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Chana Mae

 
 The holidays are about over and once again I went past the point of enjoyment into the realm of overwhelmed. Cooking is not my favorite thing so it doesn’t take long for resentment of spending so much time in the kitchen to show up.
This time I spent a lot of that kitchen time thinking of my grandmother, Chana Mae, who was an exceptional cook. She was a young widow in the early 1950’s and took a job as a cook on a large farm cooking for farm hands. The owner let her have some chickens and she became an entrepreneur with a thriving egg business.

My memories this Christmas had to do with her cooking Christmas and other holiday dinners for her family.  She had to be a master organizer because everything was made from scratch…including catching the chickens for dinner. Besides a big dinner there were several homemade pies, whipped toppings, cakes and candy. I wondered if she felt overwhelmed…if she resented the time spent in the kitchen. If so she never let on, I always felt it was done out of love and she enjoyed it. 

So my memories of Chana Mae in her large farm kitchen carried me through the holidays. I reminded myself that it was my choice to spend time in the kitchen preparing food as gifts.  When I attended gatherings where people unpacked their purchased goods to share (some with the store sticker and price still attached) I thought of Chana Mae and how much time, effort and love she put into her gifts of food. 

I wish I could be more like my grandmother this time of year but just having the memories of her gifts of love-filled food is enough…..and as every other year after the holidays I say “I’m never doing all that again!”.

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Unheard Words

My daughter and I were listening to songs to play for her upcoming wedding.  We were listening to several current songs that were remakes by string quartets.  We were listening to songs and thinking of the lyrics wanting the words to be appropriate as well as the music being good.  She played a song for me by one of her favorite local groups played by a string quartet and I really liked the melody.  I asked about the lyrics and she said she didn’t want me to know because they were “messed up” and not good.

We went on to listen to more songs but kept coming back to the same one. What she said next led me to write this blog. “I wish I could hear the music the way you are hearing it. Now that I’ve heard the words I cannot unhear them.” 

I thought about that statement on the way home and realized that the melody was beautiful to me because I didn’t have the words to label it…to conceptualize it…to make a story out of it.  I could only just hear the music.

As humans we need to label everything in our awareness in order to communicate what is perceived by our senses.  But sometimes it may be best to just enjoy the music without the words to tell the story attached to it.  The same could be said for enjoying life……

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Relationship or Connection?

Thinking more about the last post on the importance of my relationship with Aliveness. From a nonduality standpoint there is the question, “who is having the relationship”?  There must be two or more to have relationship. How can there be relationship if there is only One.

Looked up the definition of the word relationship and the ones I liked most were…. (1) The way in which two or more concepts, objects or people are connected. (2) The “sense” of being connected.

If I substitute the word “connection” for the word “relationship” a new understanding comes to light.  A true connection is not two separate things…but those separate things becoming one. All the different types of relationships come to mind such as family, friends, coworkers, casual, intimate and I look at them to determine if I feel connections or if I am relating as a separate self to their separate self. The second definition indicates that connection is a sensation or feeling.

I realize that most of my relationships are not connections but two or more sharing their separateness. I would like for that to be different and maybe that’s why a connection with Aliveness/Presence is important to me.  Although an open connection with others is probably…. absolutely… the exact same thing.

 

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Reality…In The Shadows?

I was vacuuming my bedroom, pulled out the bed stand and noticed a dark spot on the carpet.  Since I have a new puppy I went about my clean up routine, got the cleaner and rag and started scrubbing.  I did quite a bit of scrubbing and the spot would not come out of the carpet. I looked up to the top of the bed stand and realized that the spot I had been scrubbing was the shadow of an object on the table!  It was the shadow of a fly swatter!  How crazy is that?

I wouldn’t admit to this except that my immediate reaction was laughter and the old tale of the rope being mistaken for a snake went through my mind. But then looking deeper, I wondered how many other situations/objects do I mistake for reality?  For those few moments I was convinced I knew the reality of my purpose ….to clean the spot obviously made by the puppy.  When in reality all I had to do was remove the object producing the shadow and my problem was eliminated.  I wish I could remember that seeking the Truth is just as easy…..

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Tell me a Story

My stories have changed yet again even since last year when this was posted but the reasons for stories will never change.

The Retired Seeker

At this time of year I’m reminded of the time I took my young daughter with me for a quick visit to a funeral home…not really anyone she knew so I didn’t think it would have an impact.  On the way home she became tearful and said she didn’t want to die. Not anticipating this at such a young age, I began searching my mind for something I could use to comfort her that she would understand….the Easter story came to mind.

We were not church goers but the preschool had been teaching the Easter story so I knew she would be familiar with it.  When I told her about the resurrection and that Jesus really didn’t die but came back again in a different form, I could see the tension in her face leave as she contemplated the whole story.  It was enough to comfort her and dissolve some of the fear…after…

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Stories of the Unknown

A couple of days ago I wrote about hosting a rather chaotic party “Surviving a Whirlpool”.  The next day a wallet was missing which contained a lot of important info.  After searching the house from top to bottom, I emailed those in attendance to ask if anyone had seen the wallet during the night and where I thought it had been located.

Most responded with beliefs of what could have happened to it based on what they remembered that night. It even escalated into stories about who would have had a motive to steal it and how it could have been done. Each story led me to a new place to look for the wallet so I spent most of the day searching. On the second day I started believing the story that it had been stolen which led to all kinds of mental images of the crime.

This morning it was found inside a shoe, nothing missing, just lying there waiting to be found. I guess how it got there really doesn’t matter and still remains a mystery.

This incident reminded me that in order to make sense of a mystery the mind forms beliefs, opinions and stories in an effort to understand and before you know it the beliefs become so strong they are perceived as reality. We all had created quite the drama around the missing wallet.

So now that we solved the mystery of the wallet, what happens to all the stories and beliefs about it that seemed so real?  I guess when you find the Truth, you just have to forget about any stories or beliefs that got you there and let them go….

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Surviving a Whirlpool

Every year I host our family Christmas party. We have a large family with over 35 people attending bringing food and presents. I have hosted and attended many gatherings of that size and if planned correctly they can result in some sort of organized chaos.  Not this event…no matter how much I plan, it seems to end up being a totally “unorganized” chaos.  I don’t know if this comes from one of my control issues or if it’s just the dynamics of this particular group.  Since most seem to enjoy themselves I’m assuming it is likely my perception of unorganized chaos.

I try to prepare myself for dealing with the chaos and see it as a test of my centering practice.  All I have to do is find my center and enjoy the show….but this never happens, not even for a moment.  Most of the year I spend time in self realization, self inquiry, meditation and other various spiritual practices…so what good is it if it can all be erased in four hours?

It’s as if I have forgotten everything and am totally immersed in a whirlpool of activity that leaves me exhausted and wondering what exactly happened.  What to do when caught in a whirlpool?  I know nothing of whirlpools but after a little investigation it seems they are unavoidable if you’re following the flow of the river. The best you can do is to just deal with it for a while and then it releases you back into the flow. Doesn’t do much good to plan for it….

“Managing Whirlpools” by Ken Whiting (World Champion Kayaker)

“In many cases whirlpools can be totally unpredictable and pop up in front of you unexpectedly. Fortunately there is a way of dealing with them if you can’t miss them.  You can actually enter the whirlpool and use its energy to your advantage to get through it……If you fight the whirlpool’s current, you’ll get sucked into its maw……unfortunately the only way to really develop your comfort level with whirlpools is to play around in them.”

 Modified excerpt from “The Ultimate Guide to Whitewater Kayaking”

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