I’m a champion eavesdropper. I’m not a spy, mind you, and I don’t hide around corners listening to whole conversations other people are having. I just happen to be lucky when it comes to overhearing the sometimes ethereal and profound and dumbfounding things strangers say when I pass by them, within earshot.
Recently, when I was leaving the grocery store, I passed a woman who was holding her two maybe three year old child and just as I whisked by them I heard her say, “Because you’re so handsome, that’s why.” What a lovely mama, I thought. Pumping up her son with confidence and grace.
Then there was the couple I brushed shoulders with on a hiking trail who seemed to be arguing about something really intense. “If you were more confident it wouldn’t matter,” he said to her as they trudged by me. I wanted to turn around and take the woman with me. I wanted to tell the man he was an ass. But that’s the thing about just getting a little snippet—you never know the whole story and you never know the outcome of the conversation.
I only know that humans intrigue me. The way they interact when others aren’t fully involved. The way they encourage each other—like two women I passed on Main Street where one woman was saying to the other “You have the best eyebrows I’ve ever seen.” I wish I could have plopped into their lives and offered up some encouragement if that what was needed.
The whole concept of hearing things in passing reminds me of my favorite Pema Chodron quote. “It’s not that we set out to change the world,” she says. “It’s just that we become curious about how other people are feeling.”
Each incomplete conversation I overhear has had a slight impact on me—some larger than others. Hearing the little tidbits and sprinkles of lives that others are living. They can be so grand and profound, in my experience and they can be heartbreaking and superficial if you take the time to listen.
Pardon My Intrusion,
Betsy Big Ears
Lazy afternoons and slow evenings are my favorite type of weekend time. Long, languid hours spent picking out what tasks to do. Leisurely walks with the dogs. Overcast skies that turn to sunny shininess then back to overcast. Thinking about what I will conjure up for dinner. What time is the game on? Making time to write in that suspended space of not having to write but simply wanting to. Feeling the separation between day into night—how it envelopes the house slowly as the indoor lights go on. That glow of dusk, that undeniable feeling of sleep coming soon and knowing that sleep will blend into Monday—another week. It all wraps around me and soothes my racey mind. It calms and coddles my restlessness and casts a glowy reflection over things. Most of all, it settles me into the beauty of my routine and reminds me that the small, simple, predictable things are the way toward solace.
Look How Close the Light Seems,
Thelma the Thinker
In my darkest, tangly places I forget about the light. I forget that life is fluid, not stagnant. I forget that all my learning has garnered sweet wisdom. And I forget to raise my head and heart up, in order to find my way forward.
There’s a certain solace I’ve found in the forgetting. There’s a certain cozy ebb and flow I’ve discovered in the familiarity of doubt and shame. The way I linger, floating in that place that keeps me tethered to fear and the far-off, downward stories I tell myself.
But the coziness eventually turns to restlessness and that part of me that forgets that I can recognize my own shadow cast from the sun taps me on the shoulder and reminds me that there are moments in the morning when I’ve never felt more content and there are certain minutes of the day when the light streams in through the window that casts a dazzling sheen across the entire room and my dreams and plans and schemes are things of beauty and all of the forgetting is something to be grateful for because diving in to the forgetting is the only way to remind myself of what is really true.
Rita the Ruminator
The trick for me, then, is to stay in the moment. To hear and see and feel what is happening in the right now, without embellishing the whole mess with my wicked storyline—without my twisted and tainted view.
Were I observing life from a wide and spacious view, I would open my heart in the same capacity and—with that—I would take in just as much opportunity and wonder.
But things don’t always turn out that way and things don’t always reflect my intent—to be here, unencumbered and now. And so I trudge on, mostly untainted by my own thoughts and horror stories about what might happen in the future and what has occurred in the past and grasp and cling and hope for that moment when I am just me, now, in the moment, without anything or anyone to derail or distort me.
Yours In Dreaming Being,
That faint, far off feeling of Spring coming on has always held me in its clutches. Not because I live in a cold war zone winter climate and I’m longing for warmth or sunshine or unencumbered existence, no. I long for Spring because I long for renewal—heartfelt start-overs, forever fresh do it differently’s, newness, different landscapes to observe and an alternate way to be.
It’s not that I dislike my day-to-day way of being. I forge forward and I observe what I do in the Winter, when things are more covert than above ground, and I bide my time until the time when I can bloom. Spring is the thing that makes it so. Spring is the thing that gets my engine revving—eager for the next adventure, the next place, the next project to explore.
In the Winter I hibernate and think. In the Spring I pop up, take aim and shoot, like an arrow that possesses some kind of magical thinking, knowing that now is the time to wake up and make a beautiful mess of things.