Julia’s 9/11 Bowing Journal: A Wholly Unexpected Gift

By on August 30, 2016

Julia's 9/11 Bowing Journal

“Give a bow for me,” says my husband, Ed, as I walk out the door. I’m late again for my date with Peace, my ongoing 9/11 Bowing Project. But Peace is patient. She waits for me.

Once in town, looking for a shade I walk into the real estate office across from my usual station near the Bread Alone bakery, and ask for permission to bow in front of their property.

“The boss is not in, but as long as it’s not too long, it should be fine,” says the kind-faced middle aged woman  in a cream colored linen jacket, seated at the desk near the entry way.

Shielded from the sun by the opulent umbrella of the poplar tree, I unroll my banner, attach it to the metal easel, and I’m ready to roll. To take a breath, lower my gaze and attend to the task at hand.

The boy I saw this morning 

Driving to my work station, as I once again thought about needing  to inject this monthly homage with more meaning, I suddenly  remembered the face of a small boy I saw this morning.  I came across his photograph when doing research for the title poem of my next book, The One-Heart Revolution. The child  was standing in front of a wreckage of rubble and flames, his expression reflecting a calm acceptance of the horror around him,  as his ordinary daily reality.

With head bowed, in my mind’s eye I bring that boy to Woodstock. I bow with him and for him. Then I focus my gaze on the planting bed around the pit of the poplar and bow to each  exquisitely shaped blade of grass growing inside the iron guard.

Letting go of expectations

It’s a relief, I say to myself, to no longer be expecting anyone to stop and read my banner or do anything at all.  This project has been such a perfect practice in letting go of expectations. Such a perfect practice in loving the lamenting, wayward child in me that is perpetually fantasizing about the arrival of almighty allies.

Although my gaze is lowered, within minutes of bowing my head, in my peripheral vision I spot a woman in a brightly patterned, loose summer dress. She has stopped to read my sign. Most people walk by without taking note or shoot a quick glance, scan a few lines and move on. Which is what I expect to happen now.

But the woman in the bright dress is not moving. I lift my head to acknowledge her, A  kind-eyed brunette, with shoulder length hair and friendly, gentle features looks back at me, .

“Oh..this is something I needed today,.” she says, visibly moved.  “You really helped me with something I’m struggling with this morning,” she adds emphatically, then takes a  couple of steps toward me, lowers her knees to ground, and bends her torso  in  the Buddhist expression of reverence and gratitude.

I squat down next to her.

I’m Julia.


You’re local, or a weekender?

No, I live here all year around.

Hmm. I thought I knew everyone in this small town.

Do you do this often?

Once a month, on the 11th. Usually closer to 8:46 in the morning when the first plane hit. But I won’t be here next month. On 9/11 I bow in New York.

What you’re doing is beautiful. You’re right there with Susan Sontag and Thich Nhat Hanh. I can’t tell you how much you helped me today.

You helped me, Katie, it’s so nice to meet you,  Thank you!

An unexpected gift 

The beautiful woman in the summer dress has taught me the lesson the troubled child inside me  may need to keep re-learning for the rest of my life.  That great prize of recognition, which some part of me imagines will purge me of all real and perceived character flaws? The prize one day to be bestowed on me by the Magical Other?. That’s not where my salvation comes from.

It’s those occasional passersby who stop–lower  a drawbridge of attention, walk across that bridge closing the gap between my world and theirs, between giving and receiving- they’re the ones that offer the ultimate solace we all seek. Together we  can then enter one tiny moment in time which  alters our view of ourselves and each other. A moment that may even alter our view of the possible.

I’ll bow to that any day.

Any unexpected gifts came your way lately?

25 Responses to “Julia’s 9/11 Bowing Journal: A Wholly Unexpected Gift”

  1. Namaste says:

    My unexpected gift came professionally for me this week. I’ve taken on a new leadership role at my job. It’s a career goal I’ve had for a long time and was proud to have achieved this milestone. I applied for a scholarship for a year long leadership training course and got it. This past week was the first clas of the leadership training. I knew it was going to be great but it far exceeded my expectations. Having the opportunity to learn from and work with a room full of rock stars for an entire year felt like someone had placed the most elegantly wrapped gift in front of me. I felt extremely grateful and fertile! Driving to my office after the session my visionary was in the driver’s seat. I knew I was in the exact right place at the exact right time, doing the exact right things with exactly the right people. Timing is everything, and this was it. Wholehearted attitude of gratitude.

    It’s interesting to me that I am more open to possibility and success in my professional life then I have been in my personal life. I jump in professionally, but often let orphans control other areas. This new opportunity in my job has caused me to examine this aspect of my life and jump in to personal possibilities. To say why not? More often. I feel like I’m in the right place.

  2. peacefulwarrior says:

    My unexpected gift was having a heartfelt conversation with my mother and being able to share with her about my miscarriage. It was a non-orphan conversation which was a huge blessing for me. I’m speaking better with my parents these days. I’m trying to recognize the orphans that exist in the relationship I have with them. I’m trying to be strong and communicate from a Visionary point. Not easy as we know this work isn’t about being easy. But I’m recognizing the orphans when they pop up and try to soothe so they don’t dominate the whole relationship.

  3. Gravid Sans Doute says:

    Dear Fertile Mamas,

    heather1975teaching always great to hear from you and good luck with those wonderful orphans and peacefulwarrior I am sorry about your miscarriage but yay that your body is stronger! AnnabelL, that is wonderful you feel so at ease in your work life and hopefully it will carry over into your child to be.

    I have been working with Circle of Protection Fertile Heart Imagery and Rock the Baby Fertile Heart body truth. I’ve just wanted to feel soothed and supported.

    The end of September is coming with no new news on my husband’s job situation, except he may be able to squeak out half time work for the month of October. I am grateful for that. My husband has been working at his dream job the last few years and would really like it to continue. We’ll see. We are grateful he’s been able to work at his dream job. When we moved to this location, my husband worked for 7 different companies in 10 years. That is not the most fun situation. My husband is applying elsewhere – maybe a move could be involved – maybe I would be working? Lots of maybes. I’ve been working with tools to soothe the orphans as they appear both in myself and my husband. We are both creative and resilient so I’m sure something will work out. In the meantime I’m focusing the best I can on creating the most conception-friendly environment.

    Blessings to all.

  4. AnnabelL says:

    This week’s unexpected gift came through work: somewhere I’d recently taken on some teaching work at was messing me around, changing the terms and conditions we’d originally agreed. It didn’t sit right with me so I told them I was done. This felt absolutely right & I was essentially relieved/elated when I did so. (Although there was still a little bit of an O in me that said, maybe you shouldn’t have, maybe you should have been grateful for that work.) Anyway, within a week some new work arrived, with a company that sounds lovely and will pay me over double the place I left! Had I still being doing the work at the first place, I wouldn’t have wanted to take on the work at the second place as it would have been too many evenings out working each week. So it almost felt as if I had to clear some space for the new work to materialise. I felt as if the UM was guiding me in this, as indeed, in my work life, I have felt she has done so many times over the years. It’s interesting as I don’t often get desperately stressed about things materialising in my work life as, by and large, they have seemed to happen as and when the time was right. This has made me reflect on whether perhaps part of the relative ease I’ve experienced in this aspect of my life has in fact come from being quite relaxed, and therefore things have been able to flow quite well. And it’s made me reflect on whether bringing more ease & trust and less stress to my baby journey would have an effect. Julia said to me on a call earlier in the summer that this journey did not have to be one of suffering . And that has really stayed with me.

  5. peacefulwarrior says:

    It’s inspiring to read everyone’s post and to remind myself to be grateful for all of the unexpected gifts I receive each day. I am trying to focus more on having gratitude each day. An unexpected gift I received today is that I will be working with a new coworker who seems very pleasant. Since we will be working together, it’s nice to have someone who has a positive attitude. I’m still trying to think of my recent miscarriage that I found out about this week, as an unexpected gift. As strange as that may sound, my Visionary is cheering me on saying that my body is stronger and healthier than in the past. Of course the orphans are having a pity party but I’m trying my best to use the OVUM tools to get through this tough time. I have an orphan that doesn’t believe I can balance another child, work and home obligation.

  6. Gravid Sans Doute says:

    Dear Gracelife,

    Thank you so much for sharing about the Ganesh festival and Pooja that your neighbors asked you to do. I am glad you felt blessed by this experience.

    I have been working with imagery of Julia visiting our child in our home and doing Out of the Trap Fertile Heart body truth. I feel like doing something very comforting right now. I was very sick over the weekend – feeling almost normal now and so grateful for that. I felt really challenged yesterday because my daughter has been making some unfortunate choices in her new program that might jeopardize her chances of staying in the program and also my husband is still uncertain of his employment after the end of September. I attended a special ladies’ gathering last night – kind of a once in a while event that I am trying out as inspired by another group I have attended. Last night I didn’t totally feel like going but it was a total gift. Some of the other ladies are wanting to help host the next one – and such powerful support and a bit of fun there. The gifts from that meeting have poured in this morning as well. I am as yet unaware of any change with my daughter or husband, but I feel so blessed and connected. So that is definitely a gift.

  7. heather1975teaching says:

    My unexpected gift came courtesy of the Visionary moms circle last night. I could hear some of my thoughts echoed in the hot seat. I decided to take on some of the homework assigned to the other ladies, like the wailing wall and figuring out who I want to tell off.I was unable to jump in the hot seat as I have my little man all by myself on Mondays and I didn’t want to disturb the work of the circle. I remember thinking less than a year ago I would be ” totally happy and complete” if I just had a baby, that I would be released of so many orphans. I’d never worry about my cycle again. Ha! Now as I try to conceive again, I realized I’d simply been ignoring those orphans, shushing them and shoving them down. Now they are back and I realize they are the second babies who need attention. A rather complicated and unexpected gift but a gift none the less.

  8. Gracelife says:

    This week we received an unexpected gift in the form of an unexpected guests. Those from India will know that it is Ganesh festival here. We don’t celebrate it, but my next door neighbours do. They had already got the ganesh idol one day before but late night got a call from their hometown that an old and ailing aunt passed away. As per the Indian rituals, if there is a death in the family you should not perform Pooja. So they were in a fix as all preparations had been made to celebrate ganesh festival and most importantly the idol had been brought home.So late night they came over to our place requesting if we would place the idol in our home and do the Pooja for 1.5 days after which the idol is ceremoniously immersed in a lake nearby. We agreed and it was such an amazing experience. It was an unexpected blessing and we spent some good time with our wonderful neighbors.

    • Harmonious Life says:

      This is so cool, Gracelife! You helped your neighbors in time of their need and created deeper bonds and had fun along the way. Bravo!!

  9. Gravid Sans Doute says:

    Dear Fertile Mamas,

    Gracelife, wonderful for a good report. AnnabelL, wonderful results from self care.

    I have been doing visualizing the baby and what does the baby need me to do imagery and Rock the Baby Fertile Heart body truth. The baby seems to want me to pay more attention to him/her, to allow more space in my life.

    I did talk with my husband about needing more attention, and he said we would have time together last weekend – so we did- hiking and dinner out – a nice break for us both. And we saw some osprey (birds). That was great! I think he is feeling a little better about the job situation, even though there is nothing definite after the end of September.

    I am working with my orphan who procrastinates. I have always felt like a person who can get things done – not a procrastinator at all. But sometimes when it comes to being kind to myself, I procrastinate. I’m trying to understand this orphan and help her turn into the visionary who can take care of herself and ignore distractions off the path.

    Blessings to all.

  10. peacefulwarrior says:

    Gutsymama congrats on winning the TV! That’s a great story!
    Heather1975teaching – thanks for the reminder about praying together.

    A special unexpected gift these days was some quality time with my daughter before the hectic start of the school year. I was able to enjoy extra time with her in the park instead of worrying about housework that needed to get done. I have some orphans that keep me at times from getting work done in a timely manner and then complain that I don’t have enough time with her.
    In the midst of this wonderful gift, I’m struggling with a decision that I need to make. I’m trying to figure out which path I need to take. I think I’ll do “Fork in the Road” imagery to help me out. It’s almost like I know deep down what I need to do but I am not sure if that’s an orphan talking or Visionary talking. I doubt and second guess myself. With this decision, however, I’m really trying to take a bold step and I’m really scared. Thanks so much for all of your continued support!

  11. FearlessRose says:

    Dear Julia! Thank you for this blog and for doing your monthly bowing. I know I have not done any bowing for peace and I have to admit I have been thinking what ‘should’ and want I do, especially as the 11th approaches.
    An unexpected gift for me is that today, I suddenly felt a surge of the excitement of life, of my life! And it was during my imagery practice. Thank you for your practice. It is the most unexpected gift as I never thought I would be feeling this connected to my life. I am still on my journey and I can feel now that it is a life-long journey and that is what is exciting about it. So many more things to see, feel and do, including today!!! Thank you!’
    Peace and love to everyone

  12. AnnabelL says:

    This blog resonates with me on so many levels. I love what you write about bowing to each exquisite blade of grass. I often find it easy to get caught up in my stuff/thoughts and forget the beauty that is all around me. This is a good reminder. And I know this orphan well too, the one who has expectations, & desires big prizes in return for what I do; and learning to let those expectations go, and to do for the sake of the joy of the doing rather than the results, whether this be the FH work or anything else in my life. And your interaction with Katie was such a lovely reminder of the beauty of connection, and how these seemingly small, often unplanned interactions between people – whether it even just be a smile we exchange with a stranger – can be really nourishing and supportive.

    My unexpected gift this week was to realise the profound effect taking care of myself can have: having been away for pretty much all of August my eating habits & FH practice somewhat inevitably slipped. And I found myself suddenly getting these really bad hot flashes. Which had me convinced I was right in the menopause & there was no going back. Anyway, I got back home, went back on my normal food, started my FH practice again and had a session with my wonderful acupuncturist. And within a couple of days the hot flashes had completely disappeared. I was really blown away, and it is a real testimony to the power of self-care, and to the body’s amazing ability to support itself when we treat it well.

  13. Gracelife says:

    Last week we did my husband’s test and when we received the report it said some problem to do with motility, though the report was not very clear. We decided that we will go see the gynaec in a few days. Then I thought of a fertility doctor who offers free 2nd opinions by email. His name is Dr Malpani. He is also the only dr in India who I have come across who recommends Julia’s book to all his IVF patients. He is considered one of the best in the field.
    So I sent him all our reports though I was only half sure I would even get a reply. I mean why would such a busy doctor reply to my email and give me free advice.
    But hello, a couple of hours later he not only replied but the real gift was that he told me that my husband’s report is absolutely normal. I wrote back asking has he checked it properly since there were some comments on it, but he said it’s all fine….Such a relief. Thank you God!!
    Also my AMH has improved and my TSH has reduced. I am doing the practice and things will get better I’m sure. Thank you Julia. I wish I would get to meet you. May be someday.
    Love to all fertile sisters. Thank you all for being there.

    • miraculouslife says:

      GL – Dr. Malpani is a wonderful & an amazing doctor. We did get our IVf fone at his clinic last yr & now blessed with a baby. The FH work allowed me tonpick the right doctor.

  14. Gravid Sans Doute says:

    Dear Fertile Mamas,

    Julia, I am so pleased you found a friend in Katie! That is a wonderful gift. Harmonious Life, thank you for sharing your daily struggle and the guidance that you received and Purple Parrot, I love joining the feast. gutsymama, Yay for your visionary rising above the it’s no use orphan and heather1975teaching, wonderful to receive people. Ann thank you for sharing.

    I have been doing the imagery of the feast from the phone circle and Rock the Baby Fertile Heart body truth. Many orphans have shown up – the I want attention one, the overworked one, the scared about money one. The visionary and ultimate mom lovingly urged the orphan to just take a taste of the feast – then the orphans starting smiling and tasting more.

    I haven’t had the talk with my husband yet about the orphan who wants attention – I have had activities in the evening since the call. When I was done with my activities, he was still hard at work trying to keep or get a new job. But we are planning to do something enjoyable one of the weekend days and I’m really looking forward to that.

    I definitely received a gift. I had made a decision to attend a predominantly African-American church last Sunday. I am not African-American and I had never attended that church before. The purpose was to convey a message of unity in light of recent racially provoked events and express the sentiment that we were all one family. A friend went with me for the first part of the service and then had to leave. We were greeted with overwhelming warmth. When the service was over I conveyed the message to the pastor and left. The warmth with which my friend and I were greeted was a gift enough. To add to that, after Monday’s call my husband told me there was a check to us for over $300 from an over payment of a hospital bill 3 years ago related to my daughter. Since it was from 3 years ago, I have to believe it was a gift from God. It was the perfect gift also, in light of our uncertainty about my husband’s job situation after September.

    Blessings to all.

    • Gracelife says:

      Hey GSD, so many lovely gifts have come your way. And you also reciprocated by attending the African American church. That was a great idea.

  15. Harmonious Life says:

    You are such an inspiration, Julia. Your every word and gesture brings hope to this world. Thank you for being you and spreading your message. You are the perfect example of what ‘showing up’ means. You show up 11th of every month come what may. Thank you for this gift.

    I want to share two thoughts that came to me as I was bustling around my home still getting ready to get to bed. When I heard those words in my voice at first I couldn’t believe they came from me – I am sure she was the UM talking.

    “Make things easy for you”.
    “Take everything in your stride.”

    I sometimes let the orphan run moments of my day thinking ‘why me’, why was i chosen for this, how do i see this challenge as a gift. In those moments I only need to surrender to what is. And do the best I can at that moment to take things in my stride. Things won’t go my way every time. And that’s fine. This is where my daily struggle is. Starting from waiting to get to talk to a car service center to return my call and getting anxious about it to worrying about not knowing which new vegetable should I buy and how would I get time to do this.

    I am lucky that you are here Julia, guiding us. Thank you!

  16. Purple Parrot says:

    Beautiful. (as you might say if you were reading this). Really beautiful.. thank you!

    This has brought me to tears thinking of this small gesture which you make consistently and wholeheartedly just as an artist in their practice, not knowing the outcome but just trusting that it works to good. A pebble of peace that inevitably ripples out to those who are listening for it. And that also reaches some who are not.

    Lovely that Katie stopped by. I think i’ve also stopped by!

    I love that you do this as well as the fertility work (for which I send my heartfelt thank you) . We are up against not only the ‘terror’ created by these poor unguided individuals but also the constant reportage which seems to further spread it in peoples consciousness and YET reading of your gentle steps, I feel a deep sense of hope.

    A million thank you’s for your inspiration. And for your help on our Monday call: for the first time, the little orphan voice that said “you’re at the back of the queue, there’s no time for you” was invited in and joined up with Visionary and Ultimate Mum to enjoy the feast. So glad I found FertileHeart. I’m excited for what’s to come.

  17. gutsymama says:

    I love your post Julia. I was just noticing myself how much better it feels good to let go. (but so difficult to do!)
    One unexpected gift is last weekend I went to an estate sale with my husband over the weekend. It was kind of a last minute decision bc we were headed to trader joes and I was ok with going. I was looking for a couple of things for our house. We got there and they said we are giving away a 49inch LED TV and they were giving a ticket for the draw for the first 25 people there that day. We both got one. The catch is you had to come back at 2pm for the drawing.

    Now usually my little woe is me orphan would creep out saying “whats the use – we wont win” everyone else gets what they want but not us. But I took that little orphan by the hand that day and said…why not us? So I told my husband – lets go back at 2pm. So we showed up at 2pm. And We won! We won the TV! I cant say we really need a TV – we may just actually sell it. However it was such a win for my Visionary! I felt like I was saying yes to possibility! why not us?!

    I feel alot of the wounded part of me falling away. bit by bit and being replaced with visionary katy. That is really a gift. My birthing has been long and somewhat difficult but I heard some labors can take a long time anyways :)

    Julia thank you for your post and for always reminding us where to look when the orhpans are speaking!

  18. heather1975teaching says:

    This was my gift today.A reminder of the power in a simple gesture, a smile, that connection between two people, even if it is brief. My pastor always says where two or more are gathered in prayer or spiritual reflection, the spirit is there, waiting to listen, waiting to hear. I needed this today. Thank you Julia.

  19. Ann says:

    Julia, you are an inspiration. And I miss seeing you, but I know you are there. Your heart presence is in the air. XXX

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