“Wanderer, there is no path
We lay down a path in walking”
Today is my one year anniversary of writing this weekly blog, and, guess what, I plan to celebrate. I also plan to toast all the wonderful people in my life who cheer me on. Those people also include the ones who catch mistakes and help me to get better at what I do.
It’s too easy to overlook our own efforts, and only notice the flaws. Furthurmore, I suggest that we all acknowledge our efforts for showing up and doing what is important to us. It isn’t about what the world considers worthy. Rather, just us taking action, contributing in our own small and big ways, falling down and getting up – brushing ourselves off and trying again.
My purpose is to offer encouraging words. To pay attention to the wonders of the ordinary. To be a reminder to myself and others going through life that joy, beauty, meaning and relief can still be found in difficult times. This doesn’t mean there is an easy way, but it may come to mean that it is worth the effort, to notice and to create those moments.
Even though, life can be tough, we surely want to be part of it. When we grasp the fleetingness of it all, it can put things in perspective. We see that the hard bits and the easy bits are ever changing and lives can change in a split second. Best to live our lives fully now.
There is a story I remember that Barry Magid, (Author, Psychoanalyst, and Zen teacher) tells about a retreat he attended with a Rinzai Zen teacher. It goes something like this.
The teacher told a parable about a Mother tiger and her cubs. And how the mother threw all of her cubs off a cliff, when they were only a few weeks old. She would raise only those who were tough enough to get back up under their own steam. The rest were left to die at the bottom of the cliff.
“Which kind of cub are you,” he asked the group?
Barrie indicated that he knew right away his answer to the question. He was not Samurai material and what he wanted to do was to set up shop at the bottom of the cliff and help those abandoned cubs, each according to their needs. (Excerpted from memory from the book Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: Unfolding Dialogue. Edited by Jeremy Safran)
I am no Samurai. Similarly, we all find ourselves at the bottom of the cliff at one time or another. And in fact we are sometimes the helper and sometimes the helpee. We are called upon throughout our lives to be both. It is the ongoing circle of life for which, we need each other.
I also really believe that we need more joy, celebrations, tolerance and kindness in our lives. At the same time we can step up and take more risks. Of course, when we do that (take more risks) we will have failures. The good news is that we become the people who know how to get back up. We cultivate resilience.
So, I recommend today we live with outstretched arms. Raise a glass to something you want to celebrate. There are so many options: milestones along the way; one pain free hour; beginnings and endings; making music; another day; a new baby…I have a list a mile long. Make your own. Celebrate your life. It doesn’t have to be perfect. (no such thing) Relish your life, right now today. Take a moment or a few to acknowledge you are alive. Keep on finding lots of ways to enjoy your life and those who are in it. Do not wait another single day.
Note 1:) This is a beautiful Ted Talk called Nature, Beauty and Gratitude. If you have 10 minutes I recommend it.
Note 2:) A hundred thank-you’s for reading my blog and passing it on to others. I celebrate each and everyone of you, dear readers. Using the Kaizen Way -small and steady steps- my plan is also to make continual improvements. With appreciation, Trudy
Note 3:) Thank-you to Teva Harrison. She was diagnosed with an incurable illness at age 37 and she died last week, at the age of 42. She left us a legacy, with her poignant and powerful book, In Between Days. As her husband wrote, “…she wanted ‘to live like a tornado’ and she did. Full-hearted, eyes wide to beauty and wonder, and pouring love into everyone around her.” She will be missed.
Note 4:) Tomorrow my youngest grandchild turns 9 and my Mother is, as you have read, 99, Both are full of life and love and light up all of our lives.