Monday, January 15, 2018
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Sunday, January 7, 2018
Friday, January 5, 2018
It's a snow day. Remember those days from school days? Fun! Now a day at home—with a mega blast snow blizzard whipping around the house—is beautiful but edgy. There are threats of no electricity. It has a different feel to it from when we would call up our friends to "come out and play." (Although I still do that sometimes!) Now my dearest friend lives 3000 miles away and the one who lives nearby won’t risk the icy drive.
The older we get the more we think in terms of our survival. Will there be no heat when the electricity goes off? Where will I go? And when we do go outside, we walk so gingerly you'd think we were on a tightrope....we can't afford to slip on the ice anymore.
It's interesting to watch the mind's antics: instead of playing with our friends, perhaps we read or catch up on our FB time and try to stave off a subtle ache of vulnerability...is that what the feeling is? We stare out the window...and feed the birds. I suspect one of the reasons we enjoy feeding these little chickadees is that we marvel at their tiny size and robust attitude against the storms. They stand strong and perky against the elements. We humans don't do as well.
I'm beginning to witness it all. Especially fear. Witnessing is another way of saying, be "mindful" of what my mind does, and noting the difference when I actually look at a fear instead of identifying with it. There is the fear of slipping and falling. It's not my fear, it’s not me, it's just a fear. Perhaps I can invite it in for tea? Oh here's the fear of loneliness. Oh yeah, haven't seen you for a while. Would you like some tea? Fear of dying? This one comes pretty often in the middle of the night. Come closer, let me invite you in. too. After I let all these little 'schmoos' come in to be seen and heard and let go of....well, they don't look so scary anymore.
Little schmoos? Yes, I'm taking our very serious fears and pains very lightly. It's easy to sink into them and become one with our problem: "I'm a diabetic" Or "I'm single and depressed." Or "I'm home with the flu." We have these things but we are not these things. The times when we catch ourselves witnessing instead of identifying we catch a space between--like a breath of fresh air-- and then we know we're spiritual beings having a human experience.
We are more than our pain or fear. We can sit with the pain for tea, then let it go...even if just for a moment. Same with fear...I will sit with this niggling fear of my vulnerability and look it directly in the face--yup, I've got it. It has tea with me, then I ask it to leave. Thank you and good by.
Perhaps humans are more like these little birds than we realize. We are brave. We put up with a lot. Some of us aspire to be like chickadees.
Gandhi once said: "Fearlessness is the first prerequisite of a spiritual life." I think it's time to feed the birds and to allow myself to know that I too am being fed and cared for in more ways than I admit. Who shall I invite in for tea today? And after tea….time to write in my gratitude journal…
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Sunday, December 31, 2017
I forget the words she said that day as we were having coffee together. But they were similar to a George Eliot quote I was familiar with: "It is never too late to be who you might have been."
I've loved the idea of that quote all my life, but at seventy it has a hollow ring to it. Sure, we can go back to school or take up ballroom dancing. Hopefully many of us will blossom now. But...
...at this age I like Rilke's quote better: "And then the knowledge comes to me that I have space within me for a second timeless larger life." Yes!
This is not about a radical career change or a marriage or divorce. This is making space within me for that timeless larger life. This is making space for mindfulness.
Of all the ways our generation has redefined aging, it is most powerful in the way we have redefined consciousness. Our minds! We have rediscovered that through becoming aware of the clutter of thoughts in our psyche, we can clear it out, make space, make 'moments' in which we can slow down the endless chatter of the mind. We can make room for that second timeless life. We can acquire spaciousness...
Whew! I love that thought--it's not unlike the idea of being in a poetic state of mind where the flow of life comes into us in such a way that it is both slow and intense...a way in which we can process it and write about it. Or paint it...or sing it.
That's my hope for this on-line journal...that I will slow down long enough to notice how the sunlight shimmers on the blue and white vase on the windowsill in the morning when I wake up....that I will notice the luminosity of last night's snow as I look out the window, and will pause long enough to take in the sweet smell of brewing coffee. Mindfulness will allow me the space to not be repeating the grocery list I need to know later.
And then I can write. That is the hope. Just like in meditation we have the thought and then the space...groceries and the luminous light. Washing the mug and remembering the day I made the mug. Then and Now! I will take in this NOW and make it a special moment.
When I was young I remember how old people always talked about the past. My hope is that our generation--the ME generation--will remember the past, but talk about our lives now, bringing to consciousness the full beauty and the poignancy of each moment. ME-FULNESS can transform to MIND-FULNESS....and out of that, a larger kinder life can be born.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
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