October 2017

     I take refuge in the example of teachers
        and sages, in wisdom of the ages

     I take refuge in my circle of angels

     I take refuge in the company of those
        who are also finding their way

     I take refuge in the beauty and wonder
        of a natural world I did not create

Our theme for October is mindfulness. Not long ago I re-engaged a meditation practice I have had off and on since our older son Daniel was a baby. This time our younger son, Eliot, served as my inspiration to begin again. He started meditating last spring.

It’s early in my re-entry. The teachers and sages remind me that practice can lead to becoming more aware of what actually is, in this moment. The Buddha called it becoming awake.

Fall calls us especially to notice what actually is, in this moment. Fall is the season that offers beauty and grace across a landscape that changes almost daily. Summer flowers turn to seed while their late cousins, some exuberant, some modest, finally come into bloom. Deciduous trees lose green. Across the landscape there are signs of harvest – a field of still high corn beside another already cleared and brown.

Near the end of Montague Street, heading towards North Road in Westhampton, is a bend leading out of woods into farmland. When I make that turn I am jolted awake, taken by the vista, freed for a moment from the chatter in my mind. Awake, and grateful. You may have spots in the landscape that do the same for you.

We need moments, and places, like that bend in the road. Many of you have personal trials and struggles. And I don’t know how we cope with following the news. Fall has brought devastation to so many in Mexico, the

U.S. south, and the Caribbean. Daily, the U.S. President’s behavior fills many of us with dread. Terror, war and threat of war seem to be everywhere. Our son Dan will be sent to the Middle East in November. I pray they will keep him behind a desk, far from combat action. Following the news reminds me daily that there is no assurance of safety anywhere.

I hope you enjoy this month’s Touchstone journal - Mindfulness (http://uunorthampton.org/community-life/ monthly-themes). Practicing mindfulness is a way to remind ourselves to live in this moment – awake, and grateful.

I am grateful to be here with you.Janets signature