“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
~ Pema Chödrön, “The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World”
I’m stuck in traffic watching the variations in clouds, light, reflection, and frost in the cold icy shine. As the sun rises higher in the air, the colors evolve in pinks, yellows and oranges until they coalesce and become white.
It had snowed the night before and it was so cold that exhaust and smoke were thick in the air. It was as if vapors were freezing, creating a fog that caught the sunrise and turned it into fire.
I hold these things. Note them. Send up a prayer that I keep this feeling of magic through whatever I face that day.
At work, I remove my coat, scarf, and mittens. Pull my computer out of my backpack, press the power button and watch the screen come to life. I’m still smiling because I’m wearing my new Under Armour turtleneck that feels like a warm, loving hug. Over that, I’m wearing a soft flowy sweater that makes me think of gypsies and fairy folk. I don’t why but does it matter?
In the evening, I’m at the hair salon, getting my hair foiled, a tortuous quest, but I’m in good company. As I look around the room, I see all manner of creatures similarly foiled or gooped, blown, curled and cropped. As I look around, I do one of those sudden snort laughs and my stylists asks, “What’s so funny.”
“I just pictured a scene from “Glee” where the blonde over there broke into the song “Beauty School Dropout” and the rest of us joined in. We’re spinning around in our chairs and some people are dancing with the big hair dryers. She nods and joins in the game. It’s a good thing we’ve known each other for awhile.
Tigers above and tigers below. What can you do but latch onto whatever shiny moment you can find or imagine?