For four years, Moreah Vestan has recorded her fleeting thoughts, intense questions and love of life in a carefree journal that speaks of the essence of living. In Pleasures and Ponderings: From Nun to Nudist to Now, Vestan offers dozens of essays that tell of the need to savor each moment and relish the pleasure in every second while still setting aside time to ponder life's tough questions.
Vestan delights in lilacs and leftovers, shares insights about lost loves and faces the discomfort of questioning her beliefs. The book is a truly inspiring hodgepodge of wisdom, with topics ranging from relationships to aging. The reader absorbs Vestan's enthusiasm for life and her appetite for variety. Her childlike sense of wonder is perfectly conveyed, as are her profound ideas about life.
She writes about finding Mr. Right, dealing with family issues and personal priorities, among many other important topics. Lessons about every aspect of living are offered to the reader. If one is looking for an honest look at life, they will find it by looking through the eyes of an independent, adventurous woman who knows how to embrace life from its most simple aspects to its most mysterious. She also tells of her musings of life from nun to nudist to now.
"You come away agreeing that assumptions can be questioned and that there may be no higher purpose than enjoying everyday pleasures, while pondering the meaning of even the imponderables with grace and/or fortitude," she writes.
Vestan began her young life believing she had a religious calling. She spent one year in a convent, moving on to pursue a career in teaching. She has worked a variety of other jobs and is currently a life coach and a relationship columnist for Seattle's Active Singles Life. She dated frequently after her divorce in the 1970s and had once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as traveling for three months in Southeast Asia alone and teaching English as a Second Language in Mexico. Pleasures and Ponderings is her first published book.
Here are the first paragraphs from a few of the essays.
It All Happened on Monday
Buckle your seat belt and get ready for a ride. When you've had a rich, full day, do you paint your day's picture the same as I do? I'm aware of sadness when I notice myself judging what's happening instead of going with the day's flow. What do you feel? Come wander through my day with me, like a visiting out-of-town relative. I'd like the company.
How could I ever feel I'm not being productive enough! I was thinking over my day and it had the wonderful variety and stimulation and sense of accomplishment I so love. It started out with a bowl of oatmeal in my sunny back yard. While I was there, I pulled morning glories and put them in the yard waste can, and then picked small pieces of trash in the alley to dump in the garbage. I carried the container of empty bottles from the kitchen to recycling.
Memories of my Teenagers
I found containers of memories tonight in the basement. I went down to find canceled checks to answer my financial planner's query. Instead, I brought up cardboard boxes of photos, letters to and from my kids, and other mementos from school and Scouts, etc. It was a lovely evening. Ally McBeal, my usual Monday night addiction, was a rerun, and a co-counseling session was rescheduled, so there was nothing labeled "must" on my agenda.
As I handled the paper memories, I was in the 1980's as well as in 2001. With a granddaughter of 5, it's relatively easy to focus on interacting with her without any reference to how I was with her mom and uncle. And I'm not sure if I were raising kids today that I would have done the same. I became a single parent 27 years ago, when Katie was 1 1/2 and Nick was 4. On earlier readings of my journals, in some other box in the basement no doubt, I remember the delight of trips to parks and zoos, rides on merry go rounds, and picnics. I also recall the tangible loneliness and fatigue of making all the daily decisions, hoping I was making the right choices.
Am I a Romance Addict?
Here's the story. Les had read one of my monthly columns from Active Singles Life and called me last week. We've talked several times since and I feel a real connection, a soul kinship. Never mind that I've felt this several times before in the 24 years since I divorced. Hey, some of those became wonderful romances that lasted as long as both of us were growing and valuing each other's path and process. I've stayed friends with several of those men, any who valued our friendship.
Well, the "hope bug" bit me again. I'm meeting Les for the first time this afternoon. I
wanted to record my feelings to either moon and sigh over them down the road or to shake my head and say "Moreah, Moreah, you just can't help yourself, can you?" It's very reminiscent of how I felt for several months with a man whom I'd communicated with on the Internet for a year and then met last October when I was at the International Coaching Conference in Orlando. George and I spent three days at Disney World and filled up at several buffets, but I knew within hours after we met (sometimes I know in minutes, sometimes it takes days or weeks) that this would go nowhere. So I carry that experience as I try to temper my anticipation.
One Thing at a Time - Is It Possible?
Well, I just got smacked in the cerebrum again . The wakeup call was as obvious as bats swooping down on evening prey. I was mopping the kitchen floor, making dandelion tea and cooking oatmeal all at the same time. I've managed that just fine in the past. But as I was concentrating on the floor, I'd neglected the hand glide of putting the teakettle on the burner where my favorite 4 quart blue enamel pan was sitting. (If I'd done the mindful thing, I'd have put the not-being-used blue pan in the cupboard.) When I finally noticed the oatmeal was ready but the teakettle was still cold, I also took in that a blue circle of enamel had chipped off the bottom of my beloved pan from the heat. Well, at least it was still usable.
What was even worse than the flaked pan--I was not paying attention . It had happened before. A while ago I was toasting some of housemate Don's homemade bread. I was taking it and some Mahon cheese, which I'd discovered at Surdyk's, my Minneapolis friends' favorite cheese purveyor, with me on the bus. But since I was doing my usual habit of leaving the house with only moments to spare before Metro was due, I overlooked the obvious, and didn't turn off the toaster oven. I found out that night that Don had shut if off for me. But if no one had been there, my smoke alarm would not have saved my home. If one of my roomers had caused a fire hazard three times, I'd probably have warned them and maybe asked myself if they were safe to have as roomers. But who can evict me?
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