Drowning is truly a quiet affair. My arms stretched out at my sides, my head tilted back seeing only sky as I tried to keep my mouth and nose above the waves. I couldn’t make a sound, nor could I wave my arms. When I tried, I would immediately go under. All around me, even brushing against me, people were splashing and screaming and laughing, oblivious to my struggle. Finally, exhausted, I gave up and lowered my chin.
Posts tagged ‘divine appointment’
Last night around 11PM I quickly climbed outside my second-story bedroom window onto the roof that sits above the kitchen addition. The roof is narrow and flat and covered in rubber. I was in a hurry to shoot the full moon before it moved behind a stand of tall trees on its trajectory across the night sky. I am a 55-year-old woman with dimensions incompatible with squeezing through a small opening in a big hurry. I barked my shin on the way out, bumped my head and cursed that moon. Rushing and grumbling, I impatiently set up my tripod and took a few quick photos only to find that my camera settings were off. As I anxiously readjusted the ISO and F-Stop, that beautiful annoying moon slipped behind the treetops and hid from my view.
It was near midnight as I stood high above the earth, irked at the moon. Then I noticed how quiet the world was. How the air was soft and cool and the black rubber roof, still holding the heat from the day’s sunshine, was warm beneath my bare feet. I could see the neighborhood houses had closed their eyes, save for a few lighted windows winking at me through branches moving in the breeze.
Behind me, in the home I was leaning up against with one shoulder, my husband and children slept. Our big, sweet, retriever dog Baloo had followed me to the window. Looking confused as I squeezed through the narrow opening, he’d cocked his head from side to side, and was watching me still. With a heavy sigh I heard him plop down below the windowsill inside to wait for me. I took a deep, contented breath and did the same on the other side of the wall. And there I sat, like a happy gargoyle perched on the roof, inhaling the silence, waiting on the moon.
By the time she sauntered into a gap between the trees about 30 minutes later, I was calm and ready. I had a heart filled with love. Love of this home, this family, this neighborhood, the sleeping people, this night, this moon. I stood and put my eye to the viewfinder and seeing her full in the frame I said, “Well, there you are. Took your sweet time, I see.” She smiled and said, “Cheese!” as I clicked the shutter.
There is so much divinity in the everyday.
The world shines about me,
luminous as the moon
smiling like a rose,
and a sweet benediction flows
through everything existing.
How beautiful life is.
Hamza El Din
When publishing an essay here on my blog, or posting a photo, a favorite saying or a funny story on Facebook I imagine myself writing them on real paper. I smile as I see myself rolling them up tightly and slipping them into the narrow opening of a virtual bottle. As they push past the neck and into the open space below, I see them unfurl in my mind’s eye and I mentally seal the bottle and toss it out into this undulating, big blue internet ocean with the click of my mouse.
My messages are nearly always love letters. They are written to myself too, because the simple act of bearing witness publicly to the beauty I see around me is good for me, and that is enough. But early on I used to wonder, when my message in a bottle rolls up on someone else’s distant shore does it arrive at just the right time? Does it touch them? Does it make a positive difference in their day? Does it matter to anyone else?
I don’t wonder any more. Here and there people send me little love notes back. They tell me that my bottle reached them. Something I wrote, or a picture I took spoke to them. They write to me saying I sent just the right message at just the right moment to just the right person. Love notes like this one:
“Dear Lori ~
You need to know how Mammaste touches peoples lives on the most basic level so I write to you now. There are so many days when a beautiful photograph you take or a story you tell, like your daughter making her father turn the car around so she could snap a photo of a heart in nature, warms my heart. Today was exceptional though. Your post about today being a gift & a blessing shook me to the core on a day where putting one foot in front of the other was nearly impossible. Your loving words from the heart of a mother inspired me to START my day. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude.
Leslie McAfee Richter” (Used with permission)
There have been many others too. For each and every one, my heart is warmed in reading them, and I am grateful. They are little love notes rolling up on my sandy shore. I want you to know your messages have reached me. I know you, like me, have been moved by the words of others on social media, and on blogs, and watching videos that make us laugh and cry and amazing TED Talks on beauty and bravery and vulnerability, and the list goes on. We may not write a response every time. But we are moved just the same, and we are changed for the better.
A funny thing happened as I was crafting this essay. I noticed a Private message on my Facebook tab. When I opened it, it read:
“I love you. Enjoy the evening sun . . . I just had the feeling rush over me so I took advantage of telling you via this modern age contraption.”
It was from my dear friend Jane just down the street!
We can shape this ‘modern age contraption’ that is the internet into anything we want it to be. Why not a vehicle to transport our love letters to humanity, to the world?
Divinity in the Everyday
This 'Way' of being in the world, of seeing the world as inherently good, of life as ultimately hopeful, and beautiful and sacred, is an exercise in flexing my ‘intention’ muscle every day. This loving outlook is an awareness I cultivate consciously. It is my spiritual practice of divine perspective. It is an intention of being a non-judgmental observer of myself and others. It involves, much of the time, my being unreasonably optimistic.
At the time, I had been trying unsuccessfully for about six years to have a baby, so I asked him; “When will my baby be born?” After a moment, he shook his head, looked a bit bewildered and said; “Well, it’s not for me to question the information I’m getting, but I’m being told your baby will be born in January.” I said, “Really? January? As in two months from now?” He looked as perplexed as I felt and he nodded and said; “Yes. I’ve checked it several times. Yes, in two months from now.” Clearly, I was not seven months pregnant. We both would have noticed that!
But sometimes, with engines full throttle, I simply let go of the rope and gently sink down into the heart of the deep, silent weightlessness of being fully present in the here and now.
Our every encounter with one another, all of our relationships in this life are holy. Each one has the potential to be a sacred exchange, whether it involves laughter or tears; a simple smile or even a sneer! We need only pay attention. There is so much divinity in the everyday if we have eyes that not only see but also perceive; if we can listen with ears that hear with an open heart. It is all gift. All of it. Keep watching, keep noticing, look and see beyond things. It really does expand your world.
I have set a trap in my front yard. The idea for it started a couple of years ago when I saw a ‘free’ sign scribbled on an old Adirondack chair while on a walk with my husband, Alan. Alan knows I cannot resist an orphaned chair. Soon enough he plodded back to where I stood admiring the chair and picked it up as I grabbed the matching footrest and we made our way home.
The old chair sat in our back yard for two years as an idea began to percolate in my mind. Finally, this year I set my trap. With the help of my bewildered husband, we laid fresh green sod on the chair’s seat and footrest. We built-up the arm rests and planted ground cover in them. We stapled chicken-wire to its sloping back and filled it with potting soil and upholstered it with hundreds of little succulent plants. We tucked the chair under the shade tree on our front lawn, right next to the sidewalk and waited.
My home office is on my front porch and I often get to witness the joy I capture in my trap first hand. It began with the children who often run ahead of the grown-ups on their walks. They are almost too easy to catch. With their fresh, inquisitive eyes and low stature, they are drawn into the chair’s whimsey from a block away and they easily ensnare their adult charges with squeals of delight.
The next to fall prey are the older men and women. Their un-hurried pace and seasoned gaze never miss the chair, and though they are not loud like the children, very much like the children they always stop and cheerfully go over every detail with wide smiles. Often I will capture the amused attention of dog walkers who notice too late the lifted leg on the chair’s footstool as they yank the leash and guiltily look up to the house. (It’s okay, I don’t mind!) New parents lazily pushing sleeping babies in shiny new strollers whisper their admiration.
But the hardest and most elusive prey are the joggers, with their headphones and determined, focused attention on the road in front of them. As I watched them pass by over and over again, oblivious to my joyful trap, I realized I had to do something clever to grab their attention. So, one beautiful sunny day I hung my parakeet’s cage from the tree, right over the chair. He sang and chirped his delight at being outside. “Irresistible,” I said to myself, “surely this will catch them!”
Soon I noticed a jogger coming up the street, she breezed past the bird and chair without breaking stride. I sighed. But, what’s this? She is circling back! She stands panting, smiling at the chair for a moment before bounding away again.
That’s what I love most about my trap, it’s a catch-and-release program!
While out watering the chair one day a man drove past, then reversed his car and pulled up next to me to say how much he loves driving by our yard on his way to and from work. He thanked me for creating the chair, for the joy it brings him.
And so it goes. Surprise, joy, delight and gratitude fill me too. Just one of the many ways extending even the smallest gesture of love comes full circle. Isn’t that just so beautiful, the way love works?
Mammaste, notice the divinity in the everyday!