It's taken me years to learn that when creating a garden, what the space needs is way more important than any ideas or opinions I may have of what I want to plant there. In gardens, as in life, you have to work with the hand you’re dealt. You can't always get what you want, but you find that what you need can be even better.
For a while now I’ve been noodling over a little piece of advice that I found on Instagram: "Do it from love, not for love." The idea feels huge. Like freedom and generosity and happiness and wisdom all rolled up into one well-crafted little sentence. What does it look like? Where does the love that inspires these gestures come from? Read on ...
Finish lines are funny. Some, as my brother did in every race he ran, we dash towards with a mind only to get there. Some make us dawdle, pretending they are not looming. I handled all three of my kids' senior years of high school like this. What if we could treat endings as just another step? When we do, we find freedom and an openness to what is next that allows us to savor each step along our way. We find that we are starting to trust that, while not always obvious, all endings - all of them - lead to new beginnings.
On the first night of our family vacation, I had a moment of perfect contentment. It was late. We were hungry. The restaurant was too loud, too warm, too crowded, too slow. AND I was perfectly happy. Happiness and contentment are not around the corner in some imaginary future. They are right smack in the middle of each messy, hangry, less-than-perfect, hilarious moment along the way. All we have to do is notice.
Have you ever been at a concert and felt the massive crowd moving, breathing, singing, and bouncing up and down together in synchrony? This is called collective effervescence. It feels amazing. I believe it is also a glimpse that we are all indeed connected. Each one of these experiences helps us understand that we are meant to live keenly aware that are connected to a great whole.
When a friend asked me if I set New Year’s resolutions I told him that I like to set a tone for the New Year rather than setting a particular goal. This felt like one of those spontaneous “straight from mind to mouth” answers that gets right to the truth. The "tone" I am choosing for 2023 is love. I’d like to be clear that, though I am a girl who appreciates Rom-Coms perhaps more than most, this is not the “tone” of love that I am choosing for this new year. I’m choosing instead a “tone” of love that aligns more with loving-kindness than romantic love. Loving-kindness focuses on friendliness, benevolence, good-will, and an active interest in the well-being of others. I'd love to know what "tone" you are setting for 2023! Let me know!
Sending and receiving Christmas cards is a reminder to me of how much I love and am loved. I closed the note in our card this year with a heartfelt truth, “Please know that each time you cross our minds, which is way more often than you hear from us, you make us smile.” For the opportunity to realize how fortunate I am and to be able to express this gratitude to those I love, I am grateful for this seasonal tradition. These weekly musings are yet another opportunity for me to feel grateful for the web of love and support that life has weaved for me. So, I’ll close this last essay of 2022 the way I closed the note in my Christmas card – in gratitude: “Mwah! Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for making my world a better place. xoxo”
I have been struggling with a quiet sadness for a while now. It’s not constant. It’s more nostalgia than sorrow. It pops up at surprising times – while walking into town, or sitting in the pew at church, or driving past mothers and children on bus stops. It is the vague ache of missing daily life with my now grown kids. Like leaves on a tree in autumn, we would be wise to hold each of life’s stages lightly. Even the sweetest times draw to an end. We are invited to gratefully let go of what was in order to step forward into the riches of what is next. This is not easy.
When you and I are kind, yoga philosophy promises that we are changing the world around us. My favorite way to grapple with yoga philosophy is with little real-life encounters. A random smile shared with a total stranger in Bed, Bath & Beyond last week accidentally confirmed that the ancient yogis were onto something! Pay attention - you want to be the change you want to see!