Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy As I Am

"By concentrating on your present life and perfecting it, you may even find you don't have to make any major adjustments- - you are happy as you are."
~Gary Quinn

I saw this quote today and realized how perfect it is for me. It's now been a week and a half since I've been unemployed (or as I like to think of it -- self employed) and I'm realizing how easy it is to adjust and feel happy. I'm receiving so much joy in the simple pleasures -- staying in my pajamas until noon, taking Marley on long walks, lying still and feeling the baby kicking, sitting at our outdoor table and enjoying the view, browsing through my cookbooks and making elegant meals for my husband, reading novels, etc. It truly is a delight and I'm savoring every second. It will be very nice to bring in some income, but in the meantime I am very much enjoying this unforeseen vacation.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Losing to Know Kindness and other Blessings

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the
Indian in a white poncho lies dead
by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night
with plans and the simple breath
that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness
as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow
as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness
that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day
to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

This poem particularly resonated with me today. Last Wednesday, at 5 months pregnant and feeling very hopeful and secure about the future, I was unexpectedly fired. I truly understand the phrase from this poem about how you "feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth." That's how I felt as my six figure job vanished in the few minutes I sat in my ex-boss' office. And as my future dissolved, I despaired in thinking how in the hell am I going to get a new job when I'm pregnant??? How am I going to survive?

But I've realized as I've had these 6 days to come to terms with my new reality and with the true blessing of time to think and be (a luxury I was not afforded with my high-pressure job), that my life is so filled with kindness and support and friendship and love that I am the richest person I know. And this forced break from a job that frankly, I was planning on leaving as soon as I'd popped this baby out anyway, was a blessing. I've been feeling my baby kicking a lot and it's almost like she's dancing. Even in utero she desires and demands my time and my focus. She desires and demands a mother who is rested and relaxed and sane. And so, here I am... typing in my pajamas and sitting in my bed at 11:30 a.m. and filled with gratitude for this silver lining which is so bright I can almost no longer see the cloud.