What have I learned? What have you learned? What would I like to learn?
It’s a BIG question.
My answer is this: to TRUST more .. LISTEN more to the soft Whisperer within (God/True Source) – to BELIEVE with my whole heart
Life is fleeting. I’ve endured much loss – friends, spouses, days and nights to worry or fright – only to realize shortly thereafter that there is no need to worry – no benefit – however, to TRUST, PRAY, LISTEN, OPEN my HEART to God/True Source’s guidance and BELIEVE all will be well , therein, I find my wish for ALL persons – CONTENTMENT
What does Contentment look like to me?
It’s realizing that ALL I need, ALL around me is ENOUGH and ENJOY every moment of…
Healthy food – my Green/Fruity/Nutty Shake in the mornings
ability to learn and practice Yoga
Legs that move and allow me to roam the Mountains I love so much
Conversing with the Trees
Taking Photographs of all that catches my eye
Enjoying the Light of sunrise and Moonrise
to listen and walk by the River’s edge
the gift of my spouse, Steve and his innate laughter and support
my Church family
my Alanon Family
my Telephone calls and walks with Friends
a Job with loving people
Moments found to create Art
the gift of my Parents, my Brothers, my Nieces and Nephews
Friends abroad, Friends on Facebook
Trees and Flowers of so many varieties in my back yard – and a Pond
Life is NOT all doom and gloom – it’s different
What I’m learning is to look with eyes open, ears and heart open, hands – open to what’s ALL around me and say Thank you!
As I said I’m learning – NOT perfect, nor, would I want to be.
Happy year of Contentment is my wish for ALL in this New Year!
Those who know me, know that I often refer to Gratitude.
You may ask How did you know or get introduced to GRATITUDE? While listening to Krista Tippett’s podcast On Being, early one Sunday morning, she was interviewing Brother David Steindl-Rast, Founder of Gratefulness.org . This podcast was such a pivotal moment in my life as he described so many things, people, experiences, sounds, sights, smells, he was grateful for. I am a contributor to Gratefulness.org through monetary donations and my Photography. The practice of Gratitude I continue today. When I feel stuck in a ‘funk’, and I can’t think of anything to be grateful for, I begin with the letter ‘A’ and list whatever I am grateful for that begins with that letter and proceed through the alphabet. It’s amazing what comes out. Here’s a list of late:
A = Alicia (my daughter), Art, Air, AFG, Apple Trees
B = Brothers, color Blue, Blue Berries, Books, Birds
C = Chocolate (Dark Chocolate), Church, Couch, Catholicism, Creating Collages, Crows, Camera
D = Dawn, Doves, Daffodils, Drawing
E = Elephants, Ears that hear, Eyes that See, Europe
F = Faith, Father, Friends, Family
G = God, color Green, Grayson, Greeting one another
H = Home, Hot water, Hiking, Hawks
I = Imagination, Irises
J = Jesus, Juicy Pears and Apples, Job, Joy
K = Katharina (a faithful friend), Kites, Kibbeh, Kayaaks, Kayak, Kelly
L = Love, the sound Laughter, Lincoln
M = Mom, Memory, Mountains
N = Nandina, Notecards
O = Ocean waves and sound, Oxygen, Oranges, Orchids
P = Patience, Prayer, Pink Tulips, Peruvian Lilies, Photography, Pencils, Pens, Paper, Pope Francis
Q = Quiet moments, Quilts
R = Rest, Richard (son), Red Poppies, Robins
S = Steve (husband and friend), Sailing, Swimming, Seeing Smiles again
T = Trees (all kinds- Oaks, Redbuds, Weeping Willows, Dogwoods, Beech Trees), Today, Travels
A typed note rests on my desk with this question Where am I headed?, and I read it every day.
I don’t know where I am headed
I do know that I am being prepared for something else; And I will recognize that calling or destination when the door or window opens
My prayer each day is your will for me God, and others
I listen and wait
Look and notice
Close my eyes and grow silent
Working and growing in compassion to meet the challenges of the day before me, as best I can
Nature and prayer are the balms that soothe my soul
Bathing under the canopy of the forest
Listening to the wind as it sways the trees’ trunks and limbs, they join in song, singing to one another is the music of my heart
Early morning, the birds’ song and banter brings a feeling of comfort like a flannel blanket on a cold day
Creating art from photos or gathered pieces of paper and moss, paint on canvas, herbs wrapped in string and presented as bouquets
Where am I headed?
Perhaps the answer is to grow deeper in gratitude for all the gifts I’ve been given – a compassionate heart, a listening ear, eyes that see, arms and legs that move and carry me from place to place, a knowingness that all is well …. and, more will be revealed – Hope.
Definition of Epiphany: a sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something
This week I’ve had two –both with men, both familial.
The first with my son during a telephone conversation from him, which I listened as he spoke to me about his life, responsibilities, wants and needs. As I listened, what I heard was a type of discontent. And, it dawned on me that this may be what I have often echoed to my own parents, and how sad it must have been for them to have heard this same discontent from me for years. I decided right then to consciously change this language to content, possible and hopeful with all persons one conversation, one day at a time.
The second epiphany came last night when I shared with my father the first epiphany and he listened and looked at me and then said, you must have forgotten how you were as a young girl – I did NOT expect to hear these words or the examples of heart ache he described thereafter. Yet, I listened. I apologized for the heartache I bestowed unknowingly on him and my mother.
And then, I shared my perceptions of what happened in my life at that time. As he listened, and he did, I knew he was hearing my recollection and realization much differently. It was a lot to absorb for both of us. And even as I share this now, I know that we will both never be the same. For me, I will be more compassionate, listen more, talk less, need less, and continue to strive for that balance, that art of contentment.
As Easter approaches, and Lent comes to a close, I will share something I offered up during my Lenten journey with Christ. My Lenten Fast was this – to choose NOT to engage in any negative communication with others or toward myself, and if I slipped up, I would deposit $1 in a jar to be given to an organization for those who are less fortunate than myself such as MANNA FoodBank recipients or Catholic Charities. I may have $10 in the jar to distribute – not bad for 40 days of commitment and what I’ve learned is that this will be an ongoing way of life for me – listen more, talk less, if I must talk, be aware of my choice of words. An acronym for the word ‘THINK’ is this: Is what you are about to say: Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary and Kind? If so, it’s okay to proceed, if not, it’s best to just listen or move on.