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Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

grown-up sons and baby boys –

N holding Trin at graduation 2When your own baby — never mind that he has two master’s degrees, is happily married, and moving all the way across the country — has a baby, it’s weird.

Wonderful, but weird. Just sayin’. There’s a kind of disconnect: baby/ son/ son-as-father/ son-once-was baby… It’s kind of a strange loop. And yes, I did say it’s also wonderful.

My grandson looks very little like the downy-headed baby my first-born once was, so that’s not it. My grandson’s eyes are dark pools, like the night sky. Not brown so much as darkness. My son’s were the dark gentian blue of dreams.

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No, the weird comes from this thing called ‘time passing.’ It’s not that my grandson evokes my son. What happens is that I have come unstuck from the gravity of time. Its field no longer contains me, and I float between the baby that was then, and the father who is now. You know how our grandparents used to say time flies? Well, apparently it has. Flown. Because no way is that little boy w/ the wide blue eyes the father of this little baby with the wide dark ones.blue sky mind

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As for beginner’s heart’s place in all this confusion? Remembering — once again — how ephemeral it all is: life, love, childhoods. I reach out for the clouds sometimes, before I remember: the clouds come & the clouds go. Only the sky remains. And sometimes, if you are very lucky, the blue sky also holds a grandson. Nothing like his father, really. Except for being perfect. And ever-changing. Like beginner’s heart…?

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a contagion of plain ol’ kindness –

kindness networkI’m sure everyone knows that the Dalai Lama says his religion is kindness. But you may not know it’s highly contagious, kindness (so is meanness, for that matter, but we aren’t going there).

The graphic shows what happened, in a research study, when people were kind/ generous in a game. Over the next rounds of play, the kindness spread. How cool is that?? And what would happen if each of us tried, in the course of our ordinary days, to be kinder?

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It’s not a new study — three years old. But it’s a new concept to far too many of us. That kindness is contagious. That each of us — the ‘one person’ making a difference we always hear of — can start a chain of good.kindness 3

So let’s pretend that kindness is the chicken pox. Remember how your mother took you to catch it? Or maybe you were the parent who took your own child to get it over with. Do someone a random act of kindness. Infect them. We’ll all be the better for it.

 

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The grandson is coming! or, adventures in family life –

wide-eyed trinidadToday my grandson comes to stay for a visit! And we’ll be together for … weeks! Oh — and my wonderful elder son, and his super-cool and wonderful wife, and Silas-the-wonder dog, and Rufus-the-cat-with-attitude. Because we are doing a caravan/move from Tulsa to Virginia, where N&E both have new jobs, beginning SOON.

In the meantime, I get to nuzzle Trinidad, and wonder why the rest of my life isn’t as lovely as the moments spent anticipating the arrival of a little guy I barely know. What’s up with that?

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In a more serious exploration of that question, I’ve been thinking about attachment. About how to enjoy my amazingly happy life without growing attached. This is one of those times when I wish my spiritual teachers were alive, nearby, and willing to talk about something this minor. Well, minor in the grand scheme of life’s machinations…

How does that work, the whole ‘be in the now’ and ‘don’t become attached’…? If you know, I wish you’d tell me. Or at least give me a hint…? Because I am VERY attached to much of my life.

Today, we bought a new birdbath. The little clamp that held the saucer off the deck rail broke in a big storm that — headlines assured me — pummeled the city. My luck held, and we only lost a few branches and a birdbath clamp.titmouse

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So today we replaced the birdbath. Which meant a trip to one of my favourite places, the local Wild Birds Unlimited. In addition to upgrading our birdbath (we’re pretty serious about our backyard habitat!), we stocked up on suet blocks and seed cylinders. And sure ’nuff, when we had installed the saucer, and sat back down in the air-conditioned comfort of the breakfast room, overlooking the deck, a perky titmouse flew in. And then a sapsucker, and then a cardinal, and a spiral of sparrows, and a belligerent blue jay…

You get the picture.

This is my life, pretty much. Writing, birds, family. The farmer’s market on weekends. Today I bought blackberries, to go with the local bakery’s pound cake and vanilla bean ice cream…plus peaches for cobbler later.

So how do I let that pass, like the clouds in Big Sky Mind? Because it’s all pretty wonderful. Even when I know it’s ephemeral. Or maybe, because?

 

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cleaning house ~

atticWhen I was a little girl, I was completely smitten with Louisa May Alcott. And while Little Women was wonderful, I was possibly even more enthralled by Little Men. The character of Nan — wild romp of a girl, always in trouble — was so vivid, so real. And so much of her was me.

Nan & Jo, her mother figure, would talk about Nan’s disorganised thoughts, her crazy impulses. And Jo would tell her to organise her mind. Or possibly it was Daisy who helped Nan. To be honest, what I remember is only the method, which I immediately employed.

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The mind is like an attic, full of messy history. You need to clean it out periodically. Much like I’ve been doing to our house this week, preparing for my son, DIL, grandson, and my DIL’s mother to visit.

Beds in guest rooms needed freshening: comforters needed plumping and coverlets needed washing. Floors needed sweeping and/or mopping; carpets needed washing. There was dusting, and scrubbing in abundance. And then there was the straightening: what about this old terrarium that’s been sitting here half-dead? Shouldn’t it be replanted and filled w/ something prettier than threads of dead plants? What about that old picture? Hang it?

I want to do that, sometimes, with my mind. Which reminded me of Nan, and how she would lay down for a nap, and organise her head. As if it were a messy attic…attic 2

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Throw out the useless stuff. Will I really  need to use what I know of the relationship between the James siblings? And what about how much my allowance was — in piastres — when I was 9 years old? Who cares? Can’t those go into a kind of dustbin w/idiocies like bad jokes I barely remember the punchlines to, and the cracked china in a box my mother once mailed me?

So that’s next on my cleaning: get rid of old baggage, strategies that once served me but don’t any longer. I think I’ll start w/ the mean things said to me: why hang on to those? And then whisk away the cobwebs of outgrown connections — business ‘friends’ that don’t know who I am now, FB friends who haven’t seen me in 30 years… I’m putting them by a mental curb, ready for the trash heap.

Want to join me? What would you like to get rid of in your own head?

 

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