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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.

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One Comment

  1. Dearest Joann—I hold you in my heart and prayers—-daily!!! Wishing you every BLESSING in this sacred season!!! My love to you, Jenny Wilcox ( Loretto grad)


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