Tag Archives: compassion

Call Me by My True Names by Thich Nhat Hahn

architecture asia asian blur
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Call Me by My True Names 

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river, and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond, and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks, and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate, and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up, and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

by Thich Nhat Hahn

A Winter Morning at Elephant Belly Sanctuary

trees

Waking up every day at Elephant Belly Sanctuary is a miracle.

At dawn, Monroe, my little blonde Doodle, eats her early morning meal while I fill the light blue Le Creuset tea kettle with the ice cold well water and put it on the burner. Five tight scoops of blended coffee fall into the french press and then Monroe and I head out to take care of the ladies.

The Chickenbergs, my family of rescued hens, are always excited to welcome the new day. I open their coop and they come pouring out with their soft baulk baulks and feather shakes. I throw them a scoop of scratch, fill their water and feed, and do a quick check of their feet, combs, and eyes. I love how the all say good morning in their own way.

I head to the garage, fill the gray bucket with four scoops of black sunflower seeds and walk into the back yard. The first view of the heart shaped mountains, the Hudson Highlands, is breathtaking. At this time of year, the trees are bare and the pink sunrise illuminates their vulnerability. They stand strong, naked, and still. Taking a deep breath in, I feel like them- alive and excited- to feel the warmth of the morning sun.

The birds- black capped chickadees, tufted titmice, nuthatches, goldfinches, and downey woodpeckers- meet me on my way to the feeders. And the fat squirrels, hide on the edge of the forest waiting for their morning snack. I say hello with a smile and fill the feeders to the brim.

Before heading back inside, I am certain to check the cairns that mark the memory of our dear bunnies- The Roosevelts- Franklin, Eleanor, and Teddy. Rescued, deeply loved, and lost…I pause…my eyes still stinging with tears- and straighten the balancing stones.

Monroe and I head back inside, pour the boiling water into the press, warm the soy milk, hit the 5 minute timer, and we sit for our morning love session. I pet her, kiss her, love her as she burrows her head into my lap. Her face so soft and smelly. Her blonde curls, wispy and cute. Her bumpy old body tight and little. We kiss and coo and cuddle. Smile and love and lay side by side gazing into each other’s eyes.

The timer beeps and the coffee is ready. Once poured and prepared perfectly, I bring the two cups of liquid love into the bedroom- with my Doodle right behind me. My Love is sleeping soundly with her Chloe- a black and white Shih Tzu- curled around her head like a cat. Warm, still, breathing sweetly, they are one animal resting in a bed of cozy blankets and dreams. I set the coffee on her night stand and whisper “Good Morning My Love, your coffee is ready.”

There is a song we sing in the morning and it goes like this:

“It’s a beautiful day in Cold Spring,

What a wonderful day in Cold Spring,

Gonna love my baby in Cold Spring,

It’s gonna be a wonderful day!”