Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Low Energy Club
Me: (with an ever-so-slight tilt of my head in her direction) Did you see her?
President: Uh huh.
Me: Too much energy.
Me: Can't be in our club.
Between the two of us we had about 7 or 8 kids and that pretty much explains our lack of energy. We were pooped. We wondered how in the world other women did what they did. There was one particular woman in our circle of friends who had 10 children. She was perpetual motion. We always marveled at how rich we would be if we could bottle that woman's energy and sell it. She ran circles around us. Even her lips moved faster than ours. We never figured it out.
Low energy aside, I do enjoy seeing people accomplish great things. I admired the energetic woman with 10 kids. She was awesome. I also like reading books about people who overcome hardships and use their passion to leave a mark on the world. One thing I've noticed though is that when you condense someone's life into about 200 pages anyone could look high energy and accomplished.
Maybe even me.
Leonardo Da Vinci did a lot of cool stuff. We mostly think of Da Vinci as one of the greatest painters of all time. Therefore it is quite surprising to learn that he was also an engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, sculptor, architect, cartographer, musician, scientist, mathematician, botanist, and writer.
Whew! NOT low energy.
Of course, he never married and had no kids so what else could he do? Even then, one gets the distinct impression that even Leonardo was spread too thin. I'm not so sure that painting was even his true passion, even though he was undoubtedly one of the best. He did do a lot of it. It may surprise you to know, however, that much of his work was abandoned and never completed. It is true that his brain seemed to race faster than his performance. He also had some failures along the way. As a matter of fact, one might consider The Last Supper to have been a near failure. His outlandish experimentation with a never-tried-before mixture of oil paint and tempera on wet plaster caused the painting to peel away almost immediately. Leonardo also had a habit of spending slow hours observing nature or people as well as viewing and contemplating what he had already done. This frustrated many along the way. They thought he was wasting precious time.
Wow! Leonard Da Vinci is actually beginning to sound a lot like a possible candidate for my little club!
I hope you know that I do not take pleasure in Da Vinci's lack of perfection. I use him as an example for a couple of reasons. First of all, everyone knows how amazing he was, so there is no danger that one will think less of him. The other reason has to do with his interesting evaluation of the life he lived...
"He felt he could have used his genius to better advantage; he should have worked harder when he was a young man; he should have accomplished more. He wished he hadn't played so many pranks." (Artists of the Renaissance by Irene Earls)
Surprised, aren't you?
Maybe not. I get the feeling that regardless of who we are and what we've done, we'd all say something very similar Already, I look back on the family I loved and cared for and see things I wish I'd done better (I could have... I should have ... and on and on.). Well, at least I was not much for pranks, so no regrets there (sigh of relief).
So, what are we to learn from all this?
--Maybe that we probably become the most accomplished and recognized for the things we do most often...where the seemingly mundane, everyday tasks turn out to be our most polished offerings since that is where we were most consistent. We just have to make sure those daily tasks are of the greatest value.
--Not being afraid to try new things, even if they seem to fail. We may be surprised who appreciates it.
--We can only do so much...yet there will always be so much more we could do. That keeps us striving.
-- Time spent in observation, contemplation, and review may be the among the best use of our time. We can ignore those nagging voices that urge us to merely "stay busy."
-- Our minds will probably always stay at least one or two steps ahead of us and we'll probably never achieve our ideal. We can keep trying though.
When I look at this list, I think even a low energy person could do all of the above. Perhaps living a hyperactive life is not the highway to success. As a matter of fact, it has long been a belief of mine that what we DO is not the point of life. Rather, it's what we BECOME as a result of what we do that is the measure of a successful life. It was Leonardo himself who said, "You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself."
The Low Energy Club has long been inactive (pardon the pun). My friend moved away and our kids grew up. I do have a little less on my plate these days...hence more energy. However, in the spirit of my inner low energy self, I say to all of you kindred spirits to hang in there. I think we may be onto something.
My greatest masterpiece is my family, even though I know it seemed like a huge experiment at times. In the process I learned to love more than I ever dreamed possible and I'm still amazed at their impact upon my heart. Thanks to them I learned some things... mostly about myself. I am better because of them.
This meeting is now adjourned.