On a recent drive home from a client session, I was mulling over an idea I’d “pitched” to a Vermont company that morning. I felt pretty darned good about it, but sent up a little “Please give me a sign” request to the Universe, adding “and could you please personalize it so I’ll know it’s for specifically for me.”
At the next stoplight a large truck pulled in front of me from the left. The photo—taken with my iPhone through the windshield—is what I saw. Pretty doggone personal when you consider my last name is Buchanan.
If you look closely at the license plate you’ll see the truck is from Indiana — not around here. In other words, an out-of-state vehicle that wasn’t bound to statistically show up in front of me at some point or other.
While mowing the lawn I caught a glimpse of something pinkish-red in our Golden Delicious apple tree. Upon closer examination I discovered that both the pink and yellow rose bushes are using the tree—trellis fashion—to climb its strong trunk and limbs. Smiling, I hummed the ever-popular song Lean on Me while I finished moving the yard.
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on
We’ve all had occasion when we needed to lean on someone else for support—be it body, mind, or spirit. Likewise, we’ve made ourselves available in return. Much like removing water wings from a new swimmer, or training wheels from a new bicyclist, the tricky part is knowing when to remove ourselves from the equation so the person returns to independence.
When was the last time you let someone lean on you?
The term fork in the road typically means a decision point; a metaphoric place we come to on life’s path where we need to decide between two or more options—including standing still (not making a choice), which of courseis a decision.
Creating a list of pros and cons for each option is often helpful. And if we truly learn from our mistakes—which I believe we do—we can benefit from both positive and negative outcomes of past choices. In addition to doing our due diligence (looking before we leap), we can also draw upon the “gut factor”—our instinct as it relates to the matter at hand.
As Len and I wait for our home to sell, we’re having fun researching where we want to move. We’re looking at climate, cultural offerings, property and income tax rates, unemployment rate, crime rate, occurrence of natural disasters (ie., earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods)—to name but a few of the considerations.
The squirrels in our neck of the woods are industriously gathering and hoarding acorns for winter. The empty holes in the precision-drilled oak trunks are tell-tale signs that the cheeky little fellows have additionally robbed the woodpeckers of their bounty.
It’s no secret that great things often have small beginnings. What begin as acorns become mighty oaks, and I’ve learned a lot from observing the towering sentinels in our yard:
Deep roots keep us grounded—know who I am, what I value, and why I’m here.
Teamwork and being able to stand alone are equally important.
Energy efficient, trees waste very little.
Stillness has many rewards—slow down.
Flexibility allows us to bend, not break, in stormy weather.
As trees close a cycle, they shed baggage to move forward into the next cycle.
When I wear my writing hat I play with words. Saying them out loud or seeing them on a page often conjures something different from the intended meaning—at least in my mind:
Monkey—mon key—key to a Jamaican man’s heart
Herring—her ring—oftentimes worn to ward off would-be suitors, as in “red herring”
Portion—poor shun—an ineffectual attempt to to ignore someone
Keyboard—key bored—a writer who’s not “in the zone”
Solar powered—soular powered—a person who’s plugged into Source Energy
Petulant—pet you lent—short-term loan of your companion animal
Communication is the currency of life so it’s important to get it right (or write, as the case may be). And in this fast-paced world where it’s hard to gain and retain people’s attention, concision is vital.
Just in case you never noticed…
DAMMIT I’M MAD is DAMMIT I’M MAD spelled backward! (I saw you check to confirm).
While mowing the lawn I happened to notice a large greyish-brown lump at the base of one of our bird feeder poles. Moving in for a closer examination, I discovered what I think was a cicada in mid-metamorphosis.
Head thrown back in pain or ecstasy—I’m not sure which—he lay himself bare; exposing his soft underbelly as he emerged from his hard, protective shell. Vulnerable.
Many of us have an aversion to vulnerability, oftentimes equating it with weakness. In actuality, strength comes when we open up to life—when we’re vulnerable.
Had he not been willing to undergo this process—leave his bubble of safety—he wouldn’t have been able to free himself from his protective armor and reach his potential. Flight.
He made it look easy, but it’s not. It’s taken me a lifetime to shed my tough exterior and be strong in my vulnerability.
I appreciate modern technology; it’s conducive to what I do for a living, enabling me to meet with clients all over the globe via phone, FaceTime, and Skype.
My smartphone allows me to do several things at once if I want. I don’t.
I love that it’s intelligent enough to also accommodate the Buddhist philosophy of doing one thing at a time: talk on the phone, take a photograph or video, make a recording, send a text, listen to music, transfer money to/from my bank, check in at the airport, even read a book or watch a movie.
I appreciate the vivid artwork on my smartphone’s protective cover — it makes me smile every time I see it.
I also appreciate the Zen Temple Bell ringtone that Len purchased for me. It doesn’t startle. Rather, it’s a single, soft, low tone — a gentle reminder to ask myself, “What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?” before I pick up.
I’m not a Zen monk, but I enjoy being present in everything I do. Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my favorite Zen monks said, “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” Like single-tasking, that works well with my lifestyle.
“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” — Zen proverb
By the way, the sassy digital assistant associated with my smartphone recently suggested that I change the spelling of my name from Laurie to Lori, informing me that the latter version is much more popular! No thanks, I’m good.