Hmmm, normalcy can feel like a calming round of breath. Just got news of a friend with a medical diagnosis requiring surgery and radiation. A young woman with young children.
The news makes me weary and I feel easily distracted.
Remembering to calmly breathe brings the simplicity and the refuge of normal in any given moment, whether exhilarating or trying in some way. It is an offering of normalcy I can make for my friend as well.
I am coming up on the anniversary of my brother’s discharge from the hospital last year, after 3 weeks stay following surgery to remove a large brain tumor. He was diagnosed on a Saturday and in surgery prep three days later. The first week he was in a medically induced coma, on a ventilator in Neuro ICU. The other two weeks he was in Neuro critical care, before being discharged to his home. The city got hit twice with unusually heavy snow storms during all that. I was primary care giv...
I am coming up on the anniversary of my brother’s discharge from the hospital last year, after 3 weeks stay following surgery to remove a large brain tumor. He was diagnosed on a Saturday and in surgery prep three days later. The first week he was in a medically induced coma, on a ventilator in Neuro ICU. The other two weeks he was in Neuro critical care, before being discharged to his home. The city got hit twice with unusually heavy snow storms during all that. I was primary care giver, but because I had very little sick leave, I had to go to work, and then after work to the hospital to see my brother and get daily report from medical team. Because of the bad weather, I would either catch a bus or walk to the hospital and then home. That three weeks was like a strange time warp.
A year later, my work day today was remarkably normal. My brother’s workday was remarkably normal. There is a comfort and stability to abide in, that comes from getting up, getting ready for the day, fixing some coffee and a bite to eat, feeding the cat, going to work, attending to tasks at hand, returning home, fixing dinner, hanging out on the couch with the cat and then loading up the dishwasher before winding down and getting ready for bed. This normal day, compared to my day 365 days ago, feels simply luxurious. I know that things can and do change in an instant, and what we refer to as normal can be an absolute treasure.
I study with a Tibetan Lama and have been listening to a recording of a weekend teaching he gave last year on interdependence. It is amazing to think of all the details that come together for being in a particular place at a particular time, in order to make a connection with and sustain a connection with a teacher, a loved one, a place of beauty, or even oneself-to take the time to turn within and be present with all that comprises yourself in a given moment.
That can be a lot of det...
That can be a lot of detail to contemplate and just one perspective on the experience of detail.
There is also the detail experienced by each of the senses, that in a given moment are rich: warm covers as I lounge a little more before getting up. Breathing clean air, appreciating morning light, feeling the warmth and softness of my cat snuggling next to me and the sensation and sound of purrs that we associate with contentment, feeling well and healthy in this moment… a multitude of details in this moment of peaceful well-being this morning and I am grateful.
I wrote this as I reflected on the weather on this February day in the Pacific Northwest, perfect for nesting inside, but, there are things to do, places to go. I appreciated a sense of ease as I sat to write a haiku describing a scene from my afternoon.
Today: chilly, gray
Wind bites, rain comes, goes
Still, folks come out, smile and play
Regarding my body with wonder gives me a sense of ease, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I also have appreciation for resilience and strength, opportunity and possibility.
What I love about and savor through my body is the ability to love, to share, to support, to provide, to create, to feel, to receive, to connect, to intuit, to understand, to celebrate, to console, to learn, to discover, to explore, to heal, to play, to laugh, to cry, to experience life through eac...
What I love about and savor through my body is the ability to love, to share, to support, to provide, to create, to feel, to receive, to connect, to intuit, to understand, to celebrate, to console, to learn, to discover, to explore, to heal, to play, to laugh, to cry, to experience life through each of the five senses and my consciousness. To be strong in myself, to be tender, to be open, to be discerning, to be helpful, and so much more…
At the end of the day-reflecting on the meditation, A Normal Day, and the earthiness of a normal day: the earthiness that is the ground from which we commence our day, the ground from which we receive nourishment, nurturing, shelter, centering and stability, that which holds together, structures, contains, holds, provides a place to rest, to stand, to plant seeds, to harvest… so much abundance within the earthiness of this normal day.
I was struck by an image of a need to do some inner housekeeping—that my ability to begin the day with the intention to treasure it has been obscured by an accumulation of expectations and projections, that feels like a film or crust that I was not aware of. So, I get to do that housekeeping or refresh, to begin my day with wonder and optimism, and let that permeate my view of this treasure of a new day.I get to be here, and to foster wonder and optimism in a way that nurtures not only me ...
I was struck by an image of a need to do some inner housekeeping—that my ability to begin the day with the intention to treasure it has been obscured by an accumulation of expectations and projections, that feels like a film or crust that I was not aware of. So, I get to do that housekeeping or refresh, to begin my day with wonder and optimism, and let that permeate my view of this treasure of a new day.I get to be here, and to foster wonder and optimism in a way that nurtures not only me but others I encounter in my day.
This is a collection I wrote a few years ago. Haiku really is a favorite medium for conveying what I perceive in a particular moment.
Gifts of a Day Off and a Dead Phone:
“Write me a haiku”
I do this for you gladly
Fall’s gifts amaze me
I honored young me
Her lonely pain and courage
My trusty phone died
Unplugged for a while
Writing flows with ease
Is that all it...
Writing flows with ease
Is that all it takes? Unplug?!!
Being here, right now
I am preparing
Taking stock, gathering and
Train, meditate, contemplate
In spacious clear light
Taking refuge here
Greens, golds, reds, rain-soaked dark earth
Gifts and treasures are right here
Simple and ornate
At the street corner
Waiting for the light to turn
Ten blessings to cheer
Soft eyes and warm heart
Experience joy today
Even in the rain
Pregnant pause, building
Accumulated force waits
Cradled in silence
This vivid display
Prelude to peace
Up early today
After busy dreaming night
This was just going to be a title then haiku: there it is! Here is what came to mind upon first reading today’s exercise.
The space between thoughts
Ground, path, result
Refuge in every step
Young one: watching, exploring
Happy feet scurry
Off we go! Sunshine!
One more for this blustery day
Trees sound the overture
Wind waits in the wings
Time for her grand entrance
Cool day, my hands in the soil
Prune, weed, plan, wonder
I will spend some time outdoors today (even though forecast is for a lot of rain) and write something for today.
I wanted to share a set of haiku I wrote while my brother was having a 7+ hour brain surgery. I waited at the hospital until his surgeon gave me an update. I felt I had to be completely present – that was my universe that evening:
Into the deep sea
fright, flailing, settling, some calm
Fighting this won’t help
A peaceful moment
A peaceful moment
Relaxing into the depth
I start to notice
A purposeful shift
In between is now
No separation, really
This ocean is me
One more in honor of this lovely Spring day
Birds sing Spring vibrance
Five senses respond
My heart eases and I smile
I played with something that caught my attention early this morning. I always use the 5-7-5 format so ventured off that path just a little. Surprised to note a little resistance to my strongly engrained pattern. I look forward to playing with 17 in different arrangements.
Rain this morning,
Cool air, cozy warm blankets
Cherry blossoms alight
The moon in the pines
Now I hang it up, now I take it off And still I keep gazing.
1. I am drawn to this haiku because…
of the experience and feel of the play in nature; a meditative mood. “The moon in the pines” evokes a moment of noticing the play of light in the dark, and of coming to a pause to notice the moon and its place while gazing into a forest. A meditative and mindful moment.
2. In this haiku I notice…
a rhythm of life, resting and engage...
2. In this haiku I notice…
a rhythm of life, resting and engagement. It reminds me very much of meditative insight.
3. Reading this haiku I experience…
calm and clarity and reflection on a quiet evening in a forest as the moon rises.
I write haiku; it comes to me somewhat spontaneously, often prompted by a moment of observation, a situation I need to process or a meditative experience. It can be like a snapshot of a moment I can’t convey in a visual medium.
I wrote this recently, watching the moon set over the Olympic Mountains one morning:
A model for me
The moon is unwavering
Clear, brilliant, peaceful
Karen Johnstone 3/20/19
From two very different events:
Robust in rhythm
Perfection, in the moment
Thank you! He returned work without restrictions a little over a week ago. Haiku often helps me focus when emotions are bouncing around due to various circumstances.
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