gratitude-a-thon day 538: eyes & ears

This is a quote by Thich Naht Hanh. It’s my new favorite thing anybody has ever said.

I don’t like the snow any better today, but I’m over my bad self, and have ceased the whining. Gratitude is back!

So, over the weekend, I went to the emergency room at the Mass Eye & Ear, which I am so damn lucky to live a mere 20 minutes from (less without traffic). I’ve been having weird symptoms in one of my eyes, featuring cloudy vision, and a cornucopia of other oddities, which have been plaguing (and kind of scaring) me for several weeks. So, I called up my eye doctor, Romeo Chang (I have gratitude for this guy’s name every time I call him–HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS NAME?), but I couldn’t get an appointment for two weeks, which would have been this past Monday. While nobody in my house was taking this second storm seriously, except for me, I woke up on Saturday morning and realized my appointment would get cancelled (which it did), and so decided to put myself in an Uber and go to the emergency room at the Eye & Ear. My husband was like, “You’re going to spend all day there.” to which I responded, “I’m going to spend all day worrying about my eye, if I don’t go.”

Cannes - 'Buddha' Photocall
Thich Naht Hanh, This dude has wisdom..

Anyway, there were only three people ahead of me. I think I waited a total of 30 minutes, which was kind of extraordinary (I have waited in that same emergency room for like 2-3 hours before). Cutting to the chase, my eye is fine, in fact, the doctor said that “everybody should have eyes that are as good as yours.” But he also said that my symptoms were due to the extreme dryness of the season (just another thing I love about winter) and a teeny, tiny cataract, that was actually so small, I shouldn’t have to do anything about it for 30 years (when I will be 86)! All good, I Uber-ed myself home, and would have continued on my merry way, but my vision was now really blurry from the drops. So, I just gave into it, and laid in my bed listening to the website Onbeing, which my friend/trainer/guru Colleen Quinn told me to check out. It was just what the doctor should have ordered, post eye drops.

Late to the party, I had no idea how cool Onbeing was. (Where have I been? Complaining about the winter, apparently.) Krista Tippett interviews all sorts of interesting people on this site. She has one of those voices that’s smart, soothing, and just a little bit sexy. (Completely the opposite of my nasally, ugly, and completely un-sexy voice, THANK GOD.) I downloaded the Thich Naht Hanh interview, and pretty quickly fell into this beautiful man’s arms. He is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist.

The lotus flower only grows in mud. If that’s not a great metaphor for life.

Sometimes the world aligns (eye drops and blurry eyes) and you get what you need (this interview). I have been struggling with keeping up my meditation practice, working too hard at settling my restless mind, resisting even the small amount of time it takes to get quiet. Mr. Hanh spoke in a beautiful accent, and talked about mindfulness and suffering in just such a way that I made all sorts of connections that I hadn’t made before. This is something that continually astounds me, how you can hear the same thing over and over and over, and then one day the right person says it and BOOM, you suddenly hear it. He talked a lot about the usefulness that suffering offers us. And what I took away, was that being mindful and going deep into the quiet, prepares you for the inevitable suffering, or rather allows you to find a place in yourself to be when there is too much suffering. This got through my noisy brain, this way of looking at mindfulness.

Gratitude is back and flowing: The Mass. Eye & Ear, Uber, Colleen Quinn, Onbeing, Krista Tippett, Thich Nhat Hanh. Snow shmow. It’s about noticing what is good. (Not what’s piled up OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE, AND WHAT’S COMING AGAIN TOMORROW, oooops, sorry, slipped back into I HATE WINTER mode there for a minute.)