"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: gratitude

“help is on the way”. . .

a hopi yei rainbow man made into a pendant. . .

a hopi yei rainbow man made into a pendant. . .

In the I-Ching, the book suggests entities like the “Helpers” and the “Sage” to whom one can ask for help. This sounds like a simple thing – and for me, one which I have found to be a powerful source of inspiration in difficult times. All it takes is to ask them for help, be open to what occurs/evolves and to thank them when you receive the help that you asked for. Often, an approach will appear that I would never have thought of on my own – and it also feels perfect at the same time.

Along these lines, I was reminded by someone I met recently about the power of the Native American culture and its Spirit World (the Circle of Life.) Years ago when I visited Sedona, Arizona, I read about spirit symbols such as the Yei rainbow man. He embodies a Spirit World helper and appears in various forms in paintings, weavings and in jewelry. Here is an illustration of a Hopi rainbow man made into a pendant.

It is comforting to me that we are not alone in this world to try to solve all our problems by ourselves. How could we? Humans tend to complicate things, it seems to me, while the Universe simplifies things. And asking for help may be the simplest one of all.

“Help is on the way” is not just a platitude for me but an occurrence that enriches my life almost every day. I am very thankful!


christmas spirit . . . alive and well!

christmas goose cookieOn Tuesday, I had a chance to have lunch with a friend whom I’ve known since junior high school back in Virginia. It was the first time I’d seen him in a few months, the last time when I brought him sushi to his house while he was recovering from radiation and immunotherapy treatments for Stage IV melanoma that had metastisized to tumors in his brain.

Now, just a few months later, he looked light and uplifted with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye that I had not seen for years, even before he became so terminally ill, it seemed. We had a relaxing lunch at my favorite Japanese restaurant in Northampton, MA. where the manager of the restaurant offered us desserts, compliments of the house! We had each feared that he might not make it to Christmas this year – but instead, he seems so stabilized and recovered that he drove himself to Virginia for a Thanksgiving visit with his family just a couple of weeks ago.

Former President Jimmy Carter has made a similarly remarkable recovery from melanoma and tumors in his brain as well in just a few short months. So, with the combined radiation and especially the novel immunotherapy treatments that have evolved in recent years, one cancer, at least, seems to be treatable. It has been glacially slow for progress like this to be made on other forms of the disease, especially ovarian cancer which is still impossible to detect early enough to do much about it.

So, we are celebrating Christmas this year with a light heart and gratitude for small and big miracles. I’d say this one was pretty big though, wouldn’t you?

Merry Christmas everybody!





magical thinking . . .

DSC_5591_2Magical thinking may lead people to believe that their thoughts by themselves can bring about effects in the world or that thinking something corresponds with doing it.[1] It is a type of causal reasoning or causal fallacy that looks for meaningful relationships of grouped phenomena (coincidence) between acts and events.

I don’t know about you but magical thinking permeates my life, at least lately. So many coincidental things have happened. It reminds me again of what people call “New Age” frame of mind: that there are Helpers in the Universe and all you have to do is to acknowledge you need help, ask for it even if it’s not out loud so anyone can hear you doing it, and somehow, help arrives in unseen ways.

From last Sunday to today, serendipitous things have happened too numerous to count: a repair was done on my laptop under a warranty I didn’t know I had; something of value that was thought to be lost suddenly reappeared. And greatly needed help surfaced in a situation that was permeated with bad energy and felt like a dead end.

I don’t know what magical thinking may have had to do with all of these situations, but it feels to me like there is a script somewhere that we can’t read ahead of time. In our American culture, it’s easy to think that if only we (fill in the blanks) that things will change for the better in time. Sometimes it takes a very long time. And sometimes, something happens that decimates all the things that you think you can’t solve or change.

That’s what has happened with my ankle injury in February. Suddenly, my priorities were a) how to get a good night’s sleep with a heavy cast on my leg; b)getting to the bathroom when I needed it; and c)making sure that I did everything for my ankle to heal, noticing how touching the caring ministrations of my husband, daughters and friends have been through it all.

Gratitude has a lot to do with the amount of magical dust that sprinkles itself into one’s life I think. Hardship is another factor too. I believe (and maybe this is my own brand of magical thinking,) that no matter how dark it appears to be before the dawn, that it’s important to apply oneself, to be honest with oneself and to do one’s best to get through hard times no matter how bad, sad or bereft one becomes at the seeming hopelessness of it all. Is that what is known as faith?

Help sometimes arrives years later than we wished for it. Timing is not up to us, God knows. In hindsight when looking back on my own life, events took their time coming together before the jigsaw puzzle pieces fell in place and then readjusted themselves.

Being in the moment is all we have. Most of what we berate ourselves about is small stuff in the grand scheme of things. If it has taken weeks of being bedridden to learn this lesson, it has certainly been worth it.

Thanks to all my helpers, seen and unseen!


contentment . . .

DSC_0242_2The previous post gave some guidelines on longevity, marital and otherwise. “We live with contentment,” said John Behar. Did any of you hesitate at that word when you read it? Sounds so simple. Yet, all day yesterday after posting it, I wondered how many of us feel contentment and/or even know what that is?

Does it take becoming a certain age after striving for and achieving certain goals in one’s mind to feel contentment? Or is it a matter of the kind of values that you grow up with or find for yourself that feels like your purpose in life? How many of us when asked what we want to be when we grow up would say, “be contented?” Lest you think I am poking fun at this concept, I am actually doing just the opposite: that is, reflecting about what it takes to be content with one’s life on a daily basis.

Many of us have what we need to live each day: food, shelter and a way to pay our bills. What we THINK about all day long is what may account for an empty hole in our perception of how we are doing: we need more money; we want a better job; we want to re-do the kitchen; we want a new car; we have to have (fill in the blanks.)

I was thinking about the article about the Behars and that my stage in life seems to complement theirs: which is to watch my family grow and to go with the flow. I have discovered that all the nagging things that had to be a certain way actually are made-up ideas in my head and so I sent them packing. When G. forgets or does something that annoys me, I stop myself and say, is it worth it to nag him about it or what difference does it make anyhow? Believe me, it’s taken me a long time to get here. The driving motivation for me to stop “sweating the small stuff” is that I actively want to be contented. I want to acknowledge how lucky we are to be together and to live a life that is fairly simple except for all the cooking forays that I embark on. I knit and read a lot. I like to clean house and clear off the kitchen counters so that our place looks neat. We have avoided the flu so far this winter.

Contentment doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s how much we humans pile onto the idea of contentment that makes it, well, farther out of reach. For example, we can take contentment in little bites: when we have a cup of coffee or tea that tastes so good and hits the spot; or when we listen to a favorite song or piece on the radio while we’re driving in the car. Or when we sit down to a meal with someone we care about and enjoy eating it together. I wonder if feeling grateful has something to do with it? What do you think?

“judge not today”. . .

On the day after Thanksgiving, my daughter and I were browsing in a Christmas Made-By-Hand gift shop in the small town next to the cottage. One after another visitor greeted the two women at the table who were minding the store. When asked how their Thanksgiving was, there ensued various comments about the Thanksgiving that they had, their family, and the food as their conversation drifted about in the store. Not many were positive. Not overall.

Later, I wondered about where unhappiness or dissatisfaction comes from. Especially when it happens to ourselves. So today, I was browsing on I-Tunes for some cleansing music and looked in the meditation section. Lo and behold, there was Deepak Chopra, leading meditations and speaking in his musical, soulful way, giving advice for the spirit. One meditation in particular struck me and I listened to that segment a few times before purchasing it for $1.29 (isn’t I-Tunes great?) Then, I found the text on-line, provided by another grateful listener. I share it here with you today.

Deepak Chopra: “Judge Not Today”:

“Judgment creates turbulence in our mind. When there is turbulence in our mind, then it interferes with the creativity of our soul. Creativity and judgment don’t go together. Judgment also means that letting go of the need to classify things, to call them either right or wrong, to label, to define, to describe, to evaluate, to analyze.

Let go, today. Judge not today. Today I will practice non-judgment.

This affirmation is about releasing the need to be judgmental. Just make this your lesson today. Consider what happens when you judge someone – it makes another person wrong. Someone else is wrong to feel a certain way, to look a certain way, to hold certain opinions. Judgment immediately creates separation. Any person who is wrong then becomes ‘them’. The need to judge arises from the need to be isolated – this is the ego’s form of defense. But at the same time you are pulling away from your true self. The same walls that keep other people away also shut off the flow of Spirit.
When you learn not to judge, you are basically saying, “I am willing to let anything in without deciding first whether it is good or bad.”

In the practice of openness, you will be inviting your soul to be intimate with you. So put your attention in your heart right now, and just repeat to yourself:

Today, I will judge nothing that occurs.
Today, I will judge nothing that occurs.
Today, I will judge nothing that occurs.
And by letting go of my judgments today, I will experience silence in my mind.
By shedding the burden of judgment today, I will experience silence in my mind.
And in this silence, I will find the ecstatic impulse, which is also the evolutionary impulse of the universe.
And I will align myself with the ecstatic evolutionary impulse of the universe, by letting go of all my judgments.
Today, I will not classify
I will not label
I will not define
I will not describe
I will not evaluate
I will not analyze.
Today, I will shed the burden of judgment.”

I thought it was pretty wise and maybe today, I can follow his suggestions. We can all be defensive about whether we are judgmental or not. Actually though, I don’t think I know anyone who isn’t judgmental because it’s hard to distinguish when we’re thinking about something to then realize we are being judgmental just by HOW we are thinking about it.

Anyway, it’s worth a try, don’t you think?