Safe journey

I feel rushed this morning. Hurried. Rain presses down upon morning’s awakening, a sodden blanket of sleep lingering long past the hour of awareness breaking through my dreams.

Lesson 2 of my course material waits in my Inbox. And I lay in bed listening to the rain and the wind chimes in the backyard.

Get up, Louise, my mind encouraged me at 5:30am.

Sleep some more the critter whispered. You don’t have to get up yet.

The critter won. I lingered in bed drifting in and out of wakefulness.

And morning rose and I held my eyes closed.

Time is running. It is time to greet the day, to get busy.

This morning’s lesson included a photo of a spiral staircase. Looking down from above it, looking into the well of its spiral, there is a light at the bottom.

And my mind quickly carries me into the light. I look up and find myself rising. Stepping up through the tiny pinprick of light curving up into the open expanse at the top of the stairwell.

What awaits above is a mystery greater than what lies below, my mind whispers, and I breath deeply into the expansion of this moment right now.

I am not rushed. Hurried. Time does not change because of the slowness of my awakening. it expands out into each breath, opening me up to wonder and awe and mystery.

I stop racing. Stop trying to fit it all in and breathe again into this place where all I am and all I need are all that is present.

Letting go of searching for the light at the end of the tunnel, my heart hears dawn’s breath awakening within me. And my eyes open to the beauty of the rain falling, the wind whispering and the chimes tingling in anticipation of another day opening up in mystery and wonder all around.

My eldest daughter, Alexis, returned to the city where she lives by the ocean last night. She said a final farewell yesterday to her father’s mother, her other grandmother who turned 94 at the end of July. Two days before her birthday she was told of the cancer that would steal her life within a week.

Alexis’ gratitude for her holding on until she got here to see her one last time is palpable. She got to visit every day. To spend time with this woman who was the first ‘other woman’ to care for her on the day I got out of hospital after her birth. She has been there for both my daughters throughout their lives and now, she is in hospice. The end approaches, shrouded in mystery, in finality, in darkness and in eternal rest.

For my daughters, with both their grandmother’s life-breath growing shallower, this has been a time of uncertainty. Of sadness. Of letting go. Of recognizing the delicate hold life has on each of us is only as strong as time’s willingness to hold on to our beating hearts, the deepness of our breath moving in and out.

Time passes and soon this woman who shared so much love and time and care and attention on my daughters will pass away in time’s hands moving beyond her last breath.

And I breathe and take time to honour this woman who has meant so much to me and to my daughters. This woman who has given so much time and love and care.

Fare-thee-well Jill. Safe journey to the other side.

May we all travel safe today. May we all be held in loving hands, our hearts beating freely in the knowing, we are loved. We are loving. We are love.

Dancing on the Hands of Time

Art Journal August 23, 2014 Dancing on the hands of time

Art Journal
August 23, 2014
Dancing on the hands of time

“Stealing a glance at time passing away, she awoke.”

I took my mother some coloured pens and other drawing materials yesterday. Don’t you love it when you have a spark of brilliance — later rather than sooner? 🙂

I remember her telling me long ago how when she was young, she loved to draw and paint. It must run in the family. Her brother,  my Uncle Jojo as well as one of her sisters, Auntie Evelyn, both love to paint as well, as do some of my cousins.

It’s in my blood.

Like so many aspects of me, my preferences today are founded on the learnings of the past, those connections that tie me inextricably to the family circle into which I was born.

While I was visiting with her yesterday, I showed her the supplies I brought, and true to my mother, the first thing she wants to make is a card for a friend of my sister, who has as my mother says, “Never forgotten my birthday.”

My mother is big on gratitude. Always.

I like gratitude too. Gratitude is good for my heart. It lightens my spirit and fills my day with blessings.

Last night, as I was leaving the hospital, I stuck my parking pass into the big machine by the parkade’s front door and waited for the instruction to insert my credit card. At the machine beside me, a woman muttered to herself as she tried to figure out what to do. Speaking to the machine and waving her credit card in the air in front of it, she asked, “so where am I supposed to put this?”

“It goes here,” I said and showed her the slot which happened to be the same slot the parking pass went into. It wasn’t very well indicated as to its dual purpose.

“Oh thank you,” she said with a sheepish grin. “I’m from Olds. I’m just a country bumpkin.” (Olds is a small town about an hours drive north of the city.)

“I’ve done it too,” I told her. “They don’t mark it very well.”

She smiled and thanked me and we parted.

It is such a simple phrase. “Thank you.” And yet, it can make the heart so light.

Last week, while at the United Way to give a presentation, I was handed an envelope someone had sent me, using the United Way’s address for my contact. It was from a man who was in one of the courses I used to teach at the homeless shelter when I worked there. He had been in a presentation I’d given last spring to at a workplace campaign. In his note he told me how well he’s doing in his life now, and how he thanks me for playing a key role in his moving out of where he was at into his life today. “Keep poking people,” he wrote. “It works.”

I smiled when I got his note. My heart was thankful and my spirit felt bright.

I don’t remember specifically what happened with this man. the details are not important. What is important is the time he took to express his gratitude and the gratefulness my heart feels in receiving his gift. I am grateful that in his remembering me, my heart has been touched by gratitude. Both for the opportunity to make a difference, and to know that difference moved someone to step beyond the boundaries of where they were at, to live free of the past.

We never know what we do or say that will touch someone in a way that will help them open their eyes and see possibility.

Once, when I was in the deep, deep darkness of that relationship that was killing me, a police detective told me that what I was experiencing wasn’t love. “Love doesn’t hurt like that,” he said.

At the time, I wasn’t ready or able to hear his words, but, once the man was arrested and I got my life back, it was his words that gave me the courage to step out from under the darkness of abuse into living freely.

I have never been able to personally thank that detective so instead, I made the commitment years ago, to express my gratitude through acts of service that make a difference in the world. It feeds my heart and lightens my spirit.

It is one of the many blessings of being free. I can choose to be and do in the world more of what I want to have — joy, love, peace, harmony — and let go of the things I don’t want, the things that don’t serve me, or the world, well — regret, sorrow, bitterness, anger…

I am grateful today for the lives I’ve touched and the lives that have touched me — all of them. Because that’s the thing about gratitude, even the touches that hurt have value. Their gift is found in the freedom I know today.

Blessings on your day.

PS. We are hopeful mom will be out of the hospital tomorrow. I am grateful for the amazing care she has received and the kindness and prayers and well-wishes of all of you here, and on FB. Thank you.