Look for the Good

Tibetan cloudsI’d hoped for a breathtaking photo of Tuesday morning’s complete eclipse of the full moon.  Unfortunately, iPhone cameras aren’t so effective for photographing the moon, eclipsed or not.  Especially if the photographer is extremely sleepy.  I lasted about five minutes gazing at the blood moon before crawling back into bed.  It was awe inspiring nevertheless.  It left me curious, though, about why the moon appeared red and what is so significant about this astronomical event.  As it turns out, there will be three more of these, six months apart.  http://www.space.com/25250-a-tetrad-of-lunar-eclipses-starts-in-april-video.html  Nature never fails to amaze me.  It often shifts how I am feeling and, especially during challenging times, reminds me to look for the good.

A few weeks ago I walked at dusk after a hard day.  Walking allows me to shed the stress and worries of day to day life as the director of a school.  On this particular evening, I looked up at the clouds and saw a most unusual pattern.  The cloud formation resembled waves and stayed that way for nearly 20 minutes.  They looked somewhat like the waves in traditional Tibetan paintings.  Just seeing the clouds that way caused me to pause, breathe deeply, and feel my inner self shift back into balance.  The beauty of the clouds brought me back to seeing the goodness in my world.

Recently I was talking with my yoga teacher about this.  She mentioned the word shri, a Sanskrit word literally meaning “beauty, fortune, venerable one.” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/Shri)  In the yoga world, shri means splendor, the light that shines from the sun and one’s eyes, as well as an agreement that there is always more and life is inherently positive.  As our conversation continued, she added a new word to my experience of shri, wildness.  In the wildness of nature, be it the clouds, the way a hummingbird hovers right before your eyes, or the light of the twilight sky, there is frequently an auspicious feeling.  In these times of being present to nature we are stopped in our tracks.  Everything else fades away momentarily.  This is shri.

This past week with a lunar eclipse, full moon and Mars line-up seems to have intensified life on many levels.  Sometimes it feels like a whole lot to hold together.  Remembering shri, as I take deep breaths on morning walks or at my desk at school, nudges me back to the practice of looking for the good.  It helps me reconnect with life’s wildness, and my own, making each life experience worthwhile.

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