Friday, April 23, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
A few years ago I found myself struggling with back pain. Doing some research I found that IKEA made a sensible reading chair that supported the lower back while holding everything else in a comfortable way. We positioned the chair with the window light behind and the gas fireplace nearby for cold or rainy mornings. Sitting in this chair and having a cup of tea is one of life's deep pleasures. Currently I am preparing for a trip to Sedona, Arizona to study watercolor with Jeanne Carbonetti. Her style is wildly colorful. I look forward to learning how to play with color in an expansive way
Sitting in this chair returns me to my true self.
Monday, April 12, 2010
This sturdy yellow bowl is today's object of respect. It comes from the San Francisco CAFE GRATITUDE. Rimming the interior of the bowl are the words: "What are you grateful for?" I uncover this query whenever I get to the bottom of a hearty bowl of miso soup or a rice bowl drenched in peanut sauce. (My husband contends that cardboard would taste good covered in peanut sauce.)
But I don't need to be at the bottom of a one dish meal to ask and answer this question. If you attend to life carefully it is hard not to be virtually overwhelmed with appreciation for the people and things of this world that serve us and make our own daily life possible and often, easy.
I've written about this in my book, Improv Wisdom in the chapter titled: "Wake Up to the Gifts." When we fail to notice the gifts it is likely that we are in the grip of our natural self-centeredness. When it occurs to me that "it is not about me" I am able to see how densely Reality is supporting me all the time. Cultivating an eye that looks at the world gratefully may be the single most potent vitamin for the happy and satisfied life. Even the stuff that drives us crazy can be torqued to reveal a gift.
I am grateful for so much. I am grateful for this moment when my eyes can see, when my limbs allow me to type, when my mind seems to be functioning normally and I can parse sentences. I am grateful to Google for the technology of the Blogger that allows me to put these ideas together easily and post them "out there" for anyone to see. I am grateful for the rain today which is helping the plants to grow and is washing off the needles of the pine outside my window. I am grateful for problems to solve, for laundry to do, for the time I have to reflect upon my life.
And, by the way, the Cafe Gratitude has wonderful food if you are in the San Francisco area. Stop in for a meal or to buy a bowl with the words: "What are you grateful for?" in the bottom. Or simply etch these words in your heart and let them appear when you look at anything carefully.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
“Everyday life is the way.”
A wonderful PBS program on “The Life of the Buddha” reminded me of this central tenet of Buddhist thought: The path to wisdom is found in our ordinary activities, in the way we make our meals and fold the laundry, sweep the steps and feed the cat. I know this, and I forget. I want to live this truth and also to reflect upon it. Starting today I vow to spend some time each day to consider this.
I plan to choose an everyday object to start the conversation.
On this “Day 1” of my project I picked my favorite teacup. This cup was made by the potter, Sandy Kreyer . It is beautifully made, exceedingly strong. The enamel finish is thick and shiny. It is not prone to chip or crack and feels good as I hold it. It is a sturdy cup and deep. The hand painted design is lovely. Each time I use it filled with Earl Grey tea with milk and sweetener I can't help but smile. Such beauty arouses my pleasure. Form, color and function join to bring me a happy moment not only while drinking the tea and holding the cup, but also when washing it or hanging it on a hook in the kitchen.
There are so many objects in my world that stand ready to serve me and to delight my senses. I've never noticed the teacup complaining when I leave it dirty on the side table. It "lives" (if you will) to serve me. So it is fitting that I treat it with respect and consideration. It even makes sense to me to thank it. "Thank you, teacup, you are always there for me." And, thank you, Sandy Kreyer, for sitting at your wheel to make this cup.
Begin to look around and notice the objects that are "there" for you.