invited you to a party and
“Everyone in the ballroom tonight will
be my special
how would you then treat them when you arrived?
And Hafiz knows that there is no one in
this world who is not standing upon
His jeweled dance
There was a long beam of light across the water. It seemed surreal, and even prompted a thought of whether there really was such a thing as extraterrestrial visitors from other planets. Having had a day filled with synthetic hues in signage and screens, I laughed at myself for my being surprised by one of the most lasting, universal, and natural visual experiences – the glow from a full moon projected onto the earth.
The moon – except during its darkest phase of newness – shines on all the lands and waters of the world. It has no favorites and illumines whatever it touches whether that is noticed, or not. Its presence influences the movement of the ocean, which covers nearly three-fourths of the globe. When the full moon floods the darkness with pearly iridescence, everything is at least partially revealed.
Our dear friend, the moon, rarely makes the news – unless we land on it and then celebrate that landing. I tend to feel that is like most of the “fixtures” of our lives. They are the underpinning of our existence, but like the foundation of our homes and buildings, we forget that they are there. Most of us actually don’t want the bedrocks of our lives to be making the news, because that might mean that there is something amiss.
It is unfathomable that the moon would go away within any of our lifetimes, but maybe, just as a precaution, we could notice it a little more often, and offer it appreciation for being there. Maybe that will inspire us to notice the other everyday, regular stuff that sustains us, such as the trees, earth, our bodies and senses, and our unseen layers of support.
After all, maybe the light of the moon is the invitation to notice what the sage poet Hafiz suggests – that all the world is standing on God’s jeweled dance floor. Perhaps we are meant to glow and beam, seeing and being light in the world. My sense is that this begins with an appreciation of and reverence for the ordinary.
This short practice invites appreciation of the ordinary.
- Find a comfortable place to sit where your spine can be upright. For example, this could be on the earth or floor, or on a chair or bench.
- Notice the surface beneath you and the support that is offering you.
- While still seated,
systematically notice your body from the tips of your toes and fingers to the
crown of your head, e.g., each toe, the top/bottom of the foot, the entire
foot, the ankle,
- With each part of the body, with sincerity, say “Thank you. I appreciate you.”
- As you come to the parts of your face, lightly touch your nose,
then your mouth, eyes, cheeks, and ears.
- With each of these sensory organs, say, “Thank you. I appreciate you. Through you, I appreciate the world around me.”
- Come to standing and
begin to walk around with a sense of great appreciation of the earth that
supports you. Whomever or whatever is nearby, allow yourself to find that
sense of true appreciation of all that co-inhabits this world.
- Walk for a few minutes.
- Note: there is no right or wrong about where you are when you are walking and noticing your surroundings. You could be alone at home appreciating the floor, a plant, a vase, or the light streaming through the window.
- Come back to where you were seated. Allow your eyes to rest in a soft gaze. And, sit and breathe with a smooth inhalation as though you were sipping in the sweetness of all life. On your exhales, gently yield that sweetness back to the world.
- Give yourself a hug. And, make a silent promise to move through the rest of your day with thoughts and gestures of appreciation.
Transition back into your day –
- Sit quietly for a few moments.
- When you are ready, return to your day.
This poem is translated by Daniel Ladinsky and appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 95, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. The photo is by Lukas Robertson. HEARTH is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2020.