Greeting Each New Day

Wow. I’ve been on a long, winding road of recovery and therapies. Honestly, I never knew very much about brain aneurysms before. Now I do. I’m doing really well. Therapies and therapists have mostly given me back a functioning body. Exhaustion, wobbly balance, a bit of confusion and an unsure memory are still my daily companions, but my arms and legs work!!

I struggle most with impatience and sorrow. I have “lost” so much time in my life. There are things I don’t remember. Even the moments that I know were filled with love and joy…some of them are just gone.

I reached a point where the gratitude of waking up in the morning in my own home and bed, with my sweet husband by my side was tempered with a lingering sadness. “Things” were different and in this case I didn’t feel like different was good. So, I asked Bruce to build me a small table that I could use as a personal “alter”. I draped it with the beautiful silk scarf from the 1,000 Goddess Gathering (information about the scarf from 1000 Goddess Gathering) (Gathering Information) Kwan Yin, the “Goddess of Mercy, One Who Perceives the Sounds of the World” silently keeps watch near by.

On my alter I have a gathering of things of personal and spiritual importance, and a hand drawn, framed picture I did with all the “prayers and blessings”, quotes and poems that have deep meaning to me…..things that help me focus on what matters most to me. I go through my own ritual in the morning that helps to set the tone of my day by focusing on blessings I have already received and reminders of how to walk gently, with humility and compassion through the day. After only a few days even my husband noticed a difference: he said I seemed less anxious, more calm/at peace, open and hopeful.

I haven’t even been able to do a blog post for the past two weeks as my emotions and fears are being so out-spoken. Here I am now, putting out there a very personal post about the spiritual side of me. It has changed me. And I am curious to know if others, you, do a morning routine to help set the course of the day. For me this is different from yoga, which also has a very healing effect on my mind and body. What I am talking about goes to a different place in my being.

Before I get out bed I give thanks: “with a grateful heart I give thanks for another day of loving.”

At my little alter I begin with some breaths. I shake my beautiful raku rattle with a butterfly on it. Lots of symbolism in butterflies and rattles are used in many prayer/spiritual circles to send blessings, prayers on their way. So I breath deeply and shake my little butterfly rattle. It was a tender, thoughtful birthday gift from my husband and children, and I just love it!

rattle

 

I begin with some of my favorite poems and thoughts:

Two poems from John O’Donohue:

May I rest in the silent moments, reach out to share joy and laughter. May I  pause in the moment to see and experience wonder. In this moment and the next, may I remember to give and accept love, to allow and rest in stillness.

May the nourishment of the earth be mine. May the clarity of light be mine. May the flowing fluency of the ocean be mine. May the protections of the ancestor’s be mine. And so, may a slow wind work the words of love around me, an invisible cloak to mind my life.

Then I move into the words of the Navajo Blessing Way prayer: ( here: Navajo Blessing Way) I change out the nouns, sentiments as I am moved to so so.

And then I do the Metta Prayer, sometimes referred to as The Loving Kindness prayer: it includes saying the prayer for yourself as well as others who touch your life.

prflg_gr_metta

And this: “Hamsa”

Let no sadness come to this heart. Let no trouble come to these arms. Let no conflict come to these eyes. Let my soul be filled with the blessings of joy and peace.”

There are a few more words, prayers/poems I say, sending love and kindness out to others and the world.

I quietly set intentions for the day :  charity, sharing, taking care of others. I breathe deeply , letting go of any feelings of anger, resentment, disappointment, jealousy, fear.

Breathing in I calm my body. Breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Sometimes I do a few yoga poses or dance! to ground myself.

This is obviously all very personal and relevant to me, but perhaps not you. That’s okay.

This has been important to me on this path of healing and wellness….I am reminded about the many blessings I receive daily and reminded to see myself and others in a gentle light.

I will add this: while I would never wish this on anyone as it has been scary and difficult, I do understand that I have grown in ways I would not have otherwise grown. By necessity and peace of mind I have had to make friends/peace with my own pain/suffering, sadness, fears, loss and grief. I have learned to be open to being cared for and taken care of instead of being the one to do those things.  I have practiced over and over asking for what I need and not feeling like I am being a pest or bothersome. I have had to ask for help in tending to personal care and learn that it is neither embarrassing to ask for help, nor is it a failing or weakness. It just is. I have had to let go of wanting things to be a certain way, because they are not going to be. The house doesn’t always get cleaned up the way I want, but it is clean. The dishes and laundry get done and the floor gets swept, mopped and vacuumed. I have to graciously refrain from some things (driving, showering when no one is home, using the stars, going outside when no one is home) for safety reasons and abide by those things with a measure of gratitude rather than frustration  because I know they are in place because of love and concern over my safety and well being.

With a sense of awe and gratitude I have become very aware of the depth of the love and care friends and family hold for me. And my doctor who has made house calls to care for me! They are the “village” it is taking to heal me. ( Like: “It takes a village to raise a child.”) They are the friends and family who drive me places and to appointments, sit with me at home while Bruce works, plant my vegetable garden, take the cat to the vet, bring food, send story tapes over, play board games, set up baking days with me, come to my home to do yoga and embodiment with me, go grocery shopping for me, rub my feet, clip my toenails, scratch my back, help me in and out of twisted shirts and dresses, tie my shoes, call to ask if I’m okay in this heat, tend to me, asked and unasked, in a hundred ways, with full hearts and joyful smiles . They dry my tears and give me hugs. I am humbled. I take none of this for granted. I am overwhelmed and over flowing with love and kindness.

So, as each new day rises up and my sleepy eyes open I give deep thanks for not only medical care, therapists and help around the house, but for being loved. Surely, it is a gift and a blessing to be loved to the depth I experience.  And that is why I also include a prayer of gratitude for being given another day of loving. I get to give love back!!

Thank you sweet family and friends, for supporting me on this journey with so much love and tenderness. I am blessed to sit in front of my alter and reflect on all of this.

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That Which Is Timeless

First of all, salutations to all mothers and mother figures and women with the heart of a mother. Today is the day someone decided we should make sure to appreciate these women in our lives…..but I hope your love and respect for these women shines upon them every day.

mom and me mother's day

My mom holding me.

Today as I look out the window I see Nature is cloaked in chartreuse, the first color of spring. Although I have music on in the background I can hear the bird song. In these observations comes the gentle reminder of being grateful. Sometimes we have to make a conscious effort to remember the many blessings in our lives. Even the blessings that aren’t quite blessings yet because we are struggling with accepting them a little bit. Sometimes the reminder is a full on encounter as in the chartreuse colors. I couldn’t ignore it if I tried.

I have spent many hours and days in the company of gratitude—-recovering/healing seems  with brighter with the light of gratitude shining on it. It is a soft glow, but it is enough to wake up the over active monkey mind that sometimes puts blinders on so that the obvious is not always seen. In coming into these memories we have and apply the filters of  gratitude, prayer and blessings. We may experience a very tender softness in the perhaps quiet moments of an awareness of these. A space of renewal and comfort. We may feel the gentle rhythmic beating of our heart and be reminded that our body blesses us by beating regularly with no reminders from us. We are taken care of by a whisper quiet process with no extra thought on our part. In these moments we take a deep breathe and experience the gratitude we have for these things. In these pauses of gratitude we may also find ourselves coming into awareness of other things which bring joy, blessings, gratitude, mystery to our lives.

Who would think that recovering from and aneurysm would bring so many of these pauses of awareness? But here they are, sitting with me. There are numerous times during the day, and even at night in dreams, where this awareness whispers to me. Just softly enough that I have to pay attention and focus on what message I am receiving. Within this, it comes to me that this awareness is not the end of the message. The rest of the message is to go further. It whispers “Stop and taking a deep breath, open your heart up, see that the whole planet, and everything on it, is holy.”  The message gives voice to the desire that wants to bring the awareness of these beautiful reminders to everyone I  meet. In  making and taking the time to find or return to this soft whispering regularly, I  remember this is life fulfilling its promise to me. The mystery of grace is heard in these quieter moments.

In the quiet of sitting here now and letting the memories bubble up I think of my mom. I can hear her voice and see her beautiful auburn hair and remember how I loved to brush it for her. Like all of us, she had joys and sorrows. Sometimes the sorrows spilled out and her hurt became ours too. Today I reflect on what it has been like for me to be a mother, and as I honor who my children are, I find myself thinking of my mom and believing she knew my love for her as I knew her love for me. Perhaps not always patient or perfect, but full none the less.

So, on this mothers day I will make time and space in my day for the quiet and listen. And perhaps this will give birth to a stronger sense of community and our interconnected-ness to each other and the planet. Blessings are all around us, and if in the pause we can see, feel and acknowledge them, perhaps our own bubble of life will be brighter, softer and lighter. Perhaps we can rejoice in the understanding that we are not alone, that we matter just as other person matters. Maybe we will find a new gentleness that allows us to open our hands up in friendship, care and concern.

In my quiet times of healing I do a lot of thinking. I am here because a “medical village” cared for and about me. (As in “It takes a village to raise a child.”) I was not ignored, not left alone, not cared about. I was cradled in the deep love of family and friends. I was treated, bathed, fed, provided for, by a legion of people I didn’t know.

And yes, there are times I am impatient with the slowness, or what seems to me to be slow recovery. Yet, even on the most frustrating days, in those moments of pause I am reminded that there is so much to be grateful for and to ask for the peace of heart and grace to always have a sense of these blessings and to remember that I too can be open to hearing and sensing the needs of others and in reaching out through my own experiences, I will become one of the builders of community. And like my recovery, I may not always have clear sight of the community that is being created, but if I can remember to pause to hear the softer whispering, I will understand that connecting to others in big or small ways, is community building and it matters.

Gratitude is timeless. It is eternal and everlasting. It’s always there, but sometimes we have to be nudged into opening the door for it and to welcome it in to our lives and make room for it. The more we acknowledge it and make room for it, the more often it will come around. And just like the chartreuse, the first color of spring, we will welcome gratitude with open arms and generously share it with others in the bonds of community.

Encircled Fully

“When we pay attention to nature’s music,
we find that everything on the Earth contributes to it’s harmony.”
Hazart Inayat Khan

butterfly world

by Kathryn Beggs Howlett

I woke up this morning to Nature’s music, bird song. The Baltimore orioles with their bright orange, sang to welcome the rising sun. It was comforting and peaceful and the feeling was one of harmony and an awareness of cycles. The world engages in a beautiful dance all the time.

There is a beautiful chant/song based on the Navajo  I sing with my preschoolers, we call it, “May There Be Beauty in Front of Me”. It’s real name is the “Blessing song”.

Walking in Beauty: Closing Prayer from the Navajo Way Blessing Ceremony
In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again
Hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shideigi hózhóogo naasháa doo
T’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa doo
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me
I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.
I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.
I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.
In beauty all day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With dew about my feet, may I walk.
With beauty before me may I walk.
With beauty behind me may I walk.
With beauty below me may I walk.
With beauty above me may I walk.
With beauty all around me may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
My words will be beautiful…

dancing hoop girl

Dancing girl by KBH

 

I Walk in Beauty Libana

Walk In Beauty 

Whether sung or chanted or simply remembered, these words are powerful…..as we walk through our day, be aware of the beauty of the connections in life. The things that bring us life, love, awareness…walk in beauty with love for all.

This morning before I opened my eyes, listening to the Baltimore orioles, I remembered these words. Within the circle of these words I lay wrapped in love, resting in comfort and security, the sun just risen, the smell of freshness coming in through the open windows and I felt deep in my bones the desire and commitment to walk in beauty today……to be aware of it all, before me, behind me, above me, below me, all around me.

I found a variation on this chant that is equally as moving:

Looking behind I am filled with gratitude,
looking forward I am filled with vision,
looking upwards I am filled with strength,
looking with I discover peace.”
~Sukhraj S. Dhillon

In recovery from a ruptured aneurysm, I have to be very mindful to carry these words into my life every day. It’s too easy to get lost in my head and lose sight of the moments of beauty, gratitude, peace, vision, hope, and joy that I walk next to every day. We are always step by step together if I can only remember to lift my head and my eyes up and forward. Then I not only see, but understand that I am always encircled fully by love, gratitude, vision, strength, peace, hope, beauty and so much more. There is a harmony that is truly ever more balanced than I can always understand.

There are gold finches at the bird feeders, looking in through the window singing and chirping. They bring a smile to my face, and a flutter to my heart and a sigh with my breath…..beauty all around me. No matter what I may think or feel at any given moment, if I can only pause, I find I can regain the feather lite balance between “this Moment” and with “Beauty. ”

I still have to use a map to stay on this road and not get lost. There are many forks in the road and not enough road signs with arrows directing me or information to let me know I am, in fact, on the right road. But, I sense that I am. I need only trust the way and keep my awareness awake.

Deep Gratitude

“Every moment presence shows me that I am already home
and I am so deeply grateful for this gift of love.” unknown

quote

Some days bring more contentment than others. I find that the feeling is softer and more  flowing if I am able to be internally still and quiet. In this space I do feel as if I am at home within myself and I become filled up with love.

“Home” is where we can take off the cloak of whatever we wear to get through the day, and we can relax into the stillness that wraps us up in a soft blanket of love. As concerns and worry also relax into this warmth we settle in to our “home”. “Home”  in the sense of the place where we can feel nurtured and safe. The place within us where we let everything fall away so that only the essence of our heart’s contents remain.

In this space of stillness and contentment the ups and downs of the day, the swing of emotions, the voices of doubt, fear, desire and worry come into balance with presence, stillness, gratitude, and “enough”.

Personally, I have to decide to go to this place, to let go of whatever I am holding on to and wallowing in. I have to put my trust in to something I can not even explain.  Sometimes it is difficult to trust the step towards gratitude and contentment because it often feels so elusive and unattainable. In fact, once the footing is made, it is not difficult to pause in the stillness of this place and breath deeply and rest there in the internal stillness. The something that fundamentally believes this moment is enough and full, lacking for nothing. It is difficult some days to be able to get there. It is nested within gratitude. Here I find big and little blessings in life and giving them the room they deserve to be powerful and worthy of being the shift in what I see and how I feel in the moment.

This one moment is what is. The memory I have of something different may be sweet and bring a smile to my face, but when the memory is replaced by a current event: the cat throwing up, the kitchen timer going off, the mailman knocking at the door, it may not even linger as a memory.

So today my Sunday day of rest is begun with a deep exhale and finding some stillness where I am able to reflect on the blessings I am gifted every day.  While there is no brightly wrapped box, the emotions are just about the same. Anticipation, discovery and gratitude.

This isn’t always easy for me, but I do have a very organic feeling that the awareness and effort does make a difference. A few moments of gratitude seem to be able to soften any negative thought or feeling as the perspective changes from what is lacking to what is.

Even within the challenges of recovering from an aneurysm there are places where it is possible to pause and change the perspective. Yes, recovery is hard work, sometimes even challenging.  Yet, it is possible to find the one spot where there is balance, even if it is fleeting. That sweet spot where gratitude tames restlessness and desire. Where the longing for being or doing something different detours to the scenic overlook where the simple act of being in this one spot allows for a wider panoramic view.

We may look back and longingly wish we could return to what we believe to be the most beautiful thing that ever happened to us, but in looking behind us we may miss the most most beautiful thing right in front of us. Maybe? I believe so.

Spring is in the air here in the Northeast. The light is different. The birds are singing more. The deer and other wildlife are scouting for food. I am recovering and experiencing deep gratitude that I am stronger than I know, and have more opportunities to hug those I love so dearly.

Enjoy your Sunday.

 

 

 

Waterfalls From Heaven

I feel differently when I am outside. I think differently. I see differently. I hear differently. I smell things differently. I feel the air around me differently.

I change. I slow down. Calm down. I shed wants and unknown fears.

Nature heals.

Our part of NYS was in a pretty bad drought last year. There was briefly talk of having to truck water in to our community.

About 20 minutes from my home is a narrow, 215 foot waterfall. Not tall by some standards, but still beautiful. During the drought, the water stopped. The waterfall had become just a cliff. The thundering water was silenced. The mist vanished.

This spring we have had rain. And rain. We are now in a flood warning. Our lake is high, yards and homes are flooded.

Easter morning we walked the gentle trail to our waterfall, Taughannock Falls. The water was flowing.

easter taug4

Taughannock, photo by me 4/16/17

The mist purified and baptized me in a way no organized dogma could. The thunder of the raging water muffled noises in my head of worry, fear, doubt. I could smell the scent of the earth, damp, decaying and, also, alive. I focused on the force and power of the milky water launching off the side of rock cliff that was too old to comprehend. Somewhere in those rocks and cliffs are fossils of life from ancient sea beds.

The Waterfall at Lu-Shan

Sunlight streams on river stones.
From high above, the river steadily plunges–

three thousand feet of sparkling water–
the milky way pouring down from heaven.

Li Po

Surely our little waterfall is a tiny bit of the milky way pouring down from heaven. Heaven reaching down towards Earth. A reminder of things inter-connected. A reminder to seek beauty and tread lightly. A reminder to look up in wonder and awe at the stars in the universe. A reminder to look all around this biosphere called Earth with humility and and respect, gentleness and stewardship. A reminder to live in moderation and care, balance and understanding. A reminder to pause in gratitude and appreciation for our Mother Earth and all the life she supports.

**It’s spring!! That means Earth Day, marches and standing up to protect the only home we have: Earth. Here are some readings to ponder This Week

 

 

The Open Heart of Gratitude

“To love in the face of fear is bold.
To love in the face of hatred is courageous.
To make the choice to love even more deeply
and widely in the face of moments of anguish
is a heroism of the heart that may be our only hope to heal this world.”
Kristi Nelson

So much going on in the world. So much pain and violence, Hatred and fear. I am struggling with a deep sense of sadness. I am reaching and stretching towards what I know is bold and powerful: love.

Ultimately I know deep in my soul that I will always make the choice to be vulnerable, broken and heart broken, lost, afraid, humbled by the profound power of love rather than allowing myself to be closed off to love…I will not shut it out and allow hate and fear to take over.

I am one. It may not sound like much in a world of billions. Still, I will always stand up to fear and hate. I will always speak out in love, with compassion and always search inwardly for empathy towards others. I am one. But I am ONE MORE.

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once,
but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.

~ Clarrisa Pinkola Estes

I do not live in bubble or vacuum. There are many things I can do that will have a positive impact on the part of the world within my reach. And I believe, further. Many of them require me to look honestly at myself and to re-educate myself to correct the inaccuracies I was taught. I challenge the thoughts and beliefs I was exposed to. It is okay to have to re-visit, re-think, process and revise.

“What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts,
adding, adding to, adding more, continuing.
We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace,
but only a small, determined group
who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
~Clarrisa Pinkola Estes

Accumulation of acts by a determined group. People who will not give up.

“One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do
to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit
and willing to show it.”
~Clarrisa Pinkola Estes

I feel humbled by my list of things in my life to be grateful for. Mostly the same list I take for granted.  Not intentionally, but out of privilege. Yes, there it is. Privilege.

It doesn’t feel good. Yet, I am so grateful for this feeling. It is bringing me to an open door where I can turn around and see things from the perspective of others. Through the door I can begin the re-education of my heart. I can walk towards the opportunity to gain understanding. An opportunity to grow,  to evolve. I will accept the challenge to open my eyes.

I say this with full humility. I say this with determination. I am humbled and sometimes deflated by the struggles in the world. By the pain inflicted on one person by another. By the realization that there is a cloak of invisibility we throw over those we do not understand, are afraid of, don’t care about, who are different from us. Over people we judge.

This is the season of Thanksgiving. A holiday that needs to shed the untruths of the glamoured up version of history. All you have to do is look at what is happening at Standing Rock to understand what was set into motion in 1621.

How about in honor of being able to feel gratitude for things in our life we work for change, for understanding, for tolerance, for love. How about we learn something new? About abortion, or poverty, or racism (internalized, interpersonal,institutional and structural), or implicit bias, or conformation bias, or Islam, or food stamps, or why consent matters, or about sexuality and what it really means, the facts about incarceration and how it affects the poorest and most vulnerable. How about we learn the truth of the effort to dehumanize Native Americans from the first Thanksgiving. How about we learn about Others?

You know, I can’t live up to these goals all the time. I get lost in my own ego and personal struggles. I get mad, feel anger, get hurt. Underneath all that I know there are so many millions of people who suffer so deeply from so many different things….and that puts so much into perspective.

cbe-hiSo this Thanksgiving season I will gratefully spend time with my husband and children, eat a nice meal we all work on together. And for things I particularly feel grateful for I will commit to learning about how I can help others have those same things. And I will learn why I have to help them…what is standing in their way to healthy food, a job, health care, a home, protected rights, education, a safe neighborhood,………..it’s a long list.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful that I have made a decision to care. To open my eyes. To open my heart. To become educated. To understand I have a personal responsibility to bring a little bit of good into the parts of the world that are within my reach.

in-this-house

Check out this week’s readings: This Week

It Rained This Morning

We are in the middle of a serious drought here in central NYS. This morning I awoke to the soft pattering of rain.

There are the folks who say “Uh oh climate change.” The “others” say “Good thing it’s just weather.”

Lenses. We all look through lenses. Rosey colored ones. Dark colored ones. Clear ones. Lenses that help us make up our mind and decide if it is weather or climate change.

I lay in bed, eyes closed, no lenses in use. Just listening.

rainThen the lenses popped on. “Oh, we need this rain! This great! Rain Rain Rain!” and in the other breath, “Crap. There go the plans for the day.” Both understandable. Both true. After actually opening my eyes the lens that was now focusing was the clear one. “I am glad to have my daughter home. Her friends are so fun! Maybe it will just be a relaxing day playing games and eating good food.” All lenses focused on different, real points of view. I just had to choose which one to look through.

Every morning I make a point of taking a few very deep breaths. Slow and long. Pulling in the fresh, clean air and exhaling the stale, depleted air. I try to take a few minutes to get grounded for the day. My thoughts are not so different from the ones at night. Focusing on gratitude and compassion. I always give time to remember how many people are suffering in this world and as in the Buddhist doctrine, pray for all living beings to be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

And I never, ever forget a wish for peace in the world:rain bells

Prayer For Everyday For All Creation

Let us see one another through eyes
enlightened by understanding and compassion.

Release us from judgment so we can receive the stories
of our sisters and brothers with respect and attention.

Open our hearts to the cries of a suffering world
and the healing melodies of peace and justice for all creation. 

Empower us to be instruments of justice
and equality everywhere.

~Collectively authored by Millionth Circle Initiative,
5th World Conference on Women & Circle Connections.

 

I choose to look through the lens of understanding and compassion. It could easily be anger and fear. Or, longing and desire. Or, day dreams and wishes. Or, judgment and blame.

I want to understand. I want to be compassionate. I strive to be released from judgment and grow understanding instead. I try to hear the real life stories of people who live life similar to mine as well those whose lives are unimaginably and fundamentally different from mine. I strive to grow respect over ridicule. And to hear. Always to listen and hear and never become deaf. I try to use the clear lens, but sometimes I forget and the judgment and comparison begin. Anxiety may arise. I may even begin to turn or look away.

Anyway. I am grateful for the rain. I obviously can’t make it rain or choose where it will fall. I know it is needed, that it is helping to refresh, feed and cleanse the world…..even if it is just this little part of the world right now. And I know I don’t have any kind of power like that, but I do have power and choice. I choose ever day to help the next generation learn what conversation and communication is. I help them understand the power of their words. Words that can hurt, deflate, cause fear or pain. Words that mock and humiliate. And words that can ask to be forgiven, heal, comfort, uplift. And you know what? These very young children learn this and they grow and they become compassionate, forgiving, and uplifting to their peers. One mother told me her 3-year-old talked her through a panic attack by helping her do mindful breathing.

It is a small but effective thing I do. But it matters. Just like this small amount of rain. I can pray my prayers and send my wishes of goodwill out into the world all day long. If I do not take some form of action I feel I am in part responsible if those prayers do not seem to be heard and answered, if the good wishes and kind intent seems to never go very far or anywhere at all.

In this world today with all the contentious and combative words, with all the posturing and flexing, with the all hatred that seems so much more fashionable than forgiveness, with fear that seems to be filling some of our lives rather than hope, all our lenses become covered with dust. When the rain falls near you, and cleans and refreshes your little bit of earth and washes the dust of uncertainty and fear off your heart, and fills you up again, which lens will you choose to dust off and put on, to walk out into the fresh and new day?