Friday, October 2, 2015


Today I have felt so sad. Tears fell, and I didn't try to stop them. There are lots of things to be sad about, and much of the time I choose to look on the bright side. But the sadness is there. It's in every one of us. We all have pain. Sometimes the best thing to do is to fully embrace sad feelings, try to let go of the "story" that hooks us (easy to say, extremely hard to do), and feel the sadness with a mindful attitude and open heart.

Here are some of the things that brought sadness to the surface for me today.

The shootings in Oregon yesterday, which happened very close to where my niece and her family live, added to my feelings of sadness and despair. So senseless. So horrific. Such pain and suffering it caused.

Between later afternoon and early evening, I received messages that a very special former client of mine had fallen down his stairs at home, had bleeding on the brain, was in a coma, then was being moved to hospice, and then he passed away. I got this series of texts all within a few hours. He was an amazing man. Always optimistic and friendly. A true philanthropist. Someone who absolutely loved life and took every opportunity to enjoy life, his family, friends, and the arts and music. Rest in Peace, Al.

I have become very attached to two praying mantises, both female, that took residence on our house—one on the front porch and the other on the back patio. I have been going out several times a day to check on both of them for a couple of weeks. The porch mantis (I called her "Beauty") gave us a wonderful gift. She laid her eggs right outside our front door on the brick wall (actually while I watched!). She let me watch her hunt at night underneath the covered porch where lots of moths and other insects gather for the light. She let me move her out of harm's way when she ventured out into "bird territory." I talked to her, and she always looked right at me. The green one on the back patio is beautiful, but somehow I haven't had the same "connection" with her as with the brown beauty on the front porch. Last night was quite chilly, and around noon today she was pretty still, but still hanging out on the brick wall where she usually does. I noticed that the sun was hitting the hanging plant where I first noticed her two weeks ago, so I thought I'd be helping her by moving her there to soak up some sun and warm up. Plus there were some flying insects around the plant. However, in the process of moving her, she got scared and jumped out of my hand, falling several feet. This happened a couple of times before I could get her safely on the plant. I recently read that mantises can actually die from falling from high distances, so I felt horrible that I'd let this happen. I stayed and watched her for a little while on the plant, and she seemed okay. She cleaned her antennae and legs and got settled, so I went inside and worked for about four hours straight.

Around 4:30 I went out to check on her, but she was nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere. No mantis. That's when I began to blame myself pretty intensely. Why couldn't I just leave her alone? She could have gotten to a sunny area of her own accord if she wanted to. I've looked several times now, and if she reappears I'll be surprised. I wept a lot over the loss of my little Beauty. And it was my fault. The sadness I felt was profound. Many people would have no way to understand this, I think. She's just a little insect. Well, that doesn't matter to me. She was a special little being who trusted me enough to lay her eggs right outside our door and to stay on our front porch while I watched and talked to her several times a day. The green mantis (I didn't give her a name, although she is quite a beauty herself...maybe I'll call her "Jade") is still there, but I fear it will very soon get too cold for her to survive. The circle of life. I'm pretty sure she also laid eggs somewhere because she disappeared for a few days and came back with her abdomen thinner than before. May Beauty (wherever she is) and Jade continue to live into the beautiful fall, and may they not suffer before or during their deaths. I am so grateful to have had praying mantises around my house again, and I hope Beauty's babies hatch while I'm there to watch.

Anyway, I wanted to express my sadness in my daily phrase. It's a basic fact: sadness will arise sometimes. I bow to it. I try to have compassion for myself, forgive myself. I let the tears flow. It's part of being human, and I'm grateful I can feel it and all of the feelings that are there...because I know I am alive.

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