Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day #77 Perspective

Every year, along about this time, I sit down and read through my journal for the year, jotting down the things I've accomplished. Each year has its high points. You know what my next sentence will be -- the one about the low points, so I'll skip writing that.

The point I'm trying to make is that reviewing a year is a good way to put life into perspective. Just for the fun of it, though, I dug out some of my old journals and (GASP!) saw for sure why I'm happier to be here and now rather than there and then.

Some of my years have plodded along, while others have raced; but most of them had one or two (or more) shining moments. For 2010, I'd have to say my shining moment was the time I spent at the Southeastern Vipassana Meditation Center. A week and a half in silence. Not just no talking, but no eye contact, no gestures, no sign language, no physical contact, no singing, no phone, no writing, and no reading.

I was okay with the ban on speaking, and had no problem leaving my cell phone locked in their office, but the ban on reading and writing just about did me in. I came within a hairsbreadth of bailing out a couple of times. Thank goodness I stayed. There is something almost magical about shutting up for ten days and simply being. We worked hard, getting up at 4:00 each morning, meditating for two hours, breakfast, meditation, walking, meditation, lunch, meditation . . . You get the idea.

The fact that I stayed, went on my accomplishment list, for sure. And out of that silence came my beekeeping. Yes, that's what I said. During the first day's meditative walk, I spotted a honeybee, watched it forage through a patch of wildflowers, and said a silent goodbye as it flew away. Three steps farther on, another bee, and another, and another.

Each day I looked forward to walking the nature trail and observing the bees. I began to see that there was something concrete I could do for my patch of this earth. Something that would nourish me in more ways than one. Honey, yes. But something so much deeper as well. A way to help heal the earth.

I found (and on the last day when we could talk, the other women admitted that they too had discovered) that without ever looking at each other, we began to recognize each other's footsteps. We felt such gratitude to the unknown woman who broke needle-laden twigs from a fallen pine tree to lay across one muddy stretch of the walking trail, interpsersed artistically with dead palm fronds like many-fingered hands. If we'd been able to talk, I dare say we'd have complained a great deal about the mud. As it was, we saw her gift, and each of us began to find ways in which we could serve the greater community.

The lessons in meditation were at times grueling, as I fought my own stubbornness and came to grips with some issues that had plagued me for years. But the end result was well worth the effort.

If I listed nothing else except the Vipassana course and the decision to keep bees, my accomplishments list for 2010 would feel complete.

BEEattitude for Day # 77:
       Blessed are those who see bees in silence and wonder, for they shall find new worlds opening to them. 

One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
       Beekeeping supply catalogs to browse through 

No comments: