God, grant me t…

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer, adopted by Twelve Step programs, has been a source of comfort and strength for me.  On this Wisdom Wednesday, I pray serenity will be mine and yours.

Enlightened (Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge)

Enlightened (Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge)

Taken with my iPhone 5S. Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge. Week 4: Challenger’s Choice – Objects.
My teenage son bought this for me a couple of years ago. It is one of my prized possessions. I suppose it’s a bit ironic that I asked for a bust of Buddha for Christmas. My son picked it out himself. I particularly like the distressed look of the glaze.

Renewal

On this, the first day of Spring, I was thinking about renewal.  The skeletal trees begin to bud.  Tufts of green start to peek out of the once frozen ground.  I don’t know about you, but I sure could use some renewal… renewal of my mind, body, and spirit.  

Grateful

I look in the mirror and see a few grey hairs,

lines that weren’t there before,

and the toll that gravity has taken.

In my body, the aches and pains whisper.

Sometimes they scream.

Scars.

Some on the inside…

some without.

And I’m here.

I have breath

and life

and love.

I am grateful.

“A human being …

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein

Universe

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French univers or Latin universum, neuter of universus ‘combined into one, whole’, from uni- ‘one’ + versus ‘turned’ (past participle of vertere).

On this Wisdom Wednesday, I am sharing this beautiful quote that I have heard a multitude of times.  In a seminar I attended, the facilitator defined the word Universe as “one song.”    We are all connected to everyone and everything… all a part of one song.

Your Children Are Not Your Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of
Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they
belong not to you.

You may give them your love but
not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but
not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of
tomorrow, which you cannot visit,
not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries
with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your
children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the
path of the infinite, and He bends you
with His might that His arrows may go
swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand
be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran, ‘On Giving,’ The Prophet

On this Wisdom Wednesday, my oldest son celebrates his 25th birthday.  A friend and mentor gave me a copy of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet several years ago, pointing out the section “On Children” specifically.  It echoes much of what I believe about allowing children to be their own persons.         

14 Things I Love

For Valentine’s Day I made a list of 14 things I love.  (They are in no particular order… unless stream of consciousness qualifies as an order.)   

1.  baby giggles… especially my granddaughter’s

2.  exercising, especially outside

3.  frozen Margaritas

4.  when my kids ask for my advice… and really want it… and take it

5.  reading (especially non-fiction, spiritual, and self-help books)

6.  my family (the whole crazy bunch!)

7.  singing

8.  learning new things

9.  Sunday lunches with my kids

10.  spicy food

11.  when my dog curls up on the couch with me and keeps my feet warm

12.  flowers

13.  swimming pools and beaches

14.  hanging out with my husband 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

On Meditation

When I was a single mother, I set up a corner of my bedroom as a place to write and meditate.   It consisted of a chair and table nestled in the corner of my bedroom where two windows met.  The windows overlooked bird-filled trees and a creek in the backyard.  On the table, I kept a journal and pencils (my preferred writing instrument), an incense burner, a candle, whatever books I was currently reading, and some flowers.  I also kept a guitar nearby.  Even with four kids at home, this was my refuge.

When I remarried, I wanted to replicate my little haven in my new home.  There is a window in the corner of the bedroom, so I placed a chair and table there.  This table consists of books, a candle, a couple of horse figurines that had belonged to my dad, and a pile of dimes (another post).  Nearby is monitor and microphone.  I used this area mostly for meditation and a place to focus when I am on a conference call or doing some other task requiring concentration or quiet.

When I was single, I could go to my corner any time and often meditated first thing in the morning.  I was a very early riser, usually up before anyone else and often by 4:00 A.M.  As it turns out, my husband is an early riser as well, a very light sleeper, and NOT one to meditates.  I began to feel self-conscious during my sitting practice, thinking about him waking up and seeing me meditating… which of course defeats the purpose.  So, I began retreating to the living room for my morning sitting while my husband showered.

One morning, as I sat cross-legged on the couch, with the lights off and a blanket wrapped around my shoulders to keep out the early morning draught, I heard our bedroom door open.  I tried to turn my attention back to my breath, but I could hear him coming closer.  I did not move, hoping he might be heading to the kitchen.  A moment later I felt him plop down on the couch right beside me.  He placed his head on my shoulder and looked up at me.  In the perky sing-song tone of a little child, he asked, “Whatcha doin’?”

Stifling a laugh, I responded, “I WAS meditating.”

Clearly embarrassed, he immediately got up, apologized, and left the room.  I remained in my sitting position and finished my meditation.  Afterward I had a laugh with my husband.  As awkward as this was, it wasn’t the last incident.

A few weeks later, thinking my husband wouldn’t look for me in my son’s bedroom, I slipped off for some sitting practice.  I left the light off and the door cracked slightly open.  A few minutes into my meditation, I heard him opening doors in the house one at a time, even opening the front door and stepping outside for a moment.  He was looking for me.  I giggled to myself and continued sitting.  Eventually, I could sense him peeking into my sons room and then gingerly walking away.

My husband and I have had many laughs over this story, and we have both learned some lessons.  I, for one, have learned to be more direct… simply tell my husband that I am going to be meditating.  I think my husband has learned that if I am sitting in the dark with my eyes closed, I am probably meditating.

Peace Along Your Path

Growing up in an alcoholic home, peace was something I didn’t get to experience much.  Even if things were quiet, I perpetually anticipated a coming storm.  I didn’t understand this about myself until I was in my early forties.

I recreated this constant sense of dread by marrying an alcoholic… and this was the least of our problems.  My second marriage was not to an alcoholic, but to someone whose inability to manage himself closely resembled the behaviors of an addict.  My purpose here is not to place blame, but to note that my own addiction to chaos was preventing me from enjoying the very peace that I claimed to want in my life.

In my quest for peace, that I realized I really didn’t know what it felt like.  In fact, someone once said to me that no matter what was going on, I never looked ruffled.  I had to confess that it was often in these times, there was a tempest swirling around inside of me.

In order to experience peace, I began meditating… and sometimes simply sitting on my back deck doing nothing.  I began to realize that for the first time since I could remember, there was no drama in my life.  I also realized that this was an odd feeling.  I started to make the connection that, in the past, when this odd feeling arose, my remedy was to create some chaos so I could feel normal again.  Of course I did not do this on a conscious level.

After several years of practicing being at peace, I can say that I am quite good at it.  I have also learned that part of staying at peace is forgiving others because they were only doing what they knew with the information they had at the time.  An even bigger portion of my peace comes from forgiving myself, for the very same reason.

With that said, I ran across this blessing, on Wandering Voiceless
posted on January 27, 2014 by .  Read the rest of her post here.  And may you have peace along your path.

Peace Be With You Always As You Wander Your Life’s Path…

Peace be with you as you leave your broken childhood behind…

Peace be with you as you spread your wings and fly from a happy childhood home…

Peace be with you as you find your way in life…

Peace be with you as you flit from job to job, class to class, relationship to relationship, looking for that “just right” one…

Peace be with you as you settle into routine…

Peace be with you as you welcome your own children into the world…

Peace be with you as you raise your children better than your parents raised you…

Peace be with you as you raise your children exactly as you were raised…

Peace be with you as you push your children out of the nest to soar on their own strong wings…

Peace be with you as your children climb back into the nest because the world isn’t ready for them, or they aren’t ready for the world…

Peace be with you as you struggle with your parents’ health issues, or your own health, or God forbid,  your child’s health…

Peace be with you as you bask in the unconditional love of grandchildren and the pure joy of knowing you can send them back to their own parents when you’re tired… except you’re never tired around them…

Peace be with you if you have no children, or fur children, or nieces and nephews that you influence and nurture…

Peace be with you as you travel the world and learn the perspective of someone whose life hasn’t been as blessed as your own… 

Peace be with you as you struggle to pay your bills and keep a roof over your head… 

Peace be with you as you suffer the loss of loved ones dear to you, friends and acquaintances, too…  for all touched your heart while they shared their time and space with you… 

Peace be with you as you enjoy the sunset of your life… celebrating your accomplishments and forgiving yourself your failures, because in every failure there was a lesson learned…

Peace be with you always as you wander your life’s path… wherever that path may lead you..

Peace.