Archive for March, 2010

“I wonder what would happen if

I treated everyone like I was in love

with them, whether I like them or not

and whether they respond or not and no matter

what they say or do to me and even if I see

things in them which are ugly twisted petty

cruel vain deceitful indifferent, just accept

all that and turn my attention to some small

weak tender hidden part and keep my eyes on

that until it shines like a beam of light

like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust

it to burn away all the waste which is not

never was my business to meddle with.”

-Derek Tasker

What do you wonder?


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Remember when these stickers were frequently appearing on cars and trucks? I don’t see them as often anymore.

On the surface it may seem like a good idea to have no fear. But what I am wondering today… is there a time and place for fear?

I’m not talking about the unhealthy fear that paralyzes and abuses people. I am not talking about fear-mongering. The kind of fear I am wondering about is the kind of fear that keeps a child from putting his hand on the hot stove burner. The kind of fear that keeps most individuals from walking out into rush-hour traffic. The kind of fear that is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom? Hmm…

It seems to have been the case that during my work with many varied ages and backgrounds of young people in recent years, that one thing that seems to be glaringly missing is a healthy fear of any consequences. I am not that old. But I do remember when I was growing up, by and large, young people had respect for most adults in their world and a healthy fear of consequences. This does not seem to be the case these days. I have seen good quality parents at their wits end wondering how to communicate to their children the importance of boundaries and consequences. Note: consequences do not equal punishment. Every action and inaction comes with both positive and negative consequences.

What is the answer? I am not sure. Because I have seen many healthy hard working parents attempt to instill a sense of boundaries and consequences into their young people to no avail. I guess on some level, they will eventually learn their own lessons when the negative consequences eventually outweigh the short term positive rewards. Or not! (And then they would end up in one of the groups I used to facilitate, mandated by the court system.) See? No easy answers.

Although I was a pretty respectful young person, I used to bristle at the thought that “fear was the beginning of wisdom.” I continued to do so until a few years ago. On one occasion my partner attended church with me. She has a completely different spiritual background and perspective than I do. And sometimes those differences can bring clarity. Once again, the concept of “fear is the beginning of wisdom” was noted in that church setting. My partner must have seen my feathers ruffled, because she said “Yeah, I get that. I fear that if I treat you like shit you will leave me.” Hmm… suddenly it was re-framed for me.

Time to end these incomplete musings… or I fear I will be late to work! 😉

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Have you ever rounded a corner and seen something so beautiful that you had to pull over and take it in? Have you ever met someone for the first time to find that you are unexpectedly taken by how they just seem to connect with you? Have you ever found yourself in a room just sort of passing the hour–then find yourself grabbed from your apathy by the sounds of something so captivating that it elicited emotion that welled up from within you and spilled forth from your eyes? That last one in that list of questions is what happened to me when I first heard the below “invitation.”

“It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own

without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.”

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation.

Oriah’s Blog.

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A friend reminded me today that this beautiful Sunday is Palm Sunday. I love Palm Sunday! Growing up in Sunday School it was such a fun day at church of celebration and adoration of Jesus. Most of you know the story of Palm Sunday if you have had any experience in church life at all.

What seemed to strike me most through the years was how very quickly the same people who adoringly welcomed Jesus into the city of Jerusalem with praise and palms, were the ones who were screaming and shouting the next week “crucify him!” How? Why? What did he do so horrible that one week they were celebrating him and the next they were crucifying him?

Those questions are not necessarily to be answered or resolved. They don’t really cause me angst because I know the whole context of Jesus’ time on earth.

What I am writing about today is the concept that the human heart can and does so  often turn on a dime. When I was young and had not acquired the scars I now wear, I did not have much empathy for such humans who could be so fickle… who see their love and adoration turn on a dime. But as with so many things, the longer I live the more I know exactly how it feels to be so very human. To be bound by the human frailty. To be so very capable of turning on a dime… my heart, my mind.

Just some things I am meditating on during this lovely Sunday, and will continue to meditate on through this next week… through to Good Friday, and finally Easter. Thank goodness there is One who knows my heart even when I can’t always make sense of it!

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This is not a political piece per se. In that I am not going to even go into what I do, or do not, think about the health care reform debate in America.

What I cannot believe is what I have been seeing on the news recently–especially since the health care reform bill was signed into law by the President. We are seeing sanctioned, recommended, threatened, carried-out, backlash in the form of vandalism by “conservative” people against  individuals who supported health care reform.

Bricks thrown through Democratic office buildings all over the country, death threats left on answering machines, individuals encouraging US citizens to “take up arms” and be ready to point them at the hearts of the “tyrants.” What the hell is going on in America? Can’t civilized human beings have differences of opinion without taking up arms and using them to throw bricks, pull triggers, or even detonate devices? “Don’t retreat, reload” a delightful quote by the former half-governor of Alaska.

Wasn’t America supposed to be the shining light to the world of what individuals could do/be if they actually leaned toward the better angels of their nature?

Just say no to hate…

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… then what is this picture saying?

Talk amongst yourselves… 😉

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