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Monthly Archives: December 2013

                                Failling star*

Today I woke with mind dwelling on an unpleasant scene during a meeting yesterday, feeling I might need to “DO” something about it, but what?  Would interfering with other people’s feelings and actions, just make it worse?  Should I stay in my own “hula hoop”?

So, I did my morning routine, journaling about my thoughts, dreams, feelings: “So many shoulds, worry about other people, what they are doing or not doing.  Why not look at yourself, Joann….deal with this sadness, loneliness that you are feeling, the lack of stimulation, exercise, giving of yourself to others, a contrast to the joy you felt on Christmas day with family.  Feeling “bored with myself” or something.  Tired of winter already, of being cooped up indoors, afraid of getting sick in the cold, self-centered, lazy, indolent, hibernating, feeling old and useless.  Ridiculous when I’m healthy for a woman in her ‘70‘s with only a couple of chronic diseases.  The cure for feelings is to DO something, not just sit around, girl!  It’s what you’d tell other people, so do it!  Stop beating up on yourself!”

I went outdoors to see the lovely moon at dawn, offered it a quick “Moonlight” Qi Gong exercise, more indoors with my husband, a reading (the 4th of the 14 Mindfulness Trainings) that helped me focus on my own suffering and begin to transform it in a 30 minute meditation.  Then I found a passage in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Love Letter to the Earth that I knew would finish the transformation of my suffering (small though it is compared to most people’s suffering in the world) into gratitude and celebration of life.

After reminding us of the billions of years it took for the earth to being to manifest living beings, the development of life in the oceans fed by light particles from distant stars, Thay says “I promise to remember our extraordinary journey of eons and to live my days with awareness that we are all your children, and that we are all made of stars.  I promise to do my part, contributing my own energy of joy and harmony to the glorious symphony of life.”

Wow!  I can do that today, my small part – to contribute my own energy of joy and harmony to the glorious symphony of life that has been pulsating on this planet for billions of years!  I can’t miss this day, this opportunity, wallowing in negative thoughts, feelings or illusions.  I am, we are made of stars!  Let’s shine today.

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I promised my husband I would stay home today, healing the first symptoms of a cold, staying off icy streets.  If it causes him less stress, I will, but it is difficult for me to stay indoors during the winter.  I might feel lonely, my mind tells me, even though many hours of each day I spend alone writing, preparing for retreats, practicing Qi Gong, meditating, reading, communicating with suffering friends.

On Tuesdays, I usually invite the bell at Stillwater, but the building is closed when schools are closed.  So, our group sat warm and cozy in our homes, thinking of one another, doing the practice that enriches our lives, relieves stress and useless negative thinking.  Before I began the meditation, I read from Love Letter to the Earth by Thich Nhat Hanh: “I can awaken to the fact that I am alive, and that life is a precious miracle.  I can awaken to the fact that I am never alone and can never die.  The earth is always there within me and around me at every step, nourishing me, embracing me and carrying me into the future.”

I used the phrases “I am never alone” and “I can never die” for the focus of my concentration in meditation.  I visualized all the friends and family members who enrich my life with their love, including some who have continued in a new form.  They can never die as long as they are alive in me, in my memory, in the actions that are influenced by their love.  I watched the gentle snow falling.  How short the life of a snowflake, we think.  It forms from air, water, dust, takes a beautiful and unique form, floats through the atmosphere, lands among millions of its peers and eventually melts.  But it can never “not be.”  Just as we can never really “die.”  Our bodies, minds and feelings change constantly, transforming, growing, changing form.  Without these changes, new life would not be possible.

I am grateful for these teachings of “no birth, no death,” watching the snow falling, resting.connecting with you.