Every morning, after my sitting meditation session, I practice three touchings of the earth (where I kneel on the floor and then bow forward, touching my forehead to the ground) and with each one I internally say a gratitude – the first one stays the same and the second & third vary each day.
This morning, my gratitudes were:
“I bow to the earth in gratitude for this one precious life”
“I bow to the earth in gratitude for all of the creative outlets that exist: writing, drumming, spoken word, art, music, photography…”
“I bow to the earth in gratitude for all of the people that allow me to deepen my capacity for developing understanding, compassion, and acceptance – which is everyone! I’m grateful for people.”
This past weekend our sangha held its 4th annual summer campout on the Flathead Lake. This year we had 15 people and 5 dogs :) We had a great time swimming, paddling around in water crafts, cooking community meals, playing games, and spending time together around the campfire at night. The community that plays together, stays together!
Here are some pics:
As curling waves spill atop pebbles and earth
slick with summer glow
Seagulls glide in wind currents above the water,
clouds with soft, cooling gray underbellies
edge slowly across the sky,
and long, spindly Ponderosa pine needles
quake in dance on boughs reddened by the setting sun
in this tender moment
I am quite sure of my ravenous appetite
for the beauty of this life
Inspired by a poem my friend Llora recently wrote on her new adventure: A Poem A Day http://lhkontheroad.blogspot.com/ I decided to write this:
More Than Enough
Just what is happiness?
Today, I think that it is:
eating a warm blueberry muffin that I just baked
and making a pot of chili for 15 friends,
that we’ll be eating during our sangha campout
on the Flathead Lake this coming weekend.
The orange glow of the mountain ash berries,
glistening on the tree in my front yard.
Taking a nap,
drinking cold water,
listening to the soft chattering of my backyard chickens,
and the practice of sitting meditation.
Wet grass on my bare feet
and waiting for the sprinkler to rotate
before heading to empty the compost bucket.
Feeling the sun on my skin.
And there’s more.
So much more.
But this is plenty.
It’s more than enough.
Here’s Llora’s poem:
All I Want
Just what is happiness?
Today, I think that it is:
really good pizza
comfortable shoes and finally
finding a bra I actually like.
Red bricks after the rain.
Seeing a friend in a unexpected place
and it not being 90 degrees.
The guy in the book store
letting me sit for an hour
lost in a book
and the girl at the counter
whose smile and chit chat
made me feel normal again.
Sand between my toes
and everything being made
by the sea.
Today, it’s all these things
and that will have to do
because that is plenty
for any life.
– Llora Kressmann
In town here we have a local, organic food market called the Good Food Store (GFS). It’s not uncommon for me to hear from folks who feel that they’re being looked down upon or treated rudely by other patrons, whom they deem as being rich and snobby. Some folks report feeling very uncomfortable shopping at the GFS, due to a perceived wealth factor involved.
While it’s true that it does take a certain amount of money in order to afford natural, organic foods (unfortunately) – well, either that or a certain level of determination (my husband and I are definitely on the low-income spectrum of things but, due to our minimalist type of lifestyle, we are able to make a choice to spend what money we do have on purchasing more sustainable, healthy foods, as much as we can – although it’s important to mention that this, too, is a luxury, not everyone has the ability to make this choice) – I will also say that I, myself, am not wealthy at all and have been going to the GFS at least 3 times a week, for many years now, and have never felt mistreated by another customer there. I’ve never felt looked down upon due to the fact that I am in the low-income bracket of society (and roll into the parking lot in my ’94 Subaru covered in dents, peeling paint, and sounding like a small jet engine on account of having half my muffler missing :).
This dynamic of how perspectives are created has me thinking about the law of attraction. It seems to me that there are two main ways that the law of attraction can play itself out:
Last month, amid a string of private facebook conversation messages I was roped into (and eventually figured out how to bow out of continuing to receive), someone in the chain of messages said the following:
“I won’t be able to breathe until after Labor Day, I’m so very busy.”
And I thought: Goodness, I think something needs to change.
If we’re too busy to breathe, too busy to live life well, perhaps it’s time to do something a little different.
If you’ve been following me here on this blog, you know that I’ve written a few times about my dislike of any response having to do with the word busy. As in:
Gosh, I’m just sooo busy! or
I’ve been CRAZY busy! or
Well, ya know, I’m super busy.
Over the weekend, my husband and I attended a baby blessing for some friends of ours getting ready to have their first child. We spoke with one of the soon-to-be grandparents, the baby’s maternal grandmother. She was a lovely woman, who joked about how she was planning on becoming one of the best grandmothers around. Not THE best, she clarified, just among the best :) She mentioned that she had already collected an assortment of books and toys to have on hand, along with a couple of other surprise preparations. She then went on to talk, with a fluid sense of ease and joy, about how her actions weren’t out of a sense of obligation but out of great pleasure. I so appreciated hearing her speak about that. It seems so rare to hear someone talk about how they’re being of service from a place of love and enjoyment, as opposed to a burdensome state of obligatory necessity or out of an egocentric drive to be seen and validated.
I say: If we’re going to do something, no matter what it is, may we practice to do it with as elevated of a spirit as we can muster.
Perhaps you’ve heard of this common myth: Death comes in three’s. While I’m not sure where this myth originated from, or what basis, if any, it holds in actual reality, I do know that I am currently experiencing it. This morning I found out that someone I know passed away last night: Brother Phap De, a monastic from Deer Park Monastery, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Phap De is the third person I know who’s passed away in the last month.
I’d gotten to know Phap De (pictured below holding the hands of two children during an outdoor walking meditation this past January) on my winter retreat stays at Deer Park over the last three years. Most notably, I spent time with him doing stick exercises, as he led them most mornings after sitting meditation. I greatly enjoyed his presence and approach to practice, the way he’d always remind us to smile while doing the exercises, his kind-heartedness, and his grandfatherly warmth.