So much is unseen, even if it’s glaring right before our eyes. What we see in front of us is often a mask over something more truthful that lies beneath. Cosmetic surgery can cover a face growing old with wrinkles. A glaring florescent light distorts the natural sunlight slanting through a window. And then there are the glaring problems that stack up like an endless tower of blocks, ready to crash with one move. We might have suspected the crash will come, but are surprised when it does. Glaring presents a dilemma–we want to shield ourselves from a moment of truth, downfall, or the inevitability of aging. No light can burn away the truth. Although the key word here, glaring, is presented in the daily prompt, let’s look beneath its obvious meaning. We don’t always see ourselves, or our faults, but these often appear glaringly to others. How can we see ourselves clearly? Try this exercise:
Sit comfortably in front of an object of focus, such as a crystal, gem, lit candle, flowers, or a simple, beautiful sculpture. Stare at it one-pointedly, keeping your eye on it even if it blurs or dances before you. Notice how it may change in color, shape, and texture. Whose to say what’s real, the form of the object, or what you, the observer sees? This classic, meditative exercise helps us see past the obvious to deeper tones of consciousness. When we want to get to the essence or heart of something, we must look past the surface.
Fragrance from incense, heavenly scented flowers, like roses, lilacs, and magnolias, or even the sidewalk coffee smell oozing from a cart, can be a gateway to consciousness. For a moment, we are entranced, swept away from the nitty gritty streets to a faraway land where a sea breeze, jasmine, or pine rules. Fragrance jolts the memory, and we are back in grandma’s kitchen, or a favorite Italian restaurant. Never underestimate the power of a puff of lavender or spray of sage. What’s your favorite fragrance? What memory might it bring to mind? Light a clove candle and think about it.
To bumble is to create a stirring, a high flying energy that has its own upward spin. To stumble is to fall down and get up again, like an eternally optimistic toddler. If you want to create a rumble in your routine, bumble first. All good things come to pass after a bit of bumbling and stumbling around. Even cookies crumble before a recipe is perfected.
Tea is a ritual and destination every morning. Brewing tea is a moving and sensory meditation. It wakes me up and gets the day going. The tea shelf hosts several orderly and labeled cans (from recycled Zabar’s tea cans) and ranges from robust Irish or English Breakfast to demure Darjeeling to subtle or strong chai, various herbal mixtures, roasted bancha and other green teas, lavender, lime, French Vanilla, and Russian, which is like tea with an exclamation point. Nowhere else is my home or life so orderly and delightful. I sip as long as I can, my thoughts steeping over the day’s to do list, or perhaps a pleasant procrastination, reading a magazine or book. Enjoy your tea and and let it brim with calm vigor as you savor your day.
My mom’s father, Pop Barney, died when I was ten. More memorable than his sweet smile and cigars were the the Charm’s or Tootsie Roll lollipops he gave us on visits. His status as a Depression-era Brooklyn candy store owner commanded respect. A lollipop from Pop was a special treat, and often came with his words, an incongruous aphorism, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Who understood adults, anyway? We understood love, and a lollipop was love on a stick. I get that now, when I give my little grandson heart stickers or the Bomba chips he loves. The lollipop era may have had its last licks, but the memory of Pop’s pops will linger forever. What bygone treat can you taste? What flavor was your lollipop?