I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Love is in the air

Rose quartz
I've certainly seen a lot of pink like this color around the past week, Valentine's week. Friday was the actual day, but it bled out into the surrounding days with all the beautiful flowers in the stores, the boxes of candy begging you to buy them (which I didn't), the lovely color bringing smiles to my face.

In yoga, our instructor read us a short parable at the beginning of the class. It was about someone walking along a sidewalk and seeing what looked to be a piece of rose quartz. So pretty! She stopped to pick it up and realized that it didn't feel right: it was too light and spongy, and then she realized it was just a piece of styrofoam litter. She dropped it, disgusted that it was not what she thought it was.

Nothing in the piece of detritus had changed, only her perception of it.When she thought it was something of value, she wanted it. But when she realized what it was, she dismissed it. How much our perception of things can change in just the twinkling of an eye. It got me to thinking about how I can change my own situation just by looking at it differently. When I'm getting ready to go outdoors and walk in the rain, I can be happy that I have all the right gear, or I can grouse about the endless precipitation.

It's the same for my physical situation: I can be happy that I am able to walk briskly, no matter the weather, or I can focus on that pesky ankle that hurts if I move it the wrong way. When I look in the mirror, I can see only the wrinkles and grey hair, or I can see a vibrant and healthy old lady. I can transform everything with a smile and a quick attitude adjustment. It helps to have friends and family to laugh with, and share humorous and uplifting stories with each other. Perception is everything.

My friend John is a good lesson for me. Yesterday at the coffee shop, I asked him about his brothers who both had developed prostate cancer and survived. What treatment did they choose, I asked. He doesn't know, he never asked them. Tomorrow John sees the urologist to make some decisions about treatment of his moderately aggressive cancer. Frankly, I cannot get my head around his cavalier approach, but it must be working for him. He isn't worried and doesn't seem very concerned. (I didn't tell him I researched it all and had my opinions about what he should do. Why mess with his perception that everything will be fine?)

Or maybe it's all an act. Perhaps he's really worried and being a typical male, doesn't want to get into it. He knows I care about him and perhaps he's thinking he's protecting me. I am continually amazed at how much he means to me, this coffee shop buddy who has become a dear friend, not just any old acquaintance, but a true friend. When I think of my first impression of him, that he was probably just an old redneck truck driver with nothing much going on upstairs, I feel myself blush with embarrassment at how wrong I was. He hasn't changed, but I have. I feel real affection when I look at him these days. And I'm worried for him.

Yesterday, when I was checking out Facebook, I saw that another friend had posted something from a website called Fractal Enlightenment. It really resonated with me, and so of course I joined up. Here's the wonderful story that she shared:

Kafka (1883–1924), who never married and had no children, was strolling through Steglitz Park in Berlin, when he chanced upon a young girl crying her eyes out because she had lost her favorite doll. She and Kafka looked for the doll without success. Kafka told her to meet him there the next day and they would look again.

The next day, when they still had not found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter "written" by the doll that said, “Please do not cry. I have gone on a trip to see the world. I'm going to write to you about my adventures."

Thus began a story that continued to the end of Kafka’s life.

When they would meet, Kafka read aloud his carefully composed letters of adventures and conversations about the beloved doll, which the girl found enchanting. Finally, Kafka read her a letter of the story that brought the doll back to Berlin, and he then gave her a doll he had purchased. “This does not look at all like my doll," she said. Kafka handed her another letter that explained, “My trips, they have changed me." The girl hugged the new doll and took it home with her. A year later, Kafka died.

Many years later, the now grown-up girl found a letter tucked into an unnoticed crevice in the doll. The tiny letter, signed by Kafka, said, “Everything you love is very likely to be lost, but in the end, love will return in a different way."

Here I am on my Sunday morning, with a new subscription to enjoy every day, and a post almost finished. I'm feeling pretty fortunate to have so much love surrounding me, and my dear partner sleeping quietly next to me. I'm sending him lots of love, encircling him with my love and respect. I'm glad to be able to sit in front of my computer every Sunday morning and open up to the universe and let it flow through me. I am also sending love and gratitude your way, too, can you feel it? Until we meet here again next week, I am hoping that you will have a loved-filled wonderful period ahead. Be well until then.


Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Yes love comes in so many ways. And your friend maybe not fearing his cancer is good for fear changes our body chemistry and hinders healing. I am hopeful he will get better. I no longer use Fcbk as I found it to be to invasive to my privacy. I loved it before it became commercial and loaded with falsehoods.. Both my girls also gave it up. Have a happy week. My guys are a bit moody so I will have a challenging week but they are my loves so it is okay.

gigi-hawaii said...

I hope John recovers from the cancer. It is not fun to undergo treatment. Your story about Kafka brought tears to my eyes. How nice of him to do this for that little girl.

Linda Reeder said...

Thanks for sharing this story and for sharing your love.

Marie Smith said...

Wishing your friend the best in the week ahead. I accompany my friend for a surgery on Tuesday. She will know more after that.

Elephant's Child said...

Add me to the list of people wishing nothing but good things for John.
A friend sent me the Kafka story a few days ago. I loved it then, reread it, and love it still. Thank you - and him.

Frank said...

What a thoughtful, lovely story about a very compassionate man. What if all of us had a friend like Kafka?

William Kendall said...

I had not heard that story about Kafka.

ApacheDug said...

I always look forward to your Sunday shares... I enjoyed the Kafka story as well (gosh how kind & creative) and please keep us posted on your friend John. I didn't leave a comment on your post last week, but very much enjoyed it & the photo of your coffeeshop family.

Galen Pearl said...

Those are ALL such good stories. I laughed about first impressions. When my kids were little I met a young woman who was introduced to me as a potential babysitter. She was dressed in black with lots of tattoos and chains and piercings and heavy boots. Oh no, I thought, this person should NOT be around children. As you can guess, she became the best babysitter ever, a trusted advice giver, and the person whose coolness made my daughter VERY popular when the sitter picked her up from school. Ha!

Arkansas Patti said...

Lots to chew on here today. Many times I have been totally fooled by first impressions both ways. Try not to form quick opinions these days.
The story about Kafka was so sweet. I was smiling along till he died and that saddened me. But the note he secretly left her brought back the smile.
John's attitude may be good medicine in itself. My nephew just went through colon cancer, had a positive, almost cavalier attitude through out even though he will be on a bag the rest of his life. He was just cleared completely of all cancer.

Gigi said...

Changing your perception of a situation will indeed change your attitude. It's just catching yourself and doing a u-turn. I loved the story about Kafka - what a beautiful and kind thing to do for that child.

Sending lots of love across the internet to you and prayers for John.

Red said...

You have a very up beat post today. Our perception matters greatly. Men tend to look on the glass half full when it concerns themselves.

Anvilcloud said...

This is certainly the best ost that I have read in awhile with the parable, the story, and your own reflections.

Tabor said...

That was most restorative. I thank you very much. I had heard that Kafka story just a few months ago,but forgotten it. Itis truly lovely and shows how we can change the lives of strangers with such simple acts of kindness.

Frank said...

But I want to know how that love will return to me. In a different way?

Far Side of Fifty said...

What a wonderful story about the doll.
Men can be so difficult about health care, I hope Johns Dr has a good plan for him. Sometimes I wonder when you get past a certain age if the Drs really care? Just a thought:(

Friko said...

Weird, now I can.
I’ve just left a comment on your other blog because there was some kind of blockage here.
I will repeat how wonderful I think your attitude is and how much of an inspiration you are to me.

As for the cancer, my husband was told by his urologist that most men die WITH prostate cancer, but not necessarily OF it. It’s an old man’s ailment (presumably your friend is an elderly gent?) which most of them get if they grow old enough.

I love the Kafka story, so heart warming.

Rita said...

Oh, yes! yes! yes! Perception and state of mind makes all the difference! Wishing your friend, John, the very best.

I LOVED the Kafka story!! It brought a tear...of joy.

Yes, I could feel it...right through my laptop. :) :)

Agnieszka Mikołajczyk said...

You are a beautiful healthy woman, your smile is radiant throughout your blog writing.
for a friend it is worth praying if it will be the will of the Lord Jesus that he will recover. Prayer should be filled with faith in healing power. Greetings, Agnieszka

Bathwater said...

That is a very interesting story about Kafka and you are right, like your yoga instructor said. So much is shaped by how we see it.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, thank you for this posting. It said what I needed to hear . . . and act on . . . today and every day hence. I'm trying to live in the moment. And the moments I read your posting so encouraged me and motivated me. Thank you again. Peace.