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On waiting...

"Study the cycles of Mother Nature, the garden whispers, for they correspond with your soul's growth. Quiet your mind. Rope in the restlessness. Be here. Learn to labor. Learn to wait. Learn to wait expectantly."

Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance

The Devil is in the details...

Tonight in the cozy living room of our Carlisle home where Dean and I were watching The Devil Wears Prada...

Me: "OMIGOD! Look! Miranda is sitting in the room featured in the May 2006 issue of Elle Decor - in the Manhattan townhouse designed by William Diamond and Anthony Baratta! It was the one where they found their style undergoing a subtle transformation; much more toned down then most of their previous work. The woman decided on them after thinking about it for 15 years - and she wanted blue - lots of blue. Look! See? The rug that was inspired by Frank Stella's paintings! Oh, where's that magazine??? I was just looking at it yesterday... And there's the Alexander Calder mobile in the living room! Whoo-ha! It's that home - it is!!! Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!!! And here it is: the magazine to prove it! Seeeeeee????? HA!!! I knew it!!!"

Dean: "You're weird..."


Little miracles...

Is there anything more magical than fireflies making the garden sparkle at night???


Saturday morning...

I'm sitting in a wicker chair in my garden sipping an orange cappucino with buddy Jake at my feet. The fountains are gurgling, and the trees high above me are swaying gently, making the sound of the ocean's waves. My fairy roses are in full bloom and the whole garden is a verdant wonderland.

Dean is out for the day; helping build a Habitat for Humanity home with others from our church. Emily is in New Hampshire and driving to explore a beach in Maine with friends. Megan is packing and readying herself to depart her beloved Edinburgh in a few days; having coffee with friends, dinners with friends, drinks with friends. Tuesday evening I'll burst into tears when she walks through the door... homecomings always do that to me.

Life is precious and this morning I'm savoring it.

Chores can wait!



"I feel that I should walk to the beach and randomly select a grain of sand. That grain I should enshrine at home and call my god. In its impenetrable complexity, there is surely enough to fill my mind with wonder."
- from Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund


Full of myself...

This old Zen story was recounted on Spirituality and Practice and I wanted to post it here as a reminder to myself to be more open to others:

A university professor goes to have tea with a teacher. The teacher pours the visitor's cup full and then keeps on pouring. The professor watches the overflow until he can no longer restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

The teacher responds: "Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

Hmmm...puts a new slant on "My cup runneth over", huh?

I need to think about that today...


I carry the ocean within me...

The other day I was thinking about how surprising it is that I am so content living away from the shore. I've always been drawn to the sound of water lapping, of waves breaking...

When we lived in Gurnee, Illinois I felt so landlocked. One summer day, when I thought I simply couldn't take it any more, I packed a picnic lunch, whisked up the girls, and drove to an isolated spot on the shore of Lake Michigan. We ate our lunches listening to the water as it tickled the rocks on the shore. Lake Michigan is so vast that it was as if we were sitting by the ocean. We closed our eyes and pretended we were...

The gods must have sensed my needs, because several months later we moved to Hawaii. There, as the lazy Sunday afternoon progressed to early evening, we'd pile into the car and drive to Makaha to watch the orange beachball of sun as it dropped behind the horizon. As it touched the water and disappeared, we thought we could hear its angry hiss as it was snuffed out. Then, as the darkness enveloped us, we would snuggle close to each other and listen to the voice of the ocean, mesmerized by it's soothing rhythm. The coming in and the going out of the waves and the tides, as eternal as a mother's love, rocked us into a luscious peacefulness. The perfect ending to another perfect day.

Now I live in a beautiful little town in central Pennsylvania. I carry the ocean within me. But as I sit outside in my garden listening to the wind rustle the leaves far above my wicker perch, I'm struck by how equally soothing and satisfying that sound is to me now. Where did this breeze start? From what distant land? Did it start as a butterfly unfurled its wings for the first time? Or is it from the breath of distant lovers as they blew kisses to each other?

My restlessness is lessening as I embrace the person I've become. Where once only the waves could satisfy my soul, now, as the wind carries my imagination, I'm content to be wherever I am; each day more fully aware of my part in the ebb and flow of life.


Giving up...

I've been taking a truly wonderful e-course offered by the folks at Practicing Spirituality with Pema Chodron. The other day the lesson focused on the lojong slogan that I had also chosen to concentrate on for the duration of the course (40 days): Abandon any hope of fruition. Sounds bleak, huh? But - it is freeing! The lesson related that another way of saying the slogan would be: "Give up all hope," or "Give up" or just "Give."

The "giving up" resonated with me because I read it as giving UP - as in giving my worries and concerns about the past and the future up... to God.

When I can manage to do that I feel an abundance of peace and am able to concentrate on what is right before me. Pretty amazing considering I'm usually concerned about what will happen 6 months from now...

I was reminded of the lesson my flight instructor taught me when I was over-controlling the little Cessna I was learning to fly. He said quietly "Let go of the controls." I thought he was nuts and told him so, but he repeated "Let go of the controls." So I did and was amazed at what happened. All on its own the plane found the level flight I had been struggling to maintain. Found it quickly and easily...just like that!

I can't fix the past. I can't control the future. But by "giving up", I am free to receive the grace that comes from being in the present.

Fully. With immense and joyful gratitude...