Over the years, as my writing expanded, so did thoughts of my freshman year Creative Writing teacher, Ms. Mary Manning. She was the person that inspired me to look at the outside world with words and the inside of me with wonder. The passing thoughts of her began to rest and collect in my heart as the possibility of publication grew closer. I told myself if I ever got published I was going to write her a thank you letter along with a copy of my book. Exactly one year ago today, Sweet Wisdoms was released by Shanti Arts Publication. With a little PI work by our school district’s superintendent, Ms. Manning’s, contact information was found. As promised, a copy of my book with a thank you letter placed between its pages was sent off to Ms. Manning. Included in the letter was my contact information in hopes that we could get reacquainted.
Soon after, I received an e-mail from Ms. Manning. It began with, “Ah, Angie you kissed my heart.” Her voice in the email was just as I remembered, a rhythmic soft tone, calm and supportive. I could picture her rising from her desk and wiping her hands down the front of her skirt to smooth the wrinkles. Something she did out of habit every time she wore a skirt. Her mannerisms matched her classic beauty, make-up never overdone; clothes complimenting her figure but also chosen for their comfort. Her hands bore the evidence of her summer job cleaning hotel rooms. She was a timeless beauty inside and out.
Through our correspondence I learned she married late in life. She and her husband are snowbirds, spending their winters in Florida and their summers in Michigan. Once they were back in Michigan for the summer, we planned a reunion. She ended the e-mail with this; “I have always believed people come in and out of our lives for a reason. I am most grateful for this gift”.
So am I.
In late July of 2017, I headed to Kingsford, MI with high school yearbooks in hand to reunite and reminisce with Ms. Manning. I arrived at 11:30am and departed when the night’s cool air drifted through the screen door. As you can imagine our conversation’s path twisted and turned through 40 year old memories, skipping occasionally to wonders about the future. Such a delight to be in this beautiful soul’s company again!
I wish you all have an opportunity to “kiss a heart” in the eloquent words of Mary. Gratitude is the gift-wrap around our hearts. When thankfulness is expressed, we open ourselves and the world to receive the heart’s gift of tenderness, a gift that reaches through all time and never expires.
Your heart should be kissed and often, it makes the world soften.
Child #1: “You’re not supposed to do that!”
Child #2: “I’m not listening to you!”
Child #1: “Yes you do! I’m 5 years old!”
Child#2: “I don’t have to listen to you!” (Child #2 is 4 years old)
Child #1: “Actually…..I’m 5 ½ years old.”
Child #2: “I’m not listening to a 5 ½ year old! Bus driver, how old are you?”
Me: “I’m 52. Actually…I’m 52 ½ years old.”
Child #2: “I only listen to old people like the bus driver. Humph.”
The conversation reminded me of the times I yearned to be old enough for someone, below or above my age, to listen to me.
Now that time has passed and my childhood is far and away, I’ve learned to choose wisely which voices I allow to influence my decisions. What matters most are not the voices I listen to but the one voice I try to silence. That voice, which is so easily quieted, is the keeper of our deepest knowing about ourselves. Our intuition. Whenever we say, “I don’t know or I can’t,” we are communicating to our higher self in no uncertain terms, “I’m not listening to you!” There is nobody telling you to listen except yourself. We’ve all felt our intuition’s silent shouts, “Yes you do!” echoing in our gut at one time or another.
Experience (age) has a way of gaining this understanding. If we could all simply take a breath and feel what we are feeling before tying up our knowing in a “not”, there would be no stopping any of us from reaching the unlimited potential untangled in an I do know or I can! Listen to your gut and you hear your heart.
Do make it an imposition to listen to your intuition.
This happens frequently when I’m driving on my morning school bus route. As I head East, I watch in awe as the sun slowly awakens. Brilliant hues of pink, purple and orange peek over the night’s black blanket with blinks of hope and promise for the day ahead. It’s difficult sometimes to draw my eyes away from its radiant beauty. My first thought is, “I need to take a picture of this!” I want to remember this beautiful sight and share it with everyone I know! But of course, I can’t because I’m driving—a school bus.
I found a better way to capture the moment. I open my heart’s lens and let it focus on the beauty before me. In long slow breaths, I inhale the sunrise’s hope and promise and drop it into my heart, the one place where the colors will never fade and at a moment’s thought, the beautiful feeling can be be retrieved. Making every heartbeat a Kodak moment I share with the world.
As suddenly as it began, the mesmerizing winter scene before my eyes ends. Without warning, a flurry of fluffy snowflakes descends from a lone grey cloud hanging in a motionless sky. Delicate snowflakes by the thousands gracefully float through the air like tiny parachutes. Their journey, guided by the forces of nature, has brought them to rest over everything in the landscape.
Having surrendered to the wind’s whim, some have come to rest on my outstretched hand. As I watched each disappear into my skin, I thought about their journey. How the close of one passage through this world opens up infinite passages to enter the next way through. The snowflake now, along with me, continues on in another form from seen to unseen. Awareness— being the sacred observer of life— gives us a way to join our external and internal journeys. In those passing moments we feel complete.
These poignant encounters with nature are moments our awareness can inspire us to plug into that source energy. Source energy is never not connecting with us. Allow your attention to be captured by the power of enchantment. Start now. We are only here in passing.
As suddenly as it ends, it begins again.
Old man winter has given us quite the roller coaster ride this year to say the least! Temperatures plummeted to below zero for over a week, reaching a low of -30 several times, and then rose to the high 40’s in two days bringing thick fog. It hung like a heavy wet curtain over the sun and the spirit of folks. Freezing rain and a dusting of snow followed. The mercury once again is hovering below zero. Our coat hanger is laden with coats, thick and thin. Each morning the family navigates through mounts of weather ready footwear strewn near the door.
Old man winter is a slippery fellow. Can’t say that everyone is thrilled with the chill. We don’t have a choice except to weather the weather. We do have a choice as to the disposition in which we do it. The excerpt below from my book, Sweet Wisdoms, gives you my perspective on how I mentally shovel through the challenges of a Wisconsin winter.
We are experiencing below-zero temperatures with the wind chill here in Wisconsin. It’s freeze- your-nose-hairs-together and turn-your-nose whiskers-frosty kind of weather. As I make my morning round of chores, I’m constantly pulling my hat down and my long underwear up! You can feel the landscape’s bones on these sharp cold days. I delight in the simplicity of winter—stay warm. Bitter cruel cold, you can’t make me a bitter cruel cold person.
I’m a school bus driver. Our district has a “no eating “rule on the buses. Mostly, to protect those children with food allergies from a medical emergency while they are in transit. It also helps deters bees and wasps from coming onto the bus looking for sweet treats in the garbage.
On this particular day, a kindergartner tattled on a friend for eating candy on the bus. The candy was a large lollipop. I gently asked the little boy to either throw it away or put back in the wrapper for later. School buses now-a-days have high backed seats. You can’t see anything that is going on in the seats which makes enforcing the “no eating” policy extremely difficult. I’ve adapted a strategy of intentional listening (it sounds better than eavesdropping) on conversations that light up my misbehavior radar.
I can hear a quiet exchange of indiscernible words between the tattled on and the tattler. Within a few seconds, the tattler had another tale to tell, “He’s still eating his candy, Bus Driver!” I now resort to pleading. “Please, put the candy away. You know eating isn’t allowed on the bus”.
That’s when I hear the rule breaker speak up. In a loud, deliberate voice directed at the tattler he says, “For the last time, I’m not eating. I’m LICKING!”
I can’t help but bust into a big smile. Good one! I’m admiring his manipulation skills with a limited vocabulary while at the same time leaving the tattler tongue tied. Then the pure innocents of the situation revealed a profound truth.
We all know we should talk less and listen more. This experience taught me what we should be listening for—meaning. The meaning given to words is defined by the speaker. If we are not giving our complete attention to listening, talking is meaningless.