Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Fragrance of Love

My sister sent me a get-well bouquet on Thursday, the day of my surgery. I was a bit woozy, walking around the house like bumper cars when the doorbell rang at 6:00. My sweetie had left to go to a meeting, so i went to the door to be greeted by a gorgeous bouquet of star-gazer lilies.

My sister knows my colors. This bouquet matches the trim on my house. Just looking at all these flowers brings me a lot of happiness.

The scent of happiness greets me every time i walk in the door. Ahh! The fragrance of those lilies :)

My sister is 3,000 miles away, but the fragrance of her love is right here with me.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Blue the Bluebird

My friend Kathryn was sitting in her car in her driveway when she saw a bird fall out of a tree and into a snowdrift. It flapped its wings, but was unable to extricate itself. Kathryn waded through the thigh-high snow to reach it. A bluebird!

She carried Blue into her house to warm it up. Then she called the local vet who specializes in birds. She took Blue over to the vet about 1:00. The vet put Blue into an incubator and fed him some worm meal. Kathryn called back at 4:45 to find out how the bird was doing; she was kept on hold for a while. Finally the vet came on the line and said that Blue had perished while Kathryn was on hold.

Everything we cherish will perish. Even those things we love for just one afternoon. Like a bluebird.

Blue in the veterinarian assistant's hand.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


When i say i have zero fear about this breast cancer / lumpectomy today, some friends think i'm in denial. Other friends say, "You're so brave" or "You're so strong." Strong has nothing to do with it. I am not taking a stance nor standing against cancer nor standing up to it. I am surrendering.

I surrender to Life as it is unfolding.

Right this minute, not even the doctor knows, really, what he will find. He has made some educated guesses. I surrender to his expertise.

Not even the doctor knows what my follow-up treatment will be. "It all depends" on what he finds. If he doesn't know yet, i don't need to know.

For years i have ended my meditation with May i see and accept things as they really are.

Today i see that many things are unknown. May i accept not knowing what cannot yet be known.

No worries. No fear.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Zero Fear

Yesterday, the rabbi asked me, "What's your fear level?"

"Zero," i said.

I have breast cancer.

Notice your fear level. Right this moment.

I'm going for a lumpectomy tomorrow.

I've known about this for 10 days. (See my February 17 blogpost.) And my visits to my local doctor and hospital (4, so far, with another one today) have been stress-free. So easy.

Pain is inevitable; Suffering is optional.
Resist the present moment (the mental pain, the thought
of cancer), and distress arises.

The future cannot be known. Not really. The doctor doesn't know what the follow-up will be until after the lumpectomy. Wanting to know what can't be known is called anxiety and worry. I'm not going there.

Today is a sunny, blue-sky day.

This is what our meditation practice has been aiming at for all these years: Deep happiness regardless of outer conditions.

Meditate today as if your hair is on fire. Your life, your well-being depends on it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Scent of Generosity

My corn plant is blooming. I had just been looking at this 5-foot tall Dracaena fragrans and thinking "It's time to give that plant away." Then i really looked at it, and it is blooming with fragrant blossoms.

A friend, Deb, gave me this corn plant a few years ago because she had become quite allergic to everything in her environment. A friend of hers had given her the corn plant as a get-well gift, but Deb was allergic to the potting soil. So Deb gave it to me. Two summers ago, i divided the 3 stems and gave away 2.

Now my one stem has multiplied. I love the gardener's math of multiplying your plants by dividing them. We give things away, and then we have more. It's so counter-intuitive. More plants and more joy.

And the corn plant is giving me more fragrance. The scent of generosity.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Localvore Bouquet #2

My localvore bouquet of coleus cuttings (from my February 1 blogpost) rooted, so i planted them in a pot. Now i have another localvore bouquet sitting on my kitchen table. I love the blood-red leaves of Iresina next to the Party Time pink-and-green of Alternanthera. This combination is looking lovely next to the last pink hyacinth.

This little bouquet of cuttings from my houseplants is another example of "contented and easily satisfied"--a line from the loving-kindness chant.

I can be so contented with this simple bouquet. Contentment is a state of wishlessness--not wishing for anything different than what is. The comparing mind is laid to rest. I am not thinking of the beautiful flowers at the grocery store. I am not thinking of the flower bouquet on my neighbor's kitchen table. I am not thinking of visiting the florist.

Contentment is a quiet form of joy. Joy in this easy and beautiful bouquet.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Natural Humidifiers

My neighbors are running humidfiers in their homes during these zero-degree days when the air is so, so dry. I ditched my humidifier some years ago in favor of houseplants.

Think about it: i could spend 24-hours worth of electricity to run a humidifier, which would put half-a-gallon of water into the air every day.  (= 3-1/2 gallons per week) Or i could water my plants, which take 16 gallons of water every week. (Yes, i have a lot of houseplants.) Where is that 16 gallons of water going anyway? Into the air in my home via the transpiration of the plants.

We breathe. Our plants breathe. Let's meditate with our plants.

Watering my houseplants just smells like a better idea than a humidifier.
All without the electric hum of a hum-idifier.