Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wednesday Wish (94); The Wisdom of Change

Leaves canopy
photo by james via flickr

They hold fast to the branches that lift them up, closer to the light. It’s the natural thing to do. They dance and flutter with the wind, their little green bodies utterly flexible, even when they are blown with near violence. They welcome birds and bugs and bees, and shade flowers and people and sleepy dogs. They take in ugly and breath out beauty, and they even give us shelter in the rain. Ahhh … the leaves of our beautiful, up-arching trees … they have so much to say.

This past week I journeyed into the hills of Maine and New Hampshire. It’s cooler up there so the leaves were beginning to speak of falling. They had begun to transform themselves into the goldens and browns and reds of Autumn and a few had even let go, fluttered themselves all the way down-down to the ground. You see, the leaves of my northern dwelling were sharing wisdoms. And I was there to listen.

*          *          *

Timing isn’t everything. Your response to the times, though, is.

Good, better, best is judgment. In nature, no such distinctions exist.

Be Affected.
Be Flexible.
Dance with the winds that surround you.

When the days grow shorter, find creative ways to bring more light in and around you.

Your body is not who you are.
You are not the color of your skin.
You are beautiful, you are unique, you are a miracle, no matter your form.

*          *          *

What part of nature has wisdom to share with you this Fall?

Do the birds flying south remind you to examine your surroundings, to get rid of or leave behind the things that no longer ‘keep you warm’?

As the sun sets earlier and rises later are you reminded to draw greater illumination from your inner light?

Do the animals growing warmer coats remind you to bundle up, to turn your attention more within?

Do the flowers transferring their energy from their blossoms to their roots, remind you to put your own energy more into who you are at your core, or to dig deeper for your answers, for your strength?

As the air turns cooler outside and warmer inside, are you reminded to find new comfort within?

Does the change from new, fresh greens to rich, golden browns remind you to color your world a new shade, to embrace the beauty in aging and the magical mystery of life?

This week my Wish is that you discover your own bits of wisdom in this season we call Fall, that you let the transformation of nature all around you, move you, affect you, transform you as it transforms itself. After all, you are a part of nature, so to fight change isn’t natural. What’s natural is to color yourself rich with the wisdom of change.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wednesday Wish (93); Treasures Await

photo by l7m via http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/luis-seven-martins-l7m-graffiti-birds

Drivers scramble to get ahead of one another, to pass the flagger before he turns his sign back to ‘Stop’. I hear a honk. Another driver yells profanities. Turn signals blink like Christmas lights. There…there…there… and there. A city bus squeaks as it breaks, its passengers staring blankly out and over the tops of cars. Construction workers shovel and sweat, their bodies already shiny, overworked, exhausted. And their day has only just begun! The air hovers thick with street tar, bubbling, steaming, mixing with the angst of the drivers and their desperate pleas. Work, day care, coffee… ‘Stress,’ they all seem to scream, ‘get out of my way!’

Inside my Subaru I am warm and at peace. My heart rate is slow and steady. I wave a tight-jawed man to move ahead of me. He reminds me of a horse just let out of the starting gate. With nowhere to go. Another driver keeps looking into her backseat, her arm reaching backward in awkward positions, all to soothe her sobbing baby, her car stuck in a sea of frustration. Drama around me, peace within.

I wonder to myself what treasures await. Not tomorrow or after I get through this traffic jam, but now, right now—here—in this drama-filled, imagined community of mine. And when I do, my eyes catch sight of a thirty something man coming out of his apartment. He walks to the side of his home and lights up a cigarette. His eyes absorb the scene like a sponge. I see him notice many of the things I do, the chaotic frenzy right outside his door. And I watch, as he smokes it all away. One puff after another, smokes it all away. His face carries a tenderness, a softness that is something like I feel inside myself. I notice that I am smiling. At this gentle spirit touching my day. In the midst of an anger-frenzied traffic jam.

The thirty something man turns to walk up a set of stairs on the side of the building. And when he does, I see it. A swastika tattooed on his calf. Big and dark, hidden by his long shorts but revealed momentarily with each step up the stairs, there it is, shining back at me with conviction. I am confused. Such a hateful tattoo on a man who oozes with nothing but kind-hearted spirit. I blink and stare, wondering about the person he is, when the traffic begins to move. I inch forward, closer and closer, to this thirty something man smoking on his cigarette with a swastika tattooed on his leg. And when I am almost beside him, I roll down my window.

“You are such a kind soul. I can see it. I can feel it.” My smile is soft, filled with care.

He brings his cigarette down to his side, cocks his head and stares back at me, his eyes softening, maybe even glistening. “Thank you,” he says with a gentle smile.

“So why? Why do you wear a swastika on your leg? You're love, not hate, aren’t you?” My voice is genuine. I feel nothing but love in the midst of my vulnerability.

He nods, then drags his head down, heavy with shame, rising up only to speak a few words, “I am love. But I did some stupid things when I was younger.” His head falls back down.

“We all make mistakes,” I offer tenderly, “you’re only human. And it’s ok. All that matters is that now, you're love.”

He rises his now sparkling eyes to mine and shares a smile of pure love. I gobble it up. And the traffic moves.

I take my foot off the brake.
He mouths ‘thank you’ as I drive away,
our eyes locked in the beauty of our encounter.

*          *          *

Treasures await us in the most unsuspecting places
And love lingers behind even the most hateful appearances.

My Wish this week is that you dare to look past appearances, past the things that irritate and anger you, to the treasures that inevitably dwell on deeper levels, awaiting your discovery. Maybe it begins with a man on the side of the road as you wait in traffic, or maybe with a feeling that can only emerge when you are forced to truly slow down. No matter the path you decide to take, treasures will always await you, daring you to highlight love and to find your peace, and especially in the midst of anger and hate.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wednesday Wish (92); A Fresh Start

Waiting for the school bus
photo by state farm via flickr

A deep breath finds your lungs, the crisp gulp filling you up like a helium balloon, rising higher and higher until it finds your face and bursts you into smile. You look up at the old maple tree, its leaves beginning to orange, beginning to signal colder nights and shorter days. ‘Hello Mister Maple Tree’, you say, ‘it’s my first day of school and I am excited.’ And then you realize that you’re not just excited. Your eyes widen as a few bits of fear settle in. ‘But I’m also scared,’ you say a bit quieter. ‘I mean, what if my friends aren’t on the bus? And what if they don’t save me a seat? Will my teacher be nice? Will I have to sit in the front of the class or the back? And what if I don't know all the answers? Will everyone think I’m dumb? Oh no, I hope it’s a good day. Will it be, Mister Maple Tree, will it be a happy first day of school? I wish it to be, I so wish it to be.’

A gentle breeze ruffles your hair and shivers your skin, and Mister Maple Tree’s leaves begin to dance. A happy dance.

The school bus reaches the crest of the hill, its loud grumble reminding you of your belly when you woke up, when your mama told you she had breakfast waiting, when you jumped out of bed excited to start your first day of school. And just like that, your fears take a back seat and your excited Self returns. ‘It’s my first day of school!’ you yell out to Mister Maple tree, ‘and it’s gonna be a happy day!’

Do you remember? Do you remember your first days of school? Do you remember the excitement mixed with fear and the joy mixed with insecure anticipation? Do you remember how alive you felt, how alive you were? It’s not buried too deeply, is it? It can’t be. It hasn’t calcified into a lump of your past that you can’t ever access again, has it? Because you know something? Today … you need it. There’s a chill in the air, you see, a fresh start begging to be plucked. And much like that first day of school, it’s scary and it’s exciting and ... it’s all yours. All yours. All yours for the taking.

*          *          *

This week my Wish is that you dare to start something new and fresh, something that both excites you and scares you to death, something that makes you feel so alive and tingly that you actually start imagining yourself a seven year old boarding the bus on your very first day of school. What is it that gives your heart a flutter when you dream it? What is it that both terrifies and trembles you happy when you imagine it as a part of your day?

Will you sign up for a class, or enter your work in a contest? Will you buy the red dress and shock all your co-workers, or will you play The Sound of Music so loud that your friendly commuters can’t help but sing along? How will you find those feelings you once knew so well? How will you resurrect them, make them once again yours? How will you bring back alive, bring back fresh, bring back the magic of your first day of school?

Begin first with finding the nerve, the feeling, and when you do, dive into it, wear it like a waterfall. Let it drip into all your dents and crevices, soaking you to the core, saturating you as deeply as possible with what you wish to feel. And then…after you are good and soaked, wear it out in public. Let your sparkly eyes shine, let your vibrant freshness gleam, let your feelings tremble vulnerably on your sleeve. They will show you which actions to take. You will be easily informed. For those things that fan your sparkle, those you do. And those that throw water on your flame, those you avoid.

Feelings first … actions second … a grown up soul who is just as alive, just as fresh, just as excited about living as a seven year old boarding the bus on your very first day of school.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday Wish (91); Touch

Hand sky
photo by doug88888 via flickr
She looked sad. So I touched her arm. She turned. To see me. Her eyes grew deeper, questioning. Could she share? Was she safe? I didn’t say a word, just weighted my fingers a little bit more, showed her I cared. And her eyes, they softened. She was safe. She could feel it. It was then her tears could finally fall.

And I had never met her before.

He was tight. Unreachable. Lost in his racing head. Words couldn’t pierce his armor. So I touched him. Just one finger. Of his. With one finger, of mine. And he shook. With a tiny shock. Like a shiver. Or an echo. From my body to his, then back again. We’re in this together, we seemed to say without words. When you hurt, I hurt, said my finger to his.

We remembered through touch.

When was the last time you touched, really touched, a stranger… gently, with care, with a kindness that they didn’t know they ached for.


*          *          *

No one is born with a bubble on. We are each born with millions of nerve endings. On our skin. And why?

To feel
Not just with our minds but with our skin.

To connect
Not just with words but with touch.

To remember, 
no matter our culture or religion or creed, that we are all in this together. 
And not just in theory, but in physical reality.

This week my Wish for you is to dare to touch. Not just those you love … a hug for your child, a kiss for your loved one, a pat on the back to your co-worker … but those you forgot you love, too. Touch a postal worker’s hand with gratefulness, a young mother’s arm with praise of her mothering skills, a cashier’s hand at the grocery store with compliments on his great humor, or an ex-spouse with forgiveness. Touch with authenticity, with heart, with caring from your most genuine Self. Touch as you yourself wish to be touched, as you yourself wish to be reminded, as you yourself already know, deep down, that no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise, we really are all in this together.

There is magic in connection, this week let it live in your finger tips.