”It is the marriage of the soul with nature that makes the intellect fruitful and gives birth to the imagination.”~Henry James Thoreau
Jamaicans have a way with words. One of their favorite adjectives is ‘nuff’. And though it sounds as if it derives from the word ‘enough’, it is used to denote more than enough, plenty, lots. So if your tree was laden with mangoes, you would have ‘nuff mangoes’. And when you marry it creatively you can paint a whole picture. Anticipating an event full of entertainment and fun? That would be ‘nuff niceness’!
Our lives can be very draining, especially when we allow our emotions to rule. We have nervous and endocrine systems which are programed to respond to the messages we send them. When we are fearful and anxious, distressed and nervous, our sympathetic nervous system fires up a rapid heart rate, and increases our blood pressure, and although initially it makes us more aware of danger, over time we tire and are less sharp in our responses. Meanwhile, cortisol enters the bloodstream, a move designed to help but which ultimately causes high blood sugar and other harmful effects. These emotions deplete our energy, leaving us drained and exhausted.
So how do we ‘fill her up’? What are the activities or emotions that can recharge our fuel tanks, that can give us the vitality we need to stay eager and invigorated? How do you restore your resources? John Denver serenaded a lover who filled up his senses ‘like a night in the forest’, seeing that connection with nature as a restorative tonic.
Some of the emotions that energize rather than drain us include anticipation, joy, and excitement. Sometimes it is the way we choose to perceive challenges that can turn tasks from mundane and tiring into fun and challenging. Maybe all we have to do is whistle a happy tune, as Mary Poppins once suggested, to make that spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down!
So whether we choose to go to nature to restore our souls, or turn to music to top up our batteries, we need to actively seek out those activities that are replenishing. It is said that in many societies, if you were sick and went to a shaman, some of the questions you might be asked were: When last did you dance; when last did you sing; when last did you tell a story; when last did you sit in silence?
One of our weaknesses is to take ourselves too seriously, to see our lives as full of drama. Once we flip it into a comedy, we can have a good laugh and generate some inner power. What was the terrible problem you faced a year ago? Can you even remember what it was? We often imbue our tedious troubles with tremendous weight, obsessing and pouring over each detail like a dog with a bone. If we recast the trouble as an amusing anecdote, that could achieve two goals. It could generate that laugh that lightens the load, and at the same time turn it into a momentary annoyance rather than the doom and gloom we were making it.
Getting ready for a big fundraising event can seem like a huge challenge, with tasks to complete, lists to check off, details to iron out. OR it can be viewed as that much anticipated celebratory reunion that brings so much joy to the people who attend, and much help to the students that benefit from the funds raised. It can be viewed as nuff work, OR nuff fun! This weekend there will be plenty of opportunities to dance, plenty of music to sing along to, plenty of stories told, and maybe, a moment or two of stillness in which to sit and relish all of the wonderful experiences.
In our busy and stressed out lives, it is important to apply the perspective, the view that allows us to see that our blessings far outweigh the troubles we may face. And even if we have more troubles than most, taking time to laugh, to sing, to dance, to tell our stories, and to pause in silence will help to bring our energy levels back up. And then we can find the strength to face those challenges.
This weekend I anticipate nuff joy, nuff laughter, nuff music, nuff dancing, nuff good food and nuff friendship! And even though at the end of the weekend I may be physically exhausted, I know my soul will be satisfied and enriched by the activities. To those who are coming in from out of town and out of country, may the weekend meet your expectations. The members of the South Florida chapter of the Clarendon College Alumni Association welcomes and appreciates you, and hopes that your batteries will be recharged and restored, your spirit ignited in a way that keeps Rev. Lester Davy’s flame burning bright in the hills of Clarendon, Jamaica.
I have on my dancing shoes and I am ready to party for a cause. My spirit rejoices at the wealth and abundance of love, support, camaraderie and good will generated by our association with our alma mater. You fill up my senses!
To those who are not able to join us, we will sing and dance in your honor!