Thursday, June 27, 2019
Birds singing the sun to rise
Crow wings fump fumping overhead
Dog's collar jangling
Bicycles whirring past
Flowers profusing on the corner
Squirrel scrabbling up the tree
and chirring fussily from a low branch
The symphony of morning
Daring another day to dance
Friday, June 21, 2019
I woke up this morning feeling so grateful, grateful for everything. Really, everything. If you follow this blog, then you know I’ve been through some challenging times in the last year and a half, and especially in the last few months. I became sorrow’s apprentice and learned to grieve (still learning). Along the way, amazing things happened. Amazing people happened. There was pain. And there were many times when, let’s just say, I did not feel grateful.
But, to quote one of my favorite Game of Thrones characters, “Not today.” Today I recognize everything as a blessing, everyone as a blessing. And I am grateful. So thank you. Thank you people. Thank you circumstances. Thank you universe.
Here is the refrain from a song guaranteed to lift your spirit today. Below the refrain is a link to the video. I hope you will watch it (watch it to the end!).
All that I am
All that I see
All that I’ve been
And all that I’ll ever be
Is a blessing
It’s so amazing
And I’m grateful for it all
For it all
Watch the video!
Friday, June 14, 2019
Saturday, June 8, 2019
At a meditation class last week, I was paired up with a young man for a time of sharing reflections. He told me this story.
When he was 19, he joined the army. During basic training, the drill sergeant would find some mistake every day and make his group do push ups as a consequence. Maybe a bed was not made properly, or shoes were not polished, or someone was a a nanosecond too slow in obeying an order. Every day they would strive mightily for perfection. Every day they would fail, and drop to the ground in frustration and despair to perform their punishment.
Finally, he realized that the point of this pattern was not the daily mistake; the point was the daily push ups. The drill sergeant was always going to find some excuse for push ups. He accepted the inevitable. There will be push ups. Every day. No matter what they did or didn’t do. He began to view the push ups not as punishment but as exercise. Difficult exercise, yes. But exercise that was a required part of their training.
The push ups were the same, but his experience of the push ups changed. He said that he suffered less than others in his group who continued to struggle to attain that magic perfection that would avoid the ordered push ups.
Our conversation generalized to life’s basic training. We strive for an ever elusive perfection that will avoid challenge, disappointment, distress, heartache. If I learn to meditate better, I will always be peaceful. If I practice martial arts long enough, I will never be afraid. If I pray hard enough, my prayers will be answered according to my wishes. If I love strongly enough, my heart will never be broken.
But here is life’s reality. There will be push ups. I will be fidgety during meditation. I will be frustrated when I don’t handle situations as well as I would like. I will be embarrassed by something that was misunderstood. I will be disappointed when I hoped for something different. I will be sad when I lose something important to me. I will be angry when I perceive being wronged.
Yes, there will be push ups. I can struggle to avoid them but I will fail. Or I can see them as a part of life, weaving them into a tapestry full of experiences and opportunities. I can embrace all that life brings me.
A moment of radical acceptance is a moment of genuine freedom. ~Tara Brach
Monday, June 3, 2019
When my phone rang this morning, the caller ID showed my daughter’s name. I answered with a “Good morning, sweetie.”
But the caller was my 7 year old grandson, who exclaimed, “Nana, how did you know it was me?!”
“I just knew,” I fibbed.
Even though my usual nickname for him is Honey Bunny, he responded to the generic term of endearment with the assumption that it was meant for him. How marvelous.
When he was a baby, I made up a song for him to the tune of Jesus Loves Me. I would sing the song over and over, each time substituting the name of someone who loved him. For example,
[Nana] loves me
This I know
Because she always tells me so
She loves me more than the stars above
I am blessed to be so loved
Yes, [Nana] loves me
Yes, [Nana] loves me
Yes, [Nana] loves me
She always tells me so
As he got older, I would start the ritual with the question “Who loves you?” He would name someone. After the first verse, I would ask “Who else loves you?” And so on. Depending on my patience, he would go through family members, pets, stuffed animals, friends at school, things in the house, favorite super heroes. To my delight, he would often name himself as someone who loved him.
As he got older still, he sang along with me. Now that he has a baby sister, I enlist his help in singing the song to her, although he is sure to get his own turn.
His quick and unquestioning assumption this morning that “sweetie” referred to him tells me that somehow, in his childhood world of scary things that go bump in the night, despite all the mistakes that we make as parents and grandparents, somehow he has absorbed the certainty that he is loved.
May we all feel so cherished.
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you .... ~Isaiah 43:4