connection and grace

Well this is a little embarrassing.

If you read the previous post, you will already know the first part of this story. So… next day scenario! Today I am scheduled to take my car (with a flat tire) into the garage: in addition to fixing the flat, the winter tires will be put on. But since the tire is flat, I call roadside assistance to put a spare tire on so that I can drive to the garage.

Service truck arrives. I have to back the car up a few feet so that J.T. can access the tire. I look at the tire pressure indicator, expecting it to be very low…but it’s showing 176 KP (190 is normal). Walking out to VIEW the tire – it hardly appears to be flat at all! It had been parked in a dip in the pavement and it looked really flat… especially since I had expected it to be flat (for the record, my husband had the same reaction).

I apologize to J.T. about the call, which proved unnecessary. He generously regales me with a story about another unnecessary call he had made, which was even more amusing. He creates a moment of human connection. Grace.

Since I have a little bit of time before the service appointment, I decide to take a little walk  and run into my neighbour – the recipient of yesterday’s soup. Another happy connection. Grace.

Off to the car dealership/garage where I have agreed to meet with a salesperson who is to do an estimate on the car just in case we want to trade it in. In our meeting it comes out that he has been in a car accident the night before… and our conversation turns to the impact of this trauma, the inherent kindness of certain individuals who appear when this type of event occurs, and life’s higher purpose. We make a meaningful connection. Grace.

Then it turned out that the shuttle driver recognizes me from a tai chi class that he had tried out last year. He shares about chronic pain he has had to endure, his wistful remembrances of being strong and fit, and his attempts to quiet his perturbed mind through sitting meditation practice. No small talk here: we find connection in the deep challenges of life. Grace.

So this is my little story of how an almost, but not quite, flat tire led me into a day of connection and grace.

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when life gives you a flat tire…

My Thursdays have a comfortable predictability about them: drive to Merrickville to visit my Mom at Hilltop Manor,  stop in at my sister’s in Kemptville on the way home for tea ; do my grocery shopping in the afternoon; and – every second Thursday –  volunteer at the Detention Centre in the evening.

But today a flat tire created the possibility of an entirely new narrative.

Another volunteer generously offered to take my evening shift. Then, instead of feasting on those quick-fix food items that I traditionally sneak into my grocery cart (samosas! chips!), I looked around the kitchen and thought it would be the perfect day to make a huge batch of soup and use up some of the veggies that were being tacitly ignored. Oh – and a big apple crisp to use up those apples… and when this was done, I realized that I had more than enough of both for our household, and took some over to a neighbour…

It felt as if some greater power had seen the need to redirect my day’s energy. Instead of a day of disappointments (no visit, no new groceries, no yoga class at the detention centre), it became a day of discovery (soup! apple crisp! connecting with our neighbour!).

So…

when life gives you a flat tire – make soup!

: )

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Clouds

The clouds pass. I see their leaden mass, their backlit edges. What is behind it all is perfectly unfathomable.

And this is good. This is fine. This is just as it should be.

I will pass, (am passing), like the clouds.

There is a profoundly moving beauty in all of this.

I do not understand, but I can dwell in this beauty, be carried by it, dissolve in it.

Hari Om.

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Fly

leave.

heaviness.

what is downed. bound.

claw. through. containment.

bubble bump,

into ceiling,

and, gill-less,

swim through

open door

w h o o s h

skyward

watching

all

zoom

into

small

passing

puzzled

gulls

just shut up… and LISTEN – !

Some years ago I had a vocational flash, you might call it, to be a healer. There is so much suffering in the world. If only I had the “power” to wave it away and give people release from their suffering.

Well, life has been offering me a few teachings about just what it might mean to be a healing presence in the world. It’s not just about acquiring healing techniques – yoga, pranayama, massage – and handing them out, like Santa Claus.

For one thing, if I want to be a healer, I have to get deeply in touch with my own brokenness.  And once I have really understood how this connects me with the rest of humanity, I must want, more than anything else, to hang out with the broken.

Not to fix them.

To listen.

To shut up and listen.

To be open to the other, and not so full of my own foregone conclusions about what they might or might not, need.

This dawning realization has been considerably humbling.

Hari Om.

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a series of unfortunate events

I recently had a chance to spend a few days at a cottage on a lake. It was very beautiful and peaceful. But my metaphorical mind keeps coming back to a chain of events that I inadvertently set into motion involving a chipmunk, a window, and finally… a toilet.

My husband and I were sleeping in a second floor loft. He was still asleep, but I got up and looked out the window to a lower roof where a little chipmunk was scurrying about in the sunshine, busily filling his pouches with seeds.

I cranked open the window to let some of the fresh air in, and to catch his attention, hoping for a moment of connection with this little bundle of energy.

He froze, looked up, and scooted straight down the bathroom vent stack on the roof.

Later, in the bathroom, I could hear scuffling behind the bathroom wall and jokingly told the chipmunk that he had better stay in there, because I would freak out if he came into the bathroom proper.

I went about preparing my tea and toast, and mostly forgot about the chipmunk until my husband, who had entered the bathroom moaned, “Oh no…” He found the chipmunk, drowned, floating in the toilet bowl.

And that little life, full of energetic purpose, was submerged and flushed out of existence. If only I had known the trajectory of events and might have avoided opening the window…

But such is the nature of existence. It sometimes feels like we are mere cogs in a great machinery serving an inscrutable purpose. This is, I believe, where shraddha – faith – comes in. Believing that everything somehow works together for the greater good. As Julian of Norwich said, All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

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