Last week, in the span of 12 hours, I learned two acquaintances had died; one in her 50s from colon cancer, the other in his early 60s from a heart attack. I had just seen Mark in April. When I asked how he was, he replied, “My job is killing me.” He was a cardiac nurse dedicated to, and exhausted by, his work and the nature of our health care system. After collapsing in his garden, he was rushed to the hospital where his own team attempted unsuccessfully to restore consciousness.
These two deaths have infused the summer’s glorious weather with a surreal quality. They have refreshed, with shock, my awareness and inquiry around this precious human life. And these losses have inspired quiet, sustained inquiry:
- How am I showing up right here, right now? To myself and to others.
- How are my thoughts, speech and actions contributing to peace and benefit in this world?
- How can I get my needs met while recognizing my place in the interdependent fabric of life?
- When I cause harm, how quickly can I bring forward humility to others and self-forgiveness?
- How am I living this moment fully? That doesn’t necessarily mean taking a fantasy vacation. Although that can be a part of life’s fun and fullness! A Carpe Diem attitude can be expressed in every breath if I’m fully here.
- How can I move forward open, clear and bright?
These deaths compel me to cherish the fullness and vitality of this life and ask myself quietly, gently how am I showing up in this moment?!
Justification for a Break
If you’re feeling you can’t take even a few minutes of rest in your day, here’s evidence that pause fosters wellness and productivity. These studies, one March 2017, reinforce the benefits we all know come from rest and pause. And another. If you feel peer stress to keep your nose down, keep these studies in your mental back pocket. Consider a restful cuppa, a walk in the fresh summer air, a bit of exercise at lunch, gaze at a stunning piece of artwork or the Sound. Everyone reading knows I’m a big proponent of time outside; on water and in the mountains. When we touch open space and sky, our own concerns can be held in a larger context of this big wide earth.
Fun Things on the Horizon ~ Watercolor Show in 2018
Owner Jeannie Liu has invited me back to Miro Tea and I’ve committed to a Painting Show in March 2018. Here are some images of the show in 2014. The Tea House just recently completed first phase of a several year remodel. Jeannie is excited to support local artists in this new chapter at Miro. For those unfamiliar, you can find examples of my watercolors here. Stay tuned for more details. There will be an Opening. It will be party!
Meditation Retreats: Sundays October 1st, November 5th
Intro to Meditation Class: Monday PM Starts October 9th
I welcome questions and inquiries. Even though a long way off, let me know if you’d like to register for any of the above.
Wishing you a beautiful, exuberant summer, full of nourishment for the body and heart, and a refreshed taste of life’s vibrant poignancy.
As always, with deep care,
Photos: Mason Lake and Margaret Lake trails. Headshot by Ingrid Pape-Sheldon.