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I moved my legs and arms, flipped, started to crawl, eventually came to standing and staggered to a walk. Though I may still occasionally stagger I can walk to this day and I appreciate every step.
As a wee boy, I loved to lay in the grass and look in wonder at the sky – day time was the clouds and night, the stars. All these years later, it translates into a knowing that I am part of something much bigger than I can comprehend.
I had forgotten that I used to do that as well….laying on the grass, looking up at the sky…..thanks!
As with so many others, several things stand out – one being discovering how wonderful books are, how you can lose yourself in them, how you can learn from them, how they can bring joy, wisdom etc when needed. Another is the wonder of nature, how beautiful, interesting and healing it is. We spent much of our childhood in nature, sometimes allowed to roam freely over the marshes and it still is what keeps me sane and happy now. We learnt all the plants and animals and I can still identify them all now which is a joy and enables me to teach others. Finally, how important family and a happy home life is – so I strive always to ensure that the children I teach have a safe and happy life and some love in school at least.
I have a love of plants, from both my heredity and my environment. My mother’s father was a distinguished California botanist who taught me the names of the pine trees at a state park in Pennsylvania, and my father’s mother taught me names and love of little plants on the ground around her home in PA, and she planted trees for my brother and me. Now, I can see the bark on a tree or the leaves on a shrub and smile with pleasure, and I nourish my love on my many balcony plants.
My mother was a first-grade teacher, and I went to the same school. I remember all the times when school was out, but the teachers still had to be there, and I would explore all the different parts of the school where kids were not normally allowed to go. My favorite place was the basement book room, where all the books not currently in use were kept. The boiler was not far away, and it was always dry, warm and cozy. I loved the smell of all those books, and spent hours in my “private” library. Another great memory is of wanting to be an animal. At about the age of three, I wanted a tail sooooo badly, that eventually my mom attached a long piece of elastic to the back of my pants with a safety pin, which was moved to whatever I wore. I am still enamored of animals and nature. I currently work for an organization that arranges peaceful, at-home euthanasia for pets. It can be heartbreaking, but it so fulfilling and gives meaning to my day. I am grateful to be able to help relieve suffering of both animals and their people.
so true, Sondra. I was very lucky to live next door to a young vet. I had a cat… so many stories about that cat, who had such a personality he meant something to many people……. I was able to spend his last day with him in my bed, with him curled up on my chest, both of us together for many hours. The vet came over at the end of her workday, and we didn’t have to move. She did it right there, with him sleeping peacefully on me. So lovely! It meant a lot to have a beautiful, peaceful ending. My hat’s off to you, Sondra. I had no idea such a service existed, I thought we were just unusually lucky. Blessings, Sondra. thank you.
Holly, that is such a great memory and so good to hear! Thank you for sharing that and for the kind words. I am so glad this way of passing for pets is returning the same way that people are able to die at home peacefully with hospice care. It’s an honor to help this return to peaceful dignity grow!
My discoveries include: finding the Joy of reading was a key to surviving a chaotic childhood; Beauty & Solace was found in Nature along with the nurturing smell of freshly mowed alfalfa fields; Importance of listening to the Elders stories which Led me to being a family historian & story teller. Lastly, watching my mother say her daily prayers each morning taught me to have my own spiritual connection with the Divine.
We had a summer home in southern New Hampshire when I was small and I was enchanted by nature and being outdoors. We would hike the surrounding hills, swim and spear frogs in our pond. Nature became a place of refuge, recreation, and outlet for curiosity. As a kid I never reflected much I want nature meant to me, but it held me in a way which is stayed with me through adulthood.
Two important discoveries. In 1st Grade, I discovered that books and reading can open an exciting and entertaining world. What was a cultural dissonance though, was learning to read with Dick and Jane, even though I was born and in lived in remote, rural Paraguay! So much emphasis on European, white values and culture, now that reflect on it.
The other that continues to be source of nurturance and life for me is the natural world: trees, plants and animals. I notice them and they are a comfort and stability always. Growing up in the wilds of Paraguay, and being immersed in the outdoors, my love for and connection to the natural world is a comforting, central part of my being. Especially high trees: I remember my many walks through the woods as a child, looking up at the protective green canopy way above me,
So many! But perhaps the most useful one was that having positive or negative thought is a CHOICE (and a practice) and not dependent on circumstances.
I suppose that is why I visit gratefulness.org . Perhaps that is why you are here, too.
There are so many, but one in particular stands out. I discovered, very early in life-maybe second or third grade, the need for silence.
I may have written about this experience years ago here, but because it was so profound for me, am doing it again…
It was hot on the playground during recess. I have never liked heat that can stifle. So I went into the church side door.(Roman Catholic school and church.) It was dark and quiet. And cool. I slid into the pew and sat. The first thing I noticed was the coolness, then the darkness, and then the silence! I don’t know how long I sat there, probably until I heard the bells ringing that recess was over, but I loved it. There was what I can only describe as a “depth of life” there I had never experienced before. I often went back and sometimes would light many vigil candles-just the small ones-and not put money in the till. When I got older, I always put money in the till but didn’t light the candles(🙃). At home I discovered I could replicate that by hiding under the dining room table. It was dark, quiet and I could hear others in the house, but at a distance.
To this day I get up very early when all is quiet, leave the lights off as much as I can, and listen to the silence….during the day, sometimes I will go into our TV room in the basement and sit…dark, cool, quiet. Not for long, but just enough…and I can feel I am never alone. My soul comes out and that “depth” is there……
Dear Mary Pat, I can feel the silence as I read what you wrote – thank you 🙏 😊 🤩 😍 ☺️ . I get a bit of that now, whenever I listen to the ringing in my left ear.
Mary Pat, not Maeve. I appreciated her share as well.
Thank you, Maeve – it looks like I’ve fixed it 🤗🙃
Thank you, we recently shared we both have the habit of getting up when it’s still dark. I loved reading your story and can perfectly relate. Funny today I listened to Eckart Tolle talking about the depth of presence or living in the moment… I will try to absorb this depth next time I’m in the dark, at least for a moment:) Blessings
Like this…thanks for sharing
That is so beautiful. I can see how it would impact your life. Thank you for sharing it today. 🙂
I was fortunate to grow up with lots of cousins and have a close-knit family. Love my family.
In my tiny town in the rural Texas Panhandle the County book mobile began to show up on Saturday afternoons by the town park. The lady that drove it was so nice and helpful. At first it was just that my mother let me walk there by myself that was the adventure. Later it became about the books. Soon the town saw how beneficial it would be to have it’s own library, and Nancy Drew became my best friend – an inquisitive girl in charge, asking questions and discovering answers about the mysteries before her. Thus began my love of mystery books, and my love of asking questions about the mysteries of life.
Several years ago, I started going to see a psychologists because of my chronic depression and anxiety. I was using different methods of behaviour modification which advised me on the childhood causes of my problems but did not work for me. I understood the reasons why, acknowledged my feelings why I was reacting but not really addressing them. It was not until about 2 years ago where I found my current counsellor who brought to my attention the concept of my inner child and mindfulness. I am working on being there for my IC by soothing, comforting yet not allow them to control me. The things that I endured as a child continue to inform my life but I am taking the reigns and helping myself deal with these issues with self compassion and kindness..
The particular solace and energy of trees/woods/forest. I used to hide out there when I needed space to breathe and escape the world of talk or demands of home. It is a love affair that continues. Similarly, the power and invitation of lakes and rivers. And I would echo SK and Howie in the love and importance of books in my life.
As a child and still, always curious about what’s new.
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