As the Wheel Turns

June 29, 2011, by Melissa Howden



Melissa reflects on truly living life, moving from wishes to action with a brave and open heart

My yoga teacher Peggy has been known to say during class,
“Triangle pose is like a little black dress. You can take it anywhere.”

As my birthday month comes to a close I have been ruminating on all, like the triangle pose, that is wise, helpful and transportable. Even more so than New Years, my birthday has become a time of reflection and review. Like my closet, my life gets a spring cleaning at every year when the wheel turns toward my birthday. “This gets tossed, this stays, this needs cleaning and that needs altering.” Although this year has been rife with challenges, I am not immune to the good news and that is the wheel is still turning. And with each turn of the wheel I garner new pieces of wisdom to add to the mix and I become myself and push my brave tender heart toward the promise of a new day.

Recently I read a blog titled “Inspiration and Chai” by Bronnie Ware. For many years Bronnie worked in palliative care with the terminally ill. As such she was privy to the intimate revelations of the dying. Bronnie noticed that there were common themes as people voiced their thoughts about living and dying, and what they wished they had done differently.

The most common regret was,“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Generally the wish to live differently had to do with unrealized dreams. I think about this and I am reminded again to be mindful of the choices I make lest they someday become my own utterance of regret when time no longer offers the opportunity to redirect.

I ask myself, “How can I live my life in a way that is beautiful? How can I actively choose the life that is mine to live?” and “How can I move from wishes to action, word to silence?”

I am not by nature a fearful person but I have noticed a particular brand of fear that gets caught up in the speeding passage of time; fear of holding on too tight, and fear of letting go, a fear of opening my heart too much, or of armoring myself in equal measure—a tightening then a lightening.

This year I am determined to embrace the concept, to the duty of opening to the whole darn thing. The question which remains on my lips is, “How can I open to life?” I find that every act of love is in some way also a promise to forgive, but I have also learned this year that when a moment of truthful loving appears not only should I open and open some more, but seize on it lest it never come again.

I have also formalized what up until now has been an informal tradition of mine and that is to commit to doing at least one thing I have always wanted to do which I haven’t yet. In fact this year I am folding into my “beautiful life” two things I have wanted to do for years and years. As an avid reader I have long wanted to work with adults who cannot read well or at all. Next month I will begin training as an adult literacy volunteer at my local library in hopes that I might assist somebody in advancing their literacy not only to help in their everyday worlds but so s/he might also experience the magic of reading novels and short stories, plays and history.

The Bhajans and music of India has long enchanted me. So I will soon begin lessons on the Harmonium that I may learn the songs of India and accompany myself for my private pleasure only.

Last week in my yoga class while many of us were attempting to work our way into a somewhat complicated arm balance, the sounds of people falling, breathing and trying again were greatly evident. Peggy said to us in that moment, “Whatever you do just err on the side of beauty, grace and ease.” This is a motto that can go anywhere with me, one way to live my life in a beautiful way day by day.

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14 Responses to “As the Wheel Turns”

  1. Conz Says:

    A blog to remember, Melissa. Beauty, grace, balance, and ease. Thank you.

  2. christie Says:

    Dear Sweet Melissa, we both reflect at our natal time and I am adopting your reflection this year. To err is so very human, and I love the idea of erring in the say Peggy (and you) suggest.

  3. Denise Says:

    raising a glass of coco water and toasting your life of beauty, grace, ease and openness!!!

  4. Cathy Says:

    An elegant and graceful reminder to open up to the lives we can — if we choose to — live. Thank you!

  5. Lu Says:

    What a POEM!!!

  6. Carine Says:

    I especially like the part about what those who are dying have to say. What a great reminder to kick those regrets out the door and start seizing the day right now!

  7. Pat Says:

    Loved reading your Blog this morning and love your intentions of proceeding in life with a brave and loving heart. Teaching reading and learning to play the harmonium sounds fabulous. This has inspired me to ask myself what it is I want to do now that I can actually do. Too many of my wishes are contingent on my surgeries going well so I can travel and work again. But I need to live now not post surgery.

    “Whatever you do just err on the side of beauty grace and ease.” I love this as it gives me permission to take risks and therefore to “fail” but with grace and self forgiveness.

  8. Amy Says:

    Love your interesting and highly sophisticated musings!!

  9. Pattie Says:

    Err on the side of beauty, grace and ease.I try sweet Melissa.I see you doing this very thing with so much honesty that sometimes it breaks my heart. My beautiful, smart and courageous friend thanks for reminding me to do the same.

  10. Thea Swengel Says:

    You have inspired me! I will move from wishes to action. Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post.

  11. Annice Says:

    Beautiful post from a beautiful life. Worth my sending to many others.

  12. dearpru Says:

    “As the Wheel Turns” is a post to read every day until the promise of folding into our own “beautiful” lives our deepest, attainable desires morphs into action.

  13. rosemary Says:

    Lovely. And so true.

  14. Pam Says:

    “How can I live my life in a way that is beautiful? How can I actively choose the life that is mine to live?” and “How can I move from wishes to action, word to silence?” Sounds like a great way to start each day. Thanks, Melissa.

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