Part two of the Equinox celebration at Happy Tree Farm (part one was described in yesterday’s Bliss Blog) saw a group of us gathered under a tent next to the magical lake that has healing properties, not only by immersing in it, but simply sitting next to it or gazing at it. The morning service was led by Rev. Glenda Smith and it offered us an opportunity to share our gifts with each other. The subject was Immersed In Our Gifts Together, We Breathe the Same Air. I opened my portion by telling a tale of back seat of the car on family trip interactions that my younger sister Jan and I would have. Like most kids, we would tease each other and do the familiar “Mommmmmm, she’s looking at me and she’s touching me.” We would then up the ante by whining “She’s breathing my air.” Now at 52 and 5o, we still occasionally laughingly say, “Stop breathing my air.” The truth is, we all breathe each other’s air, so interconnected are we. And as such, it seems important that what we breathe out and what we take in, not just with our respiratory system, but all of who we are, be health inducing and life supporting. How many times have I had ‘dragon breath thoughts’ rather than honey sweet thoughts? When I harshly judge someone as being wrong for not doing things ‘my way’, I breathe out toxins for someone else to breathe in.
I have come to recognize as well, that EVERYTHING IS A GIFT…hear that? Even the challenging and dissapointing, because they are AFGO’s… another freaking (or a word of even more intensity, if you so choose) growth opportunity. Recently, one came in the guise of a professional colleague having a change of mind about working together. Initially, my response was to feel scolded, like a little kid with her hand in the cookie jar. I did an internal inventory and realized that I had not intentionally done anything egregious, but this person felt uncomfortable. She also told me that I am a ’generous soul with wide open boundaries ‘ while hers were ’more reserved’. During the service, I expressed that being generous with sharing my friends with each other, resources, referrals, recommendations costs me nothing and in fact, enhances my life immeasureably. I want to be known as someone who offers such opportunities. It prospers all of us that way. It is like the ocean flowing in and out, it is not able to refrain from either action and neither am I. When I hold life in an open hand, more comes in and there is more to share.
My name is Edie, spelled E-D-I-E. Each year on the first day of school, teachers would mispronounce it as Eddie (with two d’s), expecting a boy to answer. I endured teasing as a result and wished that my parents had given me a ‘normal name’. My class mates were Linda, Barbara, Susan, Robin, Debbie and the most exotic was Mimi and she was Chinese. It wasn’t until I learned the meaning of my name, that I began to appreciate the appelation. It translates to ‘rich gift’. I came to realize that we all have rich gifts to share with one another. One of mine is the gift of noticing or observation. I am keenly aware of what goes on around me, so as to be able to communicate them in written or spoken form. Today, on the way to the gathering, I stopped to pick up spice wafers (one of my favorite autumnal treats…especially yummy when dipped in hot apple cider) at the grocery store. The woman at the check out line, said goodbye to a customer and wished him a day with no pressure. I laughed and felt moved to share a story with them. I recounted a tale of a man attempting to ‘help’ a butterfly out of its chrysalis since it seemed to be struggling to break free. What he didn’t know was that the butterfly’s body was swollen and in order to push the fluid from the body to the wings so that they could expand and carry itself into flight mode, it must exert pressure against the confines of the chrysalis. By ‘helping’ this being, he, in a sense, contrubuted to its demise, since it limped around with its swollen body and tiny wings and then it died. We need some kind of pressure to help us grow in that same way.
One of the gifts that a woman named Laura offered was a story about going raspberry picking with her small children and noticing that the berries were ‘plentiful’ and her basket was getting full. She accidently dropped them and had to pick them back up from their landing place. She pondered, as she often does, (as do I), the ‘how come’ of it. As she scootched down to get them, she noticed that underneath the plants were even riper and full to bursting with red, delicious confections. She began plucking as many of them as she could. Then one of her children called her name and she stood up, answered and returned to berry picking, back at the top of the plant, forgetting that the better ones were hidden from regular sight. How often I do that, forgetting that the richer, fuller life requires special vision and sometimes require a little change in perception. By the way, that is my favorite definition of a miracle, courtesy of A Course In Miracles.
At the end of the service, our host, arborist and author Stephen Redding shared an observation. He pointed to the lake and asked us to take note of the images near the shore of the trees and a shed. He then guided us to look in the middle of the lake and see the reflections from that point, when the ripples distorted them. He reminded us that the wind is indeed our minds’ perceptions. Look to the shore, was the message.