New

I sat with “Trevor” for a few minutes yesterday.  He’s a Grade 6 student at South Dorchester School.  I looked at him and wondered if he could create something new in the world.  Then I asked him.  “I have a challenge for you.  Think up some way that people could be happier.”

Trevor didn’t look at me like I was crazy.  He just looked at me … thoughtfully.  Then he said, “I’ll work on it.”  And I know he will.

What if each of us considered what we could add to this place, rather than merely wanting all our desires to be met?  What if we could focus on the level of consciousness we present to others, rather than just checking off items on our bucket list?  What if we committed to living in accord with our highest values?  It’s possible.

Long ago, in my travels as an itinerant vision teacher, I came upon a classroom teacher named Patty.  Every morning, she’d write a “Thought for the Day” on the board.  I liked a lot of them, but then one day …

You were born an original
Don’t die a copy

Whoa!

That one hit me hard and it’s stayed with me over the years.  “Original.”  Something new on our planet.  Yes.  I can do that, and so can each of us.  I doubt very much if I’ll ever invent something that makes our lives easier, but would I really want to do that anyway?  “Easier” is nowhere near the top of the mountain.

Perhaps my uniqueness can revolve around the present moment, and all the ones to follow.  Right now, what can I bring to the table?  Well, this particular Right Now finds me tapping the keys of my laptop in a Tim Hortons coffee shop.  I’m not talking to anyone, other than the fellow I gave my order to.  What can advance the world’s happiness as I sit here?  Well … I can simply wish people well.

You are loved
May you have peace
May you touch others
May you feel the sorrows of those around you and let your heart quiver in response

As I complete this blog post, and ready myself to leave the restaurant, maybe there’s a kind word that will escape my lips and land in someone’s heart.  We’ll see.

Part of my uniqueness shows up in the meditation hall on retreats.  After a few days of settling in, I can feel my heart opening, offering love and peace to those nearby.  I don’t think I fill the room … but perhaps someday.  “Come on, Bruce, other people do this too.”  Of course, but it is a gift I’ve been given.

My newness may mostly show up in group meditation but my environment is full of more traditional venues – classrooms, diners, libraries, my home, other people’s homes, on the trail, in the public washroom, sitting on a bench.  Folks come by.  What can I offer?  Quite a bit, I think.

And as for you, Trevor, I welcome your words.  See you on Tuesday.

First Date

In thirty years.  At 2:35 yesterday, I sat down in a London coffee shop, waiting for 3:00 to roll around.  I was going to talk to a woman whom I’d met on Zoosk, a dating website.  I’ll call her Erin.  Strangely, I wasn’t nervous.  But I sure was excited.  A new human being, potentially a new love.

As I sipped my tea, a little smile adorned my face.  I was happy.  It’s been 15 months since Jody died, and it’s time for companionship.  From my window table, I watched people cross the street, including several women, none of whom matched the photo on the website.  I realized that 3:00 pm could be a huge moment in my life, or maybe not.  The smile remained.

I needed a napkin for my pumpkin tart so I headed to the counter.  A woman was making a purchase, her back to me.  “Is that her?” I gushed on the inside.  No.  Her hair was curly and Erin’s was straight.  But my heart did a few flippy-flips before I figured that out.

Back to the sanctuary of my table.  More human beings outside, slow slogging through the snow.  The neighbourhood was an older one – classic brick buildings with most of them turned into restaurants or shops.

There!  That’s Erin.  Oh my goodness, she’s probably coming into the coffee shop.  She’s probably going to order.  She’s probably going to come looking for me.  Now the smile has turned into a laugh … aimed at moi.  And sure enough, a woman named Erin is soon walking down the aisle towards me.  I wave.  We smile.  And so it begins.

Erin is a lovely person, full of energy and with a smile that shows up easily.  We both enjoy meditating and yoga.  When she used the words “opening the heart”, I jerked.  Oh my.  Another person who says stuff like that in everyday conversation.

We talked for an hour-and-a-half.  It was easy.  It was fun.  We agreed to meet again sometime soon.

The mystery will continue to unfold.  I will continue to smile.  Whatever happens, I’m so glad to be walking this path.