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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Insights

Insights R us.

Sometimes, I should add.

Insights R me on a good day—

one that starts in the dark

after a deep sleep,

one that sees me sitting,

legs covered with an afghan

to ward off the chill.

Don't imagine me in lotus mode;

my hips abandoned that unnatural pose

years ago for the relative comfort

of a straight-backed wooden chair.

 

And where (indeed, where?)

was I?

Hunting for insights, right?

Sitting in the deep silence

of the Moon, setting humbly, without pomp,

in the west.

I sense that sinking Moon rather than see it,

for my eyes are closed

and my mind gives over its usual predominance

and lets the heart rule—

or the breath—

until, steeped in what is,

I am open to the lightning flash

of insights,

which come or not

depending on their whim.

 

Good when it happens.

Equally good when it doesn't.

 

 
Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog: http://fastandfearlesscooking.blogspot.ca
 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

My Annual Christmas Reminder

I send out this piece every year in mid-December, mainly as a reminder to myself. (You might want to admire the way I reduce my own list of things-to-do by recycling this Scene from the Journey instead of writing a new one.) Here's the message:

 

This is such a time of list-making for me. The list I made this morning includes "make lists," proving that the high-tension time is well on its way. So I decided to make a new list for myself.

CALM DOWN. If it doesn't get done, will the world end? Don't get frantic about trifles (or truffles, either, though I wouldn't mind having one right now).

SIMPLIFY. You envision a Christmas dinner made up of X number of dishes. Well, how terrible would it be if you served X minus 1? Or X minus 2? Or even X minus 3? (Is Chinese take-out completely out of the question?)

SMILE.


LET GO OF the idea that you are solely responsible for the holiday happiness of everyone you know.

Bring an OPEN HEART to every encounter.

GIVE to those who are less fortunate. Whether it's time or money that you give, and whether it's a lot or a little, giving will help everyone, including you.

And as a gift to all of you, I offer this prayer from the Dalai Lama:

May the poor find wealth,
those weak with sorrow find joy.
May the forlorn find new hope,
constant happiness, and prosperity.
May the frightened cease to be afraid
and those bound be free.
May the weak find power and
may their hearts join in friendship.

To paraphrase Tiny Tim, blessings on us every one!



 

 
Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog: http://fastandfearlesscooking.blogspot.ca
 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Old-fashioned Expressions, Sleeplessness, and a Tiny Little Grammar Lesson

Like a walking time capsule, I use old-fashioned expressions frequently. Some of the words and phrases that bounce around my head are: buggy, baby buggy, horse and carriage, horseless carriage, old swimming hole, gee whillikers, Red Rover (a now-banished kids' game), bigger than a breadbox, ice-box, cook-stove, three-layer cake (a treat forgotten except perhaps in the Deep South, where sugar is king), no better than she should be, mutton dressed as lamb, butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, on his uppers (i.e., the soles of his shoes are worn out), aping one's betters, and tinker's dam (as in "I don't give a tinker's dam").

 

Searching for the old-fashioned things I often say is a fruitless exercise right now, because I'm functioning on less sleep than usual today. Then I got up later than usual and had no time for tai chi, Swimming Dragon, breathing, stretching, or anything else that might have settled my mind and moved me into writing mode. So I sit here empty. Running across the back wall of my mind is last night's composition riffing on lie and lay.

 

When I don't sleep at night what do I do? For the first 90 minutes I lie there pretending that sleep will arrive soon.

Then I get up to read. After 90 minutes of reading, I go back to bed, though not necessarily to sleep. Last night I wrote these instructive lines in my head:

 

I lie awake two nights a week.

I lay awake last night.

I have lain awake four of the last twelve nights.

When I lay me down to sleep

I lay my book on the floor.

I laid it there last night.

I have laid it there before.

I have lain awake for the better part

of the last two nights.

I tell no lie.

And if you are still confused, remember that

the hen lies in her nest

to lay an egg.

 

Many thanks to Sister Mary Alma of the Sisters of St. Joseph based in Tipton, Indiana, for clarifying these two verbs for me when I was 11.

 

 
Copyright © 2018 Ann Tudor
Food blog: http://fastandfearlesscooking.blogspot.ca