Sunday, July 28, 2013


July 28, 2013

Dear friends,

Each summer I meet for an informal weekend with a small group of women who do two things: they study with me, and, bless them, complete a "punch list" of chores that are difficult for me to manage alone.  This year we thought together about the power of perception, and the ways in which we can open our option list by "re-framing" the context of both our inner and outer worlds. For me it was an incredibly rich experience and one from which, as you will see, I continue to be challenged to "practice what I preach."

Personally this week brought an energy deficit of major proportions. I was tired, slow, and a bit muddled. Every task seemed to require me to do it twice: the first time in which I did everything backward and upside down, and then the second time in which I first corrected  my original muddle and then completed properly the task I had originally set out to do. You understand:  I begin to make coffee, spill coffee grounds and water on the counter and the floor and drop the pot. Then I clean up water and coffee grounds, retrieve the pot, wipe up the floor, and start the process of making coffee all over again. Such times while common to an octogenarian's experience generally do not make me a happy camper.

This week, however, I felt challenged to "reframe" my habitual self-scolding response. If I could not work well, what could I do?

I can watch, I decided. I can watch my world with focused intention to see people and things busy being beautiful around me while I am still.

I can watch the slow steady pooling of the coffee as  it brewed in the newly washed pot. I can smell the aroma of freshly ground beans. I can sit with my coffee and watch my begonia being beautiful, the incredible color of the cream and coral blooms, the intricate pattern of its distinctive leaves, the mystery of its life processes in which light and soil and water are used by its gifted begonia self to produce these blooms. I can watch the stately dignity with which Miss Annie arranges her duchess self upon her porch rail perch.  I can see with sharpened awareness the incredible strength by which a single clear crystal drop of rain hangs silent and motionless from a lilac leaf. I can hear the beauty in the off-key tuneless whistling of the young man pulling weeds in my neighbor's flower garden. 

 Aging brings moments in life when work as we once experienced it now lies beyond our resources. We can, however, frame this diminishment as watching time, rich in learning and wordless praise.

See you next week.


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