Monday, August 31, 2015


The Mystery within...
Krista Tippet’s 2011 On Being rebroadcast shared the wisdom of centenarian Grace Lee Boggs – A Century in the World.  Boggs spoke of life as being about creating opportunities from darkness.  At the time of her interview she was creating community in Detroit’s beleaguered motor city by helping revive neighborhoods through community vegetable gardens on vacant lots.  She noted creating solutions to everyday problems creates movements.  She said our need is to rediscover who we are as human beings and to make one another more important than economics.  To do that we sometimes need to lose what we have been taught and learn instinctively.  There seems to be no shortage of opportunities to relearn or become part of a movement to bring more wisdom to our country and its politics. 

I personally came to know the power in losing what I was taught when landscapes called me into the natural world.  There I instinctively became aware I was worthy of good self-care as I struggled with my aging parents’ needs.  And there were others who helped me know my worth as a human being over economic considerations.  Those are some of my learning opportunities told in God Never Hurries.

What if we could find opportunities in darkness, question what we have been taught, and know everyone is more important than economics?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Up North

The Mystery within...
I was vacationing last week in Wisconsin’s north woods with my daughter, grandchildren and Oliver, our yellow lab.  Oliver was still a puppy last year when we were at the cottage but he definitely remembered being there.  When he got out of the car and realized where we were he did his happy dance, bounding around us in short fast circles while intermittently popping in and out of the lake.

Upon our arrival my daughter saw a hummingbird.  I didn’t see it but heard and felt the fast flutter of its tiny wings above my head.  So I looked up Hummingbird in my Medicine Cards book and it says, “Hummingbird can give us the medicine to solve the riddle of the contradiction of duality.”  I know something of that powerful medicine.  It saved my life when I came to realize that everything is a both/and thing.  My reflection titled Silence in God Never Hurries highlights that learning.  

Later in the week my thirteen-year-old granddaughter and I were gifted with an adrenalin rush at the sight of a very big black bear that looked right at us as it crossed the road only 150 feet ahead of us as we were returning from a bike ride.  Bear medicine fosters introspection and finds winter safety in a womb-like cave where experience is slowly digested and truth is found.  The Medicine Cards book states:  “Many tribes have called this space of inner-knowing the Dream Lodge, where the death of illusion of physical reality overlays the expansiveness of eternity.  It is in the Dream Lodge that our ancestors sit in Council and advise us regarding alternative pathways that lead to our goals.”

When I’m up north I somehow feel more connected to those who have enjoyed this cottage but have moved on ahead in death--my husband, youngest son, parents, and in-laws.  Do they now reside in the pines and birch, in the patter of rain on the roof, or in the lake’s sunny sparkle or the crescent moon’s path of light across the still night water?  Is it an illusion that I am now living while waiting for eternity?  Death too must be a both/and thing.

I did get to cross off one thing on my bucket list last week.  I don’t remember if I heard it is in Greenland or Iceland where people like to sit outside and watch daylight become night.  I’ve always wanted to do that so I sat out on the pier as the sun was beginning to set and waited for the moon and stars to come out.  It wasn’t easy.  I kept feeling like I should be doing something else.  My wish is to watch more days become night until it feels really easy.

What if we could all learn to enjoy sitting outside and watching day become night?     

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Sufi Asks

The Mystery within...
An old Sufi saying asks:

 “Are you able to stay still long enough to allow the mud that swirls around you to settle so that you can see clearly?” 

What a powerful visual metaphor that is for mindfulness and reflection.  In my mind’s eye I picture a glass jar of water with dirt dumped in, stir it or shake it, and the water becomes very cloudy.  But let that jar sit still for a while and the water clears as the dirt eventually settles to the bottom.

I was once very stirred and shaken by my mother’s Alzheimer’s and both of my parents’ care needs.  I doubt I would have survived that time without immersing myself in the natural world, sitting with my pain every night, and reflecting and writing about those joys and sorrows for three years.  Those daily reflections and writings eventually became my story in "God Never Hurries."     

Life is easier, more even now.  But everyday living can still bring occasions of dirt dumping.  I know I could see so much clearer if I returned to daily reflection and writing and got myself outside more in God’s beauty.

What if we all became still long enough to see more clearly?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

True Gifts

The Mystery within...
There is a heightened experience, in my mind and heart, when I know deep gratitude.  My recent knee replacement has allowed me to again feel true thankfulness.  Following my surgery I was faced with prolonged physical therapy.  For my PT I needed high-powered pain medication that precluded my driving to and from my appointments.  Ironically, my main motivation for finally consenting to this major surgery was fear in eventually loosing my coveted mobility and independence.  But through the kindness and generosity of Inter-faith Caregiver’s team of volunteer drivers, who shuttled me to and from multiple weekly therapy sessions from May to July, I came to know there can be gifts in dependence.

Those gifts are named Pat, Sandy, Joan, Ellie, Tory, Sharon, Esther, Steve and Philip.  Each one, in his or her own way, put me at ease with my dependence.  And the more I shared of myself on these rides, the more I learned of my drivers’ gifts.  Collectively, they let me see the world as having more good than bad, and to know dependence can sometimes bring blessings.

My physical therapy is winding down now.  I no longer need the high-powered pain meds so I drive myself to therapy.  But when I get in the car to go to my appointment I wonder whose gift I am missing.

What if we could all know the gift we are to one another?

Monday, August 3, 2015


The Mystery within...
Dear Sister Simone Campbell,

I just finished reading, “A Nun on a Bus,” and thank you for writing it.  It gave me deeper insight into the critically important work you and your fellow sisters do.  I thank you for sticking with your faith and community, and getting your law degree that is serving so many in need.  I also want you to know how much I enjoyed, and continue to appreciate your poem, “Ode to an Unmade Bed.”  Whenever I walk into my bedroom now, with the bed unmade, I no longer feel inadequate.  I write a weekly blog,, which has a section called Comfort Messages where I would like to include that poem, with your permission.

When I read about your advocacy for needed immigration reform I wondered if you ever heard Garrison Keillor sing, “Tired Old World.”  My November 24, 2014 blog titled “Immigration Thoughts” has a link to Keillor singing this plaintiff song of deep truth.  Maybe you and the Holy Spirit could find a use for it.  And I did listen, with keen interest, when you stated during your OnBeing interview with Krista Tippet, that the excessive compensation and bonuses paid to corporate heads is how they feel recognized for what they do.  What if we could find a way to bestow recognition for what they could do for workers and our human community with fair wages and benefits?  When nuns on the bus was touring, I wrote down what I heard you say on a news broadcast one night, “We are all better off when we all share.”  I keep it next to my computer for comfort.         

Reading, “A Nun on a Bus,” gave me a way out of a dilemma I struggle with.  I stopped reading and responding to all political e-mail messages, and requests for money, for it got overwhelming for me.  But Russ Feingold sent me a snail mail request.  He is a good man who advocates for fairness for people and the environment, and previously worked on campaign finance reform.  We very much need him back in Washington as Wisconsin’s senator.  I want to support him, but in lieu of sending money to him, I want to send NETWORK my money for I believe you, the Holy Spirit, and your fellow sisters, will find a way to put in a good word for him in the right places.  If he only knew the potential good that will come of this, he would thank me.

In gratitude,

Marcia Kaminski

What if we all knew we are all better off when we all share?    

Monday, July 27, 2015

Unique Reflecting

The Mystery within...
I was on a “Women Gathering” retreat this past weekend.  It is a happy time when I leave everyday activities behind and sit in a circle with other women who want to explore what life is all about.  I look forward to this annual coming together.  Who I am becomes more apparent and I leave these weekends with a sense of fragile wholeness. 

There is always a craft project to symbolize the theme of our gathering.  This year’s theme was “Endings and Beginnings” with the symbol of a spiral depicting life as one continuous flow with ending events turning into new beginnings.  I’m not fond of doing crafts and always feel some resistance to the task.  This year was no exception, with not one, but two anxiety producing crafts for me.  But in naming what I struggle with I always find healing. 

My first project was to glue a length of twine to a piece of cardboard with Elmer’s glue in the shape of a spiral that symbolized my life thus far.  My fingers found the stiff twine hard to turn and keep glued down so I did the best I could with just looping it back and forth and decided it represented the twists and turns in my life that have become a little more gentle as I age.  But the two ends of my twine didn’t meet and I thought they should until I saw the distance between them representing the time I have left in this life before I return back to where I initially came from.  Everyone else did manage unique and widely differing spirals highlighting how different and special each one of is.

And then came the instructive, all afternoon weaving project, where we were provided a weaving board, a myriad of colorful yarns, textures, and ribbons, and were invited to weave a depiction of our life thus far.  One thing I was sure of was I needed to keep mine simple.  My board’s base yarn had to be easy to work with as well as using just one texture of yarn to weave throughout.  I choose a soft multicolored yarn in shades of green to represent the heart chakra’s color that to my surprise turned to a soft gold near the end.  All I needed was to trust my heart and embrace my fears and it would be okay.  And it was.  I did need some help in taking my weaving off the board and hiding some mistakes.  But I didn’t want too much help.  I wanted to see and fix those flaws myself, even if imperfectly.  And I knew how true that is for all of us who struggle to come to our own insights in how best to find answers for healing.  I was reminded of a paragraph from my memoir, “God Never Hurries,” as Bear, the Shepherd/Husky, searched for his yellow tennis ball in the back yard after an early snowfall:

“Just as I watched Bear out of the corner of my eye as he frantically searched for his ball of sunshine, so too God was watching me as I worriedly searched for answers to my care giving problems.  God knew I needed to find the answers myself in order to grow.”

Each of us gathered was gifted with a beautiful spiral pendant to help us remember the weekend and how we learned from listening to others’ unique stories and sharing our own.  No matter that my spiral turned out to be a loop de loop and my weaving has memorable flaws.  It is all good.

What if we all had opportunities to appreciate one another’s uniqueness and find our own true path through sharing?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lessons Everyday

The Mystery within...
Three things I am quite sure about this week:

1.  Every one of us is unique and we each come with our own set of gifts and faults. 

2.  Our faults are pure gold for they hold the potential for true humility, compassion, and the ability to love everyone else regardless of their faults.

3.  Every day presents opportunities to grow in love for others and our self through the power of reflection. 

What if we all knew our true potential for humility, compassion and love, present in each day’s living?