Would It Help

Worry.  “Are you worried,” I ask myself.  My reply, “would it help?”  Answer – “Never.  It never helps to worry.” Que sera sera.  Whatever will be will be.  The world is not ours to see.  Que sera seat

 

 

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As I Soften

As I soften, I realize life is so much more than the effort I put into it.  As I soften, I realize that love is all that matters.  As I soften, I am coming to love myself as I do my husband, my children, my grandchildren and my friends, treating myself as the greatest love of my life.  As I soften, I feel a tenderness toward myself and others.  I am cultivating a deeper appreciation of the differences that, rather than separating us, actually draw us into communion.  As I soften, I am listening to the other’s Soul rather than just hearing the words. As I soften, I have less fear and more joy.  I do not want to die, but I accept its ultimate inevitability.  I am, as we all are, infinite and, at the same time, mortal.

““We do not need to grieve for the dead. Why should we grieve for them? They are now in a place where there is no more shadow, darkness, loneliness, isolation, or pain. They are home.”  John O’Donohue

As soften, any illusion of a perfect world or perfect health falls away.  What is left you may ask?  The mystery of life filled with wonder, intimacy and compassionate forgiveness.

each day is a gift_life after cancer

forgiving myself

Lying in bed last night, waiting for the blanket of sleep to wrap its comfort around me, I noticed an almost rigid tension engulfing my body.  This was a feeling I did not want to carry forward into my future.  With each new exhalation, I envisioned my rigid being melting, releasing all holding, surrendering and letting go of all fear. Even now, as I write, I can feel my shoulders drop, my arms lengthen and my heart lift.  The next thing I remember is waking up this morning amazed that I was able to fall into the darkness.

In today’s meditation, I recognized a similar holding pattern, a pushing against the tragedy of reality, a desire to pretend that a perfect life is possible, that it just such a life only requires a gallant effort.  In her interview with the poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue, Krista Tippett explored the meaning life, of love and beauty.  John reflected on times he had sitting at the bedside of they dying and in particular with those who had lived staunch, unrelenting lives. John said that after two or three days he noticed these people literally softened and became visibly more radiant.  When Krista asked how he would explain this phenomenon, John said the dying person realized the way he/she had been living could not serve them now – that holding on and pushing away from the darkness only served to separate them from the light.

Annie Dillard describes just such a realization: “In the deeps are the violence and terror of which psychology has warned us. But if you ride these monsters deeper down, if you drop with them farther over the world’s rim, you find what our sciences cannot locate or name, the substrate, the ocean or matrix or ether which buoys the rest, which gives goodness its power for good, and evil its power for evil, the unified field: our complex and inexplicable caring for each other, and for our life together here. This is given. It is not learned.

Today I set an intention to notice when I am holding tension, when I am pushing away from the harshness of reality.  I choose to forgive myself and all others and most especially I forgive life for all its incongruences, its injustices, and its inherenttragedies.  I surrender into the unified field of love, “the house of belonging” -David Whyte

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Stop Making Sense

Imagine every single atom in every single cell in your body vibrating at a the frequency of Spirit, beyond the speed of light. Every single cell’s operating system emitting such a high frequency that you become boundless energy and infinite joy.  Moving beyond the linear field of Newtonian physics into the quantum field of limitless possibility.  See yourself as a “light” being, unbound by matter, invincible creating an electro magnetic field more radiant than the sun.  I believe anything is possible.

You are light..  You are love.  You are joy

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David Byrne – Talking Heads

Longing for Connection

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Who does not want to belong, to feel seen and heard?  But consider the possibility that longing for connection can actually being separating.  Needing another’s attention, approval, love and support, though not inherently misdirected, can be misconstrued.  In an attempt to form meaningful relationships we often manipulate ourselves and others.  We present an image of who we think we should be to the world.

I myself placed all my hopes of popularity into looking good, smiling, being pretty and being needed.  Twenty five years spent taking prozac, dieting, exercising, and putting on a happy face did not bring me closer to others.  In fact, my obsession with the “false self” I was working so hard to cultivate was actually left little or no time to invest in meaningful relationships.  I did not understand that to have friends one has to be a friend, available, loving, compassionate and forgiving.

Ironically, it took getting sick and learning the true meaning of suffering for me to realize that if I am ever to connect to others, my real connection must first be to myself and to the Divine from whence I came.

Richard Rohr writes that “like seeks like.”  The more connected I am to the Divine, the more I see the Divine in others and they in me. Being filled by Divine light inherently means that the light within will spill out into the world. Thus giving and serving come not out of need for attention but from an overabundance of love that must be shared.

The essence of the Divine, of creative love is our natural state of being.  When we tap into this heart space, into universal consciousness, we can live a solitary existence and yet be connected to the whole world. We can reach out to others without fear of rejection, because there really is no rejection.  All connection arises from the Divine within and moves out from one soul to another.

Sharing our pain and our joy

On Monday mornings, I have the honor of delivering Meals on Wheels.  As a part of the ministry of MIFA, The Metropolitan Inter-faith Association, I take prepared food to 8 or 9 people, all elderly, mostly shut-ins.  Yesterday, I was feeling a little blue.  Temporarily discouraged by my digestive tract’s slow recovery from a recent surgery, I was keenly aware of the bodily limitations that can affect our ability to interact in the world.

On first delivery, I encountered a mobile, happy woman who kindly thank me and closed the door.

At the second home, I was met at the car port door by a lithe, slightly b lading gray-haired man, who when he opened the door, smiled and motioned for me to put the food on his kitchen table.  I asked him if he had family in Memphis to which he replied, “I have two daughters, one in Atlanta and the other in Knoxville.  I am 98 years old and legally blind.  yesterday I washed my car.”  Stunned, I told him that I hoped to live that long.

At the next house, I found the front door ajar, so I walk in calling out, “Hello, anybody here?”  The house was a montage of old photos stacked every which way on tables, on the piano, the walls and even on the floor.  The dishwasher door was hanging open and all the lights were burning brightly.  A smiling, sprite of a woman appeared from the recesses of the house.  She thanked me for bringing the food in and asked me what day it was.  When I told her there would not be a delivery on Labor Day, she innocently asked, “What is Labor Day?”  I gently hugged her and told her it was a holiday set aside to honor working people.  As I was leaving, the garbage men emptied her bin and I asked if I  could push it up to the house.  She accepted and thanked me for being so helpful.

And so it went.  At each house I took time to interact with the recipient and was in turn met with gratitude and love.  One  beleaguered man, who cares for his mother, said, “We are so grateful.”   I reached out to give him an awkward hug and banged my glasses into the  side of his face.  He smiled and said, “I needed that.”  Funny, because I was thinking the same thing.

At my last stop Jeanne, who usually answers the door in her pajamas, was fully dressed and very talkative.  She is 88 and like all the others I had seen that morning, living independently.  She explained that due to health issues she could not always get out so whe paid to have meals delievered.  Then went on to tell me that she had lost her check book and was delinquent in her payment.  “The Lord wants us to be organized,” she said. “I am working to declutter my life.” I laughed and told her I thought the Lord was compassionate and understood our limitations.  She blessed me and returned to her organizational efforts.

As I headed back to MIFA, I marveled at how much better I felt.

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Monday Morning

After a restless night of sleep, I managed to get myself out of bed.  I really wanted to sleep in, but I had instructed my husband, who is always up before me, to be sure I got up.  Mornings are so important to me.  After I savor my latte, I meditate for close to an hour and then walk 4 miles before showering and getting presentable for the day.  I find on days, particularly during the week, when I skip my meditation, I am less focused, more self absorbed, and less likely to delight in the miracles rise up to meet me.

The child of two alcoholic parents I growing up in a chaotic home rife with verbal and physical abuse, I learned to live life in the shadows.  Any attempt to be seen or even noticed likely resulted in an altercation usually between me and my step-mother, whom I loathed.  In retrospect, I now see her as the saint she was, working to support a family of nine while my father slept all day and my grandmother, innocent though she was, did all she could to interfere with Elaine, my stepmother’s, efforts to maintain some sanity in our wicked violent home.

The meditation I just finished puts me in touch with something greater than myself, greater than the darkness that once engulfed me.  Immersed in the field of limitless possibility, I pray for my past to be transformed, for my cells to return to their natural state of prefect health, for my compulsive thoughts and behavior to be replaced with peace and tranquility, for the opportunity to serve and to be used, for my old state of depression and mistrust to be permanently replaced with vibrant joy and well-being, for a deep connection to my soul and to the souls of all mankind, for a willingness today to leave behind any thoughts that do not enhance my life or the lives of others and to remind myself that life is inherently good and well worth living.  It is absolutely necessary for me to begin the day this way, deeply connected to the essence of my being, connected to limitless love and hope.

Thus I begin my week, grateful for the life I have been given.

Suzuki Roshi, Ground Pigement, 22"x26", 2005