May’s long hair fell in a net of tangles to the middle of her back. It looked rarely brushed. I imagined it was because the feeling on a brush on her scalp set her on edge. She was mostly legs and a pale white skin at 14, with dark brown eyes, and even darker hair to match. She always walked slightly hunched with her head tucked near her left shoulder, with eyes downcast to the floor. They were always cast on the floor. She hugged her violin like a childhood blanket or bunny.
She was the kind of painful introverted that elicited one of two responses from people, they either kept away because of her awkwardness or like me, the heart melted in empathy. I didn’t see awkwardness, I saw magic. Lots of it. People who hold lots of magic have the burden of carrying it a world that doesn’t believe in it. Sometimes, turning inward is the only way to survive.
As May approached the stage, I could see some of the parents look a bit pained themselves. She almost shuffled, again, never looking anywhere but the floor. I’d seen May play before though and I was looking forward to the treat.
She placed her violin under the chin that was already glued to her shoulder, then…
The most beautiful sound….music played almost to perfection with a spiritual depth that brought my own soul closer to my skin. Her eyes now fixated only on the strings and her fingers.
She finished her piece, cast her eyes back on the floor and shuffled off stage, quickly, sat in her seat. The young girl sitting next to her smiled and mouthed, good job, she never looked at her nor responded.
I made a point after the recital to visit with May’s Mom and tell her how much I enjoyed her playing. Her Mom was a bit of a nervous woman, kind hearted, and very chatty, nothing like her daughter. We talked for a bit, then May came up and joined us, eyes still glued to the floor.
“May, I want to let you know how much I deeply enjoy your playing. It is superb! You have a gift.” For the first time she looked up, and I saw it. The Magic! There it was in the brightness in her eyes. She looked at me. Then pulled out a small plastic container from her pocket.
“Would you daughter like my magic rosin?” She handed it to me. It brought tears to my eyes. She did not thank me, her thank you to the complement was a gift in response.
Giving is the greatest expression of gratitude. Here was the gentle old soul, who was teaching me a great lesson, gratitude is a physical manifestation.
The clear rosin, had a picture in it, and I smiled in recognition. Before I tell you what that picture is, I must tell you the story of the owl.
Two months ago at the exact time I began my journey into a contemplative life, a Great Horned Owl took residence in the oak tree in the front yard. I have never seen or heard an owl in the wild before, and the “whooo, whoo”ing lasted about an hour. After that, he/she was gone, and owls began showing up everywhere for me when I never even notice or think about owls until after the that night. The next day, Anna came home from her dad’s wearing an owl shirt, she picked up an owl notebook for her guitar lessons, my aunt purchased a random owl statue and put it in her yard, there’s a whole owl section at Mica my favorite store, an own spoon rest that matches my kitchen perfectly on clearance for $1.00 and most recently, a gorgeous owl painting I almost bought at the local art show, gold owl earrings at the salon. That’s just to name a few, I see an owl every other day it seems.
So when I looked at the picture and it was an owl, right there in the rosin, I almost laughed.
“May, take a look at this.” I pulled Anna’s hair back and showed her the owl earrings that she was wearing, that she insisted she where this evening for her performance. I turned to May and her mom and did something I never do, I showed my true self in public and told her the whole story about owls, and how it seems to be the year of the owl, a year of wisdom. I spoke about how sometimes the Universe shows us things through synchronicity, and this is one of those times. As I spoke, May, who could barely focus on anything but the floor, looked at me intensely the whole time, her eyes bright, and then she did something I’d never seen, she smiled. It was a smile of recognition. It seems she too, understood the magic things, the mystic things that most people don’t know about, don’t care about, and definitely don’t discuss in public.
Maybe it was my new platinum blonde hair, maybe it was finally my own self confidence and courage maturing, maybe it was me simply loving myself, but I showed me, in all my odd glory. And what I found was, it was easy and felt good, and no one critiqued me, and even if they did, I wouldn’t have cared, because this is who I am and I am proud of that-I’m of the tribe of magic people, and we talk about things that other people well, might find a bit strange, and that’s okay. I found that everyone, May, her Mom, Anna, and me were all incredibly comfortable in my authenticity.
And you know what’s beautiful about being your true self, you find that it gives others space to be that as well, to connect, to know….
…they are not alone.
May is a magic person, magic people find each other by feeling and inner knowing. But more importantly we find each other the easiest when we allow ourselves to express ourselves fully in the world.
Be the light…so others can find you….and don’t dismiss synchronicities, or thoughts…that point you, exactly in the direction you need to be, to the people you need to be with. Trust your soul…it knows where to steer you.
Find your tribe…of magic people.
And know that we are gifts to each other. It is in the giving that we receive.
Peace is no make-up, my comfy old t-shirt, a cat on my lap, a good book, kind words, the wind in the eves, and the delicate scent of magnolias. Rain that dips it’s toes in my window seal begging to enter in.
This is my meditation.
The present moment, a moment of gratitude, for lightening bugs and the musk of black locust trees on the almost June breeze. For health, for prayer, for being itself.
Here in this breath…in this chair I love, and let go, and forgive everything, with breath. I let go of the breath, I take in breath.
Everything is breath. We take in, we let go, we exhale, we inhale. This flow, of bringing in and letting go, is a path to awakening .
It is the path to your own true essence, your soul.
”This really is an inconvenience, I mean I’m interrupting my day off to drop her off to you.”
”It’s guitar, I had to reschedule.” I said matter of fact awaiting the argument to unfold. My ex husband disliked being inconvenienced, even if it was for his daughters music lessons. I disliked even having a conversation with him. Particularly if I was asking him to help with something, it always turned into an argument where I as wrong or had done something wrong, and helping was such a big deal. This time…I didn’t rise to the occasion to defend myself, probably because I didn’t feel any need to fuel the flames of disagreement. He was classic at a bate. I had spent 10 years of our marriage learning how to fight, dirty, so that I wouldn’t collapse into a puddle of tears. Now, that God…I was past all that….now it was just words, and now…those words didn’t define me. I listened, then he dropped her off, we went to guitar lessons with Anna’s teacher who was the epitome of a kind and sensitive patient man. James gave me hope for humanity as a whole.
Lesson: Don’t let someone’s opinion of you change your true north.
Next it was time to turn my horse out, clean her stall and set her feed. Task one an two done, then it was time to set the feed. I placed my hand on the bale of hay and then stopped in recognition. It was a hot bale, I hadn’t seen one in several years. If hay is baled wet, it can mold and combust. Yes, it will catch on fire, a chemical reaction that I can’t explain the workings of it, just know it’s a huge problem in a hayloft of highly flamable hay. I opened up the bale and smoke came out. Thank goodness that I checked. Needless to say, I removed th bad bales and let the barn manager know. I had trusted my hay guy, and didn’t bother to check myself when I picked up the bales. He’s a farmer, I trusted he wouldn’t sell me bad hay. However my instincts told me to check the hay this evening.
Lesson: Trust but veify. Rely on your instincts.
After the hay incident the sky opened up in a torrent of rain. The good thing was the bad hay was now utterly soaked but the drive home was like driving through a monsoon. 3 inches of water on the road did not stop the Higlander. It sailed in 4 wheel drive and stuck to the road like glue. The Highlander is my favorite and most dependable car I have ever owned. I always felt safe no matter the weather. It was my very own Jaime Frazier, it could carry me home in any storm. I will never not own a Toyota Highlander again. It is my vehicle of choice…plus…it can haul. What horsewoman doesn’t want their own rig?? Especially one like mine, all classy and handsome Merlot and leather, but gets the job done and works hard.
Lesson: Have a car that is well made and can carry you to safety for all storms that come your way.
Alone, I prepared my evening meal. Rissotto, Salmon, a bit of cherry bread. I said the blessing, then went to grab a book to read while I ate, I stopped myself.
I always eat with a book or conversation, or television. I never eat…alone with me and my thoughts.
So I put the book down and sat in my plush comfy chair and began to eat. It was at least half a plate before I realized. I had barely paid attention to my food as I ate it. My mind was lost in the days events, the weekends events, it was everywhere but sitting and eating my food. Thoughts kept mind utterly unfocused, almost like eating had become a boring mundane habit, like commuting to work, and it was distracting me from something…
Something amazing right under my nose…
the act of eating.
You laugh, but really have you ever stopped and focused on what you are actually doing? Taking the energy of the earth, placing it into your body, and then transforming that into new energy that fuels the fingers, placed around the fork that is lifting once living things like you, into your mouth.
Food is as much a miracle as you are. It is life giving life to you, and your body is a genius instrument that makes it happen.
The food we put into our bodies is a precious gift of life.
I reflected on this genius instrument of my form, and thought how I wanted to treat it with kindness and give it good things.
It is the temple of our essence, it allows us to be incarnate in this life, it is wise and wants us to know things and feel things, and share in the spirituality of the physicial realm.
How we feed our bodies, matters. How we treat our bodies matters, how we treat the sacred space of another person’s body matters.
The simple act of eating, of being grateful for the gift of food that fuels the home of my soul, brings me such joy.
My evening ritual is Kava tea with honey. But before that it is turning my horse out to the pasture. This is when I start to settle from the days activities and take in the absolute splendor of the setting sun.
Like every heartbeat I am blessed to have, I’m grateful for every sunset I get to see. It always make me marvel. My very own masterpiece to view. Such a beautiful way to celebrate the day events, in a burst of color.
Every sunset remind me, that no matter what happened or didn’t happen each day, we are loved beyond measure by a God that gives us the gift of the painted sky simply to enjoy.
This was sent to me today and I realized, from this first love, all other loves will flow.
If we can’t love ourself, treat ourself well, take care of ourself, then how would we ever have the ability to love another? Truly love another.
Any love, that does not come after self love, is giving away the love we have not learned to give to ourself.
It is idolatry.
For in ourself is God and the greatest commandment is to love God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
From this love and care flows out all love for others. From this living water, we can love without measure, without end.
East of the Ireland pasture lies the The Field of Roses.
This pasture is lined with wild white rose bushes, they are fragrant and sweet. This is where I begin my studies on trust, here where the word is all green and growing things. A slight breeze, my back resting against the locust tree, watching the horses arrive for their nightly turnout.
I am learning to build trust, to be trust worthy in relationship, the firm foundation which everything else is built on.
I’m starting with my horse.
This evening, I went to turn her out, expecting another Taurus response, heck no you can’t make me go. I changed my energy though, tonight…it was all about patience and companionship.
None of this walking ahead, pulling her along bit. Interestingly, I tend to do that with life too. I’m always walking 10 steps ahead, planning out where everything is going to go, where everything is going to be, how it’s all going to look. With people sometimes, I find myself walking briskly forward, focused on the future, when the present joy of another’s presence is suddenly behind me.
Tonight, I walked side by side with my horse. Interestingly, no problems, no stopping, no throwing her head up in protest. I was right next to her.
The walk to the pasture was simple like the wild roses, calm like the breeze.
Trust, I am learning, is built side by side. In the support you offer in an anxious time, in the way you hold someone’s hand, or their heart, or share their energy space.
Do you offer the strength of an oak, the softness of grass on bare toes, the calm of an evening pasture? Do you stay side by side, when the path is long ? Do you stay side by side when there is something scary? Do you stay side by side when your partner limps a bit with the stiffness of age. This is how the horses approach their turnout, down the long path, past the scary dark woods, some limping a bit with injury, but they stay side by side.
At the end of the long path they have walked together is the pasture of the wild rose, where the grass is lush and green and they are never alone.
This is how trust begins, learning to walk not ahead, and not behind, but side by side. We can do this with each other on our walk through life together, side by side, in this lies the peace.