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This Being Human

Rumi and his poetry speak across the centuries and across culture. When we awake in the morning, we enter the world along with our emotions. We serve them as a host and they live within us as if our body were a guest house.

When we are mindful of how we experience emotions, we learn they unexpectedly move, replaced by another we attend to, as well. In this way, we invite them in and entertain them as grateful hosts, even when they catch us off guard. We receive each emotion honorably as we experience it and attend to it each moment as fully as humanly possible.

When we understand that emotions come and go and serve as guides in living, being human is a gift that we receive with gratitude and joy. We greet them at the door with a hearty laugh and question what meaning they bring to us in that moment.

This being human is like a quest house.

Every morning, a new arrival,

A joy, a depression, meanness . . .

Some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all,

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows

Who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture.

Still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

Meet them at the door, laughing; and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

 

The Way of Art

There is a Taoist quality to this poem by Albert Huffstickler. The art of writing is not a given path, but that can only be seen in the moment, much like living.

We make plans, but they are tentative. Who knows what will happen in the very next instance? Or, who will appear at our door?

There is a need to be mindful, attentive, and sensitive as we each walk our path and create our art, including living. As well, there is a need to rest along the journey and take in the world as we sit quietly in our meditative moments. In those moments, we learn from the world and others as they teach and lead each of us.

It seems to me that
paralleling the paths of action, devotion, etc.,
there is a path called art
and that the sages of the East would recognize
Faulkner, Edward Hopper, Beethoven, William Carlos Williams
and address them as equals.
It’s a matter of attention and discipline, isn’t it?—
combined with a certain God-given ability.
It’s what you’re willing to go through, willing to give, isn’t it?
It’s the willingness to be a window
through which others can see
all the way out to infinity
and all the way back to themselves.

April 15, 1947 – The Day Jackie Robinson Came to Bat

Sixty nine years ago today the Brooklyn Dodgers broke the color line at Ebbets Field when Jackie Robinson took the field, playing first base.  The door was opened and it was the beginning of the en…

Source: April 15, 1947 – The Day Jackie Robinson Came to Bat

When I taught, I used a social justice activity. Most of the junior high students knew about Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa, but few had heard about Jackie Robinson. He was important for some students who did not connect until they understood athletes were part of social change.

Jackie Robinson had a Canadian connection. He played his AAA baseball for the Montreal Royals. This point led to talking about Willie O’Ree who broke the colour barrier in hockey. He may not have seemed as impactful Jackie Robinson, but many black NHL players refer to Willie O’Ree as a role model and he remains an ambassador for the game.

Furthermore, it is not enough that those who want to break through a barrier do so alone. For Jackie Robinson and Willie O’Ree, white players gradually (perhaps it was glacial) realized how good these guys were. In Montreal, fans cheered Jackie Robinson because he was a great ball player. Colour seemed overlooked in that environment. I admire Jackie Robinson, Willie O’Ree, Rosa Parks, etc. for their contributions, but community becomes important in sustaining real change and seeing beyond colour, gender, religious, etc.  If we could do that, what a difference it would make in the world.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful

if you were a butterfly and I was a bee wouldn’t it be wonderful we would fly and be free in a world full of somethings in a world full of woe wouldn’t it be everything to fly to and fr…

Source: Wouldn’t it be wonderful

I had a long day. It began in Fernie, BC in the midst of great ski country. I got as far as Olds, Alberta, within view of the Rockies, and encountered car trouble and was towed home. We have a regular shop we take cars to, so we dropped it off.

What a treat it was to find this poem and image waiting. What if we were butterflies and bees? We could live in a world of somethings.

David at Barsetshire Diaries suggested we need a contemporary Dr. Seuss. Perhaps with a concerted effort we can match his wit and wisdom and as Jonathan at By the Mighty Mumford commented we would have a Seuss on the Loose. Oh, that is so wonderful and Seussian.

I Am the Tree

Where do the boundaries between the subjective and objective worlds end and begin? Is there a boundary between our inner and outer worlds?

Etta Blum writes a poem that asks those questions. There is a continuous moving between the inner and outer worlds. Parker Palmer uses the metaphor of a Möbius strip with an inner ant outer edge. When we run our fingers along the edge, we can do so seamlessly without lifting our fingers.

We are like a tree with a bird at the top. Each of us is part of the world we each live in and, if there is a boundary between each of us and it, it is thin and permeable as to appear non-existent. In a sense, we are the world and it is each of us. Like the bird in that tree, we have a niche where we thrive and live most fully. We return there to feel that sense of being and purpose.

I am the tree ascending.
At the topmost branch
I’ve become the bird,
starting from tip to
climb into above.
After-
ward, cloud.
Why not?
My purposes are clear.

 

Today, Like Every Other Day

For me, there are poets, like Rumi, whose poetry stand the test of time. After almost a century, the poetic text lives and remains ambiguous searching for meaning.

Now, I don’t play a musical instrument. I sing poorly. I have two left feet, so dancing is out of the question. What Rumi calls on each of us to do, in our particular and unique fashion, is to express ourselves and be creative.

Thich Nhat Hanh said that the extraordinary is found in the ordinary, the ordinary tasks such as doing dishes and enjoying a cup of tea. As we do, we meditate about those who enrich our lives through their efforts. We celebrate people who contribute to our lives in a human and humane manner.

Yes, I do wake up empty, but it is an emptiness that can be filled with each way I celebrate my humanness.

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty

and frightened. Don’t open the door of your study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

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.

 

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