Thursday, May 19, 2016
"Spiritual knowing will never have a written understanding."*
There is a place here in Tucson where I go to stand several times a day under a palo verdi tree. This is a great shade tree with lots of feathery hanging branches. It also gives me a closer look at the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Pantano Wash.
This year, standing under that palo verdi, just after I arrived for the winter, a flash of ruby-red bobbing up and down on a branch caught my attention. A little humming bird was resting there not four feet from me. I thought the breeze moving my large, floppy, sun hat would disturb the bird and initially it did. After a week or two, it began to stay longer. I generally stood about ten to fifteen minutes in stillness. Sometimes, I would do some editing which would extend the time.
I started to play a game of who could be in stillness the longest. Off it would go, yet strangely, every time it returned to the exact same branch, five inches up from the tip of the lower branch, to sit at the top of the V.
We stood there daily and sometimes twice a day if I was home. One morning, I wondered if this bird was ignoring me or just didn't see me. Seemingly, as soon as I had the thought, it zoomed like a projectile past my left ear and in a flash landed back on its spot. Had it miscalculated its flight pattern? But not so, for this past month I have felt the movement of air close to my ear, repeatedly.
One day, standing in stillness, looking at the cloudless blue sky, I was trying not to think, not to label, not even to judge this beauty as 'sky'. I also did not want to notice this little creature keeping me company as a 'bird' -- thus reducing beauty, aliveness and intelligence to mere object.
In a few days I fly back to Nova Scotia, I am almost packed. Standing under the palo verdi tree this morning, a thought, "I am going to miss this little bird but will you even notice my absence?" Ruby-red lifted off its branch and before I could blink it was a foot from the middle of my forehead, hair level, hovering in one spot, then back to the branch.
Two days before leaving: I take my place again, the bird is here. I watch it a little differently, thinking, yesterdays flight has 'gotta be' coincidence. Again, it darts toward me, same hairline positioning but this time it makes a perfect 180 degree semi circle around my head. A premeditated flight plan? I don't believe it. Yet, it is so fun to hear the vibration of wings, to think maybe it is responding and to get a close look at its under-feathers.
I check Google. How long do humming birds live? Ruby-throated humming birds live five to nine years and apparently, he is male. They are seasonal, solitary and not necessarily social. Plus, they can travel nine hundred miles over water without landing.
Back in Nova Scotia: This morning, I miss his four months of daily presence. Spiritual knowing indeed "will never have a written understanding." Yet, maybe, he will be back next year How will I know him? Oh yes, he will be 'five inches up from the tip of the lower branch, above the V' in the palo verdi tree.
Monday, May 2, 2016
Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. Don Miguel Ruiz
I have had several 'big-bangs' of awareness in my life. One of the most freeing and caring things I discovered over the years is what Ruiz says is wonderfully true. "Don't take anything personally." Others' expectations, opinions and judgments I have discovered with great relief are not about me. Every human being is relating from their own sense of self or lack of it, their level of consciousness and how they see the world. Yet, when such statements are delivered they can feel very personal and very hurtful. Worse still they can rob us of our own sense of worthiness as they are, too often, offered as truth.
When I was young and discovering an identity in the world independent of parents and others, I needed society to mirror a nurturing value and identity back to me. I needed all the things we need until we don't need them. Thus, peoples' opinions mattered, most everything anyone said about my value pro or con, mattered.
Another season in life where opinion and judgement ruled was my divorce. Everyone seemed to know what it was about but me. I experienced it as a 'good wife' waking up to the fact that marriage itself was a social institution and not a holy writ. Love and relationship are sacred but the institution, at times, does not necessarily serve that end. Thus, I left the institution but my husband did not come. I was asking too much. Nowadays, people can "live together" wonderfully in relationship, but not then.
Adult parents of adult children also need a good dose of, 'It isn't you and it isn't personal.' This is a great training ground. When we wonder: why don't they call, why don't they visit more often, it merely is another opportunity to learn this most freeing of soul-lessons, 'It isn't about you.' Parents are loved, no matter if they are 'axe murders.' So most of us have made the grade. Maybe they don't call because they are engaged with growing careers, family, etc -- or -- yes, maybe their actions are neglectful, careless and thoughtless. Thinking back, I know mine were, at times.
Thankfully, over time, a freeing immunization from others' opinions has developed. "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."* I love the freedom of knowing "It's not personal." I love others' 'light-being-ness' as well as my own. Thus, my litmus test is when hurt or my value gets a dent, I ask, "Would a 'light-being' which we each essentially are, be careless, neglectful, put me down or make damaging remarks? I don't think so. Plus, my guess is, if I lived with the angels and in my own sense of Presence, I'd feel wonderfully helped and alive after most encounters.
photo source: fotolia. com
* Anais Nin