My energy was really low. The house was in the middle of a renovation. We were leaving for a trip that morning and I had received three calls from family members the day before, each regarding a different issue and each presenting a fairly serious, if not life threatening problem. I'd had a terrible night's sleep. It had taken a long time to fall asleep and by 4 AM I was wide awake. I'd lain there and said the Rosary and all the memorized prayers I knew and I think I dozed on and off but by 6 AM I was wide awake. I silently slipped out of bed because my husband was still resting peacefully, grabbed my daily meditation book and my journal. I put on my slippers and a cover-up and made a cup of tea and headed downstairs to the sun room but it looked like a beautiful warm morning and so I chose instead to sit on the patio.
At the Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreat the month before this particular day, we were led in a guided mediation by TJ Martin, one of our dedicated founding yoga teachers. Our intention for our yoga-off-the-mat was to help the participants find their heart space, that place where they felt safe and calm. Once they were able to visualize it they were then encouraged to draw it and finally to paint it. Irene Talton, our yoga-off-the-mat facilitator and TJ Martin showed us how to use the water colors to achieve our goals, or at least to come close to them for those of us who didn't have a clue how to paint. The guided meditation led me to my back yard patio. It wasn't the first time I was stunned by the place mediation had taken me.
One time many years ago I had been invited by a doctor friend to come to his home and to do some "imaging." Once I was in a relaxed state he too had me imagine a safe place. Whoosh! There I was sitting on a bench in front of the Eseeola Lodge in Linville, NC. We had visited there many times with very dear friends but I had never considered it a safe or sacred place. I was so surprised to "be" there that I gave a small gasp. I can still remember that session with Dr. Telfer. It was in 1999 but every time I recall it, it's as clear to me now as it was then.
Now I was "on" my patio. We had lived in this particular house for a little over six years. It isn't my dream house but it's a good house. It's spacious and I've had it painted lots of bright colors, yellow being the primary one. We've spent a lot of time and treasure spiffing it up and making it the way we'd like it to be but I still missed the house I had left, my former dream home. It was not an attitude of gratitude and I knew it but I was still lacking in thankfulness. Now here I was at the retreat visualizing my sacred space; it could be anywhere in the world or anywhere in my imagination and where was I, I was on my patio!
As I sat down this morning with my tea and my journal I felt blessed to actually be in my sacred space. It was coolish but I had my hot tea and my cover-up so I was comfortable. I opened the journal and began to write. I noted I wasn't well rested and then a stiff breeze blew and the wind chime in the tree rang out. The sound went right into my chest, my heart and reverberated up and out all of my limbs. I was stunned by the feeling. I stopped writing and listened. There's a small waterfall off to the side of the patio and it was rippling joyfully. The birds were waking up and their chirping was lyrical. Then I heard the young children who live behind me talking with their parents. They were giggling. Tears sprang to my eyes. Thank you I wrote. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
The day before this epiphany I had walked the local lake with a neighbor friend. I always wondered why she didn't always understand what I said to her. I had decided it was my NY accent and her foreign ears but this morning she shared with me that she had been very ill as a young woman and had lost half of her hearing. It hadn't slowed her down and she went onto a very blessed life but as I sat there on my patio this morning, I was even more aware of the gift of my hearing. I have continued the practice of listing each morning three joys from the day before. On this morning I listed the joys I had discovered at sunrise. The joy of waking to a new day. The joy of having a sacred space I could actually walk onto. The joy of being married to a man who supports me and my dreams, no matter how daunting they may seem. The joy of taking time in the morning to pray and write. The joy of being the person her family turns to when they need support. I know that's more than three joys. Most mornings there are way more than three. This morning I also listed the joy of the gift of my hearing. My attitude of gratitude had finally overtaken my thanklessness and that sound of the wind chime had pierced not just my chest and my heart but it had pierced and healed my soul.