My Favorite Things

I responded to a friend’s internet challenge, to post a list 3 positive things a day. When another friend started as a result of my challenge, I committed to an additional seven.

Here’s the first batch of positive things, and I hope they brighten your day.

josh waiting 1

Day 1:

  1. I’m grateful to my son who mowed the yard even feeling crappy and in intense humidity — it was a pleasure to drive down the street to home.
  2. I’m happy that I knit. I could give all 21 slots with a knitting related post.layout2_r1_c2
  3. I’m with Kim that cats make me smile. The world is better place because of our feline companions.

Day 2: 

  1. My garden has given us fresh tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini, as well as lots of Tomatoesonvine2basil.
  2. I am lucky enough to have a granddaughter.
  3. Evenings are getting cooler in Asheville–so much less need for AC, and more chance for open windows, bird song, and breeze.

Day 3:

  1. machine-bestI appreciate breathing…all through the night. I got a loaner C-PAP machine and sleeping is true rest again. What a joy!
  2. I woke early this morning, and one of the first thoughts was “what am I grateful for?” — I attribute that lovely waking to this challenge, which has re-focused my mind on the positive in life.
  3. I’m grateful for metaphoric and literal “off buttons.” There’s a time to walk away from drama and ugliness (as well as a time to act) and knowing when that it lifts a weight and frees the mind and heart. That’s a miraculous thing.
  4. –Oh, and a bonus 4) — I’m grateful it’s Friday after a good week at work.

Day 4:

  1. beautiful bird croppedBirds — when I step out my back door each time I leave the house, there are always birds there — in the trees and scrub, on the feeder, winging by. Bird song and that exquisite flash of upward wing never fail to make my own spirit soar. What a gift that is, through good and bad times, just a bird can make me smile.
  2. Jon Stewart is always guaranteed to make me laugh. He reminds me (in a good way) of my late husband, Dennis, who also could always make me laugh.
  3. barilla3Good Gluten-Free Pasta is no longer a contradiction in terms. There are several mainstream brands making gluten-free versions and this puts some old favorite dishes back on the menu.

Day 5:

  1. zen051Celebration (1)Friends! I could leave it at that, but especially the unexpected close friendships of adulthood. Good friends laugh and grieve with you, make meals, trade favors, secret jokes, and masses of understanding and acceptance. God Bless Good Friends.
  2. With said friends, we drank a bottle of cheap (3.99) red wine that was good!
  3. There’s a new produce stand in my neighborhood. An enterprising older man from the Islands, or even perhaps Africa (lovely lilting accent, gracious and warm manners) has taken a vacant building and desolate lot over — he’s put up a large roofed area and has tables and tables of beautiful fresh produce. I stopped for the first time yesterday and bought 4 tomatoes for $2! We talked about things for a bit and then he gifted me with a giant organic tomato and wished be a great evening.

Day 6:

  1. I love the way Facebook helps reveal social connections and make them visible in ways I never paid attention to before social media. The spread of this lovely challenge and the interesting variations it has taken fascinate me. Like an old-fashioned game of telephone, spreading the message changes the message and the messenger.telephone game (237x136)
  2. When I stop and think of it, I realized I have been much loved in my life — many of those have left the planet now, but the love doesn’t go away. It lives in me and my memories and I can continue it on by loving others. What beautiful magic that is!
  3. It’s Monday morning and I feel no dread or sorrow or anger at the prospect of going to work this morning and the rest of the week. That’s a blessing — if you’ve ever experienced those feelings in response to work week, you know. It’s also a privilege to have meaningful work in a pleasant setting with good co-workers. It’s one I pray every worker can have. When I center myself around the thought of how blessed I am to have that, I feel the glow of gratitude and joy seep through me and a smile spread across my face.

Day 7:

  1. Gorgeous George

    Gorgeous George

    Pretty much the whole internet agrees with me that kittens and cats are an endless source of fascination: more personality and energy packed in those springy bodies than can be contained, so it leaks out in extreme cuteness and apparent wisdom. When I need to laugh, a silly kitten attacking something harmless with such zeal can always do the trick. And isn’t it great that there’s no prescription cost, or anything….

  2. It’s the last few days of August and I’m not dreading September. Between world events and personal losses, the 9th month had assumed a pretty bad rep in my mind. This year, it’s pretty much just another month — I’m excited to see fall arriving while I mourn the loss of fresh tomatoes and basil. I see the sky lightening in the morning a few minutes later each day. But I don’t want to take to my bed with the covers over me! There’s a song “Wake Me When September Ends” that used to match my feeling, but now it’s just a song again. Since I loved September and its promise of autumn and new starts, I’m grateful to have it back.
  3. Sisters. I have only one official sister, who I love and adore and hope to continue laughing, playing, cooking, knitting, arguing and hugging for decades yet to come. I also have several sisters of the heart that joined my inner family over the years, and they too are a whole bouquet of graces.


With special thanks to Kim for starting me on this, I say with joy, And So It Is.

Revisiting an Old Favorite

Sometimes the important things you read as a teenager or young adult make you wince when you come across them again years later.

I was (big surprise) browsing in an antique store this past weekend and came across an old favorite that didn’t disappoint me forty-five years after I first read it. In fact, I bought the inexpensive framed poster and just need to figure where to hang it. Anyway, I thought I’d share this and see how it strikes others, whether it’s an old friend or a new:

Desideratagreen road

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
woman singingBe yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

brigitTherefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

As always,

Blessings to All

Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789

I have always loved this proclamation. It is uplifting, apolitical, deeply spiritual and patriotic in the best sense. This seems to be my time for posting my favorite historical documents about our first centuries. This is surely one we should know and cherish, yet it barely remember. I only remember it so clearly because of a near-tussle at church during the Reagan years.  I was supposed to read the president’s proclamation as part of our Thanksgiving service and balked at reading what I perceived to be a pretty hollow and hypocritical piece of smarminess. I believe I actually said something to that effect…. I don’t remember who saved the day by pointing out that it was also traditional to pick the first thanksgiving proclamation instead and I wouldn’t be the first Reader to so choose, thus my fondness for George Washington. So…

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be – That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks – for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation – for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war –for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed – for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions – to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually – to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed – to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord – To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us – and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. 

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
GO. WASHINGTON.

May all the myriad blessings of the day lay lightly upon us all…. that we may share with loved ones, succor needy ones, befriend lonely ones, and be compassionate ones. And So It Is.

Got the Blues…

Christmas 2007

One lingering effect from my husband’s death a little over two years ago, is the loss of my love of the Christmas holiday.

Don’t get me wrong, my appreciation for the Christ (Truth) wherever and whenever I find it has not diminished. But the celebration of the Winter Holidays — the traditions: carols, the greens,  the tree, the baking, special holiday movies (I haven’t watched them again yet), making gifts, the sheer delight and burgeoning excitement — all gone.

This year, I’ve felt tiny tickles of it. Like a delicate poke at my side, a whispered, “joy to the world — remember?” from deep inside. I did a little Christmas shopping yesterday, and felt mild pleasure at getting things for people. I feel, what, convalescent?

Perhaps that is all it is. Christmas was a special time for our relationship — as it is for so many, of course. I miss the old Dennis, who entered into it all with enthusiasm. I miss the partner-in-crime at spending too much on Josh. The anticipation of surprise. The shared moments of understanding, of heartbreaking delight. I just miss…

I also trust. Joy always returns, Love is everpresent. Happiness is a choice – or rather, a continuing selection of choices that move us into the shining stream of it. So I’m choosing. Today we’ll get a tree (just a small one to start). Drag out the lights and ornaments.  Ooh and aah over them, select the right one for each spot. Put on the holiday music in the background. Eat the first batch of cookies while we work. I’ll lean into the tingles of joy, the moments of delight. I’ll accept the pain and aching empty of missing. I’ll choose to celebrate, not to mourn. And it will get better and better and better.

Happy Holidays to you … may you have joy and peace in whatever ways you celebrate at this ending of the year

Namaste,

L

“We Gather Together…”

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

I am so grateful for the supportive, funny, insightful, probing, moving, silly, compassionate comments readers have posted over the past year.

I promise to blog more faithfully. I’m also grateful to WordPress for their simple and elegant user interface, to the various blogging sites like ExposeYourBlog, Blogiche, AlphaInventions, and even our imploding friend BlogExplosion, for providing a place to be seen and read, and place to read others’ thought and learn more about this new art of blogging.

So, as you gather for this Thanksgiving Day, wherever you are, alone or companioned, empty or full, “….Sing Praises to His Name, She Forgets Not Her Own” — sing praises, give thanks, raise the roof, commit to change, commit to Love as we turn towards the last month of 2010.

Peace & Blessings,

L

It’s a Tarot Tuesday

Ah yes, Integration. One of the big “I-words” to me. Along with Inner balance, Intention, and Integrity.

I know there are other biggies like these, since we all seem to yearn for the intuition to recognize true inspiration so we can issue an invitation to a more imaginative life.

Bringing it altogether is what this card is all about. I’ll let the Zen Master Osho describe it for me today:

 The conflict is in man. Unless it is resolved there, it cannot be resolved anywhere else. The politics is within you; it is between the two parts of the mind. A very small bridge exists. If that bridge is broken through some accident, through some physiological defect or something else, the person becomes split, the person becomes two persons and the phenomenon of schizophrenia or split personality happens.
 aaa
If the bridge is broken – and the bridge is very fragile – then you become two, you behave like two persons. In the morning you are very loving, very beautiful; in the evening you are very angry, absolutely different. You don’t remember your morning…how can you remember? Another mind was functioning – and the person becomes two persons. If this bridge is strengthened so much that the two minds disappear as two and become one, then integration, then crystallization, arises.
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What George Gurdjieff used to call the crystallization of being is nothing but these two minds becoming one, the meeting of the male and the female within, the meeting of yin and yang, the meeting of the left and right, the meeting of logic and illogic, the meeting of Plato and Aristotle.
 aaa                               Osho Ancient Music in the Pines Chapter 1
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Commentary:
The image of integration is the unio mystica, the fusion of opposites. This is a time of communication between the previously experienced dualities of life. Rather than night opposing day, dark suppressing light, they work together to create a unified whole, turning endlessly one into the other, each containing in its deepest core the seed of the opposite.
aaa
The eagle and the swan are both beings of flight and majesty. The eagle is the embodiment of power and aloneness. The swan is the embodiment of space and purity, gently floating and diving, upon and within the element of the emotions, entirely content and complete within her perfection and beauty.
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We are the union of eagle and swan: male and female, fire and water, life and death. The card of integration is the symbol of self-creation, new life, and mystical union; otherwise known as alchemy.

Enough is Enough

Past Lives

This morning I drew the Osho Zen Tarot “Card for Today” and found myself facing Past Lives.

My first reaction was “yuck!” The visual didn’t attract me nor did the commentary. Then I thought more, and realized the my reaction is partly fear-based. The idea of so much flooding in — all the thoughts and emotions of other selves, other times — seems overwhelming and a little dreadful. 

This life is really enough: enough to manage, enough to savor, enough to learn from. “Enough is enough!” my mother would holler when my sister and I misbehaved sufficiently.

“Enough is enough!” I would complain when life got burdened and messy.  “Enough is enough!” when the bills piled in, the bad events multiplied, and the stress and sorrows climbed.

But, do I ever exclaim, “Enough is enough!” when it’s too much good?  Of course not!

It seems ridiculous to fend off the influx of happiness, health, wealth, love, and joy. Friendships can abound, vitality can burst out, laughter can ring through the house in immoderate hilarity… with no complaint in sight from me.

I face the hard times, the difficult events, the pains and losses of life because I must. Sometimes I wish I could call a halt. I can’t, of course, unless I call a halt to the good, too. 

But of all that sweetness, that  joy and beauty, there’s never too much, but always just enough.  And just enough, is all we need.

Here’s Osho’s wisdom on Past Lives and their meaning for us:

The child can become conscious only if in his past life he has meditated enough, has created enough meditative energy to fight with the darkness that death brings. One simply is lost in an oblivion and then suddenly finds a new womb and forgets completely about the old body. There is a discontinuity. This darkness, this unconsciousness creates the discontinuity.
aaa
The East has been working hard to penetrate these barriers. And ten thousand years’ work has not been in vain. Everybody can penetrate to the past life, or many past lives. But for that you have to go deeper into your meditation, for two reasons: unless you go deeper, you cannot find the door to another life; secondly, you have to be deeper in meditation because if you find the door of another life, a flood of events will come into the mind. It is hard enough even to carry one life….
aaa                                    Osho Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen Chapter 7
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Commentary:  The hands of existence form the shape of the female genitals, the opening of the cosmic mother. Revealed within are many images, faces from other times.
aa
While it might be entertaining to fantasize about famous past lives, it is just a distraction. The real point is to see and understand the karmic patterns of our lives, and their roots in an endless repetitive cycle that traps us in unconscious behavior.
aa
The two rainbow lizards on either side represent knowing and not-knowing. They are the guardians of the unconscious, making sure that we are prepared for a vision that might otherwise be shattering.
aa
A glimpse into the eternity of our existence is a gift, and understanding the function of karma in our lives is not something that can be grasped at will. This is a wake-up call; the events in your life are trying to show you a pattern as ancient as the journey of your own soul.

Just Being

Yesterday I had the privilege of being part of a Native American Pipe Ceremony.

The setting was a beautiful piece of the Blue Ridge Mountains on a breezy Spring afternoon. Every element conspired to raise us all up to a high level of awareness.

We all wandered off to experience the mountain in our own ways — I was drawn to the small pond a little ways from our circle.

I stood by the water, just being: feeling the breeze against my face, the slight moisture from the earlier showers; hearing the high cry of a hawk, the drumming of a woodpecker, the creaking of branches against one another; inhaling the sweet tang of apple blossom; seeing the young reeds dancing in the water ripples. 

Just being: part of it all, feeling it all, loving it all.

What a blessed day!

The Osho Zen Tarot card Experiencing, captures the day perfectly.

You just look around, look into the eyes of a child, or into the eyes of your beloved, your mother, your friend – or just feel a tree. Have you ever hugged a tree? Hug a tree, and one day you will come to know that it is not only that you have hugged the tree but that the tree also responds, the tree also hugs you. Then for the first time you will be able to know that the tree is not just the form, it is not just a certain species the botanists talk about, it is an unknown God – so green in your courtyard, so full of flowers in your courtyard, so close to you, beckoning you, calling you again and again.
a
  aaaaa                 [from] Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 2
 
Commentary:
An “experience” is something that can be filed away in a notebook, or captured on film and pasted into an album. ‘Experiencing’ is the feeling of wonder itself, the thrill of communion, the gentle touch of our connectedness with all that surrounds us.
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The woman in this card is not just touching this tree, she is in communion with it, she has almost become one with it. It is an old tree, and has seen many hard times. Her touch is gentle, reverent, and the white on the inside of her cape reflects the purity of her heart. She is humble, simple – and that is the right way to approach nature. Nature doesn’t bang any drums when it bursts forth into flower, nor play any dirges when the trees let go of their leaves in the fall. But when we approach her in the right spirit, she has many secrets to share.
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If you haven’t heard nature whispering to you lately, now is a good time to give her the opportunity.

The Endless Array

A friend sent me an e-mail asking about for my thoughts on death, questioning the continuation of spirit, and expressing concerns about hell and punishment.

I responded to her the best I could, and wound up afterwards contemplating the endless array of wonders that make up this physical world.

My own beliefs about the spiritual and eternal nature of Life are clear and pretty well set at this point in my life. My ideas about the “what” of that spiritual continuation are very fuzzy, however. The unknown is both exciting and frightening, I suppose. More exciting though, if you believe in possibilities. . .

Today’s Osho Zen Tarot card, then, is Possibilities.

Mind can accept any boundary anywhere. But the reality is that, by its very nature, existence cannot have any boundary, because what will be beyond the boundary? – again another sky. That’s why I am saying skies upon skies are available for your flight. Don’t be content easily. Those who remain content easily remain small: small are their joys, small are their ecstasies, small are their silences, small is their being. But there is no need! This smallness is your own imposition upon your freedom, upon your unlimited possibilities, upon your unlimited potential.a
Osho Live Zen Chapter 2
 Commentary:
a
The eagle has an overview of all the possibilities contained in the landscape below, as he flies freely, naturally and effortlessly through the sky. He is really in his domain, very grand and self-contained.
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This card indicates that you are at a point where a world of possibilities is open to you. Because you have grown more loving towards yourself, more self-contained, you can work easily with others. Because you are relaxed and at ease, you can recognize possibilities as they present themselves, sometimes even before others can see them. Because you are in tune with your own nature, you understand that existence is providing you with exactly what you need.
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Enjoy the flight! And celebrate all the varied wonders of the landscape spread before you.

____________

I’m adding a quick prayer* for my friend: 

I know that the Universe is a loving and vibrant setting for Love and Grace to prevail.

I know that Divine Love guides and guards us as we explore the infinite possibilities of human existence.

I know I am a child of that Divine and Loving Presence who shapes the world, and reflect the glorious possibilities of that beauty and power.

As a beloved child of the Divine I declare the truth that my friend is equally beloved and cherished. That she can open herself to the possibilities of joy and vibrant life. She can embrace the powerful and loving, rather than dwell in the shadows.

She (we all) are inheritors of a glorious and exquisite universe of the senses, the sounds, and tastes of the world. They surround us and uplift us, full of God’s grace, and His/Her endless desire for good, for life, for love. That impulse, even compulsion, toward light and life are in each of us in full, unlimited measure.

Nothing in my thoughts of the thoughts of another can delay, or deny or deter the fullness of this expression of Divine Love in our lives. I know that is Love is in motion — right here and now — working for the good in my friend’s life, and I know this love can overcome any barrier, belief or fear.

Therefore, I release this prayer in joyful gratitude, knowing it is already done.

And So It is.

________

*This prayer is an abbreviated form of Science of Mind Treatment.