A Quick Short Story, and Some News

🌼 A quick short story: On June 23, I went into the hospital for a 4-hour post-cancer follow-up surgery.

A week later, after happily getting the thumbs up from my surgeon, my husband took me to the library so I could pick out some “recovery reading.” 

He dropped me off at the front entrance, and as I sat on a bench, waiting, I watched a 5-year-old with tears in his eyes being soothed by his mother. 

After a few minutes, the boy walked beneath a giant magnolia tree I hadn’t noticed until then, reached into the fallen leaves, and picked up one of the seed pods like a rattle. 

Still curious, he pointed up at one of the huge blooms, and his mother lifted him high so he could take a closer look, and smell it. And when he did, he smiled. 

After they walked away, I went to the tree myself, and found a big bloom within reaching distance. To me, it looked like a woman wearing a red necklace, with many different arms, dancing (*see photo). 

She’s getting old, I thought, and will soon lose all her petals … but right now, she’s still dancing, still offering out what she can, and hopefully, will leave something behind that can be held, something that can help soothe the heart. 

As I leaned down to inhale the unique sweetness of magnolia, I was reminded of two things: 

The first – my own deep vow: to offer out whatever I can that might help soothe the hearts of others. 

The second – the truth that I, too, need something to hold onto.

According to the Buddha’s teachings, this is really the essence of what the heart practices are aimed at showing us: how to become that bloom – one that can offer out its peaceful, compassionate qualities to both self, and others, equally, without discrimination, just as the scent of a flower can be enjoyed by all.

On October 5-9 this year, I’ll be offering a 5-day retreat on nurturing the heart practices, “LOVING YOURSELF,” in Romney, WV. I hope you might join me! (Update: it’s now more than half full …)

In the meantime, in an effort to offer myself my own compassion, I’m forgoing the dharma talk this month so that I can focus a little more on my recovery. I so appreciate your understanding … please look for a new talk soon! 

With joy and kind wishes, ~ Shell