The words of the Dog Whisperer and Dr. Schnarch repeat themselves to me daily now. The Dog Whisperer coaches me in my left ear: "Calm and assertive", and Dr. Schnarch lectures to my right: "The biggest gift you can give to your partner and everyone else around you is to be relaxed". Those truths run deep for me these days. I find myself looking forward to adversity, interested to see if I can remain calm and relaxed through it, maintain breath control, keep facial muscles loose. A long way from perfect tonight, shooting for any quantity of progress. Writing about it helps me. The Bodhidharma (482-539), translated by Red Pine, writes "When you meet with adversity don't be upset, because it makes sense".
Spring has sprung and the green hills erupt continuous waves of yellow mustard, Scotch Broom on the rocky sections; fresh lichen growth glows bright green on the tree trunks, all in perfect time with the squashed cats adorning the roadsides. I used to think those cats died chasing other cats in heat, but now believe they've just been kicked out of their home range by family members coming of age. When I'm in a up mood, my trouble getter becomes a strong young April pup, destroying problems in the process of tasting them, surprised when the life drains out of them so soon. Then on to chasing butterflies and letting the rain wash over me without flinching, actively shrinking my ego. The details of the seasonal change I notice all around me and within me. When people tell me we have no seasons around here I know that their focus treads other places than the world around them. When I'm in a down mood the problems oppress and obliterate all else; I struggle to go through the motions to get back on the good foot (my left now, used to be my right). T.S. Eliot writes in The Burial of the Dead that "April is the cruelest month..." and he may be onto something there.
Helen Keller writes:
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
And I do love that Helen Keller, queen of unconventional communication. I feel a great peace when contemplating her deaf and blind existence, and her aggressive acceptance of it.