The Here and Now; Living in the Moment

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This morning I passed by the family room altar with a pile of clean laundry. As I dumped it over the top of the couch and thought about how I needed to dust, my eyes landed on a “memorial” of sorts for Jazzy. Call me morbid, but in trying to work out how I was going to help my children deal with the transition, I made something to be placed on our altar a few days ahead of time. Just a small, framed photo and poem about the “Rainbow Bridge”. I was too distraught to even create my own poem. Hell, I could barely even do that little bit of copy-paste.

Each family member added something that reminded us of her. I planned on placing her collar and leash on the altar when I came home without her. My youngest daughter crocheted a small cotton yarn bracelet and hung it from the corner of the frame to be charged. She asked if I would place it on Jazzy’s left foreleg before she was “gone” and to tie it snug to make sure it stayed there “through what they, you know, do with her body after”. When I told everyone the good news, she immediately took the bracelet and with a big, beautiful smile on her face asked me to tie it snug to her wrist.

It’s many days later and our altar has slowly changed shape and form, but I decided to leave the picture itself there for the time being (interestingly, I never placed the date of her death on it). I feel it’s a beautiful reminder to us about life and the afterlife. The soul to soul connections we create (or continue) with loved ones during our incarnations are powerful and whether or not the “Rainbow Bridge” exists on the way to the Summerlands is really irrelevant at the moment. But I do think it will spark some creative conversation about how as individuals we feel about the cycle of life, death, the afterlife, and rebirth. There will be so much to talk about, and I’m curious to see what they spill out after being raised in a Pagan/New Agey/Touch of Wiccan/Zen Moment Reminding/Goddess Worshiping home. It should be interesting and I’m bound to gain new insights on how their own unique individual thoughts and feelings about their spiritual paths are evolving. They are old enough now to be able to make distinctions of what resonates with them and what doesn’t. And that’s what I want for them.

I think that some day next week we will sit down as a family and together write (or draw, or paint, and/or collage, etc.) something meaningful about our own personal connection to Jazzy in the Here and Now and create something special, perhaps a small hand-bound scrapbook or something that we all have contributed to… I don’t know yet, right now I am just too damned exhausted. My hope is that it will open the way to contemplate our own lives, the lives of our loved ones, and to remind ourselves of what we take for granted. I want it to help each of us to realize and appreciate every moment we have and every meaningful memory we create in the Here and Now. Because really, the Here and Now, this moment, this breath, is the only thing we know is for certain.

 

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The Accidental Marvel

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My youngest daughter fell off the bike at school yesterday. The class was riding on a gravel path and she rode down the hill way too fast, didn’t see the big rock coming right towards her, and…well….the result was a big, deep hole in her knee. She’s now got plenty of stitches and I must say she was pretty brave. Me, not so much. Now I’ve seen a lot of things over the years being a mom of 6, but when they started scrubbing with wadded up gauze and saline….well…they scoured her wound like I would scour my bathtub. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
On our way home from Urgent Care we stopped by and picked up her very first pair of glasses. I had gotten a phone call last Friday letting me know they were ready but I didn’t feel like I had the time to drive into town to get them. Besides, what was a few more days? She’s come this far without glasses, so what difference did it make?
Maybe the fact that she (perhaps) would have been able to actually see the rock up ahead in plenty of time.
I have felt guilty watching her limp around on a stiff leg while wearing her new glasses and then bumping into walls because her depth perception is off. It’s a good thing she has a sense of humor, otherwise I would have had a hard time keeping my laughter in-check. Shame on me, I know. But like most parents, I’ve learned to at least try and make light of minor yet unfortunate events; for the sake of all concerned, whether guilt ridden or not.

But hey, let’s not stop there. (yes, there’s more!) To help heap on the guilt, her class is heading out on an end of the school year field trip tomorrow that she has been excited about for months. The doctor wasn’t very helpful by way of opinion and told me to use my own discretion on whether or not she should go. I guess I wanted a green light. However, it’s a two hour hike including some switchbacks. I didn’t think the field trip was going to happen for her now. In fact, it was pretty obvious, I just needed to find a way to tell her that.
And there, in the midst of my dilemma, a touching moment occurred that made me take pause. While eating her cereal my daughter looked thoughtfully out the window (she had put her glasses on first thing this morning) and she said, “Momma, I never knew leaves looked like that. They are so…so vibrant!” Her statement, though a tad bittersweet, made me smile. She continued looking out the window, pointing out birds in the distance, the defined puffiness of the clouds and their trailing wisps….and on and on she went, not caring that her cereal was getting soggy.
With her big, beautiful gray eyes, she gazed upon the world with new-found wonder and curiosity. She explained to me how excited she was to see everything in a new light. To really see. She couldn’t believe how different things looked now that they were more clear. Such surprise in how blurry things were before. She just never knew.

I didn’t want to tell her the field trip was off.
My daughter’s fascination with how clearly she now saw the world reminded me of a moment we had when she was two years-old. I was holding her on my hip and we were both watching the big snowflakes land in her bare hand and I vividly remembered the way she would marvel at the sight of them melting before her very eyes. This memory made me pause. If she only knew the significance of her words. How often am I just going through the motions, not really looking at my life as I live it. The only way I really know how far my mindfulness has wandered is when I pause to refocus. To actually look in order to be aware.

I stopped emptying the dishwasher and went over and sat down next to her at the table. She came over and sat on my knee and together we looked out the window and watched the world happen. She took a big sigh and said, “I know I can’t go tomorrow, but it’s okay. I shouldn’t have gone down the hill so fast.”

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My little girl (who’s not so little anymore) has no idea how much she continues to prompt me to open my eyes and marvel at my surroundings, which at the moment included her. To see clearly not just with my eyes but with all of my senses. If I can find the patience to pause and take in all that surrounds me then the better my chances are of finding the strength to pull back on the force of my whirling world; a world that can all too easily become a blur. To remember that ‘shit happens’ but you learn from it in order to move on to the next marvel.

Many Blessing on your Journey )O(