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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Close Your Eyes

Some of life’s most profound lessons have come to me not in shouts, but in whispers.

One starry evening, I sat cross-legged on damp earth in a Native American drum circle. The glow of the center fire illumined the toothless mouth of the woman perched on a foldable lawn chair to my right. She was leaning down toward me, lips flapping, announcing something, but with the crackling and snapping of pine logs, I could not hear her, even though all instruments were at a lull for the moment. I craned my ear up toward the elder and she began again, this time close in my ear.

“Close your eyes.” I did.

“What do you see?” she asked. I opened them and was about to tell her, but she interrupted gently.

“Look again.” I relaxed back down, no longer close to her face, and again I closed my eyes.

“What you see with your eyes shut is what counts,” she whispered more audibly this time. I smiled as I sat for several moments watching behind my lids what counted.

The woman told me afterward that was a lesson from Lame Deer, a Sioux medicine man. I have not forgotten it. I still hear her whispering in my ear, “What you see with your eyes shut is what counts.” Try it. Close your eyes, and . . .

. . . Be enlightened!  ~ M

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I turned the deadbolt and slid the chain into its groove. With the world locked out, I allowed a heavy sigh to rise from chest to mouth, and I released it audibly. With a forward flick of my left ankle, the first rubber flip-flop was free. Then, the right. I dropped my shoulder bag to the floor and stepped over it, now barefoot. I reached behind my torso and unclasped the binding band of my bra. I approached the oversized, overstuffed white-on-white damask upholstered chair. I crawled into its lap as if it were a tender mother. There I napped for close to two hours, my left facial cheek nestled into the doughy chest of the back cushion. I awoke with the slight sting of salt in my eyes, traces of tears that had swelled even while I slept. I was calm now, refreshed.

That day had been a difficult one, and it wasn’t over yet. There were still lots to be done, chores to be attended, preparations to be made for tomorrow. Yet, that period of rest seemed essential. There was a time when I would have thought a nap a frivolous luxury. There was a time when having allowed myself those couple of hours of comfort would have elicited a round of self-flagellation. But midday napping, I have learned, is one effective way I can take care of myself, a way I can nurture my inner child, a way that does not place demands on another to soothe my heart when it aches.

Never underestimate the healing power of a nap. It’s a way to tell yourself, “I love you.”

Be enlightened!  ~ M