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Let’s just ponder the fact that there
have been no news headlines in the USA or Canada
about the yellow fever epidemic in
Angola and Republic of Congo
which, according to the World Health Organization,
has killed 400 people to date.
The numbers are expected to go up
because of a global vaccine shortage.
There have been plenty of headlines
about the Italian earthquake.
Our choices reveal what we value
(as individuals, as communities, as a nation).
What do we choose not to know…and why?
Humor – In Memoriam
The death of Gene Wilder two days ago
dims the light-hearted joy of life just a little
at a time when we need more humor, not less.
I’m going to let myself grieve for the movies
he won’t be making
and then go celebrate the ones he did.
And in his memory
I am going to take these words of
psychologist and native elder,
Anne Wilson Schaef,
I realize that humor isn’t for everyone.
It’s only for people who want to have fun,
enjoy life, and feel alive.
Personally, I am not a football fan,
so I don’t know Colin Kaepernick
from Bugs Bunny,
but I do know this:
the reputation and the long-term future
of the United States of America
rests on the willingness of his fellow citizens
to allow him to refuse to stand
for the national anthem.
One of the principal transformative events
in any life
is the moment when our values
run up against our emotions.
Our actions or words in that moment
tilt us toward self-differentiated maturity
or toward self-indulgent righteousness.
What happens is not random chance;
it’s our choice.
It’s my birth month, so it is my annual opportunity
to ponder the unfolding challenge of incarnation.
By coincidence (if you believe in coincidence)
these lines from Coste Lewis’ poem,
“On the Road to Sri Bhuvaneshwari,”
dropped into my life today:
embodiment is so bewildering, even God grows
wracked with doubt.
Hang in there with me while I step off a cliff
and share with you that after three decades
of escaping the periodic riptides of depression
with the help of counselors and therapists
(and friends, and family, and the kindness of strangers),
I finally accepted (last month) that medication
can be a life-giving option. Yes, even for me.
I share this because it occurs to me that embodiment
is enormously bewildering – for all of us –
and leaning into the fullness of evolving embodiment
can be lonely, even when surrounded by love.
So, please know, that whatever the riptides in your own life,
there are people ready with lifelines and compassion
some of whom have even been there,
and done that,
and lived to tell the tale.
Lughnasadh is the season in which we are invited to offer our lives
on behalf of a more just and equitable, compassionate and merciful,
healthier and more life-giving world.
For most of us this is not a call to die in witness
or in defense of the helpless,
it is a simple call to make choices that benefit the many
rather than merely indulging ourselves or our close circle
of family, friends, and colleagues.
That is not to say that this does not require some courage
(especially in the face of push-back from said family, friends, etc.)
So a prayer for courage:
May I have the courage to manifest courage:
Courage of stars, alone in the vast reaches of space.
Courage of sun, holding a galaxy in relationship.
Courage of earth, steadfast and fruitful.
Courage of acorn, breaking open, rooting down, losing self, becoming more.
Courage of tree, stabilizing earth, offering shelter, purifying air.
Courage of air, carrying its freight of rainsnowsleetmistdust.
Courage of water, constantly transforming:
rising, falling, flowing, freezing, seeping, ebbing.
May courage fill my heart,
companion my steps,
inform my words,
permeate my deeds.
Actually, Free Speech is not free for everyone.
Speaking from the edges has always been
a costly business.
It threatens people who are violent.
It upsets people who are powerful.
It offends people in their privilege.
If we live in privilege:
white privilege, educated privilege,
wealthy privilege, abled privilege,
we need to remember that what is ‘free’ for us
is usually very costly for our less-privileged neighbors.
Hear these words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
The ultimate tragedy
is not the oppression and cruelty
by the bad people
but the silence over that by the good people.
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015, 2016 Immram Chara, LLC