(When available, photo credits are given in file names.)
The processes on the journey aren't always fun, although they can be pretty funny, if I stay curious and try to keep a sense of humor, even when I'm the butt of some joke, even my own, whether I intend to be or not. Sometimes, often, things don't go as planned. I don't always get what I wish, what I pray for. But I always learn something, and I never know what that something is going to be. The opportunities for growing are limitless and surprising. Isn't that outstanding?
Here are a few examples of random life-lessons I started listing a few days ago, ones I had time to write down as I went along. Take a look, and consider yours. Pay attention, and take notes when you can--because Life is an amazingly Generous Creativity, always teaching us something.
1. I'm waking up, listening to Pema Chodron on independent radio. She's talking about the Buddha's smile... Yesterday, coincidentally, I was reading her book, When Things Fall Apart, one of many I bought in the aftermath of the greatest loss (I've written about it previously here at the blog and in many poems and essays). I want to take Chodron's radio advice, and smile like the Buddha, like Mona Lisa before speaking and reacting, even when things don't go as planned, even if they fall apart. In challenging times, when the opportunities to learn and grow arise, after the Tsunamis, we can practice in this way, regaining our focus. We can resist reacting in ways that bring more pain. Being "courageous warriors of Love," we model for others how to be warriors too.
2. Walking along, a girl who's been consistently if unintentionally harsh and unkind, even "a mean girl" at times, has written in all caps on her locker, "ANITA (name changed) IS AWESOME." I find that much of the world's cruelty seems to stem from issues of very low self-esteem, and from the fear and anger that go hand in hand. So here is another opportunity for me to focus on compassion, modeling it for Anita and others, giving feedback in my role as mentor and facilitator, being honest, direct, and kind, from the tender places where I, too, have suffered.
3. I have much work and a lot of correspondence to catch up on. I might be a bit overwhelmed. Out of the blue it occurs to me again, that when I approach each task and every letter as a bridge, a very special opportunity to connect with this heart and that one, linking all of us with Love, the mountain is not so daunting.
Those are just a few. I'm sure many life-lessons have been unfolding for you too. More later, Dear Warriors, with great Love,