Monday, April 27, 2015

Resignation

The Mystery within...
Right now my days are crammed with medical appointments, therapy, and legal work.  I am now experiencing some relief in knowing I cannot do it all and also write a blog post this week.  I shall miss my reflecting and playing with words and look forward to when I can resume again.  But I’m impressed with my resignation.

What if we could always know when to embrace resignation? 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Path to the Soul

The Mystery within...
This past Saturday I took some time to go and listen to Blair Lewis read from his upcoming audio book to be released sometime this fall titled, “Alive and Healthy -- Shortcuts to the Soul.”  I was curious about the shortcuts part and I am still uncertain if they exist.  My path to the soul has been through suffering in the loss of my husband and son to suicide, in my struggle to find my voice and self-worth in caring for my aging parents, and other traumas.  I have come to know accepting my suffering is the straightest path to the Inner Light within that cares for me.  But it can be a fleeting awareness and hard to hang onto. 

Blair reminded me the removal of fear is a key spiritual act.  It is how I came to know and trust my Inner Light.  He also stated our mind is very high maintenance.  Thoughts are changeable and can often take us where we don’t want to go; and our feelings can sometimes be fickle.  So his antidote for the interfering mind and feelings is to stay in the Now.  He said there are only two time zones--the Now and the not now. 

So I shall work to stay in the Now to short-circuit my fears surrounding my upcoming knee replacement.  I know I am much more than my mind, thoughts and feelings.  I will accept what doesn’t get done before my surgery, and accept what follows, including the pain.  I have had numerous opportunities in my life to know accepting whatever is, especially the pain, is the straightest path to the Light within.

What if we could all live in the Now time zone, accepting whatever is, to access our Inner Light?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Someone's Watching

The Mystery within...
Walks with my yellow lab, Oliver, are getting more difficult for my left knee.  Some days are better than others.  But now I have started to rely on two snowshoe poles to steady me along the path that dips and rises around that little 17-acre wood we like to walk.  One day we were already a good distance from the car when I realized I forgot my poles.  I didn’t want to go back for them so I kept walking across the wooden plank bridge over the river leading to the woods.  I began to regret my decision not to go back until I turned to onto the path.  There, leaning against the small wooden bench at the wood’s entrance, was a sturdy staff waiting for me.  I felt deeply comforted at the sight of it and its heft secured me on the uneven ground.  Before leaving the woods I returned this aid to where I found it and felt a deep knowing I am being watched over. 

A knee replacement is in my future.  It was a difficult decision and is a big step for me.  Lines from Rumi’s poem, “The Guest House,” have been visiting me: 

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows…
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
 …because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

I expect the process of acquiring a new knee comes with new learning.  Just knowing I am being watched over is a priceless revelation.    


What if we all knew we are being watched over?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Some Right Words

The Mystery within...
What a delight it was to wake Easter morning to the eloquently witty, and transformational words spoken by Fr. Gregg Boyle, on Krista Tippet’s On Being, The Calling of Delight:  Gangs, Service and Kinship.  He has the words and heart to guide our spiritual work to open our anguished race conversation and lead us to know everything and everyone belongs. 

His walking in the lowly places models how when we interact with the other, both of us are changed.  And he knows that demonizing is always false.  He sees no divisions.  “I am the other you, and you are the other me,” and believes God created otherness so we would seek union.  His stories are of woundedness, and how learning to befriend those wounds brings transformation.  And he knows it is the other that saves us.

Fr. Boyle cautions us to be mindful of things that are fear driven, and the mental walls they create.  He says burn out comes from striving for success.  And he asks that we look for the sacred in the ordinary.  (Jesus took the cup at the last supper, not a chalice.)  And he points out that service is not the end all but rather the hallway to delighting in kinship with the other. 

The Los Angeles gang members Fr. Boyle affectionately calls homies, grow up in some almost unimaginable circumstances.  As a society we need to know those effects and also how to deliver better mental health care.  Knowing another’s story leads you to compassion.  Our job is to learn we are all homies—connected in kinship and belonging to one another.  When asked where his joy and healthy humor come from he responded, “From having a light grasp on life.”


What if we all heard words of belonging from the other that we are dying to hear?   

Monday, March 30, 2015

Project Belonging

The Mystery within...
I had a dream last night about a project to get everyone, everywhere to learn and speak a language of belonging.  It was one of those dreams when upon awakening it quickly fades from memory.  But I seem to recall the whole world was involved in creating a belonging language and just before awakening I was in a classroom of young children who were excited to be working on this project.  No doubt this dream was the result of listening to john a. powell’s conversation with Krista Tippet last week on how we might open up our anguished race conversation into the spiritual work of self and belonging.

Powell was right when he said we do not yet have the words to speak what needs to be said about race relations in America.  I looked up belong in my Thesaurus and most of the synonyms left me cold with references to card carrying members.  There were some words like respect, regard, concern, involve and touch that fit with powell’s focus on the spiritual work needed to promote belonging.  I believe the language of belonging will come forth when we all know, on a gut level, how deeply we are connected to one another and the natural world.

My knowing of this deep connection came when fear and intuition led me into nature where I encountered an Energy that told me to “Be not afraid” and led me to trust I would be shown the way to work through my struggles with my aging parents’.  I was shown my complicity in my troubles and gradually found ways to change myself--the only person I really can change.  It seems fear permeates both sides of race relations in America today.  Perhaps asking to know our complicity in this trouble will eventually lead us to a caring language of belonging where we all fit together. 

What if everyone everywhere worked on project belonging?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

No Words Yet

The Mystery within...
My ears perked up when I heard Berkley law professor, john a. powell, an internationally recognized expert on civil rights, civil liberties, structural racism, ethnicity, housing, poverty, and democracy say we do not yet have the words to speak what needs to be said about race relations in America today.  As one who searches for right words I found that fascinating and challenging.  Powell spoke to Krista Tippet in a Live Video:  A Civil Conversation with john a powell on how we might open up our anguished race conversation into the spiritual work of self and belonging.  He said language is never quite right but we do need language.    

Powell said:  We need a language of belonging for the human condition is about belonging. When we interact with each other we both change.  He asked how do we come together and learn together?  How can we make belonging infectious?  He acknowledged that the mind categorizes, and asked how do we become aware of our categories and have fun with them?  He said we need a caring economy to be in relationship with others.  Powell sees the culture of whiteness as the hard nut.  Slavery is about America.  How do we help whites find a new identity and believe in something other than ourselves?  We need to become aware of our unconscious signs of bias and work to overcome them.  The Civil Rights movement is as much for the white soul as it is for the freedom of blacks. We need to trust we will be shown the way.


What if we all searched for the right words to guide us in right relationships with one another and our planet?           

Monday, March 16, 2015

Unchurched?

The Mystery within...
Unchurched is a word I have been hearing lately used to describe people who are no longer card carrying, dues paying members of a religious sect.  I don’t much like that word used to describe those of us who have left formal religion.  During a discussion between Arthur Zajonc, a physicist and contemplative, and Michael McCullough, a professor of psychology, on Krista Tippet’s On-Being Program, Mind and Morality:  A Dialogue, it was said of people who have left formal religion they have stepped out of the little church of virtues and have stepped into the virtues of the big church.  I really like that analogy. 

I love the big church’s virtues.  Knowing that all of creation, everything and everyone in it, is holy, helps me look for the Divine Mystery everyday.  Knowing that all of creation, everything and everyone in it, is connected, gives me pause to reflect on how my actions affect everything and everyone.  I love the freedom to be curious and to question everything.  I’ve become comfortable with knowing that answers only raise more questions to be explored.  I love the challenge of reflection and looking beyond trouble and hurtfulness.  I love knowing I belong to the big church.               

Other points that touched me in the discussion between Zajonc and McCullough were: we need to allow for differences and to explore them in safety, with respect; morality is our relationship to others and the world; empathy and compassion activates moral progress; there is no good argument for treating people differently; the fact that we can choose to separate ourselves from one another, and live and learn in a monoculture, is absolutely poisonous; education should teach us how we are going to be together as a human community; and we need to use our attention wisely.  


What if the little church of virtues and the virtues of the big church got together?