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I thought we all needed some positive energy.
By the nine great creations,
all living beings are blessed.
Through the nine great blessings
humanity becomes whole.
These are the nine great affirmations.
This is the nine-fold miracle of divinity manifest:
Wonder shapes the universe.
Love conceives the world.
Exuberance births imagination.
Hope casts vision.
Attentive joy sings harmony.
Ebb and flow uncurls the great dances.
Humility nurtures abiding friendship.
Trust begets generosity.
Curiosity inspires daring.
These nine sustain goodness and mercy.
These nine encourage justice.
These nine instill peace.
These are the nine great affirmations of life.
Last night, we went dancing.
We have been away from our
Scottish Country Dance group for almost 18 months
while my beloved has battled plantar fasciitis
and a knee problem (resulting in surgery).
I love this group of people – with whom our lives intersect nowhere else –
but I love even more the amazing reality
that we gather one night a week for the sole purpose of dancing together.
We are all over the map politically (from one extreme to the other),
wildly diverse religiously, vocationally, and culturally
(only one of us is actually of Scottish descent).
We are rank amateurs dancing for the first time
and folks who have been doing this for 30 years.
And yet we choose to spend these precious hours
making beauty and grace (to the best of our ability).
When I am ready to despair at the ugly rhetoric and the threats
filling the airwaves,
I find peace and hope and faith and companionship –
all things bright and beautiful –
in this gathering of totally ordinary folks.
The world is good, my friends.
It truly is.
Eyes and Ears
About 3 years ago,
I acquired a wooden box at an estate sale.
The box has multiple compartments
and it suggested a shrine to me…
so I tucked it away until I was feeling shrine-like.
Today, when creativity was at a low ebb,
I decided to sand the box to prepare it for its new life
on the theory that one might as well do something useful
while awaiting the muse.
Tucked into one of the compartments,
stuck to the side so that I had to steam it off
was a saying from a fortune cookie.
The eyes believe themselves;
the ears believe other people.
You can find surprising wisdom in the oddest places.
The Great Pumpkins
October is pumpkin time –
time for pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream,
pumpkin butter, pumpkin ginger beer,
pumpkin-cranberry crackers (a Trader Joe’s specialty)…
And as a simple celebration that the
last Presidential debate is over,
I thought I would share
this amazing array of pumpkins
collected by the splendiferous family
who lived next to us
during our 14 years in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Yesterday, my beloved was on the phone
with a tag team of three customer service agents
for about 90 minutes over a 4-hour span.
When his complicated problem was finally solved,
he hung up and said,
“Can you imagine getting up and going to work every day
when you knew that all you were going to handle
was one problem after another?
And almost every person you were going to talk to
was going to be upset?”
His own assessment is that
the three people he spoke with deserve beatification.
They were pleasant, competent,
and determined to make things better.
Is this always true? No, not always.
But his questions make me remember that there are real people,
with real faces and real stories and their own concerns
(an unhappy spouse, a sick parent, a rent increase)
on the other end of that phone line.
As the election cycle has wound us all in anxiety
and we have all dug into our safe places,
we have created distance and put up walls.
It’s time to remember we are all doing the best we can.
A little kindness goes a long, long way.
I am wrestling spiritually and emotionally.
Four dearly-missed, eagerly-anticipated family members
are coming into town to spend the weekend with us.
This trip is not ‘just because’;
it is part of the mission work of our congregation
and these family members are reporting out
on the massive change we have been able to effect
in the lives of the children of Kenombi village over the past 11 years.
They bring greetings, photos, and gifts made with care and love
to share the gratitude of the villagers,
with whom we have become close over this decade.
because of schedules, this means we are making
six (six!) round trips between our house and the airport
in a 48-hour period.
So, the project is changing lives for the better in amazing ways
and, in the process, we are leaving a huge carbon footprint –
not only the plane flights,
but the 50-mile round trip (x 6) by car.
There is a cost to helping.
There is a cost to maintaining
the relationships that make helping possible.
There is a cost in pollution and resource use
that may make the world measurably worse in one generation or two.
How do we discern between these choices?
I’m trying to balance on this fulcrum.
I don’t know if there is a name for a man
in the last third of life, when wisdom is the task,
but women have the wonderful title, Crone.
To be a Crone is to seek to practice and share wisdom
not for self, but on behalf of the whole universe.
As we prepare to cross the threshold into the winter quarter of Samhain,
we are beginning to turn our attention toward
our wise elders…and toward how we deepen in our wise eldering.
These words of George Bernard Shaw
offered me a rich and refreshing perspective:
We are made wise
not by the recollection of our past,
but by the responsibility for our future.
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2014, 2015, 2016 Immram Chara, LLC