At the altar

I spent yesterday in an all-day silent retreat with my MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) class. Only one session left. I'd set an intention for the day, not to compare it to my past all-day meditation practices at the Mindfulness Practice Center (Fairfax) and to welcome the day with renewed hope. May we heal this broken world of ours, one sacred breath at a time. 
at the day's altar
i seek the Universe's light
to reflect Life's poetry back to me

at the day's altar 
i offer my conscious breath
grateful to have lived another day

after eight spells
this intimate group of believers
awakens my commitment to
kapwa . . . togetherness

i walk through the window of wonder 
with a deeper practice of sacred breath
and inner connectedness


Tucked in that sweet place

I walked around the lake this morning. As I think of her now, I write by candlelight . . . in her memory.

One year ago, those autumn walks are what got me through my best friend's death. Today, I made sure to let her daughter know that I was thinking of her on her mom's one-year death anniversary. I make sure to share a reflection or two in my monthly letters to her parents. And as I connect with new friends, I am sure to mention her name along with a fond flashback. 

I will look at old photos later and remember our adolescent moments of uproarious laughter, the ones that got us kicked out of Jersey City's Good Times arcade and Pizza Hut at Hudson Mall. The teendom kind that leaves you not embarrassed, but winsome. We didn't know it then, but those were the days . . . when the whole world was warm, and we were blessed and lucky. The loss of one of my dearest friends hurts the most, knowing that her story was not finished. 

Still, I celebrate your wonderfully creative life and most tender strength and know that your story continues through all those who experienced you. 

My dearest Ethel, may you be tucked forever in our hearts. 


Connect to what feels good

Halfway through my MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) course, I've been learning to deepen my mindfulness practice. And I keep trying and trying and trying. On days that my mind doesn't quite settle or clear the way I'd like, I keep trying . . . because it counts. 

Every day is full of pleasant and unpleasant moments as I do a body scan. What is my experience in the moment? Am I aware of the pleasant or unpleasant feelings? How does my body feel as I pay attention to the physical sensations? What moods, feelings and thoughts accompany the moment? What do I think as I write and reflect? 

I keep trying . . . to live mindfully . . . because it feels good. 

For me, the combination of MBSR and at home yoga (yogawithadriene.com) practices, forest bathing, and inspirational messages (from Chara at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9b5uvbYoLsH4T0a4xoP4XA/videos) to live from a place of light and love are the magic medicine I need to recover and be healthful.

I encourage you, dear friend, to give mindfulness a try. Have you had a pleasant or unpleasant experience today? I invite you to scan your body. What happened? Were you aware of the joy or stress in the moment? How did your body physically react? How did you feel in the moment? Can you set an intention for yourself that you may breathe, bless and release in every (relaxed or maddening) moment?

In our journey of modern aging and living, let's make every effort to connect to what feels good and heal this broken world of ours one mindful moment at a time.