How can tomorrow reflect what I am learning today?
This is a pertinent question for me at this leg of my journey. I spent many years as an educator teaching others. When we moved out to rural farmland last year, I retired from my teaching career and ever since I feel as if I am here, in this place surrounded by nature and in solitude much of the time, to learn. I am learning how to love in a way I never have before. I am learning to accept myself as I am and to eschew the thought that I need the approval of others. I am learning peace within. I am learning to silence the self-critical and judgmental voices in my head. I believe I am here to learn so many things about myself and the way I see and experience the world and the people in it.
The challenge for me is not only to be open to new ways of thinking and loving and relating to myself and others, but to walk steadfastly each and every day in this new awareness. This is a very personal journey and I have to walk it alone I believe. And I must do it one day at a time. And to not beat myself up if I have, on any given day (maybe tomorrow!) taken a step or two back. I must remember that I haven’t really lost any ground so to speak, it was just a little detour and I can pick up where I left off! This is the mindset that I wish to take with me into all of my tomorrows.
I recognize loneliness when I see it…and I respond on a visceral level when someone is vulnerable enough to let their loneliness be on display, either intentionally or unintentionally. I strive to be of service to those who are isolated and lonely….and by being of service I mean simply giving them my time and attention. And to help them feel like someone cares and genuinely enjoys their company. At this juncture in my journey, I consider this my purpose and have surrendered to it as a meaningful and vital service to others. I am grateful that this gift has been given to me.
Well…as I wrote in my response to MaryPat, I taught life and environmental science to middle schoolers for many years. This was a topic that I wove into my lessons constantly. So I hope that by instilling this into my students I was honoring the interconnectedness of all life. I would describe it to them as a web and if you pull on just one thread of that web, the entire web would collapse. This is really just basic biology as anyone in the field would attest to.
Personally, in my life I have always had a strong sense of this. I feel a very strong connection to the Earth and to nature. I am a passionate environmentalist, doing my small part by recycling, composting, providing a home and food for the birds with our many birdhouses and feeders. Lately, I’ve gotten into the practice of greeting the sun in the morning (“Hello Brother Sun, thank you for your gifts”) and the moon and stars at night as I walk my dog around the backyard. I say good morning to the birds and pray a blessing for my beautiful sugar maple tree that is not doing well.
And by simply being kind to every person I cross paths with today.
I love today’s “Word of the Day” on this site: “Kindness does wonderful things to a face” 🙂
Have a peace-filled day all.
Good morning all. Like Pilgrim suggested, when I read this question I think about the blessing of “where I live” as a more inward dwelling. For sure, moving to this little farmhouse, surrounded by horses, cows, chickens, deer and other critters, has been a dream come true for me….literally. For years I had my eye on this area and thought that living here was nothing but a pipe dream for me. But here I am…not in my timing but at just the right time.
Deep in my heart, I believe that God had a very special plan for me here. In this place where I live, retired from my teaching position, knowing no one as friend and few neighbors, with long stretches of solitude….I am learning how to be me. I am learning how to love and be loved, I am learning not to depend on the opinions or approval of others, to accept myself for who I am, warts and all, to have compassion for myself and others. I am learning to listen, to meditate, to breathe, to just BE. I believe that I needed to be in this place for this part of my journey. I’m not in survival mode anymore…I am tending to my soul and my spirit. Nature brings me great joy and peace and I am surrounded by it here.
There is a Buddhist “mantra” that I learned recently during a meditation session and it resonated so strongly with me that it brought tears to my eyes. It’s a walking meditation and I return to it often as I walk down the road behind my little house to visit with the horses. “I have arrived. I am home.”
Blessings to you all.
Well. in my life that are very much related. Those moments of pure joy and gratefulness that I experience are almost always the result of either one of the following:
1. Me reaching out in love to another person and feeling like I have made a difference in their day/life.
2. Being the recipient of an expression of love…this could be from another person, or a “hug” from God/the universe. Or even a loving kindness towards myself, especially when I am hyper-aware of when I am not living authentically.
Both of these require an awareness (“paying attention” as Kevin said) and being fully present to each moment.
And like Ben, I experience absolute joy and gratefulness in nature…I feel like the natural world is the ultimate expression of love from our creator.
Wow….where to begin with this one? Well…what comes to mind immediately is that I would go to the doctor to get a procedure done that I have been putting off. Afraid of the procedure itself, and afraid of what the results might be. That’s the specific big one for me right now!
In general…If I was not afraid I think I would be more genuine. I would be able to live a more authentic life, not concerned, worried or “afraid” of what other people think of me or whether or not they like, love or admire me.
Great question….I am by nature a fearful and anxious person and I could go on but will leave it here.
Wishing you all a day free of fear and full of peace!
I absolutely love this question! This is my goal…to be fully present to each moment and person throughout my day. Even the difficult or unkind people, or the painful moments. I don’t know why but
reflecting on this question brings to mind one of my favorite words…equanimity. (Second only to my very favorite word…serendipity!). It is a very Buddhist thing….to accept and even embrace all that life brings to you with equanimity, regardless of whether it is bringing joy or sorrow, pleasure or pain. It just IS. Maybe this question has sparked in me the realization that I am still not there….not fully present when I ask someone (kind of like on autopilot) “How are you?”. I don’t really stop and truly listen to their response because their response may be too uncomfortable or painful or inconvenient for me and I let my fear take over. Or perhaps I don’t really care? That’s a sobering thought! I know how I feel when someone asks me that question and is obviously not really listening (or caring about) my response. I would imagine that if I authentically asked this question and compassionately listened to the answer….there would be 2 people who were blessed in that moment.
Most of the people that I know who have the “need to be right” are both insecure and unhappy. I went through a phase in my life where I lived that out so I speak from experience. I think that, for me, relinquishing the need to be right has brought me great freedom….which in turn has brought me great joy.
Well, I definitely do NOT have an abundance of energy, which is a source of frustration for me at times. So this question is a good one for me to reflect on…it presupposes that I have an abundance of “something” that needs to be shared. What an empowering yet humbling thought! I will need some more time to reflect on this but am so grateful for this question!
Years ago I came across a Buddhist meditation that has become an anchor for me in my daily life. I especially love to say this as I am taking a walk down the road behind our home to visit with the horses that graze there so peacefully.
“May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be happy”.
After saying this several times for myself (because we cannot love others without first having a healthy self-love), I continue by sending this intention out to the loved ones in my life. (“May SHE/HE be filled with loving kindness.etc.). And then I offer this up to those who have hurt me or who I know are sad, anxious, afraid, hurting, suffering. And further, I pray this for all sentient beings….friend, neighbor and stranger alike. This simple little meditation/prayer has indeed, over the years, stretched my heart and I am so grateful for it.
That I will continue on this journey until I have discovered my true self and live each day from that sacred place.
MaryPat…your grandson is so blessed to have you in his life! I wish more Grandma’s had your mindset….you are enhancing his life immensely by getting him out in nature. I taught middle school science for many years and my passion was trying to communicate to my students the joys and miracles found in nature…doing my part to combat NDD (nature deficit disorder) in the lives of these adolescents. Every year on Arbor Day I took them outside to hug trees 🙂 And to thank the trees for their life-giving presence. (This followed a biology lesson on the importance of trees in our lives and the lives of all living creatures…giving us oxygen to breathe, a home for birds, and food for us all, giving us clean air by absorbing carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, etc) I would then have them sit underneath one of them and read a poem to them about the majesty of trees and the things we can learn from them.
I quickly became known as the “tree-hugging teacher” and, for me, it was the greatest compliment I could have gotten!
Your post made me smile real big MaryPat…thank you for being such an inspiration.
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