ego vs. heart

Somehow folks, photographs of Herrick, South Dakota struck at the heart of many people…actually WAY more people than had ever read my blog before.  So, at first it fed my ego.  I was obsessively checking the number of viewers I had for those Herrick photographs.  (Obsessively is almost too small of a word for my behavior.)  I kept thinking about the comments of people who grew up in Herrick and moved away.  A former babysitter of mine wrote and people were connecting about their love of Herrick and rural South Dakota.  That was a blast for me.  Thank you.

This morning in my NIA dance class we did a move that protected our hearts and then we gave them out to the world.  Arms closed and wrapped in protection across our hearts then opened wide. It made me think about EGO vs. HEART—protecting the way the world sees me vs. vulnerability & social risk.  I was thinking about the volume of traffic I had to my site and then it all went straight to my heart.  Arms wide and then crossed.  Try it, it’s kind of a cool way to get a sense of vulnerability and protection in your body.  I’m not surprised that my pictures of Herrick, South Dakota sparked so much interest and dialogue.

I think the geography of our upbringing is in our bones.

lillibridge-take-the-girl-out-of-south-dakota

“…voluntary settlement to a frontier area tends to produce individualism.”  Geographical Psychology; Exploring the Interaction of Environment and Behavior edited by Peter J. Renfrow.  Cool, huh?  I often think about the freedom and spaciousness I was allowed growing up on the prairie. It was awesome AND I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of Burke.  To quote Joni Mitchell, “I got the urge for going”.

lowell-s

My settlement in Burke was involuntary at my birth, however, it did produce a sense of individualism in me.  I suspect in many others too (judging by your response to my photos, shut up ego, let the heart take over).  In the book I referenced it suggests that people in frontier areas are naturally more suspicious of outsiders because of the potential to spread disease.  Fascinating lizard brain stuff, huh?

For many reasons “pioneer & frontier thinking” has been bouncing around in my head a lot lately.  Last week a relative sent me this article about my Great Grandfather, Lowell Stanton Lillibridge, pioneer banker. These few paragraphs tell a great story about pioneer life in South Dakota at the turn of the century.

I’m grateful I have a different lens to view the landscape that informed who I am.  I’m not wild about some other middle aged issues, but I do appreciate the wisdom.

I haven’t lived in South Dakota since 1989.  I moved to Vermont on New Year’s Day 1990, and yet an image of a South Dakota two-lane highway is my constant muse.  Funny how different things look with a quite few more years in the rear view mirror.

I encourage you to think about what specifically speaks to you about the geography you experienced growing up.  What’s your “South Dakota two-lane”?  That image got me through some rough dental work last week.  You might want to consider a landscape as a sort of meditation…a “go to” place when you need to settle your brain down.

Thank you for reading.  I’m truly grateful for your time.

You know how your day can have a theme?

This morning over coffee I asked my husband, Jeff what needed his attention the most today? “slowing down” he said. Then we sang John Prine’s “Sound of the Speed of Loneliness” which has some great lyrics and a theme kept emerging for my day.

You’ve broken the speed of the sound of loneliness
You’re out there running just to be on the run

Later, I went to a dance class at the South End Studio and as we cooled down and stretched, our instructor, Linda said, “surrender to gravity”.  I’m not usually a big fan of gravity, but it felt really great—quiet, surrendering to gravity and stretching my spine.

In this era of BUSY being a badge of honor…I want to act dishonorably, get quiet and slow down.

When I am smart enough slow down and accept some quiet (which isn’t quite often enough):  I work smarter.  I’m more creative and deliberate.  I’m less reactive.  I see my options. I’m more productive. This got me wondering what Confucius, Whitman and others had to say about this quiet. Turns out quite a bit actually.  Of course they did.

Walt Whitman/Give me the Splendid, Silent Sun “GIVE me the splendid silent sun, with all his beams full-dazzling;…Give me nights perfectly quiet, as on high plateaus west of the Mississippi, and I looking up at the stars;…”

“If he who does not know kept silent, discord would cease.” —Socrates

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”      ―Will Rogers

It isn’t easy to find time for quiet other than sleep in our days. However, it might be necessary when the world is just too loud all the time.  Here’s to quiet.  Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh