It may be rainin’ but there’s a rainbow above you.
The Eagles, Desperado
I am so over the rainy, cold spring weather. I haven’t wanted to do anything but sit on the couch under a blanket. When the sun does make a rare appearance I head outside. The weather has made my mind mush. While talking to my sister, Rosemarie, on the phone last week I told her that Martin was outside burying something. There was silence on the her end until I corrected myself to say that he was planting something.
I even had to force myself to write this newsletter. Nearing the end of the month I knew I had to write it or miss the promise to myself to write one a month. I’m writing it because I want to tell you about Don.
A few weeks ago Ro was driving me home from a doctor’s appointment. (I have the best sister.) I was not feeing well and was more than a bit depressed. We passed the farmer’s market and she asked me if I wanted to stop in. I agreed and she turned the car around. It was a rainy day (goes without saying at this point) but the spring blooming flowers that filled the greenhouse brought a bit of joy to the day.
As we were leaving we passed an older man sitting on the stone ledge outside the store. My sister stopped, turned around and went back to the man. She had noticed that he seemed upset.
Rosemarie asked him if he was okay. He shook his head “no” and began to cry. Ro and I stood there staring at him, not sure what to do. He reminded us of our father; he was about the same age and was dressed like our dad dressed. We introduced ourselves. His name was Don and he lived a few towns over.
He apologized for crying, saying that he was so embarrassed but he had recently lost his wife and he was so alone.
“Everything reminds me of her,” he said. We spoke with him for a while, comforting him. We told him of our own recent loss. We gave him time. We listened to him. And isn’t that what we all want? To be noticed? To be heard?
We each gave him a hug before leaving. He thanked us so much for stopping to speak with him. He told us that he would pray for us and we told him the same.
The entire encounter took only about 10 minutes. But I believe it changed all three of us. Ro and I haven’t stopped thinking about Don. Since he told us his name and where he lived Ro looked up his address and a few days later we sent him a card letting him know we were thinking of him. A small gesture that we hope helped him.
Don brought me out of myself that day and briefly helped me forget that I wasn’t feeling well.
I’m reading yet another book on the Camino, the famous pilgrimage route in France and Spain. I’ve been attracted to books on this topic for at least a year. Right now I’m vicariously walking it with Louise Sommer in her book, The Hidden Camino.
I like reading travel memoirs. I think it’s important to sometimes step out of your ordinary life and put yourself in a location that opens you up. But I also know that there’s profound beauty and things to be learned in our daily lives.
I am in the middle of a six-week web course on Gratitude offered by David Whyte. He is one of my favorite poets and, like my husband, is a man from Yorkshire England.
The last three weeks have been focused on pilgrimage (again, a synchronicity with the books I’m reading on the Camino). Last week he spoke so eloquently on the importance of the mundane and also of connection to one another. Below is an excerpt from his poem, Everything is Waiting for You.
Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone….Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
A few months ago I told you about a woman named Elizabeth who I met at the back of a church. And now I am telling you about Don. Both of these “chance” meetings in mundane settings were fleeting but these people touched me tremendously. What seemingly random connections do you make that touch you?
I’m also so happy that you share this space with me. You are so special. You are so important. Your words and actions are powerful. You are so needed on this earth. Always remember that you matter.
Now for a short disclaimer: I’m not an angel. I can be quick-tempered, especially while driving in traffic. Sometimes I find myself being judgmental. There’s one little grudge that I’m slowly releasing my grip on.
But I try. Every day. And every morning upon waking up I ask that I be of service that day. And I also ask for help and guidance (because I’m not an angel). The power of simple, every day interactions continue to amaze and humble me – and teach me.
Last winter during a particularly sad and trying time, a friend introduced to Ho’oponopono, the ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation. It’s used as a form of mental cleansing and forgiveness both for one’s self and for others.
Use it if you’ve been hard on yourself. Use it if you’ve been hard on someone else. Use it if someone has been hard on you.
It’s comprised of four statements that are to be said and released with trust.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
You’ve heard the saying, when life gives you lemons make lemonade. Okay. But remember that there are two types of lemons – real lemons and plastic ones.
You can make lemonade out of the real lemons – no problem. The real lemons are natural; they have juice with which to make lemonade. Problems, issues, illness come in and out of our lives naturally; it’s part of life. How we handle these situations determine whether we make lemonade or eat a lemon and make our mouths pucker. And eventually, those real lemons rot – they don’t last forever. And neither do our problems, at least not to the same degree that they entered our lives.
Then there are the plastic lemons that you can buy in HomeGoods. You can’t make lemonade out of them because they are not real and because they are not real they are never going to go away naturally; they never rot. They last forever unless you toss them out. The same with problems and issues that we give way too much power too by taking things personally or making assumptions. Think of the problems or issues that you treat as real when really it is you who are giving life to them.
Don’t hate the real lemons for being lemons. You can turn them into some wonderful things. And don’t fool yourself into thinking that the fake lemons are real.
I’d love to hear about what you’re thinking and doing. Please leave a comment on my Facebook page or send me an email.
I’m wishing you sunny, warm days and a fun upcoming holiday weekend.
P.S. Now, go make some lemonade – or better yet, limoncello!
P.P.S. To answer a few questions I’ve received – yes, the numerology readings are still only $49. Email me at email@example.com or message me on Facebook (Anne Greco Life Coaching) to schedule a reading.
And, my book on pilgrimage will be handed over to a publisher this summer! Exciting times. I’ll be posting some excerpts on my Facebook page soon. Thanks to those of you who have been asking for it! And (fingers crossed), next summer I’ll be offering retreats to two of the sites featured in the book – Glastonbury, England and Rome!