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The trade-off

A quiet morning at the house. A small storm over Storm (the name of the mountain) across the valley. Cats munching breakfast, tea cooling. The wind blows in small, spring, storm gusts. I ponder, again, the trade-off. The trade-off of not having a college administrator’s life and instead having the life of an adjunct who is in a creative field – visual art, writer, musician, actor, any of those areas.

The adjunct life so many educators lament.

The trade off…. a regular salary – benefits  vs. one’s physical and psychological freedom accompanied by Medicaid, limited to no travel, groceries or “luxuries”. Monitoring every expense, being mindful of what you use vs. what you waste, having less so you can actually see more. Enjoying things that are an extravagance because it is so rare to have them…. hmm… wait. Some of this does not sound too bad. In fact, it sounds sane.

We clutter our lives with many unnecessary things. Much we throw out or hoard. As if that is our security.. “my job security”. Is that security the things we are able to purchase because of the money we make? Or is it our being able to exist in the world with less things and more sanity? We may know, conceptually, that things are not our security but if we are faced with living without them we complain or panic or both.

So, after years of living in this creative field that has been a continuous source of wisdom and joy, I am back to the bare bone. Throughout my career I have been happy with less and have survived. Often looking back thinking about the “fear” at the time of “not making it”; the bills, the show, the on and on and on of not seeing clearly, of not seeing the truth of the situation  – that what I had was an extraordinary teacher – perhaps the most valuable.  Each time was a lesson, a change, a rebirth.

Many forget or cannot be with the truth of coming into the world alone and dying alone. The time between those two moments are a continuous teaching of how to live, move, share, age, change, manifest; to be, – with grace. If we miss the truth of all that we are not and all that we do not “have”; we have missed the entire exquisite and subtle journey of our very brief life.


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