Such a calm comes over me as I peer into the profound depth of the night sky. You would think that lying under such limitlessness I would feel my own insignificance but, for reasons that I cannot explain, I feel instead such a profound sense of connection– I am flooded with a knowing that I have a place in the world. It is as if the act of looking at the stars makes me one of them.
…and then this young bridesmaid stomped by. Her expression was riveting. It had no doubt been a long day. Her stormy blue eyes said it all. Everyone’s attention was focused elsewhere. I watched in fascination as she gave full expression to her grumpy indignation. Her little feet stomped on the pavement. Her eyes, shiny with tears, glared with outrage at no longer being the center of attention. Temper mixed with a little pout, all unedited, visible and raw.
Oh goodness, how pure and how glorious!
This winter has tested my stamina and optimism. Snow came early with its dark skies and alternating ice and wind storms and has not abated since. It has been cold long past the time I am able to hibernate; even the squirrels are confused by the lack of spring as they run the slippery snow slopes, their bodies demanding for what the weather will not give – reprieve.
I am longing for the daffodils, those happy optimistic heads dancing, challenging the sun and my mood in a game of “who can be brighter”…
I was out for a walk. Spring finally tempting us with her promise. She is not here yet, and they are forecasting a few more weeks of cold winds, but if I tilt my head to the sun I can feel the warmth in the rays. There is a faint bird song in the trees. Caught in the transition between two seasons, these days are rarely remarked on. We are no longer in the grips of winter, not yet released by embrace of spring…
I’m inspired by a baby who infected my mind space on a long-haul flight recently. As we all tried to find the patience to wait through an extended delay, buckled-in and caught up in inconvenience and worry, we tensed at the squawk that let us know that a baby a couple rows back had woken up. I sat in dread, sure a delay coupled with a crying baby might just push me over the edge.
When all of a sudden … a pixie giggle.
It’s the small things.
Maybe it was because of the long flight, the punishing jet lag and the refrain “it will all feel better once I get there” but when I opened the little fridge and I noticed that someone had deliberately replaced the milk with almond milk, decanted in a pretty glass jar, my hand suddenly lay itself on my heart and I gasped…
At the brow of the hill, take the path leading to the left until you reach the gate at the far edge of the paddock.
It seemed like an obvious enough instruction until I noticed that there were several paths that snaked across the hill and realized that my initial assumption that the “brow” was “somewhere near the top” was not going to be precise enough.
I had forgotten the soft feeling of ease that comes with the absence of the pressure of a deadline. I rediscovered the freedom of a soft space around me, where I could sit quietly in the midst of nothing and just allow time and the world to gently move around me.
I remembered the quiet peace of no to-do list…
As I stood in front of a massive redwood I was surprised to find myself overwhelmed by emotion –tenderness. And in one graceful step I reached my arms wide and leaned in. I just knew that I had to hug her. Luckily, in the depths of these forests, tree hugging seems natural. People seem to get it. And so I did it.
I had left for Paris heartbroken and a little lost, so I spent much of the train ride looking out the window at the world passing me by. As I watched the landscape change from countryside to cityscape, I contemplated who I wanted to be and tried to reconcile it with the woman who had escaped here to write and hide…
I was so excited to be on safari in Botswana. Everything is primal, basic and within hours I can feel my senses and my instincts sharpen. Before sunrise we are bundled up, and head out to witness life as it has always happened. I watch the world begin to wake, the birds, the grasses, the big cats. It is such a privilege to feel like a witness and a participant in both the magical and mundane; a mother leopard and her cubs are on the move.
I have become a seeker of what’s right in the world. I have become a keeper of celebrations. I feel a calling now to notice and to hold up the ordinary moments that when viewed through the kaleidoscope of celebration show us that there is much right with the world. The vast quantity of things there are to celebrate has continued to shift my experience of the world. Even in the complexity of anger or grief, I can remember to breathe compassion …I breathe in and celebrate. I sometimes ask, demand and beg of myself to find the thing in any moment that I can celebrate.
It was the first day of a 7 day retreat. Beginnings are such important things. The first handshake, the first hello, the moment you decide to engage or check out. I wanted to inspire them with a metaphor to ignite their desire to emerge into something new and inspire them to find the courage to do so.
To “celebrate what’s right” is not about finding the good and the beautiful things, it is about the practice of CHOICE. For me, it is a discipline, when tempted by fears, familiar doubts, ego-based concerns to step away from the worry-fondling that we do, like small children stroking the satin lining on a stuffed rabbit’s ear, and chose something else.