Friday, February 19, 2010

Awesome Things Volume V

Not running off the road on my way to work this past Monday morning. I know I may be in the minority but I still love the snow even though we've had more this winter than in recent memory. My neighborhood was beautiful if treacherous. The trees and bushes were breathtaking in their beauty. The drive to work was slow. I don't think I ever went over 40 miles an hour. Yes, the snow can be challenging, and like most people I hate that I have to leave home on such a morning, but for me it's all worth it because it's all so lovely. This season we've had a real winter and I like that.

The anticipation of spring. Most people, even snow lovers like me, are looking forward to spring. It is approximately one month away. Even now, under all the snow, the regeneration process is in movement. Below ground and within all the trees and bushes, the perennials are preparing for the day when they will burst from the ground or bloom on the trees and bushes. In my nearly 59 years of life, this has happened right on schedule 58 times, and I have a high degree of confidence that it will happen again this year. Life and nature are always renewing themselves. We need to do the same.

Zen Moments. What is Zen? Zen is being where you are and doing what you are doing. "Zen moments" is a term I use to describe those unplanned, perfect moments that can appear in our day. These moments are never announced in advance and part of their joy is the surprise they bring into our life. A couple of summers ago I went to a concert and saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. At one point Tom Petty stopped singing and said to the audience, "Wouldn't it be great if life was alright just for a moment"? Well, these "alright" moments exist but you have to be able to recognize them. Life is full of pressures and demands. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of them. Sometimes you just have to pause, breathe, and be in the moment. Using a musical analogy, you have to learn to be in the space between notes.

Today I heard birds singing as I left my home. Can spring be far away?

An open mind. "If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, This is the best season of your life". This was said by someone named Wu-Men. Our minds are often full of unnecessary thoughts. According to Buddha, most of our suffering is a product of our own minds. The reality is that most of our fears....the ones that cause us suffering....never actually happen. If we keep an open mind, we will discover that most of life is good. Yet, we continuously focus on the little that is bad, or we live in fear of what will likely never happen to us. I have lived approximately 21,499 days so far in my life. My estimate is that less than 1% of these days has been really bad. That's only 215 days in 59 years. The chances of having a good day are overwhelmingly in my favor. I try to not cloud my mind with unnecessary things like worry. I keep my mind open and I live life as it unfolds each day. I am reminded of a humorous story of two monks. One was an older, senior monk. The other a younger, junior monk. Both were meditating side by side. The young monk kept peeking at the older monk. Finally, the older monk smiled at the younger monk and said, "This is it. Nothing else happens". Such is life. Open you mind, live life, stop worrying so much, and be happy.

Seeing the ground. Although I am a snow lover, it is good to once again see the ground. Starting with yesterday, we will have a string of 40+ degree days and maybe some rain. This will go a long way to melting the old snow that's been on the ground for a week or so. I think what I really like is falling snow. After it's been laying around on the ground for days, and it's getting dirty and unattractive, I'm ready for a meltdown.

Speaking of meltdowns....

Another awesome thing is watching the Ice Age movies with my granddaughter. She and I both like prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs. I have a collection of dinosaurs that has gotten progressively smaller. My guess is some of them were abducted by Chloe and if I went to her house I would find my T Rex next to one of her Barbie dolls in her toy box.

Friday lunches with my regular lunch buddy. For me the weekend begins with my workday lunch on Friday. Most of the time I go with the same person. She has been my regular lunch buddy for a number of years. We were co-workers in the past but now we are true friends. Friday lunches are different than any other workday lunch. You can see the finish line of another work week. Friday lunches are more relaxed and usually longer than on other days. My lunch buddy and I are very comfortable with one another. We sometimes talk about work but mostly about our families and our lives with the added enjoyment of much laughter because we make one another laugh and who doesn't need that by the end of the work week? Today was especially nice because we went to a new Irish pub we had never been to before and the walk back to the office was very nice because the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the snow is melting. Spring was in the air.

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