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, October 10, 2021

Days of change ahead

Neighborhood decorations

Walking to the bus last week, I noticed this house decorated up for the season. I especially like the Frankenstein creature in the doorway and wondered how people feel having to enter past his scary demeanor. This family also does a great job for the Christmas holidays, too. I have a few friends who love the Halloween season, and since I do, too, I'll be keeping my eye out for other decorative additions to the neighborhood.
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us! —Scottish Saying

Although never having been much of a partygoer in my youth, I still really enjoyed getting dressed up for Halloween and wearing my costume to work. One year I was Dolly Parton (and had the perfect wig for it), another I was Harpo Marx, and I tooted a horn to answer anybody who wanted to talk to me. Another year I was Kermit the Frog. Thinking about all those fun costumes and days long past, it reminds me that I did enjoy becoming another personality now and then. It's been many years since I did all that, having left work behind me, and today the last day of the month of October is fun to observe and enjoy dressing up vicariously.

If you read my other blog, you know that last Thursday I tripped and fell, face planting and hitting the left side of my face on the gravel in the trail. As usual, it was right at the beginning of the hike, so my friend Melanie helped me up and insisted I be seen at the urgent care clinic. I hit right on the eyebrow and my glasses were scratched and flew off my face. The swelling was immediate, along with quite a bit of pain. At first I couldn't see out of my eye, but it was because of all the tearing and a bit of blood from the wound. At the clinic, I was told that they couldn't examine me, since everyone over the age of 65 with a head injury must go to the Emergency Room and get a CT scan.

There was no way I was going to subject myself to hours of waiting in a Covid-heavy environment, so instead I went home and decided to take it easy for the rest of the day. Other than quite an impressive black eye, I have had no other symptoms, meaning that an internal bleed is not likely. It's been three days now, and the swelling is almost all gone, leaving me with one half of a Halloween disguise. It can be covered up with my sunglasses and barely noticeable if you're not looking for it.

Yesterday I went for a five-mile walk with my friend Melanie, as usual on a Saturday morning, and there was no difference from my normal walk. If I don't look in the mirror, I forget that I'm injured. It's becoming all too familiar for me to keep taking these falls, which I guess isn't all that unusual as I get older, but it's important to get back up and keep going for as long as I can. I took a Zoom yoga class on Friday and noticed that I can do all the postures without anything more than my usual difficulty, but I chose not to attempt the shoulderstand, an inverted posture and felt it might be a bit early for that. I could do it today without any worries, though.

What I have been enjoying very much is beginning a meditation practice. It all started with me reading David Michie's series on The Dalai Lama's Cat. The book is a multi-layered treatise on the practical aspects of Buddhist teachings cloaked in the delightful tale of a cat. I have also read several other books by Michie, some nonfiction, and other novels of his with Buddhist teachings interspersed inside a good suspense story. It's funny how something can change the trajectory of one's life with just a tiny push from an unexpected source.

Years ago, I meditated daily, and it's very interesting to notice how much of the earlier experience is still present in my consciousness. Insights keep coming up after just a few minutes of mindful breathing, those I learned long ago. When I concentrate on my breath, I seem to have rediscovered a forgotten resource towards serenity. Since I am just at the beginning of this journey, I'll keep you updated as to how it develops. In any event, I am feeling much more centered and calm about the state of the world. Nothing has changed externally, but I am feeling better and have found myself actually waking up with a smile on my face. How great is that?

One thing that occurs to me on a regular basis is that our days are filled with the possibility of positive change at any moment. Just as it was a lightning-quick change in trajectory when I face planted, positive change can come just as quickly. A particularly insightful book, a chance comment from a friend, numerous interactions with our loved ones: there are so many ways for us to find a new direction in our lives, if we just allow ourselves to be open. I'd like to be fertile ground for affirmative change to come in and make my life better. 

And it's happening, as I allow it. One affirmation I make is to be as kind as possible to others I encounter in my daily life. Being kind is a choice I make every day, and I choose to find other ways to allow kindness to all others spread out from my center into the whole world. Starting small, growing larger and larger in scope as I feel it emanate from within. Can you feel it? I am sending waves of happiness and joy your way.

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. —Rabindranath Tagore

My tea is gone, and I will spend a few minutes following my breath before getting on with the rest of my day. My dear partner sleeps quietly next to me, the day ahead beckons and is filled with possibilities. I do hope that life will bring you some delight today, and I hope that you will be open to receiving it. Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I wish you all good things.


Far Side of Fifty said...

I am so glad to hear that you suffered no huge problems after your fall. I am so glad you are okay:)

Tabor said...

I notice that I have had a number of nasty falls over the years. They are years apart and if yours are more frequent you might want to see a doctor about that. We do lose our sense of balance as we age, but there are other medical issues. I did not know you had another blog! When did that happen? Now I have to find that.

Anvilcloud said...

When I do a certain leg stretch can still stand one my left foot for some time — on most days anyway. Can’t do it at all on my bad right foot though. I.do stumble a bit sometimes when I am favouring mu bad foot. No false yet though. But then I am just.a kid compared to you. 😇🤓😙😜

Rian said...

Halloween has never been a favorite holiday for me. And dressing up or wearing costumes has never interested me. But I know it is a favorite for many... and we do put out a few decorations... a large pumpkin (that the feral cats enjoy climbing in and out of), and some black crow signs on the door (crows are one of my favorite birds). And I do generally make a pumpkin custard pie and possibly some bat cookies for the boys and the neighbors' kids.

So glad to hear that your fall didn't do too much damage and that you are healing well. And waking up with a smile is a great thing!

Linda Reeder said...

It sounds like all is well with you this morning. I am glad for you.
We are making a very slow start of it this morning after a lot of heavy yard work yesterday and then attending a soccer match at the stadium in the evening. It was a good game and another victory for the Sounders.
Today my joy is in having no obligations other than my PT work out. It is a take-it-easy day here at the Reeder Homestead.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. I always come away from your Sunday posts with things to contemplate.
I am also very, very glad that you are well on the way to recovery after your fall.

William Kendall said...

Good that you are recovering.

Arkansas Patti said...

With that shiner you showed on your other blog, you could have gone as a boxer for Halloween:) Though I'm sure there won't be enough left of it by then to qualify. So glad you are doing so much better.
Thanks for the kind waves, one made it to Arkansas.

Gigi said...

I am so very happy that, other than the black eye, there weren't any other issues from the fall! Thanks to you and your kind wishes, I have a smile on my face right now. Have a great week, DJan!

Betsy said...

I'm so glad to read that you have had no lasting effects from the fall. That had to have been nerve wracking. I've fallen a few times because I am clumsy. There is never any real reason for it!

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, I've got to hand it to you ... you covered Halloween, an impressive black eye, meditation, and spreading kindness all in one post. It's pretty amazing and one of the reasons I love Eye on the Edge. :-) It especially makes me smile to see your remarks about David Michie. It sounds like you are experiencing some of the same positive effects I have from his writings. And I want to thank you again for telling us about him. I do hope your recovery from the fall moves along quickly. *Kind* regards, John

Barbara Rogers said...

I also recently read The Dalai Lama's Cat, and loved it. And have been meditating more again. But also have had 2 little falls recently...both onto my left knee. I do plan to see my doctor about that, because I wonder if it has a weakness that I should do something about. And I love Halloween, though I don't decorate for it. Lots of fond memories of costumes though.

Red said...

Falls? I've had quite a few. I have to get it in my head to be careful. I'm used to moving and not really being mindful of what's there and where my body is. I'm working at it.

Margaret said...

Falling is terrifying; I'm glad you're OK. Finding the positive is important, especially as we age.

Rita said...

Thanks. I needed that.
love and hugs

gigi-hawaii said...

I am glad that you have recovered from the fall and were able to go on that walk with Melanie. Meditation suits you so keep at it.

Galen Pearl said...

Sorry about your fall and glad you are recovering. I look forward to hearing more about your meditation experience. I like to try different things. This morning I listened to a monk chanting a mantra. It helped me stay focused, although at times I found the sound intrusive.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, thank you for introducing David Michie. I will look to see if any of his writing is available as e-books or on CDs from our local library. I hope you know how many lives you touch with the thoughtful explorations you do in your Sunday postings. You seem always open to the exploration of new ideas, finding within each something to offer us that brings hope or solace or simply the great truth that we are all on a journey and that there truly is no duality--we are One. What you do and say--what I or any of us does-- affects all of us because each of us is part of the Whole. Peace.