PETALS

The blooming eight foot bougainvillea created a tunnel with its overhanging boughs between the several six inch trunks of a banana tree with its translucent thirty-six inch leaves filtering the sun and the broad leaf ten foot plant on its left.  Over a thousand shed, pink petals provided an afghan to the carpet of lush green grass in the yard.  Additional bushes and plants formed a backdrop for nature’s painting on this sunny day.

 

I was drinking my morning coffee as I looked through the large plate glass window of my son’s dining room.  The open sliding glass door next to me provided a perfectly temperatured breeze to enfold my person and warm my soul.

 

Medical monitors would have documented what I already knew.  My blood pressure had dropped a few points, as had my pulse.  I was at peace.  I was calm.  I was somehow, dare I say mystically, a part of that particularly beautiful scene while I observed myself in the painting.

 

I am in Honolulu visiting my son and his girl friend for my annual pilgrimage of parental obligation.  I had left my home in Omaha six hours before a blizzard struck, last Monday.  Somehow, even the coffee tastes better when life is so good.  Or maybe, it’s because I feel whole.  Beauty, in any form, does that for me.

 

 

I WATCHED THE UNIVERSE DANCE, TODAY!

As I sat in my easy chair reading Julian of Norwich this morning, I looked through my sliding glass doors opening onto my second story deck at the world around me.  Bijou, one of my two toy poodles, was asleep on the ottoman, snoring softly, next to my bare feet while Zoe’ was basking in the dappled sun as it streamed into the room.  Sam the squirrel was standing on his haunches, on the banister, trying to reach the thistle seed feeder I have for the finches. After a few more sniffs, and no little frustration, he went back to the dried ear of corn stuck on a large nail in the railing.  Bobby Blue Jay lighted on the top of the feeder stand making sure it was safe to roost on the container holding his fave, dried meal worms.

Beyond the deck was a sea of green from the coniferous and deciduous trees in the green belt behind my home.  White cumulus clouds filled in the space behind the trees with blue skies laying on top.  I could see some of the petunias and the hibiscus in pots on the deck.  The wind gently moved the leaves of all as the swayed rythmically as sparrows pushed and shoved their way to the bird seed.  A mama took a small piece of millet and fed her chirping juvenile.  Just now, Cal the cardinal showed up to add his color and beauty to the cosmic ballet.

And, I was one with creation.  Peaceful.  Satisfied.  Connected to all around me.  My soul is a bit larger, now.  I am filled with a sense of quiet joy, satisfied in the knowledge that all shall be well.  All shall be well.  All manner of things shall be well.”

HOW TO GROW YOUR SOUL

There I was, sitting in the Arrivals Section of the D/FW airport, awaiting my Son, Chris, and his girlfriend, Katy who were flying in from Hawaii for his grandmother’s funeral.  It has been a very long time since I have spent an hour in an area like that.  If you know anything about D/FWIA, you know it is one of the largest airports in the world.  Massive is a good descriptor and I didn’t want to be late.  Flights from Honolulu are frequently early.

I love people watching.  I love diversity.  I love friends and family greeting one another after an absence.  Perhaps, the best is grandparents meeting their grand children for the first time.  That’s unconditional love incarnate.  Second to that, is families reuniting after an obviously long separation.  I get a particularly big rush and a few goose bumps when a Military Service Member is returning from a combat tour.  Just no words for that when the family can see for themselves s/he’s okay.

I enjoy the native costumes of those visiting from lands far away.  I like to hear the different languages and I especially delight in the universal facial expressions, laughter and/or tears.   I appreciate the culturally unique ways people process and express their feelings.  International airports are a mini United Nations on any given day.  It’s interesting to see the similarities of humanity while dressing and behaving in so many different ways.  What a kaleidoscope of life.

Then it was my turn.  Chris and Katy came walking through the door and I saw them for the first time since last October.  All was right with the world and we were together.  Funny how when I’m close to my kids and/or grand kids, I feel closer to everyone and the universe.  My step is lighter, my spirit soars, life is good and I give thanks.  I am one with all.

MORT

I have been blessed in my life by having two “Rebbies.”  That’s a term of endearment used by congregants for their Rabbi.  Interestingly enough, they were both cultural Jews and not clergy, but they were very important to me and my spiritual journey.

Mort Satten, PhD, CP was a Clinical Practitioner of Psychodrama (If you don’t know what that means, it’s not important to the story).  He was a Licensed PhD, TEP touched thousands of lives during their forty plus years of providing workshops and therapy, internationally.  I frequently have said they saved my psychological life, because they did.

Flashback:  I had only been with Mort once before, when I drove to Frankfort International Airport, Frankfort am Main, to meet him and Dorothy.  As an Army Chaplain, I had contracted with them to come to Kaiserslautern West Germany where I was stationed to do ten days of workshops.  Our first time together was at a “five day” in Mannheim, WG a year before.  He had seen me do some of my therapy work and we had become friends in that time.  We also hung out in the Gasthaus bar in the evenings playing low stakes poker.  That made him my kind of guy.

International arrivals passengers go from the part of the terminal where they deplane to the passport control/customs area which is separated from those awaiting them by bulletproof, Plexiglas walls.  I watched as he and Dorothy cleared immigration and then found their suitcases to go through customs.  Then they would be free to leave and we could be on the Autobahn to my home.

Mort saw me after he got his bags and walked over to the “glass” wall where I waited on the other side.  Without saying anything, he placed his right hand against the wall and I placed my left “against” his.  Our souls touched.  His gentle smile and warm caring eyes enfolded me into his love.  I can still feel it as I write this to you.

That began a unique journey of relationship and intimacy that has lasted for decades.  Late in his life, he informed me and another Army Chaplain/Psychodrama groupie, Glenn Sammis, he wanted us to do his funeral, and we did.

I remember much of what he taught me.  The memories of watching him direct dramas, chow down on Texas barbeque, sharing his life story and so many other events continue to warm me.  I’m a better man because he allowed me to be his friend.  I learned from him how to relate to women in asexual ways and not cross therapeutic boundaries.  I reveled in watching him model how to love a woman with his beloved Dorothy.  My relationship with my universe has been greatly enriched by my Rebbie, Mort.  Life would have been so much less without him.  Someday, I hope someone can truthfully say the same about me.