Random Thoughts II
Recently I realized needed an altitude (not attitude) adjustment. So, I moved to Boulder, Colorado. No, seriously. I am a card-carrying member of the unofficial navel gazing society. (We who are members of that society, tend to instinctively look inward first, to see and try to listen to what our senses are telling us in an attempt to understand and manage what is happening and determine what, if anything, to do about it). An altitude adjustment requires that I look up and out and into that which exists outside myself. Some people call what I would then be gazing at, the divine. By the way, when I do that, I notice my attitude automatically adjusted upward too.
When I feed and support my own happiness, I am nourishing my ability to love. That’s why, to love, for me, means to learn and hone the art of nourishing my own happiness. I can’t give much of what I don’t have much of. I know this is not an original thought. All the iconic religious figures, poets and philosophers have said the same thing. Even airline attendants know and preach this. Many times, a day. “Put your own mask on first……”.
Someone asked me if I knew the secret to finding happiness. I replied that I’ve learned that I don’t have to look for it, I just need to pay attention to it when it shows up. When it does, I need to ask it, “What do you want me to know about this moment, what is your message?” The more I do that, the more happiness appears. Like magic. I was not taught to do that. Happiness is just one of many emotions I was encouraged to repress. Another secret to happiness came from a teacher who once suggested that “It is impossible to be unhappy and fully present at the same moment.” I didn’t like hearing that. It couldn’t be that simple. It couldn’t be that I was totally responsible for whether or not I was experiencing happiness. Maybe he was suggesting the very same thing I mentioned above.
Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift I can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If I don’t understand, I can’t love.
The news reminds me that it matters not so much who votes, (although it is becoming more and more difficult in some places to be able to vote), what matters most is who is counting them. It seems especially apropos currently.
My tears are interesting messengers. Did you know that different kinds of tears (joy, loss, onions, etc.), have different chemical compounds? If you froze a drop of one on a microscope’s slide, they would show up as different as snowflakes. I choked up as I was watching a client of mine being publicly honored for their art, something that they have dedicated their entire life, from the time they were in single digits, to now, five decades later. I was surprised to feel a tear trickle down my cheek and my throat catch. They came again when I heard the story of a tennis coach who orchestrated a surprise act of kindness for one of her team members who was shot in Oxford, Michigan. (I am aware that a more delicate and socially acceptable word would have been to say she was “wounded”, but I think “shot” keeps me responsible for what I am not doing to reduce the likelihood of it happening again, just as the words “assassinated” and “murdered” are good words for me to use to describe those kids no longer alive.)
I was deeply moved to tears again, when a young friend of mine related the story of his girlfriend calling, from Oxford High School, as she was hiding under a desk in her classroom, calling to let him know that she loved him and that she probably wouldn’t survive. I lived for 30 years in that part of Michigan. When this thing (kids killing other kids with weapons of war in school) all began on that day in Columbine, Colorado, I was grateful then that I didn’t have to worry about MY children being a victim of such a thing because they had “aged out”. I was also grateful that after 30 years, I was no longer a teacher at a high school. That was a brief reprieve. Now I fear for my four grandchildren, who I hope escape school with their lives. I honestly hope for that, more than their escaping with their diploma. Totally self-serving on my part.
The date, December 15, 2021. Safeway grocery store. The picture heading this blog represented an entire aisle. Really? Christmas still 10 days away. Happy Valentine, don’t be late.
“You can survive anything if you know that someone is looking out for you”. June Robertson Beisch