Mindbusy memories

We've been honored to know a few college graduates this season, which made for a busy May. N. had the delightful opportunity to attend her cousin's university graduation ceremony in DC! And we beamed when N. completed her last day of preschool. 

My Dad would've been 78 years old this month. With every special moment whether it's N.'s moving up last day event at preschool, a good day at swim class, or her first day of camp, I so very much wish he were here to know her. Sometimes I wish I could just make a phone call and get his opinion on a small home improvement project. 

It's been nine years since he died. I lit a candle in church yesterday to honor my Dad's memory. 

Memories flood me. Dad trying to teach (unathletic) me how to play tennis. Dad attending my parent/teacher conferences in high school. How he supported my community fundraisers and projects when I worked with Filipino American youth and would make his friends tag along too. How he came with me on my first home hunt (because I clearly wasn't getting married then and had been renting for nine years). Along with my mom, their first meetup with A. for breakfast at Little Quiapo in Jersey City, and my mom regretfully said that she should have cooked a traditional meal at home. 

The thing about good memories is that when our loved ones are dead and gone, we have images in our mind that conjure up meaningful experiences. The feelings reemerge as if we were present at those very specific moments full of love and affection. I am nostalgic. But the nostalgia groove can only last so long as reality nips. 

I go on a run. I reconnect with myself and my emotions. I am thankful to have spent my Dad's dying days with him. I am thankful that we were able to know each other as father and daughter in my adulthood before cancer took over, that I was able to appreciate him not only as my Dad, but as a person too. 

My mind may be busy as I continue to live without my Dad physically present, and I realize that gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart, not in the mind.


Self care = earth care

Am blessed to have participated in a six-hour mindfulness practice today on Earth Day. What a way to celebrate and practice alongisde 19 other individuals and under the tutelage of Thu Nguyen who has shared in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh for over 30 years. On a path toward MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) certification, I've been searching for a place where I can get comfortable and am thankful to have visited at the Mindfulness Practice Center of Fairfax today. 

Housed in a simple, circular and sacred space with large windows looking out into the woods, the center is a most welcome respite. The only colorful decorations were those of 1000 paper cranes and two tapestries. As a wife and mama to a rising kindergartener, it's a challenge to be "on" -- on the ball, on my game -- every single day. So, today was one long aaahhhhhhh . . .  

This morning began with a guided meditatation. To heed this older man's gentle and compasisonate voice as I found my calm breath was soothing. Even more amazing was to witness this teacher's light, his serene face and ever-so-slight smile, as he led us in a movement meditation. What an experience to be in his presence. And our walking meditation as we listened to the the rain fall peacefully in the woods reminded me how each step of each foot on the Earth can be intentional. 

Admittedly, the closing songs caught me a bit off guard. It wasn't chanting, more like folk songs (I am a cloud, I am a flower, I am the sunshine . . . ). The guitarist enouraged us to let go of our inhibitions as if we were two-year-olds. I remained open and reminded myself that singing is wonderful practice for breathing and being in the moment (after all, that's why I did it all four years of college). 

Not a hardcore lunch meditation, our shared meal involved some eating in silence. We each brought a vegetarian dish to contribute to the pot luck. While I'm familiar with chewing much longer and eating more slowly, to do this in complete silence and in the presence of a community is mind-body blowing. What a powerful reminder of how we rush through our meals and indulge way too much. Imagine, samples from 20 varied tasty dishes. What a feast! At the sound of the bell, we would pause wherever we were in our meal, only smiling to acknowledge each other's company. After eating in silence for most of our meal, we could then chat. 

That I am with this Earth for such a short time sometimes weighs heavy on my thoughts. I continue to work to understand how our deeper connections with people are related to healing the Earth, that our personal consciousness is part of the Earth's consciousness, and our human energy is always tapping into the Earth's energy. We are partners with Earth. We must remember as much as possible to act with grace and social justice. 

My everyday mindfulness is an ongoing journey that involves engaging others, caring for ourselves and minding the earth. 

May the sun bring you energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your anxieties, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, & may you walk tenderly on the Earth & know its beauty. 



everyday is a gift of magic
may we be still enough to unwrap 
the miracle of everyday

Inspired by a JC mate who is deeply adored by families and communities all over the world. A mother of 11 children, devoted wife of a retired Air Force Colonel, and faithful believer in Spirit, she is most magical herself. The stars call her up above much too soon. Love, peace & light to Auline (Ello) & Team Platt.