Atoms flying around and bumping into each other and making mass – that is how I equate sentient beings, coexisting on this planet. In the end, it is totally random how things turn out each day. We can plan for life but at some point, the cards fall, or atoms bump into each other, as they may. I have learned time again to let go of attachments, as not everything can be controlled and/or changed and to try and learn from situations and move on.
Test Number 1
The first day of my Winter holiday vacation started off with being present with my online international spiritual group. A member posted something centered around how he thinks everyone should “wake up” and that most of humanity is “arrogant” and “lazy”. While there may have been some truth in what the member was saying in a very long diatribe, calling the masses names is not a good strategy. I conveyed that compassion is in order for humanity and the source is fear – not laziness or arrogance. I learned quickly that this person was not going to hear a word I was say as his response about being compassionate, is that it is just misinformed “New Age” unicorns and rainbows bullarky. One of the last things this person said was, “have fun playing with your Barbies on Christmas.” That statement was not exactly the route to my good side!
What was it about compassion I was saying?
The testy “life storm” started rollin’ in, almost coinciding with the real storm that poured last night. I knew right away, that today was a day of tests. I have observed the ebbs and flows of life enough to know that there are times when life offers calm waters, and other times when the storms set in to test if I mean what I say, and say what I mean.
So excited I was to jump out of bed, throw on some clothes, comb my hair and grab an apple on the way out the door to meet Ji and her daughter at Ocean Beach for beach cleanup! I made my way up The Great Highway, and parked my car to meet crisp air, sparkling white-capped waves, the brightest sun peeking through sweeping clouds, the youthful spirit of a little one and mom, Ji. We got to work quickly, picking up trash on the beach.
This morning was special because it was the first time I had the privilege of doing a beach cleanup with a four year old! She did such a fabulous job. A special tip of the hat goes to mom, Ji for showing her daughter the way to valuable community service at such a young age!
I took a break for a little bit to watch River watch the waves. Children… they are our reminders to not forget the simple wonders of the world. I observed River’s fascination with the waves – how they flowed in and quickly recede. She ran back and forth chasing the movement of the ocean and at one point stomped on the receding wave’s foamy residue to squash it! We had the classic discussion on how you never turn your back to the ocean. She said to me with such self-assuredness, “I know!” My amusement continued as I observed River assert herself with such firm independence!
Test Number 2
“I’m hungry”, says River from the back seat of the car. We giggled about a “hungry stomach monster” – a distraction from River’s antsy hunger – a stomach with green lips, yellow eyes, and pink skin that’s slimy like noodles. The storytelling held us over until we made our way to a restaurant. We sat down at the table and seconds later, an angry woman got up and stood beside me and in an angry outburst said to me, “You bumped me into the table! You pushed me into the table! You should be much more considerate of others!”, as she motioned with dramatic hand gesticulations. I told her I was sorry and that I did not mean to bump her… but I knew that the bump was not as dramatic as she was making it out to be – it was more about an opportunity to emotionally dump that had nothing to do with me. Needless to say, Ji, River and I dined at another restaurant across the street.
I faintly remember talking about compassion earlier – what was that about again?
Coffee time it was! Us three ladies made our way to the coffee shop and relaxed at the parklet in front of the cafe. We got to see the “Hungry Monster” come to life on the sidewalk with chalk by little artiste, River. Shortly thereafter, we said our goodbyes and I made my way south on The Great Highway back home. I decided to drop in at Montara State Beach. The garbage problem has been pronounced there since the storms, so I thought I would clean up the other half of the beach that I had missed the last two times I have been there.
Test Number 3
While my final test of the day was not another “aggro” human, it was still a test none-the-less. I spotted a dying young Common Murre sea bird. Sitting only five feet away, It moved its head slightly, acknowledging my presence. Watching wildlife pass is definitely not easy. I tried to think of solutions to solve the dying bird problem but I resolved to understand that it was not my battle. I sat with it for a half hour and sent it loving feelings. I did not send the bird thought/prayers for it to get better – as life will do its thing, regardless of what I hope it will do. On my first day of vacation, the bird represented letting go of attachments of how I want or expect things to be and learning to accept what is.
I got up and made eye contact with the young lady sitting at the base of the cliff about fifty yards away. I was thinking I should go talk to her about the bird but I did not have to. I was concerned about the two little boys who were unknowingly approaching the young Murre – that they would stumble into it and stress it further. I sent her my thought and she received it. As I made my way down the beach, I looked back – the young lady took my place and watched over the ailing bird. The father and two boys did not stop and let the bird and young lady be.
Am I still compassionate? Good thoughts for angry French man online – that he may see the source of the issues that is humanity’s fear – not arrogance or laziness; good thoughts for the angry woman who felt disrespected – that she may feel more love in her world; gratitude for the young lady who heard my thought and took my place, standing guard over the baby bird and good thoughts for the baby as it makes its journey to the other side. Was this all easy? No.
Gratitude for my roommate who randomly gave me a big bar of dark chocolate when I got home!
Due to the warming waters of El Nino in the Pacific Ocean, it is causing a die-off of nutrients and effecting the food supply for wildlife. Most likely the young Common Murre was starving and too weak to find food.