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Posted Jan 29 2010 1:43pm

 “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change,” Buddha. This week in my journaling group I used that quote as a starting point.

The responses were as varied as the women participating in group. That always amazes me. Even if we start with the same sentence, we end up in different places.

I love how writing allows us to discover our own unique voices.

One woman wrote about how just as a flower has many parts, there are many parts to life.  And just as a flower changes as it grows from a seed, so has her life changed. She has gone from feeling helpless to finding hope.

I love the Buddha quote because it makes me stop and reflect on simple things in life. It slows me down so that I can notice a beautiful sunset or a flower springing up in the crack of a sidewalk. When I slow down, I smile as my dog snores and pause to listen to the birds sing.

Maybe I needed a miracle this week because another doctor in the hospital passed away. I know that my husband and I felt shaken to the core because he was younger than us and had just reached a pinnacle of his success. As my husband said, “Suddenly all those day to day annoyances just don’t seem to be important anymore.” The annoyances shouldn’t feel important, but the miracles around us should.

Seem confusing? Why should that flower be so important and the pricking of a thistle forgotten? For me, it is where I want to put my energy and focus. Do I want to celebrate beauty and simple pleasures? Or do I want to hold onto grudges and irritations? Do I want to appreciate myself and discover my talents and interests or do I want to berate myself and remind myself how I will never measure up to perfection? Intellectually, we can probably agree on the answer. Emotionally, I know that it is hard at times to believe in the miracle that each one of us offers to this world. Yet, that appreciation of your innate value can blossom if you let it.

An eating disorder can set up a negative loop of thoughts in peoples’ minds. It is one way that the illness maintains control. By looking for a daily miracle or focusing on a positive thought, a new loop can be set up. This loop of thoughts can encourage you rather than scold you. It can inspire you rather than inhibit you. Just as for my patient, this new pattern of thoughts can offer hope, rather than make you feel helpless. The question is whether you can slow down, look around, and find those tiny miracles.


·         Journal about a miracle in your life. If I had to find some miracles today, they might be that I was able to get up an hour later to go to class. I’m able to write at home this afternoon with a dog tucked in by my feet. My other dog has been barking less now that we have started dog training. My daughter loves having her braces off. My new project at work is about to be launched, after a year of planning. And I’m here—that is a miracle. I am here, living my life, able to write, hoping to inspire others and taking some deep breathes when irritations come. Peace in, and annoyance out. I'm here writing about a bird's nest outside my window. If I were to write about that nest, I would think about the way twigs were woven together to make a safe haven. How sometimes bits of yarn can be included in those nests—I remember a story from when I was young about a dog’s sweater that got turned into a bird’s nest. I would think about my daughter finger weaving and the soft knit of the scarf that she’s made for me and the tapestries in castles in England that tell stories of long ago days. Weaving together one image can take you to others and along the way, you may find a flicker of emotion. For me, a brief bubble of sadness as I remembered the abandoned stone castles that felt huge and cold and slightly unwelcoming with the blocks of heavy stone. But I’m sure before, they felt welcoming with their huge roaring fires and merriment and singing; they offered a place to come in from the cold. All that journaling reminds me that I need to keep some softness and merriment in my life. I need to cultivate the miracle of friendship. That’s where this prompt took me. Where will it take you? Journal about miracles you have. Look for small things in your life that you can appreciate.

·         Journal also about miracles that you might like to create. I want to create the miracle of fiction. Yet I don’t seem to schedule in enough time. I find myself doing other things. So now that I realize the importance of this, because fiction has offered me friendships and developed my own creativity, I will make sure to carve out time to practice the miracle of putting word after word and falling into the space of the story. I’ll let you know how that miracle works for me. Feel free to share your miracles, too.

Write On!

Martha Peaslee Levine, MD
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