Sometimes we block ourselves off, we put up walls and close gates to keep others out of our lives. These are all defense mechanisms we devise to protect ourselves from hurt and pain. It is not even that we do these things consciously most of the time. Typically it is a habit, hard-formed that we find so hard to break. Even those of us with an open heart can still harbor fears, that we wear like battle scars. The walls, the locked gates, these are shields. We’ve done battle, we’ve had a our hearts handed to us time and time again when all we’ve wanted is love. Today, I re-mind myself that it is okay to open the gate and let love in.
The two old dories sat patiently on the river bank, watching guard over the dory floating quietly in the river, tied to the dock below.
“One day you’ll join us here,” the two old dories said.
The dory in the river replied, “I know, but for now I’ll just be here in the moment. Peaceful and still on the river.”
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where things or people are closed off to us. The response to that should never be a like reaction, to close ourselves off as well. A closed heart and a closed mind serve no one. Today, I re-mind myself that I can keep an open mind and an open heart, despite the actions of others. My mission is to accept and embrace people and things for who and what they are. I cannot change something or someone else. Sometimes I can lead things in a different or better direction, but change comes from within. Today, I make certain that I have no barriers, no “keep out” signs clouding my heart and mind. And so it is. Intent makes manifest.
Each day as I walked along the Merrimack River last fall, there were a few dozen Red-winged Blackbirds singing in the top of the tree alongside the river. They trilled, they chattered, they called out a sharp “chak chak chak” sound, making certain that all knew of their presence along the river as they formed their flocks each evening, swirling about, diving head long into the marsh grasses and Phragmites like some daring stunt pilots dazzling an audience of spectators. I watched them spell-bound as they careened about along the edge of the river, flashing their red wing patch as they veered left and then right and swirled in to the marsh grasses in a flurry.
They were a loud group, a boisterous crowd, which broke the reverie of the quiet as I walked along the river’s edge. Despite the fact that I expected each day to see and hear my raucous friends as I walked, I was startled from my own mind that often spun like the chattering flock of glossy Red-winged Blackbirds. Once brought to my senses I would stop to marvel at the racket they made and laugh at their antics swooping about in the large swath of Phragmites along the river.
Day in, day out, as I walked past their riverside haunt the red-winded blackbirds did not cease to entertain me. It was just that simple it seemed, that nature provided the stimulus to take me outside of myself long enough to look at my life from a different direction. As the flight of a flock of birds shifts and change direction, so too does life. Typically, the clarions of spring, I wondered each day why this flock of red-winged blackbirds had not made their way south yet. They were still hanging on to the river’s edge, out of season, as if they might risk wintering in the cold New England winter.
And then, one day they were gone. I walked the path I always took, I marveled in the silence as I passed by the large stand of Phragmites usually infested with Red-winged Blackbirds. I stopped and listened for their chatter and trill. I heard only silence. The cold winters of winter had finally sent them south, I thought to myself. Soon the spring would come again and those clarions of spring, the Red-winged Blackbirds, would return. I would wait, as I do in all aspects of my life, for change to come.
I sit at my desk mesmerized… The river has shifted its flow and is moving upstream with the force of the incoming tide from the ocean. Along the sides of the river, the water is rippling in an undulating motion as if trying to go against the movement of the upstream flow.
I am captivated by the flow of the river and its motion, seeming so unnatural a motion, to flow upstream instead of down. Yet, every day the river takes a trek both up and down stream, for I live on the lower end of the mighty Merrimack River, where the tides of the river shift with the ocean’s tides. The frigid temperatures of this day have created massive sheets and formations of ice, which stretch across to the center of the river. They are captivating to watch as they move past my vantage point at my desk window.
I think of the river, in all of its guises, as part of me, in all of my guises. I am as changeable and impermanent as the river. I feel the cold hard edges of the ice jarring me from the inside, begging me to reach deeper into the depths of my own source that I might understand the very flow of life.
I see the forms of other life and substances caught in the ice, frozen for a time, creating more texture, forming more questions in my mind. Where did this branch come from? Where is it going? Who am I in the grand scheme of it all. Continue reading
Today, I re-mind myself that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. Sometimes I might feel overwhelmed, as though I have taken on more than I can handle. That is a natural feeling that we all get from time to time. When that happens, I must step back, take a deep breath and take on each task, one by one, until I have completed them all. In this, I become one with the process of going with the flow. I create the flow of my workload and I allow myself the time to get it all done. I often take on more than I should, so today, instead of feeling overwhelmed, I accept that I have much to do and I set my intent to get it done. And so it is… Intent makes manifest.