"Sometimes grace manifests itself as synchronicity -- its energy brings together people or events in a soothing, helpful, or dramatic way when you most need it and least expect it. At other times grace is the energy that suddenly illuminates us with understanding, allowing us to see what we had not been able to grasp before. Grace can also lift us into an altered state of consciousness, suffused by an unfamiliar energy -- an indescribable combination of love, hope and fearlessness."
"There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen." - Rumi
It's been a hard few days.
The skies are gloomy.
The weather is cold.
My interior life duplicates what the exterior world provides.
I talk to someone who spends her days working with families who have children with disabilities who have lost everything in a massive, all-consuming wildfire.
There is no housing for any of them...so they squish themselves into RVs and try to make it work.
The reservoir that provides all of the water for this same community has been contaminated with metals and chemicals and other toxic items all oozing into the water.
No potable water.
To top it off, our president enjoys punishing people for their tragedy.
Maybe it's because he has always had a home.
Always had access to drinking water.
Always known safety.
His bitterness seeps into our collective conscience as he tweets his condemnation for the unpreparedness for the fires.
There is no understanding loss.
As Jewel sings so well, "Only kindness matters."
These past few days, sadness seeping in...the pain of so many suffering...so much loss...
I gift myself with a visit to my local coffee store.
I delight in my order,
smile my shy smile and say, "I'd like Enlightenment please."
They steam up some milk, coat the cup with honey, add some green tea and call it Enlightenment.
[It should be noted that I could also order Bliss...but Enlightenment wins out every time.]
On my way out the door, someone calls my name.
It's a person I know only a bit...but she brings sunshine with her...serious calmness...and although I don't know her that well,
I owe her.
She, of course, does not know my debt.
Has no idea.
19 years ago, when my baby was born with both Down Syndrome and a heart defect...and I was wondering how anyone mothers three children in any successful way, let alone a child with a disability in the mix, she graced my life.
She taught pilates out of her home.
I don't know how I found out about her class.
I have no idea who was watching my three kids
while I did pilates in her home...
but somehow the universe made it happen and my heart knew what I needed.
I only did it for a few months.
But, she ended every class with this wisdom:
leading us with big deep breaths...
Inhale gratitude, Exhale judgment.
That four word phrase and those big deep breaths stuck.
They became a part of me.
In and out...
Sucking up gratitude and exhaling away so much.
In that fragile time of my life, I took the tiniest step forward toward self-care with that pilates class.
I didn't know it then.
Didn't have the vocabulary or the life experience to be able to talk about that in any real way...
I just knew that those moments at pilates helped give me my breath back.
And, my teacher had no idea.
Breathing in gratitude.
Guiding student teachers or small children in hard moments with big breaths.
I wanted to say thanks.
Kept meaning to...
but it felt like the time had passed.
I let the thank you sit unsaid.
But today, on my way out of the coffee shop, there she was...she stopped me and introduced me to her daughter, Hope, a grad student working at the Perkins School for the Blind (Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller's school!!)...and we got to talking...and talking...and it was Hope who asked,
"How do you guys know each other?"
Her mom referenced it in three words: Pilates on Parkside.
And, like a red-checkered picnic blanket, the universe spread out the moment before me.
I knew I could finally thank her for the gifts of restoration and care and breathing and kindness she gave to me.
Through tears, I asked if she remembered the way she ended her class all those years ago.
She shook her head no.
My time with Hope and her mom was rare and precious...we all could feel it...
and we all knew it couldn't end right then...
but real life was in our way.
Places to be.
We decided to meet later that afternoon.
Who does that?
People who listen to their heart.
In that precious afternoon chunk, Hope and I talked about people with disabilities, opportunities, inclusion, barriers, common sense, education, systemic problems and so much more.
It was kismet.
A sunshine spiral.
I still can't believe it happened.
All we have is today...and the people who cross our path...in this moment,
For some blessed reason, today, my heart was listening...right when Hope and Dion called my name.
Tonight, I take a deep, fresh breath of gratitude...for kindness and kismet...wrapped up in Hope.