Welcome to your appointment with life
Thank yourself for making time
in your busy schedule
to be available to notice
coming into your body
and leaving your body
Your belly rising
Your belly falling
Your mind slowing
Your tension releasing
Your heart opening
Your shoulders falling
Your smile relaxing
Your eyes softening
Your hair growing
Your forehead clearing
Your organs rejoicing
Your freedom expanding
Breath coming in
Breath flowing out
Looking deeply into things
Opening your perception up to the beauty and miraculous perfection all around you
Remembering your innate intelligence
Savouring the elegance of life
And your self as part of the miracle
Here you are
You are as perfect as that leaf
You are all of these things
With gratitude and love
If everything was as exquisite
as a perfect cup of tea!
Life would be unbearable
in its all-expanding beauty
and limitless optimism
...or is it already?
Magpies stomping on the roof
Rustling sounds in the garden
to the nocturnal rustlings
shadows of the morning walkers
passing by my window
the dusty film makes it all seem
lace hanging haphazardly
like a renaissance era opera dancer
in a state of delicious dishevelment
Dogs pull their humans
eager to know what news this day brings
so easily sated
by the daily miracle
of the sun remembering to rise
What further delight
would any sane person
seek to seek?
Stay here in this
the gold of highest value
hear the praises
sung by those with wings
whose freedom of flight
allows the broadest view from above
who still choose
to come home to roost
They will always remind me
that to be near a tree
is all I need
To breathe the freshness
of the new day
in through my newest leaves
down to my deepest roots
And to feel my expansion
My arrival home
In every direction
as I exhale
Dwelling in the ultimate dimension
Grateful for this breath
I would like to offer more from Love Letter to the Earth (2018, Parallax Press) this week.“ Citizens of the Earth
We tend to think of human beings as falling into two groups: those who are similar to us, and those who are different. We allow political boundaries to obscure our interconnectedness. What we often refer to as patriotism is actually a barrier that prevents us from seeing that we’re all children of the same mother. Every calls its nation a motherland or a fatherland. Every country tries to show how it loves its mother. But in doing so, each country is contributing to the destruction of our larger mother, our collective mother, the Earth. In focusing on our human-made boundaries, we forget that we are co-responsible for the whole planet.When we see that we are all children of the same mother, we will naturally want to cultivate and strengthen our sense of being part of one large family. When we speak of protecting our planet, we often speak of finding new technologies. But without real community, technology may be even more destructive than constructive. Real community, built with our practice of mindfulness, enables us to act together. When we can communicate with ourselves and the Earth, we can communicate with ourselves more easily.”A pause for breath here, and contemplation on how we strengthen our own practice of communicating with ourselves and the Earth, and how valuable it is to water the seeds of this practice as often as we can.A moment too, to make acknowledgement in the season of NAIDOC celebrations here in Australia, of the wisdom in Aboriginal culture of deep respect for the Earth that was practised throughout this land for many thousands of years.Thay continues: “Every one of us, regardless of nationality or religious faith, can experience a feeling of admiration and love when we see the beauty of the Earth and the beauty of the cosmos. This feeling of love and admiration has the power to unite the citizens of the Earth and remove all separation and discrimination. Caring about the environment is not an obligation, but a matter of personal and collective happiness and survival. We will survive and thrive together with our Mother Earth, or we will not survive at all.” (pp 81-83).I find it so helpful, in diluting the despair that is surrounding our collective thinking about the climate crisis, to touch deeply the word of Thay here, about how our courage and strength in staying with the practice of feeling love and admiration for the beauty of the Earth and cosmos can contribute to our survival and thriving.Staying in gratitude, when we notice the wonders of our precious planet, and making our daily choices based on what is best for our Mother Earth are powerful things that we can all do in our daily lives that make important contributions towards our happiness and wellbeing as one big human family.A bow in gratitude to you for all that you do to preserve peace and love,
Joyful Mindfulness of the HeartA Ghandi-Mandela Peace Prize – Inaugural recipient, guess who?
These are the first words I heard this morning.
Followed by “there you go Mama, so lovely”.
I say ‘this morning’ in reference to the time after birds had started.
All the talking in wake and sleep that happened between 2:00 am and the birds shall be known as night talking. Night talking is not to be encouraged, as cute as some of the stuff is (Mummy I draw a beautiful pitcha on your aaaaaaaaarm); and shall not be spoken of again.
But that morning invitation to smile. Oh!
Thay makes the same invitation in the morning prayer:
Waking up this morning I smile
Twenty four brand new hours are before me
I vow to live mindfully in each moment
And to look at all beings with eyes of compassion
The beautiful hand made poster of this recitation that I used to have stuck beside the bed was long ago removed by a curious baby. Some days I remember to start the day with a smile to this poem, many days I’m swept up with the earliest demands.
Today they synthesised and my smile was so big, my presence in the moment so true; my gratitude for the life I have so visceral. Whatever the day brings, it started with a smile, and a smile to the invitation to smile.
Being awake since 2:00 is going to be ok…
Because I need to call the Waaaahmbulance.
Ow! My arm.
What did I do last night? Bruised knees – part of dancing on a wooden stage. Slight pull in one calf – from when my tap shoes skidded on the shaving cream residue still on the floor from the previous performance. Crunkly eyelashes – from multiple coats of mascara… but I could not remember doing a one armed cartwheel/ I don’t even know what to call that trick, not in my repertoire… I could not remember a drunk person falling on me… I could not remember lifting anything particularly cumbersome or heavy.
What did I do last night?
Oh wait! What did I do yesterday lunchtime?
I’m a 40 year old cheerleader with a 12kg child.
A 12kg child who woke up precisely 4 minutes before our squad was due to appear at a festival, and was too much in need of mummy cuddles to be interested in any other potential care giver.
So there we were, at a community event, running a community workshop, with me as the one who was leading the big group warm up dance.
So I just did it. With my toddler on my hip, held there with my left arm.
4:11 of medium intensity cardio, Baby sitting on one pom-pom as I waved the other about with double enthusiasm for balance… I noticed the extra weight as we did 1,2,3 jump, and during the side traveling rock-stomp around in the circle; but mainly I was balancing my focus between teaching the basic moves and checking Baby’s welfare – was her head not bobbing around too much, was that security biscuit she needed to hold not choking her…
As you do.
Etc etc – it all went along – at some point she was happy to hop down and I noticed the great relief of no longer holding her in one arm.
Performance/workshop over, time to sit and feed snacks to Baby before heading home to get ready for cabaret tech run.
Blah blah blah, amazing night of women’s performance, happy juices flowing as I feel at peace with my need to share absurd dance comedy with unsuspecting audiences.
Home, sleep, sun comes up.
Ow! My arm.
Knowing that tiredness and pain are both things that can be a source of grumpiness, I pledge to go gently while my arm heals.
Times of exertion call for times of replenishment, and I’m ok with the ratio changing as I gather birthdays behind me.
Recovery time may be longer, but if I settle into that truth as a beautiful truth, leaning into rather than resisting it; then I can enjoy some slow days with less expectations on myself.
Let the floor stay unswept for today, have a storybook marathon in the teepee, model self-kindness and patience with the process of healing.
Because if I try and operate as though I’m not tired and hurting, yes, I can get the things done, but I get cranky and snappy. And that’s not the tone I want our family to have.
So I come back to myself.
What do I need right now to be the best mum I can be with what I have in this moment?
Caregiver state of mind is everything.
As my mum’s beautiful teacher Lama Yeshe said: “May I be gentle with myself. For only then can I be gentle with others.”
And gentle is what my kids need from me.
It is a secret strength that I am working on. Slowly, and with patience!
“Peace begins with your lovely smile”.