Friday, January 29, 2010

Awesome Things Volume II

One dish meals. I am a big fan of one dish meals like soup, chili, or a good casserole. I think of this type of food as "peasant food". It's good, hearty, simple food. Soup or chili is especially good on a cold winter day when you are home and, if you're lucky, it's snowing outside and you have no where you need to be. Throw in a comfortable chair, a good book, great coffee and you have the makings of a perfect day.

The best movie I have seen in a while is "Avatar". If you've seen the movie you know why it cost $500,000,000 dollars to make. You must see it in 3D. I would compare it to some of my experiences in the sixties but that might incriminate me and give you the impression that I did wild and crazy things in my youth. It really is an awesome movie with lots of deep meaning and mesmerizing special effects. One note of caution: The movie is three hours long so don't drink too much water beforehand. If you do pick a theater near the rest-rooms.

Mornings! I can already hear the moaning and groaning on this one. I admit that I hate getting out of the bed but once I am up, I love mornings. When I stay overnight at the monastery I get up with the monks at 3:00 AM. Often I will go outside and sit under a tree or in a chair next to my bedroom window and I will watch the sun rise. Without wanting to sound too much like a Hallmark card, each new morning and day is a new beginning and a fresh start. In my experience problems that seemed like a big deal at bedtime don't seem so huge in the morning. In the mornings I generally feel like I can do anything. So, remember...tempus fugit (Latin for "Time Flies). Seize the day.

Those moments in life when you are "surprised by joy". The author C.S. Lewis, famous for the Narnia Chronicles, also wrote a book called Surprised by Joy. I love the title. Joy, like happiness, is not something you seek. It is found along the way through the journey of your life and it often surprises you with it's appearance. Those who know me well know that I am really a Buddhist at heart. The word "Buddha" means "awakened one". Joy does not usually knock you in the head. It sneaks up on you and you can miss it if you are not awake. This doesn't mean you have to be a Buddhist. It does mean that you can't continually go through your life spiritually asleep while physically awake. You need to be awake and aware, paying attention to the world around you, especially those quiet and special moments when joy arrives unannounced. Even if you are not a Buddhist, you can still have a "Buddha Mind". So, wake up!

Snow is joy. Ice is not.

Taking a day off during the work week for no particular reason. I call these "mental health days". I wish I had taken one today. Sometimes it is good to get off the merry go round and let the world spin without you for a day. Most of us think the world can't spare us but guess what? The world usually doesn't notice and it never misses a beat. Anyway, I think it is a good thing to occasionally spend a day with yourself to rest, heal, chill, and just relax. When you do get back on the merry go round, you will do so with renewed enthusiasm.

Being able to "decorate" my personal work space. I consider it a great thing that I can personalize my workspace. I am surrounded by stuff that makes me feel comfortable at work. I have family pictures, a painting and drawing by my granddaughter, a calendar from the monastery, a Grateful Dead magnet, a framed picture that one of my team carried all the way from Ukraine, a Zen Garden, two Buddha's, a little sign that says "Middle Age Crazy Lives Here" and another that says "Hippies Use Backdoor (No Exceptions)". I do sometimes feel like I live here and I am "Middle Age Crazy". I also love it that I can listen to my rock and roll and drink coffee throughout the day whenever I am at my desk. Sometimes my job makes me crazy but when I compare it to many other jobs, I feel very grateful and lucky.

A forecasted snowfall that is scheduled to begin tonight. Wow! It's the perfect storm. Does it get any better than to be in your home on a Friday night and it starts to snow? I have a rare weekend ahead where I have no where to go and nothing to do that requires me to leave home. Admittedly, I have a ton of work to do at home but that's OK. I anticipate sleeping deeply tonight while the silent snow falls outside my window. When I wake up everything will be beautiful and serene. It will be one of those moments when you should breathe deeply and take it all in. Waking up tomorrow and enjoying the beauty will be a Zen moment.

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