"Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear." -Pema Chodron, from Offerings, Buddhist wisdom for everyday life by Danielle and Olivier Follmi
This is the entry for today's date. Somehow, each day, this gem of a book seems to have the perfect nugget of truth for me, day after day, year after year.
This simple, but profoundly wise collection of spiritual wisdom helps to keep me balanced and focused when the world seems to be spinning out of control. Each meditational message is accompanied by a soothing, often colorfully thought-provoking snapshot of life by the official photographers of the Dalai Lama.
This treasure was an unexpected gift from my good friends Joan and CO. Thanks guys. Peace.
I will be happy forevever
Nothing will hinder me
I will walk with beauty before me
I will walk with beauty behind me
I will walk with beauty below me
I will walk with beauty above me
I will walk with beauty around me
My words will be beautiful
Words have incredible power. Surround yourself with beautiful words. Surround the ones you love with them. The words we speak and read imprint themselves on our psyches.
Give the world beauty and it always comes back to you...in ways you least expect.
My treasured friend, Sarah, gives the gift of beautiful words to everyone that touches her life. I am fortunate to be one of them. It is no surprise that the gift of theNavajo Prayer, inscribed in pure silver, came to me from her. They have inspired me again and again, especially when the horizon seems dark. Sarah, you rock!
Look at that face! Yikes...he has so much character it's almost criminal. This little guy's life has been dramatically altered by every human that has been committed to his survival and success shortly after he came into this world. He bounded into my life this past Christmas with a joyous energy that has forever changed me.
This irrascible little fellow started his life in a bad puppy mill. His mother and other siblings succumbed to Parvo. Parvo is viral and a merciless killer, especially among puppies. Untreated, it means almost certain death.
Red #5 (his first given name) was fortunate from early on, as he was rescued by a wonderful veterinarian. She removed him from a toxic environment, quarantined him and administered anti-viral medication. He was given nutritious food and lots of fluid, but most importantly, a love and commitment that comes only from compassionate kindness. The vet took on responsibilty not only for his survival, but his happiness. He became the darling of the clinic that saved his life.
After being fostered in several homes that were not ideal for his nervous energy and temperament, Regiment(his second given name) came home with us. His behavior was not ideal. He peed everywhere. He cowered at every loud noise and yelped as if he was being beaten if he was reprimanded. He was underweight and anxiety-ridden. But even with all of these bad habits, he was so sweet and loving, I couldn't resist him.
Redmund (his third and final given name) has thrived in our pack. We have old, quiet dogs and we live a quiet, steady life. He has shed his bad habits and put on weight. He keeps an aging household young and vibrant as he tears around looking for fun and food. He nestles right down into our puppy pile and rests with the old guys until his next adventure.
How lucky can you get? He is a treasure in every sense of the word. He is treasured and I think he knows it...
"No matter what happens, always keep your childish innocence, it's the most important thing." -Signora Ragazzi, from the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun
I'm not sure who is more enchanting, the sweet-faced boy perched jauntily on a Bavarian fence or the plucky raven jabbering at him from above. This small enduring tale is told and retold without a word. Carved postures and painted expressions capture the universal spirit of childhood. We can easily enter the scene created by a Hummel and be transported into a child's world. We feel the excitement and wonder of that moment as if it were our own. It is brilliant and timeless. No wonder these little porcelain vignettes are so collected and cherished.
Mischief Maker. This is the only Hummel I own. 1960 is carved on the bottom. The birthday of its creation. It was once owned by a collector. Then it was inherited by my dear friend. She wanted me to share in her family's gift - so she chose this precious little gem just for me. What a journey it has had already! Someday I will pass it on to one of my children or grandchildren. Who knows how long it will live on or where in the world it will make its debut again and again.
Mischief Maker. I smile at the name of this little Hummelkind ( my own word, I think). I know my treasured friend chose this little boy and his avian companion because it reminded her of me. I have been surrounded by boys all of my life. I am of German descent. I am known to stir up a little mischief now and again. The raven speaks to me on so many primal levels - his is a spirit that embodies playful behavior, intelligence and adaptability. The raven is revered the world over. He is a central character in almost every culture. The raven represents a prophet, a trickster, a creator God, even a shadowy translator between the living and the dead.
This treasure tells me something different everytime I look at it. As my life changes and I grow and morph within its boundaries I realize my perspective toward the little scene it depicts changes also. But above all things, it represents an enduring friendship. Thank you, Pam, for loving me enough to share this treasure with me. Let's make a little mischief...
A photo sent to me recently has had an unexpected effect. It was taken sometime in the 1920's. It has that nostalgic sepia tone to it, the kind that seems like it should evoke a memory, a history. The woman in the picture is sweetly beautiful. Her face speaks to me of strength and innocence. She must have been in her twenties, but the spirit that shines through to the photographer's lens is infinitely older. Something in her eyes and the enigmatic set of her Mona Lisa smile tells us about her depth and intuitive wisdom.
M. May Buchanan was my paternal grandmother. She died two years before I was born. She was only 51.
My parents divorced when I was a toddler. I returned to Germany with my mother to live with Oma and Opa in Berlin. Distance and circumstance in a little girl's life - my relationship with my father ended before it ever had a chance to develop. Years later, at twelve, my birth father contacted me and wrote a few letters, but by then, I had become another man's child. I had already absorbed his family and his history as part of my own.
I'm not sure I'll ever understand how I lost my real father's family. My early history was too dark and tangled to safely plunge its secrets. For me, it was probably simple survival that kept me from knowing too much truth. My damaged psyche could only deal with the daily dysfunction I already lived within - another family could only add to that burden and pain. It never occured to me that this family, my birth family, one I never knew, could have helped me. So I chose not to open too many doors to them. Life went on as I knew it.
My father's sister, Louise, never gave up on me. Through these many years she has always managed to find me on my birthday. Each year, I could always count on birthday wishes and tidbits of information about her family, my father's family, my family. I couldn't bring myself to embrace them, but I still hungered for their particular history. I love my Aunt Louise for keeping me in the loop even when it seemed like I didn't want to be in it. She loved me enough to send me a picture of her mother, May.
I look at my grandmother's photo daily now. I wished that I had known her, been a part of her everyday life, as she is part of mine now. She looks like a kindred spirit, a person I would choose to hang out with. A kind woman. A woman who loved her family and cherished her friends.
May Buchanan, a woman I never knew, is a treasure recently unearthed. I didn't seek her out, she came to me through the love of her daughter, Louise.
There was a time we worried Eric's heart would not last. It was damaged, hardly functional. The word transplant became part of our family vocabulary. It wasn't until my brother made a conscious choice to heal, that his heart mended He had to give his heart to others instead of selfishly counting every beat only for himself. I don't need to list the lifestyle changes he had to make. We all know them. Sometimes good health is simply a decision. Change the unhealthy patterns in your life and your body responds. Thank goodness that is all it took.
I collect hearts. I have done this as long as I can remember. Heart-shaped stones, shells, artwork, leaves, jewelry. Odd hearts from unexpected sources are my favorite. Sometimes I search them out, but more often than not they find their way to me.
The irony of this has only recently occured to me. Almost every member of my family has succombed to heart disease. I keep a close watch on the health of my heart, but at the same time wear it daringly on my sleeve. I have survived heartbreak many times. This has both strengthened and weakened my heart. I accept the fact that most likely, my heart will be my demise. That's okay. It is what it is.
This week a package arrived from my brother. Inside was the most exquisite heart! Cerulean blue. So blue it makes everything else seem pale. It captures light and holds it within. It's not quite the shape of a traditional heart, it hints of an anatomical heart. It is lovely. It was designed by Paloma Picasso for Tiffany & Co. How wonderful and serenpidipitous! A gift for no reason, except that he loves me and this treasure spoke to him of me.
My brother captured the essence of who I am on so many levels with his amazing gift. If I were to choose a a blue that describes me, this heart emanates it. The shape is just untraditional enough, like me. It has a history and successful designer. It has value beyond the intrinsic.
I begin this particular journey by honoring my brother, Eric. This blog starts with him. A man that sends me a gift on his birthday. He is the treasure. The heart he found for me is really his heart, the one he chose to hang on to. Thank you. Happy Happy Birthday, Eric!