I was feeling down the other day; overwhelmed, angry and sad, as if my priorities were all helter skelter. So I walked up the hill by my office to get some advice from my wise friend Nellie.
I whined and complained and shed some tears. She was patiently silent.
I asked her, “Tell me what’s important. Where should my focus be? What are the big three or five or six things I’m forgetting?”
“Well”, she began, “I start with the heart, the faithful heart. It so easily and consistently holds us mere seconds away from death. So start with the heart.
Next, the breath. Isn’t it a joy to sit here with me and share this fresh sweet air and all that it carries?: Oxygen, the fragrance of the unseen, the eternal ebb and flow of life, universally shared by all beings. The harmony of the heart and the breath is a key lesson for us. Pay attention to the breath.
Then, I would rank being fed way up there on the list. Think of all the hundreds of ways that the world sustains you and how you help sustain it. We are here to be fed.
And finally I personally really enjoy being held in loving arms, in the gaze of a beloved for whom I am also beloved.
These aren’t in order of importance of course; they all hinge on one another. ”
She was right. I was taking life’s most important basics for granted. I released a big sigh, thanked her and turned to walk down the hill, glancing briefly back at her weathered headstone which reads:
Lived 22 days.