Daily Archives: November 27, 2012

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: The way to get more time is to pay attention. This won’t be news to some. I am sure it is ancient wisdom, something so many others figured out long ago, but it just came to me this morning. We took a different section of trail on our walk, Dexter wanting to go right next to the river instead of up higher. Even though that span is about the same length as our regular route, I noticed how much longer it seemed like it took us to get to the bridge. And then I realized why–normally when we walk, the same path as we do every day and have hundreds of times, I don’t really pay attention. I am spacing off, day dreaming, planning, complaining, prewriting, and I hardly notice my feet moving. But changing the route woke me up, I was connected to where I was and what we were doing, what was happening…and time stretched and expanded. When you are mindful, in the moment and present, you experience the truth, the full measure of every moment.

2. Truth: Three deep breaths reveals the truth of things. Yoga, meditation, writing, and long walks with my dogs–all of my practices do the same. It’s during these specific activities (except for the occasional mindless walking as described above) that I connect with reality, that my mind and body are in the same place, at the same time. Sometimes when I take three deep breaths, I relax and feel lighter, and other times, I start to cry; always, it reveals what is waiting, just below the surface, for me to notice. Learning to stay with it has been so difficult, yet so important. It is in those moments I am alive, awake and open. What else is there?

3. Truth: I don’t need to become something else, because I am already. Again, this is ancient wisdom, not news to many, but I am only now wrapping my head around the idea that what I am meant to be is already there, only needing to be acknowledged and exposed, embodied and manifested rather than collected or earned. I don’t need to change, to improve, to be different. Jonathan Fields wrote a blog post about this the other day, and I keep reading and rereading it. He says “the process of coming alive isn’t about becoming, it’s about uncovering” and

[W]ho you’re meant to be has always been there… the Work lies in reclaiming the ability to see it. In chipping away all the stuff that gets caked on as you go through life. The wounds, the limitations born of the desire to be accepted at any cost, the heartbreak-fueled shrinking away. The psychic grit that comes to form a barrier so opaque as to obscure not only your ability to see, but be who you are.

And, Marianne Williamson says “Now, in this moment, you are who you have always been and will always be. All spiritual practice — forgiveness, meditation and prayer — is for the purpose of training the mind to see through the illusions of a world that would convince you otherwise.”

One wish: That we can all slow down, sink in, show up, stay and connect with reality, with who we are and with what is. Life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible–may we keep our hearts open.

Small Kindnesses

Fiona Robyn is hosting a Small Kindnesses Blogsplash today, (here is a full list of the blogs participating). Her novel Small Kindnesses (the Kindle version) is free today, so she invited others to share their stories. She explains why this way,

Kindness is a Very Good Thing. Even teensy compassionate acts help the world go round. Let’s celebrate these Small Kindnesses

It might be an extra-thoughtful Christmas present you’ve never forgotten, or the unexpected kindness of a stranger, or a small gesture that rescued you from a dark place. It might have happened this week or twenty years ago.

It might be a simple list of the small kindnesses you’ve received this week, or today. It might be a small kindness you’ve been inspired to perform. Follow your inspiration…

Ever since she suggested it and I agreed to take part, I’ve been thinking about it, all the small kindnesses, ones I’ve received and all those I’ve given away, and to be honest, kind and gentle reader, if I think about it for too long, I get completely undone by the overwhelming amount of kindness I’ve witnessed and generated in my lifetime. Sometimes I love us so much, my heart feels like it will break. I could write a thousand posts sharing all the small kindnesses, but I decided to keep it to just two, something old and something new.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. ~Dalai Lama

A Small Kindness from Long Ago and Far Away

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved flowers. From early on, I understood their value as a gift, as a way of showing you loved someone, adored their tender beauty. Our next door neighbors, the sweetest older couple, Mr. and Mrs. Kindred (yes, that was their real name–you can’t make this stuff up), had gorgeous flowers growing just on the other side of our yard. I can’t remember exactly what all they were, but I do remember there were peonies, (whether there actually were or not is irrelevant, I remember them).

One day, at about four years old, I got it in my head that I should pick some flowers for my mom, so I did, pulling them one by one from Mrs. Kindred’s bushes. I was so proud of myself when I offered them to her, and she was horrified. She marched me next door and made me apologize to Mrs. Kindred. Of course, Mrs. Kindred didn’t mind, but she knew my mom was embarrassed and upset so she let me make my apology and reluctantly took the flowers back. However, after that, sometimes when Mrs. Kindred cut flowers, she made sure to make me a bouquet. It made me so happy that she hadn’t been mad at me, and that she remembered how much I loved flowers, that she liked me enough to give me some.

The Kindreds had a gray poodle named Puddles. He (She? it was so long ago I can’t be sure) was one of the first dogs I ever loved, and as far as I remember, s/he loved me too. The other thing I remember is how later, Mrs. Kindred got very sick and weak, and needed extra rest, so she stayed on the couch most days. My mom didn’t want me to bother her, but the Kindreds insisted that they liked me coming over, so I used to go visit her and we’d play board games (or cards, or eat cookies–good stuff). I was too little to understand, but Mrs. Kindred had cancer, and eventually died.

We all just want to be validated, appreciated, seen, loved. Remembering this story also reminds me of something Toni Morrison said on the Oprah show, “Does your face light up when your child enters the room?” because that is how they know that they are loved, how they know what is in your heart. I still remember Mrs. Kindred, her husband, Puddles, and the flowers, and how good it felt the way they smiled at me, how they where always so happy to see me. We all need that, we can all give that, even if it’s as little as smiling at our own reflection in the mirror, (seriously, try it the next time you are looking in one and see if it doesn’t make you feel just a little bit better, maybe even say “I love you. You are amazing, a beautiful, brilliant, glorious mess.”).

A More Recent Small Kindness

This summer, I went to the World Domination Summit, a conference held in Portland, Oregon. I’d first heard about it when Andrea Scher wrote about presenting the first year, A story of Yes. I was so excited (and scared out of my mind) to attend because so many people I had loved from afar, followed and read and taken classes with, were going to be there, giving workshops or speaking or simply attending like me. I would certainly see some of them, and if I could be brave, I might even meet a few.

I had no idea the magic that was actually going to happen because of an act of small kindness. Kelly Rae Roberts and Andrea Scher planned an event at Kelly Rae’s studio to kick off the weekend. So many amazing women were going to be in town, they wanted to get them all together. Andrea (and I’m still not really sure why) invited ME. Imagine, dear reader, that every person you ever wanted to meet were all in the same room together with you–this is exactly what it was like for me walking into the studio that day. It felt like I was in a dream.

I got to meet some of my most favorite women: Jamie Ridler, Courtney Carver, Jennifer Louden, Hannah Marcotti, Flora Bowley, etc. etc. It blew my mind.

come on in and sit down, stay awhile

When I say it’s a small kindness, what I mean is that it didn’t require much effort on Andrea’s part to invite me–she had the thought and sent me an email. And yet, for me it was no small thing. I was no longer pretending to be part of this tribe of women, it wasn’t just me daydreaming, I was physically in a room with them. Yes, I was so freaked out I could barely talk to any of them. Yes, it was kind of like being the math tutor that got invited to the cool kids party, or the sixth grader hanging out with the high school seniors, but I was there, that happened.

Seeing them, being invited, made me understand that my wishes aren’t so wild, that the life I want is possible, that the dream I have is so much closer than I thought. Time and time again, Andrea’s gift to me, her kindness is to expand my idea of what is possible, to inspire me to dream bigger and to have faith in my own superpowers.

P.S. Andrea is having a Cyber Monday Super Sale, only $49 for any of her classes! Just enter the coupon code INSPIRE49, good until midnight tonight.