Everything still counts
I was inspired to visit this concept – everything counts – after a really enjoyable birthday weekend with two of my sisters and one of my sisters-in-law, M, and my younger brother. We talked non-stop, as we are inclined to do in my family, about everything under the sun: getting older, our kids, grandkids, our health and everyone else’s, politics, art, books we’ve been reading, holidays, jobs and the people we work with or for and how, hobbies like painting, gardening, bicycling, tinkering. We talked about cobwebs and haircuts and the deliciousness of garlic, food, recipes, TV shows we like, comfy clothes, Covid, travel, future dreams or plans and tomorrow’s activities. We only had 48 hours, but we filled it up good (and still found time to take a sunny October afternoon nap after an amazing three-hour stroll through the very cool Grounds for Sculpture where I took the photo above).
We covered it all. M, who is a remarkably active, smart, talented woman, was recovering from a very bad accident she had eight weeks earlier when she missed a step on a hike in the woods with her son and daughter-in-law and broke her ankle so badly she still is forbidden to put weight on it. One of her comments really sparked my thinking. Each night before falling asleep, she said she goes over her day and all the conversations she’s had, or interactions, and recounts them to herself with mindfulness and gratitude. And then she thinks ahead to her next day and who she might be with and the things she plans to do.
The other thing that inspired my thinking was the current issue of Lion’s Roar which offers up many practices and inspiring thoughts on death. The cover has the subhead, “How Awareness of Death Transforms Your Life.” Since death has been a significant part of my life this past summer, I was particularly interested in reading. Judy Leif, a Buddhist teacher and author, proposed a wonderful meditation on the topic. She said: “To prepare yourself for death, you need to do it here and now….You’re always breathing in the present, which makes breath potent as a meditation practice….With each breath, you let go and you allow something fresh and new to arise. The simple bodily activity of breathing teaches us about dying – not only as a future possibility, but as a part of everything we do.”
And, so, I just kept going back to “everything counts.” Your thoughts count. Your actions count. Breathing counts -- in and out. The recognition that there is no good without bad, no life without death, no despair without hope. Reviewing your day to count your blessings, big and small, is a great practice. So I thought, “That’s what I should write about this week,” until it began to sound so familiar and I realized that I already did. :-)
Peace and love to you this week ahead.