“We have negative mental habits that come up over and over again. One of the most significant negative habits we should be aware of is that of constantly allowing our mind to run off into the future. Perhaps we got this from our parents. Carried away by our worries, we’re unable to live fully and happily in the present. Deep down, we believe we can’t really be happy just yet—that we still have a few more boxes to be checked off before we can really enjoy life. We speculate, dream, strategize, and plan for these “conditions of happiness” we want to have in the future; and we continually chase after that future, even while we sleep. We may have fears about the future because we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, and these worries and anxieties keep us from enjoying being here now.” Thich Nhat Hanh
At one point in our travels, my hubby and I made a trip to the beautiful Milla Milla Falls in Northern Queensland. We had arrived just shortly after the last cyclone had destroyed so much of the beautiful countryside and many of the trails and roads were damaged and blocked. It was awe inspiring to witness the ability of nature to destroy what we look at as so permanent and solid … whole forests where the trees were uprooted, broken and tossed like matchsticks … forests left looking like broken fields of stubble. Like many tourists, I had seen countless pictures of the famed falls and dreamed of one day being able to visit them, imagining them to be exactly like the pictures promised. I could not help but feel a bit disappointed and cheated that we were going to see them in these circumstances, in the aftermath of a horribly destructive cyclone. We slowly made our way through flooded and damaged roads and detours, to the falls. Once we arrived, we parked the car and walked down the road to get a closer look.
There were quite a few people there but everyone spoke in hushed tones. The falls appear to just “silently” slip over the side of the cliff and “rain” down into the calm quiet pool beneath. I was lost in the tropical lushness, the smells, and the sounds. Even a cyclone seemed to have little impact, if its point was to try and destroy it. All I could think of was how long those falls had been there and the countless generations who had stood, as I was then, in awe of the beauty. I could see lovers slipping in late at night, children laughing and splashing one another, grandparents taking off their shoes and wading in “just a bit.” A deep spirit of life permeated each second we stood. I had never fully appreciated water and its relevance to life before. Growing up in water rich Canada, we never faced rationing of supplies or worried concern that the dams were not filled. Here in Australia, I was learning that the land was a hard task master and that we honoured and appreciated every resource we were given. Here water had survived the storm and stood untouched, while trees all around had been ripped from their roots and tossed across the land. This water flowed, as does the life blood of the Australian people. It was awe inspiring to stand there that day. I breathed in, wanting to flood my soul with all of it so that I would always be able to close my eyes and come back to it, whenever I wanted to. I cautiously snapped some pictures, already knowing that they would not begin to do justice to what we were seeing and feeling. It was just another way to hang on to the moment, even though we knew the real imprint was on our hearts. Continue reading
Tuesday evening, as we were getting dinner ready, a hawk flew into our yard and landed on the roof of a little garden shed just across from the patio. He sat there for almost half an hour.
Birds of prey are not uncommon in our area but they do not live here and we seldom see them. The one or two we have seen were just passing through, flying by in the distance and maybe stopping down at the creek for a quick drink or a rest in the shade of the trees. Having one in our yard was very unusual. We enjoyed watching him in all his majesty, dinner somewhat neglected, until we happened to shift our attention momentarily and the when we looked again, he was gone. Continue reading
I wish that, as a child, I knew the things that I know now. I think a lot about kids that I knew and the circumstances of their lives.
There are so many things you miss, or ignore, when you are kid and the whole world revolves around you and what games there are to be played at recess.
I think about the girls who were even more marginalized than I was. Do they know it was not them? Do they know that we were a small insular farming community in so many ways. Anything new or different, or anyone who could not trace their roots back to the beginning of the community, was never going to be allowed any space. Do they know that I was marginalized too? It may have looked like I was part of things, my family name bought me tolerance. I was too good to not have on the school teams, but I frequently sat alone going to the games and any opportunity to not include me was never overlooked. Why did we all cry alone in our bedrooms hidden from one another? Have they carried those scars with them though their lives, believing the lie that they are not good enough? Has anyone ever apologized to them? Are they added to the list of “friends” everyone collects to prove they were awesome, or, are they still being marginalized? Continue reading
This speaks to me today. There is so much going on in the world and people are either preparing for war, or cowering in their homes, afraid of every shadow that moves. There is talk of storing enough food, enough guns .. of being prepared to die, of having no choice but to accept you will die.
Within individual lives are storms of pain regarding relationships, addictions, financial worries, health . .. people struggle and feel isolated with the problems that greet them each morning with relentless regularity. Continue reading
“How you learn to stay open is up to you. The ultimate trick is to not close. If you don’t close, you will have learned to stay open. Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it. When your heart starts to close, just say, “No. I’m not going to close. I’m going to relax. I’m going to let this situation take place and be there with it.” Honor and respect the situation, and deal with it. By all means deal with it. Do the best you can. But deal with it with openness. Deal with it with excitement and enthusiasm. No matter what it is, just let it be the sport of the day. In time, you will find that you forget how to close. No matter what anyone does, no matter what situation takes place, you won’t even feel the tendency to close. You will just embrace life with all your heart and soul. Once you’ve attained this very high state, your energy level will be phenomenal. You will have all the energy you need at all times. Just relax and open, and tremendous energy will rush up inside of you. You are only limited by your ability to stay open.” Michael A. Singer
At first glance it may not seem like much, but it is the road map for my life.
I want to be engaged. I want to feel. I want to be completely “in” everything I am doing and I can’t be if I am a passive passenger.
Even when I am observing I want to feel what I am seeing.
It lets me know that I am alive. It reminds me that I am connected to all that happens around me and tells me to “pay attention.”
I have seen things that others have not. I have heard things that others have missed, simply because I insist that life “move me.”
I love deeper because of it.