Daily Prompt: Meager

There they were,  in plain sight — my car keys laying on the driver’s seat and cell phone plugged into the charger.  In the midst of holiday shopping, with several more stops to go, I wanted to get home before heavy traffic stole more time.  Oh well.

The biting cold stung my uncovered ears and head — my hat lay on the passenger seat too.  Walking back into the dollar store, I asked the cashier if I could use the phone because I locked my keys in the car.   The skinny, high-school looking girl asked her manager if I could use the phone.   I dialed home.  Busy.  Now what?

girl looking up blurReading my anxiety over tieing up the store’s phone and her time, the girl’s colossal black olive eyes looked up at me, “Do you have Triple A?” she asked.

“No.  No, I don’t.”  I didn’t tell her I gave it up years ago when the price kept increasing and they appeared more interested in selling travel plans than providing road side assistance.  Instead, I’d obtained the same service through my car insurance but alas, that information was also in my locked car.  Sigh.

“Well, I do.   You can use mine,” she said while reaching for her purse under the checkout stand.

“I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

“It’s okay.  I’ve been through this.  I know what it’s like,” she smiled, her teeth jutting  from sunken cheekbones confined by strands of fine hair barely warming her bony shoulders.  Pulling out her AAA card, she showed me the account number and phone number to call.  I felt surprised and relieved all at once.

Someone finally responded at Triple AAA and after I provided the required information, told me they would arrive in 45 minutes to an hour.  The young clerk told me to just sign her name when the serviceman arrived but that I should wait inside the warm store.  I don’t know if I was more stunned by her blind trust in me or her thoughtfulness in today’s self-involved world.

“Thank you.  Thank you for your kindness.  I so appreciate it,” I said.  She waved off my offer of a $20 bill even though she most likely earns a $7.25 minimum wage.  I insisted, “Please.  You’ve been so generous in helping me.”  Her wide smile reappeared, and I walked away thinking…

Isn’t life interesting how our needs are met?

grateful help outline

via Daily Prompt:  Meager

Featured image:  unsplash-logoMitchel Lensink

Original image (modified) of girl:unsplash-logoAlexander Mils

Daily Prompt: Gratitude

I didn’t think much about gratitude while growing up.  Actually, I’d say I was pretty ungrateful in those years.  Raised in a dysfunctional family — although I didn’t know that’s what it was then, just that my father would rage at a moment’s notice — we often ran for our lives.  Literally.  It wasn’t until I married a man in a 12-step program that I considered the word gratitude.

While my new husband’s recovery from prescription painkillers opened the Al-Anon door for me,  I couldn’t relate to others struggling with loved ones’ active addictions because my husband already had three drug-free years when we met.  In times of angst, I turned to gardening but it couldn’t eradicate a darkness I felt deep within.  And then I found a different 12-step meeting — ACOA.  For the first time in my life I felt I belonged, and tasted true fellowship.

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Listening to others traumas from similar or worse upbringings lessened the impact of my own.  I now realized my family wasn’t the only one that didn’t look like Norman Rockwell Freedom from Want or Freedom from Fear paintings.  Feeling safe and unjudged, I unveiled the shame that overshadowed three decades of my life.  I now understood my father as a rageaholic and how this ill-affected our family.  (This is the early 1990’s before recovery became a buzzword and rehabs became multi-million dollar businesses.)

Twelve Step meetings — of any kind — frequently discuss gratitude and suggest keeping a gratitude journal to heal the spirit.  My gratitude can be as simple as I’m grateful the sun is shining, for the joy my dog gives to me, or for my eyes to see the beauty around me.  It is a daily prompt in my thoughts illuminating my heart.

A gift of the Twelve Steps is learning to live life instead of just surviving,  existing,  staying sober or stopping an addiction.  Hearing someone share, “I was so busy looking at the thorns that I didn’t see the rose,” changed my life forevermore.  I now look for gifts in unanticipated circumstances rather than see challenges as problems.   The more I became grateful, the more I’ve had to be grateful for.

A few more decades later, I’m still evolving and learning other shades of gratitude.  I’ve come to realize and feel grateful that the darkness of my youth led me to 12-step recovery.  The Twelve Steps expanded my spirituality and lessened my fears to try new things and be who I really am.  I evolved to become passionate about hand drumming which led to my interest in the Tao.  My understanding of the Tao and life grows through gardening.  Coming full circle, I more fully understand and am grateful for all the layers of my life.  As my 12-step friend once told me, “The gift is as great as the pain.”

 

 

The Beauty of Transformation

Dazzling green and metallic blue dragonflies transformed my summer to autumn.  Taking in the colorful, changing fall landscape yesterday amid September temps, I was mesmerized when a silvery gold dragonfly as sparkly as Christmas ribbons landed on my garden chair.  We both sat perfectly still for the next few minutes, its lipstick red mirrored dots on gossamer wings captivating me.

018 My dragonfly

Surely, clothing and fabric designers must get their ideas from nature I thought.  And then my view cast to the maple tree reflected in the pond, and the pathway illuminated from a myriad of golds, greens, browns, oranges and reds that painted the cherry, pear, oak, magnolia and unidentified trees.

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 I felt awestruck that nature could be so endlessly beautiful, even while dying.

But, then I decided to look at it another way.  Just as the dragonfly transforms so does the tree.  It may shed leaves until it stands stark and bare but there is a regenerative undercurrent; it is not approaching death, it is transforming, preparing for another season, for another time, for the vitality of Spring.

My view of the seasons reflecting life — birth (spring), prime of life (summer), mid-life (autumn) and end of life (winter) — has also transformed.  No longer do I see only one life cycle.  Nature is teaching me more about life and what I use to call death.  More and more, I am convinced the end is not the end per se.  Life, for us, for trees, for seeds has many cycles.  I’d much prefer to think I’ll continue to grow and evolve than to die back and out.  The roses return.  Perennials too.  Trees grow new leaves and bloom in the spring.  Again and again and again.

Daily Prompt: Coincidence…

via Daily Prompt: Coincidence

…is a word I’ve replaced with synchronicity mostly after working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way book.  Before that, I viewed coincidence in the sense that there are no coincidences, meaning God has a hand in everything.  And I’m not referring to God of any particular religion but God as in a Higher Power.

When my thinking evolved toward synchronicity, I continued to view things in a spiritual way.   Like manifesting my dreams.  I became more aware and more in tuned to the little things that were helping me along my way.

My most recent synchronistic experience relates to my lifelong dream of visiting Scotland, along with some other recent nudges.  Since practicing Qigong the last few years, my thoughts of God and the Universe are directed toward nature which has led to an interest in studying the Tao.  Participating in World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (WTCQ) has also been on my list but scheduling conflicts prevented me from taking part in this annual international event.  (It’s always held at 10AM on the last Saturday of April.)

But, this year I was free to drive an hour-and-a-half to participate in WTCQ Day with a group of seeming strangers in a lovely rolling green park dotted with blooming cherry blossoms.  (A favorite springtime site that takes my breath away.)  Imagine my delight when I heard the announcement, “We have a monthly discussion group on the Tao.  If anyone is interested please see me for details.”   Wow!  Did I hear that right?  Two dreams come true via one event.

A month or so afterward, while perusing Dr. Elaine Aron’s website for Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs),  she discussed spiritual pilgrimages and the varieties to choose from.  Hmmm.  I began rethinking my trip to Scotland.  I never travel as a typical touristy tourist and having a loose framework of where I want to go, this concept appealed to me.

Then, when I first attended the Tao discussion meeting in July, I learned that one of their mutual friends runs sacred travel pilgrimages in Scotland.  Woo hoo!  Synchronicity at it’s finest, I’d say.  A week later I ran into a fellow yogi I hadn’t seen for a while.  “I  just got back from Scotland yesterday,” she reported.  “Already I can’t wait to go back!” She smiled and I smiled too.  Another confirmation the Universe was guiding me toward satisfying this long time desire.

Coincidence and synchronicity are mystical experiences for me.  My thinking has changed over the years from too good to be true to believe in the magic.   Awareness is the key for so many things, and particularly for unlocking the gifts of this phenomenon.  I believe synchronicity is happening all the time, I only need open my eyes and see.  Then, I open my heart in gratitude and smile wide.jongjit-pramchom-211559 cherry blossom

 

Who’s There?

When is the last time you were alone in the forest

and heard creaking wood?

What did you think?  Were you no longer alone?

Have you ever looked up to see sun rays

streaming through the clouds?

What did you think?  Did it give you hope?