Originally Posted on 2/27/16
Growing up, out of respect, whether a person was blood related or not they were addressed as Aunt or Uncle. Even though my immediate family was on the small side, my extended family was HUGE! Another one of the women who has made such an impact on my life brought a tradition down through the ages.
Aunt Matilda shared something with me a very long time ago that I have cherished ever since. She would sit at the end of the night and sip, very leisurely sip, her cup of tea. I never understood what would take her so long. It was good tea and it always took me a fraction of the time that it did her to devour it.
One night I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to know why she sat there in silence, oblivious to the world, just sipping and ignoring everything and everyone around her. I asked her, “Why does your tea last longer than mine?” Please do remember, I was much younger than and looked at life very differently. She didn’t hear a word I said.
I waited a few minutes and tried again, “Aunt Matilda, my tea is all gone already. Why do you still have yours?” Again there was no response.
So I did what any curious eight year old girl would do. I tugged on her arm and almost spilled the rest of her tea. Now I had her attention!
“Yes, what is it?” was all she said.
I watched her eyes. They looked like they had been in a far-a-way place. Where had she gone all that time? Why had she gone anywhere? I needed to know those answers! Without thinking about what I was asking, “Where were you?” came tumbling out of my lips.
“Ah, I see your tea is gone.” That’s how she started the lesson for the night that would stay with me forever and change my life once I was old enough to truly appreciate the gift I was being given. “Let’s just say I floated off for a while. I’ve been sipping my tea while you’ve been drinking yours. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Promise you’ll pay close attention?”
Of course I promised. It was a secret!
She continued, “I’ve been sipping my tea because it makes me feel better. We sat down with a cup of hot tea. That first sip, the hottest one, I sent straight up as a prayer of thanks for my day. I sipped and said, ‘Thank you for this day and everything in it…all the good, the bad, the indifferent. Thank you for the lessons, the gifts, and the love.’ Then with each sip that came after I just sat here being thankful. It gives me the feeling of floating. I just let go of all the yuck from the day and let the good stuff sink in. It takes me longer to finish my tea because I’m doing more than just drinking it. I’m sipping in all the good from the day and giving thanks for every single drop. My last sip, the one you see me open my eyes and come back to this world with, I send up a ‘thank you’ for tomorrow morning, for knowing that I will wake up and be able to enjoy another day. Tomorrow night when we have our tea do you want to sip with me?”
Did I ever! I wanted to know what it was like going where she went every night. The only answer I needed to give her, because my eyes said the rest, was, “Yes!”
Sit with a cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, whatever calls to you and send that first sip straight up, “Thank you for my day and every moment of it.” Then just enjoy all the good your day brought to you. Last sip, don’t forget about tomorrow. The best part of a Cup of Gratitude is, the ‘gift’ within the cup, I sleep better. I feel so much more at peace when I’m done with that last sip, and I truly look forward to tomorrow morning. Aunt Matilda gave me so much that night. It took me until years later to truly understand the magnitude of the gift.
Originally Posted 2/20/16
Mary is a lady who has meant a great deal to me over the years. She never hid her feelings or held her words back from me. One of the most amazing things she ever shared with me I now call "Mary's Mirror".
It was not a great time in my life. There were too many people who were being anything but honest with me. My job and I were definitely not suited for each other. My marriage was a volcano waiting to erupt. There was so much going on that I wasn't seeing half of it. My life was on overload.
Mary sat me down one day with a cup of tea. Seems that most of the women in my life start a conversation off with a cup of tea. It's a family tradition that says, "You really need to listen to me!" I took the tea, and concentrated on what she was telling me. Mary explained that when she was younger her mother had 'gifted' her something that changed her life. Now she was gifting it to me.
She took out her steno pad she always had with her and showed me what she had worked with for a very long time. On the pad she had drawn a T. At the top of the T were the words Day and Night. Under them there were words written in each column.
She sat there quiet for a minute and finally said, "Are you ready to see your life through new eyes?" I nodded yes without really understanding what it was she was asking of me. Her instructions were extremely specific and peaked my interest.
"First, get yourself a journal of any kind and create the T like I have it here. Place on the top of it Day and Night. Now starting in the morning I want you to get out of bed, go directly to the bathroom mirror (before you pee!) and look into your own eyes. Forget the hair and the face. Look only into your eyes. What do you see? You get one word to describe what they look like to you. Just one word! Write it down in the column under Day. Now you can pee. Then the last thing at night (after you've gone pee) look into your eyes again. What do you see? One word, in one word describe what you are seeing in the column under Night. Do this for at least 2 to 3 weeks. Then at the end of that time I want you to look at what you have written. Look with fresh eyes and see what days you were tired getting up and going to bed. See who lifted you up. Who drained you in one day. What did your job do to you? What were your best days and why? What was so different about those days that your eyes were happy at the end of the day and rested the next morning? Don't stop looking, even if you do stop journaling at times. When you notice your life is out of balance... use my mirror."
I have worked with Mary's Mirror on and off for many years. I am always astonished at what I see in my own eyes when I first start, and even more so when I find peace in them again.
I wish you peace in your heart and stars in your eyes, for if they are shining there can be nothing else but peace.