Beginner's Heart

christmas ornaments

the author’s

There’s something incredibly poignant about packing away the Christmas tree. Pulling off the ornaments — some so very old & fragile the one I made with my mother when I was 6, the one I made w/ my younger son when he was 6. Wrapping them snugly in their tissue cocoons so they can be ready for next year. They become the past as I lay them in the storage bin.

And wondering if all of us will be here next year…

This year we lost my oh-so-missed Mom, my beloved’s mother, but mine too, after all these years. Each Sunday, when I transfer a pebble from one bowl the future to another the past, I wonder how many pebbles I have.

So I put on my favourite music, a Spotify playlist of just riffs on Pachebel’s Canon. It’s public — if you go to Spotify & search for my name, it should come up. When I’m blue, or need comforting, or just need to remember that peace is the blue sky the clouds run across, I play it. The music is all over the place — techno, jazz, classical, harp, trumpet. No vocals, but the warm beauty of the Canon, in a hundred (well, maybe a few less) renditions.

the author's

the author’s

And it helps. I promise. Right now, someone is jazzing the chords, and I’m looking at the juxtaposition of one of the newest ornaments — a mercury glass ball — and one of the older — a wooden warthog from our trip to Kenya, before my bearded younger son was even born. This, I tell myself, is the present.

This year, I’m working at reflection. Not simply doing, but being fully present in the moment, whatever that means. Pain? I’ll breathe it in and do tonglen. Joy? I’ll try (hard!) to live fully in it, knowing it will pass. Anger? I’ll try to use it — like a friend says — as compost, feeding productive action.

Right now, that means noticing each ornament as I wrap it to put away. And wondering, again, where I will be in 12 months. In the future.



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