I woke comfortably this morning, the alarm did not annoy or startle me. My sleep was not dreamless, but my dreams were surreal and seemed almost tender, as if chosen with great care to nurture me in the night. The morning feels gentle and quiet. I feel content. The room has a chill to it, and my coffee cup feels warm in my hand in a very pleasant way. This is a lovely morning.

I let my thoughts drift among the delightful living metaphors of my experience: long walks, cups of coffee, home cooking, the pot of gold at the end of… wait…what? I find myself smiling, and thinking of ‘the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’, which for me has tended to be envisioned as both broken, and empty, as long as I can remember. A hidden metaphor for my injury, perhaps, that I didn’t realize I was carrying with me all this time. I used to have a bleak recurring dream of chasing rainbows looking for the pot of gold, and finding it shattered, empty, with just a note left in among the shards…a note I never could pick up to read, however hard I tried. Dreams of disappointment, frustration, and futility were once very common in my dreamscape. They are more rare now. What jolted me back to more awareness of my thoughts, this morning, is that the pot isn’t broken! Here I am just drifting among the thoughts, old and new, and something is changed; it’s a startling sensation. This morning, the pot at the end of the rainbow is neither broken, nor empty; it is duct-taped together with great care, and although I cannot see the contents, I am aware the pot is filled. Someone has written on the duct tape – in my own hand writing, in ball point pen – ‘contentment’. This makes sense; I used to think that ‘happily ever after’ was what I would find in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When did I rewrite this fanciful metaphor? How is it that I didn’t notice sooner? Why this morning? Do these questions matter at all? (Probably not – they don’t read like the significant questions do, in some hard to identify way.)

What a lovely small thing to notice changed in a positive way, within myself. How easily it could have gone unnoticed! It’s a gentle reminder that our programming exists in the background of our consciousness, weighing in on our experience, and our understanding of our experience moment-to-moment, regardless of our awareness. That programming can support all the heartfelt compassion and delight with which we can face our world, or it can resonate with our doubts, fears, and insecurity, lead us to madness or despair, or influence our thinking in ways we would not choose were we more aware. Gnothi seauton.  It isn’t a caution or a criticism; just a reminder how important it is to be who we are, aware, awake, and without judgment.

Another door opens.

Another door opens.

This morning I am adding a book to my reading list – and I haven’t even finished it yet. This wee volume seems every bit as colossal on my journey as the weightiest tome ever could be, and already, just pages into it, I feel… Yes. That’s really it. I feel. This books moves me, and stirs my thinking, raises my awareness – like unfolding the next relevant section of a map. I won’t ruin the ending… I don’t know the ending. 🙂 “How to Love” by Thich Nhat Hanh goes on the reading list today.

Today is a good day for rainbows, for colorful pots in tiny gardens, for small books with big ideas, and for love. Today is a good day to know myself, and to delight in time I spend with me. Today is a good day to learn to love.