Arts & Crafts Magazine

Right Now

By Laharris1

The thing about blogging is that when you get sick and take a break you don’t know how to come back.

It feels like so much has happened in July. Big things like our anniversary. And my birthday. But where do I begin?

So instead I’ll begin with right now.

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Today I was listening to a story about Jarvis Jay Masters, a practicing Tibetan Buddhist who lives on death row at San Quentin Prison.

This is the story. One winter day he was in the prison yard when a seagull landed nearby.  Almost immediately a big, young, prisoner grabbed a rock to throw at the seagull but Jarvis raised his arm to stop him, creating tension on the prison yard. Other prisoners gathered around the two but all Jarvis said was, “That bird got my wings.”

That bird got my wings.

And the rock thrower stopped. Everyone relaxed. And for days afterwards other inmates came up and asked him to explain what he meant.

They wanted to hear more about that spirit of freedom. The idea that we all have these wings of awareness and love that can bring us to a certain kind of freedom. 

The freedom symbolized by those wings.

Listening to Tara Brach’s discussion of this story was thought-provoking. 
Even though Jarvis lives in prison, she points out that we all have our own external and internal prisons to deal with; we all are guilty of trying to squeeze ourselves into smaller versions of who we can be (internal prison).

We hitch our identities on to “labels” and brands and material possessions that limit who we are. How we see ourselves. Instead we become…

The stressed one.

The one who can’t do it right.

The one who wants to control.

The one who has too many demands.

The victim.

This is the opposite of freedom. When we’re caught up in comparing ourselves to other people and always worrying about what’s around the corner and trying to control what’s around us.

The Buddhists tell us these behaviors are all a form of suffering.

When we are suffering like this we are living out a smaller version of who we can be.

But at any moment we can stop. Put the rock down. We can wake up from our limited view of ourselves and challenge our own narrative…question what we believe about ourselves.

We can choose to be awakened.

One breath at a time.

the present

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today I wish you wings.

xo

Leslie

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