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?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Love is...

The Mystery within...

Love is in the Sunshine,
Love is in the Rain;

Love is in the Wheat field,
And in the Sky again;

Love is in the Birds that
sing to you and me;

Love’s also in the Puppy
 that plays so gleefully;

Love is in the Mountains;
 Love is in the Sea;

But best of all,
 don’t you know,
 Love’s in You and Me.

What if we were aware more often of the Love that surrounds and exists in you and me and actively pass it on to others?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


The Mystery within...
Leo Tolstoy:  “One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man [please read men, women and children] and Nature shall not be broken.”

I know how essential my link to nature is for my own well-being and happiness.  I understand how privileged I am to be able to daily walk, aware of the earth beneath my boots, through the seasons and in most all weather.  Somehow my gratitude for this gift connects me to the Mystery for which there are no adequate words.  My prayer is for all to feel the joy from this connection.

My knowing of the symbiotic relationship with nature makes it scary to hear plans to roll back the long overdue and hard fought laws and regulations protecting our land, water and air in the name of self-serving economies and obsolete jobs.  I pray the fear of returning to rivers that catch fire, increasing toxic waste levels in our air and water, and further depletion and contamination of the soils that grow our food, will instill courage in me and you to say emphatically, “No this cannot be!”

I’ve lived through personal fear and threats, found courage and my voice, and ultimately came to know peace through forgiveness.  It was a difficult, exhausting, but ultimately rewarding personal journey.  Together we can now voice our rejection to this renewed threat to our world and well-being, continue to repair the link between Nature and us, and ultimately learn to live in peace through forgiveness.

What if we all prayed to know our part in repairing the link between Nature and us and ultimately come to realize peace through forgiveness?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


The Mystery within...
I had the great fortune to take a quiet, early Sunday morning walk, with my yellow lab Oliver.  We moved along paths in a wood where a thin soft layer of fresh wet snow lay.  No other human foot traffic had yet disturbed the thin even layer of moist softness.  But there were definitely signs of other traffic--most notably deer, turkeys, raccoons and rabbits.  I felt privileged to follow in their footsteps.  Only three deer made themselves visible to us but I felt connected to all with whom we shared the trails, as well as the still iced over pond, bare trees, and intermittent peaks of sun.  I wanted that sense of connection and peace to stay with me and expand to the people I would encounter throughout my day.  And I envied the native peoples who had lived closer and more connected to the land and one another.

But as my day moved forward my heart felt overwhelmed from current threats to God’s creation and our alienation from one another.  Perhaps it will be the gift of fear that will bring us to acknowledge what our world needs, awakening our dependence on the land and on one another. 

I was reminded of my long ago reading of “Seven Arrows” where author Hyemeyohsts Storm tells of the Sioux tribe’s peace shields that depicted an individual’s strength along with one’s weakness for all to see.  What a great ego softener that honesty would be.  It could elicit understanding and help from those I encounter throughout my day.  And my strengths would be known for what I can contribute to the whole.               

What if we each designed our own peace shields as medicine to reconnect us to the land and one another?