Row: Life

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What a timely, appropriate theme! There are so many ‘processes’ going on in our world all the time, many of which may be personal, and more that are global events we may not be aware of. Just what is a process?   My definition, before checking a dictionary, is that, ‘a process is a series of events or happenings that occur for the purpose of achieving a goal.’ Webster gives several explanations but the first one indicates a process is; the course of being done: chiefly involving many changes such as the process of digestion.”

Life itself is a process, or rather is full of processes. The ‘process’ of creating this body that people who know me call, ‘Rowena’ started in January of 1928 and it isn’t finished yet. Actually the process of creating the soul of this being started …? I am one of those individuals who strongly believe in reincarnation, or something akin to that. Having said that, I’ll move on to saying that I don’t believe there is an end to my life, only another change. However, this article is about process, not a specific belief.

This lifetime is the only process I can relate to with any sense of surety. I do not remember the beginnings involving my birth and innumerable events leading up to my fourth year of life. Even then many events are sketchy. Why is it we cannot recall things that occurred when we were infants and toddlers? Are we not supposed to be aware of our own growth and development? Are we not to know, understand or be able to define our feeling of being loved and cared for while yet an infant? Do we experience so many unpleasant things as an infant and very young child that it is best if they are forgotten? Perhaps that is the exception rather than the rule. I have known people whose childhood was full of memories of love, adventure, and pleasant happenings, and others who prefer not to be reminded of unpleasant memories. Processes create the adults that they became. Every act, every occurrence that has happened in my life, whether I liked it or not, was a part of the process that has brought me to where I am, and what I am doing today.

Today’s Neurosciences are finding out so many apparently amazing things about the human brain, that one hardly knows where to begin to talk about the many roles it plays in the growth and development of a human being. Suffice it to say that the human brain undergoes many changes as we grow and develop. It takes time to learn how to eat solid food, how to make sounds that the adults of our species can understand. It takes time to learn to use and control our muscles so we can crawl, walk, run and jump. But, all those processes are related only to the growth and development of a human being and our world is so much greater.

Have you ever watched the construction of house? How many processes do think are involved in the construction of just one house? Let’s say it is made of wood. Trees are cut to create the lumber of many different measurements. Oh, but wait a minute! What about the tools and equipment to cut the trees? What about the growth, development and education of the people who cut the trees? When were the trees planted and by whom? How old is the tree? How many years has it sprouted leaves only to have them change with the seasons, change color, dry and fall? Eventually one must consider other things such as nails, screws, metal supports, wires, pipes, paint, and on, and on. Anything that you can think of has gone through a process to become what you know, recognize and use in your own process of building and decorating a home.

Don’t forget that all the people involved in the process of building a house, apartment, and buildings of different sizes and materials must eat. Now we can think about farms, farm animals, seeds that grow and develop when they have a balance of sunshine, rain and care. The farmland must be prepared, seeds planted, weeds pulled, and harvested. By now you probably know the farmer must also have equipment to be used on his farm. Someone had to buy it and to do so meant the money was earned to buy the equipment. Perhaps the farmer’s wife taught school. That brings us to consider many more processes if we ever take the time to think of them.

Are you beginning to get the picture of why I said, “Life is a process?” Of course there is more to life than just material things. Our emotions, their balance or unbalance, and all the other actions and activities both seen and unseen are in the process of fulfilling their given tasks. I think very few of us pay much attention to the functions within our own bodies unless something goes wrong. Sometimes I have been quite perturbed when I arranged for the delivery of some product to my home yet it did not arrive on the promised day. The process of thinking about what we want, dealing with delays and projecting our anger onto another human who then resents having to work in a job that requires dealing with so many unhappy people, ‘snowballs’ and reaches proportions we don’t even dream of. Now I am more considerate because I have taken the time to learn more about the ‘process’ involved in obtaining whatever I am seeking.

I know a young woman who is an artist and produces an unusual type of art. Friends told her she should put it on display and named two locations where it would be easy and effective. She thanked them and soon made a contact at both locations. Very quickly it became obvious the well-meaning friends knew nothing about the process of displaying works of art.

Everything involves a process. When we are very young we have little patience for the day to come when –

  • we have a birthday and get presents.
  • Christmas comes.
  • we are big enough to start school.
  • we enter high school.
  • we have a first date.
  • we can drive solo and so on.

Perhaps you can think of many more ‘firsts’ but have you stopped to think of all the things involved in the ‘process’ of making any of them happen?

Now that I am older, and wiser, and have more time to think about things – that is spelled, ‘L-i-f-e’ – I find it really enjoyable to spend many quiet moments contemplating the meaning of many words, and on to what makes the world ‘go around’. Not only that, but in place of listening to the news, that seldom changes much and is always filled with complaints about the ‘process’ of soaring prices, the progress of wars (rarely about how to end them), drugs and crimes, I really enjoy popping in a DVD documentary or a university course from “Great Courses” and actually learn something I didn’t know before. I have learned, and am continuing to learn many fascinating things. Guided tours through cities, parks and countries provided on DVDs are fascinating and provide a different perspective of this wonderful Planet Earth and what it has to offer. Think about the process of preparing miles of territory to create roads, paths, safe observation ‘look-outs’, ranger stations, and all sorts of information for tourists to enjoy a multitude of attractions.

Is there any place to begin, or stop, when one talks about or thinks about a process? The very act of trying to describe any process quickly becomes a reminder that we are all connected. We are all ‘one’. We are all created to interact and to help and love one another. Changes go on around us and within us constantly and they are all part of a process we call, ‘Life’.


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-Rowena Nichols, Columnist ‘Row’

Rowena Nichols, RN, Dr. MMT, PTA. Registered Nurse with  BS in Nursing, Dr. of Medical Massage Therapy, and Physical Therapy Assistant(Certification). Beyond the use of her mass credentials, she has had a “full and rewarding life,” including living and teaching in Chile and returning to nursing at age 80.  Currently, she is  writing articles for several Newsletters and magazines, including problem solving for tutors of English at a Literacy organization in New Mexico. She recently celebrated a book release, Wired for Changes:  My Recovery from a Stroke. Send your request and a bank check or money order for $10.95 to; Rowena Nichols,  P.O. Box 65552, Albuquerque, NM 87193. Shipping is included.

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