“The Sea of Life”
With my limited mobility, I don’t have much choice except to sit most of the day. Oh I get up quite often for short periods of walking and exercise, but the gist of my day is spent in a chair. I have plenty of things I can do like watching TV, reading a book, writing, working on my genealogy, a craft or even coloring in my color book. Or I can simple sit in the quiet and listen. The thing is I’m so tired most of the time that the TV seems to be the most mindless thing to do. In spite of my cloudy mind I still hear my inquiring mind reaching out from within. In case you haven’t guessed already I’m a pretty deep thinker. Nothing keeps those thoughts from finding a way out, except when I ignore it. I find myself saying lately, “Go away, and come again another day.” But to be honest I miss being connected to that inner part of myself. I miss being in the quiet. It’s simple a matter of choice. I can be in a noisy mindless state or in a quiet mindful state.
“A troubled man exhausted from his suffering and confusion, asked a sage for help. The sage looked deeply into the troubled man and with compassion offered him a choose: “You can have either a map or a boat.”
After looking at the many pilgrims about him, all of whom seemed equally troubled, the confused man said, “I’ll take the boat.”
The sage kissed him on the forehead and said, “Go than. You are the boat. Life is the sea.”***
In the quiet I’m always able to rediscover the sea of life that exists within me. Like a fisherman all I need to do is sit quietly bobbing in my boat, listening and waiting for the catch of the day to reveal itself to me.
***from “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo
It’s the day after Christmas and already I’m looking forward to the new year. I got a brand new journal for Christmas, and I can’t wait to start writing in it. But more than that I’m anticipating a healthier, active and productive new year filled a better quality of life. It’s as if when the clocks strikes midnight I’ll be reborn with a fresh new start, but just like when a new birthday comes we don’t feel any different than we did the day before.
So I bring myself back to the now, and in that moment of conscious thinking I realize I have 6 more days of living to do before the new year even begins. It was as if I was wishing my days away, and what guarantee do any of us have that we’ll be here from one day to the next. No-one wants to think of that, but it sure does give me a wake-up call. So I’ve decided to live within the hope that this day has to offer, and I have to say it feels good to be alive even with the limitations I have right now. I can find things to do that make my day feel worthwhile. All it takes is a bit of conscious effort to create the mindfulness I need. It reminds me of the same kind of mindfulness I need as I practice walking right, heal to toe, Connie. Heal to toe, so that knee bends with your walk. Life is full of many things to do right now, work, practice, play and fun. It’s up to us to make the best of it. John Lennon couldn’t have said it more clear for me today, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
December 24, 2015
A Note from Ollie
“I’m ready for this party to get started!”
“The Grandkids are coming that means I’ll be cleaning up the floor tonight! Can’t wait!”
This popped up on my Facebook timeline this morning, and I lost it. There’s no Ollie this year here, they’ll be no grandkids here for our annuel Christmas Eve celebration because of my condition. I do have a lot to be gratful for though. My family and friends who have done so much in these past few weeks to make things easier for me. And we are still having our celebration at Shannon’s this year as our kids pitch in together to carry on our family traditon. Letting others do things for me is not easy, but has been a good lesson in humility. In turn I’ve been blessed with much grace. I guess the lesson for me is to remember with change comes much pain, and yet beneath it lies the grace that gets us through it.
Merry Christmas and may we all be blessed with a health happy New Year!
In the little bit of time that I’ve been out since my surgery I’ve gone to doctor offices and physical therapy. It seems that everywhere I go people are talking about how much they dread getting together with family. Mainly because of one person or another that just rubs them the wrong way. I guess they just need to vent to let some of the built up steam out before the actually event. I don’t know the people they’re talking about so they must feel safe telling me all about it. I can’t imagine that there are very many people who haven’t experienced the same dilemma at one time or another.
One women said that playing games helps. It keeps the conversations at bay. Than I came across an article from the Science of Mind Magazine by Stef Swink. She says: “The way to support your family is to offer to them the very thing you desire from them. Perhaps your example will eventually inspire them to consider the same path.”
As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And remember the Golden Rule that Jesus taught: “treat others how you want to be treated.” Combine these two ideas with a lot of love and I bet this Christmas they’ll be a lot of miracles taking place.
I was thinking today that this will be my 63rd Christmas celebration in my lifetime. Wow! I know, that’s a lot of Christmases when you look at it that way. When I was a child, I was more excited about what I was going to get under the tree than for what Christmas actually stood for. When I had my own children, I tried to teach them that it was Jesus’s birthday we were celebrating. As much as a child can try to articulate the true meaning of Christmas it still takes a backseat to the anticipation of the gift beneath the tree. The true meaning comes with time, maturity and the challenge that faith brings into our life.
There’s nothing I really need or want at this point in my life, materialistic anyway. However, there’s still a bit of that child in me that lights up with an unexpected surprise. But the real gifts come when our consciousness is in line with the spirit within us. It is than that I am able to wrap my mind around all the gifts that Jesus’s birth has to offer. It is than that I get down on my knees and look beneath the tree for the gifts that are hidden from sight. There is always a gift to be unwrapped at Christmas time, and many times it’s the same gift over and again. Like the gift of love, hope, joy, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, friendships and family. Celebrating Christmas for 63 years has giving me the opportunity to reopen these gifts over and over again, but each time seems like the first. With the same childlike anticipation I’m eager to gather up my gifts, and let the spirit of Christmas lead the way into the New Year.
“I’ll be home for Christmas”
You know this familiar song at Christmas time. It congers up all the wonderful comforting feelings that come with retuning “home” again. I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things about going away on vacations is at the end when I walk through my front door. “Home!” ET pointed up toward the sky as he longed to find a way back to his planet. “I’ll be home for Christmas” those five words keep playing in my head, but with a different slant upon its meaning. It’s more of a coming back to that from which I’ve come in the spiritual sense.
Symbolically we all eventual leave home like the prodigal son wanting to explore and experience life for ourselves. There is a pull toward “something” unknown, and our need to find out what it is drives us. So we set out on our journey, getting lost along the way many times. Like the prodigal son ,we begin to wonder aimlessly until that longing for “something” leads us back to that from which we came, “home.” But like ET, our desperate need to find a way home looks impossibly. If we listen we can hear those five words playing in our head pointing the way that we long to go, “I’ll be home for Christmas. For it is in coming home for Christmas that we are reminded of why Jesus was born. He came to show us the way back home to where we belong. We all must come to that point when we long to come home once again for Christmas. Upon our return ,we realize what we’d been searching for all along was right here where we left it. What we realize at the time of our return is how necessary the journey away was. For it is only in the leaving that we learn what we had all along, and it is in the retuning that the meaning of “coming home for Christmas” is truly understood.
“The greatest gift you can give someone is receiving what they have to offer.” – Anonymous
From the simplest prayer, thought and reiki, to the many cards, flowers, meals, and care giving. I’ve been showered with the gifts of kindness, selflessness, blessings and love. My surgeries this past year while overwhelming in the negative sense have brought a new awareness of overwhelming proportions revealing how much others really care. I used to be a very private person not telling too many people what was going on in my life. I didn’t want to complain or seem whine about things. Getting through those difficult times was pretty lonely and seemed to take longer. What I have found in reaching out to others is that the experience is much less stressful, I heal faster, and I’ve become more humble as I accept the gift that others have to offer me.
As I continue to heal through the Christmas season. I’ve been saying that it doesn’t feel like Christmas. Of course that’s because I’m not doing all the things I usually do that get me in the mood. But in truth these past few weeks I’ve been experiencing what the true meaning of Christmas spirit is about, the giving of oneself. “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.”-Anonymous
I humbly and with deep appreciation accept your many offerings. I couldn’t ask for a greater Christmas gift.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!’ –Audrey Hepburn
My daughter Ginny sent me this quote today as I begin my 1st day of the 3rd week recovering from knee replacement surgery. I’ve taking the first step upon my new path as I enter the land of physical therapy. This path is no longer paved in red hot coals, but it feels like it’s full of pot holes and many uneven rocks to walk upon. I stop to stretch, bend and strengthen my knee which brings back those flashes of coal burning pain. It is the red light that goes off in my brain indicating that I’ve reached that point of pain in which I must rest. Ice, elevation and pain meds continue to be my reprieve. But the day is not over until I get up and walk a little further practicing what I’ve learned so far in the land of PT. Their motto playing ever so clearly in my head, “push it!”
Yes my new journey begins with the next step, but the success begins from within. It’s a joint effort literally in every way between the body, mind and spirit. It took a lot out of me, but I felt invigorated too by my accomplishments. As I keep my eyes focused on reaching the end of this path I know I have to work hard to get there, but looking at each step is just as important as the destination. It not only builds strength in my body but also builds confidence in myself. Each step teaching me something new about myself and my very own possibilities.
“Evelyn Underhill said we spend our lives “conjugating three verbs: to want, to have and to do. Craving, clutching and fussing on the material, political, social, emotional, intellectual — even on the religious plane — we are kept in perpetual unrest, forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in the fundamental verb, to be: and that Being — not wanting, having and doing — is the essence of a spiritual life.”
Sometimes life thrust us into situations where the wanting, having and doing don’t really matter because you can’t do anything anyway. All there is exist in simple being. That’s the way these past few weeks have been for me as I recover from my surgery. I can sit and dream about all the things I want, I can pile up all the things I have around me, but I can’t find the clarity, energy or strength to do anything. I am living right now. Each day that goes by is a day I’ll never get back. So I can do one of two things: sit and dream about someday or be in the now. To be or not to be, really does become the question for me. If I want this day to have meaning, than letting go of what I can’t do anyway brings me face to face with me, myself and I. What do I do now? I am nothing without going deeper within. That is where the real meaning of being is found. It is a place where I am able to connect with all that makes me whole and complete. It is home and the words slip from my lips, “Here I am Lord.”
Portrait of Deserted Island by TaniaElric
Do you remember the movie “Castaway” where Tom Hanks played the part of a man who was stranded on a deserted island all by himself? He became so lonely that when he found a Wilson ball, he drew a face on it and began having conversations with Wilson as if it was a real human being. It was a great example of how we as humans are not designed to be an entity onto ourselves. We have this innate need to connect with all of creation, but more than that we long to be needed, wanted, recognized, appreciated, and most of all loved. When we don’t have these things, we often find ourselves feeling as if we too are alone on a deserted island.
We were born to be a part of each other’s lives, otherwise how would we come to understand what love is, and what good is love if it can’t extend, touch and grow? What good is life without others to share it with, for love is the giving of oneself, and without someone to share love with we may as well be stranded on a deserted island.
I have always been grateful for the people in my life, but I don’t stop often enough to realize how precious is the time they give me. It is after all a portion of they’re life that they will never get back. Our connection to each other becomes a selfless act without any expected intentions. I’m learning that the greatest gift I can give in return is to receive what they have to offer.