Miracles Large and Small

On a solo vacation in Santa Fe, NM, I find I am indeed experiencing “the whole enchilada,” and some bites are tastier than others. In my visions and contemplations as I was planning the trip, I would be at peace and one with everything as the days flowed and I got to follow my own inner rhythms.

No husband whose sleep schedule was different than mine to share a single room with…no business scheduling to juggle… new things to explore, some with a local friend, some on my own…lots of art and gorgeous scenery and groovy things to do.

The reality? All of that, plus dry, painful skin cracks from the desert climate…sensory overload if I go into too many shops and galleries…missing my husband, and getting to see how some difficulties I would normally attribute to his ways are, um, somehow happening anyway (like trying to pick a restaurant several times each day, deciding what to do among the myriad options in this bountiful city, or orienting to driving a different vehicle in unfamiliar territory).

The miracle is that mindful awareness is allowing me to see all of this, notice it and let it pass away. It helps me to remember that any vacation, no matter how happily anticipated and exciting, always includes boring moments, too many decisions, tiredness, loneliness, joy in being in this new place along with moments of missing home, as well as all of the wonderful things I came here looking for.

It is not that I’ve come on this journey, at a time of great life transition, and encountered something truly new emerging and integrating (which is part of what I anticipated). It is that I’ve come on this journey and encountered the me that I always am and always have been, each facet sparkling with greater clarity and acceptance. It has been a great lesson in the wise adage that wherever you go, there you are…perfect, flawed, longing, satisfied and everything in between.

It’s more a matter of going out and coming back in. Of spending time in the shops and museums, and then joining the Upaya Zen Center community for sacred stillness and meditation. Of chatting with folks in the local shops and restaurants, and then taking a morning in my room to do yoga, practice loving-kindness and write about the miracles available in every encounter, every breath, every feeling, whether yummy or yucky.

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The short, the sweet, the essential

As an avid reader and less-avid writer, I often find myself swimming in a sea of words. I know that many blame TV and the Internet for decreasing the human attention span, but I wonder…how many words do we really need to get our point across? Are we truly saying something of interest and import (or amusement), or are we mostly filling a void or meeting a word count for arbitrary publishing purposes?

I’m sure you’ve found yourself reading a blog post or article or book and thinking “yeah, yeah, OK, you’re a good writer but just get to the point already?!?” Do we all really have ADD, or are there simply more words than there need to be in most writing? After all, how much more pithy and meaningful can you get than a well written haiku (three lines consisting of 5, 7 and 5 syllables), or the less known monostich, a one line poem such as “It was a huge small world in the court where our apartment dwelled.” You fill in the blanks yourself — at best, these short pieces open up a well of responses in us, rather than telling us how to respond.

So I commit myself to short posts that provoke thought through the less is more theory. I’m not even committing to once a week, or every other day or any other rhythm; I’m going to let the rhythms find their own way, syncopated and uneven as life tends to be. I invite you to write some haiku or monostichs yourself and see what can open through a commitment to brevity and succinctness.  In a “more is always better” world, take a stand for the beauty of simply this. And share that beauty with the weary, bloated, overflowing world.