Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Good Stuff

I’m blessed to live five blocks from the ocean. Sometimes as I’m waking up in the quiet of early morning, I can hear the waves. They sound like distant avalanches, coming down in a rhythmic procession.

This morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m. with a sore throat. I lay there alternately feeling sorry for myself and trying to envision healing energy soothing my throat. Then I noticed the waves. They were barely within earshot; I had to completely still my mind in order to hear them. They captured my full attention. After a few minutes I realized I hadn’t been feeling the sore throat at all. The waves had become my reality.

Where our attention goes, our reality is. I’m learning (painstakingly) to corral my attention and direct it toward the good stuff. When the mind rolls into its rut of self-judgment or poor-me or isn’t-life-hard, I’m learning to recognize that as suffering. And learning to transform the suffering by focusing on something else… like good deeds I’ve managed to do, or magical moments with my nieces, or Ellen Degeneres dancing.

Thich Nhat Hanh says, “The Kingdom of God, the wonders of life, are always available. But are we available to them?” Shifting our attention from gloom and pessimism to wonders, delights, enthralling ocean sounds, is a skill worth cultivating. Maybe the wonders are barely within earshot, but if we get quiet and make ourselves available to them, they make life a celebration.

Photo by Michelle Albert


World Water Day: March 22

In honor of World Water Day, March 22, here’s a little riff dedicated to the liquid that keeps us alive.

I remember drinking spring water in the Napa redwoods. We trekked up the creek, hopping stones, slipping in, getting wet, carrying our jugs far, far up, climbing a redwood-duff bank to an old pipe where spring water trickled out. We held the jug to the pipe’s mouth forever, watching the slow, slow fill, listening to the gurgling melody. Finally we lifted the jug to our lips and drank.  Oh, sweet, fresh, pure goodness.

Tasting that goodness, you know water remembers the earth that cradled it. And water is in our blood, swooshing the earth-held music we once were, before we seeped out of rock and bubbled up, before we knew of walking, talking, handshakes and bread. Water is our memory of mother, encasing, encircling, thrumming a gestation beat. Water in my eyes, remember our no-seeing origin? Water of my mouth, remember an untasted time, sheltered from soot, untainted by gasoline?

If only we could remember our body is water, know ourselves drenched in love. Every drink would be a meeting with our source. Every sip would tell us we matter. Every rain shower would sing up our worth, dance down our crystalline, mirror-drop core.

Let’s walk up to the spring. Leave your load on the bank. Take off your shoes, step into the creek, feel the cool water curling over your toes, licking your soles, lapping your ankles. Follow me to the source. Drink pure goodness. You’ve never tasted life like this, but you’ll remember it. It will make you cry and smile and ease wide open. Listen. It’s an easy, never-ending harmony – the song of water, nowhere but in you.

Learn about World Water Day ( & send me your riffs on blue gold…