Tag Archives: reflection

Reflecting a bit about My Elder/s.

I remember the first day I worked for my Elders

  
– though I didn’t call them that then.

It was November 2009

  
And I remember feeling nervous.

  
Nervous that they wouldn’t like the lunch I had made…

Nervous that we wouldn’t find things to talk about…

  
Nervous that I wouldn’t be smart enough to hold a conversation with them…

I had met them in the Spring of 2008 while working on a landscape gardening crew – and we tended their beautiful perennial garden.

  
It’s funny to reflect on that nervousness now, because over time… week after week after week, their lives became a huge part of my life.

  
There was a kind of braiding together

Nervousness gave way to a sense of ease

They became my anchor.

  
Through changing homes, relationships, and a variety of other part-time jobs… They were my one steadiness.

  
I came to love them & their dog

They came to know me & my quirks

Their home became familiar territory

  
And as I look through the rooms

I’m reminded of them, of conversations, the many meals, hugs, mannerisms & habits I had the honor to witness & be a part of for the past almost 6 years.

   
 “Would you like some black pepper?” I asked, lifting the pepper grinder

& was told early-on “fresh ground black pepper”

And so, at lunch, went the question: would you like some FRESH GROUND black pepper?

Nearly always, the reply was YES

  

Markers of time, reminders are everywhere 

His chair where he sat

Her chair where she sat

The clock with large numbers, easier to read, marks the time after his surgery

  
A stuffed toy left on the floor, a moose chew toy belonging to Bentley, the ancient puppy

Pinching salt in a dish

The ubiquitous box of Kleenex 

  
Wedding invitations from a grandchild

A pile of letters from another grandchild

Well-worn sweatshirts (which I feel compelled to wear, though I stop myself…) 

  
There are numerous photos, the smell of cigars & cinnamon, and long-lived plants (a few which have stories told about them) like this Hoya now after 19 years, in bloom…

  
For this past week, my elder was home, surrounded by family, lovingly tended to, & there was only breathing…

  
And though I have no sense of what it was like for him during that time 

(He stopped speaking at that point)

It was an honor to simply be with him 

  
A sacred time

  A slow unbraiding

Even now, sitting here, pausing now & again to look around & really take in the surroundings, a swirl from past moments floods my mind

& then coming present, that sense of honor… What an honor it is to have gotten to be in these dear people’s lives over time

  
We got to really know each other.

“We’re such lucky, lucky people” she would say.

  
There will likely be other posts reflecting on them, & my time working for them…

It’s all kinda fresh, still.


Good morning from Cayuga Lake.

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reflections from on retreat, fixed ideas, & change

before going on retreat over new years

one of the (specific & numerous) reasons that kept me from wanting to go, was that

well

what i had heard from a recently married friend of mine was

that a person who was going to be on retreat tried to break up my friend’s recent marriage.

(yes, i’m intentionally being vague)

i didn’t know the details

i still don’t

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and heading into the retreat, i could feel a sort of shield up

ideas fixed & hard

(one of the many, various heart-shields)

with a particular one towards this particular person.

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i was polite, and (re)introduced myself before the silence began

they didn’t remember me from the wedding

(i wear my invisibility cloak a lot here in town…)

and through the retreat

even though there are no words, and a lot of silence

i could feel my heart starting to tenderize

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there’s a deeper getting-to-know-you which occurs there…  in the silence, even without words.

something in me began to melt

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with the realization that their own life is unfolding in mysterious ways

reflecting on the complexity of life.

and how it’s so easy to hold on to a fixed idea about something, or someone…

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finding myself questioning and challenging the hard shield of beliefs and assumptions that i held regarding this person.

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…what their life was like when young…

…what their own marriage was like…

…considering where life is leading them…

i didn’t know these things, and so much more.

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by the end of the retreat

i could feel a softening,

and a sincere respect for their life.

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there’s no knowing, as much as i would like to know, how this whole interwoven confluence of living beings is at play.

sitting here, i’m really grateful for the reminder that my mind & heart can shift, soften, & forgive.

Nadia Boltz-Weber calls this a heart transplant.

i’m reminded of the blessing (& the curse) of this beautiful truth:

all phenomena changes.

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one of the things i love about this retreat #1

there is much to love about this retreat.

something that keeps returning is the teaching about rice

“it’s all rice.  you can eat all of it.”

meaning that no matter what occurs, no matter what comes up, it’s all food for practice.

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i get to watch

with as much kindness as possible

(and i get to watch when there’s the opposite of kindness, too)

this mind

these emotions

this body

no matter what is going on or coming up or unfolding.

all of the weathers.

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take the person i mentioned before leaving

someone i met last year

where the feeling of love arises in me

naturally, easily.

not the Eros sort of love, (okay, maybe a little) but closer to what feels like Philia or Pragma

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so, i get to watch all of the stories

the multitude of ways i try to control in my mind…

there’s the t.v. channel of future – drama edition (lots of twists and turns)

the t.v. channel of future – comedy edition (wacky mishaps & mayhem)

the t.v. channel of future – romance edition (yeah, baby)

and then, if i’m paying attention, i get to drop the story.

just like that.

over

and over

and over…

this mind – holy crap it’s busy.

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one day while washing the dishes

i saw that even the stories i tell myself, the ones where “i don’t get what i want”, you know, the tragedies (full of sadness & disappointment)

even those are a sort of attempt to control an outcome –

(not to mention missing each moment with the pot…)

this mind telling stories is an attempt at trying to control my feelings

which, for whatever reason, i try to manage or avoid, as much as possible.

it’s such an old habit

(stuff a dragon in a small box, anyone?)

the thing is

turns out, i’ve just come to know that i don’t really want to control the outcome of things.

my view is limited.

and omigosh it would be boring.

my stories are so predictable now.

like some tragic sitcom writer in a rut.

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an image came

of two great gods

napping in some gorgeous sky-meadow

and here on earth, squeaking my little story (whichever edition…)

one of them snorts, still half-asleep

“did you hear something?”

the other, rolling over, and letting out a fart

“naaaah, go back to sleep”