Glo and the Cereal Box
One morning Glo surprised her mother by asking if she could have a second helping of cereal. Her mother, Clara, thought maybe Glo was in a growth spurt, and quickly glanced at Glo’s sandals to see if her toes were hanging over the front edge. Relieved that all toes were still resting on the sandal bed, she smiled, “Of course Glo, you may have seconds; it is good to see you eat because you are a growing girl.” Glo’s smile was one of those that Clara had come to regard with a “Hmmm, what is she up to now.” So, Clara kept a sidewise eye check on her daughter as the cereal was eaten down to the bottom of the bowl. “Well,” Clara thought to herself, “Whatever Glo is up to, it got her to eat a good breakfast!”
“Mommy, may I have the cereal box? It is empty now.” “Ah,” thought Clara, “I knew she was up to something.” “Of course, you may have the cereal box, are you going to build something with it?” “Not really,” was Glo’s only response. And, off Glo happily went with her cereal box. Clara watched Glo head for the big windows that looked out on the back area of their house. “Hmmm,” again mused Clara, “I wonder what she wants with the box if she is going to look out the windows?” But she had been surprised time and again by her daughter and had learned to just watch.
Glo left her box by the windows and went and got her scissors. Then flopping on the carpet warmed by the sun’s morning light, she carefully cut out the side panels and folded them in half. She set the rest of the box aside. She then pulled out her knit cap – much to Clara’s surprise, who was standing in the kitchen and could just see into where Glo was. With knit cap well pulled down over her ears, Glo then slid the stiff card pieces over her ears and into the cap, which held those pieces snug against the side of her face, blocking off all view but straight ahead. She then pulled her knees up, wrapped her small arms around her bent legs, and rested her head on top of her knees; and then, just stared out the window.
Clara glanced at her little daughter as she cleaned up the dishes. But her daughter did not move. Clara became concerned that the knit hat in that warm sunshine must be making Glo hot. “I wonder what she is looking for, in that strange head thing she has created?” worried Clara. And once again Clara headed to make sure her daughter was alright. Clara’s sister and many of Clara’s friends had whispered that Glo “might not be right, maybe something is a little wrong with her mind.” So, whenever Glo took up a strange task or activity Clara was concerned that maybe they were right.
“Little one, what are you looking for?” Clara attempted to say without all those whispers entering her tone, as she walked over to her daughter bathed in sunlight. “Nothing special mommy,” said Glo not moving her head from looking out the window. “Oh dear, now what?” thought Clara. “Is it too hot to have your knit cap on little one?” asked Clara, hoping her tone of voice sounded concerned but not overly concerned. “A little” was Glo’s only response. Clara could see that whatever Glo was up to, she was intently into it. “So, anything interesting going on out there?” Clara asked trying to make her way to what Glo was up to. “Not really,” Glo responded.
Unable to contain herself, and hoping that her daughter was having one of her uniquely “Glo activities,” or caught in some daze of mind, Clara asked “If you are not looking for something and there is really nothing interesting to look at, what has drawn you to the windows with your hat and those pieces of cardboard?” Clara knew even as she asked that if she tried to explain to her sister and friends that she found Glo sitting over twenty minutes in the sunlight with a knit cap on her head and pieces of cardboard sticking out from the sides of her head, they would slightly shake their heads with “You know Clara that just isn’t normal behavior for a young child. Have you ever thought …?” And their words would just drift off. Clara waited and hoped.
Glo realizing her mother was struggling, didn’t look away from the window, but focused her words and said, “Mommy, life is so much beyond what we can see. People seem to look with such a narrow vision of what life is really about. So I thought I would find out what it was like to only to see what was straight in front of me. And you know it is really limiting. I think if people expand their vision of life, they think that what they see in front of them is all there is. So, they miss all the wonders in life that lay just outside of their narrow vision. As I sit here, I am wondering if they put too much emphasis on what they do see, and don’t even try to see wider. What do you think?”
Clara was so glad Glo could not see her in that moment as Clara’s face was a mix of relief, confusion, and love at the sight of this diminutive, little girl all curled up on the floor with her strange head gear speaking of the deep questions in life. So, Clara plopped down on the floor and placed her hands at the side of her head and looked out the window. “Well, you are right Glo, a narrow vision is so very limiting compared to the breadth of what truly can be seen. But I suppose if they knew nothing different from this, they would not even think about what they could be missing.” Clara took her hands down so she could see the full peripheral of her eyesight and then put them back up. “Little one, wise people have been writing for thousands of years that there is more to life than what most societies set directly before them, whether it be hardship from economic discrimination and responsibilities that indeed must be filled, or the comforts and gratifications of having great wealth. But, whether hardship or being pampered, if the person does not open their vision, they do not see/realize the wealth of wisdom and living to enhance all life that no one can take away, and what is eternal, and they take with them after this journey through what we call life.”
With this statement, Glo pulled out the stiff pieces of cardboard and slipped off her knit cap. “Mommy,” Glo asked with such sadness, “In all these thousand of years has any neighborhood come to see the breadth of their life, like us with our eyes today?”
Clara scooped up her daughter into her lap and cradled her, “Glo, there have been people who came to know and taught others. There have been few societies that have sustained this broader knowledge. Others have often ridiculed them, and not allowed their vision to spread. But they could not take away what was within them, no matter the hardship they put these people through. But you and your generation have the chance to change this, like all of us who have seen the true breadth of life. Some day I think there will be enough people who can understand so that not just some societies, but all humanity will change.” And, then to lighten the moment Clara asked with some amusement, “Little one did you have seconds just so you could use the box? If you had asked, I would have taken out the bag and given you the cardboard box?”
“Oh no mommy, I was hungry and realized that I could fill my tummy and do my experiment, responded that little serious face gazing at her mother, “All in That Love Which is both Intimately Present and Infinite works for good, right?” Hugging her daughter close, eternally grateful for this precious, if precocious, child, Clara simply responded, “Yes Glo, all in That Love Which is Intimately Present and infinite works for good.”
Copyright Contemplative Life Foundation 2006
Glo’s Short Journey
One cold, wet, blustery morning, when Glo’s mother, Clara, found her scurrying around gathering up items. Her mother was intrigued by Glo’s sense of purpose as she picked up certain items, scrutinized them, and either put them down, or put them in a large bag. “Glo, what are you doing with that large bag?” came her mother’s ever soft tone. Glo looked up a little startled. “Oh Mommy, I am going on a short journey this morning, and I have to decide what to take.” Clara looked out at the awful weather and that bag that was really too large to carry anywhere for her diminutive daughter and replied, “Little one, it is so nasty out, and that bag is going to be too cumbersome, if not too heavy, for you to carry. Where are you planning to go?”
Glo, thought about her mother’s words, before responding. “Probably only a short time Mommy.” Her mother smiled both at her daughter’s seriousness as well as lack of understanding of the question. “Glo, we use the word where to indicate a place, not how long. What place are you planning to go to? “Glo studied her mother for a few minutes before responding. “Mommy, I plan to be outside long enough to begin to feel the harshness of the weather; be there for a few minutes in it; and then for another several minutes look forward to the warmth and comfort of home, before running back.” Clara, stopped in her “mental tracks,” and decided she needed to listen more deeply to her daughter’s thoughts.
“Then for you, it doesn’t matter so much what place you go to, but what you experience during a certain amount of time?” asked her mother. Glo looked up, with her loving and trusting eyes, “What does the place matter Mommy? Isn’t it how we feel and how we react wherever we are that makes up our journey? See, I have brought a small mirror so I can see what I look like cold. I brought that picture of me as a baby, so I remember to take good care of myself. And I brought my favorite “little lamb” to keep me company when I feel cold and wet.” Clara paused. These were the “deep waters” times with Glo, who even so young, Clara had learned to pay attention to.
“Glo, there are dangerous places you need to stay away from. There are places that you are not old enough to go to. That is why it is important for me to know where, what place, you intend to go to.” Glo looked shocked for a moment, and then nodded. “Mommy, I am not interested in going anywhere. Our big yard can hold my short journey. Do you think I am interested in going somewhere?” Then, with all her seriousness scrunching her little face, Glo looked directly into her mother’s eyes. “Mommy, isn’t what goes on in me more important than places?”
Clara looked down at her daughter and smiled a warm, loving smile. “Yes Glo, you are right. But if you ever want to go to some place, you will ask me?” Glo paused for a moment, looking down at her sturdy brown shoes before she looked up and said, “Mommy, of course I will always want you to know a place I would like to go to, and ask you if it is safe or not for me. I am sorry you are so confused. Life is a series of moments. And I am planning a short journey because I do not think it will take long to feel cold and wet out there. I do not need to go to a place to feel that. Our backyard will provide my journey. Some day, when I am much older, I know I will be shown places, but they are not where I journey; they only, eventually, become part of My journey.”
Clara, speaking almost more to herself replied, “Then, my dear little daughter, I had better go start getting some hot cocoa ready so I can hear all about your journey, and think about mine of these past few moments.” Glo smiled as she headed for her coat.
Copyright Contemplative Life Foundation 2005
Glo and the Orange
Oranges were so rare in Glo’s family that she was almost 9 years old before she was presented with one by her wealthy grandmother who had been traveling abroad. Her grandmother, Ada, was so pleased when Glo’s little hands wrapped around the succulent orange with reverence. The “ooos” and “ahhhs” were abundant as Glo felt the unusual texture and softness and smelled the fragrance. She held it close, and passed it from one hand to another, like two friends sharing a precious gift.
“Well, go on and peel it Glo,” her grandmother said, greedily looking at the orange. Glo looked at her horrified, “O no, I cannot. That would destroy its beauty and shape. I want it always just as it is.” Her grandmother, who Glo called “Grams,” shortening “grandmother” into something more manageable, chuckled at her sincerity, relieved that her level of knowledge was well beyond this little girl who often in the past had left her stammering. Slightly raising herself she taught, “Its color and feel are beautiful, but those only give you so much; peel and eat it, and you it will give not only wonderful taste but also nutrients for your life.” Glo knit her brows, and said, “No, I want to have it just as it is. What if you are wrong; then I won’t have even its beauty.”
Ada wasn’t counting on a debate with her gift-giving. Was this going to be “one of those times” with Glo that were taxing and trying her patience? “Glo, if you don’t peel and eat it now, it will rot into a smelly ugly mass. Please trust me, it is only fresh so long, and then it dies. Peel its skin off and find the really greater treat inside.”
Glo looked at her with some defiance, “Why don’t you give me something that can keep it fresh forever — maybe a special box with the right conditions. Or do you know of something we can inject into it so that it always stays fresh? I want it just as it is for as long as possible.”
“Glo,” Ada said in some exasperation, “Why would anyone waste time and money to come up with something to prolong an orange’s life. Refrigeration is used to try to keep oranges fresh, as they are taken to different areas. But all this is to have them as fresh as possible for people when they eat them. This orange I brought you, only has a few days left before it won’t be any good for eating; and, it will begin to rot. It will decay no matter what. So let’s not talk about prolonging what it is now, let’s talk about the wondrous taste and nourishment it has waiting for you.”
Glo knew her grandmother’s life had been spent striving for greater wealth; and yet being ever anxious she might lose what she had. Glo looked into her Gram’s eyes and saw that she had lost sight of the eternal that could be found in this life. “My dear Grams,” she said. “When you let go of trying to hold onto what is only mortal, which will also die and decay no matter what; and instead use your efforts to be-hold the wondrous eternal substance of Love, I will eat this orange.”
“C l a – ra,” Ada called out as her high heels clicked on the floor with her exit. Glo, smiled, and ran out to her favorite tree. She showed tree her treat. Then she gave thanks to the Eternal Love that gives life for creating such a treat. Finally, she looked deeply at the orange and promised to bring its beauty into her little life. One with her orange, she gently peeled the orange, and savored each section.
Clara, Glo’s mother, silently amused, stood with Ada at the window. Looking out the window at a little girl enjoying the treat Clara commented, “Are you sure you understood her, Mom? She seems to be enjoying it.” With a slightly agitated tone from being left confused, Ada retorted, “She said something about not eating it until I let go of holding onto what I had, and instead took in the wondrous substance of Love.” Even as Ada spoke these words, she all of the sudden got an dim intuition of what Glo was saying. Her tone changed and Ada sighed, “I don’t know if I will ever understand that girl, but I am going to keep trying. She is so serious, and yet out there she looks so happy and innocent.”
Mom,” Clara softly responded, you gave her a wondrous gift, I think she was giving from what she had a special gift to you.” Looking out at the smile and obvious enjoyment Glo was having with the orange, Ada sighed, “Clara, she is truly something else, but I love her. I just wish I knew what she meant by all that……” Clara also was smiling at her daughter’s delight, and tenderly responded, “Mom, partake of her gift to you with a sense of wonder that she is obviously having, and you just might have an insight into what she meant.” (The tree, older them all, felt the subtle energy vibrations, and subtly vibrated its staunch support.)
Copyright 2008, Contemplative Life Foundation
Glo Hosts Her First Tea Party
Glo had never had tea parties with her dolls; in fact, Glo had no interest in Dolls when she could enjoy watching all the people around her, and especially, the creatures who lived outside her home. She never disturbed those creatures and never wanted to have a pet, she so preferred watching the “wildlife” in their natural environment. She did remind her mother when the bird feeder or bird bath needed filling or cleaning and made sure the chipmunk feeders in the early autumn were kept full as they prepared their winter stockpiles. She especially loved watching the birds in the bird bath. Her dear mother, Clara not only could not get Glo interested in dolls, but often had to endure a young Glo splashing in the bathtub with her arms like the birds’ wings when they bathed. So, Clara was surprised when Glo asked her if she was old enough to host a tea party like her mother did.
“Of course, Glo,” said her delighted mother, thinking that Glo would invite her friends. “No mommy, I like my friends, but they can be very silly. Would you invite Grams (her shortened name for her mother’s mother Ada), and Clara’s sisters Aunt Bella, and Aunt Della?” Clara was happy that Glo thought of her own family and hoped they would come. In the back of her mind were memories of Glo confounding family members, but a tea party was a lovely social activity. So, her mother wrote out and sent out the invitations with Glo signing them. To Clara’s relief all responded that they were honored to be part of Glo’s first tea party.
In the past, Clara had been impressed that Glo was attentive and helpful in setting up when her mother hosted tea parties (a popular social activity for women). With that experience, Glo let her mother know that she would appreciate her mother’s help, but that this was her tea party. With a smile, Clara did as much as she could to be the “helper” all the while making sure that all preparations were right. She was impressed that her daughter had paid so much previous attention that she really knew all preparations.
On the tea party day when invitees arrived, Glo had appropriately set her grandmother on the lovely couch, with her Aunt Bella next to her and the tea/coffee table in front of them. Her Aunt Della was in the comfortable chair to the left of the couch. And Clara was to the left of Aunt Della so she could be closest to the kitchen. Clara did wonder why Aunt Della’s chair, who had a very special bond with Glo, was just slightly back from the others. At first, Clara moved the chair back to be in line. But Glo would move it slightly back again. Clara had learned that observing her daughter led to intriguing insights, so she smiled in curiosity and prepared the tea. Glo carefully laid out what was needed on the table, leaving lots of space for what she hoped each guest would bring – delicious goodies to go with the tea. When her mother asked where Glo would sit, Glo said she would sit on the floor across from everyone … and close to the hoped-for goodies that the others would provide.
Everyone arrived and was seated. They were amused at Glo’s beaming smile at the wonderful goodies they had brought in honor of Glo’s first tea party. Tea was served and the sisters, her mother and Aunt Bella and Della, chatted back and forth with the appropriate social pleasantries expected at tea parties, and Grams would, of course, inject her worldly and aged perspective. Glo, sitting cross-legged on the floor sipped her tea and just listened as she sampled one of each of the goodies.
When teacups were about empty, Clara dutifully raised the tea cozy off the tea pot and, starting with Glo asked: “Glo would you like more tea?” Glo’s response froze Clara’s hand and mind, “Oh no Mommy I would like less.” Grandmother Ada who considered Glo odd at times, wanted to think her Granddaughter was simply confused, and sweetly said, “Glo, you cannot ask for less, you can say “yes please, or “no thank you,” Glo, turning her face serious, responded, “No, I want less.” Aunt Bella chuckled at her niece’s bungle of tea language, Ada’s expression was, “Oh dear, that little child certainly can get things backwards, I hope she grows up normal and does not embarrass this family.” Aunt Della, sitting slightly back beamed a smile at Glo, knowing that her niece was up to something that was going to be wonderfully “Glo.” Clara, tea pot hung in midair, asked, “Glo, I am sorry, I thought this was your favorite tea, I can go get another tea just for you.” Glo sympathetically looked up, “Oh no mommy, I do not need more tea, I need less.”
Confused, Clara said, “Well I can pour out what you have if that is what you want.” Grams and Aunt Bella were increasingly concerned about the situation because they recognized that once Glo got something in her mind, she could not be easily veered from it. Glo and Aunt Della had a quick exchange of glances, in which Aunt Della’s eyes were a sparkling smile. Since she was slightly behind the others, they could not see her delight in their perplexed expressions. Glo, concerned for her mother’s confusion at what to do said, “this is cumfrey tea, isn’t it? I do not want to waste it, so could you feed that plant with it, that would be much better than just throwing it away,”
As Clara slowly moved to the plant while rapidly trying to figure out what was going on in Glo’s thinking, Grandmother Ada raised her eyes, thinking “Oh my, this little girl has so much to learn.” Aunt Bella, who was very conscious of her social position, thanks to her mother’s Ada social circle landing her a husband in high community standing, was trying to shrink back in her seat, and from the situation. Aunt Della took in everyone’s expression with some amusement and gave a radiate nod to Glo to go on.
Once Clara sat back down giving Glo the empty teacup, Glo meekly said, “This first cup of tea was filled with talk about what is going on where and with whomever. I would like a cup of tea filled with what we mean to each other, what we are grateful for in each other, and what we may be going through that is troubling. “For me,” looking at her grandmother, Glo with her little earnest face said: “Grams, you mean so very much to me because you love me even though I know I often exasperate you. You take me to new places in my life and bring me such nice gifts. Aunt Bella, you mean so much to me because you always are there for my birthdays and include me in your family’s celebrations and outings. You give me such a wonderful sense of family. Aunt Della, you mean so much to me because you always understand me, you bring me that twinkle in your eye which brings me joy and confidence. And you teach me so much. Mom, with tears in her little eyes, you mean so much to me because you allow me to be me, join me in my adventures, and watch over me with such care and concern. All of you mean so much to me, and that is what a full cup of tea with you means to me.”
Silence abounded momentarily as each adult took in Glo’s words with awe. Then, Grandmother Ada, knowing her place as the elder, began by telling Glo how much she meant to her, and was learning how to see life in new ways because of her. She then turned to each daughter and spoke of her gratitude and concern for each of them. Aunt Bella, realizing there were words she had not spoken to each of them about how much they meant to her, proceeded to do so. Aunt Della, with her unique wisdom spoke to each with such depth, honoring their wonderful talents and the love and life they brought to others. Her sisters and mother so appreciated to hear what they did strive to give in their lives but thought no one even noticed. Clara, filled with relief and joy at the turn of events, added amusement in telling each of them how much they meant to her. Turning to her diminutive Glo said, “My beloved daughter, you open my eyes and heart every day. You do not hesitate to look at life as you see it, not as others expect you to see it; and in this, you show me a strength of being that I want to nurture and learn from. So, now, would you like some tea in your full cup?”
Glo beamed at her mom, and the others, and then responded back to her mom, “O yes, please, there are still such goodies to eat.” The adults laughed, and each asked for more tea to fill their cups and continued to share special memories they had of each other; and, even reached out to acknowledge that they held in their heart painful events. Meanwhile, Glo happily munched on one goodie after another, glancing up with happiness at each of them.
After the table was cleared and Grams and the aunts were leaving, each hugged Glo and asked her to host another of her tea parties again. Glo appropriately thanked them for coming, and with gratitude said, “Oh yes, I look forward to our next tea party because today I learned so much about my family, and this gives me memories I am so grateful for.”
Once the guests had left, Clara caught an impish grin on Glo’s face. “So Glo,” her mother said recognizing her daughter already had something “brewing” in her, “What are you thinking about your next tea party?” “Oh,” responded Glo, “I am thinking about asking each of them some of their funniest memories. I want to keep building knowledge of my family.” Clara both deeply smiled, but also felt an ache because Glo only had her mother’s side of the family. Her father had left them, and his family had abandoned them quickly thereafter. Most of all, Clara realized that Glo would bring her family closer together each year as she matured in age and questions. As her diminutive daughter was already heading into some sort of “Glo” activity, Clara felt deep love and caring for her.