From left to right: mother, daughter, sister.
This is my dear friend Arlene on the far left. I worked with Arlene when I was in my twenties. We went through a lot together, her and I. And now, we have reached common ground again: she is going to be a new grandmother in less than a month. We will share our grandchildren with each other this year.
I am reading a book in my book club now titled: The Force of Kindness" by Sharon Salzberg. This book is filled with many gems but some of them really speak to me in terms of my life, the lives that have gone before me, and what this new life (the life of my new grandchild) means to me.
Sharon writes: "When we see how quickly life just disappears, how even the longest life span is over in a flash, we realize how important it is for us to create the conditions that help us most quickly, most directly, and most strongly move toward true happiness."
She is right. I look back over my life and it feels as though it was just yesterday that I was newly married, that I was building a new house, that I was having twins. Yet, it is over sixty years since I was born. And I still have so much more life inside of me and so much more I want to experience and learn. We are just never sure what our lives have in store for us.
Sharon goes on to say that "...The bravest things we can do, and the beginning of an awakened life---a life suffused with kindness---is to question our assumptions about what we are capable of, what brings us happiness, and what life can be about."
Besides the categories of mother, daughter, and sister (of which I belong to all three) I sometimes forget that there is also ME. "When we forget the complexity of a life, we also forget to look at what is whole in a person---what is intact and vital and generative."
"With the force of kindness, we can look at someone else and see those things as well as his or her pain. This helps us look at ourselves and see those same things within, alongside seeing our own pain."
A new baby puts things into perspective. It certainly awakens one to the possibilities and reminders of what lives we have had and what remains. It's nice to be in the company of all these categories. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and I am also ME. It is nice to be able to share it with everyone of you.