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Looking at the fierce defensiveness
with which some of us cling
to our present manifestation of identity,
you would think
that we had been born exactly like this
and to change one atom of our being or thinking
will somehow drop our (intrinsic human) value
to the level of the Venezuelan Bolivar.
Identity is not so fragile, nor so inflexible.
Dolly Parton says it brilliantly,
‘I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes
because I know I’m not dumb.
And I also know I’m not blonde.’
Let’s have a sense of humor today
and let our‘selves’ dance in the wind.
A little over a year ago,
I was saturated by the art and philosophy
of William Morris.
‘Have nothing in your house
that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful.’
Which nudged me to think about
What is both beautiful and useful in my spirit?
in my mind? in my heart?
And why do I ever choose to give soul-room to fear
when I can fill that space with wisdom,
or compassion, or generosity, or joy?
[I wrote a longer post about this. You can find it HERE.]
Sometimes ‘fixing’ something
requires nothing less
than exercising the hard-won discipline
of doing nothing.
Without denying that the headlines
can be frightening at the moment,
it is wise to remember that our lives will be defined
by the attitudes we choose.
May you dance or skate or roll or run or swing
through the miracle of midsummer
with light in your eyes,
with light in your heart,
with light in your mind.
May the light pour over you
and rise through you.
May your dreams unfold into fulfillment.
It can be easy to overlook
the small joys, small luxuries, small miracles.
By nature, they are inconspicuous
because they are, well, small.
There are also hundreds of them in each day
and if I offered you 97 or 143 gifts in a single day,
you would be beyond overwhelmed,
and yet the universe does that every day
and most of us never notice.
So today, let’s celebrate just one of them: spices.
Aside from pepper and salt,
what one spice in your life would you want to keep
even if you had to give up all the rest?
Less than 200 years ago, that spice was a luxury
that would not have existed in most people’s diets.
I bet you eat something that contains it
at least once every week, if not daily.
Close your eyes and remember back
to the first time you tasted it.
Feel what it evokes for you:
happiness, comfort, relationship, adventure.
And then savor it with your whole heart (and mouth).
More than one study has shown that
what people see influences their behavior
(both for good and for ill).
In destitute neighborhoods,
the simple act of planting and caring for a garden
is a catalyst for a change of community attitude.
It instills pride, it invites emotional investment,
it models personal agency…
and people’s expectations of themselves and others
expand to create something new and grace-filled
and healthy and hopeful.
One small act of beauty –
and the commitment to follow through –
is all it takes.
We say we want to change the world.
We say we want to improve people’s lives.
We say we believe in hope and justice,
in peace and compassion.
What will we do today to give legs to what we say?
[The fiber piece, Soup Line, is available through my etsy shop, where $30 of the sale price will go to Denver Urban Gardens to help support their seed program for under-served neighborhoods.]
Elie Weisel (prisoner number A-7713)
has borne witness for almost 72 years
to the horror of the Holocaust.
His physical body died yesterday,
yet he remains a living testament to his own words,
“One person of integrity can make a difference.”
And his work, his writing, and his teaching
all ask us – corporately and individually –
to resist indifference with heart, mind and soul.
“Indifference is the sign of sickness,
a sickness of the soul more contagious than any other.”
In his memory,
may we refuse to give in to despair
or give up on the work of justice and peace.
And may we incarnate gratitude every day of our life,
gratitude for his fierce honesty and dedication.
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015, 2016 Immram Chara, LLC