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Thursday, April 5, 2012
Free To Choose Gratitude
All of it shimmering in the sun, as the light of awareness dawns: utterly inseparable. We all know this, of course, but it is during spring, this time of birth, that death feels most near to me. The co-mingling of withered cinereal stalks through which ruby branches rise, verdant leaves tenderly unfolding; and so I remember this eternal, exquisitely raw truth: birth and death are entwined, one brushstroke on God’s canvas.
I scan the yard looking for evidence of birth and death, sit on the damp grass, recording what I discover in photographs. The neighbors must think me mad, the way I just plop down on the ground, graceless to the untrained eye (yet filled with it on the inside), my face so close to the earth, the ungainly way I get back up to walk again. Who knows, maybe they think I'm drunk, and so early in the day! This crosses my mind, but I'm an artist, morning light is magical. It crosses my mind, yes, but does not stay. I have to sit, I'm tired and how else can I get close to the tiny treasures scattered everywhere?
My legs begin to tremble, I've walked further from the house than I should, a short distance into the woods. I sit on a boulder; imagine *Yitzchak, the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Nachman doing the same. I listen to the sounds of the forRest. I am quiet like the granite beneath my frail body. A single tear rolls down my cheek, a silent salty prayer. Gratitude for the beauty of impermanence, for the ability to see, to hear, to walk outside again, slowly, though there is an underlying urgency in each step. I do not want to miss a second of this glory; each meeting of sole kissing earth is a gift; or more accurately a generous loan. I recognize this too, for within the very next breath, mine, yours, the gentle breeze of early morning, as I continue to search the ground, the sky, the trees, bundled in winter clothes (because it is still cold), perpetual transformation is impossible to ignore, in my heart, impossible not to embrace.
Pesach, Passover, Z’man Chiruteinu, the season of our freedom, is rapidly approaching, and with it my ability to walk a little while with my camera outdoors, before retiring back to bed.
Freedom is understood in myriad ways, unique to every individual. For me this year, it is blossoming from an appreciation of change. While it was (and often is) disappointing to experience ongoing weeks surrounded by walls, windows and closed doors, opening those doors to step through, fills me with immense joy. On two chilly mornings last week during my period of silence, I was able to meander about the yard mindfully, each footfall a meditation, each observation of light, shadow, decay and renewal a blessing. Every moment of seated silence compassion for this precious vessel that cradles my soul.
Everything changes. I am gradually emerging from this exacerbation in alignment with fresh fuchsia buds on weather worn branches. I am not free from MS, I am still experiencing residual side effects from this last flare, yet I am free to enjoy these precious moments of movement, while I have the energy, strength, balance and neural connectivity to love this life. Free also to love my life on days when I cannot move smoothly or speak clearly. Free to choose gratitude. Free.
We'll be traveling to Pennsylvania to be with family this afternoon. To all of my Jewish friends and family I wish you a...
....and to all beings everywhere, may we each embrace our freedom, however we experience it, with joy and gratitude.
Happy Easter to my Christian Friends
PS. The April issue of Buddha Chick Life is up; a beautiful selection of articles this month devoted to the ONENESS of all beings. So fitting, I think, as Passover approaches.
haiku my heart at recuerda mi corazon
*Yitzchak (Isaac, son of Abraham) went out to meditate in the field…
(Genesis 24: 63)
Both the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Nachman practiced hitbodedut; going out into the forest, field or a room of one's own in solitude to meditate and pour out one's heart to the Holy ONE of Blessing.meditate in the field towards the evening