Monday, November 14, 2016

Love loves to love love

This has been such an intense week. Fear,anger,sadness,curiosity, acceptance, disbelief, and confusion, seep through the shock and numbness and sweep through me in waves.
On Friday early in the morning I was paralyzed with fear and despair unable to get out of bed. I was thinking about turning 70 while Donald Trump is president and imagining all the horrible things the future could bring.
Then I remembered I still had 12 bulging trash bags filled with leaves on my front lawn. I knew if they sat on the grass for too long they would kill my already neglected lawn. It was around 7am and trash pickup would be happening momentarily. My trash can was filled to overflowing with three bags and my compost can with the contents of three more.
 I bounded out of bed, threw on some clothes and shoes and began to walk around in the chilly morning checking my neighbors trash cans for room for a bag of leaves. I found a place for three bags and felt grateful I could lift them and shlep them around by myself. In the distance I could now see the garbage truck was on the way down my street.
I stood by my trash can feeling really cold waiting for the truck. The driver was driving on the passenger side next to where I was standing. My plan was to ask him if I could put three more bags in my emptied can and go across the street with my can when he came the other way and then do that all again the following Friday. I was feeling good about asking and doubtful about any of it happening. My faith in humanity was definitely shaken by the election results.
I breathed deeply and gathered my courage and respectfully asked to dump another load. Instead of blowing me off and saying he was too busy and driving on, he smiled and said " sure will you buy me a steak.?" I laughed and said I would buy him a virtual steak. I put three more bags in and watched happily as the truck gobbled them up. Then he said " go ahead" and motioned for me to keep going. He waited while I, as fast as I could and taking a while to lift all the heavy bags, put two more loads of three bags in my can as the automatic arm lifted them gracefully into the truck. I thanked him for his kindness and felt a wave of human connection energy with him. I was moved to tears at the ray of hope in a bleak time. Like the Lone Ranger he drove off. He left me with a warm smile saying" Remember me at Christmas".
I watched as he moved up my street. My neighbor forgot to put her can out and my new hero waited while she ran it out to the street.  My neighbor and I met in the middle of our yards to share our good fortune and to marvel at the random acts of kindness we had witnessed in an intensely challenging time. I like her and we've spent almost no time together. We continued to talk and she invited me over for coffee and I went. We spent 2 hours together supporting each other about the election and sharing about our lives. This morning that had started out in despair ended in connection and hope.
So It is my intention that in the next fours years, I will embrace my feelings and be kind to myself and I will focus on noticing the kindness of others and being kind to others.
The Dali Lama said, "There is always time to be kind."
Today the peace quote I get every day was Love loves to love love by James Joyce. What a lovely idea that I want to remember every day. As I focus on the love that connects us all that loves creates more love and that loves loves loving. If love is really all there is I ask for the awareness of that love that is the foundation of all we rest on holding us in love in the midst of it all. That inner safety that is created by being held in love is inside of each one of us even when outer safety feels tenuous. I ask to be able to embrace my fear with self-compassion and let it release so that I have the space to trust in that love. I ask that for all of us.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Communing with a deer

I have been thinking about writing for a long time. My movement from the thinking stage to the doing stage can take a long time as evidenced that I haven't written in 6 months.
Yesterday I had an experience that moved me to share it here.
My partner Marc and I got up early to go hiking because the temperature was predicted to be in the nineties. We wanted to get to Evergreen before it got uncomfortably hot. We arrived just as a trail running race was starting with hundreds of runners on a nearby trail. We could see them beginning in a solid line away from us as we crossed the road to get to our trail. About half way up the mountain the first runner with his placard of 125 on his chest was running up the trail behind us. We realized the trail run included all of them running up and down the trail we were on.  After our initial surprise and disgruntledness we were able to take the runners presence in our stride with equanimity and curiosity. We moved over to the right in single file and continued our hike.  It was remarkably unobtrusive to have the runners sharing our hiking trail. They were sweaty and determined and I admired them all. We had a sweet sense of camaraderie with each other.
 What I was surprised I didn't feel was envy. I was a runner for over 30 years. Several times I hurt my back, took a long or a short break and then the envy of other people running would draw me back to running again myself. I love the euphoric feeling of finishing a run and the efficiency of exercising for a shorter time than walking. I loved thinking of myself as a runner and feeling like part of a fit somewhat fanatic tribe. Each time I stopped running I asked for a sign that it was time to take a break. Usually my back or pelvis went out or one of my knees began to bother me persistently. The last time I stopped running it was only because I was tired of running. Although I had been walking on and off all through my running career, I began to prefer the ease and the pace of walking over running and that made my body smile. I didn't make any proclamations this time about not running anymore as I had in the past. I simply walked and noticed how I felt about running within myself and when I saw other people running by me. I walked on dirt in pretty places and found walking suited my noticing my surroundings and being more present. It wasn't as important to finish as it was to be on my journey. I gave myself permission to run if I wanted to. Once I ran for a few miles for a few days before returning to walking. Most recently I ran for about 10 minutes. It was exhilarating to be able to run and I was very glad when it was over. So glad that I haven't felt moved to quicken my daily walk into a run since. I noticed the other day walking around Cheesman Park that other people were running. I was grateful to be walking. I curiously noted the runners and silently cheered them on with out regret.
I think this is part of graceful aging. Although there are plenty of avid runners my age and even much older, my body wants a slower and more sustainable exercise practice. As I age it has become more and more important to stretch before I exercise also.
Hiking has become a consistent practice and so helpful and satisfying to get out of the city into the mountains with my partner once a week.
That brings me back to our hike and the trail run happening around us. It was a tribute to my gentle letting go process that allowed me to be in the middle of a trail run with self acceptance for my choice to be walking up the mountain and an honoring of the runners choices. That peaceful coexistence was joyful for me.
Although it worked to share the trail with the runners at one point there were a lot of them and we decided to leave the trail and go into the woods to meditate. We were picky about finding our sanctuary. We wanted it to be shady and comfortable and far from the trail. We searched for quite a while til I noticed a deer sitting down in front of some rocks. Marc wanted to meditate near her.  I thought she was injured and Marc thought she was just waiting out the run as we were. We sat maybe 50 feet from her for 20 minutes and she let us be there with her. From where I was sitting I was looking into her eyes. I felt a deep sense of communion with her and strong gratitude for her for sharing herself and her space with me. My sense of communicating with her without words was really strong as if our connection across species united us as one. When we were done I felt a deeper sense of inner calm which felt like the gift of her presence now living in my body. Graceful aging also brought me to the slowed down place of being open to hanging out with my deer friend in a way I might have been moving too fast to bother with in the past.
One of my intentions is to be curious and open to my aging process and to surrender to it as my teacher even though it isn't always comfortable.
I really enjoy sharing my journey with you.  Thank you for listening.