I share a super-power with Tom Robbins.
(He wrote Jitterbug Perfume. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth putting on your list).
When I was an aspiring poet, living in New York City, I went to hear Tom Robbins speak. Someone asked him how he came up with ideas for his stories.
He said (and now I am paraphrasing from memory so, Tom, feel free to correct me!) that he does an exercise where he connects two seemingly incongruent ideas: a caveman and McDonald’s, or a stink bug and the Great Wall of China.
During the lecture, he had us shout out random things. He used humor and (occasionally) convoluted logic to bring them into relationship with one another. He showed us that, no matter how unlikely, everything is connected.
Which brings us to the Fish in the Corset and the Washingtons.
Andrew inherited two old Courier & Ives prints of George and Martha Washington from his Grandmother. When they arrived at our house, I was a bit at a loss and ready to consign them to the closet. I leaned them up against the wall with other artwork waiting to be hung, including the fish.
Over the weeks, I walked by George, Martha, and the fish. And slowly, I began to see relationship. George and Martha seemed to be in disdainful dialogue…. about the fish in the corset.
When I work with clients and students, we are working with a similar puzzle. How do we bring the disparate parts of the human body into relationship with each other? How do we bring the person into symbiotic relationship with their surroundings and the Earth itself?
For me, it starts with small steps. One that I have been using lately is a morning ritual:
Each morning I fill a bowl with water. I place it on my mantle. Through intention, I send all of my thoughts that are discordant, that don’t serve, that are mean, and spiteful and harmful, to the water.
The following morning, in the few minutes it takes for my tea water to boil, I take the bowl outside and pour the water onto the ground, I ask the Earth to accept my discontent for compost. I spend a few moments outside, feeling the the wind, the earth, and the weak winter sunlight.
I focus on my gratitude for all that I have and for the day that is to come. A little bit of gratitude can change your outlook on everything (I know because the NY Times tells me so. They can tell you too, just click here).
Then I go inside and refill the bowl with water and put it back on the mantle, and begin the cycle again.
Two questions for you: what are you grateful for? And how do you practice gratitude? Tell me in the comments section below!