Cambrian: Opinion

Trust the universe; life shouldn’t be all work, no play

Michele Pike, Dianne Brooke, Terry Gentile and Jody Cannon Carlson getting their priorities straight.
Michele Pike, Dianne Brooke, Terry Gentile and Jody Cannon Carlson getting their priorities straight. Special to The Cambrian

A dear friend of mine was training for hospice where she heard a great quote, “I never heard anyone say, ‘Gee, I wish I’d worked more!’ ” Obviously we need to cover the basics, but are we creators of our life or are we more inclined to be victims of life? How many areas of our lives does this hold true to?

We can hold on to pain from past experiences, loves lost, feelings hurt and miss out on opportunities for close friendships or unintentionally limit the potential in ones we may try. We can ignore strangers who may have fascinating and/or valuable stories to share. We can miss out on falling in love again by unknowingly closing people out in seemingly trivial ways like having too much “stuff” that there is no room for anyone else to come in. Or, we can shut off the chatter in our head, listen to our intuition and open up to the possibilities.

You can save for a rainy day, cling to every penny, work ridiculous amounts of overtime because you think you won’t be valuable if you don’t. Or you can trust in the universe and go with your three girlfriends on the spur of the moment to the desert for a rockhounding holiday. You can stay home and mope about your financial future at the moment or treat it as an opportunity to make the most of “time off.”

I was talking to one of the vendors today at the Gem and Mineral Show in Quartzsite, Arizona. I had been looking for rock slabs to practice cutting and shaping for jewelry. I asked him to weigh one particular piece, just because. “Oh, I love this Pietersite! But I know it commands quite a price. I don’t think I want to learn on something so nice.”

He smiled and said, “Well, you’re never going to get the feel for working with the nice stuff if you don’t just step up and do it! You’ve got to trust yourself sometimes, take a chance! You never know what you’ll learn along the way. But you will always learn something if you just do it!”

And all the while he was talking, he was casually pulling through his tub of Pietersite slabs, found a small one, pulled out a plastic bag, put the piece into it and told me, “Here. So now you don’t have to worry about how much it costs … just step out of your comfort zone and do it! That’s the best way, the only way to learn!”

Of course, I was blown away and I promised to send a picture of whatever I was able to make out of the piece.

Desert attracts various types

The desert attracts an interesting lot of people. This time of year, there are a whole lot of “snowbirds” trying to escape the rough weather wherever they live, generally older, retired folks. Without much else to do in such a sparsely populated region, meth is a favorite past time. Work is hard to come by, and sometimes they get this far and can’t get further, so they stand on corners with clever signs like “Too ugly to be a stripper so this is my only chance to get out of here.”

Then there are fellow rockhounders who are geeks like me who occasionally share leads to good spots to go rocking, or how to spool knit wire or how to fill holes in your stone. All these people, when given the chance — which I enthusiastically encourage — have something to teach you.

Will I make rent this month? Was it irresponsible to immerse myself in nature with good friends? Have I learned anything that is truly valuable from this? Yes: that laughter clears out the cobwebs from your heart, traveling out of your comfort zone builds confidence, that being in nature is absolutely the most grounding experience possible. And, if you don’t worry too much or let yourself be too extravagant, the rent will get paid. And be grateful for everything you have.

I am creating my life. I refuse to be a victim of the times or circumstances. I believe in working hard but not being a slave to it. I believe in working for all things just and right, but I will not let setbacks drag me down. I choose to live it to the fullest. Now, where’d I put my hiking boots?

Dianne Brooke’s column appears weekly and is special to The Cambrian. Visit her website at Email her at