peace in the present moment…

This morning, I’d like to share some words from Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh. The following essay is from one of his books,

Peace Is Every Step:

Twenty-Four Brand New Hours

Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others.

Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We don’t have to travel far away to enjoy the blue sky. We don’t have to leave our city or even our neighborhood to enjoy the eyes of a beautiful child. Even the air we breathe can be a source of joy.

We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.

This… is offered as a reminder that happiness is possible only in the present moment. Of course, planning for the future is a part of life. But even planning can only take place in the present moment…

Peace and happiness are available in every moment.

Peace is every step.

We shall walk hand in hand.

Wishing you all a lovely and peaceful day, friends.

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gratitude for what has been

Goodbye, Colorado… I’ll miss so much about you…

I will miss the mountains, and the energy they impart into the landscape, and into the people living near them. For ten years I’ve lived in Boulder, a unique little city nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. At some point during each day, I’ve found myself gazing toward the western horizon, drinking in the view of those mountains, and every time I’ve looked at them, often without even thinking about it, I’ve taken a deeper breath. Now, as we move our little family from those majestic Rockies toward the ocean, I’m hoping that looking eastward, toward the sea, will give me that same unconscious nudge to pause, take a long, deep drink of the ocean-soaked air, and be grateful for it. I think it will. Goodbye, Rocky Mountains! Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me, for inviting me to hike along so many dusty trails amidst red rocks and silvery sagebrush, butterscotch-scented pine trees, and mountain wildflowers. Sigh. I will miss those hikes.

I will miss our beloved Boulder Creek, and the paths we’ve followed along it, all over town. I will miss sitting by the creek outside the library on hot, hot, sunny summer days, watching my boys wade around in the chilly water, dig in the mud, fill buckets with pebbles, stones, and mud, and rest in the welcome shade of the trees growing nearby. When I first moved from the East Coast to Colorado, I was a bit concerned about the lack of proximity to the coast, and wondered how I would manage without that water energy close by. Soon, however, I discovered the magical effects of this lovely creek, an almost-constantly moving source of water… the glacial ice and snow melts, rushing down the mountains, flowing through town, clearing the energy as it moves. In the warmer months, the cold water cools the air around the creek as it flows, creating the perfect respite from the intense sun, which can feel a bit punishing, sometimes, at a higher altitude. Boulder would not be the amazing place it is, I don’t think, without this creek, and the impressive network of paths –and inviting resting places– that run alongside it. Goodbye, Boulder Creek! Thank you.

Most of all, I will miss the people. The amazing, inspired, inspiring, conscious, creative, loving, kind and generous people that I have been fortunate enough to know and love, and have in my life, during the decade I lived in Boulder. Too numerous to mention individually, they know who they are, and they know how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to be in relationship with each of them. They have taught me so much: to slow down, and notice; to feel, deeply; to open up my heart and let the world in, even though it hurts, and even though it’s scary; to look within, and excavate that which no longer serves me, and figure out how to let it go, and keep letting go, and letting go, over and over, until I’ve started to become healthy, and so much more authentic than I ever was before. I have learned so much from my friends and family, teachers, co-teachers, midwives, and energy workers over these years I’ve been living “out West.” And I am still learning, still excavating, still being reminded, daily, to breathe and let go, breathe… and let go. I will miss all of these beloved people. They really know how to live, to embrace life in all its gifts and suffering, to not just float through their days, inattentive and busy. I appreciate that about so many people I’ve known in Colorado — some born there, but most brought there by choice, by their desire to plant themselves intentionally in that rocky soil… and bloom!

In particular, I will miss “my Naropa people,” some of whom have already blazed trails away from Boulder, and all of whom know how to breathe consciously, bear witness, hold space, laugh and cry simultaneously –even gracefully– and, perhaps most importantly, give the best hugs. (My husband loves to joke about what he calls my “Naropa –ahhh– hugs,” which are long, soulful, and punctuated by deep, satisfied sighs. Ahhh… love.)

And I will so miss my mama friends, whose presence, guidance, and support I have been so very blessed with during these early years of being a mother. These women are so honest, so brave, loving, and funny, and so, so devoted to their little ones… their children are blessed to be in the care of such compassionate, generous, intelligent and self-aware women. Mamas, I am honored to have had the privilege to mother alongside of you, to watch our babies explore and play, and (so quickly!) grow into such unique, strong, sensitive little people. Dear friends, I will miss you each, so very, very much. Thank you. Thank you.

I moved out to Boulder, to attend graduate school at Naropa University, ten years ago this May, in my 1986 Oldsmobile, packed full of all my worldly belongings… and now I’m moving back east, to a place a few hours north of my birthplace, with a much more reliable car, (and with a whole moving truck full of furniture and “stuff”!) and one dear husband, two small, beloved children, and two dogs. Boulder has been good to me, and my cup surely runneth over. Onward, Eastward… my boys and I are off! (Yes, we’re really doing this!) Please visit us in Maine, by the enchanted sea, and the elf- and gnome-laden woods! You’re always welcome. Farewell, my friends… the circle is open, but unbroken. Merry we’ve met, merry part, and merry may we meet again!

why blog?

I’ve been contemplating starting a blog for a while now, for various reasons. One big reason is that I love to write, and find that it helps me process what is happening in my life. Since becoming a mother, I have found that my journal entries have gone from almost daily to almost, well, never. I just haven’t made it the priority it used to be, before my children came into being. There’s just so much other “stuff” to “get done” each day, and often by day’s end, I feel tired, and not “inspired enough” to take out my journal. Yet when I do find the inspiration and make the time, I’m always amazed at how good it feels to write, and how much it serves me to spend that time sifting through my thoughts and feelings. So, I’m hoping that, along with the creation of this space, will come the designation of some very regular writing time.

Another reason is, to have a space to share some of the fruits of my creative endeavors. My husband, though dear and supportive, does not get excited enough about the sewing of patchwork bedspreads, the knitting of tiny booties, or the perfection of my cloth diaper-washing routine… I need other women, other mothers, to share my excitement about these things. Also, I need the inspiration to finish so many of these creative projects that fill my head, and my baskets, in various stages of completion, from not-even-started, to cast on and set aside, to almost done, but lost amidst the daily round of dishes and laundry. I crave the creation of beauty, in many forms, to adorn my babes and loved ones, to brighten my home, to fulfill a utilitarian function in a lovely way. And here, now, is the space to come to, in celebration of the completion of some of these creations.

Finally, one more reason for blogging, is the desire to connect. I’ve been reading lots of other blogs lately, mostly written by other, like-minded mamas. And I have felt so inspired, supported, and connected to these other women, through reading their words. Some of them I already know personally, but most of them, I just happened upon their blogs in my travels through the vast array of online information. And I’m so grateful to have “met” them all! I’m grateful for the glimpses of so many moments from these women’s days, weeks, and seasons with their young ones… these glimpses, usually fairly brief, yet also, often, so profound, so real, and so touching. In reading these mamas’ blogs, I feel I’m being offered such a precious gift: a window into their experiences navigating the amazing, enlivening, transformative, yet also often exhausting and overwhelming work of taking care of small, precious, completely dependent little beings. I’m grateful for the inspiration to be found among their posts, whether it be in the form of new baking recipes, crafting ideas, wonderful books I haven’t read, or new ideas for seasonal celebrations with little ones… or the simple, powerful reassurance that I’m not the only one out here trying to do this mindful, creative, inspired mothering thing. I am not alone. I am not alone as I serve up another bowl of oatmeal, wash another load of diapers, read another story (or, more likely, read the same story, again and again and…) or when I soothe another scraped knee or wounded little heart, or pry another choking hazard out of a little mouth, or gaze into the beautiful, sweet face of my nursing babe as he drifts off to sleep… or when I vacuum up yet another mountain of spilled glitter off the carpet… or when I cry in frustration at 3am when I’m awoken –again?again!– by an unsettled baby… in these moments, I am not alone in my mothering, because you’re out there too, having your own versions of all of these moments and more, from the most thankless and repetitive, to the most heart-wrenching, to the most soulful and sublime… Thank goodness for all of you, out there, ushering in new life, and then going about the daily work of nurturing it. I am so glad you’re there. And I’m ready to share some of my moments with you, and hopeful that some of you might find something here that speaks to you, supports you, inspires you, in some way.