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Part of Being Human

Part of Being Human

My second grandbaby was born just after midnight on summer solstice – the day with the most sunlight. Something in me knew he would be a solstice baby, though it was down to the wire!

In the weeks leading to his birth, extended family life felt chaotic and heavy. I thought to myself how nice it would be to have a summer solstice baby – maximum light!

There was one day when I became like a mama bear wanting to protect my daughter in an absurd situation in which her and the baby’s needs were not being considered by the powers-that-be. It was a time meant for resting and nesting, not stressing and scrambling.

I was greatly concerned about this and became a roaring mama bear because I understood how maternal stress can affect labor and neonatal outcomes. However, voicing my concerns only added to her stress and wouldn’t change anything, so I learned to keep them to myself and generated a list of equanimity mantras (culled from sources including Sharon Salzberg and Hazrat Inayat Khan) – acknowledgments that I am not in control here, including:

  • I wish you happiness and peace but cannot make your choices for you.
  • Your happiness and suffering depend on your actions and thoughts, and not my wishes for you.
  • I do not know another person’s path or purpose, or what they need to experience. 
  • This, too, belongs.
  • May I stand through life as firm as a rock in the sea, undisturbed and unmoved by its ever-rising waves.
  • This is part of being human.
  • May I find balance, equanimity, and peace amidst it all.

Byron Katie teaches that there are three kinds of business: mine, yours, and God’s. I realized “my business” was how to relate to the reality of the situation in a way that deepens presence and peace rather than suffering.

It began to look like my daughter was trending toward pre-eclampsia, so an induction was scheduled. Given the situation, pre-eclampsia wasn’t a surprising development.

* * * * * *

It had been decided from the start that I would assist my daughter during labor (along with her fiancé), just as I did when her first child was born. A proponent of midwifery and “natural childbirth” (which I experienced twice – once right at home), I was aware of the chain of interventions that medically induced labor could lead to. But when she was being monitored for pre-eclampsia, I surrendered to the process. This was unfamiliar territory.

I drive around with one of zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s calligraphies in my car. It reads: Breathe, my dear. At the last moment before locking my car in the hospital parking lot to join my daughter in the labor and delivery room, I noticed the calligraphy and put it in my bag. It ended up being the three words that would define the birth experience.

I probably should give a trigger warning before going on, for anyone who has had a traumatic birthing experience – for my grandson’s birth falls into that category.

As much as I relished the idea of a summer solstice grandchild, of course what you hope for most of all is a healthy baby. His birth was very scary because he wasn’t breathing when he came out. In all my years of living, the saddest sight I’ve ever seen was the look on my daughter’s face when we weren’t sure if he would survive. It was impressive how quickly a neonatal resuscitation team of about ten appeared in the room and surrounded him and went to work like a well-oiled machine.

The birdsong was beautiful and soothing when I got back home to the river shortly before sunrise. But the most beautiful and welcoming sound of all that day was my grandson’s first utterance and then a soft, newborn cry. 

In those tense moments before hearing those longed-for sounds, my heart walked through a new door of compassion for all parents who’ve gone through this scenario and worse. My daughter’s face was a portal into that collective pain. Every hard thing we go through can serve to grow our compassion, insight, and resilience. It connects us.

It took seven minutes before my grandson was breathing on his own, and the lack of oxygen made his blood acidic, which created poisonous gas in his brain. So about two hours after coming into this world with a bang, he was transferred to NICU at a different hospital, to undergo cooling therapy and minimize the damage. I’d never heard of “cooling” before. It sounded serious and scary.

Leaving the hospital in the wee morning hours, I wished there was someone I could reach out to. I wanted to share what was going on – it felt too big to carry on my own. But my time zone was asleep. So I took refuge in my breath and a mantra:

This is how life is right now.
It is part of being human.

When I got back home, I went right to the riverside and lit a candle for my grandson’s good health and sent lots of prayers down the river (in the direction of the hospital) and into the sky. I sat there watching the dawn sky develop until the sun peeked over the trees across the river.

* * * * *

Our summer solstice sunshine baby had a traumatic birth. Birth is painful, uncomfortable, traumatic, unfamiliar even in better circumstances – and so the human conditioning begins. But what we don’t realize when we’re being born is how deeply we are loved, at the same time. May we arrive at that realization at some point in our lives and let go of the stories we created to make sense of this crazy world. We’re never alone, even when everything feels scary and strange.

Another thing I know is that when we are going through something scary, there are people praying for us and sending wishes for our well-being. Because when I felt the pain of parents who’ve gone through this nightmare and worse, that’s what I did as I sat there holding my daughter’s hand. There are people in this world who send out prayers and healing energy like that, and we can know that and receive it – dip our cup into the stream and drink – and not feel alone.

I also reminded myself that I don’t know what any soul comes here to experience and learn. I don’t know their path or purpose. We often learn and grow the most from what hurts, if we allow it to open us – like labor contractions open the cervix. At first, I didn’t even know exactly what to pray for. What do I have a right to ask for on behalf of another? So I started with, “Help!” And then it flowed from there.

May he be safe from inner and outer danger.
May he be protected.
May everyone taking care of him be guided to make the best decisions.
May he be well.
May his brain and body be healthy.
May he be surrounded by love and light.
May his parents be surrounded by love and light.
May their suffering be eased.

I had stayed up all night and didn’t have the energy to do Reiki. So I turned it over to a higher power – symbolized by the candle on the river. Again, the situation and its outcome was out of my hands. There wasn’t much I was able to do beyond finding the right prayers and taking the widest view I could.

* * * * *

I only managed to sleep for two hours on the longest day of the year. When I woke up, I noticed my mind searching for someone or something to blame. I realized this is why I was so mama-bear upset – because I knew my daughter’s stress level mattered. Also, had I not been so focused on pre-recording classes for the week so I wouldn’t lose out on income while assisting with the birth, might it have occurred to me to do some research on labor induction? Could I have uncovered information that could’ve better prepared us and made a difference?

But the truth was that there were so many different factors at play – and very often, we don’t have as much control as we’d like to believe we do. There are so many causes and conditions influencing this moment and what we do with it. So many factors coming to bear on the choices we believe we are solely responsible for.

In Byron Katie language, that’s “God’s business”. What if this is exactly how it had to be, for karmic reasons beyond our understanding?

It would be days before we’d have any answers, and I had a choice: My mind could keep flowing down those tributaries of blame, or I could allow myself to stay here in the present with the reality of what it’s like in this moment and that it’s part of being human. And acknowledge that many other families around the world are in the same situation right now, waiting to learn more about their newborn’s brains and bodies.

I realized that the love we already feel towards our solstice baby is what will see us through whatever we face. Love is strong! It’s the unseen force that helps people get through situations that look overwhelming from the outside.

The next morning, I woke up feeling rested. I had the energy to send Reiki and practice surrendering to “what is”. I could celebrate my granddaughter’s last day of school and look for tiny moments of awe that Shauna Shapiro calls “glimmers”. I could put faith in the strength and resilience of each of us.

Whoever my grandson is, and whatever his capabilities will be, I was certain that this summer solstice sunshine baby would help us to grow our love and generate more light.

When I visited him in NICU, I did Reiki and whispered to him: You are enough exactly as you are, and you are loved beyond measure.

And, as if in response to those words, I landed in a moment of pure awe and tears. It was as if my words were caught like a ball and then thrown back to me so I could receive them, as well.

Has my heart ever radiated and received such love?

* * * * *

I joked with my daughter before she went into labor that some moms have a mini-me, but I have an anti-me. As much as I wanted to experience every contraction that led to birthing my children, she wasn’t keen at all on pain. Back when I was preparing to give birth for the first time, I remember my mother’s and grandmother’s horror upon hearing I intended to have a “natural”, unmedicated birth. They insisted that I had no idea how much it would hurt, and that there’s no need to suffer so much.

Yes, it did hurt and there were moments when I wished I could be anyone else in the room. But I am grateful for the experience working with the intense contractions. It prepared me for being a parent. Perhaps the hardest part of parenting is watching your children suffer. You can love them, but you can’t make their choices for them or control how the world treats them. And would we really wish for our children an easy life without suffering? How would they learn, grow, and evolve? How would they grow their compassion and wisdom?

And so we learn to breathe our way through whatever comes up.

* * * * * *

When crises arise, they make visible the invisible webs of connection and caring that we might otherwise be unaware of. Although our sunshine baby was sedated on top of a cooling blanket with lots of wires attached to him, unable to be picked up and held or breastfed, he had so much love and care around him. Could some part of him sense that? I prayed that he could.

Although it looked like he was a NICU baby hooked up to wires in a room full of sophisticated medical equipment, I saw him in a different way: surrounded by a bubble of light like Glinda and connected to innumerable lines of caring, including everyone who helped him to be born, to start breathing, and to undergo healing therapy; his parents and sisters and extended family; and many generous souls who are praying for him and making food or sending money to buy food, which none of us have time to make right now.

There is so much love and caring in this world, even when we feel all alone and believe that being human downright sucks. Yes, it’s painful at times, and there’s so much we’re not in control of. But there are so many who care and want to help.

Our webs of caring became visible, like those misty mornings when you can see the spiderwebs glistening with dewdrops, whereas normally you wouldn’t see them at all, because that’s just how it is.

Crises often reveal how much love we are surrounded by, and how good it feels to help and to be part of a caring network that is larger than ourselves. We need these lessons from time to time. Because we forget.

Times like this take us out of our usual routine of being so focused on work or what’s happening in the world, and things that are petty in the grand scheme – so we can remember what’s most important in these messy, human lives.

We need to wake up from the dreams we’re living on autopilot, and remember.

* * * * *

While visiting him in NICU, my granddaughter stood next to her brand new, tiny brother and sang, “You Are My Sunshine” while gazing down upon him.

Listening to her sing, I was certain that I’ve never felt so much love in my heart.

The next day, it occurred to me that the song is perfect for him because he’s a summer solstice sunshine baby. He is our sunshine!

* * * * *

Yesterday, he went through the process of being warmed up to a normal body temperature. It went well – no seizures or other incidents, thank goodness. His skin color blossomed. Best of all, his parents finally were able to hold him. When the sedation wore off, he opened his eyes and looked around his environment. He was able to experience warm and loving, skin-to-skin connection – one of the great joys of being human that releases the love hormone, oxytocin, which benefits breastfeeding. My daughter sent me a photo of the two of them gazing into each others’ eyes while he was nursing, and once again, I wondered if I’d ever felt such love and joy.

His MRI results today weren’t perfect, but they also weren’t bad, allaying our worst fears. It appears that any brain or neurological damage is likely to be mild at most. Time will tell.

There’s so much we don’t know, even when we like to convince ourselves that we do, to feel more in-control. We feel grateful and relieved and tired and so many other feelings, all at the same time at the end of this momentous week.

All I know for sure is that this moment is like this right now, and it’s part of being human. And that we’ve all learned something about love and fragility and hearts and brains and strength and community and interconnectedness. And that each of us – and that includes you, dear reader – is enough as we are and loved beyond measure. Even – and perhaps especially – when we feel most scared and alone.

* * * * *

Update: A week after entering this world with a bang, my grandson was cleared to go home. Test results were good. Only the MRI revealed some minor damage to the left side of his brain. Although we hoped for a perfect scan, this is as good as it could be otherwise. Once he gets a little older, he may experience some mild cognitive/motor skill issues, but as the neurologist said, nothing that would prevent him from being a major league pitcher if he wanted to be. There’s also a good chance that he will never experience any of those issues. It’s just a waiting game until he develops more.

For years, I’ve been saying that neuroplasticity is one of my very favorite words – such a hopeful word. This is more true now than ever!

© 2023 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

Nine Years Later

Nine Years Later

I’m sitting down to write post-sunset as the clear sky begins to darken. The surface of the river is like glass and perfectly reflects the leafy trees and sky. The birds are singing their goodnight songs. Other than that, and some traffic passing by (less than usual, though), the world is quiet – feels hushed, sacred.

Nine years ago tonight, in the wee morning hours, my mom passed away. I never forget to acknowledge and remember the night of May 26-27.

Earlier this evening, I walked at the park down the road and noticed the first of the purple irises are in bloom, just as they were nine years ago this evening. But back then, I wasn’t aware it was iris time because I was camped out at the hospice house. No time for nature walks, for every moment was poignant, full of mystery, not to be missed. We gathered in.

At the park, I stopped to smile at and lightly touch the soft petals of one of the irises, recalling how they were the first flowers that greeted me at the park – the first place I felt compelled to go – after leaving the hospice house in the morning, several hours after my mom died.

A colorful sunrise, purple irises, and a butterfly were there to uplift my spirits that first morning without my mom – evidence that there was still so much beauty and predictability in the natural world even when our human lives felt turned upside-down and suddenly unfamiliar. In my mindfulness meditation classes, I describe it as taking refuge in something larger than the circumstances of our lives.

The labyrinth at the park was my refuge that day.

Nine years later, the evening of May 26 remains a tender time of reflection. Tonight, I’m thinking of all that has transpired since that evening, including having a seven-year-old granddaughter and awaiting the arrival of a grandson. Sometimes in dreams, I try to catch my mom up on what happened since she left. Usually when I dream of her – in those dreams that seem uber real – I learn that she hadn’t died after all. All that time, I thought she had, but no – it wasn’t true! She’s back – and it’s the most wonderful feeling. Because I’ve learned to appreciate her.

* * * * * * * * *

Yesterday, my husband and I were about to drive past the street my parents lived on for 37 years, when I had an impulse to turn into the development. In the six years since we sold the house, I’d never seen anyone outside during the occasional drive-by. However, this time a man was sitting on the front porch and flashed us a peace sign as we drove slowly by. My husband urged me to stop so we could introduce ourselves. It seemed like a good idea, so I did.

We ended up talking with him for quite a while, sharing stories of the house and the neighborhood and how both had changed in the past several years. It felt good to make the connection and know who was living in my family’s old house and a little about their story.

* * * * * * * * *

Earlier this week, another significant thing happened. My very pregnant daughter and I went into my storage unit to retrieve something and noticed two plastic bins of clothing. Curious, we opened them and discovered all of the dresses my mom had made for my daughter when she was in early elementary school.

I decided to wash them and see if they would fit my granddaughter.

Inspecting them prior to putting them in the washer, I was drawn to the tags hand-stitched into some of the dresses that read, “Specially Hand Made by Grandma”. The sight of the tags brought tears to my eyes. But it was a very different wave of tears than when grief was fresh. Deeply touched by my mom’s kindness and generosity, I simply marveled at how she loved us.

Nine years later, that’s what remains.

* * * * * * * * *

When she was alive and we were enmeshed in our mother-daughter roles, and it seemed like we’d all be around forever, I couldn’t see how much love there was, and how much larger the love was than the roles and all of their implicit rules and unspoken needs. I was more focused on our differences and trying to get my mother to understand me and approve of the choices I was making and what I wanted to do with my life. I often felt frustrated because I couldn’t change her – the way she saw the world – and she probably felt much the same. Not because she believed I wasn’t good enough, but because she wanted me to have a good life.

This is something that has become crystal clear to me in the past nine years. 

Every year it (grief?) sneaks up on me at some point during late May. But as the years go by, it feels very different – in a good way.

I feel drawn to write this for the moms and grandmas who wonder if they’ll ever be appreciated. Sometimes it happens after we’re gone. The human condition is messy, and it’s often hard to see the fuller truths of each other when we’re immersed in life, roles, and relationships. We perceive each other through the warped lenses of our egos and roles (and sometimes others’) and turn partial truths into broad assumptions, stories, and caricatures. We have relationships with our ideas of who someone is instead of with the actual person. We do the best we can. It’s the way it is.

But it doesn’t have to be the way it remains, and sometimes it’s death that opens our eyes to the wider picture. Friends share loving memories, and you begin to realize there was much more to this person than the relationship you had with them. The walls you built to protect your ego from perceived (and perhaps well-intended) threats begin to come down because they no longer serve a purpose. You don’t shame yourself or dismiss the way you felt – you just understand more, and the feelings naturally change, kind of like how wine ages.

At least, that’s been my experience (though honestly, I don’t know anything about wine).

I also write this for those who still have their moms – a little postcard from the future.

And for those newly bereaved, I’m offering hope, for grief mercifully doesn’t stay the same.

* * * * * * * * *

I washed the dresses and put them on the line to dry. And I thought: That’s a whole lot of love there, stretched across the back yard.

I marveled some more. And took a few pictures. A huge ball of sunlight showed up, no matter how I angled the phone camera…and it seemed to complete the picture.

The next evening, I took the bin of dresses to my daughter’s home. My granddaughter met me at the door and was thrilled when I told her what I brought for her. About a third of the dresses fit her, and she exclaimed into the air, “Thank you, great-grandma!”

I wish I’d realized sooner that all of those handmade dresses were in storage so she could have worn more of them. But she wore her favorite one to school today. And I love that my granddaughter feels connected with the great-grandmother she never met. They would have been two peas in a pod.

* * * * * * * * *

In the morning, I plan to buy some vegetable plants for the garden. It’s been bothering me that I haven’t planted anything yet. But now I understand why. My mom loved working in her garden. She grew roses and tulips and trained morning glories to grow upright. There were lilies of the valley, bleeding hearts, a lilac bush, a little herb garden, and more. There were countless summer days when I pulled into my parents’ driveway and found her gardening.

Yes, there are the memories from nine years ago. But there are so many more memories of May 26-27 throughout the years when you’d find her working in her garden. What better way to observe her angelversary than to work in mine? We might be inclined to grow different things, but that’s okay. 

© 2023 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

Hard Questions

Hard Questions

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
-Jalal al-Din Rumi

In recent weeks, news events and personal matters have been bumping up against my spiritual aspirations and inviting me to live them more fully. When I’ve noticed myself getting reactive or judgmental, I’ve been practicing the “sacred pause” to look more deeply and keep my beliefs and emotions in check. I believe it’s good practice in this age of social media, artificial intelligence, outrage culture, and deep divides to do so.

As the saying goes: The mind is a wonderful servant and a terrible master. Bringing awareness to when the mind has been seduced by thought or, in Eckhart Tolle’s words, “infected by a thought virus” is the first step in freeing ourselves from it. Some red flags are when we find ourselves overly identified with a certain view or person and/or emphasizing the otherness of others. 

Living from the aspirations to see clearly and to not throw anyone out of my heart has generated a lot of questions around the overarching themes of:

  • Is what I’m believing true?
  • Can I know for certain that it’s true?
  • How might it look from other perspectives?
  • How am I being called to widen my circle of compassion?

One inquiry led to another. The questions felt important, so I gathered them, below. (The spaces between lines are invitations to take a deep breath in and a long breath out.)

May the impact of these words match the heartfelt intentions with which they were written.

Hard Questions

Can you hold in your heart anguish for the young murder victims
And at the same time appreciate the abundance of beauty in the world?

Can you care deeply for those in mourning
And not throw out of your heart the defense lawyers
And even the men who pulled the triggers?

Can you have compassion for yourself
If you’re not able to open your heart so wide
Or don’t even want to?

Can you trust your heart if you do?

Can you have faith that boundless empathy
Need not impede firm, ethical action?

Do you dismiss possible positive qualities of those you dislike
And possible negative qualities of those you adore?

Can you be receptive to information that doesn’t align with your opinion
Of someone you either idealize or demonize?

If not, are you aware of your automatic shut-off response,
And are you okay with it?

Can you feel the sensations of cognitive dissonance—
The mind trying frantically to make sense of the world
With stories of victims and villains, Us and Them?

Do you want to be right or to embrace greater truth?

Can you realize when you are relating to an idea of a person
Instead of the actual person?

Can you allow someone to dislike you
Without disliking them in return or needing to change their mind?

Can you see how lashing out at someone else
Allows you to discharge the anger and powerlessness you carry within?

Do you have the courage to face and transform
Your inner material instead of projectile-vomiting it onto others?

Can you resist taking the bait
And instead of attacking someone who has a different perspective
Consider what kind of suffering or deep caring compels their opposition?

Can you become curious about how they came to hold their beliefs
And allow the possibility of learning from collective wisdom?

Do you think you know better
Or that there is so much more to understand?

Can you attune to your body’s guidance system
And discern what is true for you
Without needing validation from others?

Can you have compassion for yourself without coddling yourself
To remain in your comfort zone?

Can you acknowledge that the same event viewed through different lenses
Might appear wildly disparate due to different histories and conditioning?

Are you aware of the contrast that can exist
Between someone’s good intentions
And the impact their words and actions have on others?

Are you quick to react with outrage
Instead of seeking truth?

Do you realize there are sophisticated algorithms
Attempting to lure you into thinking and believing certain things?

Can you shift out of thought-habits and into the present moment
And breathe yourself free?

© 2023 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this post or excerpts of it as long as you give proper credit to Susan Meyer and Susan Meyer is a photographer, writer, and spiritual teacher who lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

A Dragonfly Story

A Dragonfly Story

I was on the front porch this afternoon doing some work when I happened to look up and notice a dragonfly just outside one of the windows. It made me smile because I have a special place in my heart for dragonflies.

But it didn’t fly away or land. It just kind of hovered outside the window. As I watched it, the hovering seemed rather unnatural and odd. I began to suspect it was caught in a spider web and got up to take a closer look.

Then I noticed the dragonfly begin to spin fast and also noticed a tiny spider a few inches above it spinning its arms like a masterful puppeteer. (Honestly, it reminded me of Voldemort in Harry Potter.) Clearly, this dragonfly was in a deathtrap and in the process of being bound, paralyzed, and eventually having the life sucked out of it by the hungry predator it was now powerless against.

Well, with all due respect to spiders and their fantastic webs, this was not going to happen on my watch! I was not about to stay put and watch a beautiful dragonfly become a lifeless shell of its former, dazzling self. No siree!

Not knowing if it was too late, I grabbed a long object (since the web was higher than I could reach), bolted outside and batted at the web until the dragonfly became detached from the spider and the web.

The binding process had only just begun, and I saw that there weren’t many sticky threads attached to the dragonfly yet. So I picked it up and brought it inside to inspect it. There were bits of sticky web and binding threads caught on its delicate wings and legs, and I began to remove them ever so carefully, knowing not to touch its fragile wings.

The dragonfly stayed with me for about a half hour as I tended to it and gave it all the love I could. Every now and then, it flew away only to drop to the ground because there were still some threads attached that restricted its movement. Eventually, I managed to get the last bits of spider web off, and the dragonfly flew out of sight.

This little creature must not have realized how close it was to danger. Then it got caught in the web that at first sight probably didn’t look so dangerous. It got too close, got stuck, and couldn’t break free. It must have been terrified when it realized how sticky the web was and how powerless it was against it! And then the very hungry and merciless spider sprang into action. At that point, I imagine the weak dragonfly gave up hope that it ever could break free from the situation and probably thought: What’s the useI’ll never be that brisk, shimmering being again. 

But even in your bleakest moment, you never know who’s looking out for you – who will step in and act on your behalf and watch over you as you recover from the trauma and clear the sticky debris from your wings…because even though you are a tiny dragonfly, YOU MATTER.

The point is: Don’t give up. Even when the situation seems hopeless, and all odds seem to be against you, somebody just might be looking out for you, ready to take action to help you get your wings untangled from the web that seemed so impossible to release yourself from. You might even have a guardian angel working behind the scenes, perhaps in response to a loved one’s prayers for divine intercession. I don’t know how these things work, only that the dragonfly wasn’t paying close enough attention and ended up in the web, and I happened to notice at just the right time.

I often wonder if trees experience time the same way humans do. If so, I imagine being rooted in one place for such a long time would feel like eternity! But I suspect time moves more quickly for trees and probably more slowly for dragonflies, whose lifetimes are so brief compared to humans. That half hour in my care (not to mention the time it was caught in the web) might have felt like years to the dragonfly. Perhaps it felt like a very long time for it to recover from its brush with death in the spider web and rid its wings and legs of the sticky debris so it could once again fly right. Perhaps it required patience – the trying, the falling, the humility of it all, and having to give it a little more time before trying again.

I like to think that when it finally did fly off – perhaps back to its dragonfly family – it did so a little wiser as a result of what it had experienced, with greater knowledge of the nature of spider webs, what to look out for, and how to avoid them in the future. Perhaps the dragonfly flew off with a renewed sense of purpose, a better understanding of its strengths and resources, and a realization that there is goodness in the world and that it is loved deeply.

Thank you, my little dragonfly friend, for giving me this parable. I hope you are zipping around again, feeling loved, and sharing your survival story with all your dragonfly friends. And I’ll share it with mine because it is a story of hope, and I know quite a few people who could use a little of that right now.

© 2017 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this article, include this exactly: Susan Meyer ( is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness teacher whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

In Celebration of Clarity

In Celebration of Clarity

There are times
when clarity dawns gently
almost imperceptibly
and there are times
when it falls like a sword
because the gentle dawning
did not penetrate
deep enough to take hold.
However it comes
it is merciful
even when its sting
is excruciating
for clarity
is always a blessing.

When the sword of clarity
cuts clean through illusion
you cannot unsee or forget
the truth it reveals
as hard as you may try.
Illusion is pierced and broken
and cannot hold
your projections anymore
and a question arises
from the rubble:
Are you ready to honor
yourself and the truth
that has been revealed
or will you continue
to swim against the current
and cling to whatever
pieces of illusion
you possibly can?
In other words: Will you
act on what you know to be true
or what you wish were true?

When clarity arises,
don’t feel ashamed
of mistakes you made
or how foolishly you acted,
what you did or didn’t say.
Instead be grateful
for what you have learned
and how it can serve you
going forward.
Hold your head high
and fear not:
There is no reason for
punishment or judgment
when a dark space
becomes illuminated.
The newly illuminated
are the only ones shedding tears
when they understand how much
unnecessary pain
their ignorance caused
and isn’t time spent in darkness
punishment enough?

When a child finally
sees the light, lets it in
and allows it to release her
from bondage and suffering
what parents would choose
condemnation of their beloved
over gladness?
And why wouldn’t it be
the same with souls
and their Creator
or any parts of
an evolving whole?
Stepping out of disempowered
darkness and into light
is cause for celebration
whenever it happens
no matter how long it takes
and the enlightened ones rejoice.

-Susan Meyer

Thank You Clarity Words in the Sand

© 2017 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this article, include this exactly: Susan Meyer ( is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness teacher whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

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