Expecting the Unexpected

Unexpectedly, there was a man on my roof at 3:30 pm Monday. Yes, really. But more about that later. Also, unexpectedly, we gave over the morning to putting the travel trailer and fishing boat in storage for the winter. The opportunity arose so we could be free of doing this job in the snow on Thursday. While I was in the trailer setting odor repellent for mice, I took off my prescription sunglass clip ons and set them on the counter. The inner voice said, “Don’t set them there, you will forget them.” “Nah.” I said. And I set them on the counter.

Two hours later I was looking for my sunglass clip ons. We headed back to the storage and luckily I was able to get in and crawl on my belly under the slide in to retrieve them where they had fallen during the transport.

In mid afternoon a man arrives at our door wondering if we need any tree trimming done. Leo jumps at the chance to have someone cut down the large branch hanging over the house. After dickering on a price and with a cherry picker and his helper they ascend. The helper is on the roof. The wind whisks his prescription sunglasses off his head and away they go with the wind. The men look around for about twenty minutes before giving up. The man on the roof says, “When I put them on this morning I said to myself, don’t wear these new ones, wear the old ones, but I didn’t listen to myself.”

We don’t always listen to ourselves let alone the wisdom from within, however we name that voice of wisdom, knowing, collective unconscious, all pervasive Spirit. Some days we don’t have much time to interact with our spouse, our kids, friends, or even ourselves. The inner voice whispers, talks a bit louder and then one day screams until we have to pay attention. It can get awfully lonely inside when we don’t spend a few moments with ourselves daily. Just listening. We might think of it as meditation, prayer, reflection time with a cup of coffee. Whatever, we call it, the time with self deserves our respect, as it does with anyone we care about.

When we first learn to sit quietly with ourselves there is the inevitable question, “What if there is nothing there?” We wiggle, squirm, adjust this and that, feel impatient. It is amazing how long 5 minutes can feel when we are counting every second and itching to get away and “do something.” When I first started learning to calm my mind and meditate in the mid 80’s, it was met with the same questions and concerns, “Am I doing this right?” Maybe I should take a class to learn.” Wouldn’t that be nice for my busy mind? But really, it is about breathing, Just sit quietly and breathe. Notice the breath. Be present. So easy and so hard. It takes practice, a little bit every day.

When I encourage a grieving widow who is trying to stay busy so as “not to dwell so much” on the one she misses, and offer to her that she can sit quietly every morning or evening to just be with the loved one. Be with the memories, the feel of the person. The suggestion might be met with uncertainty or resistance but after giving it a try can become a moment of balm for the day. A base line that can be carried throughout a busy chaotic day, “I remember how I felt in quiet this morning, all is well.”

We will go on ignoring the inner voice at various times. We are human. But more and more we will recognize, calm ourselves, be patient and listen.  Breathe in and then respond rather than give a quick thoughtless reaction. We can strengthen the intuition as we strengthen a muscle. Our quieting becomes an invitation, allowing a connection to the language of the world, as Paulo Coehlo calls it. We can learn to expect this inner voice who alerts us to the unexpected.

To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment. Eckhart Tolle

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