This Day

“When the path ignites a soul,
there’s no remaining in place.
The foot touches ground,
but not for long.”
~Hakim Sanai

It happens often on Sunday morning. I get up, get ready to proof read today’s post, read something else and then have to put the planned post aside and start over.

This morning I read two very different pieces. Separately they do not seem to be related. But they are.

One article was Listening Deeply for Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh and the other was by Shaun King, writer for the New York Daily News.

Thich Nhat Hanh writes about the possibility of peace. Shaun King writes about a boycott to bring an end to the killing of Black people.

I am sure that about here some of you will stop reading. And therein is part of the problem.

“Without deep listening and gentle loving speech it is very difficult to move towards peace. Peace will only become a reality, says Thich Nhat Hanh, when world leaders come to negotiations with the ability to hear the suffering at the root of all conflicts.”

“This week, I have received one question more than any other – from my wife, from my children, from friends and family, from colleagues, from college classmates, and from thousands and thousands of you.

“Shaun – what are we going to do about police brutality and racial injustice in America?”

“When one country attacks another, it is out of great fear and a kind of collective ignorance. ” TNH

This is the same for the way we treat and attack one another (physically and verbally) on an individual basis in this country. Out of fear and ignorance.

“All violence is injustice. We should not inflict that injustice on ourselves or on other people.” TNH

We live in a highly militarized country with highly militarized police. We have chosen this over clean water, renewable resources, addressing global warming, childcare, quality education, updated infrastructure, equal pay and equal rights, gender equality, religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to protest …..an endless list.

If you read my posts with any regularity, you know my thoughts on most things. You also know I put great effort in coming to terms with and understanding the balancing of “Be Here Now”, world peace and Black Lives Matter (and many other things). Sometimes I struggle so profoundly I reach out to “teachers” for guidance. Often I cringe when people ask “Why worry so much?” or comment “It’s not that bad.” or, parrot “All lives matter.”

You would also know I work with young children. Over the years I have see change in their play, in their words and role play. Some are “positive” changes. Other changes worry me.

I have children of my own who put great thought into whether they want to bring a child into the world as it is now. It is a profound inner turmoil for them that brings confusion and sorrow.

I think about things many of you don’t. I am a little older now. My life moves a little slower than it used to. I have discovered a part of me that had to wait to be nurtured. Seeds were planted many years ago by my parents, role models, friends, teachers, experiences. They lay dormant through the fantasy world of childhood, the emotional flurry of the teen years, the rebellious years of college, the floundering of young adulthood, the tender years of parenthood and the softening of these years. Now I make the time to tend to them so that they can grow.

I am not hesitant to say out loud I believe we must achieve peace in the world and that it can be attained. I am proud I stand with Black Lives Matter and all issues of social justice. I believe our country and culture has become too militarized and not only does it hurt us, it hurts people around the world. I do not hide behind my upbringing of Christian teachings and say other religions are wrong, not of value, unimportant, or “not true”. I am not very “religious” now. Most religions teach of compassion. However, many religions now are a source of division and intolerance.

“As long as we allow hatred to grow in us, we continue to make ourselves and others suffer. As we look deeply at the wars in our recent history, we have to transform our hatred and misunderstanding into compassion.” TNH

“The antidote to violence and hatred is compassion. There is no other medicine. Unfortunately, compassion is not available in drugstores. You have to generate the nectar of compassion in your heart.” TNH

We all listen to what is in our own hearts.

We have to begin to listen to others.

Listen deeply. Begin by listening to the words and hearing what is being said. There are people crying out in suffering and pain. Then, let’s reach out to heal.

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Listening Deeply For Peace

**Please click on the This Week tab at the top of the page to check out this week’s readings.

Rituals of Approach

“What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation.

When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.” ~ John O’Donohue

Imagine beginning and traveling through the day by following a ritual of approach that includes careful preparation in order to meet experiences of depth and spirit. Waking and remaining nested for a bit in that fuzzy stillness and (near) silence and making a commitment to meeting the day with a feeling of reverence, allowing “real” life to come to the surface. And, as “real” life is  allowed to float to the surface, sensing that the light of this “realness” “awakens the concealed beauty in things.” All things.

Millions of moments of perfection, beauty, hope, love, gratitude, potential float in and out of our day, all day long. Our “busy-ness” and “focus” can make it hard to see and acknowledge the concealed beauty in things, people, moments, occurrences.

We are all but blind to the beauty that is found even in those things we would not label as beautiful: grief, silence, death……

When I began this post a few days ago, it admittedly had a negative slant. News in and of the world had taken a toll on me, my heart and soul.

Of all things, it was a workshop on how trauma (physical, emotional, environmental, psychological, etc) causes the problem solving part of our brain to shrink, that triggered a shift in perception for me. It came from discussion on our “fight or flight” response. What kind of beauty and hope could be found in this you may ask?

The concealed beauty is that the power of a kind word, a gentle touch, of being present and being concerned, and reaching out do make a difference. These things physically change the brain.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

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And that is the power each one of us has. The power to make a difference if we choose to.

My personal “work”, and I have to say I am not comfortable calling it that, but do not know what else to call it, is to listen to some  ancient, primordial sense deep inside of me that I believe once understood the idea of a revered preparation for encounters in this world, with beauty…of walking with gentleness, gratitude, awareness and patience on this world and in this world.

There is an assault happening to us, ridding us of this wisdom and respect. We respond with fight or flight. We see this all over the world and in our own homes and communities. How are we approaching life, each other, our world, the universe? Are we preparing for encounters of depth and spirit?

We tend a garden full of rushed hearts and arrogant minds. There is little gentleness and less patience.We are tired because we lack sound sleep. We are overwhelmed, overfed or underfed, unsure.  We stumble over fear and hate. We are either drowning or parched with thirst and withering. We hide in front of the TV and behind other screens. Constant noise, conversation, TV, clatter and chatter over occupy our brains and numb us a bit. Doing, doing, doing. Being important seems to out weigh being gentle and kind. Quantity and appearance seem to matter more that quality and simplicity. We fertilize our lives with all this and grow flowers that are big and bold, but lack perfume and prevent light from reaching anything growing beneath or nearby. These flowers hog the water, the light, the nutrients.

So, lets start paying (more) attention to the quality of our approach to the this planet, each other and the experiences that unfold before us. Approaching them with reverence. Like preparing a garden bed and soil in an empty, deserted lot so it will support and sustain life and beauty, the health and stamina of the small seeds working to grow. If we put some of our time and energy into preparing mindfully for encounters in life maybe we will be able to see that a garden that includes variety is healthier and more beautiful. While each plant has it’s own needs and requirements, the fundamental needs for living and growing are the same for each plant and flower. Like people.

Perchance great things will approach us and the light of what matters and is important in the world may illuminate the concealed beauty in an abundance of things we are or have been blind to. So that

” …beauty will decide to trust us”

and then we understand

“When we approach with reverence, great things decide approach us”

Looking Back

A new school year began this week. I was busy and didn’t have time to work on a post for this week.

I am providing links to two other blog sites of mine for you to look through instead.  Potentiality is the blog that came before this one. It is no longer active, but was popular. You may enjoy looking through the posts.

This is the link for my blog that is all about our family’s genealogy. I haven’t added to it in a while. There are some stories here that I really love!  A Cup of Tea  is what happened when trying to organize all the little bits of oral and paper history and then trying to make sense of it all!

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Don’t forget to check the “page” tab This Week at the top to see what I’ve been reading. I’d love to hear about what you’ve been reading too.

The Invisible Cloak of Love

We all try to take care of ourselves in the ways we feel we must. Some of us have a sense of how to do that, of what we need, while others of us struggle to figure it out. What is true is that all of us walk along this same path. Some of us walk steadily, even if slowly. Others fall and waver and loose the path and wait for a light to guide them back. Some find the way to balance, delight, protection, light. Others may never find the way there.

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I love Carl Sagan’s image of all of us on this fragile, small blue dot. Together. His words bring into perspective what it is to be human, to share this planet. In so many places we see so much discord, mistrust, fear, violence, war, hurt, pain…..I believe it is time to get back to the idea of offering blessings to one another rather than directing shame, insult, defiance, injustice, oppression, hate towards others. I believe it is time to get beyond polarization, conflict, misunderstanding, negative stereotypes…..rallying around whatever we perceive the common enemy to be.

It is time to speak out loud our blessings to and for each other. All of the each others. It is time to heal, and stand arm in arm and acknowledge our common humanity. It is time to uplift each of us: the least of us and the greatest of us. It is time to honor and respect diversity found all over this world. It is time to step out of belief systems that build walls and create barriers to love, understanding and respect. It is time to break through the belief systems and walls that keep us isolated in a place of ignorance, various dogmas and misunderstanding, and fear.

Write your own blessing on your heart for the people of the world and then offer it up to the winds each day to spread hope and possibility and to elicit change in the world, in others, and in ourselves. Let’s wrap ourselves in an invisible cloak of love. Let’s open it wide to bring others under the invisible cloak of love with us and wrap them up in hope and peace too.

 

Beannacht
~John O’Donohue

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

if we have no peace

 **I’ve added a new  “PAGE” called ‘This Week‘, to share some of what I have read this week. Find the tab and open it at the top of the page next to ‘About’ and ‘Home’.