It’s been over a month since my last post and I am back riding the rails to San Diego this Monday morning. Woo hoo…. UCSD has started it’s Spring Quarter last week and SDSU is coming back from Spring Break this week. So Spring and newness are in the air. My yoga tape uses an expression of “soft eyes” as a way to greet the day. Spring feels like that – gazing with soft eyes. I love the feeling of being viewed with soft eyes, probably because there is no feeling of judgment. I like what I see when I choose to gaze out at the world with soft eyes. This kind of POV goes hand in hand with another phrase I love to live with….the beginner’s mind. Haven’t you been with someone who is very accomplished, and yet who approaches life with this kind of open, new perspective? It’s such a rich view of the world – even playful. And very energizing. So I hope to join with my students and explore our topics with eyes that can see infinite possibilities of newness…so we can spring forth, with lots of joy, to what calls us out to play today!
A friend was recently describing a tango lesson she had taken in Argentina, and said the teacher emphasized the “pausa”, which means pause in Spanish. If you have heard or studied Spanish, you may know the vowel sounds of the language. (I just love to hear the au sound…the soft aahhh, rolling into the pure u sound, which has such a lovely flow when said together.) My friend is also an amazing life coach and was using that example in the dance to illustrate the way we can pause, being fully aware of what is going on right now. Ah, yes….open to life’s pauses. In my “must be efficient and productive” mindset, I try to engineer all pauses that occur. And then if the pause comes at a time that i didn’t plan….oh, dear. I am not a happy camper.
So, I have made myself more available to the “pausa” this week. At first, it was more like having a talk with myself, when the light turned red , causing me to stop when I had planned to go! Or when Gary wasn’ t yet ready to take Mikey for his walk of the hour, but I was. My conversation was more about watching, observing, and then questioning, such as, why did I have to make the light, or leave right then for the walk. Interesting discover y was …I really had no reason, other than that was what I had expected.
And then, after the Q&A episodes, I started to have a change in my encounters . When little “pausas” presented themselves, I found myself intrigued with their appearance, curious as to what was going on around me, seeing things I hadn’t really noticed, perhaps. I noticed Mikey’s caramel colored eyes, following my every move. And a new small purple flower in our yard that is just starting to bloom, with small bell like flowers. Each felt like a treat, just for me!
Today on the train down to San Diego, I sat on the west facing side of the train down to LA. I usually choose the opposite side to LA, as the train changes the direction its facing in LA and so I like the oceanside views from LA to Solano Beach. But this spot called to me today. I saw so many small parks that I hadn’t noticed before. During one of my glances out the window, I saw a man with a small child on his lap, sitting on the edge of the playground, under the shade of a tree. He had both the boy’s hands lightly held is his and the little fellow was trying to swing the man’s arms back and forth, with lots of energy. And both of them were smiling, ear to ear. I wondered if this was one of their “pausas” for today. What joy! (and it took longer to describe this than it did to drink it all in!)
I love my new awareness of a pause as a friendly gift from the universe. One of my favorite writers, David , the Psalmist, uses the word “selah” often in his songs ands poems. Alot of times , I would just skip the word, not even read it. And then i found a recent translation that says “selah” means, pause, think on this. So I won’t be skipping it amymore. I will use it as a friendly reminder to think on the “pausas” life is so generously giving!
A friend recently told me about her son Aidan’s art project – designing and then constructing a totem pole. She is amazingly creative – a hair stylist extraordinaire. In telling about the project, she sheepishly admitted to catching herself wanting to commandeer the project. What a gem awareness is!
Aidan’s family totem pole featured himself as a eagle (maybe to soar?), his younger brother as a dog, because he is loyal, his dad as a bear (strong, maybe) and his mother as an owl (wise, I am sure!) His brother really liked being portrayed as a dog. So would I.
Some of the best beings I’ve known are dogs. What amazing creatures! They teach without talking. They love without conditions. Their joy is visceral – from head to tail. And so delightfully contagious. My husband was once healed of a nasty headache when he stopped to watch to dogs playing together. (I imagine the playful bows, tongues lolling out of one side of their mouths, grinning and then racing around each other, taking turns in a back and forth game of tag.)
He was so immersed in their joyful play, the headache just left – evaporated in the presence of good. I am in awe of how powerful good is. In many cultures, it’s a synonym for God. I remember what I was taught as a child – The 5 G’s for God. I taught it to many Sunday School pre-schoolers, too – holding their little hands and gently touching each finger tip saying, ‘God, Good, Guards, Guides , Governs.’ And then having them close that little hand and hold it over their heart, reminding them that this ever-presence, called God, was always with them, in their heart.
In looking in their eyes, I often felt they may have known this, more as a heart-feel than the words I recited – as part of their forever being.
I think my dog knows it as well, without needing the 5 G pointers!
Why is it always so hard to start? Harder still when you think about it for too long. A couple years ago I realized I wanted to live more from my heart, and get out of my head. My academic world is all about the intellect, often at the expense of heart-wisdom. So this blog is one way I feel I can be more expressive, more from the heart. I have journaled for years and feel 2013 is a good year to publish or share some of my musings. This week has given me so many different and yet overlapping perspectives to ponder. Lance Armstrong’s chat with Oprah – hard to watch at times. Gary and I have followed the Tour de France for years, and his fall from grace was hard to see. He told Oprah that his wife believed the truth can make you free. That is the thought Oprah closed the interview with. I have experienced the power of the truth to liberate. He seems to be opening the doors to facing and perhaps owning his truth.
We spent Saturday morning volunteering at Project Understanding, helping straighten, organize and stock the food pantry, for the National Day of Service. The three hours sped by and it was a great feeling to meet so many other people all wanting to help our community. That evening we went to see the film Lincoln and it is certainly award winning, in so many aspects. Makes me want to re-read Team of Rivals. The time of Lincoln and the Civil Was has always seemed so poignant and so close to me, especially after visiting the area and seeing how that war tore apart neighbors and even neighborhoods. And when I was in DC visiting many of the historical places, I felt as if those times were not very far away – almost palpable, when I read some of the letters written by the young solders. You could almost feel them just through the veil of this thing we call time.
My aunt called Sunday, excitedly describing all she was watching of the events leading up to the inauguration and remembering how we had visited her a couple days before we went to the 2009 inauguration. And then today we watched the second inauguration, from our cozy warm town house, comparing today to being there in below zero wind chill in January 2009.