Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘search for happiness’

Dangling Thread

So, this is the way it will end for us?

Amid anger and resentment, bitterness and judgement?

Not between you and me, but by some imposed and imposing imposition.

Slamming metaphorical doors.

Wielding swords of words, shields of insult, fear and anguish.

Not between you and me. We agreed long ago to forget the past.

Deny the past, shun the past, pretend the past did not exist.

Pretend the past was just a play about someone else’s life.

Someone Else let loose the line that bound us, and sailed off into the sunset.

Someone Else built a life on tangled webs and veils of secrecy, codes and cryptics.

Now we have no more time to survive this. We have no time to let this blow over and add it as another act to the play.

Marvel at the heartbreak, the karma of it all, the two sides to every story, the be-careful-what-you-ask-for.

So this will be the play’s final act, because the clock tolls, time will not wait for us again.

It will be a wild tale that swings from ecstasy to admonition, from heartswell to heartbreak, with adventure and drama and music.

But you are on the stage. You are Someone Else. You are the star, streaking across the atmosphere, bright and recognizable.

These three seconds are all the time we have. We know what happens to shooting stars.

I am in the front row, and behind the proscenium I see stagehands with their hands on the fly, ready to ring down the final curtain.

I am awestruck and dumbstruck. It is a beautiful tragedy.

The hero, or whatever you want to call him, dies.

And I cry.

 

Be at peace,

 

Paz

Solstices & Red Sands

Mars Winter

Mars Winter

 

 

It begins back at the winter solstice. The time these humans have labeled December.

It’s an absolute leap of faith to look out upon the frozen tundra before me, waist-deep in drifting snow, to look up at the crystal clear starfield overhead, bright and brilliant seen through air that’s well below freezing, and to know our great green planet is making a shift, beginning her annual tilt, swinging the northern hemisphere toward the sun.

 

Each day lengthens, and from that point forward my mind is focused on the Longest Day, the summer solstice. Each day the sun’s arc swings northward, skating the ridgetop of Victory Mountain. Each morning gets brighter until the magical day when the sun arises at the same time as me.

 

Sunrise

Sunrise

 

Perhaps only a madman would “rage against the dying of the light”. Only a fool would watch and celebrate the imperceptibly slow revolution of our world, the gains of daylight, which our planet consistently delivers like cosmic clockwork.

 

These are things that are real, predictable, dependable, understandable. If these events were to change, if the year unfolded itself in a new and unprecedented way, it could only mean disaster at some level to the world we’ve come to know.

 

Alas, these days I question my logic, my approach, my eagerness to chase after the sun and the solstices.

 

Is this akin to rushing through the Fun House at the carnival because you want to get to the end? In doing so, we cut short the time we are enjoying the Fun House, we forfeit the extra time we’ve paid for. We rush through our only chance at this once-a-year offering.

 

Carnival

Carnival

 

“Time is not holding us. Time is not after us.”, or so say The Talking Heads.

 

These days it seems that time is a commodity. Carve out this chunk for work and this chunk for sleep. Write off those portions claimed by others for birthdays, weddings, funerals, dinner parties and club picnics.

 

I raise the giant sand hourglass that is my life. Like Dorothy in the castle of the Wicked Witch, I gaze at the red sand ceaselessly flowing, draining. Running out.

 

There’s no bucket list, no unfulfilled lifelong dream. I’m not that complicated, organized or energetic. There is, however, still a lot of work to do, and I’m not sure how much I can cram in before the red sand runs out.

 

I’ve heard folks say, interpreting Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening”, that there’s symbolism in there for suicide. The line “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,” seems to evoke an impression among people that the author wishes to lay down and die here and now.

 

Of course, the next two lines are: “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” I think Frost was just watching the red sand flow. Wanting to take a break and rest, maybe wanting to lay his burden down.

 

Yet each day we awake and have a little more time before us. A few more miles, a few more promises fulfilled. And so it goes.

 

Forked Lake Sunset

Forked Lake Sunset

 

The Talking Heads are right, of course. Time is not holding us, time is not after us. There is potentially plenty of wisdom, symbolism and philosophy in that little ditty.

 

Of course, The Talking Heads also say “There is water at the bottom of the ocean.”

 

No denying the logic, I suppose.

 

Both statements are true and accurate.

 

And the red sands flow.

 

 

Be at peace,

 

Paz

Rural Zen: Autumn

October Maple

I’ve been doing this Armchair Zen blog a bit over a year-and-a-half now, and it’s been a great experience so far. As so many on WordPress, Blogspot and other blogsites, my approach to blogging was that it was a way to practice writing. Organizing the actual content for an inspirational book was the lofty goal of those heady times. This has served as more of a compositional scratchpad and journal, and has helped usher along the idea and concept.

In other ways, it’s also been a great Armchair Zen lesson of its own. Trying to live and preach a detachment from the overloaded overconnectedness of our modern world is a difficult premise to present via mass media. Also, as noted in a post, there comes with blogging a certain scent, an attraction, a quality to covet that can become something of an “intellectual intoxication”, and that is, essentially, an “audience”. While the whole idea of blogging is to share your piece with “the world”, it can be titillating to find someone liking your work and responding to it. It’s a long way from the old days, when a snail-mail submission would take months to appear in print, and anyone the least bit interested in contacting the author would have to undergo a search worthy of Livingstone to find your name and address to send you a note.

Chuy. A main character on Rural Zen.

That brings us to now.  ACZ has developed a little character of its own. A certain tone and language we can recognize as familiar. A propensity to make posts worthwhile and hopefully helpful to someone seeking the famous “path”, as well as being standalone entries that address a subject without need for the context of chronology. (That’s some sweet phrasing and I’m proud of it. Of course it just means you don’t have to read all the posts in order.)

So, I’ve been working on a secret project. Okay, I guess it’s not really secret, it just exists in a different blogosphere for purposes of trying to keep ACZ true to its roots. It’s called “Rural Zen” and is self-described as existing to “share the experiences of a life lived simply and appreciated fully.” which are credited with providing  “Much of my sense of peace…drawn from living in one of the prettiest places I know.”

Frost’s road

 Two main differences between ACZ and Rural Zen. The first is that Rural Zen is a journal, and therefore chronological. In fact, the sights, sounds and smells of the changing seasons are often the highlights of entries, as that’s how the “rural” part intersects with the “zen” part. Secondly, Rural Zen is peppered with illustrations showing the places, events and characters described in the text.

 So the new challenge is to combine the best of both. Here we have a portrait of Chuy, my tireless companion, and in Circle of Seasons we see a photo of my granddaughter Elizabeth, as well as a photo from a day of ice fishing with grandson Max. The intent, as stated, is to share the experiences of a life that supports the pursuit of the path of peace.

  It just seemed that previous posts talk about the path but never show any pictures! Maybe, in a vicarious way, others can also benefit from this life “lived simply and appreciated fully”.  Sort of a modern Walden only without the isolation or the pond. And with illustrations.

Neversink waterfall

The fall season is a sensory overload, especially for someone chasing a child-like sense of wonder. In many ways it’s the prettiest season of the temperate zone, and really the shortest. It’s also the “biggest” in a way. Changes are drastic, on a daily basis. A tree that’s green one day is orange and red and yellow the next. A tree that was orange and red and green yesterday is naked today, just sticks reaching in vain toward the sky.

Grand Gorge

Searching for Red 23

The “flowers” are from a dinosaur age. A big, yellow blossom thirty feet wide and sixty feet tall! A wall of orange stretching a tenth of a mile down a treeline carpeted with green grass, their glowing golden leaves in the millions, piled two feet deep at their feet. You can look across a valley and pick out a brilliant fire-red oak, as if it was a candle on the mantle across the room.

Everywhere, the landscape changes. Tree-covered slopes now reveal rock ledges and hidden streams. There’s a pond where two weeks ago only a forest of maples could be seen.

Autumn glow

Vast, ordered rows of corn stood seven feet tall, gold hair adorning their fruits, tassels waving in the wind, where now there are vacant fields with a lone cornstalk appearing here and there, a brown, stubbled wasteland.

 
Spectrum of leaves

 And so, on to the next phase of this adventure, seeking the path of peace, and seeking to share the path with others. Here’s hoping the narrative and photos of a simple and beautiful world will help to inspire, or keep you grounded, or simply bring you a little snapshot of the peaceful path.

 

Ultimately, the peace and beauty brought to us in this world are in the eye of the beholder. The vast cosmos is filled with wonderments of all kinds, and one of the most fascinating is the human being. They’re also often overly-complicated, and tend to over-worry about things that are far from important.

Road Seven

Take time to relax, take time to wonder, and take time to drop me a line. Share your own observations, or the things that help you to pursue the path to peace in your life. Or just say hi! Let me know if you have any thoughts on the formats, old or new!

 

Be at peace,

 

Paz

Maybe you’re not ready for this.

Trying to formulate a way to relate this concept: I wasn’t ready to truly experience Armchair Zen 20 years ago. Maybe I should say I thought I was trying to live a type of zen life, but it was more like boot camp. I was doing drills and following directions though I had no sub-conscious competence.  Still, my mind and focus were filled with and attached to  the material world, the manufactured society world, the looking-glass world humankind scurries around in.

Training wheels off.

My brain desired all the elements of ACZ. Coveted them. Fought for them. Judged those that would fail to desire them or stand in the way. Isn’t that ironic? To be in a fully realized state of Armchair Zen, one must put all selfish thoughts aside. One must never judge another existence in a Universe you neither control nor fully understand. Fighting is right out.

 

So, give me a break, and give yourself one, too, if you’re me of 20 years ago.

Controlling the money to get the thing was the myopic goal.

Forget things, and you’ll find they take a very comfortable place all around you, and you may enjoy one another without conflict.

“Keeping” “Someone” from interfering with my life, forcing me to do what I wanted not.

No one can really force you, now can they? Perhaps you may have to work to stay on your path. Perhaps you may have to abandon fear and need for control, control itself, power, worry, and predicting the future. Sure, humankind has taught you a lot, but learning to discern the subtleties between good lessons and bad is not easy.

If I do this and this and this it will equal three. Damn, why isn’t this working?

You didn’t finish primary education in a year, or college in a week or pregnancy in a day. Seeds planted yesterday just look like wet dirt. Life has a waiting game because it takes that long. Period. No reasoning, nothing deep. If you prefer to paraphrase it you could say “Because that’s how long it takes.”, or “It takes that long because it does.” or any number of catchy enlightened phrases.

The gentlest push

Listen, in spite of popular opinion, life, for the majority of us achieving the dubious distinction of an average one, is very long, punctuated with frequent and sometimes lengthy periods of boredom, life in the trenches. Call them ruts if you choose, but work is happening in trenches. Work that needs to be done, and somebody needs to step up and do it. Work that benefits many more people inhabiting the level ground above.

I equate this time with the several decades of marrying and raising children and working jobs and all the living, breathing moments tied up in the busy work required of living and breathing. Brains are only so large, and have a limited capacity, and when you overfill them, things spill out to make room for more. Just keep breathing.

So you’re learning. You’re working towards something. You’re discovering something. (Ready or not. Discoveries can come at the most surprising and sometimes inopportune times.) You’re gardening in your head and caring for all the little sprouts and trying to deduce which are weeds and which are glorious flowers.

How will you know when you’re ready? Well, I think different areas will be ready at different times.

One year you’ll be ready to fully realize the relation of possessions to our lives. Valuable, but fleeting and not truly important.

One year you’ll let yourself be lost in the magical inebriation that is great wonder. Once it starts, it grows increasingly more encompassing, like a ringlet on water.

One year you’ll fully realize forgiveness when you catch yourself being forgiving.

First you will understand how to forgive everyone else.

Ultimately you’ll realize that without judgement, there is nothing to be forgiven, and that goes for you, too.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.

Off you go, little one

In the meantime, cut yourself some slack. You weren’t expected to do algebra in kindergarten, were you?

Okay, okay. You’re not required to live a peaceful life in harmony with the buzz of the cosmos.

You’re welcome to hang on to all that strife and worry as long as you want. Liberty. It’s your life.

Whenever you’re ready.

 

Be at peace, (or study for it),

 

Paz

Anniversary

I really had a great time on our 11th honeymoon.

Who’d have thought those years would be history so soon?

All those months and seasons and phases of the moon.

And did I mention that I love you?

 

We were so young, in lust and in love,

And along with the little ones sent from above,

We fought like tigers and saw the peace of the dove.

And did I mention that I love you?

 

Seems like forever I’ve been in love with you.

But the days and nights go by, sometimes they seem so few.

You know there’s nothing in this life we can’t help each other through.

Did I mention how much I love you?

And in my heart I know you love me, too.

 

A picture in my wallet brought a tear to my eye.

You know I’m sorry for every tear I’ve made you cry.

I’d give anything to ease your heart, from the Earth to the sky.

And did I mention that I love you?

 

I’d wrap up the world for you and lasso the sun,

Collect the moon and pick the stars up one by one and then

Wrap them in rainbows, and when I was done

I’d remind you how much I love you.

 

When the day comes and the kids have all grown,

I’ll be so glad to get you alone.

As we watch our children find loves of their own

I’ll remind them how I’ve loved you.

 

And when we’re old, our hair peppered and grey,

I’ll think of all the treasured times that came our way.

Until my last breath I’ll hold you and say

“Did I mention how much I love you?”

 

Seems like forever I’ve been in love with you.

Yet the days and nights go by, sometimes they seem so few.

You know there’s nothing in this world we can’t help each other through.

May I remind you how much I love you.

And in my heart I know you love me, too.

 

Us, pretending to fall into the Niagara River. Niagara Falls, 1990

 (Note: Written in 1992. We’ll celebrate our 31st honeymoon September 12th, 2012. The “kids have all grown”, with four grandkids, and another on the way.) -Paz

Zen in our Techno-Monetary society

Sunset Moon

It wasn’t easy choosing a name for the blog Armchair Zen, though that’s how I’ve referred to my personal philosophy for some time. Names like “Zen in the modern world” and “Everyday Zen” and the like seemed to be taken. I guess everyone has the same idea.

Mostly the idea of ACZ is to share thoughts and philosophy with those that want to seek enlightenment, peace in their daily lives, harmony with the world, nature, the cosmos and life itself. It’s not about achieving perfection or some higher plane or a place in the next life or eternity. It’s about understanding our capabilities and limitations in this life, it’s about acceptance, understanding, compassion, forgiving and letting go.

As it says in About, these things are nothing new. Applying them to today’s world is not always that easy. We live in a world I term a Techno-Monetary society. We’re surrounded by wonderful technologies from life-saving medicine, global communications, electronic entertainment, space exploration and productivity greater than mankind has ever known, bolstered by the machines and artificial intelligences of our modern world.

In ancient times and old days, individuals and whole communities were isolated, and did not have the benefit of the vast volumes of knowledge mankind has compiled since. Their lives were filled with strife, at the mercy of the elements, filled with superstitions, fears, and lack of understanding of things that seem simple to us today. The sun, the solar system, what makes rain, thunder, tornadoes. They had more time, and perhaps a greater need, to seek peace within their lives.

We are also slaves to the monetary system. In all the developed countries (probably 90% of the globe), we need to work at something to earn money for rent, taxes, clothing, food, transportation, and the list goes on. This is really not new, nor does it strictly apply to developed countries or societies. Go back a couple thousand years and we find people did not live the simple agrarian lives we might imagine. Subsistence farmers & ranchers, mountain-men and even minimalist communities of today need to barter goods or trade cash for the things they can’t make. Cooking kettles, sewing needles, broadcloth, tack supplies, sugar, salt, bacon.

Finding our personal zen and peace within our lives seems like a considerable challenge after negotiating traffic, signing in at work, talking to customers, clients or co-workers that are not seeking enlightened ways, and any number of non-zen, non-nature, non-peace-encouraging things we must do.

Still, I find my ACZ to be pervasive. It hasn’t always been that way. I was “Two Jakes” for many years, seeking solace in nature and creative expression during my precious evenings and weekends, and turning off the peace machine when going to battle with the world. After some years of concentration, practice and informal self-cognitive behavioral therapy, the zen has spread to all hours of the day.

Nowadays there are few interactions with others wherein the conscious-competence of ACZ does not rule. Filter-monitoring, managing emotions & reactions, thinking forgiveness & acceptance, seeking to navigate all situations for the best outcome of all under the guidance of enlightened thought & behavior. Spread loving compassion by being loving and compassionate. Spread forgiveness and acceptance by being forgiving and accepting. Appreciate the beauty of the world around us by opening our eyes and minds and truly seeing. It’s not always easy, but it’s always simple!

That’s really all for this post. Perhaps it’s not a lot of meat, but an encouragement to those that may be seeking the path to peace. Sure, it takes a little time and concentration, but it can be done without extensive training or effort or money or social status or massive brain power.

You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be beautiful, you don’t have to be perfect. Everyone is welcome.

The cosmos, and I, love each and every thing without judgement.

That includes you!

Be at peace,

Paz

Paleontology Proves Peoples’ Penchant for Possessions!

Such a relief to know it’s not just me.

One thing about zen teachings, or perhaps Neo-Confucianism, is to detach from material things “of the world”.

Now, I’m writing this from the United States, so perhaps folks in other countries may not see this subject the same way.

In this country, most folks are downright obsessed with possessions, to the extent we even have a TV show about hoarders. I can speak on the subject a bit because a recent revelation (the TV show) enlightened me to the fact that I have some of the same compulsions to hang on to things. I mean no disrespect, some people have a bit of disorder, to use the term loosely, and it’s not that they don’t care or they are slobs, it’s an emotional/mental thing. I have a touch myself.

I could never sojourn to Tibet and be a good monk. This I know. I like my coffee maker and my car, and the list could go on about the number of comfort and entertainment objects I would prefer not to do without. Some folks in this country are so enthralled by their “things” that there is a boom in “self-storage” facilities. These are rows of garages or whole buildings with garage-like rooms in which you can store your stuff if you have way too much to fit into your house. Okay, there is some legitimate purpose to self-storage. Perhaps you’re moving, between cities or houses or jobs, and you’re living in a small-but-adequate rental property, and you have some nice furnishings and other gear that needs to be stored until you get into permanent digs. Or maybe you live in an apartment but you’re fortunate enough to own a jet-ski or snowmobile or antique car or what-have-you, and legitimately need some storage space.

On the other hand…

The newest TV show is called Storage Wars, and in this one we watch folks buy abandoned lockers full of stuff.  Sometimes the things that are left behind and abandoned are mind-boggling.  Sure, in some cases people have passed away (a euphemism for died), or maybe they went to prison or for some other reason have been spit out of the universe like a watermelon seed, but in many cases it’s just that people can’t keep everything and can’t even afford to keep paying for the storage locker.

I’m fortunate (perhaps?) to have a large house in which we raised five kids. Now they’re grown, but we love the old ark and stay on here. That’s part of the problem. Sure, it can’t hurt to keep that [fill in the blank] in case someone needs it, we have plenty of room. Then again, it seems somewhat doubtful that anyone we know will eventually need a cobbler’s last or an 8-track tape player or a manual typewriter or a “perfectly good” picture frame measuring 40 by 30 inches, with just the slightest chip on one corner.

So, for the last couple of years I’ve been vigilant to avoid picking up anything, ANYTHING, we don’t actually need. And, slowly but surely we’re getting rid of the old Mixmaster (that just needs a plug), the one mismatched chair (that just needs one leg glued) and the “Swamp Thing” in the barn (sans engine), the forerunner of the ATV. (If you ever saw H.R. Puffenstuff on TV, it’s those six-wheeled things they drove around on).

Okay, here comes the paleontology part. An article in Smithsonian Magazine (or was it National Geographic?) states that over in Germany, in a cave, they found the oldest artifact of human creation, dating back 40,000 years. It was a little statue, hand-carved from Mammoth ivory.

So, it’s not just me! Apparently, humans have desired objects of possession since the last Ice Age! Imagine, in a world where there were no houses, public transportation, L.L. Beans, sailboats or vacation tours, someone took the time to carve a statue. At a time before Clovis people invented arrowheads, and folks hunted in groups with sharpened sticks, when the main focus of twenty hours a day was finding enough food to feed the cave clan, somebody sat on a rock and carved a statue!

This could also be treated as a premise for an article on creativity or beauty, art, sculpture, culture, or a number of topics, but in this case we’re focusing on objects of possession. Notice it wasn’t a knife handle, a pestle, a fish-hook, a shield, a horn or anything else that could be considered useful. (Well, it’s possible it may have held some magic powers, but let’s not get more lost than we already are.)

When you think about it, though, humans are not alone. There’s some bird somewhere that decorates its nest with all kind of found objects to attract a mate. There’s the phrase “shiny things to put in my nest”. Apparently “trade rats” are known to collect all manner of unusual things, though I’m not sure why.

None of that helps me, of course. These things don’t have 4,000-square-foot nests.

Then again, a cave can be pretty big…

I came into this life with nothing and will leave it with nothing. In between birth and death, I believe the most important things we have are: A) Each other, and B) Our inner light, our relationship with the cosmos.

Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac,

gangsta whitewalls, TV antennas in the back.

You may not have a car at all,

But remember, brothers and sisters,

You can still stand tall.

Just be thankful for what you got.

(William DeVaughn, 1974, Roxbury Records)

I hope some of you will share your stories about possessions, or battles with them.

 

Be at peace,

 

Paz

Always and Forever

My Hero

This is the premise, the basic promise for long-term relationships, such as traditional marriages.

“Forever” is a solemn promise, and typical quotes from marriage ceremonies in this society include dedication to be true through “better and worse, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health”.

These are the big dramatic parts of a promise ceremony, yet at the outset of a young marriage they are more like a list of tests the wedded couple will face one day. The results will vary widely from couples that endure all unto their deaths, and other cases where the least bit of stress or inconvenience can lead to dissolution of the bond.

“Forever” is the most important aspect of this promise, and that only becomes truly understood as one draws nearer to the “end of Forever”, our mortal life. It’s a lofty goal when one is young, but as one ages it becomes a foundation, something to be relied upon without question or doubt.

When we really begin looking down the barrel of aging, life’s trials, the events that befall us, we reach for the assurance that the promise of “Forever” will be kept.

When we lose a good job or position, regardless of the reason. When we lose our teeth and are fitted with dentures. When we are stricken with the debts of our years and become weakened, even hobbled, by the diseases and conditions of our bodies.

Are you really going to stick by me when I lose use of a leg? When my speech becomes impaired? How about if my brain is stricken, and I become, essentially, a different person than the one you made that promise to? Perhaps there’s a tipping point…15 years, 20 years, 30…40, when one no longer doubts the promise. Perhaps for some there is never any doubt.

Perhaps for others, the doubt is never fully quelled. Perhaps for some, they stick with it simply because of the promise. That’s “Forever” in a nutshell.

“Always” is the hard part. Always means ALL ways, ALL the time. To love someone “Forever and Always” means every day, through everyday trials and tribulations, through the ordinary and extraordinary millions of hours that will comprise our lives together.

Not only when you’re sick with the flu, but when you’re sick from drinking Pepsi & vodka.

Not just when you’re down because your dog died, but when you are unreachable and inconsolable over much greater loss.

When you’re smiling and complimenting me, as well as when you are angry and vilifying me.

When you’re all dressed up and smelling like a rose as well as when you’ve been through the wringer and smell like…what is that awful smell?

“Always” is the day you got the big raise, the day you bought a boat without even asking me, and the day your company moved to Guam and kicked you (and our finances) to the curb.

“Always” includes that touching, perfect gift only you could bring, and then again the time you showed up empty-handed on our anniversary.

Stress is relative, and young relationships are more prone to stress from short-sighted goals and egocentricity. My time for my buddies, the things you did before we were married, the friend who has been with you since first grade and thinks he can still be your fishing pal. The amount of time you spend with me, the number of things you do that rub me the wrong way, your attitude toward this big decision, this giant step, and whether you’re serious about “Forever”.

Even the Zen Master can find it difficult, while maintaining a solid commitment to “Forever”, to navigate the pop-up skirmishes of our “Always”.

Next time you get to an “Always” you think you need to address, just try to remember what’s in the best interest of “Forever”.

You can “always” say something, but do you want it to be on record “forever”?

Be at peace,

Paz

Take Time to Wonder

Walking the road in wonderment.

We’re all on the same road. Cradle to the grave. Beneath our skin, regardless of color, we all want to be loved, and to give love in return.  Whether we think and dream in Spanish or Russian, English or Cantonese, we all have the same dreams.

We get so busy going down the road that we forget to stop and see the beauty in the everyday world around us. To reach out and touch one another and say “These, these are the days we will remember.”

We have a little plaque on the windowsill that reads:

We don’t remember the days, we remember the moments.”

Looking back along the road, it’s easy to see the truth of this simple statement. The time when I was just a child, when I sat still long enough for a chickadee to land on my hand to take a bit of bread. That afternoon when my son was born, putting him under the heat lamp like an order of french fries. That night in the emergency room when they pinned my other son’s spiral fracture of his arm.

How many moments do you remember? When you think of the moment, it seems the rest of the world and the day fade away into the background.

We don’t need special events to “make” these moments. We simply need to open our eyes to see these moments in every day. Like the old adage of stopping to smell the roses. We don’t even have to stop, we simply need to awaken.

We drive down the road without looking out the window. We’re watching the road and traffic, watching the clock, thinking of getting to work or the show or home. How many moments are we missing? A bird flying past, the shape of a cloud, the warmth of the sun on our face.

There’s a beauty in nature if we will only take the moment to see it. If we can develop our senses to appreciate the natural order of things, the power or solemnity of nature, we can find beauty in the tiniest things, even things that may not be considered beautiful in a traditional sense. It sounds kind of corny, but there is beauty in a blade of grass, in droplets of dew, in the busy work of ants on the ground, in the silent circles of birds in the sky.

I remember a moment, sitting on the ground on an early summer morning. I noticed the drops of dew on the grass, and realized each one acted as a prism, emitting rainbow colors. By moving ever-so-slightly, the color of the droplet would vary from red to blue to green. I realized that even under the bright direct sun, the light emitted from the dew drops was as bright as the sun, and white as starlight. Of course! They’re refracting the rays of the sun! What wonder filled me when I realized that there, in the tiny drop of water, was light as powerful as the sun! A rainbow, a star, the sun. Huge celestial objects, all in one, all in a tiny drop of water just a foot away!

There’s a little scroll on the wall, given to me by my late mother, I don’t know how many years ago. It’s a storybook picture of an elf, in awe observing a butterfly. I have adopted the phrase on this scroll as a way of reminding myself to seek those “moments we remember”, and if you repeat it to yourself and embrace it, perhaps it will enable you to see that beauty in everyday things, to live in the now, to make those moments. It reads:

Take time to wonder. Without wonder, life is merely existence.”

Be at peace.

Paz

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