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As we start into a new season, we stand in a thin place.
If we are paying attention, we receive the blessing and challenge of our mortality and acknowledge that our temporal life is shortening each day.
The words of John Wesley seem an appropriate aspiration:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
It is a waste of energy to relive our past.
We actually need to live our present fully —
a skill at which most of us are surprisingly unpracticed —
allowing each moment to fall behind us
and celebrating this breath,
and the next one, and the next one as they come.
SO: Happy Birthday to my beloved husband who is celebrating breathing right here right now today.
I was listening to a tween-age girl talking to her mother in the library a couple of days ago (okay, I was eavesdropping). The girl – maybe 11 or 12 years old – said, in a firm, no nonsense voice, “I want to be someone when I grow up.’
I don’t know what her mother responded because I was hearing my own voice saying the same thing at her age, and saying it pretty steadily from then through my mid-forties when it suddenly dawned on me that I already am someone.
I am the only person I can ever be: me.
I wonder how many days, months, years I wasted yearning to be someone else?
We have been brain-washed into believing that knowing more is automatically better.
What if we were as intentional about un-knowing all the pointless or untrue things we carry around in our heads and hearts?
[The photo is Crown Chakra, one of a series of seven chakra pieces using corbeling. It is available in my Etsy shop.]
Regretting our hurtful behavior or words is an appropriate choice, but let’s remember that healthy regret is a path to blessing rather than a suicidal leap into the abyss of self-judgment.
I remember the Catholic practice of confession from my childhood: Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. (I have sinned, I have sinned, I have grievously sinned.)
And I have learned over six plus decades that beating one’s breast does nothing but lead to a sore breast and, if done hard enough, a bruise.
[The photo is bronze temple bells from the 10th C. Beautiful clear tones to accompany soul-journey.]
Where there’s a will…
One of the most generous, compassionate, and responsible acts any one of us performs is to insure that we have an up-to-date will.
But a life yields not only a material estate; it also yields a spiritual estate.
So: What are the unique aspects of your heart-mind-soul that you want to leave as a legacy to the world? (Your courage, tenacity, humor, daring, love, hope, curiosity, dexterity, knowledge…?)
To whom do you want to leave each of them? (A friend, colleague, spouse, child, teacher, student, neighbor…?)
How and what are you investing to increase, strengthen, develop, and nurture those unique qualities so that you leave them as an abundant blessing?
On this profoundly mis-appropriated day, let’s listen to Julia Ward Howe – abolitionist, suffragist, poet, and writer of The Battle Hymn of the Republic – who inspired the creation of Mother’s Day as a day for the powerful combined voices of women (especially mothers) to demand world peace.
Here is part of her Mother’s Day Proclamation:
“Arise, then, Christian women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says: Disarm, disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council.”
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015, 2016 Immram Chara, LLC