Small and Beautiful Things

I am reading more now. The challenge currently remains being able to remember what I read. So, now I have a notebook where I can write things down to help facilitate the memories. I looked through the notebook this morning because I did remember there were things I had written down that spoke to me when I initially read them. This post will be a melding of two thoughts I found in my notebook this morning. The first is from Project Happiness, a site I follow on Facebook.

I hope I never tire of night sky, of thunderstorms,
of watching cream make galaxies in my coffee.
I hope I never grow to be someone who
can no longer see the small beautiful things.

***Project Happiness

And, the second:

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked,
in which you can walk with love and reverence.”
***Henry David Thoreau

Spring has finally come into her own around here. Trees have unfurled their tender, bright chartreuse leaves, red bud, cherry, lilac, dogwood and magnolia are heavy with buds and blossoms. Their heady scents travel on soft breezes and make us inhale and then sigh. A kaleidoscope of birds bicker over the perches on the bird feeders. In the distance the Baltimore Oriole chimes in.

Here and there around our property flowers are beginning to raise their tender heads towards the spring sun. Daffodils, Hepatica, violets, trillium, coltsfoot, toadshade, Solomon’s seal, dog tooth violets, bluebells…….it is a pretty time of year.

So, these two quotes came together for me and here is what they whispered to me:

On whatever path I am given or choose to travel on,  it is important to always walk alongside reverence and wonder. I hope I will never lose sight of the “small, beautiful things” that are on the path my feet, heart and soul walk along.

Even on the uneven and challenging parts of the path, there are reminders of wonder and hope everywhere. In seeing and feeling them, a rough and bumpy patch on the path may seem to not be so long after all. Sights, sounds, sensations cascade over us with delight and wonder.  The fragrance of the lilac carried to us on a soft breeze that caresses our cheek. The song of the warbler that makes us look up to see the yellowy puff ball perched on a branch calling to his partner nearby.

Even when the ground we walk on, the path we are taking becomes tiresome or challenging, there is some small thing, always, that can make the effort so worthwhile and not just unavoidable, or just a necessity. If we can but give ourselves permission to see/ experience these gentle moments with awe, love and reverence, we will find comfort and encouragement.

So it is these days here as I slowly heal, recover and regain myself. The hard parts always hold a thread of hope, promise, encouragement if I can only allow myself to see the offerings as hopeful, inspiring and meet them with reverence and gratitude my walk gains a bounce of lightness and even wonder.

I still need to give myself a pep talk when the day seems to present obstacles and discomfort. I am nudged by birdsong, bright yellows and pinks, and the unmistakable scent of lilacs and my focus and thoughts shift, just like that. It isn’t really work, or hard to do. All I need do is be mindful of these moments and pause long enough for awareness and appreciation to be sensed and brought to the forefront of my thoughts, and then gratitude trickles into my heart and being and I am comforted and calmed even as I stand on a bumpy path.

No matter the path I am walking, chosen or not, I can always strive to walk gently, mindfully, with reverence, even when the way seems foggy or unclear. There will always be a song, a melody, a spoken word, a flash of color or a hint of rain scent or flower perfume to remind me to allow space for wonder, hope, and beauty even as I feel off balance and a little lost.

Let me be clear, I can write these words but struggle in the living of frustrations, sadness, grief, pain just like everyone else. Recovering from this aneurysm has been a challenge and sometimes painful, often uncomfortable, and the final outcome remains a mystery.,

It is too easy for me to wallow in frustration, even anger. I got myself two “mantra” bracelets to help remind me of where my choices lie. Now, during a moment of frustration or resentment I glance at my wrist and find the reminders to take a deep breath and pause to become mindful of the beautiful things I am surrounded by. It helps. When I am grieving and long for pre-aneurysm Kathy, when the future seems unclear, when I have to have yet another painful procedure, when I am too tired to do anything, when I can’t remember what I just read, my bracelets remind me to pause, walk with love and reverence, and there I do see (hear, feel and smell) the small, beautiful things. And with hardly any effort, I turn off the path I am on and go instead along the one lined with love, reverence and a quiet and gentle gratitude for being here, able to experience  this at all.

 

 

New Year Resolution

My hope for the new year is that it be filled with healing. That we have the courage and commitment to every each and every one of us on this earth to look around and see we have to do things differently. For each other. We must do something. I know there is much that is good and beautiful in the world. I see both every day. I feel, see, hear the goodness, the kindness, the beauty. Hopefully I also help to contribute the existence of both. And yet….

I watched some old movies over vacation. From the 40’s and 50’s. I feel, in many ways, we are in the same place with some things. I’m talking about the things that haven’t improved, changed. I’m talking about the same social prejudices and oppression. The same racial profiling. The same stereotyping. We still try to fix things through violence and killing, bullying and punishing. We still live in fear. We still discriminate because of many things. It appears we haven’t gotten very far.

i-am-only-one-but-still

I find the different responses to this blog interesting. There is the group who says, “Wow, so serious. Lighten up. It’s all good. Just let it go.” Another suggests I not be political. There is a smaller group that keeps saying “I am so sorry you are hurting so much.” The largest group says, “Thank you for inspiring me and making me think. Thank you for challenging me.” And, there it is….I hear people don’t want to talk politics, or to be serious. I hear lighten up, EVERYTHING is good…just let go, don’t worry. I hear that “hurting” is sad. I hear I may inspire others.

I will be political because that is what governs us as a whole. So many of us are left behind. Invisible. Ignored. I am serious and I will not lighten up or let go of feeling empathy and compassion for those suffering, in pain and being oppressed and held down. I do hurt and I think that is a good thing, not something  I or others should feel sad about. I care. I hope I do inspire people…even a little bit. Someone said something very powerful to me a little ways back, they said “You make me think about things differently.” That’s all I want to do. You don’t have to agree with me. Just think. Learn something new that doesn’t play into your confirmation biases. I work hard every day to try to check in on these for myself…it is very difficult, but so important.

Now here we are at the dawn of a new year. We’ll celebrate in infinite amounts of ways from drunken stupors to running for life as homes are being bombed. Some will watch a loved one die tonight, while somewhere else a new life will burst forth and cry the air into his or her lungs. Many of us will pause and be grateful. Thankful. Many of us will cry out.

Some of us will light bon fires and throw pieces of the past year into the flames to symbolically release them from our lives for ever. Some will sing and dance and honor Nature. Some of us will make a list including the promise to loose weight, eat better, give up something, make time for ourselves, travel, do something new.

Me? I am going to use this poem to guide me through the new year.

Kiss the Earth

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.

~by Thich Nhat Hanh

My resolution is to use this poem to ground me daily. With every step, to kiss the Earth.

For my action, I will use Thay’s poem as my centering prayer, my chant, as I go through my day. To be mindful of each step. As it kisses the Earth.  To walk with awareness and find and touch peace. To walk with awareness and touch happiness. To bring the Earth my love and happiness combined with concern and care. To work towards all of feeling safe in and with ourselves so the Earth will be safe too.

I am also choosing one word to be my lamp lighting the way through the year. I will carry it with me throughout the day, as a reminder of my intentions.

My word is “open”. My intention is to be open. Open to Empathy. To Compassion. To Truth. To Hope. To the stories of all. To not shut myself off to the suffering and sorrow in the world. To be open. To not turn away. To bear witness.

I’d really like to hear from you. Tell me your hopes for the new year.

As always, a link to what I’ve been reading:  This Week

 

 

“the untrimmable light of the world”

Mindful
by Mary Oliver

Every day
I see or hear
something
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?
I don’t know about you, but everyday I have to work at remembering to look and listen for the things
“that more or less kills me with delight”.
There is so much that distracts me or draws my attention away from being able to see the
” ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.”
So much that is beautiful, wonderful, miraculous is in front of us every day.
If only we would look and listen. We would see and hear.
Gratefully I work with young children who challenge me every single day to look differently, in order to see differently, in order to think differently, in order to understand differently. And in doing so, I am able to witness the common magic of each day.
“It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.”
oregon-sunriseIf we could only remember…this is what we were born for……
What is good, beautiful and true demands we keep our hearts open, our eyes alert, our minds uncluttered. In doing so it becomes possible to turn away and refuse what is wrong and instead work for what is right. To embrace the potential and possibility of goodness, kindness, helpfulness, understanding, compassion….
Instructing ourselves in “joy and acclamation” for all that is part of the untrimmable light of the world.
Do not drown in fear, despair, hate or worry. Look up and around. Most certainly there is darkness and death and violence, war and intolerance. But there too is light, life, love, understanding and acceptance. Rise up allow yourself to grow wise with the delight of the world so that joy and love will win over all else and spread across our world. So that we will learn how to adapt to a world of peace, of having enough for all, kindness, hope, respect….and we will learn how to rise together and always welcome and honor one another.
A four-year old stood in the middle of our circle at group time and announced, unsolicited, that it was time to make a “declaration”. I asked what she meant and she said “We have to pray for peace. We have to hold hands and say ‘I declare peace.’ “
So  we did.
And then we declared kindness.
Then love.
Please vote.
This week’s reading:  This Week