I stepped out this morning into the unseasonably warm weather to hear geese overhead. I scanned the sky to catch sight of them. A nice sized flock came straight out of the west, not far above the trees. They seemed to pause in flight for a beat and I wondered if they were going to land in my yard! The most irritating dog right now is Mattie. True to her dedication to being the best giant pain-in-assorted-parts of my anatomy, she began barking at the horses - those killer herbivores who live here and who were dangerously waiting for their oats. At the first bark, the geese shifted just a wing beat and effortlessly coalesced into two formations, their natural flight expertise carrying them over my house as if by magic. I accepted their blessing as a very lovely Christmas present.
All is peaceful and calm down on the old farmstead. Ginger and Wally, the Supreme Beings, are fat and sassy. Ginger gets to boss Wally around every single day. Mattie and Jake are happy and healthy but both are worthless as farm dogs. Jake barks at human beings, friend and foe, but Mattie thinks everyone is her next new friend. Jake barks at unseen critters once in a great while but Mattie barks at every molecule and rustling atom, non stop. And if I am not careful to keep one or the other constrained, they actually leave the farm for expensive and dangerous adventures elsewhere. So... two "worthless" dogs. What are you going to do?
I am almost two years retired and it is wonderful. Now I can sleep through the night instead of hour long increments of fitful suffering. I get to stay home in the peace and quiet all day long. No more acid reflux and very few migraine headaches. No ass-burn at all. Well, that's a lie. I have ass-burn at Mattie every day!
I have started painting seriously. I have completed six acrylic paintings. I continue with small watercolors and there is also a set of oils waiting in the wings. Each time I learn a little more and finish better paintings. (Sorry to the people who have received the first clumsy attempts! My heart was in the right place even if the paintings kinda suck.)
My adult children are doing well, though both live complicated lives. They are healthy and happy and most importantly, they are not axe murderers. Mission accomplished!
I continue to meditate and study books written by Alan Wallace and Mingur Youngey Rinpoche. It required almost a lifetime of preparation to understand these Tibetan teachings even though they have been made simple for the Western mind. The Four Immeasurables or cultivating virtues of the heart:
Loving Kindness - heartfelt yearning and vision for oneself and others to experience happiness and the causes of happiness
Compassion - heartfelt yearning that all be free of suffering and its causes
Empathic Joy - Delight in other people's virtues, successes and joys
Equanimity - Even heartedness, even mindedness and impartiality
The Christ came to teach us these truths, as well as the Buddha and countless others, known and unknown.
In the spirit of Christmas:
Wishing peace on earth and goodwill toward (some) men
from the Crazy Woman, the Supreme Beings, and the Constantly Barking Dogs of Spiritcreek.