Not ready yet…

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It’s Not the Years in Your Life That Count.

It’s the Life in Your Years.

(Who knows you wrote this, everyone is claiming it!)

 

A few weeks ago a friend of mine told me a story that I have been thinking about constantly during these past few days.

It was a brief tale about a 93-year-old grandmother.  And this is how I imagined the story to unfold:

Every year this grandmother purchases a daily calendar.  She hangs it on the wall and fills in each square with something she looks forward to.

Whether it be a visit from her grandchildren; a dinner with family; an outing to the local shops; the purchase of a special-occasion dress; writing a letter to a friend; sipping fresh peppermint tea; watching the moon at night; listening to the sound of the ocean; crunching Autumn leaves beneath her feet… or doing absolutely nothing.  Every day is something new, something special, something beautiful.

I realised as I was picturing this woman filling in her calendar, that this is what I do too.  Perhaps not in such a structured way, but I ensure that my diary is full to the brink with experiences and connections.  Some would say I do too much.  And some would be right.  Some would say they don’t know how I fit my life into my life.  Some would be right. Some would tell me to rest.  And I do listen.  But as I write this and look out of my window at the beautiful Chinese Elm shedding its Autumn gown, I realise that this is exactly what keeps me alive, joyful and excited about life. The beauty in every day.

Each morning I awaken with the questions:

  • Who shall I visit?
  • What postures shall I be teaching?
  • What book shall I read?
  • Where shall I be going?
  • What food shall I taste?
  • What shall I learn?
  • With whom shall I connect for the first time?
  • … and what shall I see that makes me ‘stand still’ in awe?

Another name for these imaginings?  Being present….

Yes, I have challenges along the way…some that tear at my heart.  However, to lay the emotions that come into play with these challenges aside, and to allay any fear that may be associated with them, I simply play a beautiful piece of music, look at a gorgeous photograph, ring a friend for a chat, eat chocolate, pick up a book or create another story, a story that takes me into ‘happy world’.

Yes, sometimes I get those pangs of ‘what if’? But as another friend of mine said to me many years ago, these pangs are just ‘fright bubbles’.  And so when they come, I burst them with a giant, carefree pin.

Getting back to the grandmother…..what does she say to herself every time she looks at the calendar to see what she is doing today?

Not ready yet!

 

 

 

 

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Differing but the Same

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One day I was walking with a friend, and as we passed a man living on the street, she exclaimed ‘what a loser’.  She shocked me and it saddened me deeply….that anyone, anyone on this earth, would consider this term for someone whose path had taken an unfortunate, or in fact, a different direction than ours.  I believe that the majority (if not all) of these people do not choose to sleep on a park bench, in the freezing cold or in the stifling heat, without shelter, food or a friend to talk to.

We are all different on the outside and come in different exteriors, different packages so to speak.  But when one looks inside the box we are the same. We have the same essence and for that essence to thrive we need to be able to connect with the essence in others.  Rather than thinking outside the box, perhaps we can consider there is no box. It is through that flow, that essence, that we learn about one another and in turn we learn about ourselves.  The action is called tolerance.

Just like a plant that is not watered, if you do not nurture it, and it becomes disconnected from the elements, it becomes starved of life.  It dies inside and out. To me that is what happens to those referred to as the ‘down and out’, those you see sitting against walls in street sidewalks, begging to be noticed. They were once someone’s child and now have no home, emotional, or otherwise.  They are the world’s ‘home-less’. They have lost their home.  They have lost their place.

Human kindness from others allows their essence, their nectar to flow, even if just for seconds. As my father taught me, ‘buy those on the street a meal or a coffee’. Something to nurture their body and soul.  Yes, a coin is fine too, of course.  So what if that coin is spent on a cigarette?  I don’t know what it is like not to have a roof over my head, let alone sleep out in the cold! So I am not in a position to judge.  I have learned to look into their eyes as I pass them by.  Let them know they are part of my world too!

Often I reflect upon the question – Am I connecting in my own world?

We need to remember that when we are gone, no one will remember what we wore at their party; how many honours we obtained at school; how many languages we mastered; what car we drove; how many houses we owned; or what our title was at work; they will only remember how we made them feel.  They will remember the kindness we bestowed upon them. However some will also remember being hurt or bullied, controlled or cut down by us too.  There is a choice!

There is a wonderful Arabic proverb which says: ‘The Axe forgets, but the tree remembers’.

Isn’t the greatest wealth in any being  found in their ability to connect, to offer kindness and compassion?

All of us have the ability to nurture the essence in others and in by doing so we nurture ourselves. When we feel fear, anger, hatred, envy or in some way believe we are superior to those whom we meet, there can be little, if any connection.  And not only does our own energy deplete by transmuting these emotions, we deplete the energy in others and soon they will move away.

For so long, we have valued knowledge as being the most important element in our lives, but in fact isn’t it understanding?  Is it not understanding and acting upon that understanding? Knowledge is just a commodity.  Understanding is the key in turning knowledge into something valuable.

Doesn’t this apply to how we treat others in every aspect of our lives?  Knowledge or understanding?

If we think that by behaving as though we know better, are smarter, wealthier, faster, happier, more valuable, then we are being foolish and show up our own stagnant thinking and lack of understanding and compassion.

Acquire knowledge. Understand it. Act upon it.  When our thoughts, understanding, speech and action are in line going forth……then we are in harmony.

It also takes courage to find the ‘heart’ in things. And where does the word ‘Courage’ come from?  The French word ‘Coeur’ – heart.

Do we have the courage never to cut down or look down upon another? Do we have the compassion to bestow upon those who are hurting?

If so, then we will truly thrive, simply by connecting…..

Heart…to…heart!

 

P.S.  I would like to honour whoever took this photograph.  It came to me, I don’t remember how, nor can I recognise who took it. But I thank you, whoever you are.  It says it all.