September 22, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam
After over a month of this practice there are definite, not-going-back, things I have learned. One thing I realize: I am not grateful enough. And not being sufficiently grateful, gets in the way of my sense of contentment. I may spend too much time complaining. This not only comes to mind because of this guy at the pizza place tonight (yes, gluten free pizza in Cable) who kept whistling a different song than the one playing on the radio, tunelessly, irritatingly whistling. Dear God, do people really get to pollute the air that way? Apparently they do. It drives me crazy. But I digress …
I’ve decided that for the next few days, I am going to focus on only the things that contribute to my sense of contentment. While on the surface, caramel would appear to be one of them. I know, however, that if I consume caramel things won’t go well for either one of us. Once the sugar-monster is let out of its cage, it’s hard to get the door shut again.
Here is one of the things I like to do: I like to go into downtown Hayward or Cable and be extraordinarily kind to every single person I encounter. The exception, unfortunately, being people who whistle, tunelessly, irritatingly … again, I digress.
When I put out kindness, I get back at least the same measure — if not more — of kindness. I like to go into the coffee shop and over tip. Actually I love to over tip. The recipient usually has no idea who left the money and I love the feeling of doing something nice, anonymously.
When I went to Second Street Market today, the proprietor Cindy, stopped me while I was checking out. She wanted to introduce me to the woman who was ringing me up. She introduced me by way of telling this woman that I had picked up a hitchhiker a few years back, taken him home, let him get cleaned up (the child was covered in ticks,) given him work around our place for a week (because he had no money,) brought him into Second Street Market and filled the backpack I had just purchased for him with food for his journey, and then drove him to Duluth so he could catch a bus to a place he wanted to go on the East coast.
He was a truly amazing 18 year old young man. He was beautiful on the inside and the outside. He played the guitar and had a lovely singing voice. He told me when I stopped for him (I had to make a U-turn and go back and get him) that he had been praying for me to pick him up. I guess I didn’t have a choice. At this point I should mention I am married to an amazingly understanding husband. I am forever doing crazy-ass things like this and then convincing Mike it will all turn out okay. Most of the time it does.
Anyway, this young man told us he was a drug addict and that he had come to the realization he couldn’t quit drugs while living at home (in L.A.) so in an attempt to get clean he walked away from home, started hitchhiking and figured out in the process he would get clean and everything would work out for the best. He had been on the road for just under a week when he arrived on Highway 77 headed East toward Michigan. This young man, who’s name neither Mike nor I can remember, turned out to be a kind of magical being. During the week he was with us, bears came constantly — right up to the door! This young man put out an aura of calm, love, and just sheer joy. Every night he was with us, after insisting on doing dishes, he would sing and play Mike’s guitar and entertain us with great stories. I don’t remember a single one of the stories or songs, but I know Mike and I were very happy and laughed a lot during his time with us.
His childhood dream was to visit the birthplace of his hero: Ralph Waldo Emerson. He chopped wood, cleaned out the garage and basement, and generally worked his butt off to earn enough money to get bus fare for New Hampshire.
We later got a letter from him telling us he had gone to the wrong town, but had ended up being taken in by a Buddhist Ashram where he had been offered a position. He told us in the letter how very happy he was and that he had found what he believed to be his calling. That Mike and I could contribute to this man’s life was a blessing — for us. I think he brought much more joy into our lives than we to his. Because his joy was already there. You could see it in the way he glowed — as if lit from within. He was comfortable in his own skin, which, if you’ve ever been 18 years old is hard to pull off. That comfort was infectious, and Mike and I were happy to share our lives with him and sad to see him move on.
A year later, while cleaning out the cabin, we came across his copy of a book of Emerson’s essays. It is a 1926, First Edition of Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the only belonging he was carrying when I picked him up. He had written a lovely entry on the inside cover and left a ten dollar bill inside. Here is what he wrote: “Dedicated with much love to the future guests of Mike and Chris, who gave shelter to this young pilgrim in the June of 2007. May the words in this book incite clarity and peace, as they have done to me.” In addition to the $10 bill there was a note that read:
Ting: the Cauldron
Whatever you hold in the Cauldron
of your mind
is your offering
Even writing this now I think how lucky we were to have this person touch our lives, and how many times things like this have happened for me, things that are, simply put, magical.
Perhaps tomorrow I will tell you the story of the first time I heard Ram Dass speak in person. Wow, was that a crazy ride — and I dragged Mike along for that one too. After all, he picked me and I picked him, right?
Pranayama: I learned many of us are going through an unusual allergy season so I will be doing alternate breathing. It is not only cleansing, but also assures I am breathing evenly through both nasal passages.
Asana: It is more than a wee bit chilly here. I am planning some serious Sun Salutations (108 rounds? — yeah, right) matching my breath to each movement. I will follow with an inversion, a twist and finally savasana.
Yours while swimming toward the isle of contentment, Chris
“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”
Confucius (551-479); philosopher
Here is one of the songs the off key whistler was whistling over the top of:
(Tell me the truth: am I being too sensitive about people who whistle?)