Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Wish (43)

Maze at Symonds Yat
photo by Cazzydance via Flickr
It wasn’t rainy or windy or even foggy. It wasn’t super sunny or super hot, either. It was just an average gray Pacific Northwest kind of day. No obvious reason for what he was about to do. He wasn’t tired. He had slept well the night before. He wasn’t even day dreaming any more than he normally did. He was just driving. In his old, barely alive, beat up pick-up truck. On a gray afternoon in June.

When suddenly, he took a wrong turn.

Just one wrong turn.

And before he could remedy the situation, right there on the side of the road stood an old man. He was pasting something to the window of a truck.

For Sale, it read, in big black letters.

So the young man pulled over. He got out and walked over to the old man who still stood beside the truck.

            “I see you’re selling your truck.”
            “Yep. Don’t need it anymore.”
            “How many miles does it have on it?”
            “Aw, well…it says 88,000 but it’s more like 8,000 since I’ve towed it to Arizona every winter for god knows how many years and I barely drive it when I'm here.”
            The young man nodded, thinking-like.
            “You in the market for a truck?” said the old man, trying to be polite.
            “Well, I wasn’t planning on buying one today. But soon, ya, soon I guess I’m gonna be needin’ a new one.” He nodded toward his pick-up with the sweet nostalgia of a young man who loves his truck. “How much you want for it?”
            “Hmm…how about $1500.”
            The young man nodded but kept silent.
            “If you buy it today I’ll sell it to you for $1200.”
            “Mind if I take it to my mechanic to get the engine checked out?”
            “Have at it,” said the old man as he threw him the keys.

The young man climbed inside the beautifully kept truck, smiling at the perky springs in the seat and the smooth way it shifted gears. He appreciated the careful care that had been given to the truck, the same kind of care he gave his own truck. The young man chuckled to himself as he drove. He felt happy.

            “What’d he say?” said the old man a few hours later. “Did she get a clean bill of health?”
            The young man wasn’t accustomed to lying. And anyway, he liked the old man. “Yep. He said she’s perfect.”
            The two men looked at the truck as if sizing up a new horse to breed.
            “I just wasn’t planning on buying a new truck today.”
            “Yes, sir?”
            “Do you like the truck?”
            “I love it.”
            “Then give me 100 bucks and its yours.”

The young man drove home that night in his new truck, sure he had just experienced the wonder of a fairy tale.

*          *          *

Mama cried, “I’m so happy! Now he'll be safer on the road and he won't have to work any extra hours to pay for it, either! Hallelujah!"

Daddy asked, “Any rust? And what about the tires? Got good tread? Wow. All four brand new? You sure played your cards right, son.” And he patted him hard on the back.

His wife cheered, then did a little dance.

His brother laughed and shook his head.

And his sister (that’s me) smiled at the magic of one wrong turn.

*          *          *

What about you? When you make your next ‘wrong turn’ on the road or in life, will you chastise yourself for it? Or will you look for the magic and appreciate the gifts of the unexpected? Its been said many times before that what happens to you can’t always be controlled, but how you interpret what happens to you, can. So go for it…see the wonder in the fairy tale and maybe your taste of magic will come sooner than you think.:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Wish (42)

When life’s path leads you deep into an unknown forest… 

will you remember to listen to the breathing of the trees?

*          * 

Your imagination will beg to show you magic…

but will you remember to hush your mind enough to hear her tender voice? 

*          * 

Will you see with childlike wonder the secrets left for you-- hidden treasures and veiled doorways...

or will the adult in you squelch it all away?

*          *

Will you look up? To discover fresh hope?

 *          *

Will you see the beauty of your scars and the richness of your bruises?

 *          *

And will you, oh, wont you please, leave some of your own magic behind…

for the forest of the gentle trees...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Wish (41)

Somewhere way up north, where the blackberries ooze plump and the summers are almost all sun, is a little cove tucked inside a hidden curve of forest. And overlooking that patch of magic that so few ever see, is a house. It's small. And quaint. And it gives you an unexpected smile when you first see it from afar. Come…you have your suit on…dive in the water with me…let me show you something secret, a magical place for me…

You put your hand in mine when we step onto the rocky shore. You are cold from your swim but my hand, its warm and safe. You can trust me. You made a wise choice. You are already starting to warm up in the summer sun, enveloped by the trees, your hand the warmest, as you walk close to me.

The forest floor is soft, padded with pine needles and moss, ferns and salal. Birds twitter out of sight, a butterfly dances just beyond your reach and a single yellow orchid twists toward the sky. You smile to yourself because you feel hugged. Hugged in a foreign place with your hand in mine, your body dripping ocean on the muffled forest floor.

You breathe the judgment out. Acceptance finds its place. You breathe the worries out. Peace finds its place. You breathe the objectives out. Receptive-open finds its place. You look up and see a ray of sun sneaking through the trees. And when your eyes return to your Self, you notice your step is lighter, your mood has a scent of hope, and you feel more alive-awake than you have….well…in a very long time.

The house is a warm rust red with golden light kissing its seams. There's a vegetable garden with a pin wheel, a red geranium in a pot, and a big glass jar of tea, steeping in the sun on the porch. The screen door slams…

Darlin’? Is that you?

You are silent. Waiting for someone else to answer. But you look around. And there is only you. The old woman smiles, her eyes sparkling like diamonds, her warmth and welcome begging to be shared. With you. With you. With YOU.

Yep, its me! I’m coming! And so you do.
Music’s already on. I’ve been waiting for you, she says, and off she goes…

You step inside. Its nice. Its very nice. Not fancy. Or pretentious. But beautiful, artistic. Warm and gentle. The kind of place you’d expect a golden retriever and squishy couches and a swash of wild flowers perched in a jar. You take a cookie off the plate, little crumbs nestling into the ridges on your shirt.

Have a seat then! The next song is about to start. And I can tell by looking at you, you need it. So listen tight…

And before you can protest because you decided long ago you hated musicals, that darn wonder takes over and you begin to crack a smile. Not a shallow smile that feels like silly humor, a deeper smile, a happy that feels like hope. Hope in the goodness of life. Hope in the goodness of people. Hope that where you are is exactly where you are meant to be. You breathe…trust…believe…in the open heart of a stranger on the edge of the sea, in a hidden cove, with no where else you’d rather be…..

*          *          *

When I was a little girl, my grandparents spent their summers in the Canadian San Juans, in a little town beyond all others, their house overlooking the sea. And every summer when I got to visit, I swam in the frigid waters, wandered beneath the lush ancient trees, and came home to their little house, to the sound of musicals singing through the eaves. My feet were bare, my body oh, so alive, and my spirit grew filled with hope…

...a hope that a lot of us seem to have forgotten these days. It was a hope that grew things like the American dream and the urge to marry, the hope that believed that dreams come true and that love can last forever, that people are good and that life will always show us something exciting and wonderful, just around the corner. The hope that musicals were made of, a hope, this week, that I wish for you...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Wish (40)

It doesn’t have the sultry lushness of my tropical garden. Its not my Mexican sea. There is no deep, mysterious forest. Or wide and cloud-puffed sky. I don’t hear birds. I don’t breathe in my favorite hot and humid air. My body does not tremble, my spirit does not soar, but my soul…it knows its niche, it still finds its peace. There is magic here. Magic here, indeed.

The floors are cold cement and polished to a shiny gleam. The air is thin and dry. The space is filled, but in the gaps, ideas burn with vacancy. I look around, my eyes wandering, waiting, excited for my first clue. Organic bananas? Sushi in a plastic box? Or strawberries, plump and tempting in a fancy cart? Yes, I say. Let the magic find me…let the soul-food begin.

Every time I visit my new neighborhood grocery store, I am struck by the serendipitous lovely of it all. Last week I met Fiona in the natural health aisle. We spoke of Ireland, her home, a country she left over 30 years ago and how every day, she longs for the easy lovin’, the gentle spirits, the camaraderie of a good old fashioned Irish Pub—the open arms of her kin. And then there was Per, the seventy-year-old Swede who saw his granddaughter in the eyes of my daughter. His own eyes betraying his pain, his soul sharing more in a few minutes than most would ever imagine possible… in the soup aisle, between a couple of strangers.

Each visit to my new neighborhood grocery store presents a new message to me.  But only…only…if I am aware-awake. And only…only…if I remember I am a piece that matters to the whole. I am only one, but one sun, one moon, one child, one teacher, one event, one love—matters. And without the one’s, there is no whole.

So today, I met Amy. She stood, leaning on her cart, whispering to her little boy. She was thoughtful but airy, serious but floating, and her spirit, it tingled mine. Maybe that’s why we spoke. But just a little. Until we met again in another aisle. This time near the frozen lasagna.

            “He’s beautiful,” I said of her son.
            “So is she,” she said, nodding toward my daughter.
            “Have you tried this lasagna? Its my favorite. And maybe your boy will like it as much as my girl….”

We spoke of high school in the land of rain, of seeing the world, and the jobs that fueled our dreams. We found we had both recently returned to the area where we grew up, that child rearing was much more than we imagined, and that life had thrown us a fair share of unexpected detours but that we wore them like ribbons, taped to our invisible lapels, emblazoned into our hearts. And when we were done, we vowed to connect again.
            “No pressure to connect,” I said, as I turned to leave, “but my arms are open wide,” I said with a smile.
            “Mine are, too,” she said with a smile of her own, “mine are, too.”

*          *          *

It was almost dying that made me realize that the key to my survival
depended more on strengthening my connections to all of life 
than on strengthening my individual will.  
–Mark Nepo

The modern capitalist world reminds us every day how independence, competition, a strong will and a determined spirit are qualities to be honored and revered. We are unknowingly guided toward self-preservation and personal life agendas. So when depression strikes or when illness arrives, what do many of us do? We distance ourselves, we grow a thicker skin, we strengthen, as Mark Nepo says, our individual will and tackle life, often times, alone.

But what if instead, we dared to connect? What if we dared to be vulnerable, to shed our thick skins in favor of a rawness that invited other hearts to do the same? What if we finally admitted to ourselves and to one another that we need, yes need, one another? To listen to, to hold, to care about and to connect with, to be our friends on this one wild ride we call life. What then? Would we heal our wounded hearts? Would we find less reason to be sad? Yes…I think we would.