Monday, November 30, 2009

Slow Downs

One of my favorite things about living in Alaska is… Snow!! But, what is soft, white and gorgeous piled up in my yard, layered on the trees and covering the mountains turns into something dangerous and life threatening on our roads and highways.

We received about 10 inches of snow on Friday and then a little more last night, but as I set out to drive my kids to school, I didn’t give the road conditions much thought. We live on the outskirts of town and the school is located close to downtown Anchorage, a distance of 12 miles or so along the main highway. Almost immediately there was a traffic slowdown. We were inching along for miles. As I checked the car clock I realized that the kids would definitely be late for school. Eventually, we passed the area that was causing the problem where there were multiple cars in the ditch on both sides of a divided highway. I suddenly felt very grateful for this slowdown in my life. If everyone had been going 60 miles an hour, I probably would have as well and I might not have had any idea that the roads were actually icy and dangerous. I felt well cared for in that long line of cars as we drove slowly and carefully, mindful of the conditions and of the cars around us.

It has made me think of other slowdowns, interruptions or disruptions in my day and in my life. How much of the time can I look at them as gifts? How often am I grateful for them? We are headed into what many consider the busiest time of our year. There will be long lines, full parking lots, harried service people, and short tempers. Can I remember to allow the outer inconvenience or disruption to be an opportunity to slow down inwardly?

I also want to be intentional about finding the places in this beautiful time of year for simple pleasures, quiet and peace. I look forward tonext weekend when my family and I bundle up in our coats and boots, drive two hours down the highway and then tramp into the woods to cut down our not-so-perfect Christmas tree. We have a lovely contemplative service at our church celebrating the winter solstice, our longest night, which I can feel my heart leaning toward, even now. A friend of mine has formed a group that gathers on Wednesdays at noon to practice body prayer together. It is a time to pause in the middle of our day and in the middle of our week to experience God and to come back to ourselves.

May you have many “slowdowns” today and in these days to come. And when they come, may you recognize them and welcome them as gifts of peace.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Zen of Seeing

I know artists whose medium is life itself and who express the inexpressible without brush, pencil, chisel or guitar. They neither paint nor dance. Their medium is Being. Whatever their hand touches has increased life…. They are the artists of being alive.

Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing

I, personally, have a deep longing to bring a little piece of God into this world. I try to string a few words together, sometimes I take some photos, put color on paper, sing, or dance. But, my truest call is to this Art of Being. To offer some kindness, compassion, a little understanding.

To be a little spark of God in this world, this is my prayer.

A man named Bob is a part of my faith community, one of the founders of our church 45 years ago. Any time he is at the church, he makes it his business to welcome every single person that comes in that door. (We are a large church for our denomination and the building is very busy with many different groups using it.) Our congregation, from its inception, has been a welcoming and inclusive place and currently, it is really a grace filled place where people are loving and giving. It is my belief that Bob was absolutely foundational in setting that Christ-like tone for us. He is a beautiful example of an artist of Being.

This weekend of Thanksgiving (for those of us in the U.S.) is a wonderful time to remember the people in your life who are the artists of life. Remember to give thanks for them and even to tell them how much you appreciate them being in your life. And don’t forget to share the story with me! I would love to hear it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Ordinary Day

I was sent this poem a few days ago. It is such a beautiful follow-up to yesterday's post.



by Wendell Berry

Though he was ill and in pain,

in disobedience to the instruction

would have received if he had asked,

the old man got up from his bed,

dressed, and went to the barn.

The bare branches of winter had emerged

through the last leaf-colors of fall,

the loveliest of all, browns and yellows

delicate and nameless in the gray light

and the sifting rain. He put feed

in the troughs for eighteen ewe lambs,

sent the dog for them, and she

brought them. They came eager

to their feed, and he who felt

their hunger was by their feeding

eased. From no place in the time

of present places, within no boundary

nameable in human thought,

they had gathered once again,

the shepherd, his sheep, and his dog

with all the known and the unknown

round about to the heavens' limit.

Was this his stubbornness or bravado?

No. Only an ordinary act

of profoundest intimacy in a day

that might have been better. Still

the world persisted in its beauty,

he in his gratitude, and for this

he had most earnestly prayed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Work We Choose

“This is not how I want to be spending my day”, was the thought that entered my head as I pulled my van into a parking spot for the 15th time in one day. I felt that I had been hauling people around, getting in and out of the car, entering and leaving buildings, looking down hallways for people, dropping off and picking up all day long. But almost immediately another voice said, “You chose this work, and it is important.”

It is true. I did choose this life. Thirteen years ago, I was a young family physician. It was something that I was good at, but it never brought me joy. Actually, it brought me a lot of stress and anxiety. When our first child was born, I made the decision to stay home full time and let my license and my certification lapse. Except for my ministry of spiritual direction, I have not worked outside of the home since.

If I stop to think about what I “do” at all, it tends to be in terms of how mundane the things in my life can be, of how much time seems to be tied up in things that, on the surface, seem unimportant. Shopping, driving my kids to school, paying the bills, cleaning the house.

In her book, Seven Sacred Pauses, Macrina Wiederkehr says, “When we begin our day, most of us probably do not approach our work with the awareness and belief that we are artists involved in continuing the work of creation. From the most sublime to the most menial, work is creativity.”

Years ago, I had a friend who said to me, “I don’t see any eternal value in cleaning my house.” Even at that stage of my journey, I had a glimpse that all things have eternal “value” when done with mindfulness, care and love. And yet, now, these many years later, it didn't seem to apply to just driving around town all day. (Actually, I’m still having a bit of hard time with it, even though I believe it to be true.)

So, as I begin yet another day, I set the intention that wiping the counter, feeding the dog, or sweeping out the garage is all my work. It is my good work. It is also my prayer and in some crazy, mystical sense, it is my offering to the creation of the world.

May all of your work be wonderfully creative this day!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why I read, I think....

Twilight booksImage by Annafur via Flickr

I have a friend who desperately wants me to read the novel Twilight. And I am desperately resisting. The book is about a teenage girl that falls in love with a vampire. I know that some of my readers who are fans of the series (you know who you are!) will tell me that it is about much more than that, but for the sake of this post we will leave it there. When my friend asked me why I didn’t want to read it I peevishly answered, “I don’t have time for Harlequin romances with vampires.” This wasn’t my highest self speaking, but truth be told, I’ve been having a hard time expressing the more exact reason why I do not read this book. Here are some of the possibilities:

(1) I’m afraid that I might like it. (2) I’m a complete and total book snob. (3) I don’t have time for books like this. (4) I don’t do escapism. (5) I want the books I read to “matter”, whatever that might mean.

There is probably a nugget of truth in each one of those reasons, some much more than others, but the last one comes closest to hitting the nail on the head.

We all read for different reasons at different times, simple entertainment, information, distraction, escape (the “Calgon take me away!” commercial is popping into my head), the enjoyment of books and words. But for me, whether I am perusing the shelves at the bookstore or library, reading the reviews of books at the back of my various magazines and journals, asking friends what they are reading, or voting for our next book club pick, I am looking for a book that will change me. Change might come about from being exposed to new ideas or new information, but also simply from being in the presence of the beauty and grace that I find in great writing. I’m not saying that this desire is better or worse or higher or lower than any other reason for reading a book. It’s just true for me at this stage of my life and I want to attend to it.

When I choose a new book, it is because, on some level, I am always hoping that it will contain both Truth and Beauty. Now, don’t worry. I am not going to try to tell you what Truth (note the capital “T”) means on the global or cosmic scale, and certainly not on the level of the personal because of course, I have no idea. I can only know my own Truth, once in a while. But in those moments when I really experience Truth, I feel it physically, in my body. Sometimes it manifests just as a prick behind my eyes, sometimes as running rivers of tears, but most often it is just some sort of small shift within me, a recognition of being in the presence of something that I already know, of coming home to the right place.

What do you hope for when you pick up a book? How do you know your own truth?

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fumbling toward the Divine

There are no words

for the deepest places in my life.

They cannot be named

or wrestled into some safe enclosure of explanation.

I fumble around looking

for some way to bring God

into a world that is already bursting with the Divine.

They say that it is the poet’s job

To get said

that which is unsayable.

But what if it turns out to be true

that some things

were better left


Monday, November 16, 2009

A Wrong Number?

A standard telephone keypad.Image via Wikipedia

This is not much of a post, but a just have to share with you how the tiniest little things can change my day if I approach them with the right attitude.

Just this minute, the phone rang. I said, "Hello" and the person on the other end said, "Who is this?" It sounded like an older man with an asian accent. (I thought for a minute that it might be my friend, Roy, but his accent is quite young.)

It's not considered overly good manners to just say "who is this" and sometimes I am irritated and taken aback, but this time I replied, quite brightly, "This is Rebecca!"

"Oh...what number is this?" It was pretty apparent at this point that this was a wrong number but I told him my phone number. "Oh...", he said. "I have a wrong number."

"No problem", I responded nicely, thinking that he would just hang up. But, instead he said, "You have the beautiful voice."

"Well, thank you", I said, feeling light and happy. And he hung up.

Here's what's funny. I really believe him.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Looking for the Skillful

A line in the October issue of The Sun caught my eye. “I’d been reluctant to read The Long Emergency because I’d feared it would be debilitating..”

I have often avoided certain movies, television shows or books because I feared that they would be depressing. I think that most of the time, that was not the word that I was looking for. Sure, some things are just complete downers, mostly because sometimes they make me despair for the human race as in “Is this really who we are or we’ve become?” But, I think that the word debilitating is a more accurate word for what I would like to avoid. Debilitate means to hinder, delay, weaken. I don’t want that in my life. I need all the movement and strength that I can get.

A few years ago, friends of mine were all watching The Sopranos. They really wanted me to see it, but I resisted. I just couldn’t see that I would find it entertaining or helpful. But, each year it won awards upon awards and I figured that all of those critics/experts couldn’t be wrong so I picked up the first disc. I was somewhat hooked. The whole idea of a mafia boss having marital and childrearing problems after a long day of extortion and murder and then having panic attacks that sent him to therapy made me have this, “hey, we all have some things in common” kind of experience and I kept watching. Eventually, though, the series got darker and darker. I remember one day I was exercising and watching. Annie came through and I said, “Get out! Get out! You can’t see this.” It wasn’t the first time that she had heard this. That day she stood there and said, “I don’t think you should be watching this Mom. I don’t think that it’s good for you.” She stated what my heart already knew and very shortly afterward, I gave it up.

Did the Sopranos hinder me? Weaken me? When I think about how I felt after watching it there was a heaviness in me, maybe even a darkness. In her profile Pollinatrix over at The Whole Blooming World talks about being accused of trying to find “way too much meaning in life”, something that I am guessing that most of my readers are guilty of as well. I watched the Sopranos and I looked for the deeper meaning, the lessons that I might apply to my own life. I tried to feel compassion for people who are bumbling around in the dark, hurting each other. But the price was too high to my mind, my spirit and I think, even my body.

Inappropriate is a word that we use a lot with our kids in regard to movies and television shows. Inappropriate generally means that there is strong sex or violence in the movie. But, my 13 year old, a smart boy, says to us, “Why is it appropriate for you and not for me?” And we come back with the tried and true, “Because you’re not mature enough”. I am afraid that the truest answer to Tim’s question, in many cases, is, “It isn’t appropriate for me.” It isn’t helpful. The apostle Paul put it this way: Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” But that sounds so boring! So preachy and puritanical. Probably most of us think that the Apostle Paul was too uptight and wouldn’t have been any fun to hang out with any way. Can’t we just have a little fun?

Maybe some of us think that the Buddha would be a little easier to be around. Well, the Buddhists would call the choices we make between what is true and lovely and that which is less so skillful or unskillful. Unskillful choices lead to suffering. Skillful choices will lead to peace and happiness. And not just for me, possibly for the whole world. I’m pretty sure that Paul and Siddartha are saying the same thing.

What are your experiences? Are there examples of violent movies or television shows that you feel have been helpful to you and of spiritual benefit? What sorts of things feel inappropriate to you? Maybe you have less obvious examples of things in our world that might be debilitating for us. I would love to hear.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dazzling Darkness

The title of Mary Oliver's poem from which I took the name of my blog is Spring and it is very winter here. But the phrase that so captured me, "dazzling darkness" is perfectly apt. We have just begun our descent into winter, but the combination of the dark and the snow is dazzling indeed.

Whatever time of the year it is, I cannot express how deeply this poem moves me. Any time. Every time. If you told me that I could only have one favorite poem, this would be it. At least for now. As I read it over again, I see that it carries some of the same themes that I was working with yesterday, the question of how we are to love this world.



a black bear

has just risen from sleep

and is staring

down the mountain.

All night

in the brisk and shallow restlessness

of early spring

I think of her,

her four black fists

flicking the gravel,

her tongue

like a red fire

touching the grass,

the cold water.

There is only one question:

how to love this world.

I think of her


like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against

the silence

of the trees.

Whatever else

my life is

with its poems

and its music

and its cities,

it is also this dazzling darkness


down the mountain,

breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her –

her white teeth,

her wordlessness,

her perfect love.

~ Mary Oliver ~

And I long to enter into that Wordlessness. Into that Perfect Love.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hanging on to Hope

Recently, my daughter was voicing her opinions about how she thought that the world be a much better place if we changed the ways that meat was raised and produced in this country. She felt that the meat would likely be more expensive and that therefore people would eat less meat and it would create health for the animals, the humans who eat them and the planet. My son is a bit of a cynic at the ripe old age at 13. “People will never go for that”, he said. “Nobody is going to give up their cheap McDonald’s”. I pointed out to him that in the past, human beings as a group have actually changed their health habits for the better because they were educated in those directions or because there were consequences for continuing in the bad habits. Cigarette smoking is definitely one prime example, as are the use of seatbelts and protective helmets for lots of different sports.

I was relating this to an acquaintance last night who said, “I wish that I could share your optimism. I just watch one hour of Meet the Press and I got so depressed and pessimistic.” He then spent the next five minutes or so listing all of the things that we are up against. The next time he took a breath, I said, “Man! Now I’m depressed!”

Last night I was reading from Henri Nouwen’s book, The Way of the Heart.

Many voices wonder if humanity can survive its own destructive powers. As we reflect on the increasing poverty and hunger, the rapidly spreading hatred and violence within as well as between countries, and the frightening buildup of nuclear weapons systems, we come to realize that our world has embarked on a suicidal journey.

It seems that the darkness is thicker than ever, that the powers of evil are more blatantly visible than ever, and that the children of God are being tested more severely than ever.

During the last few years I have been wondering what it means to be a minister in such a situation. What is required of men and women who want to bring light into the darkness….? What is required of a man or a woman who is called to enter fully into the turmoil and agony of the times and speak a word of hope?

These words were written in 1981 and I think that we would all agree that things have gotten a lot worse in that period of time. How do we hang on to hope in the face of the unbelievably complicated troubles of this country, this international community, this world? My son, again at 13, says, “We’re doomed. Why bother trying?” And some part of me wants to agree with him. I pray that it is a very small part, for as a person of faith I am called to hope and to help, whatever that might mean.

One more story: During the height of the Cold War, the spiritual teacher Ram Dass was asked whether the world was facing a nuclear Armageddon or, as some were prophesying, a “new age” of peace and love and deeper awareness. Ram Dass said, “I used to think I should have an opinion on this. But as I examined it, I saw that if it’s going to be Armageddon and we’re going to die, the best think to do to prepare for it is to quiet my mind, open my heart, and deal with the suffering in front of me. And if it’s going to be the new age, the best thing to do is to quiet my mind, open my heart, and deal with the suffering in front of me.”

This feels very true. And so I go on, turning the lights off and the heat down, eating less meat, helping the needy here in Anchorage, giving away my money and my time, and keeping my heart as open as I can. Will it be enough to save us? I don’t know. But it’s what I can do.

Please let me know your thoughts on hope. What keeps you moving forward both in the world and in your own spirit? Where do you find support for this journey?

Monday, November 9, 2009

First Snow

This is my yard today, the view from my kitchen/dining room.

I love the snow. This is a wonderful day.

My heart is as light as the fluffy white stuff and the dog is a puppy again as he gulps huge mouthfuls of snow.

Today the snow is my prayer, my hymn, my icon of all that is pure and perfect.

Friday, November 6, 2009

More Thoughts on Conflict

Yesterday, I wrote about the ways that conflict can help us in our transformation. Our church is embroiled in a bit of a conflict right now. I attend a Methodist church and we tend to be a very liberal church in a very liberal conference. But that doesn’t mean that everyone in our church holds the same view points by any means. Some how or another, though, we have always been a church that was able to hold all of those varying viewpoints in one vessel. There is a lot of loving grace toward each other in our church.

Our church has determined to become a Reconciling Congregation, which advocates for FULL participation for ALL people in the life of the church. The primary focus of the ministry is the inclusion of Gays, Lesbians and Transgendered peoples. Therefore, in the church right now, we have a group that has an agenda and they want the support of the congregation for that agenda. However, not all support the agenda.

Recently, a team of people at our church had volunteered to help with a prison ministry called Kairos which seeks to share the true and unconditional love of God with people in prison. However, when the local organization realized that one of the people from St. John was lesbian, she was told that she could not participate. The rest of the team resigned in order to stand in solidarity with this beautiful and valuable member of our community. At church on Sunday night our pastor said that we were not finished with this matter.

So, do we pursue conflict with our Christian brothers and sisters? Do we even pursue a route of conflict within our own church as we work toward full acceptance of EVERY child of God? The answer to me is clearly, yes. But it will be a challenge for all of our community and our leadership to navigate this lovingly and in ways that are truly reconciling in the midst of conflict.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Opportunities for Conflict

evadoImage by Ca(non) via Flickr

Cassian taught this: Abba John, abbot of a large monastery, went to Abba Paesius who had been living for forty years far off in the desert. As John was very fond of Paesius and could therefore speak freely with him, he said to him, "What good have you done by living here inretreat for so long, and not being easily disturbed by anyone?" Paesius replied, "Since I have lived in solitude, the sun has never seen me eating." Abba John said back to him, "As for me, since I have been living with others, it has never seen me angry."

Clearly in the serious contemplation of our place in the human community lies the quality of our contemplation. To be a real contemplative we must every day take others into the narrow little confines of our lives -- and listen to their call to us to be about something greater than ourselves.

-- Joan Chittister, OSB, Illuminated Life, p. 30, 34

While I was vacationing in Mexico, I remember having the fleeting thought, “I am not able to practice my spirituality here.” I meant that I had very little solitude in which to ponder, pray and read. But, of course, I had many, many opportunities to practice my spirituality, after all, I was living in close quarters with my family. What better place to practice what I say that I believe and attempt to cultivate in my life. The spiritual practices of solitude, prayer and meditation are much, much easier for me than the spiritual practice of dealing with all of the needs, desires and emotions of those around me. But, the only reason that I pray is to help me become a more loving person in this world, and if I’m not doing that, why bother? So, I would like to learn gratitude for the opportunities that conflict, disagreement, and just plain bad moods present as a means of my transformation.

We tend to think that a spiritual life should be a life without conflict, that peace should mean that we are never at odds with anyone or anything in this world. Thinking now of the great spiritual leaders, all of them were wrapped up in conflict. There was Jesus, Moses, Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King. Almost all of the saints that I can think of were at odds with their church or their government. Throughout history these people were calling us to new places, new ways of being, higher ways of thinking and deeper ways to love. All of these people took a loving and courageous stand for something. They could all be called peaceful warriors. I think that learning to act lovingly and be loving in the midst of conflict is the very highest of my callings.

I have an eleven year old daughter who I love more than life itself. And, she has been hormonal since she was about 5 years old. (And I have certainly been hormonal in that period of time as well.) We are alike in many ways and very different in other ways, and so, we butt heads. Annie presents me endless (endless!) opportunities to practice the way of the peaceful warrior. (And we haven’t even hit adolescence yet.) I am very sure that when I look back upon my life, I will name her my most valuable spiritual teacher because she is always calling me to be more than I think that I could possibly be. More patient, a better listener, less defensive, more grounded, more other centered, more loving.

What are the areas of conflict in your life in which you are invited to practice the way of the peaceful warrior? Who are the great teachers in your life around conflict?

Thanks to Barbara at Barefoot Toward the Light where I first read the passage above.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Winter Day's Wanderings

While visiting at Anchors and Masts the other day, I noticed that one of the comments, talked about feeling disconnected from nature, not really aware even of the cycles of the moon. I am thinking right now of what it is in my life that keeps drawing me out into nature during good weather and more difficult weather (I can’t stand to call any of it “bad” weather) and allows me to experience that natural energy on a very regular basis. It is my dog!

Yes, I say that I love the outdoors, but I actually have a very good view of much of it from my window and I tend to prefer to stay warm, cozy and dry. However, I have a 75 pound mutt who prefers running and sniffing to warm and cozy and seeing that smile on his face (I know I’m anthropomorphizing) every time we head down the road is always worth it. He is my guide, day after day, into great beauty.

Winter has come to Alaska and though we don’t have a lot of snow yet, it is quite cold. As I begin my walk my cheeks are flushed and my hands tingle encouraging me to pick up the pace a little. I remember to breathe and look around me with every step, allowing myself to have thoughts, but trying more for pure presence. The day is gray and overcast, with a slight breeze that keeps the air pure and clear. I live on a country road, just on the edge of wild Alaska. It is easy to find a little trail or path into the woods which we take. There is an eruption of ice crystals on top of the inch or so of dry snow looking like tiny pure white forests sprouting every where that I look. In the middle of the woods there is some sort of water pipe that is spilling a small amount of liquid. It has formed an amazing sculpture of ice, a hollow stalagmite through which the water flows, creating a kinetic work of art. I stand and marvel at the beauty and listen to the perfect music of the flow of the water. Later, I spy a little movement out of the corner of my eye, a squirrel, clinging to an alder branch. As I watch it becomes perfectly still, gazing in my direction. This is interesting because these creatures are NEVER still. My body stills in response and we both stand there looking at each other. I wonder when he is going to start chattering at me to be on my way, but he never does, maintaining instead his alert repose.

Just before I reach home, I stop again to observe the a bunch of tall brown grasses. I have never been a fan of the color brown, preferring almost anything else. But now that all of our other colors are gone, I become aware of the many shades, textures and hues of the browns around me. These grasses are a soft yellowish brown, their seed heads full and abundant. They are being swayed by the breeze into a gentle rocking dance and I can feel myself moving back and forth with them. I listen intently, straining my ears to see if I can hear the swish of their stalks against each other, but I hear nothing. They dance in absolute silence. And I watch in reverence.

I am deeply grateful for this Earth, for all of her creatures and for the opportunity to soak it all in. May you find earth’s beauty today, wherever you may be.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Dance

One day when the air was supple and full of hope

My life unfurled in a thousand thousand

Shades of green.

Tethered by my resilience,

I inhaled each moment.

Moving with the currents of air

Holding my arms open to the rain

Turning in to survive the storms

Always surrounded by murmuring voices

Crescendos in the wind.

I lived the long green-ness

With all the exuberance of

the innocent.

Slowly, the nights lengthened

The air cooled

And I plunged deep into myself

Erupting into a golden flame

Until, one day

I was strong enough

To choose

to fall.

I was witnessed by one who said,

Fall is far too graceless a word

For the jubilant dance

That carries you back

Into the ground of your being

Where you will always dream

In a thousand, thousand shades of green.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wide and Deep

“Tomorrow is the last day?”, Annie asks. I feel my gut and my muscles tighten and I wish that she had not reminded me. We are sitting on the terrace of our hotel room in Puerto Vallarta, enjoying the early morning scene of sun and waves and people strolling along the beach. It is the 5th day of a vacation in which we have lounged, swam, snorkeled, ate, drank, exercised, ate some more, read, walked, jet skied, played in the waves, laughed and laughed some more. Each evening, three generations of family had gathered to toast another stunning and miraculous sunset. If it sounds wonderful, it’s because it really was.

As Annie posed her question, reminding me that it would soon be time to leave, I recognized the physical sensation within me as clinging. I realized that I didn’t want to think about leaving because I was holding on too tightly to this experience and in my mind I said, “I am clinging to something that is not mine to keep.” And then I thought, “Well, what is mine to keep?” The answer is of course, nothing. Certainly not this Mexico vacation, but neither are my children, my husband, this life that I live, or my very breath. All of it will change, all of it will move on in some form or another. But for now, it is on loan to me, asking me to love all of it widely and deeply. For today, for this moment.

In the scriptures Jesus says, “Do not worry about tomorrow.” He is trying to teach us to live in the moment. To not skip what is right in front of us. But then he also says, “Each day has enough troubles of its own.” I think that we can all identify with the troubles that each day brings. But, I for one, often spend too much time letting the troubles, many of which are really mere annoyances, to distract me from the beauty and the wonder which is inherent in this life. Yes, each day has its troubles, but each day also has unlimited, literally inifinite, opportunities for love, gratitude, goodness and hope.

As I focus on letting go of the clinging that is in me, I feel a release in my body and my spirit. And with that release, there is a new spaciousness from which to love.