In my family, people take sides over condiments. One side uses ketchup on everything except ice cream. Another side used a dislike for condiments as a requirement on their internet dating profile and got a condiment-hating partner to marry. I'm somewhere in the middle of the condiment preferences.
Expectations. Hopes and dreams. 57 years of breathing air on this earth. Grains of sand draining away. What to make of this?
I had planned a trip during my birthday for a 2-day workshop in MN, a state I had never visited. I justified this trip as "self-care," but was finding it increasingly too much work to pull off feeling like this was self-care.
Then I think of climate change and how it is to be on a jet with those contrails across the sky. This can't be good for the environment. I just read a report that we have been given until 2030 to figure out how to turn around our bad habits before it becomes too late. I have kids and grandkids and love lots of other people who are likely to have to deal with this mess, even if I don't. And, 2030 isn't that far away!
So, I did a retreat from home. Sylvia Boorstein has a nice little book on doing just that. I thought that I would use metta practice (a form of prayer) throughout the sitting, walking, eating, sitting, walking working, sitting times. At the end of the day, I'd practice the transforming suffering method of tonglen to work with a challenging situation. Instead, I found in my mailbox a poem from Brother Steindl-Rast's Gratitude newsletter. The poem is about the grace of forgetting all the things that have built walls in our lives and finding the freedom to live and love without those burdens. One Morning by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer I dropped my plans of metta and tonglen practice.
As I sat and walked, I read the poem before each sitting practice. And let the words seep into unseen places, long loosened up by years of such a longing. I found a volunteer purple basil plant blooming in from a crack where the garage and driveway come together during my walking meditation. How had I missed her? I carefully tugged her free and replanted her before autumn's frost claimed her.
|Poster-sized card from Partner for last year's birthday|
Funny thing is that Partner has seen this for a long time. Delightful. A theme for last year's birthday poster he made for me. He said I've always been my own worst enemy. My "word" for 2017 and until now: Devotion. Devotion to God. Devotion to Love. Devotion to Life. Dropping the unnecessary, torturous judgements, criticisms, delusions, etc., for a day anyway. How sweet this openness to delight. Wonder is right beside it. Partner has been waiting for this awareness to arise for a very long time.
Wait. Watch for it... See how rich and thick I am being poured out into this life! It's a fine way to celebrate a condiment kind of birthday over this deep fried life of mine.
Did I mention that a shared root for delight is delicious? Ohhh, yummy. So tasty. Babies, dogs, old people, young people, lovers, the seen and the unseen, cranky coots, crones, ... all part of the great universe's menu.
When my husband asked his mother how to know if he was in love when we were dating, she responded, "Could you eat her up?" I guess he decided he could, because we've been married for 37 years during the lean, tough years as well as the rich and full times.
May we walk each other home together in love and without walls. May we see the Divine in and through each other. May we see Life and Love in all beings. May it be so.