“Being Goalessly Present in the Flow of Life”

Dear Reader:

Don’t most of us remember hearing our parents’ advice to us (over and over) when we would start squabbling with our siblings or neighborhood friends…”Remember if you are angry, take a deep breath, count to 10, and make yourself start calming down before you do something you will regret.”

It dawned on me as I was reading a poem called “Keeping Quiet ” by Pablo Neurada from Awakin.org that it seems like now 12 is the number needed to make ourselves stop what we are doing or thinking and play a type of spiritual “freeze frame” to keep us centered and in the moment.

Here is an excerpt (three stanzas) from his poem:

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

…If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death…

I loved David Doane’s response to the poem…

“In reading this passage, some of my favorite quotes come to mind.  Rumi said, “Silence is the language of God, all else is a poor translation.”  According to Pascal, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” 

And Lin Yutang’s “If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.”  ‘Do nothing’ means to me to do no thing, and simply be mindfully present.  I allowed life to interrupt sadness when I paused to sit in my back yard, took in the beauty of nature, settled into it, felt together with it, and felt soothed and nurtured by it.

Such moments are an example of ‘keep on moving’ by being goallessly present in the flow of life which is very different than keeping our lives moving by determined goal-direct effort.”

So many of us grew up with very specific goal-directed expectations from our parents. Few of us had the luxury of “finding ourselves”… we just dove into a paying job and had to ‘find ourselves’ along the way.

For me…I now realize that two benchmarks guided me towards my innate goal….retirement and a cancer diagnosis. Both incidences taught me that I knew I wanted to find my voice before I was no longer here to do so.

It took me two years of “being goalessly present in the flow of life” to recognize what had been hidden from my consciousness too long… I needed to write in order to breathe.

Haven’t we all, at one time or another, been caught unaware of something right within eyesight…but hidden in foliage…literally and/or figuratively?

This literally happened to me the other day…I was taking the Simmons Avenue cut-through from Central Avenue to 17-A. Suddenly I noticed a pond, trail, and what looked like a hippo with a bird on its back right smack in the middle of the pond. It was sprinkling but I turned off Simmons and pulled over to get a better shot of the statues in the water. How cool and how had I missed this all this time?

Farther up and across the way was a small playground…so much more convenient for me to take the grandchildren to than the Laurel Street Park. “Good grief Charlie Brown” I admonished myself..I live less than two miles from here…just across the highway and I didn’t even know it existed…because I had never turned to look to the left or right but just kept following the road in front of me.

These two incidents reminded me of an Edisto tour the Ya’s took a few years back and our tour guide, Don, showed us where a rabbit and an alligator had been painted on two different tree knots. How many times had I passed those two trees arriving and leaving Edisto on the only road leading into and out of the island- Highway 174- and never seen them?

Now I have a mystery I need help solving from any of you local folks…the other day as I pulled out of Miler Country Club taking a right onto 17-A heading back into town…I got caught in the standstill traffic congestion from SCEG cutting down tree limbs.

I rolled down my window and idly started looking around (I can’t remember if I had gotten to the Marion Avenue cut-through or not) but suddenly I saw these gates that were so beautiful. It startled me just knowing these gates had been there and somehow this was my first conscious sighting of them. I grabbed my IPhone and took a picture. It was while I was focusing that I noticed I was picking up some red tint and realized that there was a house behind the gates with a red roof.

One person who looked at the photo said it belonged to an old Summerville family but couldn’t remember which one. Can somebody please help me. I am hopeful that there is someone who recognizes this gate and house…

So until tomorrow…Let us pause in our daily lives to see things around us that we have seen never before…we just have to stop moving long enough to see what has always been right there in front of us.

*It is a cool thought though isn’t it…if every single human being would “Freeze” for just one minute…no motion at all across the globe at the same time…how phenomenal would that be? Pure silence…nothing allowed to move…silence would be golden. It would be a beautiful ‘hush’ that penetrates the noise of everything on earth. I get goosebumps thinking about it.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* Brooke came yesterday so we could have a girl day out…lunch at Oscars (seafood special for lunch) and then the movie (of course) The Book Club. Don’t remember when I have laughed for that long…in a long time!

As soon as Brookie pulled out…the gracious Gin-g pulled in…always bringing treats…so sweet. We had a chance to talk and then lo and behold as Gin-g was leaving she pointed to a gift Chris Frazier had given me…a decorated cross with the word Courage on it with a key and key hole in the back. *I had tried to see at one point if the key opened up anything in the back key hole but when it didn’t I just laid it down flat with the key beside it.

Gin-g took the gift…inserted the key and it created the “mount board” to stand the cross up. How many times had I thought it would show up so much better if it could stand…well…it can! Thanks Gin-g!

This visual mantra of Kelly Rae Roberts’  creative artworks needs to be placed with the Courage Cross…just as a reminder to me.


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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7 Responses to “Being Goalessly Present in the Flow of Life”

  1. Lassie says:

    Becky, think that gate is the Halcyon property. Last I heard Brett Gardner of Yankees fame lives there with his family in the off season. Someone…. correct me if I am wrong.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thank you again Lassie…I looked up Brett Gardener and what an American Dream story he has…local boy from Holly Hill, SC who did better than good with a lot of perseverance in baseball…my research has him living in Summerville during the off-season with his wife Jessica and two sons. I am having so much fun researching…starting with the first ownder, John Duke…named aptly the Duke House to the Halcyon Inn to the families of the Dions and Richardsons owners (probably others too I don’t know about) and the story behind the name and how the house lives up to it. Great fun…have to thank SCE&G for trimming tree branches allowing me to pause long enough to discover a great historical gem.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      This story just gets better and better…thank for the info girl!


  2. Jo Dufford says:

    As usual, I read and enjoyed your blog today. Taking time to see the sights and hear the sounds around us is so important. Like you, I have lived in Summerville forever, but there are so many times that I say, “I never saw that before.” Guess I will be riding on Simmons Ave. again soon because I don’t remember that pond nor the gates on 17-A. I guess we should pause more often, try to slow our brains down and live in the moment. Travel is great, but there are so many things to see and learn within our reach that if for whatever reason we don’t get to travel much, we can always be surprised by just taking time to “stop and smell the roses around the corner”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bcparkison says:

    Living alone things can be pretty quite here but not neccessarily still. Yesterday I did just sit on the porch and watch the new kittens ( 10 of them …oh no ) and what fun.
    I love the hipo in the pond and the gate?…..secrete garden? There are a lot of gravel roads around here that I have never gone down. Wonder what might be at the end,?


    • Becky Dingle says:

      How sweet…ten kittens…WOW! But again, isn’t that what life is all about…stopping to play with kittens, finding hippos in a local pond, and secret garden entrances that capture the imagination. Life is never dull!

      Liked by 1 person

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