Dear reader, hello. How are you at this beautiful time of year? As always my mind is swirling with thoughts, perhaps more so than usual with the occasion of my dad's death a few weeks ago. There's not much I want to say about it except that I'm filled with an awareness of great, refining emotions...of gratitude, hope, and peace, of a sense of mercy that stretches my heart beyond the span of all I can see.
I'm filled more than ever with an awareness of myself and the life I'm living, of the people within it, of the person I want to be.
I still have every one of my struggles. But I feel more accepting of the ones I can't change, more aware of their limits as opposed to their power over me, more willing to coexist with them while guarding the assurance I still have access to a sense of balance and contentment, no matter what else is going on.
It's been busy lately, with my return to school. Something I read in one of my textbooks, written by Irvin Yalom, resonates deeply: "We may exist in a mindfulness of being, a state in which we marvel not at the way things are, but that they are."
Some version of this thought has been threading through my mind unconsciously for many years now, but more consciously as of late: the utter wonder of being alive, the idea we are spectators in this experience, that we should take each step with a degree of awe...and while it is good and necessary to be engaged in what goes on, there is also some value in recognizing the distinction of being the one who is watching it happen, of distinguishing between oneself and the incredible nature of what we are passing through with each moment of the day.
Lest I give the impression of possessing some sudden, unflappable zen...no. I'm still me. Still unable to keep a fraction of my life organized. But I am also changing, and something about watching more carefully from a vantage point has allowed me to have deeper appreciation and make greater sense of what I see around me. I am more grateful for the spectrum of life's plot twists in general. I somehow feel more able to accept what does not make sense to me, namely the great suffering I see in this world. I don't mean a passive acceptance of these things...I mean, a deeper trust that there is meaning and order in the universe, a great, compassionate presence, and that my attempts to do better and be better somehow allow me to feel more hope than despair.
Dear reader, I do not come here often enough, but every day I send my love out into this world. I think of it, I pray over it, I trust in the goodness of humanity and the incredibly reassuring beauty of this exquisite planet.
I'm wishing you a wonderful fall season, with all its accompanying sights, smells, and sounds. Here in the desert it's more subtle, but I take pleasure in every change I see.
Happy September, each and every minute, to you.