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Best moments

In my book of rules,

best moments were supposed to be

birthday parties and holidays,

family meals and first days of school.

The have-to’s, the should’s

Followed me around into adulthood

In my head, dragging on my shoulders

And tied around my ankles.

I never knew there was an individuation rule

To become my own person with my own

Likes and dislikes, boundaries and borders

defining my uniqueness.

I have been writing my own book of rules

Not my parents, not my teachers

Not my bosses or opiners.

My rules – my moments.

How would I know what I enjoy,

Unless I experience no joy?

How would I experience my truth,

If I hadn’t experienced untruths?

Early mornings when the birds are waking

And the sun has dawned is a best.

Late at night when I stand under the stars

I can hear the whispers of sleeping is a best.

Window open, cool air and covered is a best

Silence within and silence without is a best

Speaking truth and being heard is a best

Tasting food with a hungry stomach is a best.

Every child I have a moment with

I remind them of their uniqueness,

And it’s okay to be different and it’s

Okay to have an opinion – it’s okay.

I’m listening. I’m filling the air around

Me with the messages I want to hear

That helps me feel free and individual

And unique and special.

So many ways to define a best

And so easy to look for worst

A mentor reminded me one time

A moment is in each breath

Breathing in is a moment of gratitude

Breathing out is a moment to let go

Breathing in is a moment of truth

Breathing out is a moment to let go.

A treasure hunt happens every day

Looking for the best

Which moment will it be

That I capture another moment?

If you would grow to your best self Be patient, not demanding Accepting, not condemning Nurturing, not withholding Self-marveling, not belittling Gently guiding, not pushing and punishing For you are more sensitive than you know Mankind is as tough as war yet delicate as flowers We can endure agonies but we open fully only to warmth and light And our need to grow Is as fragile as a fragrance dispersed by storms of will To return only when those storm are still So, accept, respect, and attend your sensitivity A flower cannot be opened with a hammer.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • It always touches my heart so much when you write and speak. Growing up, I never thought I had individuality. My father told me what to think, what to do, how to be. My first husband was like that too, and I’ve had many bosses like that. So the past 30 years have been a journey to find my individuality because, like you said, you can’t open a flower with a hammer. I felt like I had walls up to protect myself. It’s been a journey being with like-minded, gentle loving people to help, to take the walls down and open up. I liked what you said about your own rules. I’ve been doing the same thing pretty much. It’s still challenging at times. It’s okay to be me and it’s okay to have an opinion. It’s wonderful to hear that. I have a son in his twenties, I’ve done that with him since he was little. I’ve encouraged him, done all those things I didn’t get. He’s grown up to be such a wonderful person. And I think, if nothing else, I see in him what I could be if I continue this journey myself.

  • I was struck too in the reading by that image ‘you can’t open a flower with a hammer.’ Although a flower is an image of fragility, it’s also an image of continuing to grow into uniqueness. And then I got into why couldn’t I draw that analogy into our political discourse which is so bitter and divided. Why is it we need to treat the other so badly? I don’t get it. During the meditation, I was also thinking about appreciating the bests. One of my bests during the day is when my cat does a little chirp and jumps up on the couch beside me. Very simple and wonderful and fills me.

  • It was just for a second, but I’m grateful for that second because maybe I can do more. I love animals. Whenever I hear crows, I’m drawn to them. There was a crow symphony this morning. For a second, I pictured myself down on the ground and the crows were flying above me. It really is the moments, like you said, that keep pulling me through. Years ago, I remember sitting on an old porch back in the woods, in the fall. I remember telling my daughter later that I felt that I had been given gold, because three or four times these huge flocks of birds flew by. It was wonderful.

  • I just love the phrase ‘self-marveling.’ We do so much self-criticizing. Self-marveling sounds so much better. I’m going to take that with me today. And notice the best moments. I’m going to notice the best moments. And there are a lot of them. You started by saying ‘the best’ and it became ‘a best’.

  • It’s a unique way to start the day and keep the filter on looking for best moments.

  • It reminds me of a gratitude practice. Like listening to the birds when I first wake up. Look at the best moments, like a gratitude practice.

  • We can identify our best moments with our minds. We can also identify our best moments with our bodies as we feel our reaction to those.

  • A wonderful friend who was a prosperity coach died this week. There were two Thanksgivings we spent with them. Before you took every bite, you had to give a gratitude. The dinner took about two hours. She would give homework in this class. Once in a while there was a 100-gratitude day. You quickly exhaust the big things. But then you get down to these tiny little observations about your life. You realize how many really infinitesimal things there are that you can be grateful for, and really improve your life. I highly recommend the exercise.

  • I learned years ago, when I’m beating myself up, to list ten good things about myself. Right then and there, on paper or orally. You can list the best ten things about yourself. It’s a good exercise and it pulls me out of whatever rabbit hole I am teetering on.

  • It’s wonderful, in spite of the fact that we are all so different, you always hit on something we can all relate to. I’m sometimes accused of trying to find the good in everything but I think it’s a good way to be. I will ask everyone—my sister who had a stroke a few years ago will be departing this world soon—to hold her in your hearts.

  • Thank you for saying that. We will. I can feel the presence of that heartfelt sense of being there for each other, even here because there is no separation of time and space.

  • I was thinking it’s great to recognize the best. And to recognize the best in each other as well as ourselves.

  • In the political divide, everyone’s in their heads. And those that are in their heads and hearts see the divide and see the lack of heart. So many people are waking up in their hearts. To me, that is hope, and that is what I hang onto.

  • I hold this group in my list of bests.

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