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Category Archives: Joy

Spring budsWhat a glorious spring day!  The first birthday of our great niece Hannah Grace (https-//www.facebook.com/photo), the spring full moon, cherry blossoms trying to burst into bloom on the Tidal Basin, and so many great activities coming up.

Please join us in celebrating SPRING and new life within yourself at these events.  Our world needs every gesture of peace, every celebration of life possible:
1) “Twelve Posture Qi Gong”class.   My husband Patrick and I will be teaching this 8-week class in simple, gentle movements that will greatly reduce pain, improve agility and open energy channels in your body. Join us on Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00pm from April 5-May 24 at the Takoma Park Community Center. Sign up for drop-in or the full class at (https://apm.activecommunities.com/takomaparkrecreation/Activity_Search/qi-gong-12-posture/4440).

2) There are still some private rooms available for our Women’s Spiritual Retreat at Claymont Court, WV (near Harper’s Ferry) the weekend of April 29-May1. (See http://www.ruthfishel.com or email Joann to register ASAP).   REST, RELAX!

3) AND join Ruth and me in a special women’s retreat in SEDONA, ARIZONA May 30-June 2 “Awakening to the Power of the Vortexes!” (with a trip to the Grand Canyon on June 3 optional). To sign up, see http://www.ruthfishel.com.

Enjoy every moment of new life, every precious, beautiful moment, my friends.

Love and Peace,

Joann

My affirmation for the month of March, as I heal from a bad cold:

“The spring sun is warming, healing and inspiring me.”Joann:Qi:Beach.JPG

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The Gazebo at Brookside Gardens                                           Photo by Joann

Most of us don’t need to go far to see blue sky, sunlight, clouds, water, green leaves, paradise.  Happiness can be present in our next breath.  In this breath now, if we are aware, awake, alive.  What a miracle this cool, beautiful August morning offers us.  I was particularly moved during meditation at Stillwater this morning by the beauty I saw outside the windows of our meditation hall.  I get to be alive today to see the sunlight filtering through these green leaves, to see some of the first of the yellow ones fall.

My mind flitted to remembering family and friends who passed away, some recently, some years ago in early August.  I want to see all I can today, to live fully, to experience the breezes on my cheeks for them.  They are alive in me, if I am aware.  My life extends beyond this body, this period of time on the planet, I hope.  Yet I don’t need to wait for paradise the way I was taught as a child.  I can experience paradise now, hearing the birds sing, smiling at the clouds.  I am so grateful to be alive, so grateful my beloved is alive and present with me.  Thank you, Universe!

 

Butterfly Museum with my granddaughter-life, so beautiful, so fleeting it seems

Butterfly Museum with my granddaughter-life, so beautiful, so fleeting it seems.

My son, daughter in law and granddaughter are in the air for a two day trip half way around the world.  We might not see them again for a year, a very long time in a grandmother’s life.  I miss them terribly already, yet the joy of their two week visit is evidenced throughout our home.  Photos from two birthday parties, a christening yesterday in Baltimore of Pat’s grand niece and numerous adventures in museums and waterfront cafes with wonderful friends and family.  I shared with some friends at a meeting on Friday (another joyous celebration) that I’ve found joy nestled within the greatest sorrows.  In fact, joy and sorrow have become not separate, different entities in my life, but the same experience viewed with different attitude, viewpoint, perspective.

During one of his powerful talks, Thich Nhat Hanh (www.plumvillage.org) showed us a piece of paper and said, one side is joy and the other our suffering.  They are not different, separate entities or experiences.  They are the same.  Without our suffering, our challenges in life, how could we find the depth of acceptance, compassion and love that infuses our joy and happiness?  Without a deep inner happiness based on the oneness we have with others, with the whole Universe, how could we endure our suffering?

I might find some tears and longing in my heart today, a bit of fear for their safety and well-being, a desire to cling to them, hold them here close to us.  But it has always worked best with my son to “let him go,” allow him all the freedom to explore, work, learn and be the dedicated person he is in his work to alleviate poverty in Asia and other parts of the world.  I ask that my heart continue to grow with the love he inspires in me, to keep encompassing all people I meet, to treat them with the same respect and love I have for him, his beautiful wife and precious daughter.

I sing “Please Call me by my True Names”:

“My joy’s like spring so warm, it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.

My pain’s like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once.

So I can hear that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up

and the door of my heart will be left open.

The door of compassion.”

 

 

 

 

Spring '15

Hannah Grace

Redbuds and cherry blossoms bursting open…daffodils, pansies and buttercups covering the ground. Babies arriving everywhere – four in our meditation community and this precious first great niece in my husband’s family, now two weeks old celebrating her first Easter holiday.

Would we appreciate this glorious new life if we hadn’t experienced such a long, cold, snowy, icy winter? The transformation of death into life is constant, ever present in all of nature. But do we notice a “non-toothache”? An absence of arthritis aches if we’ve never felt the pain? Not to glorify suffering or seek it out. I’ve spent enough of my life doing that. Life will present plenty of challenge, illness, loss of loved ones, death. All these experiences are part of life, intertwined so intricately with success, health, connection and new life that we cannot separate the suffering from the joy. They “inter-are.”

We have a choice every day to nourish suffering or joy in our bodies, minds, feelings and lives. Today I choose to smell the new flowers, soak my senses in the colors and freshness of budding trees and the soft touch of baby skin. I choose to rejoice in the hope for peace, at least a reduction in the fear of nuclear disaster with Iran. I hold the suffering people of Yemen, Kenya, Syria in my heart as I breathe in the fresh air, sending them hope, peace, love. As we “inter-are” with all of nature, we are fed, watered, nourished by new life…and breathing out, send the energy of mindfulness to all who suffer, our brothers and sisters everywhere on earth.