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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Lost

I sometimes feel lost in the world, without bearings. David Wagoner counseled that when we feel lost to stop and listen to the world, as if it were the forest and a powerful stranger able to speak to us.

When I stop and pray, I ask someone for help, but, if I rush on, without listening, the prayer cannot be answered. I pose a question that I cannot answer. Prayer is not just speaking. My heart opens and receives what is returned to me.

Is it in the form of words? Or, is it the gentle breath that is hardly perceptible? When I am mindful and listen to listen, I intuitively sense differences. Mindfulness becomes an attentive and sensitive way of life, as opposed to just happening.

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

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Be a Person

When we do something, even small things, it is important to the world and others. Our words and actions call out to the world and others. We invoke the world to respond and share something important with us.

William Stafford wrote about being a person. Who we are is what calls to us and our response to it. The call gives us purpose and voice. In our dreams and imagination, we find that calling, that sense of purpose.

Perhaps, it is about becoming the person who we are, and not just being the person who stands in this spot and moment. We are always becoming a person that we cannot fully imagine and anticipate in advance, but somehow that person resembles who we were just a moment ago.

Paulo Coehlo said that “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” In dreaming, we are always becoming a new person and the uncertainty of that makes life interesting for us and others.

Be a person here. Stand by the river, invoke
the owls. Invoke winter, then spring.
Let any season that wants to come here make its own
call. After that sound goes away, wait.

A slow bubble rises through the earth
and begins to include sky, stars, all space,
even the outracing, expanding thought.
Come back and hear the little sound again.

Suddenly this dream you are having matches
everyone’s dream, and the result is the world.
If a different call came there wouldn’t be any
world, or you, or the river, or the owls calling.

How you stand here is important. How you
listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe.

walk your path…

Photo post by @arganesh3.

Source: walk your path…

The quote included in the post involves walking our path in a responsible and responsive way. We walk with others. Others walk with us whether it is beside us, behind us, or in front of us. They walk their path, as we, in turn, walk our path.

The etymology of the word truth involves faithfulness to someone or something, beginning with ourselves as we look inward and search for our particular truth. In this sense, truth is unique to each person, but there is  fidelity and faithfulness that serves as a pledge or covenant to other things and people we encounter.

When we walk our path, it is our path, but we find ourselves in the company of others and things. The world and its beings lead us, constrain us and guide, as we lead, constrain, and guide them. We each share our particular truth with thhe world and others in and through these relationships. It is essential to be mindful and attentive to those relationships as we discover our particular truth.

Wild Geese

Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poets. I find her poems call me to spend time, reflect quietly, and read them anew many times. I think what I consistently get out of her poetry is that we are not alone in the world.

We live together, but it is not just a human world. It is a world full of other beings, objects, and roles that shape our lives and we, in turn, shape the world. Most of the time, our relationships with the world, others, and things is unconscious. The world exists out there somewhere in taken-for-granted ways.

When we are mindfull and present, we notice the world. Mary Oliver uses the words harsh and exciting, but we are not accustomed to the novelty that continuously emerges and, when it calls, it seems harsh. As we live more fully, the world calls to us and we hear it. The harsh sounds help us remain attuned to the world.

The world excites us with its refreshing newness. We discover the extraordinary in the ordinary; what we have taken-for-granted.

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting . . .

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Freedom to choose

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space there is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom. ~Viktor Frankl Sometimes we make decisions in t…

Source: Freedom to choose

Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist and neurologist who developed a school of psychiatry called logotherapy which is the search for meaning in life. He used his experiences as a Holocaust survivor to help inform his findings.

Humans choose their responses and seek life’s meaning. When we lose our meaning in life, we drift, feeling rudderless and without mooring. What keeps us grounded is the choices we make in life and the meaning we find in life. For example, becoming a teacher, a farmer, a parent, etc. gives life purpose and calls us to take action.

We express who we are through responding to the continuous calling, the vocation, that we find through various meaningful roles. When and if we find our life’s meaning, it allows us to make a difference in the world, for other sentient beings, and for the non-sentient elements of the world. We care for all aspects of the world and feel connected to it

Thomas Merton suggested some humans find there calling and others search throughout life, unable to find it. Perhaps, it is they do not hear what calls them and are unable to respond. Mindfulness and silence open spaces to hear the calls that give our lives meaning and make living meaningful.

Kindness: The Time For It Is NOW

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”~Desmond Tutu Yesterday, as I was ordering a coffee, an older lady came into t…

Source: Kindness: The Time For It Is NOW

Sirena bracketed her post with a Desmond Tutu quote and one by Ralph Waldo Emerson reminding us kindness is a powerful antidote for many of the challenges we face in the world. A kind heart allows us to put the human face on others and see them as people.

Several years ago during a particularly cold winter, Kathy and I boosted people’s batteries several times. We did it because it was the right thing to do without consideration as to what we might receive back.

One day, on the way home from a hockey game in rural Alberta, I lost control of the car and we ended up stuck on the edge of the ditch. It was cold, we were on a narrow piece of road at the top of a hill, and there was truck traffic. The first vehicle by had a chain and two-way radio to let truckers know we were there and got us out.

As we drove on, we noted that the earlier acts of helping people with dead batteries had somehow come around and, in our moment of need, someone acted kindly towards us.

When we are mindful, we recall that others need our kindness and that the kind acts echo through time and space.

 

A Light Breather

Theodore Roethke wrote poems that attempted to connect the inner and outer worlds we inhabit simultaneously. While exploring the outer world, it is important we find quiet in the inner world. In those quiet moments, moving back and forth we find ourselves staying.

The metaphor comparing this movement to that of a snail challenges me to think deeply about what living and breathing mindfully is. What do I notice? And, who and what notices me? As I move, am I sensitive to the world that I move through? Or, do I walk heavily chasing those who which to join me away?

The spirit moves,
Yet stays:
Stirs as a blossom stirs,
Still wet from its bud-sheath,
Slowly unfolding,
Turning in the light with its tendrils;
Plays as a minnow plays,
Tethered to a limp weed, swinging,
Tail around, nosing in and out of the current,
Its shadows loose, a watery finger;
Moves, like the snail,
Still inward,
Taking and embracing its surroundings,
Never wishing itself away,
Unafraid of what it is,
A music in a hood,
A small thing,
Singing.

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