If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than
my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin
with! Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
"Like the hummingbird sipping nectar from every flower, I fly joyfully through my days, seeing beauty in everything." Amethyst Wyldefyre
"I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn."
Henry David Thoreau
"Coffee. Garden. Coffee. Does a good morning need anything else?" Betsy Cañas
"And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles." Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
"How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew!" Ralph Waldo Emerson
I read this on Oriah Mountain Dreamer's blog The Green Bough yesterday:
The problem is it’s hard to recognize how far off the
path of our own soul's life we've drifted when we have unconsciously dissociated
in an effort to fit the life that we thought we should want or at least should
commit to no matter what. Our psyche dissociates to tolerate the intolerable, to
disconnect from and numb to what is insulting to the soul, and it’s pretty much
impossible to disconnect and simultaneously be aware of the disconnection.
I love Oriah's writing; it gets right to the heart. Truth be told, my heart feels a little broken lately and I had been having some trouble understanding why. I think the above sentiment helps to explain it.
This week I attended two graduations a day apart, my son's middle school graduation and my nephew's elementary school graduation. Though graduations are meant to be joyous, they felt the opposite to me. They felt hollow. A few students were honored at both. I am happy for those honored, and for their success. Still, I feel sad for the majority who fall into the center of the bell curve, or below, so to speak.
At each event the speakers attempted to paint a picture of the shining future ahead of each child but I couldn't help but think of the heartbreaks many of them will face, probably are facing, as we sat listening. (It kind of feels like ceremonies of denial.)
I was feeling bad about feeling this way, and then I read Oriah's words and sent them to my close friends. After talking over my feelings with one friend, she helped me to realize that what was happening was I wasn't dissociating from my feelings but instead was deeply tuned in to reality, the reality we can't speak aloud at events like these because it would be too annihilating--so we just numb out and pretend.
We pretend that the kids who didn't get perfect grades don't feel bad that their efforts are not acknowledgeable and that if we just honor those who do, the others will somehow be okay. We pretend the kids that didn't have perfect attendance weren't missing school because they come from dysfunctional families who couldn't get them there, or that they weren't disinterested, disconnected, or depressed, and therefore didn't show up. This is insulting to our soul, so we dissociate.
If I had a chance to stand up and address those students, I would ask them each to reflect upon what is in their heart, and follow it, no matter what they have been told. I would tell them that they have each done their best, even if there are improvements to be made. I would acknowledge how it was probably really hard for many of them to show up day after day and that schools aren't really conducive to life in spite of the fact that we spend so much time in them. I would tell them to have faith and hold on and try to get to a place of higher learning, even if they think they are not worthy because of their grades or circumstances, because that's when the magic really can happen when learning can be based on their passion. I would tell them that they don't need to pretend, and that it's okay to listen to their own soul, and while it's great to have hopes and dreams, it's okay to feel sad, scared, or confused right now, that it's normal and they will be okay if they just trust themselves.
Sometimes, getting to the heart is a painful, soul searching journey, sometimes we arrive there only after our heart has been shattered, but let's be real, let's be honest about
it, let's honor each other for who we are, not just what we do.
"You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make
your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A
soul generated by love."
“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
For instance, I feel gratitude quite often when I go to McDonald's for a cup of ice coffee. There are two McDonald's in town, and one in a neighboring town, nearby the highway I took to see my mother while she was in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery. It doesn't matter which one I go to, because at all three the people are always extremely friendly, and tell me to have a super day. I can tell they mean it. That really helped when I was getting on the highway for another jaunt to the hospital, and it really helps when I stop by for a morning pick me up on my way to care taking now, too. The coffee is delicious, Paul Newman's organic, and affordable! How can I not feel grateful about my happy little indulgence having so many positives?
Just today, I felt grateful for big, black, garbage bags. We have been cleaning my mom's very large home out, both indoors and the yard, and it is so nice to know that I can grab a big bag, fill it, and it will contain all that is meant to move on. I can then easily carry it off to my brother's truck where it will be delivered to a dumpster, by him, leaving us all with less baggage. Big, black, garbage bags are a godsend.
Even though my mom's gardens are overwrought with weeds from a year of her being unable to work in them due to illness, I find myself on my knees, grateful to be plucking out weeds. The smell of the earth and greens, with the monotonous motion of the pulling, lull me and take me back to a simpler time when my head was full of hope and possibilities. Can it be this hope is returning?
Even though I would have never wished heart surgery on my mom, it has found me grateful for my family. I am grateful for my sister, who stayed overnight in the hospital with my mom, taking exceptional care of her; she did all the little touches that made my mom comfortable. She even made my mom homemade ice tea right in the hospital room, with the cup of hot tea they gave my mom with lunch, and brought her favorite cinnamon donuts and crosswords everyday. Then she brought my mom home and got her house all in order, making sure my mom has everything she needs. She is exceptional with paper work and medical equipment. I am so grateful to have such a capable, caring sister.
I am grateful for my brother who is willing do take the night shift at my mom's though he works two jobs. I am also grateful for the continuous maintenance work he does on my mom's very large house too, and for the dozens of bags of garbage he has hauled, acting as if it is simple, when I know it is a huge amount of work.
I am grateful that my mom is healing and that she is letting us take care of her without too much complaining about us moving her things and I am most grateful that she has changed her lifestyle to heal better. It takes a lot of courage and energy to heal from open heart surgery.