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Year Two, Day 318: Happy Me - Serendipity!

The ancient Chinese remedy("Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa") is working!  I woke up this morning with a clearer head than I have had for many weeks!

I almost stayed in bed this morning rather than go to church. I just felt so good. And a day in bed sounded heavenly!  But no sooner had I turned off the alarm, and dove back under the covers, than my eyes popped wide open. I was not sleepy!

This in itself felt like a miracle!

It was drizzling this morning. 2017 may be known as the year of the endless rain in Portland.  But it was a nice, soft spring rain. I enjoyed my walk to the bus stop. I left a little later than I should have because of my dive back under the covers and moment of hesitation. So I missed my first bus.  As I was about to hop off my first bus and transfer, I noticed my second bus whiz by.

But I was not going to let that dampen my spirits.  I decided to ride the first bus down to the Milwaukie Transit Center. I had only been there once before, and it was dark then.

I'm so glad I made this decision!  It was quite serendipitous.

(Don't you just love the word serendipity?)

In fact it was quite a serendipitous day!  I found myself being led by my intuition all day. And I am glad that I followed it!

You see, as the bus rounded the corner to the transit center, I noticed a sign I had not seen before. At first I thought it said "Lending Library".  I took a double take, and realized it said "Ledding Library". The Milwaukie site of the Clackamas County Library. Right on the bus line!  I am a happy camper indeed!

Since I have some time off from teaching this week, to the library I shall go! I am now a Clackamas County resident, so I see a new library card in my future! YAY!

And then... I noticed that there was a 12 minute wait for my bus, so I took a walk around downtown Milwaukie. Which, in the area of the transit mall is quite the ghost town. Not a Starbucks in sight! No businesses open either.

So I made my way back to the bus stop.  Which is right across the street from "Dark Horse Comics".  THAT was an impressive storefront. I had no idea they had gotten so big! Years ago, I worked for a chiropractor.  I did massage and ultra sound for his patients. One of my favorite patients was a comic book artist. He told me he worked for Dark Horse. I think that was back in their early days. Heck, it was back in my early days - about 30 years ago!

Back at the bus stop, a young man with a backpack came up and very politely asked me if I could spare a dollar for the bus. "Just so I can give the driver SOMETHING", he said.

I dug through my change, and gave him what I had. Just about a dollar. We started talking. He was on a cross country adventure. He was from Illinois and had spent the last several months hitchhiking all over the US. I was impressed. I asked him if people were kind, if he met any "weirdos". He told me that he only met one that made him uncomfortable.  He said Portlanders were one of the most unfriendly bunch, but the most likely to help out.  In Georgia, where he had been a few weeks ago, people were superficially friendly, but wouldn't part with a dime.

We got on the bus together and continued talking. I shared with him my desire to someday buy a camper van and take off where the wind blew me.  I also asked him if he had been through the Columbia Gorge.  He had not, so I shared some pictures with him.  He also needed directions to the closest laundromat.  We had a very nice visit. And I made a new Facebook friend!

I am glad I made it to church this morning. I feel like I belong.  I walked in and people waved and smiled in recognition. The music director came up and we chatted. I told him that I was writing an article about the history of my favorite hymn for the newsletter in church. He was excited. We share this interest. He is going to lend me one of his books.

I had a moment  during the service, where I felt a rush of love for all of these people.  Especially the pastor. Who has recently had heart troubles.  I made myself pay attention to every moment of his sermon.  I realized just then, that my anxiety and depression often gets in the way of me fully enjoying the moment, and fully getting to know people.  So I paid attention. I did not let my mind wander...well when it started to, I just pulled myself back.

I left feeling quite balanced and happy. We never know how long we or anyone else has on this planet.  Best to appreciate them right now!

I spent a little bit of time with my son and girlfriend. Then I went to a favorite little Mexican joint I like. The server always remembers me. I had the chorizo plate.  Chorizo, eggs, refried beans, rice, guacamole, a corn tortilla and a cup of coffee.

After breakfast, I opened my Thomas Keating Book (Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel)
I was so looking forward to some time with this book. Today was perfect because I did not have any set plans. I love days like this!

I am in Chapter Three ("The History of Contemplative Prayer").  This is a fascinating chapter. I have always been interested in the history of the church, especially it's very beginnings.  I have this strange fascination with monks, as I have said before. I would so love to have a little room in a monastery, the walls lined with books, where I could read to my heart's content.  And maybe go outside and do a little gardening, milk the goat...I'm not sure where that all came from!

Anyway, Chapter Three opens with two captivating statements:

"A positive attitude toward contemplation characterized the first fifteen centuries of the Christian era. Unfortunately, a negative attitude has prevailed from the sixteenth century onward."  

He then gives a very interesting overview of the history of contemplative prayer. I was inhaling his words, underlining and keeping notes in my little notebook. I had heard of some of the terms, and the names of some of the "Greek Fathers", but much information was new.

Then I turned the page and almost spilled my coffee! Keating wrote:
"The genius and contemplative experience of Ignatius of Loyola led him to channel the contemplative tradition, which was in danger of being lost, into a form appropriate to the new age."

He then goes on to discuss the "Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius". I won't bore you and assume that this is as exciting to you as it is to me...but it was certainly serendipitous! You see, the little devotional book I have been reading every day is based on the Spiritual Exercise of Saint Ignatius!

So many thoughts are racing through my head right now.  But mostly, I feel like FINALLY I am on the right path!  And on the next page, Keating refers to the "Father General of the Jesuits".  

The movie I was mesmerized with before my move, was "The Conflict" with Martin Sheen. It is based on a true story, about a monastery on an island in Ireland where the priests are creating conflict with Rome by performing the Mass in Latin.

At one point, Martin Sheen who plays a priest from Rome, gives a letter to the Father Abbot from the "Father General". I had not heard that term before and found it curious. I assumed he was referring to the Pope. But apparently, Father General is the head of the Jesuits. 

All my musings today, may sound a bit farfetched. But it is as if little puzzle pieces are falling into place in my brain.  I remember being drawn to the Jesuit Catholic tradition "The Novena of Grace" during Lent about 5 years ago when my son was living a very destructive lifestyle.  I was worried sick. The act of attending Mass and praying for 9 days in a row had a powerful impact on my life. My son survived, but it was my soul that was revived from the Novena of Grace.

I attempted to attend a SEEL retreat (Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life based on the 'Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius') at St. Ignatius Church a few years later.  It was not the right time for me. I was living in Salem and could not devote enough time and energy.  I may try again someday.

But for now, I feel that contemplative prayer is calling me.  First, it was through Thomas Merton. Now Thomas Keating.  

It feels good to be excited about something again!

Oh, and coming back down to earth for a bit, after lunch I spent some time helping my son with his resume and then went to the gym! I do earnestly believe that part of my positive spirit is related to more movement. I have always advised my kids and my father now that he is ailing, to attempt everyday to exercise body, mind and spirit. 

And today I accomplished all three! :) 

I am feeling very happy.  And so I am ending this lovely serendipitous day with a cup of "Happy Me" tea!

Happy Sunday!

Today's fruit of the spirit that I focused on was 'peace'. (From Galatians 5:22-23).

And overall it was a very peaceful, happy day!

Talk to you tomorrow! :) 



  1. Serendipity is my favorite word. 😁

    1. It is one of mine too! :) (Great minds think alike!)


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