Friday, November 11, 2011

Birthday Wishes

Today is my birthday. I always have mixed feelings about my birthday and this year is no different. I am getting older and it's a little disturbing. I will never be young again in this lifetime. My body hurts quite often these days; my back, right hip and knee are at times very painful and not much relieves the pain and it's annoying. Driving at night is becoming a challenge. So, each passing year I need to surrender a little bit more.

I saw a little video this morning, it was a video of a litter of kittens and chronicled their growth until they were nine weeks old. My thoughts went to prayers for long, happy and healthy lives for each of them, but I was struck that they too will one day be old and things will ache and they will die. We all die. This is what I have learned from my work at hospice, we all die. Our lives are like packages, with all of the stories, heartaches, joys, accomplishments and losses tucked neatly inside. Each experience finds a place within the package and when we die our package is closed and wrapped with a ribbon and put away on a shelf. It is the life inside the package that truly matters and not package itself.

Life is. Life is long or short. Life is lived in health, sickness, poverty or wealth. The circumstances don't matter, it is Life that does. It is how we live our lives and the meaning that we find that is the most important thing of all.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I woke up and it was foggy outside. You know that gentle cloud that descends and rests on us all, the world seems cloaked in stillness. The trees were at the absolute peak of color and the colors stood out brilliantly because of the fog. It was a soft day. A quiet day for reflection. As I was driving to do a bereavement visit I was totally struck by the feeling of Life. It is all Life. I am not separate from the tree, the squirrel, or that man over there or you. I am Life. You are Life. It is just Life. We need this feeling of separateness in order to experience life. If there was no illusion of separation then Life would be a sea of amoebas floating endlessly without ever bumping into each other. It's the bumping that makes Life worth living, it makes it interesting. But, it was as if the illusion was stripped away and I only saw Life and it was beautiful! As it happens during most autumns, by the end of the day most of the leaves had fallen.

Today I awoke to brilliant sunshine streaming in my window. My room has a golden hue. It is cold outside and the trees are showing their bones. I can never decide which season I like the best. Each has it beauty. In winter the purple lace of tiny branches agains the grey sky. Freshly fallen snow glistening in the sun. Soup, I love soup! Darkness comes early and wraps us in peacefulness. In spring the shades of green burgeoning forth from the branches make my heart sing. The warmth of the returning sun, the songs of the birds. Tiny sprouts coming from the ground to call of the sun. Forsythias, I love forsythias. In summer the deep greens against the bluest blue of the sky make me feel giddy. And the sun, I love the heat of the sun. Of course, there are flowers and picnics, an abundance of fruits and vegetables which all make life in summer joyful. But, I think I love autumn most of all; the chill in the air, pumpkins, descending darkness, foggy days. And of course, color. I love the color most of all.

As I watched the leaves falling and dancing as the wind blew them up the street, I was struck by the idea of life as a package. The leaves came to the tree as a gentle green not so very long ago, they grew into the lush green of summer and turned a brilliant red or gold with the change of light and the chill in the air, and now they are on the ground, soon to decay and return to the earth, the winter will complete the cycle and the leaves will nurture the tree in the spring. And the cycle will begin again.

Is that how our life is? I am in the autumn of my life. Will I die and the totality of this life be the food for the next? Will I emerge again in springtime and draw from the earth what I experienced in the life just ended?

It seems to me that Life teaches through example and if we look at nature we will learn the truth of all that is. Life continues... always. Today is the day I was born. It is 11/11/11 and that seems like such a auspicious date. I am glad to be alive. Thank you, dear Creator, for my life, thank you God for Life. I truly am a divine idea in the mind of God; we all are.

Much love,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Prayerful Image

I found this quote on prayer the other day. I love the language and the imagery of it and I want to share it here.

Reverend Carolyn Colbert’s words on prayer:

“I have this notion that we live in a sea of prayer. All over the world, in almost all traditions, prayer is being practiced. Practiced in a multitude of forms. Prayers are chanted, prayers are danced, prayers are spoken aloud and sounded in silence within. Prayers are written on paper and scattered like petals on the waters of the world. Some prayers are floated out on the breath; others are pounded out on the drumbeat of our hearts. Prayers are said and sung and danced morning noon and night. They are flung to the wind by flapping flags and spun into the air by turning wheels. Prayers are sounded from the tops of majestic mountains and whispered by children at bedtime in the close and holy darkness.”

"We live in a sea of prayers..." I see myself floating on the prayers, being held up by them. When I swam in the Dead Sea there is so much salt that I couldn't possibly sink, the water literally held me up. I see prayer like this; it holds me up. Prayers "...are flung to the wind by flapping flags and spun into the air by turning wheels." Prayers are surrounding the Earth, just as clouds circle the globe. What a gorgeous image! Held by prayer. Held up by prayer. The only thing required of us is to believe in the power of prayer and know they work.