Stay Tuned

“Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!” we were repeatedly told as kids by the man with the baritone voice speaking from that big wooden box in our living room when television was new, TV channels were few, and every next episode of “Lassie” was exciting. We practically held our breath. Would Lassie find her way home? Would everything turn out okay? Obedient kids, we definitely stayed tuned.

Vintage television (stock photo)

Today, seventy-plus years later, it’s much, much harder to stay tuned to any one thing. We’re flooded by more channels and media outlets and myriad distractions than we could possibly tune into in a day (or week or month), all vying – pushing and shoving – for our eyes, ears, and minds. It’s as if we’re being knocked about in a writhing sea of debris. Have we become part of the flotsam and jetsam?

It seems to me now, in my continuing pursuit of a renewed sense of purpose – or, you might call it, my quest for “the next exciting episode” of my life – that the trick is to stay tuned. Tune out the distractions – as difficult as this might be – and tune into those innermost channels of heart and soul.

There are ways of achieving this, I think: You might go for a solo walk in nature. Or meditate in solitude and quietude. Or pray to whatever your conception of a Higher Power or Great Spirit is. Then listen – and act.

Here’s a recent, small example of what I mean:

This week, on a walk to one of my favorite parks here in San Miguel de Allende, Parque Zeferino, taking the long route, along the liebramiento, on a sunny late morning, I had what felt like an inspired thought. It was an idea for a small business initiative for the young father of my now nine-month-old namesake in Mali.

He was eleven years old when I first came to Mali and his family hosted me. Now he’s in his mid-thirties, a responsible married man and father of two young children, the second of which is a girl whom he named after me. (My Malian name, Bani, pronounced like Bonnie, is the name of the sister river to the Niger.) He and I are friends on Facebook, which is how he has kept me abreast of his family’s news and sent me photos over the years.

My namesake, Bani (9 months) in Segou, Mali

I proposed my idea to him in a FB message when I returned home from my walk, and he liked it. He has an educational background in business administration and a steady office job, but salaries in Mali are understandably low. Life in Mali is difficult. My idea could supplement his income and benefit his whole family –including, of course, little Bani.

The startup costs would be minimal. I offered to pay for the equipment he would need, and he accepted with thanks and grace.

Yesterday I went to the Western Union office here in SMA and sent him the small amount of money needed. To think that this idea, which came to me on a solitary walk on the hills of Central Mexico, could – if it comes to fruition – lift up a family on the other side of the world, in central Mali, West Africa, gave me immense joy and a much-needed sense of purpose.

It’s moments like this that I live for now.

If this “inspired” idea ultimately results in a worthwhile little enterprise, I’ll certainly report on it in future WOW posts. But for the moment this story is one of hope, connection, love, and purpose.

So stay tuned!

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20 thoughts on “Stay Tuned”

  1. BonnieDear ~
    What a precious little child Bani is! And what a precious friend you have been to her family. Let’s hope your kindness bears real fruit. xoxo ~ Be

    1. Si! Gracias, Te. I hope all WOW readers will stay tuned to learn about the outcome of this story as well as staying tuned to their own hearts for their own “purpose” stories. 🙂

  2. Bravo, Bonnie! A sense of purpose comes in many forms. Recently I walked out of my house to encounter an elderly lady asking a Spanish-speaking teenager for directions. I stepped in and learned that she had arrived by herself in San Miguel the day before and got lost that morning. She couldn’t remember the name of her hotel (although she did recall the first letter) or the street. It took a couple of hours and many twists and turns, but I found that darn hotel, with the woman in tow. Made my day.

  3. I love everything about this. Yesterday I was reading in the NYT about how therapists are now telling the over stimulated generation born since the 90’s to go for a “silent walk.” The idea is completely revolutionary and dare I say, extremely challenging for those who have separation anxiety when away from their devices even briefly. Walking is indeed the best therapy!

    1. Yes, Kharin, I agree with you — walking is not only the best therapy, it’s also the cheapest! 🙂 And I read a NYT article recently about dying people’s regrets. One of the main regrets was that they felt they hadn’t fulfilled their purpose, followed their hearts, and accomplished what they were meant to accomplish in their lives. Hence, my new focus on the topic of Purpose! We’d be wise to find it and do it while we still have time. 🙂

  4. Thank you for writing this. I began meditating at 42 when I was diagnosed with cancer, and it changed my life. The answer is always within. We just have to be quiet and let it float to the surface. This piece was very inspiring…

  5. Dearest Bonnie,
    Someone told me a long time ago that the brain is capable of answering any question you ask of it. It seemed far fetched to me, but he insisted that if you asked the same question repeatedly and regularly you would get your answer. A small example of this, is misplacing some item and not being able to find it. Asking yourself over and over again “Where was I when I put it down?” will eventually lead to you having an epiphany of recall.
    Regarding a problem, a lot more intricate, the brain will still search for ideas. We just need the silence and the ability to listen to what comes up.
    It seems to me that’s what you did and I’m really looking forward to hearing what that business venture idea was! I think when the answer is very important to us, we don’t give up our questioning, so I hope you do this with your searching for the next phase of your purpose in life. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will touch the lives of many!

    1. Thank you, dear Loula, as ever, for your thoughts. Yes, it’s comforting to think that the answers are all inside of us. All we have to do (which is NOT easy in this too-noisy world) is be quiet enough to listen for the answers. 🙂

  6. Dear Bon,
    What a wonderful story. I doubt many great ideas occur after staring at a TV set. Your namesake is so beautiful. I looking forward to hearing more about your idea.

    1. Thank you, dearest Paul. She is a pretty little girl, isn’t she. I look forward to seeing her grow up, prettier and prettier. We shall see if my idea works out for her daddy and family! — BB xx

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