I was reading a wonderful article in my “Country Garden” magazine by Margaret Roach called “Sparrows.”
It wasn’t the particular title that caught my eye although I do love sparrows. It was the quote she wrote below it: “A busy life with a long to-do-list means some of the smallest things go unnoticed–but those small things can teach us big lessons.”
Sometimes I can’t even get to the task at hand because I’m too busy putting things on my to-do-list. Then onto the business of figuring out how I’m going to get them all done.
She goes on in the article to say; “If I could only slow down and be still someday, I’d (—-fill in the blank).” And I’m thinking to myself, I’m retired. I don’t have to do this or that if I don’t really want to. As a matter of fact I’m the one who writes about being in the moment all the time.
Sometimes having a snowy day where we can’t do much of anything else gives us the opportunity to slow down and ask ourselves that very question, what could I do?
I picked my magazine up because I’d been wanting to read it for a while. I opened it to this article first thing, and in this small gesture I got a reminder lesson on the more important things in life. All we have exist within our untamed moments, and if we’re too busy cluttering our thoughts with things to do later, we miss out on what life has to show and offer us…in the now.
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” -Pema Chodron
I love painting pictures with my words. It starts when I’m trying to figure something out. I visualize what I’m thinking in an animated or metaphoric way that helps me make sense of it. So, what is my carpet bag of baggage?
It’s a rug big enough to fit all the stuff I’ve collect along the various journeys of my-life. It’s an ugly carpet, full of untruths, most of them having to do with my self-esteem. It’s all tied together with the black rope of fear. I’m so used to carrying it around that I don’t even feel how much it’s weighing me down most of the time. It’s in those moments when I’m paying attention to life that it falls off my shoulder. It’s a wonderful feeling as if I’ve sucked in some helium and I’m floating right above the ground. And I wonder why it can’t be like this all the time.
When the black rope of fear sees me happy it starts to untie itself around the carpet. Moving like a snake. Fear knows I’m afraid of snakes. It’s the way it gets my attention. As the carpet bag begins to slowly open all the dreadful demeaning voices jump around shouting me, me, me pick me. All it takes is for me to believe one demeaning thought of worthiness, and I’ll find myself standing upon the rug that fear uses, to pull the joy right out from under me.
But I’m seeing a little clearer now. They say, you have to see what needs changed, before you can change it. As the quote says about, “nothing goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” I’m learning one thing for sure, that as big as fear looks, what lies on the other side of it is majestic.
Today I went back to place I lived in Philadelphia. I haven’t seen since the day I ran away in 1968. That’s 50 years ago. It was an institution in Philadelphia called Stenton Child Center. My younger sister and I were supposed to feel fortunate that we were in such a nice place. Most of the places the state provided for abandon children were pretty run down. There is no place on earth that could be better than being with your own family no matter how difficult things are at home.
I didn’t know how I would react when I actually saw it. As we began to approach I felt only a moment panic, that quickly turned to curiosity. I couldn’t believe how much it looked the same after all these years. The memories so fresh in my mind and stories yet to tell. I couldn’t go inside because it’s now a shelter for homeless families, but I was okay with that because I felt like the monster it represented in my mind for so many years no longer had a hold on me.
On my way home I wondered about how this applies to what I wrote about yesterday in relation to place of shifting I find myself. Of all the different places I’ve been, this was by far the worst ground I’d ever worked in my life. But it’s also yielded the most growth in my life. It was a time of planting, growing, and nurturing. It was full of many cultivating opportunities that could have yielded many weeds, but instead continues to teach and bear much fruit.
I am not only in the winter of the season, but nature teaches another lesson in my life, that I am in the winter of my shifting cultivation. A time to rest, re-evaluate, contemplate, let go and chill out on a icebergs going with the rivers flow.
I ran across the word gestating in an article I was reading. I never heard it being used in relation to the mind so I was prompted to look it up. Gestate means to carry in the uterus during pregnancy. Ok I thought, that’s where I’d heard it before. However, it also means to conceive and gradually develop in the mind. Wow! I thought. What a great analogy to use in reference to the conception and development of both body and mind. The food we ingest during pregnancy contributes to the unborn child’s physical development. In the same way, our thoughts feed our mind slowly, one thought building upon another. Eventually they both become too big to contain, and the need to come forth and express what they’ve become burst into being. Just as a new life is created so to do our thoughts create, and just as new life affects the world it comes into, so do our thoughts affect the world. So just as we wouldn’t feed the unborn child the kind of food that could harm it. We should be mindful of the thoughts we feed into our mind. In both cases what we feed our body and mind plays an important part in how we choose to live our life.
So, what’s gestating in your mind?
I looked up at the sky this morning seeing the moon as if halfway here, and halfway there. I’m reminded as my day begins that I can choose to see this or that it will all depend on the conscious effort I make to see what life has to show me today.
Whether it’s a crack, splinter or wrinkle in time these are the moments created for us to stop right where we are, and peek through the openings. Why do things have to break, hurt and get messed up before we see what’s been there all along? We build these invisible walls without much thought as we go about our days unconsciously. We don’t even have to wait for bad things to happen to get our attention, all we have to do is lift the veil that covers our clarity like a curtain at a window that distorts our view. Have you ever peered through a whole in a broken pane of glass? Looking as if you are seeing from a better perspective. There is nothing different to be seen than what was there before it broke, and if you simple make the effort to walk to the other side of the window there is a world of unlimited things to be seen, learned, and discovered. I don’t know about you, but I sure do make things much more difficult than their meant to be in my life simply because I don’t take the time to do what’s in my best interest. So today I’m making a conscious effort to lift the veil on my own and maybe even move beyond it by stepping through some of those openings. Then not only will I have the opportunity to see what they have to show me, but even better experiencing it with every part of my being.
Silence is one of the golden threads in the tapestry of our friendship.
Mindfulness is the needle that weaves the threads of thought together.
How we think,listen and respond determines how bright our friendships shine.
God is my creator and He made me the Captain of my own ship.
I am a mass of accumulated thought.
Like a magnet my feelings attract,
pulling all it collects within.
My dreams become my desires.
My desires pull forth my intention.
My intentions decide the direction
of my sum total.
It is in this final accumulation
that I find myself.
I exist within my own created reality.
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Monday always seems to get a bad rap. So many start their week thinking that they can get through it if they put their focus on the upcoming Friday. It feels as if it can’t get here soon enough. In the meantime between today and Friday there is 345,600 seconds, 5760 minutes, 96 hours, 4 days of life wasted thinking about what’s up ahead. It’s not just the working class that this applies to. Even people like me who are retired can get caught up in what’s coming up down the road. What guarantee do we have that we’ll even be here tomorrow or an hour from now for that matter?
Everyday is a gift and an opportunity to use the power of our thoughts to create the kind of life we want. Sometimes we have to do what we don’t want to in order to get to the place we want to be. It can only happen by changing our thoughts and becoming the change we want. That happens in the minutes, the seconds and slivers of time in between. As Eleanor Roosevelt points out, with each new day comes new strength and new thoughts to create the kind of day we want. So let’s work at being more mindful. As I work at this practice myself it’s taught me how to enjoy every moment I’ve been blessed with. In turn giving my life more purpose.
I’m learning how the things I think, read, entertain and focus on have a lot to do with basically everything in my life. My mind is like a magnet and whatever I think about I draw to myself, whether it be a positive or negative outcome. A great example for myself is when I get caught up in the politic retoric going on. Once I entertain the thoughts the magnet starts to pull forth all the negativity that’s swirling around in it. I begin to feel the grab of its pull, and once it’s attached itself to me I want to know more even though deep down inside I know I don’t want to feel the way it makes me feel. I’m searching for something good where no good can be found. So I have to turn it off, stop reading about it, stop talking about it and change my thinking about it. Then and only then can I begin to attract something better by focusing on the things I can do for the greater good of myself because then I become a reflection for the greater good of all.
Sleeping under the stars
“We’ve never experienced this very moment before, and the next moment will not be the same as the one we are in now.” -Pena Chodron
I’ve been sleeping propped up on the couch for the past few nights since my surgery. Our couch sits up against the big bay window in our living room. As I can only lay on my back to sleep right now it gets a little uncomfortable through the night. At some point I opened my eyes to get resituated, but I couldn’t move because of what I saw. It was as if I was sleeping outside under the stars. The sky was clear, the moon was almost full, and the stars were shining extra bright, at least they looked that way to me. I would have never been able to see this view from inside my house if I hadn’t been laying at the angle I was. It’s funny how one little open door of awareness can open us up to all the things around us we have blocked out. Suddenly I was aware of the cool fresh air coming in the corner windows, and the sounds of the summer night as if in full concert mode. Between the sight, sound and fresh clean air I felt like I’d been given a glimpse of heaven. It was a captured moment in time in which all else was forgotten. There was no pain or discomfort and after a while I fell back to sleep forgetting why I woke up in the first place. Every mindful moment like this seems to build on top of the other for me. Through this whole ordeal I’ve been able to find a way to see something better than my condition, and it’s had an amazing effect on my healing so far. I don’t question anymore where it come from. I know it comes from the grace of God, and all it takes is a moment of awareness to tap into.