As I walked outdoors the other day in downtown of the city, I heard a deep operatic voice. While a little perplexed, I thought it might be coming from a neighbor’s house but it seemed to float down from above me. Then I located the singer; a man was making his way down a sidewalk on a street above the neighborhood. He wore headphones while he walked and shared his song. I felt uplifted and thankful for being treated to this resonant voice for moments of my day.
I wondered about the freedom he may have felt as he walked, just simply singing alongside the busy traffic; his opera intermingling with the thundering city busses. I felt glad that people in this world choose to share their gifts. I mean ‘gifts’ to be whatever people do well (or choose to practice till mastered) that brings others some improvement of life quality.
I’m speaking of the feeling I get when someone makes it look easy and enjoyable to deliver mail, pick up garbage, serve a meal or direct traffic with a smile. I appreciate artists of all kinds who put forth their personal perspectives and passions. I also refer to the man who pushes a cart containing his belongings along city sidewalks. He has a smile for everyone and asks nothing of us other than the reminder that’s hand-lettered on cardboard and attached to his cart. It speaks of loving others in a way that they remain free. He too, is sharing his gifts. I feel blessed to notice the extraordinary people I live among and get to experience life’s gifts with. I want to share myself freely that others may know life more deeply.
I attended my first watercolor painting class and my eyes may never see the same. The class was very basic. I made a color wheel and did some technical practice. The class involves sketching so I will practice that regularly also. I am surprised how instantly my perception of the world changed. Now when I look at mountains, trees, flowers or the river, I notice colors; I wonder how to sketch what I see. There are many leaves and branches on a tree! How do I sketch a bunch of leaves so they will look like leaves? My mind knows what the leaves look like but will I be able to portray the vision; texture, color, movement to paper? What colors make the bark look that way or the mountain look bluish or greyish?
I started sketching practice right away–I need to have something to paint, right? I drew a scene of water, shore and shrubs. There’s so much detail in this world. How much do I include? How do I make wavy water? What a lot of work! The world is in constant motion and change — what a joke, to draw a two-dimensional representation of a multi-dimensional reality. What a challenge. The ordinary is revealed extraordinary.
I think that perhaps much of reality’s detail can/should be absent from a sketch, leaving just a hint. Then there’s more for the viewer to ‘see’ with their imagination, and each viewer’s rendering will be different. Oh yeah, I remember now, ‘Less is more.’
I’m enjoying seeing the world in watercolor. I could sit in one place for 1/2 an hour and draw or paint a 2-dimensional version of a tree on my paper. Then as soon as I stand and walk slightly one way or another, there’s a new version–a new picture! There are infinite moments and representations of this beautiful world. I wonder what I look like; infinite possibilities. What moment of this day could be captured with cadmium yellow, alizarin crimson or cobalt blue? By the time the choice is made, the moment has changed and we get just a hint of Reality; just one version of infinite watercolor life. What do you see?
Do more for others than yourself. In a world mostly concerned with self, is that even possible? Don’t I have to look after myself? Don’t I have to protect and defend what’s mine? What is it to live a life of service yet still take care my my own needs? Where is the balance? How on earth could we measure? What really matters–is love. Can I give love freely whenever possible? I can focus on that.
It is loving to:
- volunteer your time
- be a quiet shoulder for someone to cry on. Resist the urge to fix or ask questions. No explanations are really needed. Just be a gift of listening.
- mend a rip in your spouse’s jeans–because you can
- bring your sister tea when she’s been feeling grouchy and upset even though you may want to ‘give it right back’
- tell the truth-the one truth that works for all
- visit your folks and make them dinner
- get groceries for someone who isn’t easily mobile
- clean a home together and be proud of a job well done
- give a caring hug or some physical touch
- smile, let down your walls
- help someone who has difficulty going through a door
All of this is being in service–but to what? I want to be in service to humans waking up to a potential–a potential to live in love, speak truth and remember that we are made from one source. I recently read the suggestion that it takes less energy to cooperate than to keep a fight going. When you work for the good of all you will not lose yourself. Perhaps you will be more in touch with your real loving self.
I want to remember that we are all in this experience together; that I am not alone and that something greater embraces all. Pass it on. Pay it forward. Do whatever works for you to become one who serves ‘in love’ for the greater good.
When I got the news that one of the two fractures in my foot hadn’t healed since the injury that happened 6 months previously, I replied, “Well, that’s interesting.” In that moment I wondered why this had to be so. Why did I now need to be using crutches and off my foot for 8 weeks? What would come of this? I dutifully went to get my cast and crutches and soon sank into a meltdown. I thought I couldn’t manage and I didn’t even want to have to figure out how. I didn’t see how I could still be effective in my job as a Nanny. Wouldn’t they want to hire someone else who could do it all? I didn’t even want to think about how cleaning would pile up at home. How could I cook meals or shower?
I just wanted to quit. I had a tantrum. Silly? Of course. Necessary? Not really. I had help and I had offers of help continuously. While I was only thinking about poor me, I couldn’t realize that I didn’t have to make a go of it alone. People care about me. Help happened. Even total strangers offered assistance and I learned to adapt; to do things differently. I also learned to accept help and (the big one) to ask for it. It kinda changed my identity; my idea of capable me, the one who does, the one who serves. I like to do more for others than for myself.
So why did this 8 weeks of ‘different living’ happen? I get hints now and then. I think something different needs to happen occasionally so that patterns and habits get a chance to shift. This time forced me to slow down; to have time to consider what’s really important to me–and who. My family assisted. My employer made exceptions. My friends listened. My spouse ‘had my back’ like he said he would–it was a chance to ‘honor’. When the crutches and cast were done, I had to learn to walk again. I had to accept myself and learn to love my new self. This is still in progress! The fracture isn’t completely healed yet; I still limp a bit but for a time, I let people into my world in different ways. I let others do some of the doing and serving; really–the caring. It is a gift to do more for others. That is a great segue to my next post. Read on 🙂
I, like many others had been following a popular tv show for the last few years. We gathered bi-weekly to eat, talk and watch together. It’s a show with a good story–fighting for survival, but recently I just became sad to see all the fighting. The show’s characters are fighting for life, fighting for territory, fighting for nourishment. I think I’ve seen enough fighting. I started to realize there’s questions in me.
Why does someone have to be better, mightier while the other weaker–shut down? We talk about fighting, watch it on tv, bet on it, debate on fighting others who are fighting and continue our own fighting. We fight with ourselves; shut down our goodness and fight cancers and disease. We fight others–even our loved ones (yes I am including myself here) on a regular basis. I think there’s enough fighting in this world with plenty to go around–wars, strikes, political ‘fights’. I start to feel helpless and stuck in a never-ending dis-eased state of being. Who wants to give up the fight and life for and in Love?
I chose to stop watching the tv show and a few others that just didn’t feel right any more. Now I like to watch something inspiring or uplifting or helpful. I want to focus on working together, compromising, on not resisting. *Much harder said than done* But I have to start. I want to contribute my energy to good. I suspect and hope that eventually, caring intention will have to make more difference and influence than the ‘sides’, the ‘wars’, the power struggles and fights.
I have to believe and practice being more than what seems to be the norm. Yes, a tiny step at a time. Can I fall into love with the world-even with its faults, immaturity, mistakes and fails? I find examples every day of the world’s beauty and inspiration; the ordinary revealed extraordinary. Can I find strength in the one truth that aligns us? Can I choose life? My heart craves peace. I want to light a candle within and be one of the glowing lights that show the path for others who wish to remember who they really are. Can you remember that you are love? Can we let some of our own fights rest even while others continue to choose war?
‘Why do I not go for drives more often?’ I thought to myself, as I was starting out on a road trip to visit family this Easter. I’d forgotten how I love to drive out of the city and get into wide open landscapes. I love seeing the huge hills, deep valleys and curving rivers. For a while, I feel less crowded. I feel much bigger, open and excited about seeing new things. I’m so glad that I got to travel around BC with my family while I was a child and young teen. I appreciated our short Sunday drives in the country and felt fortunate to experience summer vacations at lakes and go on special trips.
As I travel the road now, I see places I’d like to stop and feel for long, quiet moments–but this time we have a schedule to keep. I get curious about what it’d be like to live at some of the places we pass–well, I’m still bound to a home and job. So, it’s great to drive and dream, and plan what I’d like my life to be someday. I know I have to start that ‘someday’ now before it slips away.
I have to make plans and put tiny steps into action; visualize and then actualize. Because every potential exists, I just have to get started. The outcome may not be what I originally thought, but I need to start creating what I want and what makes me feel good–starting now. I will plan a future road trip for me! Perhaps I’ll head out with no destination and a very loose time schedule to see where life drives me. I can choose to drive for a day or for a few hours. I can stop for 20 minutes or stare at a lake for an hour. I am sure that I will benefit from whatever experience finds me. Where will you go?