|Thich Nhat Hanh|
While I was in Florida, I was reading Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Peace Is Every Step: the Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life. It is a deceptively simple book, but it calmed me and I spent some time thinking about the interconnectedness of all life. I am still reading the book, curiously unwilling to be done with it. He talks about "bells of mindfulness," seeing a red light when you are driving as a bell to remind you to return to the present moment, or any sound or light as a reminder to become peaceful. He is an 84-year old Vietnamese monk who has fascinated me for years. So nonviolent that he would not even strike a bell, he says he invites the sound of the bell to come out. You can see that in the picture. Whatever he is doing, he does it with his entire being.
I miss my sister much more than I thought I would, but it surprises me that I am so surprised. We started our lives together, and whenever we are in close proximity, our thoughts and lives begin to merge. It was so wrenching to be in the airport and start the process of moving away from her, away from our life of the past three weeks. The first few nights I woke in confusion, wondering where I was, but that has faded as I've gotten back into my usual routine and reconnected with my partner. I have also had the chance to video chat with Norma Jean and find it very much more comforting, now that I've spent so much time with her, it allows me to feel really connected.
As I wrote on my other blog, I had the thyroid biopsy on Friday and, although it wasn't exactly pleasant, it is done and behind me now. Next week I will hear what they found and am hoping for good news. The practice of mindfulness and coming to terms with my fear has also been helping me integrate the experience. Today I think I'll go to the Y and swim laps in the pool, hoping that I will be able to add that exercise to my current practice of aerobic classes, hiking, and walking. It will also allow me to feel connected to Norma Jean in yet another way.
In less then two weeks I will travel to Texas to be with my family for five days, and I'll see Norma Jean, Allison and Lexie again. It will be the first time that all six of us siblings will be together since 2002, when they all came at Thanksgiving after my son Chris had died. We will be having a family reunion of sorts, with such an extended group there will be some who won't be present, but the "sixlings" will all be there. My sister Markee is flying in from Alberta without her family, just to see Norma Jean again and allow us all to be together. As the oldest, me, is nearing seventy, I hope that it won't be the last time. It's amazing that although both of our parents died in their sixties, we are all still here. I am grateful.
I can hear rain outside, just a light patter, nothing like the huge rains I saw in Florida. Yesterday, however, when I thought about going on the Saturday walk, it was a downpour with a howling wind. I decided to skip it, since I was also still feeling quite sore from Thursday's long hike with the Trailblazers. Today, after a good night's sleep, I finally feel rested and raring to go. After this Sunday morning meditation, my world feels bright with possibility.