An Inside Job

I was riding the UP Express train to downtown Toronto just now. Houses and streets flashed by. For two seconds, I saw something special: attached to a tiny house was a sunroom. Inside, there sat a cutesy round table and two chairs.

I imagined a couple holding hands and having a glass of wine. Lovely. And then another thought: the train roars by every fifteen minutes from 5:00 am till 1:00 am. Wouldn’t that put a damper on romance? Well … not necessarily. What if their love shone like the sun? What if each of them was looking deep into the eyes of the beloved? What if time stood still in the other’s presence? Hurtling missiles outside the glass would matter not.

***

Now I’m on Toronto Island, walking towards St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church. It’s been six months since I’ve attended a brunch and a concert here. I think of all the Island residents I’ve met … and many of their names are lost to me right now. I feel the contraction, the “should” of remembering their names, and then, magically, the deficit disappears. A little smile crosses my face and stays for a visit.

***

Two hours later, it’s music time. A saxophone quartet is here to entertain. Their loud and fast pieces bang against my ears. But I listen more carefully and the deep notes of the bass saxophone vibrate my heart. I watch how the musicians blend, how they take turns in the spotlight. I see their smiles and give them one in return.

***

Next, on the ferry back to the mainland. A fellow I met at the concert sees that a young boy is wearing the kit of the Chelsea football (soccer) team. Both of them are fans and their conversation flows along. I wrinkle, wanting to be the man talking to the boy. And then … I open my eyes wider and see the beauty of the moment. I bask in their joy together. And that is enough.

***

Moments in a day, each containing the same lesson
And all is well

Power

I was walking to the library yesterday afternoon when I came upon a schoolyard, of the cement persuasion. Through the chain link fence, I saw about a hundred pigeons – most of them grey, some white and a few golden brown. There didn’t seem to be any food to eat. They were simply hanging out. I smiled. They were just like us. We come in all shapes and colours and we too like being close. Really doesn’t matter what we’re doing as long as we’re together.

I was feeling all warm and fuzzy. Then, on a hunch, I glanced upwards. The fence was twelve feet high, and along the top rail sat maybe eighty more brothers and sisters. Peace evaporated as my brain sent me straight to Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds, where flocks of crows terrorized a small town.

Ahh … the mind. An instant association and I’m transported from heaven to hell. It feels like I’m triggered many times a day. The past leaps up and grabs my throat. Doesn’t seem to be a very wise way to live.

I say the question is how long do I linger within the horror of Hitchcock . How quickly do I return to the beauty of pigeon heads nestling down in their feathers to ward off the cold? Let’s have it be speedy fast.

I ask myself where “source” is in my life. Is it me or is it all the events of my day? Where does my experience of living begin? What if I really get that the power is right here in this body and heart of mine? What surges of energy would be made available if I stopped feeding a good/bad analysis of my moments with people, places and things?

Woh. Bring it on.

What’s True?

On my way into London, I pass two parked semi-trailers, a kilometre apart.  They’re both advertising the same hotel in Ingersoll, Ontario.  The first one announces that you’re only 25 minutes from soft beds, yummy food and the pleasures of a spa.  That time just doesn’t compute in my brain.  The second one says you’re 10 minutes away.  That seems about right.  But there the two of them sit, one truthful and the other clearly lying.

How often do I assume that a sign, a newspaper article, or a radio news item is accurate?  Often.  Seeing or hearing it somehow makes it legitimate in my mind.  I don’t have the energy nor the time to delve deeply and find out if the truth is being spoken.  I just go along.

A celebrity says X, and does so with a convincing tone of voice and facial expression.  Is the truth sometimes Y?  No doubt.

The Canadian history textbook I studied in high school said nary a thing about how white people often treated natives poorly.  All was fine as the dominant culture spread west, apparently quite heroically.

In Canadian politics, the party in opposition invariably is critical of the governing party’s policies.  Rarely do you hear about good ideas being acknowledged as such.

All this leaves me with a healthy skepticism and a commitment to another source of truth … the intuition that lives within us all.