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Archive for June, 2011

“For Fathers….”

Here are two fathers–my husband and my Dad. In so many ways, cut from the same cloth. This could be my Dad elaborating on the definition of  the 250 point word that he has just invented, laid out on the Scrabble board with absolute authority and is daring my husband to challenge. That look of bemused skepticism on my husband’s face embodying his fondness, momentary self-doubt and internal calculations–could it possibly BE a word? Or maybe they’re discussing a wager on the next football game. My father defending his position that he can only take the Navy team if my husband will give him two touchdowns. Of course, with complete seriousness, he will fabricate the article that he read last week on some random sports page saying that Navy will definitely lose by, not two, but three touchdowns! They’ve been exchanging the same dog-eared $5.00 bill for years now, betting on football and basketball–the two sports that my father played in college. It took more than a few years for my husband to catch on to this art of negotiation. To develop the capacity to make a ridiculous offer with a straight face.

I love them both and what I appreciate is their generosity, their dedication to family, their determination and their playful spirit. My father, who will be 88 next week said yesterday that, “…nothing can keep me down! I’m not going to just fade away!” Today, I celebrate these wonderful men and all fathers everywhere. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!

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“So how do we celebrate impermanence, suffering, and egolessness in our everyday lives? When impermanence presents itself in our lives, we can recognize it as impermanence. We don’t have to look for opportunities to do this. When your pen runs out of ink in the middle of writing an important letter, recognize it as impermanence, part of the whole cycle of life. When someone’s born, recognize it as impermanence. When someone dies, recognize it as impermanence. When your car gets stolen, recognize it as impermanence. When you fall in love, recognize it as impermanence, and let that intensify the preciousness. When a relationship ends, recognize it as impermanence. There are countless examples of impermanence in our lives every day, from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep and even while we’re dreaming, all the time. This is a twenty-four hour a-day practice. Recognize impermanence as impermanence.”

– PEMA CHODRON –

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On May 23, my sweet friend Marja departed from this life. She was courageous, graceful, thoughtful and humble. A deeply spiritual woman–mother, sister, daughter, wife, friend. She let go gradually and, in the process, she brought together a community. She planned her own memorial service which included a farewell letter to all who were assembled to celebrate her life. Her message was embodied in her son’s performance of “Let it Be.”

I have entered the time of life when good-byes are increasing. When the reality of impermanence is inescapable. When I am learning more and more how to love what is mortal and when the time comes, to let it go.

IN BLACKWATER WOODS

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

– MARY OLIVER –

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