Writings, Essays, Lyrics, Musings, Commentary . . .

Article #29: Reflections, 2005 -- Be Here Now

This past year has been a whirlwind for me.

Aside from work with Saffire and with Roddy, Suzanne and I worked very hard to set up and facilitate showings of her film "Love Story - In the Face of Hate." We became activists for GLBT causes -- we lobbied, started an action group here in Fredericksburg, gave speeches, sent out mailers, etc. On top of this, my Mom was quite ill in the spring. In between times, usually with Suzanne's assistance, I conducted various workshops.

By fall, both Suzanne and I were exhausted. We also realized that we had done very little for ourselves personally. Taking a hard look at our lives, we knew we had to make some major changes to enjoy the goodness that already surrounds us. So it is that we decided that she would work on managing me and vice versa. More importantly, we decided that we had to make time for ourselves.

Seems so simple, but on this past Saturday night, we just upped and went to the Johnny Cash "Walk the Line" movie. On Thursdays, we take Tai Chi. Next Saturday, we're going to the Andy Warhol exhibit in DC; Tuesday week, to a Bonnie Raitt concert. All things we haven't done earlier in 2005 -- actually in years. To top it off, we have not one, but two vacations planned in 2006!! (We've only had two previous vacations in almost 15 years together.)

Oftimes we've been moving so fast, we've forgotten to be here now. To savor our lives in our sanctuary -- our home. Friends have almost written me off becuase I've always been chasing something. What????. . . I don't know. I often stop to breathe, to meditate, and I often whisper, "peace be still." But usually, after 15 minutes or so, I keep running.

I have it all -- hot, running water, food on my table, a job making music, a warm house, a loving family -- and still I run. . . no, I chase. But, even at my age, I am perpetually learning to BE HERE NOW. To breathe it all in -- the all is in the all. Yeah. . . sounds new agey, but here, I find truth.

Then I received this email from a friend of a friend of a friend. A credit is listed at the end, but I do not know the author. It is so poignant and so timely. It spoke to me in a profound, yet simple, way. It is a must read primer on life.


A boat docked in a tiny Greek village. An American tourist complimented the Greek fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Greek.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.

The Greek explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, dance a little, play the bouzouki, and sing a few songs. I have a full life."

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you. You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Athens, Los Angeles or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Greek.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.

"And after that?"
"Afterwards? That's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?"

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings singing, dancing and playing the bouzouki with your friends."

Al Saldarini
First Motion Picture Unit
First Combat Camera Unit 15th Air Force