Category Archives: Inspiration

A Monday State of Mind

Often, Monday mind seems an enemy but as the Buddha taught, the mind is both friend and enemy. There is now a word for that—frenemy. I find it helpful.

For me, Mondays are no longer much different than any other day but when I lived my life through a different lens, Mondays were ragged around the edges.

Repeatedly, I told myself that Monday was a day like any other, and just as stubbornly, I refused to believe it. Then, it came true, and it wasn’t even a wish. I have known weeks of Mondays; some have lasted years.

Now what frames every day is rest, and it is relentless, its own “means to a meaning.” Without respect for rest, I discover my old Monday state of mind, more enemy than friend.

What are we to one another

but a means to a meaning we

have not yet discovered.

Camille Rankine

It seems to me that what we are to ourselves is what we are to everyone else, a means to a meaning, an ongoing discovery. We can stay stuck in an infinite loop, be more enemy than friend but life is impermanent.

No one hour will stay nor will its day. Each is yet another means to a meaning and another and another….

I look to the many-hued hours. They offer a kaleidoscope of experience, some scintillating while others offer fog. I don’t always find meaning.

Some remain a Monday state of mind, at best a frenemy.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

The Roses of Our Lives

I know an animal sanctuary where love still wins, where love is always present. It lies in the heart of a family farm nestled deep in a Florida forest.

Here, the life-death continuum is celebrated moment by moment.

And in this moment, I mark the death of feline EmmaRose (ER), a tiny, gray-blue dilute whose top weight was 5.5 pounds. The last I knew, her weight dropped to just over 4 pounds.

At some point in her life she had been declawed but she was a lioness, nonetheless. Even in her waning days, she did not hesitate to attack a cat that was at least double her size.

EmmaRose decided the dimensions of her life.  I don’t think she ever found a dog too large to love but she would not abide a cat. ER grew up with a beagle named Cooper; she would remain a dog lover all her life.

EmmaRose did not begin or end her life with me–we had but six short years—we lived together until eight months ago. We were both chronically ill but my limited physical mobility meant I could no longer meet her care needs.

Maybe a day went by when I did not think of ER but that seems unlikely. We shared a two-room apartment, which was just right for us. After she left, it felt too large. Still does.

This is not a moment of regret. Sometimes, doing the right thing really is the right thing. Maybe it depends on how much it hurts. For me, there are no qualifications for knowing what is right except how my gut feels.

But this I do know: little ER spent the last eight months of her life receiving the love and care that every sentient being should know as death nears.  It was what I could no longer give her.

From the moment she arrived at the animal sanctuary, I not only knew how she was doing but two very thoughtful little girls sent me drawings to show how the rest of her life would be. And that’s how it was.

I received videos and pictures of her interacting with the girls and their toddler brother. It wasn’t all Disney, of course, but ER did enjoy some movie evenings snuggled up with a comforter.

And when it came time for ER to die, the children were with her. EmmaRose went to sleep in the arms of a little girl who loved her. These children, perhaps better than most, understand how precious life is and that it does not last but love does.

We are all star dust. The same energy flows through everything and everyone. No exceptions. We come into the world on it and that’s how we leave. Headed for home.

Until then, there are the roses in our lives, the many colors and kinds of love.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

 

The Spider Inside the Front Door

Old behaviors easily re-emerge as new guises—they are such great actors. What seemed a solution withers into yet another variation on a theme.

So it is with this morning. I could call it a setback or reversal but any qualitative label is just that.

What it feels like–from the gut–is a new life lens, another way to experience being human. With the new lens comes perspective, one which has its own revelations.

What I discover is yet another facet of fear. There seems to be no shortage of its disguises, either, especially its delusion of safety.

Of course, just being alive is a risk, as I am reminded by the spider that lives inside my front door. Of sorts, we are in relationship, as much as either one of us has noticed.

May I remember the spider the next time I give into fear. Her risk is considerable compared to mine.

On this day, I am reminded that what is will be what was.

Be patient and endure while

The wind will calm, the waves subside

Draw back a step and realize

The boundless ocean, the vastness of heaven

(Translated from Chinese)

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

 

The Restless Hours

The hours in-between, when no light separates night from day, when both are morning, when both are one.

These are the restless hours, so suited to illusion. Their magic lies in that they are neither dark nor light.

Just when I believe I see one thing, something else is revealed. The more aware I am, the more the magic reveals.

Is that not the heart of illusion? The unknown shrouded in the midst of the known.

Murky by design, these hours of in-between keep me on the cusp of the believable. Momentarily, the sound of rain becomes a waterfall.

On this day, the light remains gray, the illusion of the waterfall all but gone. I opt for candlelight and a bit of incense as I write by the light of a screen.

I want to make the magic stay, that time when morning is not yet day, when one is not yet the other.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

 

 

The Last Firefly

There are so many bright, shining moments not celebrated in legend or in memoir. Maybe they are not even recorded as journal entries. In their uniqueness, they fall short of sharing.

Often, I wonder if I let them go a little sooner than I should, like when fireflies first appear.

There is the brilliance of first firefly light, and maybe for a few nights hence, I am at the window for the show. Each firefly’s life is brief, a bright and shining moment.

Why am I not cognizant of each firefly evening so I might glimpse the last night of the last firefly? Is there not equal brilliance then?

This year, I remembered firefly season in its beginning but I did not stay for the last night of the last firefly.

I tell myself there is always next year but surely, bright and shining moments are not limited to any one season, even if firefly moments are.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Sometimes, There Is No Translation

Some time ago, I wrote that the #DailyDose—of energy–does not necessarily mean a daily post. It is the vibration of chronic illness that determines whether writing happens or not. I aim to meet the daily rhythm of the energy; that is the heart of Aim for Even.

For nearly two weeks, there has been no writing but there has been meditation and yoga. As well, a limited social media presence. The fluidity of chronic illness floats on the gift of time—always—yet this recent flare-up of autoimmune and spinal cord disease was unlike the others.

The severity of it surprised me but at the same time intrigued. Some days it was as if time seemed stilled. On other days, it was as if there was no time at all. The days passed that fast.

Alan Watts tells an anecdote about translating Zen stories into English. The Zen master sees no need for it because Zen can be found in any book be it “the Bible, Alice in Wonderland, or even the dictionary.”

In other words, “the sound of rain needs no translation” (Alan Watts).

In my recent flare-up, I found an energy I never knew existed. I discovered it when my fatigue kept me all but bedridden for a few days. All I could do was focus on the moment I had, and what else is the meditative state?

It was as if I became an observer–a witness–rather than a participant in my chronic illness. It was not some kind of out of body experience but just the opposite. I have never been more aware of being in my body because I was not participating in the drama of my mind.

I am not cured but I am changed. I have heard the sound of rain. In fact, one morning as I began meditating, it did rain.

I practice mindfulness meditation with my eyes open and focused on the breath. In that moment, I was the rain, sitting “in the seat of self” witnessing what it is to be alive. It is more than enough, so much more.

In the book, The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer showed me how to deal with the drama of my mind as my body works so hard to win the war within. Here, winning is adapting, accepting change. It is not a competition.

As an observer, rather than a participant in my ego’s drama, my body has an easier time of doing what it does best—adapting. My symptoms continue but I remain distant from the drama.

I am the witness watching. And that is making all the difference.

Be serene in the oneness of things and

erroneous views will

disappear by themselves.

(Seng-Ts’an).

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Forever But Not Forever

Monica de la Torre says, “The sky’s changeups are reminders that this will not drag on forever.” I never thought of the sky as an ongoing image of impermanence but, of course, it is. All I need to do is look up.

It’s rather like binge watching The Man in the High Castle or The Handmaid’s Tale. It takes me out of me to other times similar but not the same. Each story is its own ending.

So, forever but not forever.

In this moment, I am awash in autoimmune disease. Why not look to the sky? An in-the-moment reminder that no thing and no moment ever stays keeps me focused not on what swirls inside me but on what whirls above.

It is worth the walk outside just to watch the world in the sky go by.

Forever but not forever.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.