November 20: I’m still grabbing bits of trash on my walk to the metro. (Yay Nats!) Today I lifted a black fist-size wedge of styrofoam. Flintstones, I thought. And suddenly I was holding white styrofoam building blocks with the crenellations and slots for interlocking. Each was bigger than our little-girl hands but easy to maneuver. They squeaked when we lodged and dislodged them, and Dianne and I giggled when we squeezed into the fort we’d built. Flintstones? I think that’s what they were called. What memory will nudge my toe tomorrow?
November 21: I practiced my “surprised delight” muscle tonight over piles of potatoes, bananas and pears. There, at 10 pm in a nearly empty Harris Teeter stood Nate, considering berries. I was doing early Thanksgiving shopping after book group, and he was gathering items for a teachers’ breakfast, after work, after the gym and after a high school boys basketball scrimmage. I kept bumping into him. The third time right there in front of the pasta, he threw his arm around me and lay his head on my shoulder. I was on my way to get corn pudding ingredients, but I wasn’t moving. Thanksgiving came early. Sigh.
November 22: An older couple found themselves on the wrong train going in the wrong direction this morning. Desire: Arlington Cemetery. Destination: Capitol Hill. And English was not their first language. A few people tried to correct them, but confusion increased. So I got off at Metro Center with them, walked them across the platform, and waited with them until they boarded the Blue line going the right way. They each blew me a kiss goodbye. And I blew one back. My tiny kindness took no more than 3 minutes. Why am I telling you this? Maybe to remind you of the tiny acts of kindness you, too, do each day without noticing.
November 23: We gathered at Hen House DC (host of Kasia’s first art showing) to write and think creatively about wellness. Our leader guided us through an affirming exercise, where we each wrote an “I am” statement in tiny journals and then — here’s the fun part — released our journals to the rest of the workshop to see what “I am” statements would return. Energy grew as each participant, mostly strangers to one another, scrambled delightedly to leave an affirmation in each other’s tiny journal. Here’s mine. I was surprised how moved I was by the statements composed for me, how well they mark who I want to be, and how universal these longings are in each of us.
November 23: DC dwellers have seen it before, but I marveled afresh at the beauty of the city as I crossed town. Three-story houses in wood, brick or stone stood shoulder to shoulder, boasting towers and turrets conical and square. I saw trim in every medium and color, and balconies, porches and perches. I happily whirled around Logan Circle twice by accident and grasped details I’d missed the first go-round. And the trees. Even this late in the season, on a brownish gray day, the rich oranges, reds, and yellows ignited it all into flames of joy.
November 24: I was blessed today to have a yoga class of one. Sitting crisscross-applesauce for far longer than my hips had ever done, my teacher and i just talked: About safety and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. About David Hawkins’ notion of living powerfully above the “courage line” instead of yielding to force fueled by fear, anger or shame. About our chakras and the gap between our gut-level mountain of striving and the floating power of our energetic heart, a gap that we can and must fly across. And after an hour, my teacher and I “flipped our dogs” and worked our cores and promised to continue our conversation another time (but with coffee, shoes and socks).
November 25: The sun — angled perfectly onto the metro platform — illuminated each waiting commuter with their own shafts of golden light. It was as though God were saying, “I choose you. And you. And you. And you….”
November 26: Here’s a bit of Thanksgiving wisdom from a blog I follow. The author reminds us that gratitude is a way of remembering the past. I love that. Remember the obstacles we rose above; the challenges we stepped into; the growth we experienced because we struggled, failed and kept going; the people who stood with us when others turned away. He says:
- Express gratitude; don’t just think it. Unexpressed gratitude is, in practical terms, ungratefulness.
- Gratitude moves in two directions: it enriches those who receive it and those who extend it.
- Gratitude is a way of noticing the present. He asks, “What small pleasures are you experiencing?”
Read Dan Rockwell’s post about Gratitude here.
And so, Dear Readers, as we approach Thanksgiving, I express my gratitude to you for sharing this journey. Together we are uncovering our lives’ delights in the ordinary (and the extraordinary too). I am writing more, seeing more, savoring more and connecting more — thanks to you. Your kindness enriches me in more ways than you know.
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