Noun or Verb?

"When you live in the moment, you are enlightened. There is no other enlightenment. Then ordinary life is extraordinary. Then to be just a nobody is so fulfilling. To be in the moment, is the miracle." ~Osho


Blessings everyone!

My sister and I Just returned from a stupendous 3-night trip to the Umlani Bush Camp located in the Timbavati Game Reserve.  It was a dismal start as the day of travel was a very cold, wet and rainy day. The accommodations were quite rustic so zero relief from the cold and not much from the rain which dripped from the thatched roof onto our beds and our heads.  The trip got better after the first 24 hours, awakening to a soggy landscape but a sliver of sunshine. All in all, it was quite spectacular as it doesn’t get much better than Wild Dogs, Rhino, and Leopard.  Though our decision to not go on the final game drive of the trip was a very bad decision, missing the sighting of a Cheetah and her babies. Grrrrr!  We were joined this trip by 12 other travelers from all over the world.  The comradery and conversation were as yummy as the food – which was plentiful and delicious.

My sharing today has to do with the distinction between nouns and verbs initiated by a comment from my friend Bill who recently shared his retirement this fall and used the phrase ‘repurpose’ when talking about what comes after that for him.  I liked it.

I am aware that In nature, everything is repurposed.  An antelope is an antelope until the leopard decides to have it for dinner.  The antelope then becomes that which sustains both the leopard as well as the leopards’ babies.  After the leopard eats what it eats, hyenas, vultures, and jackals swoop in to eat to sustain themselves and their young.  This will include almost 100% of the antelope leaving what is behind for insects – with everything ultimately returning to nourish the earth itself.  What is perhaps the most interesting is the role of poop.  Yep, poop.   The Dung Beetle uses poop by creating a poop-ball twice its size, laying its eggs inside and then rolling the whole thing to a safe place for the new baby beetles to hatch.  The hyena is the one who eats bones which makes hyena poop calcium dense which gets eaten by lots of animals to help with the strengthening of their bones.

I suppose what is of interest to us as humans navigating our short earth-walk, is the awareness that the natural world is in a continuous state of repurposing. It makes the question of “what is my purpose” a moving target.  Perhaps trying to figure out the purpose of absolutely anything is folly.  Perhaps, like the antelope, maybe it changes over time and circumstance.

I am recalling a sermon I gave exploring the problem with thinking of ourselves or the world as merely nouns.   Webster’s defines a noun as the part of speech that is used to name or describe a person, place, thing.  Such as, I am a minister.  I am old. This is good or that is beautiful. Obviously, everything named or described is quite transient, a mere momentary perception by the one describing in the moment.

A verb is that part of speech which denotes action, movement, change.  A noun denotes a kind of is-ness while a verb denotes a kind of becoming.  The word “repurpose “is a verb. Repurpose means to take on a new use – to change the reason for which something or someone has been created or made. In my mind I was not created to be this or that, or to experience just this or that. It is pretty darn easy to get stuck in life where we are, isn’t it?   We spend a lot of time resisting, denying and in a myriad of ways, digging our heals in.  But perhaps, if we can embrace this inevitable repurposing of ourselves with anticipation, joy, or curiosity, it might be easier to navigate the changes that come and perhaps even make life more fun.

Retirement is a great example because if you have been in a career your whole life and you identify as that or your entire social structure is built around that,  retirement could be experienced  as a loss or an un-welcomed change.    Children grow up and leave home and for the parents left behind – it is a big time of repurposing yourself in life – right?   As the result of my recent health changes, I too have experienced exploring new value and reasons for being.

From a metaphysical or scientific viewpoint – there are no nouns.  I think the best we can do is too loosely describe our experience of what IS in any given moment, fully aware that whatever that is, it will change.  Everything is in a constant state of becoming or evolving. We will never be one thing for very long.  Happy or sad. Young or old.  Not healthy or ill.  Not alive or dead.  Death can feel like the end of being what you call yourself.  What if it is not the end but the start of a glorious repurposing of your Self – your essence.

I may be getting a bit deep here for a travel blog, but I think the point is to lighten up and remember that we are so much more than the labels that we use, than the roles that we fill.  Whether you are urged to change by something within yourself called ‘divine discontent’  or by a life circumstance like retirement, illness or an empty nest, remember that in every moment LIFE will find a way to gain benefit and value from your existence.  Purpose may be transient but never absent.  Lighten up, relax, be grateful, and celebrate your SELF right where you are and right where you inevitably will be.

“I am not reinventing myself. I am going through the layers and revealing myself. I am on a journey, an adventure that’s constantly changing shape.” ~ Madonna


This coming Saturday morning, I am happy to continue exploring the path of conscious evolution with a surprise appearance by my good friend and author Vincent Genna.  We will continue to explore living life as a verb rather than a noun and see where that takes us.

Much love, Denise

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