Your North Star

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  • Kathleen Lauterbach

    I love the morning. I like to get right up and out of bed. The world is dark and quiet early in the morning and I find it peaceful to just sit in that quiet for a little while. Sometimes I will do a crossword puzzle, sometimes read and sometimes just sit with coffee and let the quiet surround me. I always marvel at the sunrise.

    These pictures made me smile! I too love the ocean and it’s constant ebb and flow movement. Both my homes are near ocean. I also love Julia and Justin’s smiles. The unguarded honesty of children is something I miss. To be able to approach every situation with eyes of wonder and to have the security of standing on the shoulders of someone who loves you dearly is the gift of childhood. We were just talking today about how magical Christmas was as a child and how we would practice with our siblings what we would do Christmas morning. Who would wake up first and gather the others, who would have the honor of being the first one down the stairs to see the tree. The anticipation was palpable.

    I delight in getting lost in a book, taking something that is a mess and organizing it, really good ice cream from the nearby dairy, learning something new or figuring something out, the smell of pine needles or something yummy baking in the oven, and good conversations with friends.

    I am grateful for the fact that I don’t have to worry about money. I grew up in a household where having enough money to just pay the mortgage and feed five kids was always an issue.
    I am also grateful that I have strong long lasting friendships and a good relationship with my siblings. Money provides everything I could ever materially need and friendships provide that emotional cushion we all need.

    Peace and happiness today are looking at the day and being able to say “Wow, I am so lucky!
    I have an abundance of everything I need. “.

    • Julia Cardoso-Castello

      Kathleen, your comment made me tear up! So precious and moving! My soul rejoiced as I read it! Thank you for sharing! I related to you in several aspects! I also grew up aware that things were costly and we need to be strong, responsible and work hard… Also my siblings and I are very close too! I definitely feel abundantly lucky and blessed beyond words to the life I have now!

  • Julia Cardoso-Castello

    It was such a profound surprise that warmed up my whole being as I opened this unit to meditate… unaware of what “Your North Star” was about. What an excellent title to it!
    Music usually inspires me as well as pictures, movies, etc! Might be the fact I have a visual memory and it speaks to me.
    It was REALLY hard to pick and choose which photo I would share… I take A LOT of photos! BUT There’s a family picture I LOVE and couldn’t find it in time… It was actually taken by Yota a few days after Justin was born. I will see if I can post it here or share with you another occasion. Somehow those two here had an even more powerful meaning to me today then the day they were sent to Yota! Thank you for this Yota!

    What gets me up in the morning is definitely the fact that there is so much to be lived! Although I am naturally not a morning person, growing up somehow has made me become one. LOL. Needless to say that once I became a mom it became inevitable LOL… I enjoy getting up especially on weekends when we are all home relaxing…

    What makes me smile: anytime I see Angelo and Justin playing and being silly… or we sing and dance in the living room… when people in general are having a good time, being compassionate and are kind.

    I delight in when there’s harmony… understanding, acceptance and dialogue… Peace. Nothing like playing songs, enjoying each others company, sharing a meal and laugh.

    What are you grateful for? For people that I LOVE so much that my heart burns of gratitude just by thinking of them: Angelo and Justin; my FAMILY. For dear friends that without knowing inspire me. I’m grateful for HEALTH, LOVE, FAMILY.

    How do peace and happiness look like … in the present moment? Peace and happiness is whenever we are all home relaxing or doing anything fun. It’s like Heaven on Earth anything, anytime with Angelo and Justin. Simple table games, meals or taking nature walks, or watching a movie… Not having a schedule to be anywhere or rushing to get something done. LOL

  • Kathleen Lauterbach

    Hi Julia,
    After having taught children for 40 years, it is easy to recognize when a child has a happy home. Your Justin is one lucky little boy. It always amazes me how calm you are with him when he pops into our Zooms. I can just picture the three of you dancing and playing in the living room. One of my fondest memories of my Dad is dancing with him in the living room. We would put a record on and he would have me stand on his feet and then he would dance me around the room. My parents both grew up in the time when dancing was more of a ballroom style. I just always thought it was so cool to be floating around the room on my Dad’s feet.
    I have always been a morning person-even as a little kid. My Mom always lamented that if Kathy was up, everyone had to be up. When I was working I did most of my planning and grading before I left for school in the morning. I have never needed an alarm clock which is kind of nice!

  • Kathleen Ellis

    LOVE the photos! Thanks Julia for sharing them. It’s so sweet to see Justin popping up on the screen during our sessions. This will be part of his memories of his mother and growing up and I’m very happy to be a small part of that. I know for my son, being a part of the meditation group his parents belonged to was part of the fabric of his life. And I’m drawn back to the house of belonging, the poem we started with, and all the beautiful contemplations by everyone this week. We’ve all been drawn into our childhood memories, and for me, following that thread from my earliest experiences through 7 decades has been quite revealing. For all of my missteps and failings and detours, I see my tenacious determination to create a house of belonging in the world, to enter, even sometimes kicking and complaining (what, me complain?) into this play of consciousness that is life on this planet. I need a lot of reminding to savor the moment–I thank you all so much because you share your moments so beautifully–from eating ice cream to nature walks to the comfort of a soft blanket, you inspire me to get out of my head and into my heart. I think if I were going to give this group a name it would be “practical idealists.” Because as you put it Yota: “Our ever-changing lives, our ever-evolving identity, our existence … moved forward and onward by love, our sense of purpose, the need to serve, to belong, to share of ourselves.” This takes the inspiration and support of other idealists who are crazy enough to keep doing this 🙂

  • Linda Samuels

    I am blown away by how deeply you have shared from your heart. It’s beautiful reading about all of the love, inspiration, discovery, and memories. What a gift!

    The photos of Julia with Justin, the ocean, and Julia, Angelo, and Justin say it all. They exude such love, joy, calm, and connection. He is one lucky boy to be born into your loving family. He will carry that with him always and extend it to all he meets. Julia, you are raising a happy, loving, confident human who is so much needed in this world.

    Yota- you always ask such great questions. As the evening has come, I will admit that I’m feeling tired from the day. Nothing is wrong. My day was spent engaging my mind and body. I feel that it’s time to stop.

    So for this very moment, peace and happiness look like taking my bra off, getting into my PJs, stepping into my purple velvety slippers, making and eating a simple, nutritious dinner, curling up on the sofa with the cozy, gray blanket, wiggling my toes as the soft fabric comforts my feet, watching a movie, and maybe eating a Yasso chocolate brownie fudge pop for dessert. This is funny, but the act of writing this down has actually energized me, and now I’m excited to get to RELAXING!

    Hugs and love to all of you, amazing women.

  • Julia Cardoso-Castello

    Linda, thank you! I enjoyed and relaxed just by picturing you getting read to relax! Knowing when to stop to recharge your body made me smile! How wonderful!

    Yota THANK YOU for posting my favorite photos and most importantly for taking them! They’re my phone screen saver and locked screen pictures! You have a gift for photography! I won’t stop repeating it!❤️

  • Julia Cardoso-Castello

    Kathleen, So precious to read how your son enjoyed being in the meditation groups… Justin is drawn to the zoom meditation and he feels so comfortable interacting with you all “practical idealists” LOL
    I liked what you wrote about your “tenacious determination to create a house of belonging in the world.”❤️

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