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.

Advertisements

Pre-Turkey Day Tarot Tuesday

Happy Thanksgiving to all….

Pondering gratitude led me back here to my blog.

I’ve been so gratified that people like my writing, and moved by some of the comments I’ve received, both on the blog itself and “live,” as it were.

In spite of the connotations the Pilgrims have come to have for me as an adult (destroying the indigenous population, repressive views, misogynist beliefs and destruction of the habitat — to name a few things), the concept of gathering together to feast and give thanks remains a beautiful one, worthy of honor.

So I honor gratefulness itself today, and will let Osho Transformation Tarot share its wisdom on this subject. This is a different deck from the same folks to produce the beautiful Osho Zen deck. Very different, but lovely in its own way.  Here’s gratitude:

A night without lodging

The moment one is capable of feeling grateful for both pain and pleasure, without any distinction, without any choice, simply feeling grateful for whatsoever is given… Because if it is given by God, it must have a reason in it. We may like it, we may not like it, but it must be needed for our growth.

Winter and summer are both needed for growth. Once this idea settles in the heart, then each moment of life is of gratitude. Let this become your meditation and prayer: thank God every moment–for laughter, for tears, for everything. Then you will see a silence arising in your heart that you have not known before. That is bliss.

The first thing is to accept life as it is. Accepting it, desires disappear. Accepting life as it is, tensions disappear, discontent disappears; accepting it as it is, one starts feeling very joyful–and for no reason at all!

When joy has a reason, it is not going to last long. When joy is without any reason, it is going to be there forever. It happened in the life of a very famous Zen woman. Her name was Rengetsu…. Very few women have attained to the Zen ultimate. This one is one of those rare women.

She was on a pilgrimage and she came to a village at sunset and begged for lodging for the night, but the villagers slammed their doors. They were against Zen. Zen is so revolutionary, so utterly rebellious, that it is very difficult to accept it. By accepting it you are going to be transformed; by accepting it you will be passing through a fire, you will never be the same again. Traditional people have always been against all that is true in religion. Tradition is all that is untrue in religion. So those must have been traditional Buddhists in the town, and they didn’t allow this woman to stay in the town; they threw her out.

It was a cold night, and the old woman was without lodging, and hungry. She had to make her shelter underneath a cherry tree in the fields. It was really cold, and she could not sleep well. And it was dangerous too–wild animals and all. At midnight she awoke–because of too much cold–and saw, in the night sky, the fully-opened cherry blossoms laughing to the misty moon. Overcome with the beauty, she got up and bowed down in the direction of the village, with these words:

Through their kindness in refusing me lodging I found myself beneath the blossoms on the night of this misty moon… She feels grateful. With great gratitude she thanks those people who refused her lodging; otherwise she would be sleeping under an ordinary roof and she would have missed this blessing–these cherry blossoms, and this whispering with the misty moon, and this silence of the night, this utter silence of the night. She is not angry, she accepts it. Not only accepts it, welcomes it–she feels grateful.

One becomes a buddha the moment one accepts all that life brings, with gratitude.

 

 

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

Crafty, Cookin’ Sunday

I’m taking a short catch-my-breath break.

I’ve been busy making space for my beading supplies, which have been stored away for several years. I’ve got everything arranged, but not yet neatened up — maybe I’ll post a photo when it’s all pretty.

I’m also finishing up a short grocery list so I can get cooking, too. A nice meat sauce is on the menu, as well as starting slow-cooker 3-bean chili (recipe to be posted once I create it☺).

Hope everyone is having the Sunday they wanted, too!

A Secret Vice

I love cold pizza.

Fresh, dripping hot mozzarella, and fragrant sauce — of course that’s delicious. But what I really love best is the cold left-over stuff the next day.

This weekend my son and I (mostly my son) cleared out the storeroom that substitutes for closets in a 92-year-old house, and I provided him with an extra-large for dinner (and tons of Pepsi throughout).  My reward is stopping home for lunch today and getting to write this post while munching on two cold pepperoni-pineapple slices.  Ahhh, bliss!

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.
a
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.
a
If you haven’t heard nature whispering to you lately, now is a good time to give her the opportunity.

I Am What I Am

Existence

Today is my birthday. The moon was full when I was born, the skies early spring’s deep blue-purple, the stars brilliant, even in New York City.

I was blessed to be born into laughter!  My mother arrived at the hospital only minutes before my birth. Back in those days, medication was routine, but my mom pushed away the mask with nitrous oxide, saying she was fine (after only 45 minutes of labor, why wouldn’t she be?) and then she was pushing!

As I emerged she commented, “I don’t know why I suddenly find this so funny!” So I was born into a delivery room full of laughing nurses and doctors. 

I always thought that colored my approach to existence. Laughter is such a divine gift! Right up there with friendship, flowers and birds.

So I celebrate my existence today — with thanks to my mom and those laughing folks who set the tone for a lifetime.

From the Osho Zen Tarot:

You are not accidental. Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it. That’s what gives you dignity, that the whole existence will miss you. The stars and sun and moon, the trees and birds and earth – everything in the universe will feel a small place is vacant which cannot be filled by anybody except you.
a
This gives you a tremendous joy, a fulfillment that you are related to existence, and existence cares for you. Once you are clean and clear, you can see tremendous love falling on you from all dimensions.

Osho God is Dead: Now Zen is the Only Living Truth Chapter 1

 
Commentary:
a
This naked figure sits on the lotus leaf of perfection, gazing at the beauty of the night sky. She knows that “home” is not a physical place in the outside world, but an inner quality of relaxation and acceptance. The stars, the rocks, the trees, the flowers, fish and birds – all are our brothers and sisters in this dance of life. We human beings tend to forget this, as we pursue our own private agendas and believe we must fight to get what we need. But ultimately, our sense of separateness is just an illusion, manufactured by the narrow preoccupations of the mind.
a
Now is the time to look at whether you are allowing yourself to receive the extraordinary gift of feeling “at “home” wherever you are. If you are, be sure to take time to savor it so it can deepen and remain with you. If on the other hand you’ve been feeling like the world is out to get you, it’s time to take a break. Go outside tonight and look at the stars.

a
Happy everyday to all!

Back to Work — Let’s Toast!

Yeah!

I started back at work Monday after a month of medical leave.

It was great. Sure, I tired easily and I won’t be back full days for a little while longer, but it felt so normal being at my desk, talking with staff, and getting back on top of things.

I missed my friends and colleagues more than I had realized. Work grounds me and satisfies a big chunk of my needs for achievement, intellectual stimulation, conversation, connection, and purpose.

I know how lucky that makes me!

Recovering from surgery this past month has reinforced my sense of gratitude. I’ve had the good fortune to have a health problem that could be addressed successfully with surgery; the surgery and recovery went well; my benefits will cover most of the cost; my friends, family and work-family were all supportive and loving; and I’ve gone back to work with a renewed sense of interest and excitement.

So that’s why I feel like I should bring out the champagne.  It’s going to be a happy new year.