Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
The title to this post is more “religious” sounding than my usual writing. Yet this phrase came to me up at the cabin this last weekend and it has persistently stayed with me. So I, in turn, have persistently stayed with it! I meditated and asked this phrase to reveal to me its message. And the message came in the form of a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. So I will share it with you as it came to me.
Lord of glory
You have clothed me in divine raiment
I am magnified in your loving mercy
You have stretched forth your hand
And I take it gladly
Leaving all else behind
I walk into your embrace
Shedding all density
I am robed in your splendor
I am yours now and forever
Blessed in bounty
Loved into eternity
As I contemplated this message, I realized that indeed, the last two years have been intense years of shedding, letting go of everything I held onto – beliefs, illusions, hopes, expectations, fears, identities. The world is different to me now, and I am different in it. Everything is ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. Mundane and magical. Every day is an adventure, every moment is a gift, every breath a liberation.
This is, I think, the meaning of living in grace, living in alignment with the energy of the universe, entering the realm of oneness with all creation. It is, as Buddha said, the power of being awake.
I wish I could tell you that I experience this all the time. I don’t. But I do more and more. And when I do, I’m aware that indeed, like the lilies of the field, I am clothed in the divine raiment of life. And I am grateful.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. ~Psalm 139:14
Friday, November 15, 2019
I cannot make a flower grow
But I can plant a seed
Where the sun shines warm
And rain falls soft
Then when the time is right
The flower blossoms beauty
Answering the call of its own nature
Revealing what it has always been
So it is with us, my friend
So it is with us
Monday, November 11, 2019
As part of her college ethics class, my daughter was asked to list the core values she was raised with. Here is her list:
Always tell the truth
Work hard for what you want
Wow, I thought, she really was paying attention when she was growing up! I was glad to see reflected back to me values that I hold dear in my own life, and glad that these were among the values she has carried with her into adulthood.
But what really stunned me was her answer when I asked her how she learned these values. She said that she remembers that this is how I behaved. She had some very specific memories as examples, especially of kindness. Some of the examples I didn’t even remember. But she was watching when she was a little girl, and learning not from what I said, but from what I did.
She told me that she sometimes thought my standards were unfair, especially when other kids were held to a lower bar. I remember one time when she was crying, asking me why I had such high expectations for her. I told her that these were just the basic expectations for being a decent human being – we had not gotten to the high expectations yet. Ha!
But now I see her teaching these same values to her children. And she says she is grateful that I taught her how to be a good person.
So this made me think about all the ways I model values for other people. Am I modeling kindness, compassion, honesty, integrity, courage, responsibility, accountability, tenderness, trustworthiness, understanding? Not all the time, I’m sure. But now, with a new generation coming up in the family, I’m more aware that little eyes are watching, and little ears are listening. And I am more careful.
Her list was an assignment for class, but I think I’m the one who learned the lesson!
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. ~James Baldwin
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
A few days ago I woke up with a migraine. I took some medicine and went back to bed with a cold gel pack on my forehead. The headache did not subside. It got worse.
As I lay there, I became aware of the constant chatter going on in my mind. We all have that background thinking loop that plays and replays behind our conscious and directed thinking. My mind, when left to its own devices, explores the most random locations, relives the past, rehearses the future, ponders plots from TV shows, imagines dire events unlikely to ever happen, picks at emotional scabs until they bleed, considers strategies to manipulate uncontrollable people and circumstances, and basically never stops talking.
When the pain shut down my conscious thinking, my attention was free to observe what was really going on underneath. What I hadn’t realized before was how exhausting it is to run this ceaseless program in the background of our minds. It is like the drain on our electric power by leaving things plugged in that we aren’t using.
And even more surprising was how painful these thoughts were. It was like I could physically feel the impact that the thoughts had in my brain. With the hypersensitivity of the migraine, the thoughts felt like a little chain gang hammering tiny spikes for a miniature railroad.
Naturally, I wanted it to stop. I tried to make it stop. No luck. I felt a little panicky at the relentlessness of this habitual monologue. And then I heard a soft voice gently saying, “Rest.” For a moment, everything quieted. Relief.
It started back up almost immediately, but now I knew what to do. I stopped listening to it all, and silently whispered “rest.” Again, rest... rest... rest. Tenderly, lovingly, like a mother soothing a restless baby.
For moments at a time, my mind quieted. The pain of the migraine was still present, but there was a spaciousness about it, a peace. I rested with the pain, and with the reminders to my brain to rest with me.
Since then, I’ve been more aware of this chatter. During meditation I bring my wandering mind home with the mantra “rest.” When going through my day, as I start to get hooked by the drama of the moment, I can pause and remember to rest. Just rest.
I am fond of acronyms, so I’ll leave you with this one. You might come up with one of your own.
Friday, November 1, 2019
Are meaningless in the realm of truth
This belief or that one matters not
We seek truth where it cannot be found
And peace where it rests not
We cling to life where life has fled
And with hearts closed tightly shut
Hold fast to dreams of love
And most of all we run from death
Lest we catch its eye by chance
Such foolish antics
All in vain
And meanwhile our lives pass us by unseen