Am I a fashion plate?

Taking the dog for a walk. I round the corner and see my neighbor (and former student) across the road. “Hi Michael!” I holler. He looks over and smiles and waves. “Am I a fashion plate?” I ask him. I am wearing floral-patterned garden shoes, purple knee-high socks, baggy denim capri pants two sizes too big and covered in mud at the knees from gardening, my standard black t-shirt and a black fleece jacket. Michael grins at the picture I make. “I just don’t care anymore,” I tell him, laughing.

Michael joins me in the laugh and points to his beard. “You see my beard?” he asks. “I don’t care anymore, either.”

We laugh for a moment with each other, and then wish one another a good night.

Priorities have shifted.

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Fear and Living in the Moment

Here’s a Dad-lesson for the times: I once asked Dad (Dee Molenaar) what he was feeling as he careened down that slope on K2, headed for the drop over the cliff and certain death. Was he scared?

No, he said, it was exhilarating! He was totally in the moment. Enjoying the ride. He knew everything was going to go black for him soon – and knew there was nothing he could do about that – so he just settled into the moment and enjoyed it.

And when I’ve thought about his answer, I’ve realized I can relate to it. The times I’ve been most scared – most filled with unspeakable dread – are the times when I’ve focused on the future – on all the many scary things that MIGHT happen – rather than what was actually happening with me right now – in this moment.

When I’ve found myself – in the moment – facing a challenge – it’s not been scary, really. I’ve focused on the problem at hand and dealt with it.

Rock-climbing is all about the moment – I remember a piton clinking down a rock cliff when I was mid-way up a climb once – I remember looking up to the man belaying me and I remember him looking down at me – I remember the exchange of looks – I remember how quickly I faced the moment and hauled myself up that rock face. There was no time for fear. It was very cool, actually.

I remember feeling that same in-the-momentness when I gave birth to my youngest son. I’d been told, suddenly, that there were complications in the delivery and I was going to need a caesarean section. I remember being wheeled down to the operating room and Mom’s face looking at me from the foot of the gurney. I asked her to call a friend (a Christian Science practitioner) to pray and she hurried off to do that.

And, in that moment, as things were happening, I didn’t feel any fear at all. I felt this amazing since of peace envelope me. I was totally focused on the moment. I could feel the love from all the doctors and nurses – wanting only the best for me and my child – I could feel the love from Scotty and my parents, and my midwife. Everything was happening very quickly, but I felt strangely calm – I wasn’t afraid about what MIGHT happen, IF… I was living in that moment.

When I got down to the OR, they hooked me up to all these machines. I remember the eyes of the medical staff looking at the machines, then back to me, and I could see they were puzzled – and then suddenly they were all telling me to push! – like they were fans at a football game, rooting me on! And they were celebrating with me!

My baby was born the old-fashioned way that day. (But it wouldn’t have mattered, really, if he’d entered the world in another manner – the form of the the birth wasn’t important to me.) One of the surgical nurses was actually crying! She said she’d never been able to witness a vaginal birth before – and it was really beautiful.

Later I learned what the CS practitioner had told my mom that morning: “Life loves that baby!”

And I know this, for sure, Life loves ALL of us – each and every one of Her children – it doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing or what the time – it doesn’t matter if we’re on a rock cliff or on an operating table, or in quarantine or on the Moon – Love is there with us, loving us, eternally and always.

Let’s do what we need to do for each other right now, humanly. Physical distance, but not isolation – knowing that we are the very expressions of Love, loved by Love, never separated or isolated from Love. Living in this moment.
– Karen

I found this quote about fear from Eckhart Tolle really helpful to me:
“The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap…You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection – you cannot cope with the future.”
– Eckhart Tolle, from Live Real

More quotes about fear:

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.”
– Marie Curie

“…knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
– Rosa Parks

“Iā€™m not afraid of storms, for Iā€™m learning how to sail my ship.”
– Louisa May Alcott

“Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.”
– Lady Bird Johnson

“Fear never stopped being and its action.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”
– Eckhart Tolle

 

Solace at the Cemetery

In these panicked times
In these fretful, frenzied, frantic times
I have found solace at the cemetery.
The shells of those who’ve lived
here and moved on
to whatever comes beyond
no longer need to distance themselves
from anyone, from me.
I find peace with them – the chrysalises
of my friends – Mike, Rachael, and Debby.

I wander amid the tombstones, snapping
photos of them, and the spinning wheels –
the bright spinners are the only movement
in the cemetery and I feel
drawn to the movement of their rainbow
spinning, faster and faster as I approach,
in a show just for me.

I’m allowed to be here. In the sunshine.
In the peace of the cemetery.
And no one disturbs me as I wander
through the final beds
for the shells of those who
are no longer scared of what lies ahead.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Seeing the Best

Last week we cancelled the flight to Pittsburgh that we were going to take today to see Scott’s family because – duh! – right? We thought it might be cool to make our annual trek to Lincoln City, Oregon, instead. So we booked a couple nights at a pet-friendly place there for tonight and tomorrow night. Then we woke up this morning and realized that this was probably not such a good idea, either. I’d been told earlier that we needed to cancel our reservations by Sunday, though, or we’d lose the money. Soooo…

The thought occurred to me that maybe I could call homeless shelters in Lincoln City – maybe they knew someone who could use a warm room for two nights. So I called a couple places – one wasn’t open, yet, another one told me that because of the virus they’d already found a hotel to put their homeless people in. She thanked me, though, for wanting to do this, and seemed really grateful for my gesture.

When I realized I wasn’t going to be able to use this room to help homeless folks, I called Sailor Jack’s to cancel our reservation. And Angie at the desk said we hadn’t been charged, yet, and we wouldn’t be! She cancelled our reservations without charge! AND told us to stay safe up here. I told her we’d be coming down again later and we’d be seeing her.

I’m just… I’m kind of teary-eyed here. People are so kind. I’m seeing the best in folks right now.
– Karenlove

Sunset over flooded fields in Skagit County, Washington State. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Smiles Extend Beyond Six Feet – Keep ‘Em Coming! :)

To Fred Meyer’s shoppers and Hagen’s shoppers, and the people I’ve passed on my walks on the Bellingham boardwalk – thank you so much for exchanging smiles with me in the last couple weeks! Everyone I’ve encountered has been kind and courteous and helpful. Thank you for laughing with me at the empty toilet paper shelves. Thank you for extending your elbows to me. šŸ™‚Ā  I’ve heard stories of folks fighting over toilet paper, stock-piling hand sanitizers – I’d been a little concerned about virus vigilantes trying to lock people in a quarantine if they sneezed – but all I’ve encountered in the last few weeks has been unshakeable kindness. Maybe we have to keep our physical distance from each other – but isn’t it cool that smiles can extend beyond six feet?!

Smiles are powerful things, my friends. Keep ’em coming! šŸ™‚ šŸ˜€ šŸ™‚

Happy Girl