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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The joy of clouds

I woke up this morning, looked out the window, and saw clouds! If I had said this a couple of years ago, with as much enthusiasm as I am saying it now, my friends in Canada would have looked at me with a perplexed expression on their faces. But I have not actually seen ONE cloud in months. Not one. Hence my delight today that although there is blue sky, the sun has yet to burn through the clouds, which in my hopeful opinion, is an indication that the chance of rain at some point in the next few weeks is that much greater!

I met a man at a conference I attended this summer in San Francisco who paints clouds. That is his life and his love. Clouds. I was intrigued, and spent a good deal of time talking with him. His name is Chris Page, and he lives in Belchertown (what a name, eh? ;-), MA. After Chris and I were done talking and before I moved on, he handed me a card. On one side of it was his personal information. On the other side were clouds, and this:

"Find an individual cloud in the sky. Acquire it in your mind as part of your art collection. Watch your acquisition until it is gone from view. In your mind let go of your acquisition." 

The conference was about changing our patterns of thought. He was challenging people to think about how they see the world differently using clouds as his tool for perception altering. Are there clouds in the sky outside where you are? Have you stopped to watch them lately? I used to lie on my back on the cool marble front porch of my house as a child in Cyprus with my friends, while eating ice cream. While we ate we could watch the clouds, pointing to dogs, cats, cars, birds, and all sorts of other things that passed by in the clouds, before morphing into something else, or drifting past completely.

I don't know why as adults we stop taking the time to lie on our backs and watch the clouds. Maybe you do. I should speak for myself. I know I don't do it nearly enough these days. Same with the stars and the moon. When was the last time you took a blanket out in the back yard or into a park, lay on your back, and just watched the stars?

I am feeling grateful for the clouds today. I am also feeling grateful for the cool breeze that is moving in my window -- a rarity for the past few months, and a clear indication that we are definitely headed into Fall. I am also grateful that the poet Jane Hirshfield is giving a reading tonight two hours from where I live. I am hoping to drive down there to hear her tonight.

This morning when I woke up I came across this video of an incredible woman named Bel Kaufman who is 100 years old who is a comedian and educator, and just completely set aflame with the spirit of life and joy. Check out this clip. I guarantee it will make you smile!

I am about to head out to the funeral of a friend's husband, another friend's father, and another's brother. I never met him, but his wife, daughter, sister and niece are all in the women's devotional group that takes place in my living room twice a month. Deaths can be incredibly sad times, but when I saw this man's wife last week, right after he passed away, and looked into her eyes, I saw such brightness, love and clarity there. I told her what I saw, and she smiled and told me that her heart has never felt more open, because with her partner gone from this physical world, she has been looking around her at her children, her sister in law, her niece, and even her religious community and realizing that every joy in her life was brought into her life by her husband. That he gave her so much beauty and joy, and that all of that she will have with her forever. I teared up listening to her. How hard is it to let go...how much easier to cling to the person you have just lost, and yet what better way to honour her husband than to celebrate all the joy he has brought into her life?

The clouds are slowly dispersing, as I write, and the sunshine again falling down among the pink blossoms covering the branches of the bush outside my window. I am feeling grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the clouds; to watch them as they disappear, and to let go of my acquisition, as Chris put it. The joy is still here, so really nothing has been lost.

Whatever you fill your Monday with, I invite you to take the time to sit quietly and notice something that brings you joy, take it in, watch it, enjoy it, and then let it go, while holding onto the joy that it brought you. Leave a comment if you feel like sharing your experience with this. I wish you all a beautiful gratitude Monday, friends!

1 comment:

  1. beautiful. thanks. I love clouds too, and I don't always do it. but am doing it more now living through my baby's eyes. love, arjana