Monday, June 30, 2014


The Mystery within...

I met a woman very briefly this past weekend.  I don’t even know her name and spoke little to her, but it was like looking in a mirror and knowing her.  I was up to my elbows in dishwater, helping a friend with a big party, when she came up to me and said, “I’ve been watching you work and I know your are enjoying yourself.”  She told me she too would much rather be on the periphery of a party than in the middle of it.  It was a brief, good vibration to feel our alikeness, to have someone admit to me that she too would rather be helping, listening, and observing the goings on rather than being in the thick of things.

And last night and this morning I continued to think about her and suspect that she too can overdo a good thing and work herself into exhaustion.  It made me aware that on the flip side of whatever our affinities are lies our challenge to become more balanced.  What if we all had someone to mirror us? 

Rumi knew the value of a mirror:

Needing a Mirror

Your eye is so wise,
it keeps turning,
needing to touch beauty.

It keeps turning,
needing to find a mirror
that will caress you as I.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Different Worlds

The Mystery Within

I found myself getting stressed this past week over obtaining some quotes on needed home repairs, and also realizing I can’t keep putting off the dreaded car shopping to replace my almost 12 year old vehicle.  And I was feeling pressured for time because of a luncheon date I made with a friend a couple of weeks earlier.  It then occurred to me this friend has no home of her own, or car, or much of anything else.  The timing of our meeting was revelatory.  Then on a trip to the library to pick up Consumer Reports car buying issues I encounter three severely handicapped individuals truly enjoying their outing there.  Awareness of these individuals’ different worlds touched me and put my stress in perspective.  And I felt the world to be briefly absent of stress when my three and a half month old Yellow Lab Oliver and I took our walk in the woods not far from my home.  There a rust-colored deer crossed my path and then stood watching me for a few seconds not twenty feet away.

What if we all could be aware of empathy, compassion and gratitude to relieve our stress? 

Monday, June 16, 2014


The Mystery within

I owed an apology for a curt phone message I left in exasperation because a message I left the previous evening wasn’t returned by the following morning.  I then continued to stew about that while taking my puppy Oliver for a quick walk and found myself exceedingly impatient with his antics.  And then I suddenly felt and saw the ugly in me.  I did not want to be ugly, but there it was.  It was an uncomfortable but ultimately rewarding revelation.

And when Oliver and I came in the door my phone message light was flashing and the caller left a lengthy list of reasons she why she did not return my call sooner.   I called her back, left a third message; now contrite, with a brief explanation that I am having twelve people for dinner tonight and that it has me anxious and pressed for time.  And then she called me back, I apologized again and she said, “Don’t worry about it, we’ve all been there.”  He words transformed my ugly into connection and communion.

A Richard Rohr daily meditation excerpt titled “Becoming Who You Are, A Riverbed of Mercy” helped me appreciate my caller’s and my interaction.  

…”There is a part of you that is patient with both goodness and evil, exactly as God is.  There is a part of you that does not rush to judgment or demand closure now.  Rather, it stands vigilant and patient in the tragic gap that almost every moment offers. …It is awareness itself (as opposed to judgment itself), and awareness is not, as such, “thinking.”

What if, when we really need it, we could all hear, “Don’t worry about it, we’ve all been there.” 

Monday, June 9, 2014


The Mystery within...
What I write about is not so much the things I know, but is more about searching for what I can learn from my week.  It keeps me alert and noticing more carefully the people, places and things in my life.  It also keeps me wondering about the Divine Mystery within each one of us and all Creation.   

This past week I’ve been drawn to what we all have in common, which paradoxically is our differences.  My three-month-old Yellow Lab, Oliver, put me on this train of thought with his uniquely own personality.  The breeder who brought us Oliver knew her puppies and wanted what was best for them.  When I told her I hoped our dog would eventually become a Paw Pal volunteer, and accompany me on Hospice visits, she called the family who had already previously selected him, but had not yet taken him in.  She knew the other prospective family had agility training plans and suggested we switch these last remaining puppies from a litter of nine.  When we went to get Oliver he was the puppy content with being held while his brother trotted along the fence line until he found a spot where he could sneak under.  Oliver, however, presents his own challenges like resisting his leash, and lying down on the sidewalk with a devilish look in his eyes that says, “Carry me.”  At a little over 24 pounds now, that is not happening.  And so Oliver is proving that on the flip side of our unique strength, also lays our weakness.

For the past few weeks Richard Rohr’s daily meditations have been offering a brief general overview of the Enneagram as a transformational tool with its nine different energy types (“the reading of souls”).  Knowing our respective gifts, and corresponding shadow, helps us acknowledge and then address our individual darkness.  And it has me thinking, what if we all embraced the fact that what we all have in common is our differences?  For starters, wouldn't it make life a whole lot easier for us and everyone else? 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Human Progress

God is...

It might have been 15 or 20 years ago when I heard it projected women worldwide would experience acceptance and equality around the year 9,000 and something.  That seemed like an interminably long timeline.  But that was before the Internet was a household experience bringing the condition of the world, and people who want to make it a better place, just a click away.  I am hoping our ease with communication will now revise that timeline downward.

Former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, “A Call to Action—Women, Religion, Violence and Power,” encouraged me with his insight and frank writing.  He wrote, “The relegation of women to an inferior or circumscribed status by many religious leaders is one of the primary reasons for the promotion and perpetuation of sexual abuse.”  And, “…there is no greater challenge than the full embrace of women’s equal rights by religious leaders, institutions and believers alike.”  Among the many shocking statistics Carter presented were 200 – 300 children are sold in Atlanta, GA each month, and if the perpetrators are caught, there is generally a $50.00 fine.  The United States ranks 23rd in achieving equal status for women; and America is at the bottom, among industrialized nations, for women dying in child birth despite spending more per average patient.  Worldwide there is genocide of girls, rape as a weapon of war; “honor” killings, usually by a male relative of any female only suspected of improprieties or refusing an arrange marriage; genital cutting; child marriage and dowry deaths.  Maybe the year 9,000 and something doesn’t seem so incredible after all. 

I am grateful to former President Carter for his bold statements on religion and women, and the admission that he, and his wife Rosalynn, left their former church since it did not support the ordination of women.  I felt supported for doing likewise.  It is so encouraging to know that this former President, and his wife, continue to address serious problems in the world through their Carter Center, especially in areas where there is little other aid.  And I am again reminded that the independence I enjoy today is because of other courageous men, women, and elected officials, whose efforts created the Civil Rights Act, with its prohibition of discriminating against women in the workplace. 

What if we all voted for the best candidates to make our world a better place for everyone?  How much faster would acceptance and equality be achieved?