Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What Love Isn't

The Mystery within...
Seeing what love isn’t can shed light on what love is.  Looking at my part in what isn’t love can turn me around to be more loving.  Dark times create longing and searching for loves light and peace.  Finding others who sense the darkness and long for light can be comforting.  I found such comfort in Parker Palmer’s honesty in his column titled “Bringing Christmas Down to Earth” where he clearly sees what love isn’t.

Lines from “God Never Hurries,” where I quote Henry Fonda and John Caradine in the movie “Grapes of Wrath” revisited me this past week:

"A very young Henry Fonda and John Caradine said so much to me with these lines:

Henry Fonda:
A fellow ain’t got a soul of his own, just a piece of one big
soul that belongs to everyone. Find out what’s wrong and see if
                                           something can be done about it.

John Caradine:
I’ve got nothing to preach about no more. That’s all. I ain’t
so sure of things. My heart ain’t in it. All that lives is holy."

Growing through darkness is what success is all about that make people and countries great.  Opportunity waits.  Together we need tools to do the work of love.  I reviewed my summary of Krista Tippett’s discussion with Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman in my post last week, Evolving Love, and see some tools to repair what love isn’t.  What other tools do you know of to do the work of love?

“What if we searched and shared tools needed for the difficult work of love, more often?” 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Evolving Love

The Mystery within...
“The most telling and profound way of describing the evolution of the universe would undoubtedly be to trace the evolution of love.”  Teilhard de Chardin

Working at being loving is no doubt the most difficult but rewarding task of my life.  Suffering has most certainly been the major catalyst for introspection and how I first came to see the need to love and forgive myself so I could then forgive and love the other.   It remains an evolving challenge.

Krista Tippett’s On Being discussion with Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman –Meeting Our Enemies and Our Suffering, shines light on some steps toward becoming more loving.   

--Accept life is complicated, relationships are complicated; have fierce compassion first for our self.  Self compassion gets us unstuck so we can then have compassion for the other.  

-     --Love is the life force that overcomes weakness and hatred.  We need discipline to look for the good in others, especially our enemies.  Find one good thing in the other.

-     --Our actions send energy into the world.  Be aware of our feelings and be mindful before acting.

-     --Love is not timid.  Forceful disapproval can be tough love.

-     --Change is a constant, both in what’s good and what causes suffering.  Ask what went wrong, what went right? 

I am grateful to Salzberg and Thurman for shining light on how we recreate one another through suffering and love.  It is the reason for this holiday season and our ultimate goal in life.   

What if we reflected more often on how to better be love in the world?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Recreating One Another

The Mystery within...
Teilhard de Chardin:  “We are one, after all you and I, together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate one another.”

On Being columnist, Courtney Martin, poignantly shared her angst over president elect Donald Trump in her column titled “Where I’mTurning to be Comforted and Challenged.”  I empathized with her frank admission of fear and feelings of inadequacy in how to be and respond to this looming presidency.  Courtney’s need for solace was important for me to read as my fear for our country escalates.  Mr. Trump has now announced as long as Wisconsin’s senator and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, agrees with everything he says and does, Ryan is okay, but if he doesn’t, then he is not okay.

I looked back at some of my past blogs that addressed fear and excerpted the following:

Philip Chard:  “…existential disorientation calls for visiting one’s existential home, which is the natural world.” 

From God Never Hurries:  Instinctively, I was aching for naturalness.  Every season brought me new and deeper insights that helped me navigate through dark times and brought deep learning.

Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor:  “God does some of God’s best work with people who are seriously lost.”

Gavin De Becker wrote in his book the “Gift of Fear”:  “Nature’s 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 accurately be called graceful, even miraculous.” 

De Becker also states real fear is not paralyzing but rather energizing and refers to it as coiled up energy.  Perhaps courage is another word for that energy.

From God Never Hurries:  Forgiveness is most needed where things are least safe; and you need to be in a safe place to work on forgiveness.  

Forgiveness results in emotional control.  It transforms who we are.  Freedom and a more real life view are its fruits.  Forgiveness is giving up resentment and coming to view perpetrators with compassion.

...old fear surfaced.  And now I clearly see I still have shadow work to do with forgiveness.

The opportunities to recreate one another appear endless.

What if we each saw our suffering as a way to recreate and be recreated more often?

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Gift of Seeing

The Mystery within...
“The whole of life lies in the verb seeing.”  Teilhard de Chardin

I turned on my television Saturday night just as Frank Capra’s classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” was ending.  I heard guardian angel, Clarence, tell George Bailey he had been given a great gift--that of seeing what the town of Bedford Falls would have become had he not been born.  Without George’s kind, compassionate presence in Bedford falls, Mr. Potter, the well-off unscrupulous banker had free reign to devalue the people and their town. Seeing this alternative outcome without his influence turned George Bailey’s desperation to end his life into a joyous celebration for it.  Seeing George, his family and Bedford falls celebrate their joy, made my eyes over flow.

Another gift of seeing is beautifully written in Isabel Wilkerson’s historical account of America’s black migration north in search of work and freedom from Jim Crow laws in “The Warmth of Other Suns.”  Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, is one of three people through whom Wilkerson relates this previously unacknowledged immigration story within America.  She says of Ida Mae:

“ She has big searching eyes that see the good in people despite the evil she has seen…”

“She had a way of looking past the outer layer of people and seemed to regard everyone she met with a kind of searching intensity, as if this were the first person she had ever seen…”

“She was too good natured to waste energy disliking them no matter what they did but looked upon them as a curiosity she might never comprehend.  She learned to give them the benefit of the doubt but not be surprised at anything involving them.  This alone probably added decades to her life.”

What if we learned the life giving energy of gifted seeing more often?