touching angel

sitting beside angel ~ d nelson

On the good days
of which there are many,
you’ve still gotten lost in my forgetfulness
or pushed away by my armour.

Often enough now, I’m noticing
your wing’s move, above & below.
An energetic presence
within & without.
Composed of me
& non me, eternal elements.

May your guardian angel,
whatever name this presence embodies for you,
be smiling beside you, encouraging
your smile towards whats
going on, whether it be
pleasant or unpleasant.
May another find their
angel in you.

Sitting quietly, just breathing in and out, we develop strength, concentration and clarity.
So sit like a mountain. No wind can blow the mountain down. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

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Better Way to Fix Flat Tires

super blue blood lunar eclipse ~ d nelson

A friendly visit to young neighbors
socializing brought smiles to us adults.
Eventually, I asked about the teen & pre-teen sitting over there.
Parents said, if heads are down, looking like they are bowing in shame,
noses glued to their cell phones, then they are playing.

I shyly went over and asked what they’re playing.
After some quiet moments, except for sounds leaking from earbuds,
I was told one name or another which I did not recognize.
“What do you guys do to play, outside”, asked I?
They said after being shuttled around, usually, they’re indoors,
“sheltered like plants in a nursery.”

As they continued to poke at their devices
I recalled going out, unsupervised to play.
We’d go out, look up at the sky & wonder.
By the time I was 7, I was out my own,
out seeing if the birdie would
eat the apple core I threw in the garden.
My friends & I would climb over nearby fences
and go play in creeks, in low & high water.

We’d dangle on the old monkey bars & jump on teeter totters.
By 3rd grade we’d be riding our stingrays a mile
to the beach, play on the cliffs & boogie board.
Their curious faces looked up from their phones
and asked how parents let us go out like that
& wasn’t I afraid of getting hurt or being abducted?

Seems it was a different time, back then in the 60’s.
I’m not sure how it’s more dangerous for kids now.
We had no computers, smart phones or 24/7 infotainment.
We got experience & paid attention to our self survival instincts.
I told them that we needed to know how
to do basic stuff like adjust our bikes & fix flat tires,
cause flats happened & still happen to this day.

In this past year I’ve had a half-dozen flats
with each one being caused by staples in the road.
They asked if those staples put in the road make me angry?
Me: “Perhaps they fell off a truck, or maybe they were put
in the bike lane intentionally, I don’t know.
I breathe in and calm my body & unpleasant feelings.
Then I take out the repair kit, patch the tire
and pump it back up.

The flat tire doesn’t make me happy, but
by showing love, caring and understanding for myself
I can show love, caring and understanding for who
or whatever reason that caused the staple to be there.
It’s still fun for me, an old guy, to play outside
& I hope you guys will get out to play more, too!”

Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred.
In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Stopped by Mohave’s Mindfulness Lesson

marveling Mohave’s resilience ~d nelson

Sentimental journey down route 66
past San Bernardino mtn’s snowy peaks
into winter’s pleasant Mohave Desert.
A place I lived & worked many years.

One of the desert’s esteemed, waving residents,
the many-armed yuccas known as Joshua trees,
advice motorists & trains, alike,
to slow down, stop and be present.
Knowing that this precious desert being
understands resilience & fragility, I stop to listen.

See our uncrowded forest standing
joyfully; doing nothing more
than being present for ourselves, the sky,
the wind, the cold & the heat?
Can you do this, too?

By intentionally making time
to be aware & concentrated,
it’s possible to see the true nature
of what is right in front of you!
Can you do that, too?

Seeing the cloud in your ice tea,
seeing the misperception in your anger,
seeing the impermanent, non-self
nature of your self, are all possible
insights when truly paying attention.

Being stable, peaceful & without discrimination
makes you worthy of actions which
beneficially, help other’s survival;
not creating division or rocking the boat
during turbulent, dangerous times.

Sentinal of love

Lastly, the trees reminded me
that they, and other desert dwellers
are doing their best to adapt,
to stay calm despite increased heat
& fewer & fewer drops of rain.
Accepting the truth of things as they are.
Since 2001, the planet has recorded 17 of its 18
warmest years since record-keeping began (NASA).
Calmly, may you breathe in warm,
breathe out cool, dear ones.

Gathering at the Table

Originally posted Jan 26, 2013

Four Friends @ the Table -d nelson

Four Friends @ the Table ~d nelson

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood. -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On our path towards heart’s dream, journey’s value, at least, equals its terminus. These words came to me while sitting quietly the other day, reflecting on a couple of activities attended on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. With a mindful foundation based in joy, non-violence and equanimity, the past, present and future can offer me necessary insight for trying to do the right thing. Simultaneously, I can embrace beauty surrounding and supporting my existence, recognize that I and others have privileges, freedoms and opportunities previously unavailable, and realize that we must stay peacefully diligent to fulfill our highest potential, for liberty and justice for all. Zen multi-tasking.

Lincoln, the currently popular movie, is testament to our continued interest and ties to a troubled past. We’ve come a long way in the USA from legal slavery and overt “Jim Crow”, by recognizing injustice and passing equal rights legislation. African-Americans and other “minorities” are commonly neighbors, doctors, teachers, and professionals which I daily interact with now, and during my public health career. Women have more career opportunities, and not just in housework and child rearing. We even have a bi-racial President, starting his second term. But from a quiet place inside I honestly realize that this society is not close to being “post racial”, and that we all would benefit from restorative justice in our hearts, minds, as well as in our communities.

gathered & remembered on ancestor’s table

At their “Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade” presentation, Tom DeWolf and Sharon Morgan shared about their personal, and quite emotional journey towards racial reconciliation. For years they researched genealogies, visited public records, civic sites, graves and places where human beings were imprisoned, then bought and sold as property. Uncovering dark truths within our living, collective wounds. Guilt is the glue that holds together the walls and barriers to understanding, forgiveness and freedom. Healing in the knowing. Bringing light to darkness. Looking deeply we can see that people in involuntary servitude and slavery built & are the underpinnings of economies in the Western world. Their website offers further learning tools, http://gatheratthetable.net/ .

Reading other’s inspiring words & blogs gives me hope. This blogosphere accumulates endless outpourings of care for self and each other. Expressions offered without regard to race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, or handicap. Our deepest desire for a happy, healthy “now” for all. For a future to be possible. Webster defines empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this.

“I have a dream that little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” -Dr ML King. Although I was young, I remember seeing Dr. King and others marching for civil rights on TV. My grade school teacher was in tears telling the class that the 38-year-old Dr. King was shot and killed. Because of his actions and those of so many others we are all more free than before. Yet, with eyes and heart open we know that economic, health, and education disparities based on race live on this day. I see consequences of these disparities in newspapers and professional journal articles. We all suffer with fear, anger, confusion, illiteracy, or hunger in our house, or our neighbor’s. Violent crime rates are rising. Panic buying of assault weapons. Poverty causes crime. Hunger causes crime. The roots of poverty and despair related to past injustices call out for our collective heart’s intervention, using the wisdom of non-discrimination. This is compassionate meditation in action.

gathering before the earth

“You have the courage to do it [speak out] because you have compassion, because compassion is a powerful energy. With compassion you can die for other people, like the mother who can die for her child. You have the courage to say it because you are not afraid of losing anything, because you know that understanding and love is the foundation of happiness. But if you have fear of losing your status, your position, you will not have the courage to do it.” -Thich Nhat Hanh, from his book, “Fear”.

May I continue waking up recognizing the gift of each moment, while looking with the eyes of compassion on all beings. May you be well, and feel happy and safe, alone or with others. Together we make this moment wonderful, and thus create the potential for a wonderful future, free of discrimination.

ps: You’re welcome to enjoy my chant for feeling safe

Our Dozers of Love

mighty dozer of love ~d nelson

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

dozer vs mountain ~d nelson

If it was left up to me, and you,
everyone would have an equal opportunity
to live a simple, joyful life with equal access
to clean air to breathe, clean water to drink,
food, shelter, education, healthcare,
to go along with life, freedom & pursuing happiness.
If I had my way, nobody would die working,
e.g., reach the end of life while still
needing to work until the very end.

dozer moving earth from under our feet

The common good, which benefits all of us
including above mentioned opportunity, access & assistance
is being bulldozed by those with power, privilege & wrong views.
Funding for our common good will further be eroded by tax cuts
that will likely generate enormous deficits for our children, decimate the currenly impovershed,
leave crumbs for the middle class and gift a huge benefit for the already wealthy.

many new dozers just over the fence

Let us embrace compassionate in & out breaths
to fire up our own heart/mind’s dozer of love
that we better understand the true nature
of greed, hatred & delusion, within & without,
to better care for ourselves & those in need,
to help build a better society & preserve
& protect our precious planet.

dozer awaiting our heart’s desire

In the coming year, we’ll need to continue offering our caring presence,
together supporting needs & aspirations of love & understanding.
Not sitting idly by while decent society gets dismantled one law at time.
Those of us who are actually paying attention can see the direction this is headed.
The forces of ignorance, of greed, of anti-science, of anti-reason, seem to have won.
But, with patience, we have the eternal law of impermanence on our side.

really big wheels keep rolling

Yes, I experience conditions of happiness any time, still
what is rapidly happening outside of me makes me sad, also.
As depression is contagious, let us not be trapped in passing despair.
We can take baby steps of action. We can use our mindful bulldozers
to move mountains of love & hope. There are hopeful signs, such as…
Women & others with ethics are running for office at unprecedented rates. We must vote for them.
Donations to social causes are up. Voices long dormant are being raised.
Many are waking up to what is happening. There’s worldwide support for special prosecutor’s criminal investigation.

dozer clearing obstacles of love

When we begin to emerge from this national nightmare,
we should remember the complacency that brought us all here
and never again take for granted that from those
to whom much is given, much must be expected.
With the new year, may all beings be happy, safe & free.
With our love, may the rights of nature be protected from unwanted dozing.

“The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.” ~Robert Hutchins

dozer taking trees

 

Natural Ornamentation Display

persimmon ornaments ~d nelson

Touching beauty
even in those darkest places
gives hope of what’s possible.

Long nights & chill factors;
retreating deep inside
touching roots, holding firm.

Expressing beauty already present
patiently revealed on leafless branches
clearly seen even by the blind.
Like trees, let us proudly
parade our ornaments,
especially our calm smile,
for the world to behold.

We are children of the earth.  We rely on the earth, and the earth relies on us.  Whether the earth is beautiful, fresh and green, or arid and parched, depends on our way of walking.  Please touch the earth in mindfulness, with joy and concentration.  The earth will heal you, and you will heal the earth. ~Thich Nhat Hanh (Your True Home)

Listening to the One Note

If you ask the cloud, “How old are you? Can you give me your date of birth?”
You can listen deeply and you may hear a reply. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

one note, skilled lesson ~d nelson

I’m so happy being able to still
hear sounds, whether beautiful or not!
Bursts of wave energies traveling
from another’s heart to my ears to my heart.

So, so long ago forebearers
picked up hand-made instruments
expressing what they felt
but could not adequately say any other way.

Some played naturally from intuition
while most practiced at least a little
if not diligently for a lifetime
in order to perform adequately.

one note, conducted

Perhaps we’ve heard names
of truly achieved masters,
or infamous composers & imposters.
Many players go un-named & unknown.

Despite all, together we’re hearing each other;
continuations of long ago’s songs!
We may be out of tune or atonal.
Yet, we can also be one beautiful melody.
May we resoundingly choose harmony
in the eternal key of interconnection.

On this weekend of gratitude,
wishing you enjoyment
& offering this accompanying symphony
performed by a kind, pianist friend & orchestra.