During last night’s guided meditation, Sharon Salzberg invited us to “think of yourself at a different age, younger or older than you are now and offer the sayings of loving kindness”.
I see myself in the future, at age 90, sitting on the carpeted stairs in my house, just like my mother-in-law did at that age. I hold a blank sketchbook and pen, just like she did and look out the window at the trees. Then I say the words that go with the meditation, “May I feel safe, feel happy, feel healthy. May I be at ease.”
My mother-in-law liked to write rhyming poems and draw butterflies sitting on mushrooms. Like her, as long as I have a sketchpad and my imagination, I want to write and draw. As long as I am not too scared. As her dementia got more severe, she became more anxious. If I am not too fearful or too sick, I am happy at 90.
I have learned lessons from this quarantine that can help me at 90 (If I am blessed to live that long). First, I struggled with accepting being dependent on other people, like neighbors who bring eggs and veggies, and my sister who shops for and delivers our other groceries. Now I accept and appreciate their kindness. Next, I learned to embrace a narrower circumference, to move around inside a smaller circle. My house, my backyard, my neighborhood – only as far as the 1,2, or 3 miles my daily walks take me. Then I learned to fill those smaller spaces in a fuller way, like a butterfly who alights on a mushroom and slowly flaps her wings to soak the sun into her every vein.
And just Be
Not flitting from one yard to the next
Always searching for a new flower.
I was a butterfly,
Quick to flutter by.
Now I sit on the stairs
And soak in the light from the window.
(The chalk art in this post is based on a drawing in my mother-in-law's sketchbook)