A Tale of two orchids

I have no particular talent with plants. Sometimes I’m lucky. Other times not. But  I’ve developed a love for having orchids in my home. It started with Cymbidiums, those tall long leafed showy bursts of longitudinal color, that a friend turned me on to 20 years ago. Currently it’s the common strain of orchid I find at Whole Foods that fills the need. Generally they bloom for several weeks, and then go by. But over the past ten months or so, there’s been one that keeps on strutting its stuff, while its sister plant, which I got at exactly the same time and place, stands beside it, budless and bloomless. An orphan orchid. Barren. Sad. Alone.

Sisters

With nothing to lose,  I decided to experiment. I moved them closer together so their branches were touching. I told them they were sister plants, and encouraged the bloomer to teach the non bloomer its tricks. I spoke to them about loving each other and sharing their gifts (the non bloomer had beautiful unblemished deep green foliage) as I moved my hands around them — the way my mother used to do with the shabbas candles on Friday nights— and advised them to bloom in tandem. A week later, I noticed tiny buds forming where none had gone before. And lo! I now see five new buds, growing larger each day

No Expectations

Encouraging this relationship took little effort, and the results have been amazing. I expected nothing. My only intention was to give them a chance, to see what would happen. And voila! Rebirth. Resurrection. And so forth.

Heaven knows why we’re so self-centered as to believe that this is it. That we’re the alpha and omega. The peak of the mountain. The star on the tree. With our logical minds leading the way, we play the game of life, only by by our limited rules. But suddenly, here’s living proof that the invisible world exists. That there’s stuff going on unaccounted for. Beyond our ken.

Imagine

For, imagine, how it might be if we could rebud and rebloom like these orchids in whatever way we needed.. Perhaps we can. Perhaps all we need is someone to speak to us in loving tones, To remind us that we have the power, the gift, to repair and revive ourselves,—  to burst forth with new vitality. New life. Over and over again. And that this gifted magician is us. You and Me. Reclaiming ourselves in one endless loop of life.

* See my Face book page for photos

Here’s an image you may enjoy using to this end.

Close your eyes and breathe out one time. Imagine yourself as the gifted magician. See and sense your power  to co-create new life, know this power is sparked by loving words and grateful thoughts. See what needs revitalizing, both in yourself and others. Speak words of loving encouragement, and express the gratitude that is called for.  See these words and thoughts manifest as light that emanates from your heart. Notice what happens. Then breathe out and open your eyes.

Stormy Weather

It’s 5:30 a.m. Too early for me to be up.  I have a cough and a stomach ache. The cough I’ve had for the past six weeks. The stomach ache is something new.

It’s dark outside. I’m nervous about the upcoming storm. I’ve got a few more hours before it hits.

I live in an all electric building. If the power goes out that means no heat. No way to cook. No Wi fi. Thus, no phone, computer, iPad or TV. And of course, no lights.

I bought a lantern and eight batteries. Something I’ve meant to do for years. It’s supposed to light up an entire room. I feel good about it. But not that good, since I can’t figure out how to get the batteries to fit.

My worst storm was when I lived in Vermont. We had a micro blast. A what?  I’d never heard of one either. It swept up Tweed River Drive and mowed down everything in its way. If you lived on the right side of the road you were safe. The left, you were in trouble. The power lines came down. Fires broke out. Part of my roof lifted up and flew away. It sounded like a train coming through. I was in  shock. No time to feel scared.

When it hit, I was on the toilet. I sat there hoping to wake up from what seemed like a dream. It took a few seconds for me to get that it was real. In five minutes it was over. I went outside to see the damage. It looked like a monster-mower came through, giving the wild flowers and grasses a flat-top. I went up the hill to check on my friend’s house. His rocking chair sat, still as stone on his deck. It hadn’t moved an inch. He, of course, lived on the right side of the road.

I don’t expect this  blizstorm to be that dramatic, but who knows? They’re saying its the worst Washington blizzard in 95 years. But, perhaps we’ll get lucky. It could shift out to sea before it gets here. We could have sun, with mild temperatures, and balmy breezes instead. I’d like that. I’d also like to believe there’s no global warming. I’m trying to think how I can get that to happen. So far nothing . .. But I’m not giving up. As Rebbe Nachman tells us:

“Never despair. Never. It’s forbidden to give up hope.”

Here’s an image to use at troubled times like this. Far more useful than flpping out.

 The Color RX

Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See and know the color of your anxiety.Sit in the middle of this anxiety without complaining and breathe out this color, seeing  it drift away, vanishing into thin air. Now imagine the color of calm. Sit in the middle of the calm and breathe in this color. See, sense and feel the color of calm filling you and spreading through your entire body, flowing like a river. When it reaches your fingertips and toes feel it encircle and enfold you. Know and live how it is to be clear and relaxed. Look at the world around you now, through calm eyes, and know that all is well

 

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Forever Young: Elder Awe

On June 5th, The New York Times ran a piece called “A Group Portrait of New York’s Oldest, Old,”  Instantly, Jonas Mekas, the last person profiled in this piece on elder-hood, became my hero.

At 92, Mr. Mekas lives entirely in the present, taking each day as it comes..He says he  doesn’t know what he’ll be dong when he gets up in the morning. He doesnt worry. He doesn’t believe in it. Yet, he’s no slouch. Indeed, he’s a producer and writer of films, who makes time each day to thoroughly enjoy his life.

He sees this as “Normal.” He claims that anything else is not. His doctor says he’ll live to be a hundred! I’m counting on it. For like Woody Allen in Annie Hall,”.I’m in “lerve”

As for “happiness,” Mekas believes it’s a sense of inner peace and balance where he isn’t anxious about what’s coming, but involved in what’s going on right here, right now. The title of his most recent film Out-Takes From the Life of A Happy Man. bears testament to the success of his philosophy.

For what could be more healing, more empowering, more youth-ifying than elder-hood as a proving ground for the salutory effect of being here now? In truth, Where Else Is There For Us To Be? 

Here’s an image you can use to experience life without grasping. To live with no agenda. To be part of the wonder of Now..

 The Bridge of Now**

Close your eyes, breathe out, and see yourself on a rope-bridge, made of separate pieces of wood tied together, stretching out ahead of you and behind you.

Know and live, that behind you lies the past.

Before you lies the future.

As you stand here, look toward the direction of past and see the pieces of wood falling away until there is nothing there.

Now  look toward the direction of the future and see the same thing happening.

See yourself standing here, knowing there is no past. There is no future. There is only this moment.

Stand in this moment and give thanks.  Then open your eyes.

 * Imagery from Dr. Fritz Jean-Noel 

*Credit to Dr. Melissa Abrams for tweaking me back into action

The Mystery of My History

Greenville, New York, is in the Catskill mountains, south of Albany.  While I lived in Vermont, I went there to visit a friend who was giving a watercolor workshop. I sprained my ankle either just before, or right after i arrived, and Eliot, the owner of the resort, carried me to the dining room from the carriage house we shared (my friend and I, not Eliot). I heard this story yesterday, via email, from this friend, with whom I’d lost touch for the past several years. Until now, I thought Greenville was a place in South Carolina (yes it’s in North Carolina as well, but you get the drift). I have no recall of my painful visit to Greenville. Nothing. Nada. None. My personal history is spotty at best.

 
Thank God for my friends. The “Rememberers of my life.” If I ever write a memoir, which, on occasion, I flirt with doing, my research will consist of interviews with the ones who remain —the keepers of my spotty, well worn past 
 
My exceedingly poor recall, of what to others seem significant events, is a decades old infirmity. Nothing to worry about. Actually. I cant worry about it. It slips my mind along with the rest. But this is good, right? It’s the cost of living in the present, making life seem less worrisome, making me feel slightly enlightened, more highly evolved. 
 
My painter friend signed off by saying she needed to pack. For what? Had she just told me, and  had I already forgotten? I wrote her back: “You’re  packing for what? You’re going where?”  Her answer set me off. She’s going to Greenville. Hmmm. That’s how this all started, isn’t it?
 
Not to worry. This is her life, not mine. I have enough trouble remembering where I put my reading glasses. 
 
If you’re immune to forgetting things, read no further. If you’re anything like me, here’s an image that may come in handy, should you remember to use it.

The Mystery of History

Close your eyes and imagine that you’re looking into the mirror of your past. See there a lost event of your life, one you are now able to remember. It could be anything, from the time you were born until now. Embrace it. Then Smile, and let it go.
What happens? How do you feel? Then open your eyes, knowing that now, and forever- more, the present moment is all there is.

About what’s happening in Baltimore

What’s  going on in Baltimore?
My eyes, like everyone else’s, tell only a miniscule part of the story. What are people thinking? Where do we go from here? How do we gain traction? How do we stop going from one Baltimore to another?  Another murder. Another loss. Another riot, or rally or speech. The same awful pictures spinning out endlessly on TV. Soon becoming one big blur.

How do we sort it out? Have it make sense. Find the value, the good, the light? How do we use any of this? Anywhere? Anytime. Ever?

People come forward. Neighbors, church groups, and area leaders. Families and friends step up, put themselves on the line between rioters and police. They clean up the mess, stand together in harms way to work toward some kind of peace.

 A Star is born

The new Baltimore State’s Attorney, young, and fiery, and righteous, with a family lineage of law enforcement backing her up, has filed criminal charges against six Baltimore cops. She says “No one is above the law! ”

The people cheer. The union balks and threatens. The media is stunned and heartened. A great story. Action. Cameras. Ready, Set, go!

 The charges include:

Second degree depraved heart murder.*

Involuntary manslaughter.

Second degree assault.

But what will happen if this moment of vindication fails to be followed by convictions? Will it be enough to keep the peace? Is anything enough unless the roots of poverty and deprivation, of ignorance and prejudice,  of lack, and rage and hopelessness, and fear, are addressed? Can justice finally be done?

The head of the police union, insists: “None of the officers involved are responsible.” Really?

It’s a long shot. From here to China, at least. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Note* Depraved-heart murder, also known as depraved-indifference murder, is an action where a defendant acts with a “depraved indifference” to human life and where such act results in a death. In a depraved-heart murder a defendant commits an act even though they know their act runs an unusually high risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to someone else. 

Any questions. . . ?

 Imagery

Though most of us have not intentionally or knowingly done things that have resulted in serious injury or death to another, many of us have committed thoughtless, even mean-spirited deeds that resulted in emotional, mental or spiritual harm to another. You may use the following image to regenerate a hard, defensive, or thoughtless heart.

Healing the Inconsiderate Heart

Close your eyes and exhale a long breath through your mouth. Return to your normal breathing and go inside yourself to the place of  your heart, which you now hold  gently in your hands.  Massage your heart with loving care. Feel the hard, defended, areas releasing. As this occurs, see, sense and know that your heart is opening. Live and know how it is to experience the world, and yourself,  with an open, loving, and considerate heart. Then breathe out and open your eyes, knowing all is well.