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Cheryl Richardson said, in “The Unmistakable Touch of Grace,” when we decide to have a more conscious life, one of the effects is “instead of seeing our experiences or encounters with others as random occurrences, we see them as deliberate spiritual events that remind us who we really are – magnificent souls being molded and shaped by sacred hands.”

This gets me thinking again about the people in my life.  Everyone, from my partner to the “extras” who pass through.  The chance encounters, the cashiers along the way, the delivery guy. What if I was to see all my encounters as “deliberate spiritual events”?  Maybe I would treat them a little differently, think of them in a fresh way.

The person in front of me is not here to hold me up, but to teach me patience. That woman wasn’t being selfish, she was letting me practice compassion and equanimity.  That guy isn’t trying to waste my time, he is in need and hoping I can help him.

Some people are mirrors, reflecting back to us things we may not see in ourselves.  I find sometimes, if I am listening, I overhear something. I may not even know the context, but the words illuminate something I haven’t seen before and I get clarity.  What a gift that person was to me! He or she may not even have a clue, not even know who I am.  There are those magical moments when you’re standing at a bus stop, for instance, and someone shares words of wisdom with you and then fades into the back drop of other riders on the bus.

The trick is to see everyone like that.  Even if it’s not a life changing encounter.  But to see all encounters as sacred, as touching your life in some way.

This brings a new light to all your relationships, encounters, and interactions.  It makes life so much more beautiful and vital! Rather than looking for what you or the other can gain out of the relationship, if instead you are looking for the gift, the light of growth, doesn’t that sound like more fun?

I’m going to try to see every interaction – especially those which are a bit trying – as sacred.

It’s important during this Holidaze season to practice infinite patience with yourself.  Give yourself the gift of self care.  Just being more kind to yourself. People tend to want to make everything happen perfectly, while still doing the “usual.”  It’s just not possible.

Detach from worry about what can’t be controlled.  Or a need for things to look a certain way, or happen at a certain time.   Be willing to say it’s okay, even if it’s not all you hoped it would be.

This is a good time to give yourself the gift of just taking a breath once in a while and checking  in.  Ask yourself how you’re feeling.  What do you need?  Slow down when you can, when you don’t have to be at high speed.  Surely there are moments for that.

Think about giving a special gift to others. Listen to what you are saying. Is it what you truly want to say?  Can you be more careful with your words?

Remember that you are always doing your best.  Appreciate all the gifts you have.  Remember what the holiday is really about.

Alan Cohen reminds us, “Your gift to the world is not what you buy or do.  Your gift is your happiness.”

Elizabeth O’Connor added, “We do not experience ourselves as a gift until we are engaged in the act of creating.”

Take heed of the gifts which really matter.

I’ve been working hard lately and needed this ~

Drinking tea can be a positive spiritual lesson.  Women often get together, over tea, to talk and laugh. The Japanese have elevated their tea ceremonies to an art.  There are those who claim to be able to read tea leaves. This simple act can be quite profound.

There is a process to making a good cup of tea. First, you must begin with fresh water. Re-boiling just isn’t allowed. As we begin each day anew. Let the water come to a full, rolling boil. This reminds us to live life fully. You must stay very aware when dealing with hot water. It calls for paying attention to what you pour it over, as well. Black tea reacts well to the full boil. But green teas and herb teas can’t handle it. There is an old saying about bringing the cup to the kettle or the kettle to the cup.  I just wait until the boil has calmed down before pouring it over the more delicate leaves. Reminding me to not jump headlong into things. Next there is a time for the tea to steep and infuse into the water. Patience is expected. Most recommendations say between 3 and 5 minutes.  So I just go with 4. This is far more crucial with black and green teas.  But even with the herbs, you need to wait for it to cool.  And I am of the belief you can wring out all the flavor and just have a wet tea bag.  So, I suggest withdrawing even the herb tea leaves at the end of the 4 minutes. A simple process with just a few rules, easily learned.   And you can enjoy a perfect cup of tea!   Could we look at life, too, as a simple process with just a few rules?

There are endless varieties of teas within the black, green, white and herb categories.  You can flavor with sugar, lemon, milk or honey. There is a cornucopia of choices in the world, and we can sweeten life however we like.

I like the etiquette and process involved in making tea.  It makes me feel part of something ancient.  But the real essence is in the enjoying. Tea should be sipped, slowly, not gulped.  It’s not about raising your caffeine levels and waking up.  It’s about slowing down.  Taking a break.  Savoring the flavor of the tea and the present moment. It might be seen as a kind of meditation, focusing on the cup, how it feels in your hand, resting on your lip.  The tea, at the right temperature, fills your senses and warms you all the way down. Feel its magical powers revive you, restore you. Revel in the present moment essence of tea drinking.


Patience, they say, is a virtue.  But what does that mean?  Seems to me patience is one of those things that come already loaded. All that’s needed to activate it is a choice. It may not always be easy to make that choice: there are certainly times when you just can’t wait!  (Whether that’s in joy or fear.) But deciding to be patient is what it takes.

It’s called a virtue, I’m guessing, because it’s so powerful.  If you can just make the choice to wait, you save yourself gobs of anxiety and the potential for missing out.

We can give a good guess as to how long something will take.  In this limited world, it’s often necessary to do so.  But once we get that time frame in our heads, we must make let go of it.  After all, who really knows for sure how long things will take?  No more than we can predict the direction of wind.  For it can just up and decide to blow to the west instead of the east and everything changes.  Your well-laid plans can be tossed asunder when one thing takes a little longer than expected.

Virtue is “a commendable quality or trait,” according to M-W. That indicates it is a thing we already possess.  You can’t buy patience.  You don’t earn it.  And you can’t even really practice it.  Just because you’re patient today, tomorrow and Sunday, doesn’t mean you’re patient on Monday.

M-W goes on to say Virtue is “a particular moral excellence, a conformity to a standard of right.”  All that sounds way too difficult and fancy to me.  Like an act of kindness you decide to take, patience is simply a moment-by-moment choice. Always ready, forever waiting for you to use it.

Though I still contend that human beings were never meant to sit in an enclosed space for hours each day, stopping and starting, traffic can provide a great practice field.

Present-minded awareness is what we all need more of.  The more time we spend in the present moment, the happier and more grounded we are.  Sitting in traffic creates a perfect opportunity to be more patient in the present.  This is where you are and the very act of admitting that puts you in the now. Right here, right now I am stuck in traffic.  For the most part, there’s nothing you can do about it. (I have tried getting off the highway and seeking back road alternatives, only to find it is often just as backed up there.)  This is something most of us face every single day.  It’s not like it’s a surprise.  Some days may be better than others, but to resist the inevitability of traffic is quite futile.

So, I’ve decided, I am stuck in traffic.  Telling the truth about it makes me feel instantly more patient.  It’s a good time to take a moment to check in and see how my body is feeling.  Am I gripping the wheel too tightly?  Is there tension in my back or arms? How is my breathing?  Relaxing and releasing where needed also puts my attention in the present.  It relaxes me and allows me to be more patient with the situation.

Many people, it would seem, space out a bit while in traffic.  I don’t think that’s a safe thing to do.  You greatly increase your chances of getting where you’re going if you pay attention to what’s going on around you. The more patience you have with others on the road (and their sometimes inappropriate behavior) the more event-free your ride is likely to be.

Being in the present moment, breathing and allowing yourself to be patient are really good practices.  You can certainly use them in other circumstances.  Especially those places where you find yourself tense and resistant.  If there’s something you can do about the situation, I invite you to do it.  But if not, if you are stuck where you are (say in a crowd at the mall), you might as well conjure up some patience.  This is the way it is.  Tell the truth about it and then scan your body for places of tension.  After that release, you can be in the moment and see what you see.

Maybe we can all practice the virtue of traffic in this holiday season.

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