1. Morning walks. Yesterday in my Wild Writing group, I wrote: “It’s an everyday kind of grace, the morning walk.” I won’t share more of that particular entry because it went to a darker place and is something I’m writing about in the book I’m working on, so want to save it back, see where else it might go. In another section, I said: “This morning I noticed now that the grass is getting green, everything else, all the lingering variations of winter, suddenly just looked brown.” Winter started late here so it’s been shorter than usual, milder, and yet like a flower seeking the light, I feel myself turning towards spring, longing for the leaves and blooms to come back. One of the things I love the most is what we started calling “yard time” during the first year of the pandemic. It simply is sitting in the backyard together doing nothing, so when it gets warmer and we can comfortably, it makes me so happy.
2. Practice. The implosion of my Buddhist sangha and the interruption of my teaching efforts due to COVID, burnout, and grief have made the last few years of my practice a little lonely, a bit confusing, and sometimes pretty frustrating. The only thing to do has been to be still, pause, rest, and reconsider just about everything I thought I knew — to wait. This doesn’t come easily to me as I am impatient. My previous (unworkable and unsustainable) strategy was to keep pushing through until I got where I wanted to go or collapsed. That’s the thing about practice, it allows you to meet the current moment just as you are and stay open to it, to let go of the outcome and be present, to trust that if action is warranted your innate wisdom and compassion will guide you. In the book I’m reading by Kaira Jewel Lingo (We Were Made for These Times: 10 Lessons for Moving Through Change, Loss, and Disruption), she says, “I have found the practice of staying present, openhearted, and accepting of changing life circumstances to be incredibly helpful through my own major life transitions and challenges.” Ditto.
3. The support of good friends and good food. Those with whom I make art, write, text, workout, and laugh. All the new recipes I’ve tried and how yummy and satisfying most of them have been. Both elements nourishing and sustaining me.
4. Books and the ability to read. This has always been one of my greatest joys and also one of the primary ways I make sense of the world and my place in it.
5. My tiny family, tiny home, tiny life. This space and these connections keep me going while also allowing me to rest.
Bonus joy: The hydromassage chair, the pool, the sauna, flowers blooming, that spot on the couch, being able to recognize that something is no longer working for me and let it go, paint, berries, new underwear, watching old movies with Eric (this week we rewatched The Money Pit, Mr. Mom, and the original Dune — which to be honest was pretty awful), good TV (Sort Of and Julia on HBO are really good), listening to podcasts, cleaning out closets and cabinets, making space and clearing the way for something new, the trail system in Fort Collins, hot coffee with cocoa and tiny marshmallows, socks, a warm shower, a glass of clean cold water, smoked paprika, garlic, the smell of basil, limes, pain meds, gummy supplements, dental floss picks, paper, house plants, flowers in the bathroom, pictures of other people’s babies and dogs, the way Ringo loves to roll in the grass, that guy on his bike who was nice enough to wait for Ringo and I to get off the bridge before he rode by, the way Ringo comes to check in with me throughout the day, vaccines and masks, reading in bed at night while Ringo and Eric sleep.