Digging For Treasure

We need more sand in the sandbox at the little school where I work. At least that’s what the adults think. The kids don’t seem to really care. Now they are busy digging. Really digging, in hard compacted sand and soil. There are holes and trenches. Many holes are large enough for them to curl up in like a cat ready for nap. Some trenches are long enough that they actually walk in them from hole A to hole B.

My assistant tossed in some “things” a few weeks ago. Some small shells, glass stones, sparkly things.

“TREASURE!!!” came the cry.

treasure(the actual treasure)

Three, four and five year olds came flying to see the discovery! It was like Christmas, or a birthday. Treasure had been found.

After they had collected all the obvious treasure they decided it really would be best to bury it again. They had to dig new holes and not use existing ones, because…well…I’m not sure…

When all the treasure had been buried they were off running and playing something else with complete abandon, confident that their treasure was safe for now.

Days later the group decided to dig up the treasure. Buckets held the shells and glass stones. They became ingredients for cakes, ice cream and soups. Then came the cry, “HEY!!! LOOK at this!!” A child help his open hand up high to show he had found a walnut!


Apparently walnuts are the true gold standard in treasure hunting. The walnut was passed around and everyone looked at it and turned it in their hands.

I want this in my adult life. To be amazed each and every time. To be joyful and totally surprised when I rediscover something forgotten or stored away. I want to know that if something is buried I may or may not find it again, but if I do it will be a treasure. I want walnuts in my life. Small, almost insignificant items that are like the gold standard of awe. I am reminded this kind of treasure I seek  is not always big, showy, of monetary value…it may be small, seemingly unimportant.

The treasure I hope to discover, like the children’s treasure, is usually always known….just put aside and forgotten. I’m hoping to “rediscover” enough, contentment, empathy, compassion, caring, simplicity, slowing down, breathing, joy, awareness, being present, kindness, patience, truth, and me. 

Some days and sometimes these things get away from me. Even the me in me gets lost. I become a robot of sorts, going through the day. Sometimes I feel like there is even a programmed script. So, I am trying to talk less and listen more. I want my words to be meaningful as in the quote to help us THINK before we speak. Are our words ” True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary and Kind”? (there is no agreement as to the originator of “THINK”.)

I hope to bring these things to the forefront of my life again recognizing them as treasures to be shared. I hope that each of these will be like that dusty walnut shell, the gold standard of my humanism.

I don’t need the glittery, fancy stuff. I don’t need to have people think I am important or special. I want to live a life that is grateful and does not take things for granted. I want my days to be filled with sharing  kindness, expressing empathy, showing compassion, caring, slowing down, practicing patience and mindfulness. I hope I can navigate the responsibilities, routines and pressures of each day and hold tight to these treasures, like the children holding the walnut. I don’t want to just be good at remembering these treasures, I want them to be, hope they will be, who I am all the time.

Phone Call From a Three Year Old

A 3 year old called me on the shovel phone in the sandbox the other day. I was talking to another teacher and I heard a little, sweet voice calling out,

“Ding a ling. Ding a ling, calling Kathy. Calling Kathy.”
I quickly reached for my air phone, “Hello. Who’s calling?”
“Me. Rhoda.”
“Hey Rhoda, what’s up?”
“Yes. I have to go for my walk AND I need to go to the grocery. I need more time.”
“Okay. How do you get more time?”
“You give it to me.”
“Oh. Okay. Here. I give you more time.”
“No. I needs LOTSA time. I have to go for my walk AND go to the grocery. That takes LOTSA time.”
“Okay. I give you LOTSA time. As much as you need.”
“Thanks. I’ll call you later. If I have enough time.”

She threw the shovel phone over her shoulder and it landed in a bucket.

She walked away. I hung up my air phone and looked at the other teacher. Both of us were smiling. 

(The bucket she threw the shovel phone into was sitting in a hole left over from excavating for treasure. Treasure like sea shells and sparkly glass stones. Sometimes the kids find a buried walnut. Which is equivalent to gold. In case you didn’t know. Check back next week for this theme in my blog!!!)

How often do you say, or hear someone else say, “I just don’t have time.”? Or, “I need more hours in a day.”? Perhaps it’s the classic “My, time has flown by!” (Interesting mythology on that one: Chronos…an old bald man with wings , hence Time flies!)

creative commons image

(Creative Commons image on Google Images)

How could little 3 year old Rhoda need more time? Of course she doesn’t…she’s role playing, repeating what she hears. It’s clear people in her life are longing for more time.

What do we miss in life as time goes flying by us so swiftly? What would happen if we “could just catch up”? What kind of experiences would we have in life, that we don’t have now, if we caught up to our life, ourselves, time…?

In 2011 a study was done on the Amazonian Amondawa tribe in South America. This tribe had been isolated until 1986 when it was first discovered. They have a different concept of “time”. While they talk about events and sequences of events, they do not have the sense that “time” is something events occur in. No weeks, months or years, no ages. To mark different stages in their lives or status in their community they change their name! A young child will give up his/her name to a newborn and take a new name. There is no construct for an event having “passed”, or being “well ahead” of another. They do not have a concept of time as something that can be measured, counted or talked about in the abstract.

What if we understood time differently? Would we be rushed? Would we lament “Lost time can never be found again.”? Dr. Seuss marveled “How did it get so late so soon?” Ever thought “I’m out of time.”?  Would our self esteem, body image, heck…our image of beauty change if we did not acknowledge age as “getting on in years” but as something different? What would “old age” or “passed their prime” mean? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never have to wish you could “turn back the hands of time”?

Professor Chris Sinha, of the University of Portsmouth writes, “We have so many metaphors for time and its passing – we think of time as a ‘thing’ – we say ‘the weekend is nearly gone’, ‘she’s coming up to her exams’, ‘I haven’t got the time’, and so on, and we think such statements are objective, but they aren’t. We’ve created these metaphors and they have become the way we think,” he adds. “The Amondawa don’t talk like this and don’t think like this, unless they learn another language. For these fortunate people time isn’t money; they aren’t racing against the clock to complete anything, and nobody is discussing next week or next year; they don’t even have words for ‘week’, ‘month’ or ‘year’. You could say they enjoy a certain freedom.”

In 2011 there were fewer than 100 Amondawa living. Most likely their language become extinct as they assimilate into the more modern world and learn the Portuguese language.

Would Rhoda be able to get her walk in and get to the grocery without needing losta more time? What would it be like not to feel like time was flying or worry about getting something done by the deadline next week….no word for week remember? We wouldn’t have to wish for more hours in the day, because neither exist.

Maybe this is a good plug for mindfulness and living in and being present in the moment…?




Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?

There are things you can’t reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree–
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of goldfluttering around the corner of the sky

of God, the blue air.

-Mary Oliver

The very first sentence caused me to hold my breath for a moment. There are times when I feel that is exactly what I am doing: reaching for things I can’t reach, but never giving up. The idea of god is most certainly ones of those things….pretty sure my idea of god (yes, mine has a lower case g) is not mainstream. But I have written about that elsewhere in this blog.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.
Or listening.

For me this is being present in the moment. I have to work at it. I have to put energy into paying attention to the moment and everything it brings. I am able to to find peace of heart and mind, even in the midst of sorrow, turmoil and worry, when I am aware of the one moment that is.

“Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.”

frabel arms open

(Frabel glass)

I learned just his past Friday that if you stand around with your arms open (literally or figuratively) beautiful things come to you. Trust. Love. Joy. Laughter. Beauty. Hope. Innocence. Faith. Wonder. Magic. Compassion. Understanding.

“And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world

At least, closer.

And, cordially.”

When we walk, sit, talk, listen….with our arms open everything comes. Cordially. There is no fear, mis/distrust, uncertainty. Everything comes kindly. Sometimes you have to have the presence of mind to accept it as coming kindly, cordially.

Even as I get so disillusioned with world events, and feel as if the sorrow fills me all the way up, if I can stop and open my arms, and hold them that way, WIDE open, my heart opens and all those things I long for come closer. But they will never continue to come closer if I cross my arms and close my heart in.

I will not stop reaching with my arms wide open for peace, compassion, acceptance, understanding, respect, equality, love, empathy, freedom. nonviolence, unity, enough, generosity, cooperation, hope, dignity, tenderness, softness, humanity, grace, humanness, intimacy, mutuality, partnership, service, gentleness, effort, closeness, community, inclusion, choice, to matter, freedom from fear, freedom from want, tranquility, passion, sense of belonging, freedom from violence.

Will you come and join me, goldfluttering around with arms wide open?


Love Liberates

I missed posting yesterday because I was painting my classroom. I didn’t have to paint it. I wanted to. A friend stopped by and asked why I was doing it and not someone else. I was a little dumb-founded. I was doing it on Labor Day weekend no less, because I love my job, the children I am privileged to teach and the parents who put their trust in me. I was doing it to create a space of beauty, comfort and security for the children and adults who spend their day with me. I did it out of love. It wasn’t even something someone else could do. I had to do it. It came from me.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”
Maya Angelou


Love. It comes down all paths. Through all people.  It crosses oceans. It does not begin just at birth or end at death. Love leaves us sometimes in puddles of tears. It also propels us up seemingly insurmountable mountains. Love opens doors. Sometimes love teaches us that it is time to close one door so that we can open another. But it is always a door to love.

“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious.
The desire to reach hearts is wise.”
Maya Angelou

I. Cannot. Stand. The. Amount. Of. Hate. And. Fear. That. Is. Thrust. Upon. Us. From. All. Sides. These. Days.

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world,
but has not solved one yet.”
Maya Angelou

I cannot stand the phobias. The righteous indignation. The call for war. The call for walls. The call to be armed. The rant of anti Islam, gay, trans-gendered….anti people.

“Love recognizes no barriers.
It jumps hurdles, leaps fences,
penetrates walls to arrive
at its destination
full of hope.”
Maya Angelou

I choose love. And let me tell you, there are people who make it hard to love them.

Maya Angelou talks about love. It liberates. Yes, it does.

Please listen:


One more….shorter:


My door is open. My heart is open.

“In the flush of love’s light, we dare be brave.
And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be.
Yet it is only love which sets us free.”
Maya Angelou