Life and. . .

Loss

of a loved one,

a family member,

is a stark

reality

of life.

There is

no way out.

Anticipating

a loved one’s death

offers no

preparation.

Expectation,

no matter

how long,

does not

offer

a roadmap.

Once the rituals

whatever they are

have ended,

each of us

are

on our own.

Friends may console,

prayers said,

but in each moment

reminders

present

the harshness

of raw

physical,

emotional,

spiritual

change.

When

tears wet

my eyes

or sobs

move my

body,

it is a relief.

Pent-up

emotions

erupt

on grief’s

own schedule.

There is no

measurement

of the tears, the sadness.

The shadows

linger.

“Are you over it yet?”

a friend was asked

six weeks after her husband died.

There should be

no expectation

or impatience

with someone’s

time of

mourning.

There may be

stages,

but each person

marks their own.

There may be

light

with the shadows.

Sometimes.

A smell,

a glimpse

of someone who

reminds of

the loved one.

The depth and length

of grief

may

reflect the

intensity

of love

between

the

one

who has died

and those

left to mourn.

Life

Death.

Kindness.

Please.

Age and Wisdom

I

should be

wiser

than I was.

Memory

composes a story

of shames and amazements.

The shames I closed

inside myself,

but the amazements,

at a sun streaked wall,

at the thrill

of an oriole,

a face,

an iris,

a volume of poems,

a person,

endure and return

in brightness.

Such moments lifted me

above my lameness.

-Czeselaw Milosz , Polish Nobel Laureate in Literature

 I don’t necessarily feel wiser as I age. However, I do remember coming upon similar challenges at earlier times and hoping that what I learned would help me.It is natural to assume that age will confer wisdom. It is really a hope that I will remember-and act on-what I’ve learned from life’s experiences.   Sometimes, I realize that asking “is this mine?”  is the question to ask myself. Often the quiet answer comes and it is “NO”.

Filling Up With Moments In-Between

Artists know that

negative space

defines

a composition.

Musicians know that

the silence

between

the notes

is as much

a part of the

experience

of the music

as the notes.

Think of

space

and

silence

when you

breathe,

knowing

that

the pause

between

the

in-breath

and the

out-breath

fills you.

Paying attention

to one’s breath

is a

reminder of

how full of life

we are.

Imagine

soothing

oxygen,

filling

your body,

reaching

every cell.

It is a way

to stay

in the moment.

livinglinesreflections.com

Illusion

Why do we have

the illusion

that life

should be easy?

Until we can

embrace

the hard times,

the losses,

we will be surprised

when illness,

pain,

loss

and

disappointment

come into our lives.

Sometimes,

all

at the same time.

Centering Prayer

and 

Inner Awakening

offers

a helpful way

to “be” with

difficult

things in life,

even a

painful thought or feeling.

The Welcoming Prayer

can bring

awareness,

giving

the experience

space

to clarify

and not resist.

It may sound

counter-intuitive

but opening

up

to what

is going on,

may

help.

Cynthia Bourgeault, author of Centering Prayer

Perspective

Sometimes

I have the opportunity

to do something,

go somewhere,

or meet someone.

At another time

in my life,

I might have

given my eye teeth

for these opportunities.

But then

I realize

that

this time

is not

the right time.

Timing is everything,

so people say.

How much my

Perspective

and desires

have changed

over time.

I am sometimes

surprised

that I don’t

leap at opportunities

that would have

once been

irresistible.

livinglinesreflections.com

Interactions

Once upon a time,

When I ran into

friends and acquaintances

who asked

what
I was up to,

I would reel off

a litany of activities.

Lately,

I have begun to reply,

“I am practicing not multitasking.”

Saying these words

out loud

reaffirms

my intentions

and seems

to give

the questioners pause.

I also

pause

before asking

the reflexive

“what have you been up to”

question.

Instead of

exchanging lists,

a conversation

might

take place.

Paying Attention

Once or twice a day

it is helpful to

lie down on the floor,

stretching 

with awareness

and paying attention

to the places

that are tight,

needing more oxygen.

Breathe

into those areas

to release

the tension.

When you

stop

and pay attention

this way,

you will find

that your body

feels

different

each time.

Therefore,

each time

that  you stretch,

ask yourself,

am I centered

in my body

now?

When I let

too much time

between

following

this advice,

my awareness

of my body

changes,

sometimes

very much so.

The contrast

reminds me

to be

more diligent

in my practice

of stretching,

breathing,

and centering.