Up and down in Cortona. Basho helps.

Image credit: Terry Barrett. Our apartment staircase in Cortona, Italy. When I look at this photograph, I think, “Up or down. Both work when it comes to growing.”

So yesterday I sat in my favorite caffe (I’m in Italy for 3 months) having a cappuccino and somewhere between sips, someone took my blue Tumi case holding my new laptop—writing and photos, and a few other things.

Uh oh.

A few things:

What did I do first? (After changing two passwords), I sat and meditated, then went outside to look at the sky. 

I talked to someone, the kind of person who listens and says, "It's going to be okay. I love you."

And then I got perspective about how important this loss is: not very. 

I'm not in chemo like my sister-in-love (law) Mariclare or my dear friend William. No one died or is bleeding. My family is okay. You know what I mean.

But I had feelings.

Feelings centered around safety, disappointment, not being enough--like aware enough, and I rode them. And tears.

My little Pema Chodron book, the one I've read so often it is soft like cloth, was also in the case. Most of my tears were for losing that book. 

(When I told my husband he held me and said, "Sweetie, you can recite that book now." Well, not really, but her teachings are in my heart.)

I now have less online access. I proclaimed this trip as a retreat. Well, retreat upped a notch: 

I get to see how helpful my daily meditation practice is. Mindful practice is about riding each moment, especially challenging ones-- with presence. 

I know what's important. And I've internalized a great lesson: I can feel both sad and happy at the same time. I'm so grateful to Pema for teaching me that.

So today, while feeling both sad and happy, I also see the sunshine and hear a bevy of crow caw and caw. The repeated caws remind me of the bell ringing at the end of meditation. 

Maybe, just maybe, that caw is a celebration message like Matsuo Basho's poem: 

Barn burnt down--
I can see the moon.