Today is Ash Wednesday, March 2nd, the day of letting go to make way for new beginnings. I am sitting beside a cheerful fireplace at the food court of a near-by shopping mall, my go-to place to think and capture ideas. At times life presents a rollercoaster of experiences, so let me share some of my recent ones, to which you may relate with your own. May they bring balance in the midst of a time where our hearts are heavy with concern for the people and the dire situation in Ukraine. As we hear of the outpouring of support around the world with vigils and prayer circles, let's be reassured with Mother Teresa's words and know that the power of unity in prayer creates ripples and brings about peace: "I alone cannot change the world but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples." Let's join together and create many ripples.
February, my birthday month, is especially a reflective time, so I invite you to come meandering with me as I share some reflections, chance encounters and whimsical insights of recent weeks that created a mixture of laughter, tears, angst - which may bring to light some of your own:
Whimsical Insights is a third re-write, as the content and title changed with each attempt, just as my life did when a computer glitch meant having a new email program installed and, consequently, a new learning curve - never ever my intentional plan! However, with appreciation for the patience and brilliance of my computer technician, the angst and hours involved are behind me and I can now appreciate the new program has excellent features ... but, I'm still learning!
Listening to a radio interview on the classic 1939 movie Casablanca, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, brought back memories of seeing it many years ago on a plane from Ireland to Toronto, hoping my seat companion didn't notice my tears as it ended. Just as in the movie, a relationship I thought might become a lifetime commitment, wasn't to be, although we would remain distant friends with fulfilling lives, just not together. Would I have rewritten the script? At the time, yes. With hindsight, no, as this month, nearly 60 years later, I watched it again, grateful that Spirit had other plans for my life, that then I could never have imagined. Perhaps you too can relate?
Another radio interview to which I also related was with Bob Mackie, the legendary fashion designer of 50 - 70 costumes each week for the Carol Burnett Show, whose curtain-rod dress for the spoof, Went with the Wind, based on the classic 1939 movie, Gone with the Wind, generated the most laughter ever from the audience. The interviewer commented how Bob had indeed created the technicolour world he envisioned for himself in his youth, and then asked if he was still working in his eighties, to which the enthusiastic reply was: "Every chance I get"! His new book is: The Art of Bob Mackie.
Meaningful chance encounters continue: Back by my fireplace three days ago (for a second re-write), a young boy at the adjacent table asked if I would mind his seat while he took his little brother to the washroom; when they were leaving I noticed the little one was proudly wearing a Christmas hat and was told it was his absolute favourite. Today when the older brother stopped by with some of his school friends, we recognized and greeted one another. * When in the grocery aisle a lady commented on my Irish Aran sweater, saying she also had one ... leading to talking of washing care and learning about the family history of her pearls. * And when leaving today, a chatty story-time catch-up with Anne, the Irish lady who knits the sweaters, makes jams, and sets up at the mall a few times a year. I wish you too unexpected encounters that inspire and give you a smile. My encounter chats continually symbolize a belonging to a greater Community, of being in service to one another ... including dogs and their owners on walks at my park!
This newsletter didn't flow as I originally intended, but I trust it goes where it was meant to with a message for whomever it was intended. Even in trying times, let's take care of ourselves with times of lightness and laughter for, as I was reminded yesterday during a Hospice meditation, we are setting the compass of our hearts (Jack Kornfield). What better way to do it than with the Irish music of St. Patrick's day on March 17th - and, as the legend goes, be sure to wear something green so you don't get pinched by a leprechaun! Especially March 20th, the first day of Spring, is recognized as International Happiness Day, and I wish you much happiness.
I conclude this meandering by thanking you for joining me and may you smile at the illustration of my favourite flower, the hardy little snowdrop that heralds Springtime.
A hundred thousand blessings to you. Until me meet again ... Namasté!
A Fireside Insight: When experiencing happiness and peace in your heart, you are blessing yourself and those around you. By the Fireside with Dorothy ... Into the Mystic, Ch 19, P90.