July 23rd, 2009

Zach on a swing!!

Thoughts -

Zach and I went to Old Mill Park to check out the stream and the redwood trees.  We both appreciate standing in a circle of Redwoods and looking up at the canopy.  The park was over-loaded with middle-school aged children which Zach found fascinating.  I felt like we were at the zoo watching an exotic species, but Zach stood firmly in the middle of the group and observed.  He told me he found them "interesting." They did not notice him, did not appear to find anything interesting outside themselves, and even there, the insecurity was palatable.  What an age it is.  The girls are developed and beautiful, and the males are, as Zach says, interesting, interested in their skateboards and bikes, and perhaps out of the sides of their eyes, girls.

We had a dinner picnic with Zach's family under the trees.  They said Zach does not understand the concept of embarrassment.  I thought I remembered that all animals get embarrassed, but either Zach is too young or he is comfortable enough with himself that he isn't embarrassed about anything he does.  I find his ability to interact amazing and so together we explore what I might miss or step away from.  
I take time to really look at roots, the ground and rising and broken trunks of trees.

Zach picks up trash on the ground, teeny-tiny pieces of trash and hands them to me to carry to the garbage.  He found two sticks yesterday, real treasures, though we left them on the table at the park, for the trees.  He followed a dragonfly and watched two boys fill a wine bottle with water from the running creek and empty it over and over again.   He showed each person as they came to the picnic how to go through the tunnel without getting wet.

He didn't want to wear a jacket yesterday because he likes the air on his arms.  He observes the sky, sun, trees, bugs, and people.  He observes it all equally, and somehow seems aware of the whole picture while being very focused on bouncing the bridge to make a noise or crawling up, down, and in and out of trees.  I continue to learn from being with him. 

His parents have found a home to buy in Noe Valley in the city.  They will move September 1st.  He will start preschool September 2nd and be in school from 8:30 to 2:30 each day.  Our schedule of over a year now will change. I am aware of how no moment repeats.  We are given a gift and then we release.

Yesterday, I said, "I love you, Zach," and he said, "Me, too," and then, said, "I love you, too," and put his arms around my neck and touched his cheek to mine.  I thought of the life of a redwood tree and what they see as they stand as sentries in the park.  I felt applause from their rooted toes, up their knees, all the way up to the gathered green overhead.   Somehow you know when all is in sync.

I had a dream last night, a rather amazing one of traveling on a bridge at the level of the water and then clicking into some kind of hyper-drive.  I woke, pleased.  Life is a game, a learning game, whether awake or asleep.  

maya lin landscape

Mindfulness -

I am reading Shambhala Sun this evening.  There is an article by Barry Boyce, about Chade-Meng Tan, who inspired Search Inside Yourself at Google.   Meng heads The School of Personal Growth, a part of Google University. He teaches a course called "The Neuroscience of Empathy." Norman Fischer, founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation, is one of the principal teachers of SIY.

Norman Fischer says: "Many people at Google spend 20 percent of their time on their own endeavors for saving the world through technology. In some sense that's what Meng is doing. He wants to make the world a better place through the "technology" of meditation. He's starting at home, within Google. And it's working. For the people who take the course, it makes a difference in how they operate, how they communicate.  They learn that they don't have to leave their emotions at the door when they come to work. That's big. If Wall Street traders, for example, has had more emotional intelligence, they might have realized the crazy derivatives they created were wrong."

Meng asked Mirabai Bush to help design the course.  She "tells a story about teaching mindful emailing, in which participants are taught to take three breaths after typing an email, look again, imagine how the other person will receive it, visualizing both their mental and emotional response, and then alter it if need be."

She continues: "One person came back the next week and he was amazed at how much of a difference it made when he was reflective about email. 'I wrote this whole email out,' he said, 'and I knew it was really important for the person to receive it with openness to my ideas. But the message was emotionally loaded, so he might not respond very openly. I looked at it carefully and reflected, and then I did something very radical. I called him on the phone.' Others in the class nearly gasped, and then, he said, 'You know, it really worked!'"

Remember the phone and the ads that said "Reach out and touch someone."  Perhaps there is still a time and place for that.