Thursday, May 18, 2017

Invitation to Reflect

The Mystery within...
Three additional works have been added to the Comfort Messages section of my blog for your enjoyment and reflection.  They are Rumi’s “Guest House” found under Accepting What Is; Reverend Safire Rose’s “She Let Go” found under Letting Go; and Sister Simone Campbell’s “Ode to an Unmade Bed" found under Priorities. 

Rumi’s “Guest House” helps me look for the gift in whatever life presents; Reverend Safire Rose’s “She Let Go” shows me the simple power in releasing past hurts; and Sister Simone Campbell’s “Ode to an Unmade Bed” touches my heart through understanding what is really important.  Each of these authors helps me be more real in the real world.

Wishing you acceptance for what is, the simple power in letting go of past hurts, and a comforted and grateful heart. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Nourishing Differences

The Mystery within...
I was very fortunate to have recently attended a writers’ workshop in Mineral Point, Wisconsin at Shake Rag Alley.  For three days I interacted with other writers in quaint surroundings, mostly without the intrusion  of electronics—no TV, radio, computer, and I made only one phone call to my daughter to let her know when I would arrive home. 

Our instructor encouraged pencil and paper for recording our thoughts for our writing assignments.  She said a different thought process is involved between brain, pencil and paper verses fingers, keyboard and screen.  I knew that from when I recorded events from my days during the years I cared for my aging parents.  For three years yellow, green and blue spiral notebook entries piled up from which “God Never Hurries” was drawn.  I didn’t own a computer then and I am glad, for my writing would have been different without the movement of my hand held pencil across the blue, wide lined white paper.  I do need to confess that for our last writing assignment at Shake Rag I did revert to recording it on my laptop because of limited time and ease of reading it aloud in class.  It was the assignment where all participants provided a written critique.  So I got away with nothing and valued the insights shared.   

I learned when I am hesitant to write about a life experience it most likely is the most important thing I should write about.  I was reminded using everyday life descriptors keeps my writing real.  Another valuable tip I used to practice, but fell away from, was always keeping paper and pen handy, especially at my bedside table, to record thoughts to develop later.  Most important thoughts would come to me upon awakening to inform my first memoire.  Just last night I had a thought, but was too tired to turn on the light and write it down and now it is gone--hopefully not forever.

I was struck how diverse each of our writings were in this memoire class.  I believe the thing we all have in common is our differences.  It is what gives life its color, allows us to learn from one another, and grow from experiences shared.

Although it is always pleasant to return home, I truly miss the interaction with other writers in our rustic surroundings, and mostly absent electronics.  I would like to hang onto the  nourishing feeling I had of being more real in a more simple  world. 

Did I pencil and paper this reflection first?  No.  But I am  modifying my exposure to some of the of today’s electronic intrusions and am aware of feeling the better off for it.

What if we more often had the opportunity to realize a more nourishing real world? 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Love's Conundrum

"This above all, refuse to be a victim."
Margaret Atwood

If the ultimate goal in life is to love, serve and forgive, what keeps me from realizing that goal on a daily basis?  The puzzle for me was, and probably will always be, to first love, serve and forgive myself so I can then do likewise to all others.  Serious tragedies have brought me to my knees--the suicide of my husband at age 42 and youngest son at age 21; and patriarchal abuse from my father and church were all dark shadows in my life that came to a head when I was faced with my aging parents care needs.  But gold was hidden in all that darkness.  It led me to question everything I had been taught and to reflect often on what love is and is not.

For me the puzzle was, and still is, knowing when to first say, “Yes” to my needs and “No” to others’ requests, needs or demands.  Overcoming fear, and understanding its gifts, will probably always challenge me.  Gavin De Becker, in his book “The Gift of Fear” wrote:  “Natures greatest accomplishment, the human brain, is never more efficient or invested than when its host is at risk.  Then intuition is catapulted to another level entirely, a height at which it can be accurately be called graceful, even miraculous.”  And, “Intuition connects us to the natural world and to our nature.”  Fear’s gift to me was a heightened sense of presence to everything and everyone around me.   

Within the gift of being present I came to know a Presence that resides within me, in all others, and everything.  Comfort and answers to my troubles came from that Presence through the beauty and power of nature, small groups of helpful people, and reflecting on and writing about whatever showed up in my life each day.     

I suspect fear is at the heart of all difficulty in loving, serving, and forgiving ones self and the other.  Fear is a both/and thing and can shed light on love’s conundrum to love, serve and forgive the other and myself.  

What if we all looked to our struggles for the gifts hidden within more often? 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Ultimate Challenge

The Mystery within...
The following message was attached to the end of my Yogi tea bag’s string:  “It is not talking of love, but living in love that is everything.”  Easier said than done.  Talk is cheap.  Living in love is where the rubber meets the road and the going can get tough.        

For me, loves transforming power is realized by acknowledging my own weaknesses, and accepting the weakness of others.  It is the ultimate challenge I am asked to rise to everyday. 

Jim Crace, in his novel, “Quarantine,” writes, “…for everything that God has made is weak, blemished and imperfect by design.”  It’s so easy to realize my neighbor’s faults before my own.  But when I accept my fallibility first, humility and mercy flow and a door opens for a reciprocal return of love from others. 

A line from Reverend Dr. Charles K. Robinson’s poem “Known” reads, “I accept you as you are.”  If we grow to utter those words to ourselves, and one another, we become medicine for each other so that we can achieve the ultimate challenge of living in love. 

What if we became aware of love’s reciprocal nature more often?       

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


The Mystery within...
I was part of a Schlitz Audubon Nature Center reading group reflecting on botanist and Native American, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, “Braiding Sweetgrass,” when, Laurie, a group member said, “The only thing created out of nothing is love.”  I understood Laurie's words on a level where words are inadequate to describe what we all seek.  And if our world, our universe, was created out of love, then I believe we all play a part as co-creators through loving the world and one another.

When I asked Laurie if she could say a little more about “The only thing created out of nothing is love,” she told me the story of her two year old daughter dying of cancer and the love that sprung from her daughter’s reaching her tiny little hand out to grab the pinky of a seriously bad-tempered, tyrannical family member.  She said her daughter’s simple touch broke down his defenses and she saw how he realized he had nothing to fear from her daughter.  Her touch transformed him.  I pray her poignant story will help me be more curious and understanding of the fears harbored by seriously bad tempered, tyrannical souls and will help me know everything holds the Mystery within to bring transformation.        

Robin Wall Kimmerer braids science, spirit and sacred stories to show us a possible relationship where people, the land, and everything inhabiting it, are good medicine for each other.  This symbiotic relationship is born from the alchemy of our gratitude for our earth’s many gifts.  Other species can be known as models of ecological and cultural sustainability that demonstrate the power of unity through diversity.  Our participation in this interplay is critical for our transformation. 

Gratitude for the gifts of earth’s diversity is the hallmark of native cultures across the globe and an essential understanding for our future health and well-being.  We need to be thankful for the plant and animal lives that sustain us taking care not to waste or over consume.  A line from a native prayer acknowledges, “Everything we need to live a good life is here on Mother Earth.”  Kimmerer knows, along with many others, that gratitude begets abundance and our strength lies in our embrace of diversity.

Reciprocity is a word Kimmerer uses throughout “Braiding Sweetgrass.”  If we take care of the earth the earth will take care of us.  And we need to give back for what the earth gives us.  We need to choose leaders rooted in service and wisdom; leaders who are willing to work for common good and common ground with an ability to ameliorate differences; leaders who will present us with a Bill of Responsibilities.  We need to show up and speak up for Mother Earth. 

What if we all became co-creators by risking loving the world?