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Posted By Opening the Heart

   I read about a survey where people were asked if they could choose a 'super power', what would it be. By far, the two most popular answers were 1) to be invisible and 2) to be able to fly. I didn't have to think twice about this one. For me, it would be flying. In terms of being invisible, just too much legal, bureaucratic red tape. For example, if you're invisible, do there have to be stipulations that the clothes you're wearing are included in the deal, because I just would not want to have gone through the airline checkpoints without detection and then find myself on a 12 hour fight to Hawaii sitting naked, with a priest to my left and an 81 year old grandmother going to a Tupperware convention on my right, just because I didn't know how long the invisibility lasted!

   Or what's the deal if I'm holding someone's hand? Do they get to be invisible too? Because I would not want to find out after the fact that my wife is slow dancing alone at a family wedding. You know what I'm saying? No, for me, flying is, hands down, so to speak, the way to go.

   Some of my all-time favorite moments are spent on my deck in Westport watching the ospreys soar over the river looking for a meal. Or, on that same deck, watching the hummingbird drink from the feeder 6 feet from my chair. It is nothing but magical, watching her dart and flit from feeder to cypress tree and back. And I know she's coming because I can hear the whir of her wings. Did you know that there is only one species of hummingbird east of the Mississippi? It's the ruby-throated hummingbird.

   When I go clamming in the river, I love to dig my toes into the mud to find cherrystones and little necks. I watch the wind patterns on the water and the sun reflecting off the river. But what is most enchanting is to watch the swans take off from the water, or to see the great blue herons and egrets soaring overhead. What an amazing feeling that must be to be able to fly!

   And as I'm digging clams and thinking about it, I wonder "Is it an amazing feeling for the great blue or egret or the magical hummingbird?" I conclude, a little sadly, that it's probably not an amazing feeling for them. It's just who they are and it's what they do. It would be ecstatic, I reason, if I could be that fabulous bird and have an awareness of flying- of being able to do something so new and different and wondrous!

   So, if it's bringing awareness and consciousness to something that makes it so special, seeing with beginner's eyes, then all I really have to do is bring my full attention to sitting here in my chair, in this moment, and breathe in the joy of my writing these words, watching the hummingbird and nuthatch and the kayaker on the river. I only have to bring my attention to digging my toes into the soft mud and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face and watching ospreys feed their chicks in their platform nests on the marsh in the river.

   Jon Kabbat Zinn, the psychologist, once defined healing as the process of bringing one' attention to what is going on in the present moment... Still, I would, one day, so dearly love to flap my arms and lift off and see the world below and glide on warm air currents and be absolutely at one with the universe.... Actually, I realize can already do that. Some traditions call it 'samadhi', some, the 'oceanic experience'. I call them peak experiences and they can, all by themselves, make my life soar.

   With Love and Respect, JonJon

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