Such a moon—
Even the thief
Pauses to sing.
There is a thief in all of us to some degree or other. Some of us are good at stealing time from our family, friends, and co-workers by asking of them things we should not ask. We steal time from our day when we could be sitting in quiet meditation, or volunteering our time at a local food bank, charity, or senior center. Most things when they are stolen can be returned either by the person giving it back, the police finding it and returning it, or by buying a new one to replace it—but not so with time. Once it is stolen it is gone forever.
Even the thief was wise enough to stop and spend some time admiring the moon. In Zen we are particularly conscious of time and often look at it as never ending and eternal and now. We cannot go back in time to recover the lost item or relationship and we cannot jump into the future to catch up with it. The only thing we can do is be mindful and live in the now moment to the best of our ability.
We can steal dreams from our children when we hinder them from being truly who they are–by not allowing them to follow their hearts to where their dreams wish to take them. I knew a man when I was young who sold shoes, he sold shoes because his father and his grandfather sold shoes, but in his dreams he was an artist: he thought like an artist, dreamt like an artist, and probably even sold shoes like an artist. Then one day he told me that he had quit his job and was running away from home to BE an artist. I wished him luck and knew his dream had been reclaimed like we do with the ticket we take back to the shoe repair shop to reclaim our newly soled shoes. We walk out of that shop filled with dreams of wearing those shoes, dancing in those shoes, and maybe even getting a kiss under “such a moon” from that comely young man round the corner.
You may have stolen other things from someone, things I cannot mention out loud but that was in the past and today is a new day, with a new moon, and you may want to pause to peer at its beauty like a thief in the night stealing back a dream hoping that in the dawn it will reappear and manifest in your life.
My 92-year-old mother wrote a poem about the moon when she was nine years old. As she walked from the farmhouse to the outhouse before bedtime she looked up at the pitch black sky with the billions of stars and her heart was stolen by the beauty and joy of the moon. Here is what she wrote:
I can see the old moon
As he rocks in the sky
With a bean for a nose
And a rock for an eye.
Up up he goes into the blue sky
I can see him wrinkle his nose
And twinkle his eye.
–Iona Louise Bishop
Today is a wonderful day to see how your senses can be stolen by something or someone you love. How about stealing some time away from the to-do list to sit and meditate? How about looking to steal some time away from your rambling thoughts, anxieties, and fears by being mindful of your next meal? I mean really mindful. To really eat it, every bit of it and enjoy every sound, scent, and feel of it.
Tonight I hope you will steal some time to take a walk outside and as you look up at the evening sky let me know if you can see the old moon with that “twinkle” in his eye!
Things to focus on this week:
Step one: Begin by deciding which area of “stealing” you will focus on first.
- Step two: Set your intention to practice that one throughout the day/week.
- Step three: Remember to be mindful of it by writing it on a 3×5 notecard, or by putting it in your smartphone and having it remind you throughout the day.
- Step four: Remind yourself to listen to your thoughts and observe your behaviors to see if you are practicing the principle of “not stealing.”
- Step five: Finally, keep a journal on the precept of “not stealing” and make note of how learning to embody it in thoughts, words, and actions is affecting your life. Good luck with that!