I live a full, rich life, overflowing with love, family, friends, opportunities to stretch and grow as well as miracles too numerous to name; but name them I attempt to do each day. Over the weekend, I had so many chances to acknowledge them. They included shared meals and shared hearts with loved ones; some I have known since my teens, others just recently met and still others somewhere in between. Witnessing the generosity of my friend Patricia Gallagher who now has two aliases” The Angel Pin Lady” and “The Flower Lady” who I will write about in greater length, as she delivers flowers to nursing home residents; sometimes with her mother and sometimes with another of our friends: Bob Goodwin.
They pick up the posies at Trader Joe’s who donate them and off they go to scatter joy. I had the pleasure of meeting up with them for lunch on Friday and could feel the glow emanating off the bouquets that would soon spread smiles across elders’ faces.
Healing takes place on all levels, some simply by recognition of how far we have traveled to get from where we were to where we desire to be as we see all of the stops we have made along the way . That occurred several times in the past 72 hours as I came to see how my choices have brought me to where I am at this moment in time; some conscious and others by default. Questions I ask are: did I plan the journey myself; whether before taking this form, along the way OR was it mapped up by the Celestial Cartographer? Some interactions seem too ‘beshert’ (‘meant to be’ in Yiddish) to be random. Some I see in my mind before they occur and I wonder if they play out as I have seen them because I envisioned them or I envision them because they have already ‘occurred’ on some level and my body is catching up with them. I know we all have the capacity to create from our heart’s desires, so I ponder why this even surprises me a bit. Diving down, raw and real revelatory conversations occurred that clear the way for even greater discovery and deeper love.
Saturday was Yom Kippur and I ventured out to Peace Valley Park in Doylestown, PA, which is a sanctuary of sorts for me. I went there to fast, pray, meditate and write. I carried a large cloth that came into my life more than 3 years ago when I was captured by its Celtic knot design and knew I had to bring it home with me. It has served many purposes and has attended music festivals, been a tapestry on my wall, draped across my sofa, been wrapped around for warmth and been a bed spread. On that day, it became a ritual cloth. I also toted along a journal given to me as a birthday gift from a dear friend 2 years ago, with the words “Believe in yourself” inscribed on the cover, and it is nearly filled with my mental meanderings; but room enough for ponderings that arose. Lastly, there were mala beads that became a tool for a ritual that I began offering a few years ago, that sends my heart soaring when I engage in it now. I ran each of the 108 beads through my fingers and brought to mind the name and face of a person who has made a difference in my life; some for the love that we share(d) and others for lessons learned, even if they were painful. Two years ago, I went around twice and on this day, it was four times, which equals 416 souls I have encountered who have touched my life. Even now, more come to mind and I feel blessed to have known them. Lately I have become acutely aware of the fleeting nature of life. From one moment to the next, we have no clue what will happen or who will be in physical form on any given day. That may seem maudlin or morbid, but for me, it has become an in-my-face reality that has me treasure the people I know all the more.
That night I broke the fast at the home of my friends Barb and Glenn Cohen. She has been my best friend since we were 14 and met on the bench at a swim meet. Even though our teams were competing against each other, clearly the Universe had been conspiring for us to be in cooperation. In the midst of story telling, laughter, hugs and waaaaayyyy too much food, I was pleasantly satisfied when I meandered home appreciating the starlit ride.
Headed south on Sunday morning to stand before a gathering of recently met friends whose welcoming hugs greeted me at Awakened Heart Spiritual Center in Arden, DE. It is a new thought church, whose principles emerge from the teachings of Ernest Holmes. I spoke on the subject Beneath The Mask and the ways in which we hide behind a façade out of fear of revealing the truth of who we are. Knowing nods had me feeling like I’m not alone in the on again/off again, peeling off the layers and adding them back on out of a belief that I can’t bare it all.
A few hours later, I was at yet another spiritual community that has been part of my life since 1984. Pebble Hill Church is an interfaith peace site that welcomes folks from all walks of life and on this day, held a Peace Vigil. Speakers shared their insights on ways to create a more cooperative and accepting planet. I offered insights on the subject of forgiveness and my desire to have ‘thoughts that do no violence to my soul.’ Songs wafted through the air and I gained a greater appreciation for the folks gathered there, some I have know for more than half my life. Gary and Jennifer Culp were among the first people with whom I connected when I entered the sanctuary of the Red Barn 29 years ago around this time of year. As I gazed over at them, I felt a warmth and an appreciation for who they have been in my life. They truly live their peace.
The whirlwind weekend came to a close around the table at China Wok as 1o of us came together to celebrate the birthday of our friend Ken Kaplan. My favorite way of enjoying Chinese food, as shared dishes made their way around via a Lazy Susan, and laughter and love spiced the dishes.
Even now, hours later, I bask in the glow of the sweet souls whose presence enrich my life immeasurably and simultaneously experience a beautiful ache; an appreciation for what I have and an accompanying sadness for those who feel alone. Paradoxically, I feel an existential loneliness even in the midst of such exquisite love.