a little morning wisdom from joan erikson

I was cleaning up around my reading chair this morning and I ran across a quote that I had jotted down from a book I read this summer by Joan Anderson called A Year By the Sea. Within the pages, she tells about her chance meeting and subsequant friendship with Joan Erikson, who was a dancer, an accomplished writer and the wife of psychologist Erik Erikson. It’s an interesting read. In the prologue, she sums up Joan Erikson’s (who was a vivacious nonagenarian at the time) wisdom on life:

“Welcome each day like a good meal.”

“The essence of a life well-digested comes from knowing your strengths, overdosing on the senses, and remaining active and playful.”

“Keep your hands on the plow–push–don’t ever stop pushing.”

“Always be willing to give a little more energy–the tension should always be there–then your life will never go limp.”

The tension should always be there. Living in the tension has an intregal purpose. Most of us think of stress as a negative, and we strive for relief from it. But a life absent of the tension is limp and lifeless. It is  the struggle that makes the victory. Tension is the substance of the work that grows character. Struggling with what we believe and working it out each day is the work of this lifetime. There is a honesty and satisfaction found in the hands that move the plough through the dirt of each day, in minds that  don’t settle too quickly for “good enough,” in hearts that yearn for more.