while at least.  But I can’t deny that even after all the books I’ve written, all the years in the rooms of recovery, and all the workshops I have offered; where I tell others to embrace just being, I can’t do it.

I am intent on the practice of the practice of appreciating moments of silence, of just sitting in the stillness, allowing the God of my understanding to comfort me and to help me choose the gift of being, even for a few short moments at a time.  The practice will grow,  I am certain of it.  I deserve to rest a while.  About two years ago I told a friend I planned to retire at 75.  I passed that magic number last summer but I am still feeling my work has to continue or I won’t feel worthy and fulfilled.

As I said, my quandary is of my own making.  I listen longingly to friends who can’t get enough of retirement.  I do believe, however, that taking every day, committing every day, to limiting myself to doing only one small thing will help me get into the habit of doing less while allowing less to feel like more.  I can’t believe this is very hard.  It simply needs my willingness to try it on for size.  I’ll keep you posted.


  1. Hi Karen…I’m just catching up on your blog entries, after having been through a very busy & stressful period. It seems that I’ve returned just in time because I too have much difficulty with “just being.” The only time I am successful (and this is very new for me) is when I’m in my morning meditation and the moments following it, before I get into traffic on my way to work, and when I’m practicing yoga. In fact, I find that these two activities almost always dissolve my “monkey mind” and bring me serenity. They bring me right to the present moment and allow me to abide in it. The trick with these practices is to bring that sense of mindfulness to all of the other moments of one’s day and that’s where I get into trouble. As soon as I try to call up that serenity within the stillness, my mind insists on running its tapes- what I should be doing, what I should have done- you know that mind stream. So I guess that I don’t have any sage advice to pass along but, rather, I’m just commiserating and suggesting that you (and I) must continue to practice “just being.” We know that practicing a behavior or mindset almost always result in change, so it’s worth a shot, isn’t it?

    AS always, Karen, thanks for sharing your wise thoughts. They are always enriching and oh-so-helpful.

  2. Growing up I watched others constantly doing never being. I learned to be early, I would escape from the chaos with a dog and just be and sit. I had a vivid imagination as a child, so I spent many of my days just daydreaming. Somewhere along the way I lost myself that childhood innocence and had to do to earn others love and attention. I thought If I could just do enough I would be enough. So many experiences lately have been guiding me to change the way I think and everything I believe. Something in me is relaxing learning that life is to be enjoyed. Instead of vacuuming I can live with the crumbs and go to meeting instead. I’m beginning to understand that life just is… Sometimes people hurt, sometimes they yell, sometimes they make mistakes, sometimes they make messes and its ok. I think that’s why they say practice these principles in all our affairs, nowhere does it say perfect these principles. I guess in allowing myslef to be myself, I am able to allow others to be themselves. I was investigating my meditation this morning, I didn’t have time for a sitting meditation this morming. I thought on my way to meeting, who’s to say I can’t meditate in my car with my slogan focus on my breath and be present. I guess what I’m saying there are so many ways I can define meditation. I’m not sure how all this relates to your share today but I will say I’m slowly learning to be rather than do and if you stop writing your blog and I will miss you, but whatever you decide I know I’ll be ok and I know all that I’ve learned from your teachings I’m eternally grateful and if you want to rest I think that’s ️wonderful.

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