More thoughts on Collecting Experiences


Rising up to collecting experiences

Rising up to the experience

When thinking about my last post on “Collecting Experiences” a paradox came to mind. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could collect certain experiences that only having some things, or living a certain life, would allow. This wishing leaves me with a sense of longing. I had such a feeling the other day when I was at Kopp’s Frozen Custard, a local restaurant which describes itself as being a landmark in the metro Milwaukee area, to pick up some butter pecan custard. For my husband and I, Kopps is “the” place for butter pecan. We get a schedule of the flavor forecast Kopp’s prints up and mark all the butter pecan days so as not to miss a one of them.

That is why I made a trek out to the Kopp’s on Bluemond road in Brookfield, it was butter pecan day. I was at Kopps waiting for my custard when I looked out the window and noticed two Jeep Wrangler’s pull into the parking lot. Two middle-aged couples climbed out and stood by their vehicles talking. I had an image of people with money who buy brand name clothes and are spending their Monday four-wheeling it around in their Jeep Wrangler dune buggy type cars. I imagined a life of sail boats and yachts, horses and traveling, friends and catered affair gatherings. All this in a flash. A sort of feeling flash.

“Hey, wait,” I thought. “What about collecting experiences?” I am sure this is my spirit guided self. Always looking for the silver lining, always pulling me back from the edge, always being the voice of acceptance and love gently reminding me of the power of consciousness

“Yeah, well, what about collecting experiences that only having those things can give,” I retorted. I’m sure that is my ego self. The self that wants what it wants and wants it now, thank you very much.

Truth is I could sit and feel this longing all day and into night and it won’t change a darn thing except bring me more longing. I had to shake those things out of my head with a little nudge from my higher self and deliberately focus on what I personally experience in any given moment. The kind of experiences that I can only have with my life the way it is.

“And just what would those be,” I felt myself stiffen in response, sure that my experiences could not be as great as those that only having money could offer. Right off the top of my head, at that moment, when I was on the spot, I couldn’t think of much but I made a conscious decision to become aware of when I am experiencing things that bring life to me.

The next day while I was walking the dogs, I basked in the sun drenched cool autumn day with temps in the mid 60’s. A mild fragrant breeze rustled the leaves on the trees. Some leaves broke loose sending yellow leaves  gently wafting downward around me. I reached up as one drifted passed and caught it. I was feeling exuberant joy, light and happy while walking in this tranquil scene, I realized that how living with a man who loves me and has been with me for more than 33 years brings me great joy and delight and soothes my soul, that my kids and their families enrich my life more than I even realize sometimes and my pets are a great comfort and help me get outside and keep me on track with my exercise. I have a friend or two who I can talk things over with and get me set back on track, a brother whose relationship has healed and matured. I realized that I am blessed with living in a place where a beautiful county park with miles of hiking trails and a small lake is just about a mile from our house. All I have to do is walk out the door, walk 15 minutes and I am there. I can go there every single day and bask in nature if I so choose. Cranes live there and a red-tailed hawk, deer rabbits, squirrels. I’ve even seen a blue bird which caused me to exclaim out loud, “Oh, look, a blue bird”. There are horse trails that are used by many people who own horses. Even though I can’t own a horse or live on a cool ranch surrounded by horses I get to look in their big beautiful deep brown eyes  as we pass each other on the trail.

Collecting Experiences

All of these things are where my experiences come from. No money is involved. No expensive equipment. I am grateful for these experiences. It’s just sometimes I forget. I go unconscious and move from day-to-day taking care of my daily tasks. And sometimes, like the day I bought the custard, I will think that some people “have” more. From there I determine these people have better, more interesting, more exciting experiences. I stop short of thinking about those who are less fortunate than I. For one, who am I to judge those as less fortunate. Likewise who am I to judge those as more fortunate. However I don’t seem to have much of a problem comparing myself to those who have things, money, or whatever else I haven’t a clue about because that is not me.

My experiences and how my life contributes to the kinds of experiences I have may seem simple and understated but when I am experiencing them I feel a profound sense of joy, peace and aliveness. That is, when I am consciously allowing myself to be present and grateful. But I guess that’s the trick. To be conscious. To be grateful. To not dwell on that which I can’t change or that which I don’t have. I have my higher spirit self to thank for bringing me back, for reminding where I need to put my thoughts and energy. Let’s face it. There is always plenty out there for me to think that my life lacks. It’s up to me. It’s my choice.  I can choose life and feeling joy, or like something is missing and feeling longing or even resentment.   For now I am choosing to look for my blessings, collect experiences that only my life can give me and I think I am choosing wisely.  What do you think?

Related links:

Fabulous 50’s. A great photo blog by a fiftyish baby boomer who’s sub title says ‘Collect experiences…not things’.
Collect Experiences Not Things.  A thoughtful post titled like mine with like minded thoughts posted on Gifts of Serendipity.
Collect Experiences Not Things. Another great blog post by Corey Barton in his blog Healthy Living: Stories about how I took my life from negative to positive.

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4 responses to “More thoughts on Collecting Experiences

  1. Realizing that the addition of material things or the lack there of doesn’t necessarily make for a great experience is a collective experience in it’s self. What you do with what you have and just going about life looking for the joy that can be found in it is the only way to true inner peace. Great article Janice!

    • Thanks John, and you are so very wise, yes. I never thought about that before, that just realizing things don’t make for a great experience is one great experience on top of the already great experiences. Its a double or triple or quadruple or etc experience. Great comment, John!

  2. Thank you for this lovely, sane reminder about the value of appreciating the everyday. Since my divorce five years ago, I have made a habit of focussing on the simple pleasures of life, and I find that by blogging about these moments and small experiences, my appreciation and sense of contentment is even deeper. I’ve never heard of butter pecan custard – that sounds like something worth appreciating 🙂

    • A divorce is tough. I am glad that you found a positive outlet for you. I too feel that blogging about the simple pleasures deepens the experience. Butter Pecan is decadent or should I say, “deliberately delicious”. 🙂 I invite you check it out sometime. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your support.

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