Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Then the harsh reality that the world is not all as gentle as that. Shattered glass everywhere. Suspisions and accusations flying around. The workmen who were lingering in the parking lot? Entitled teenagers? Desperate downtroddens who saw no other alternative? Little eyes looking up to me to see how I reacted, so they could know how to feel.
I ensured they had shoes on their feet and made a safe place for them to sit when the rain started to fall. We talked about the kindness of the strangers who first noticed the break-in and called for help, then stayed to share what they found. And the police officers who were light-hearted and generous as they swept the shards of glass from the seats and the floor mats.
There were four attempts to withdraw cash from my credit cards. I can't explain that to my children, except to tell then that no everyone is as fortunate as we are. Then I received a message last night from a woman who was "dumpster diving" and found my purse. The image in my head of this woman rummaging through garbage to find anything of value and her taking the step to call me to return what is mine. How do we make sense of these things? My day ended sobbing in my husband's arms. The world is not always gentle. But if we focus on it's ugliness or fear it's harshness, then what happens to us? We become cynical and untrusting. That is not what I want to teach my kids.
There was a time when this planet was so much simpler--purer. That's what I want my children to hold in their hearts for as long as they can. That's what I want to hold in my heart.
Monday, May 14, 2012
I am a seeker. I am on a quest to become a better person each day and to be of service during my time here. In recent weeks I have been struggling with what it is that I contribute. In reality, I've been struggling with this for years. Socrates said "an unexamined life is not worth living" and I do feel my experiences are richer and my life feels more meaningful since I've been living with more intention. Still, when I pause to look at my world I wonder if I am deserving of such abundance. I have a beautiful family and we're all healthy, I have a lovely home, I have resources to do the things I love, I have support from so many angles, and I have an open mind with which to explore. I'd like to think that my good fortune is some sort of karmic justice, but I am far from flawless. What am I to learn from the challenges and hardships I'm faced with? How do I find the positive and spread that to those I touch?
I lost a friend over the weekend. A woman I will remember as being a vibrant force with a voracious laugh, bounding energy, and an authentic, loving heart. I don't know much about her career or other accomplishments other than people were attracted to her and she had troves of friends. Her impact during her limited 40-years here was undeniable. If for no other reason than she was a true and loyal friend. And that counts! That counts MORE than anything else I would argue.
I don't ask why as my faith gives me the peace of knowing there is a greater plan. As non-violent as I am, however, if cancer were an animate object that could be obliterated wholly and completely, I would go ballistic on it's ass. But what is the great plan for me? Am I living up to whatever expectations my higher power has for me? Maybe there are no expectations--maybe it's up to me to determine what my highest potential is and to go for it, and be content.
This weekend also brought me two very proud moments that made me feel good about the work I do, as staying positive and being open are often hard work. They may seem simple and small in the grand scheme of the work that has to be done on this planet, but I took them as little messages that I'm on the right path. First, after selling a concert ticket to a 20-something on craigslist I got a phone call from him. He expressed his gratitude for sharing what I had with him, knowing I had taken a loss in the sale. He was inspired by my husband and my excitement for him to enjoy this event and wanted to assure me that selling this to him was a good deed--that the opportunity was well-timed and much appreciated. This kid's efforts to make me see my smallest acts as being impactful on others was such a gift to me.
Secondly, a neighborhood kid who has a reputation as being troubled and a bully knocked on our door. He said his parents were arguing again so he walked down to our house in the rain. He played with the kids for a while then we all played a board game. When I found out about the loss of my friend he asked why I was sad. I explained what happened and he softened and came to give me a hug. This little boy who has hardships of his own came to comfort me. To have a home that feels safe for other people and to share that kind of compassion in this space I've created was another gift for me to realize.
I think feeling unworthy of this beautiful life is one of my flaws to correct. We are ALL worthy--worthy of the very best that we can create in our imagination. None of us are perfect, and sometimes bad things happen to really good people. Our intentions are what change the vibration surrounding us and even when those inevitable challenges or the suffering enters our reality, it's how we respond that builds our character. And our character is our legacy. The choices I make now will be the basis for what my loved ones are talking about when my time comes. I'm choosing to operate from a place of gratitude and love. With that I hope to be guided to wherever I can make a positive impact, no matter how small.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Growing up near the coast in Massachusetts, there is something that draws me to the water. When I need to feel grounded and centered I head to the Chattahoochee River, just a few miles from my home in suburban Atlanta. My intention each time I’m at the river, whether it’s in my kayak, on my bike, or running along its shores, is to notice something new each time I go. Springtime offers such great opportunity for this as everything is coming to life after the rest of winter. This week’s bike ride on the paths along the river did not disappoint. There were just enough new blooming trees and plants to dabble the fresh green landscape with color. The woods were just beginning to fill in and the glisten of puddles and pools showed evidence of recent spring showers. Geese were perched on the sidewalk, forcing me to sway between them and several new puppies were getting their training lessons on leashes as I passed. I like to stop along my route and climb out on the rocks to really feel connected to the river. I let my heart rate slow as I let my senses take over—the sound of water rushing over rocks, the fresh earthy scent, cooling my hands by submerging them as I follow a single leaf as it travels in the current. There were so many more people out enjoying this natural treasure as I basked in my solitary moment on the Chattahoochee. Later I noticed two men who had passed me on their bikes enjoying a moment on the same rock on which they had seen me. Maybe I inspired them to slow down for just a little bit and take in all the river has to offer. More likely the river itself was the inspiration.