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.

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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.

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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.

DATA

Once upon a time

Not so very

long ago,

before the digital revolution,

my data

was on paper.

Bills came through the mail,

checks written,

receipt on bill

kept in a box,

mailed with a stamp.

Snail mail

it is called now.

There were

advantages

to that system.

Letters

were hand written.

Pleasure

as the receiver opened.

Handwritten

usually.

Personal.

Some people

claim

as do some offices

to be

paper-free.

My records,

e-mails

credit card bills,

etc, etc. etc.

are kept in a

hybrid system.

Not everything

gets printed

on paper.

But

anything I believe

to be important

gets

printed.

At this time of the year,

when records

are put in some

order

to prepare

for tax paying

in April,

I attempt

to go through

the files

on my computer

and my

paper files.

Increasingly

the IRS is

encouraging

people

to file their

tax returns

on-line.

I don’t wait

for spring cleaning

to attempt to

weed out my

computer

and paper

files.

Of course,

some paper records

are copies of

digital records.

File by file,

a few at a time,

I look to see

what needs to

be kept

and dispose

or delete

unnecessary

information.

There is just

too much

data.

How much

data is secure?

Credit cards

are hacked.

Today,

a large hospital system

announced that

their electronic records

had been hacked

and they would

notify the patients

effected.

And

on and on.

The amount of time

to manage all of this

has expanded

along with

the advantages

of this digital

revolution.

One health insurer

chose the same

company

the federal government

chose to set up

the Affordable Care Act.

When the new system

failed,

employees

had to learn

to process

applications,

by hand

on paper.

We can’t go back

to the ways things

were.

Is there a

solution

to the

reality

of so much

data

and not having

a choice

about whether

to put your

whole life

on electronic systems?

Limits

We all need

to learn to

set limits.

Do you live in an

unnaturally

high setting

for normal?

Are you

expecting

too much of

yourself and others?

When is life or

our response to it,

just too much

or just enough?

Can you build in some

flexibility?

What if our lives are

right on

the edge,

and we don’t see

the precipice?

livinglinesreflections.com      gift a book

Good Enough

After decades

of trying

to be perfect,

to make things

perfect,

GOOD ENOUGH

is more comfortable

and

more realistic.

It makes me

more patient

with myself

and

with

others, too.

Perfection is

an impossible goal.

GOOD ENOUGH

isn’t

settling.

I am still

learning

that.

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