-- Albert Camus
“Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
-- Thich Nhat Hanh
The Best Laid Plans...
As Saint John (Lennon) once proclaimed, "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." It was a good thing that I had used pencil. As it always does, Life happened.
With two Pfizer shots in my arm, and the strict isolation of the past year beginning to disappear in the rear view mirror, two out of my four children reached out for Papa Lance to jump into grandpa duty, including some in-person child care. So, in a couple of blinks of an eye, not only was my weekend scuttled, my ritualized flow through a weekly schedule that had evolved over the past year was up for grabs.
I guess Springtime has a way of shaking things up. What was only a hidden potential unfolds its wings and takes flight. New sprouts push their way toward the sun.
In fact, within a week, a new sprout emerged.
It didn't take long to settle in. (Sometimes, it has taken days.)
During my first Sit at Unity Park, the squeaking wheel of my own internal hamster wheel came to a rest -- and I came to my senses. In the stillness, the Universe made it's Presence known. In the vast, spacious sea of open awareness that had emerged, the world again appeared as the miracle that it always is.
In the light of the rising sun, my eyes and ears -- and heart -- feasted on the gravity-defying dance of the myriad birds and waterfowl that soared through the cloudless blue sky, and the wild array of chirps, honks, quacks, twitters, whistles, and melodies they left in their wake. Then, just before I was ready to leave, a riotous chorus of joyfully clucking amphibians joined in. I followed the sound a hundred yards or so, to gaze in delight as dozens of frogs weaved interlocking circular patterns of ripples across the otherwise-still surface of a sizeable vernal pool. I sat back down, awash in amazement and delight, for quite awhile.
Later that afternoon, I headed out to a special spot and perched on a rock outcropping overlooking the Deerfield River near Charlemont. There, the sound of the river, rollicking as whitewater a bit upstream from where I was sitting, sang as it cascaded over ancient stones. The wind dancing through tawny branches, still leafless, but not at all bare or barren, hummed along.
I returned home for dinner, did bit of housework, then returned to my bedroom altar to sit again. Then, toward the end of what I thought would be my final hour of sitting practice, came the piece de resistance: March's full moon appeared over the houses and hillside across High Street. An excited schoolboy, I grabbed my binoculars and watched it sail through the branches into a clear sky for another half hour or so before heading to bed at 8 PM.
I slept like a rock.
What a Difference a Day Makes
What a difference a day makes.
There, on the banks of the Connecticut River, life flowed on. Like Life itself: everything had changed, yet nothing was essentially different. As always, the very ordinary and the sacred embraced one another in the Timelessness of Real Time -- and danced. And my heart danced along. (In One Love, these are not separate things, nothing is...)
Now, hours later, I'm back home at the computer. In the majesty of the present moment, time and space appear to be merely ripples in the pond. With the sound of a spring rain and the surf-like, hissing sound of an occasional car outside the window, I still feel the Presence. My heart is dancing through my fingers. That's good enough for me.
So, what are you up to? Is your dance card full yet?
I do hope that in reading this you'll be encouraged to turn off the devices and do a Day of Mindfulness yourself.
If you need some additional structure and support to explore longer periods of silent practice, you're welcome to join me on Zoom for "Be Still and Know: A Day of Mindful Practice on Sunday, April 18. " It's not the same as the incarnation of Be Still and Know at Community Yoga that I've offered monthly for the past few years, but it's still free and open to all.
There's more information HERE. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect.