Seize the Day -- by Kathryn Lorenzen
When my mother was diagnosed with fast-moving macular degeneration in her 80s, she knew she might not have her vision much longer. Mom was never interested in using a computer, as my dad was, but her life was full of books, magazines, and newspapers. She was the most well-informed person any of us in our family ever knew, an advisor and campaign treasurer for our U.S. Congressional Representative, a local and regional leader in the League of Women Voters, and a participant in various city and county boards, and we were accustomed to people of note calling her for her insights and points of view.
Here's what she said to me soon after her diagnosis and prognosis: “If there’s anything you want to read, be sure not to put if off –
do it now.”
But rather than immerse herself in reading, as I might have expected, Mom turned instead to embroidery. When I was a teen, she had taught me a variety of stitches for mending, hemming, and sewing small projects by hand. But I didn’t know that she had also learned embroidery and cross-stitching from my grandmother, who used to sew beautifully bedazzled wedding garters to send to movie stars and famous people’s daughters who were getting married.
So Mom embarked on her urgent project, to embroider a set of kitchen towels (“tea towels,” she called them) for each one of her children and grandchildren. This required locating cotton towels of just the right thickness, as well as the patterns and threads. She chose a traditional set of representations of fruits, so each of us has a set including Peach, Pear, Apple, Cherry, Grape, and Orange. “Don’t put these in a trunk,” she said to us. “I want you to use them.”
I think of this often, especially as I become ever more aware of my own life moving along at a rapid clip. As I use these tea towels daily, they become more soft and slightly more threadbare, and they are the gentlest reminder – What is my calling to do on this day?
One of my happiest callings this year has been the re-launching of Your Right Livelihood with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, and I’ve learned how to blend that with my career coaching work. I find now that the tea towels are reminding me to carve out more time for songwriting. My coaching work is highly satisfying to me, but I also have half-finished songs, melody concepts to be developed, a gig to get ready for, and recordings to be released. These are joyful callings for me, and why do I wait? I have only to make the choice, and the choices can be made again every day. It’s my own little miracle of the tea towels – seizing the day!
Is there creative work you would like to pursue, or perhaps a deferred project that’s waiting in the wings? Or maybe you would like to step out of the whirl of daily life to pause and consider what you really want to make of the next chapter of your life! Caryn and I invite you to join us for a weekend Your Right Livelihood retreat, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at Unity Village in Lee’s Summit, MO. You’ll have an opportunity to dream, explore, and create a plan for what’s calling to you now. If you’d like to talk with one of us to find out if this is for you, schedule that here.