Fri, July 19

Heaven on Earth?!

I have experienced Heaven on Earth. Or Nirvana. Or Dharma. Whatever you need to call it, I have experienced it...and so have you.

Shortly before spring began, for example, there was a gentle breeze and some rare puffy white clouds, tinged with the gray that can precede a looming storm, but at that point reflected only the specter, not the reality of rain.

Around me curtains billowed making pregnant bellies with their middles, then popping into a swirl and settling back waiting for the next breeze.

It was too early in the spring for the birds to return in great numbers, but I heard some tweeps and even recognized the sweet mourn of a nearby dove. A neighbor's wind chime bumped into itself without much enthusiasm; a few dings and dongs wove their way soundward. The ever faithful neighborhood canines declared their joy of the day (or is it their intent to gleefully tear out your throat if you step on their property?!?); whichever, it the sound of pure, unadulterated joy.

These moments of Heaven on Earth are a feast for all the senses and the spirit. It reminds me of my Philosophy of Life, which is "Love your Neighbor" (unless you are the product of a 1950s Methodist Sunday School; then you'll probably say Love THY Neighbor. I guess that makes it more official!)

At any rate: "Love Thy Neighbor, Keep Your House Clean" (nope, not keep THY house clean), just keep it clean. Your house here, of course, represents your physical house, your spiritual house, your emotional house and your mental house. It's all gotta be clean for you to become a regular visitor to Heaven on Earth.

So..."Love Thy Neighbor, Keep Your House Clean and Be Kind to Animals". That's it.

When I gave this presentation, I saw a few people taking notes.

No doubt they thought this philosophical discussion was going much deeper.

While we're on earth, we're all bound, more or less, by the constrictions of gravity and physics in general. It's how it works on our planet. But a few blissful moments spent in a hot tub on a quiet Sunday morning with the sun shining just enough and earth warming just enough to encourage a few errant irises to raise their purple beards, and we've got a touch of heaven. Right here, right now. And we've got work to do.

You may not be like this, but there are people like me who are comfortable with the topic of death. It's the work I was put on earth to do. I've gotten some training in order to be of assistance because when I experienced a long- ago heavenly moment, I was shown, clearly, that working with death and dying is my life work.

Nope, not what I do for money. My Work, with a Capital W.

And when I sat with my friend who was in the process of making hard end-of-life decisions and discussing them with her family a few years ago, I felt my mood lift. The entire time I was with her, listening, answering questions, being helpful where possible, I felt just fine. Not sad at all. I made eye contact with my friend, a smart lady who had spent the last year of her life confined to her bed and had decided to quit eating and drinking to allow her body to die.

We have a bond, then and still. Why? Because I understand what she wanted. I can speak death. And it won't kill me! Or you.

Now, I'm not going to suggest that everybody go out and learn to speak death. Not at all. That's my Life Work. Yours is something else. It could be helping kids who have abuse issues or helping women find out who they are, empowering them to be in charge of themselves. Perhaps you teach people to read, or grow a garden or volunteer or simply and lovingly make sure your children are taken care of and nurtured. Whatever your Life Work is, you'll know it.

How? Well, it's those times when, even in the face of pressure and stress you don't feel overwhelmed (though, yes, you may feel sad or lonely or even experience some reluctance to take the actions)...and you follow through. You're good to your word. You show up and you do your part. Sometimes you even volunteer for the tough duty...because it's your Life Work, after all.

And in the doing, we each experience tiny touches of Heaven on Earth. Moments when the Universe is in order. When everything feels just right and our oxytocin flows.

In those moments we are living life in such a way as to experience Heaven on Earth. Hopefully we are savoring each moment of it and being grateful. Then, rolling up our sleeves and once again doing our part to make the earth a better place to live, even in those not-so-heavenly moments.

An artist friend of mine recently said, (although she swears that words aren't her medium): Heaven on Earth is when one's felt rhythms feel part of the pulse of what keeps us together - in one piece, in motion - yet each moment different, special unto itself. And also when your five year old grandchild, with big serious eyes asks you, "Do carrots cry?"

Yep, I've experienced Heaven on Earth...and so have you. I hope we're all paying attention, recognizing and enjoying it.