January 26, 2013
“Remember. Be Here Now”
Ram DassJust BE where you are now with no judgement or labeling. No resentment or anxiety. Let all that stuff go. Just take a breath and be. Let everything stop for a moment. Close your eyes. Count your breaths. If you’re walking, let your feet kiss the earth. Whatever you are doing, just do IT. Just be with it. Just look at your feet. Be where they are. Be here now.
January 12, 2013
“I must have been under five when I spent one whole summer day digging a hole with a large spoon in the side of a bank near our house. I had to dig and dig because the ground was so full of roots and my goal was to make a hole big enough to sit in – like a cave. And that took a lot of hard work. Digging through all those roots was tough.
What I remember most about the experience is something my grandmother said. “When you take the dirt out, make sure you have a place for it,” she cautioned me, “because the dirt is used to being in that particular place, and it is at home there. Don’t take anything that is part of something and just scatter it around. Remember you are disturbing the home of the worms and the insects. You are moving them out of the place where they have been living, and you need to make sure that they are happy about where you are taking them.” So I would scoop the dirt into a little basket I had and take it around to various spots. “Is this where you would like to be?” I’d ask. And if the answer was yes, I would leave it. Otherwise, I’d pick up my basket, go to another spot, and ask again.
When I had finally made the hold deep enough to sit in, I would crawl in there and listen. I could hear the earth talking.”
(from her Facebook page)
The most simple mundane things we do have impact somewhere on someone or something. For child Twylah, it was every child’s favorite pastime: digging a hole. And it impacted the worms and bugs. I work with pre-schoolers and we have holes all over our playground. And they sit in them. The holes are like those Mamasan chairs that cradle the body in a quasi fetal position.
When the children find worms we remind them they have to put them back into the earth: they cannot become a pet or they will die.
When I was a child I “lived” in the woods in back of my house. I played for hours there…listening, watching, tasting, feeling, smelling. I could hear the earth talking. I heard her sing and laugh!
Now, all grown up, I can’t seem to hear earth speak so clearly any more. But I still see, feel, taste, and smell. And it’s different than it was over 50 years ago. There is a lot of noise…some is in my head, and some is in the world, but it is not Earth talking, or singing anymore. Why?
I feel, sometimes, displaced, like the dirt Twylah’s mother mentions……moved out of where it’s used to being.
How do you listen to earth? What do you hear? Where do you “belong”, and feel that you belong?
January 5, 2013
Do you know what a Buddha Board is? Or a Zen Board? It’s a magical board where you use a soft calligraphy brush dipped in water to create a picture, a design, or to write a word. Then as you sit back and watch, it slowly disappears, dissolves and is gone. It is brief, fleeting. Impermanent.
What if we could make our crazy, busy, over thinking minds like a Buddha Board……noticing what we have created in our mind, or are experiencing with our emotions, and then watch it fade away and be gone? Anxiety, worry, fear, doubt, apprehension anger, sorrow, anticipation, even joy and happiness. What if all these things were there, and then not there?
For me the idea of not holding on to the experience of happiness, joy, satisfaction, contentment, etc., is hard to “want”. At the same time, I understand these are a type of false happiness because they do not last….they fade even if I try to hold on to them. They are fleeting. They cause me to have desires for more of the same, or feel sad when they are replaced by another emotion, or to long for the past, or be anxious about whether the future will hold more of the same good feelings or not, to wish or hope for something more or different……what a circle.
Another analogy is your mind being like the sky with clouds drifting by…changing and disappearing. Thoughts and emotions are like that. When we watch clouds for real in the sky we do it with awe and humor and then, when the cloud has changed into something else or floated away, we do not mourn the “loss” but think: “That was fun.”, or “That was beautiful.” Often we do not give it another thought. No longing for that cloud to return. It was, and now it is gone. Yet we experienced it, appreciated it. It brought some fun into our lives….made us smile and feel good.
Our minds are so jam packed full of stuff: thoughts, ideas, emotions, self doubt…..Sometimes it is hard to just be settled and present with where we are now. To be grateful for life and health. To smile and make eye contact with someone. To say “thank-you”. To be present for ourselves and someone else.
Everywhere we go there is artificial noise, and visual overload. All around us are images and suggestions of what will make us feel happy, or powerful, or important, or satisfied, or beautiful, or even scared or worried.
But will they really? In a lasting, meaningful way?
I’ve come to a time in my life where I WANT my mind to be like a Buddha Board. I want to be able to watch the clouds in my mind drift by, change shape and disappear. I want to be able to be in THIS moment, free from longing for the past or being anxious for the future. One is gone forever, and the other may not even come.
January 1, 2013
In cultures where flower garlands are used, the garland maker chooses the flowers not only for their color and fragrance, but also for their meaning and sentiment.
“Fashion your life as a garland of beautiful deeds.”
What if we put purposeful thought into how our lives were being “fashioned”? What if, instead of making our garland of flowers, we created ours out of beautiful deeds? What would your garland look like? What would you want it to look like? How much effort do you put into your thoughts about the kind of life you lead? How much thought would you put into choosing beautiful deeds that reflected you and your life choices?
What beautiful deeds have you already done in your life? What ones are currently ongoing? What ones do you envision or hope to happen in the future? How long will your garland be? What colors will we see? Will we know the names of the deeds, or will they be private, hidden and known only to you or those you initiate into this part of your life?
It’s a New Year. The perfect time to start a fresh garland of good deeds. Give value to doing one act of kindness each day. Maybe let the world know in a small way: a sentence on facebook, a short tweet. See what happens. Take action on that urge we all have to help someone out, to be kind with no thought of personal gain. Many times these feeling are spur of the moment, but you can plan ahead too. Make a little list if it helps.
Watch as your garland grows. Watch as the beauty of it begins to reflect on your face with a warm glow. Watch how your life changes as you complete each good deed, each act of kindness, and bring someone else a small moment of joy.
Have a Happy New year!