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Driftwood’s Wisdom

Kathy took this picture as we walked along Waterton Lake. She thought it might inspire. That evening, I scribbled ideas into my journal about wisdom and its sources. I enjoyed listening to stories told by our parents, grandparents, and other elders I come in contact with. Now, the shoe is on the other foot and I am the elder.

Washed up flotsam,

Polished to glassy sheen

Revealed beauty.

If I apply this natural process, to humans, we gradually polish ourselves and soften the rough edges. At least, we can hope.

Polishing waves hone

Glimmering wisdom emerges

Softening rough edges.

The Way It Is

William Stafford wrote this beautiful poem about letting life emerge. There is something that guides each of us. We can call it wisdom, intuition, tradition, or common sense. It is at one level indefinable and, yet very real. Life unfolds for us despite our best plans. Retrospectively, I see the path I walked is different than the one I might have envisioned in my plans. Something helped with each step; that indefinable thread. I am grateful for many of the things I received which I did not plan for.

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change.  But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread

A Path for Warriors

I commented I finished Margaret Wheatley‘s book, So Far From Home. She concluded with a beautiful poem. It reminded how importance quiet and mindful moments are. I was less rushed these last couple of days and it was like a digital sabbath.

Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, wrote: “The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist…destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

My mother used to teach us about being Soldiers of Christ. We walk in the “same steps as Christ” (2 Corinthians 12:18, 1 Peter 2:21). We “[pray] always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18), and “open your mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19). Soldiers, in this context, seek peace from within and quiet the mind so their actions and words parallel each other.

We are grateful to discover our right work and happy to be engaged in it.

We embody values and practices that offer us meaningful lives now.

We let go of needing to impact the future.

We refrain from adding to the aggression, fear and confusion of this time.

We welcome every opportunity to practice our skills of compassion and insight, even very challenging ones.

We resist seeking the illusory comfort of certainty and stability.

We delight when our work achieves good results yet let go of needing others to adopt our successes.

We know that all problems have complex causes. We do not place blame on any one person or cause, including ourselves and colleagues.

 We are vigilant with our relationships, mindful to counteract the polarizing dynamics of this time.

Our actions embody our confidence that humans can get through anything as long as we’re together.

We stay present to the world as it is with open minds and hearts, knowing this nourishes our gentleness, decency and bravery.

We care for ourselves as tenderly as we care for others, taking time for rest, reflection and renewal.

We are richly blessed with moments of delight, humor, grace and joy.

We are grateful for these.

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