It was my father taught my mother
how to dance.
I never knew that.
I thought it was the other way.
Ballroom was their style,
a graceful twirling,
curved arms and fancy footwork,
a green-eyed radio.
There is always more than you know.
There are always boxes
put away in the cellar,
worn shoes and cherished pictures,
notes you find later,
sheet music you can’t play.
A woman came on Wednesdays
with tapes of waltzes.
She tried to make him shuffle
around the floor with her.
She said it would be good for him.
He didn’t want to.
When my nineteen-year-old son turns on the kitchen tap
and leans down over the sink and tilts his head sideways
to drink directly from the stream of cool water,
I think of my older brother, now almost ten years gone,
who used to do the same thing at that age;
and when he lifts his head back up and, satisfied,
wipes the water dripping from his cheek
with his shirtsleeve, it’s the same casual gesture
my brother used to make; and I don’t tell him
to use a glass, the way our father told my brother,
because I like remembering my brother
when he was young, decades before anything
went wrong, and I like the way my son
becomes a little more my brother for a moment
through this small habit born of a simple need,
which, natural and unprompted, ties them together
across the bounds of death, and across time …
as if the clear stream flowed between two worlds
and entered this one through the kitchen faucet,
my son and brother drinking the same water.
There are some questions that shouldn’t be asked until a person is mature enough to appreciate the answers-
We are made up of many “things,” so are our handy gadgets, fancy cars, spiffy shoes, colorful yoga mats and ridiculously expensive bikes – A bunch of cells and molecules blended craftily together. If there’s a major distinction to be pointed out between us and these cherished inanimate objects, it’s that we tactile beings are blessed with the ability to feel our emotions and to communicate them to others. Or do we?!?
While we have the ability to express our emotions to others, sometimes – most of the time, we don’t always do it when we desperately need to. It’s important to pause and ask why every once in a while. As you may have noticed in my recent posts, I have been asking myself “why” quite a bit of late. I do so because we live in social media/hyper connected world that tells us, don’t feel upset,” or don’t feel sad, don’t worry, and to “Be brave and stand tall” when adversity graces our lives. It’s also important to remember that the world we live in has a double-edge sword, waiting patiently to chop our heads off when our emotions sway the opposite direction, when we boast and brag about a new gadget, personal best and buying a new bike. The net result of all of “this,” is one sad but brutally true underlying message – Stop being and don’t feel anything.
My posts of late have been painfully tedious for one important reason: I’m starting to make a habit of honoring myself and you, each and every day. One last question before we part ways this morning: Before you click “publish, “like” or post anything online … Is there a moment where you think about the ramifications of your action(s), a moment where you stop being and fail to feel anything?!?
Over the back of the Florida basker,
over the froth of the Firth of Forth,
Up from Tahiti and Madagascar,
Lo, the sun walks north.
The first bright day makes sing the slackers
While leaves explode like firecrackers,
The duck flies forth to greet the spring
And sweetly municipal pigeons sing.
Where the duck quacks, where the bird sings,
We will speak of past things.
Come out with your marbles, come out with your Croup,
The grass is as green as a Girl Scout troop;
In the Mall the stone acoustics stand
Like a listening ear for the Goldman band.
At an outside table, where the sun’s bright glare is,
We will speak of darkened Paris.
Meanwhile, like attendants who hasten the hoofs
Of the ponies who trot in the shadow of roofs,
The sun, in his running, will hasten the plan
Of plants and fishes, beast and man.
We’ll turn our eyes to the sogging ground
And guess if the earth is cracked or round.
Over the plans of the parties at strife,
Over the planes in the waiting north,
Over the average man and his wife,
Lo, the sun walks forth!
– Robert Lax
A snail is climbing up the window-sill
into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see and I explain
that it would be unkind to leave it there:
it might crawl to the floor; we must take care
that no one squashes it. You understand,
and carry it outside, with careful hand,
to eat a daffodil.
I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
your gentleness is moulded still by words
from me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
from me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed
your closest relatives and who purveyed
the harshest kind of truth to many another,
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
And we are kind to snails.
There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out-
Chances are, a vast majority of us will experience some kind of adversity today. Know what’s cool and interesting – Each one of us is blessed with the capacity to bounce back on our feet after suffering a setback in life. What’s even more cool, is that we all have the potential to improve after we dust off our knees and bandage our open wounds, or as I like to say: Become more resilient.
Sometimes we learn “things” about ourselves from the act of stepping out of our comfort zone(s). These tender moments in our lives can be a way to clarify what is truly important. I find that being open and vulnerable can be a good reminder of my prioritie(s) in life. For me, I cannot convey to you easily enough how easy it is to get swept up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle: Kids, school, work, getting a few cold weather rides in when I can, yoga class and the tedious process of signing in online. Taking some during the day to embrace the comfort of peace and hope truly helps me. Although, we don’t often associate resilience with comfort do we? Resiliency often connotes pushing aside what truly matters to tackle what lies in plain sight … Often a Son who refuses to get dressed for school and a yoga studios website that fails to load quickly enough.
We can find peace and hope in resiliency, we certainly can.
The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling-
Meditation is like that. Full of seemingly impossible contradictions! Meditation is tedious and difficult to write about given our connected-analytic nature. Meditation is much easier to explain to someone who habitually thinks poetically. Like the inspired yoga instructor who creates a magical flowing class off the top of their head, or the mountain biker who flows with little effort on tight single-track. Meditation, my kind of Meditation that is … Centers on expanding our logical thinking into poetic and logical thinking. Still with me?!?
How then do we tap into being both a logical thinker, in addition, to being a poetic thinker? This is the essential transformation that a deeply rooted Meditation-Mindfulness practice teaches us.
Allow me to change logical thinker and poetic thinker into – Mind and Heart.
A few years ago, I decided to attend a local workshop and “learn” to meditate. The plan was to attend this workshop, receive a mantra or whatever and instantly become healthier, increase my focus, and calm my crazy mind in like, 13 1/2 minutes of practice twice a day. That was the promise printed on the meditation workshop website. I was “that dude” at the time before tearing my knees apart. An over-achieving runner, and I prided myself on the hard, mindless work I put in daily. Maybe this mindfulness meditation stuff would help me compete at a higher level?!?
On the day of the workshop, as I signed in and unfolded my freezing yoga mat in the picturesque studio, something began to stir within my mind and heart. I had a warm sense of excitement and anticipation that quite surprised me. I literally had no idea what to expect from this class, however in some “weird” way, I resonated with the people who were presenting the workshop and my fellow class mates – Each one of them had a sense of calm that was palpable and real. I listened attentively to their words and the stories they shared, but it was something far beyond the resonating words that was connecting with me, stirring my soul. It’s as though I had passed through a doorway into a serene, peaceful place where my heart expanded and connected to world spinning around me.
This was the first time that I had an awareness of my mind, separate from the peaceful part of my heart.
There are two ways of experiencing Mindfulness … Mind and Heart.