Up and down in Cortona. Someone takes my Pema book and new laptop: Basho's poem 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 (and writing and photos).

Uh oh.

A few things:

What did I do first? (After changing two passwords--bank and credit card), I closed my eyes, looked up and asked for love, support, and help. 

I talked to someone, the kind of person who listens and says, "I hear you. I understand. 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. 

(Something I love about T, my husband, when I told him he held me and said, "Sweetie, you can recite that book now." Well, not really, but her teachings are in my heart. Perhaps it's time to move from contemplation to practice.)

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 and ringing at the end of meditation. 

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

Barn burnt down--
now 
I can see the moon.



14 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the link to Basho, Susan. I love haiku and will definitely revisit this simple and yet profound style of poetry.

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    1. He's really something, isn't he, Nancy. Here's another favorite:

      old pond….
      a frog leaps in
      plop

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  2. I'm sorry that happened. It seems it was (sort of) a gift in disguise. Wishing you peaceful travels.

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    1. It was a disguised gift, Michelle. Thanks for your wishes...

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  3. Still aching for you. Hope you've replaced the book ...

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    1. Haven't. But I will. Thanks for your comment here, and your response on FB, Kelly. You're the best.

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  4. What a wonderful perspective you share here, Susan. It's hard not to feel violated when a theft occurs. I too, have benefited from circumstances beyond my control that have required I tune out (or tune in - it depends on how you look at it, I suppose). Sorry for your loss but happy for your ability to view it in stride with a positive outlook.

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    1. Thank you, Nanette. I also think hardship invites working with perspective. When I was in the midst of feeling, I remembered (hallelujah) that thoughts and feelings are energy and to let them pass through so they don't take up residence or layer other past pains I may still store. Gosh, that helped. After this experience, I wondered if the loss happened to help me make this type progress. Interesting, huh?

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  5. Susan, NOT fun to have your belongings taken. Happy to hear you are in Italy, though, and love the poem, thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Janet. Basho is a favorite poet. When I taught in the primary Montessori classroom, I wrote several of his poems on cards that the children later learned and memorized. I have fond memories of them standing up in circle to recite their poem. A early poetry slam :))

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  6. I just love you, Susan. Just love you. Your perspective always causes the edges of my concepts to shimmer.

    You know, I've long thought of you as a teacher as well as a good friend. I wonder if the loss of Pema's book is a bit of an invitation -- what would you write, if you were writing these teachings you hold dear to your heart?

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    1. Oh, what a heart hug. xo

      I see your shimmer, Harmony : ). And, thanks for saying I add to it.

      Rewriting the concepts I hold dear from beloved teachers. Now, that's an idea. Thanks for suggesting I'm up to it.

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  7. It is so sad when someone takes something so dear to us...so precious. All of my camera equipment was stolen from me a few months back. Loosing the photos that I had taken that day made me very sad. I'm so sorry for your loss, but so love your attitude of moving forward and looking at the 'brighter side' of life.

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    1. Oh, I really understand the loss of your photos and equipment, Debbie. Something that showed up in this experience, unlike past losses, is less upset, less loss of moments. This and the next one. I'm beginning to understand in a new way that nothing can really take away my happiness. Thanks so much for being here. PS I'm imagining you line-dancing and enjoying Yuma skies.

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