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.

Once Upon A Phone

A long time ago, before you and I were born, there was a simple yet wonderful system that involved only humans and phone lines, nothing more, nothing less. When you picked up the phone, you were asked what number you wanted (“Number please?”) where-upon you were connected to that number unless that number was busy or the person wasn’t there. When you called and your party answered, whether you called a business, a relative, a friend, or an adversary, that was that. Mission accomplished.

Gone are the days.In some ways good. In many not. I have spent a large part of the past ten weeks on the phone, not with people, but with mechanical/digital voices, programmed to override my answers while ignoring what’s clear and simple in favor of the convoluted and complex, thus launching me into an orbit of  toxic thought that wreaks havoc inside and out.

It’s the rudeness, the in-humanness and in-humaneness of the thing that drives me nuts and makes me scream. Really. And when I finally do get a real live person on the line, it’s too late: I’m already cooked — Hugely ticked off, unable to behave with the grace I prefer to both give and receive, and ready to divorce the entire human race.

There is no one thing, event, style, philosophy or generation to blame it on. Like gun fever, it has no rhyme or reason. But my first choice is $/Money. Need I explain? Probably not. Nonetheless, here it is.

By choosing the mechanized, the digital the inhuman and inhumane we stop paying people for their labor and employ souless machines instead. We refuse to recognize personal connection or contribution. We sacrifice grace, manners, and the value of service in favor of easy and convenient. We forgo and forget kindness and caring. And there you have it. Cheap. Fast. Way to go. Not just here in America. But all over the world.

My daughter recently sent me photos of a place in Seattle where she and her husband celebrated her birthday. They rarely eat out. They are fine chefs themselves and prefer to cook and dine at home. So I knew it had to be special. And it was. .They chose it for the quality and presentation of the food. Also, for the ambiance, the natural setting, and the service. In the photos they sent, of the food and of themselves, right next to them, perched on the window ledge, was a vintage phone. The kind from the 1970′s. Black. With the handle in the cradle and the round dial and the chunky look. Nothing glamorous, nothing sleek. But it did the job. There was no need to try for newer, better, fancier, or different. The basic message came through and that was enough. You answered and you got it. No bells or whistles. No texts or twitters. Just a plain old phone connection. One on one. Simple. Easy going.

Going. Going, Gone! Ne’er to return. Too bad. .

Should you prefer a genuine interaction, a true communication, use the imagery below and see what happens:

Golden Socket

Intention: To transform mental static and depleted, scattered energy into positive power.

Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See a cord that emerges from the center of your body. See this cord plugged into a socket that connects you to static, debilitation, fragmentation and fatigue. Pull out this plug and disconnect.

Breathe out one time. Now plug your cord into a golden socket. Sense, live and know that by plugging into this golden socket you connect to the energy of clarity, vitality and light. Feel and see this clear golden wave of energy moving throughout your entire body.  Then breathe out and open your eyes.

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The Talking Head

 

I am doing something I’ve rarely done before. Something simple and unremarkable. But for me it’s extraordinary. I’m talking to people I don’t know. To people I’ll probably never talk to again. To people with whom I have nothing in common besides our “Peopleness,” and our proximity. And it’s doing something for me, and to me that I would never expect. It’s making me feel lighter, more connected, less stressed out, happier!

It happens without my noticing. It sneaks up on me in the midst of  ordinary moments. It’s spontaneous. Not purposeful. Best of all, it makes me feel at home in that other part of the world. The part that‘s the way it’s “supposed” to be. Where we feel together, not separate. Flexible not defensive. Open, unafraid, relaxed,and at peace. It can happen for a second or two or for a couple of minutes, hardly more than that. It comes and goes fast— It’s a peek through the spirit curtain. A hole in the wall of loneliness.

What we hear and say is rarely memorable. Sometimes there’s a chuckle, or a moment of clarity. Sometimes not. But what’s always there, both present and real, is a sense of kindness. Of caring. Of aliveness. Of real people talking with no hidden agenda. With no need to explain, defend or justify what’s said. Nothing more is required. Just a few words between fellow travelers in this difficult and uncertain world, and the day is transformed, becoming Worthy. Worthwhile. Golden. 

Too bad there’s no way to know this except by finding it our for ourselves.

 

 

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Adventures in Celebrity Shopping

On Thursday I went to “Room and Board” where I dove into downtown waters and shopped way out of my comfort zone. But great service and quality goods in a fine setting is hard to come by. The “setting” expression I borrowed from my Aunt Roy, who taught me to shop wisely and well, from the time I could walk and talk and.carry a shopping bag.

Aunt Roy would get Room and Board. She decorated the homes of her clients with “Mid-Century stuff (the inspiration for R&B’s very being) when others were stuck in French Provincial. Yes. She would definitely approve.

As I waited for the customer ahead of me to finish up I noticed he looked familiar. Tall, dark haired, wearing a down jacket and a wool cap, soft spoken, yet an imposing presence, It took me a minute to recognize him, and only seconds more to realize he didn’t want recognition, just privacy.

What a challenge. Here was Oliver Platt, whose work I’ve admired since he played White House counsel, Oliver Babish, in “West Wing,” standing right next to me. I wanted to say something brilliant, but all I could think of was l love your work. Certainly not brilliant. Not even clever, or cute. As he turned and walked away, I thought he might make an exception. We were practically furniture mates, so I opened my mouth to speak. But he looked right through me; and I became invisible..It worked. He’s an actor. A good one. Why wouldn’t it?

I chose to honor his wishes and preserve my dignity. But I kept a hand in the game, a chip on the board, a card in the deck, as I said to the saleswoman what I’d wanted to say to him, that I “loved his work.” (When you’re cleverness gene deserts you, you use what you have, unless you know enough to shut up). She was a much cooler saleswoman than I was a shopper. She barely nodded and the moment passed. When I turned to see if he’d gone, he was standing a few feet behind me. If he heard me, good. If not, better still.

But, It wasn’t Mr.Platt’s celebrity that set me off. It was that peculiar “I know you” connection I get with certain people I’ve seen on TV or in films. People who become a familiar part of my life, while I remain completely unknown in theirs. Like when I  came face to face with Woody Allen at Cafe Carlyle some years back. Woody moved over so I could get by (Room to navigate barely exists there). We did a brief table dance. He squinted at me as I passed and I took that to mean we connected. He never said it didn’t.

The Platt moment was gone in a flash. But it served as my stamp of approval, the thing that said “Yes.” You’re in the right place. Go to it. Look. Choose. Buy that gray console with the double  glass doors. Order that velvet swivel chair. Spend. Enjoy!

If there’s a next time I see Mr. Platt, perhaps he’ll be more amenable, and I more brilliant and bold. We’ll compare notes on our purchases. Grab a cup of coffee to help things along. As Rebbe Nachman says, there’s always hope. Meanwhile the gray console has been ordered and paid for. It’s scheduled to arrive soon after I move. For now that will serve as enough.

Talk Therapy

I’m not a big talk therapy fan. I find it self- indulgent, too left brained and too dependent on blame and angst. But that was then, this is now and there are all kinds of “Talk Therapy” that have nothing to do with any of the above, and slip quite nicely into the cracks that need filling, without attachment, or “transference” or 50 minute “sessions” that end with “Your time is up. I’ll see you again next week.”

Out here in sunny Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula, although the weather is exceptional and the place beautiful, it’s not easy to find a doctor of any kind, mind, body, or otherwise. They are either off on vacation, or all full up with a waiting list that goes for the next two years, at least. Yet after falling from my deck last week I needed to “see someone” so I went to the walk-in clinic in town where the nurse-practitioer told me to rest, take some ibuprofen and wait to get better. Eventually!

For me this wasn’t enough. I needed more, and the “More” that I needed was to not be alone in this beautiful place where initially I had intended to  write and relax. But that was (BF) “before the fall,” after which, my world got much smaller and tighter and my “aloneness” was suddenly accompanied by pain, and thus quickly morphed  into loneliness, and was no longer such a convenient or pleasant fit.

So after seven years of paying for Long Term Health Care Insurance, I decided to call in my chips, expecting no more than some practical assistance with the care and feeding of my damaged self, which could barely lift a plate, get up out of chair, or in or out of a car, without many groans and grimaces, and yes, even tears.  To my surprise and delight, what I got went way beyond the practical stuff, the stuff the health aides check off on the company time sheet, and involved a variety of care givers  with golden skills of communication and compassion, that included generous life experience and wonderful stories to share, which took my mind far from my pain to a place of healing and hope where I felt connected, supported, and unconditionally loved.

Now that’s  real “Talk Therapy,  a synthesis of heart, head, and personal wisdom, all the better for it being a gift (freely given), not part of the package. Unexpectedly filled with light.

If you asked me what it was that made these conversations notable, I’d say you had to be here to get it ─ that this humane and harmonious vibration cannot be described, at least not by me. In brief, it’s the kind of exchange that heals, supports and has the magical power to dis-create physical pain as well as the mental anguish, that goes along with it. And to even begin to comprehend it you need to experience it.

At the end of the day, as at the beginning, most of us want to feel connected, whether to another person,  to our work and our gifts, to family, friends, and to spirit, which, of course, is the uber connector, the vibration that makes life eminently more liveable

To experience pain and discomfort without disparaging it, or ourselves, as useless, stupid, or unworthy is a genuine challenge. Until this moment I’ve made no effort to bring meaning to this “accidental” event, or to spin a story that justifies it, except to be here while I have this conversation with myself, with you, and with God, while allowing the feelings and thoughts  that come my way to  remain un-judged. And perhaps to even discover something uplifting and wise amongst the ashes of my discontent..

Today my healthcare aide was from Rio. There was no language barrier, just considerate conversation and gentle service. The massage therapist was a Mormon. The first one I have ever (knowingly) met. And though I am only vaguely familiar with her religion, and have never really “gotten” it.  I could feel the power of her faith, and her personal connection to spirit, which was as healing to me as her gentle touch.

Call this whatever you like.  Do we need to “talk” about it? Probably not. The talk may be the messenger, but it’s certainly not the message. I am still trying to find out what that message is, and to honor it no matter what.

Here’s an image that may help you connect in a new and valuable way

Silence Is Golden 

Intention: To become still and calm, inside and out To cultivate true connection with self and spirit.

Close your eyes and exhale one time. See and feel how words and stories are covering you up and weighing you down. See and sense how by separating from this mental chatter your troubles disappear. Feel how it is to live your life in the silence that goes beyond all words. Be in the middle of this silence and know that it is golden. Breathe this golden silence into every cell of your body. Then breathe out and open your eyes.