Small Things in a Great Way

Five thirty am.  The birds are starting to get drunk on light.  I know because the ecstasy in their voices is rising like an omen.  Don’t ask why I am awake at this entirely godly hour, or why I have already been awake for an hour.  Sometimes four thirty am beckons me from sleep like an impatient prophet.  S’okay… I love the soft potency of early morning.  And while we’re at it, don’t ask how I made it to age thirty without ever reporting for jury duty…

But this morning, as I stumbled slumberly into the kitchen, I was lovingly greeted by a jury summons letter.  And please DO ask me how I felt about this.  Innitially, my heart sunk like a rebellious teenager with bloody hands standing in a blinding floodlight.  But then… that habitual reaction washed away and into the bay of my consciousness flooded a fresh surge of curiosity.  Come on, Athena Grace, this infinitely curious human gets to go on an enlightening field trip to the court house and represent the All Pervading Non-Judgmental Judge!  I remembered that everywhere I go I have the right, privilege and cosmic duty of bringing my heart and soul!  Everywhere I go is a chance to beam love.  (Is there ANYone out there who used to watch the Care Bears?  They used to do this thing called the “Care Bear Stare”.  They would all stand in a straight line and aim their bellies at the “bad guy”…the antagonist in the story… and say, “Care Bears STARE!!!”  Then each one of their bellies would emanate a strong beam of light that would extend to the negative force before them.  This Care Bear brand luminosity would disable the bad guy and usually turn him/her toward the Light… Sometimes I like to raise my voice on high and call out, “Care Bear Stare!!!” as I imagine a similar beam of light shooting from my heart.  Man (Wonder Woman) I’m gonna stare down that court room!!!  …Or at least have some fun drinking in all the characters and fictionally strange human behaviors.)

I’m not political in the least.  I don’t even know ANY of the details of this recent oil spill, to tell the embarrassingish truth.  I rarely partake in news.  Some people think I’m a poor citizen…  Maybe… but I also believe that the most sincere offering I can make is to refine myself spiritually.  Find the light inside.  Make frequent Love with the Infinite.  Be a kind, generous neighbor, friend, fellow human being.  Listen to and encourage children.  Fall in Love on a daily basis.  Remember to breathe.  Sing from my heart.  Create beauty.  Honor, revere and adore the checkers at the grocery store, the attendants at the gas station, the toll takers on the bridge (my favorite!), waiters and waitresses, etc.

Speaking of waiters and waitresses, that reminds me of a very luminous man named Rajen, who owns the Taste of the Himalayas Restaurant in North Berkeley.  He is truly a mahatma (great soul) (You know what I just realized classifies someone in the rank of “God or Goddess”…is simply one who is able to recognize God in All.)  Every time I go to eat there, he is a fountain of wisdom, kindness and the inarticulatory light of the One.  “Small things in a great way,” he often reminds us.  Not only through his words does he remind, but also through his actions and being.  He and his family all run the restaurant.  They are Nepalese.  He started a school in Nepal for children in the lower caste, who would otherwise not get education.  He uses a percentage of profits (I almost wrote “prophets”) to fund the school, and augments that with fundraisers.  His heart truly contains all of humanity.  On the front of the menu, there is a short blurb declaring the philosophy of the restaurant which is that they see everyone they serve as God.   It shows.  I am always greeted with a warm “namaste”, by a server with their hands joined in front of their heart.  They serve the BEST palak paneer (saag paneer, spinach with cheese cubes… my F-ing favorite EVER!) in the universe.  No, make that the MULTIverse.  The artwork is of Tibetan deities, the music is soft and the ambiance exudes peace.  When Rajen is in, he makes his rounds to the divine diners and spreads the Love.  The other servers too, though not as gregarious and outgoing are clearly standing in selfless, loving service.  Go there.

Small things in a great way.  That is how I will step into jury duty.  With a surprising and generous amount of love and compassion in my heart.  And of course fascination.  Being a writer makes ANY and EVERY life situation worthwhile.  Stepping into life as a writer is my saving grace.  When I am afraid, when I am hesitant… I remind myself that I can write about it later and suddenly my life is resurrected.  Restored from a blasé tread mill to a technicolor free-for-all-consciousness spill.  THAT’S IT!!!  Sometimes I lament this world.  Like of ALL the divine possibilities, how did we end up in this haphazard mess?  I think it’s analogous to an oil spill.  We were given a gift of incarnation by All Pervading Ahhhhh (soft A), and we misused it and fashioned a collective dream tapestry woven with too much selfishness, greed, separation and fear… and now we are reaping the sew of this, as the oil of our diseased minds leaks carelessly about and boy-girl-boy do we have our work cut out for us now!

Just remember, breathe… and do Small Things in a Great Way.  Amen.