Gratitudes, Musings, Poems

Silence, My Soul

“If we are to teach peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won’t have to struggle; we won’t have to pass fruitless ideal resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously the whole world is hungering.”
“We must call evil by its name–call white supremacy a sin from the pulpit, and call white America to repentance.” ―Jim Wallis
“I think ultimately people become extremists not necessarily because of the ideology. I think that the ideology is simply a vehicle to be violent. I believe that people become radicalized, or extremist, because they’re searching for three very fundamental human needs: identity, community and a sense of purpose.

“If, underneath that fundamental search is something that’s broken — I call them potholes — is there abuse or trauma or mental illness or addiction? … [T]here are so many marginalized young people, so many disenfranchised young people today with not a lot to believe in, with not a lot of hope, they tend to search for very simple black and white answers.” ―Christian Picciolini, former skinhead
“Nazis are a lot like cats: If they like you, it’s probably because you’re feeding them.” ―John Oliver
“Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons
Is as important as the killing of White men, White mothers’ sons…
We who believe in freedom cannot rest,
we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”
―Sweet Honey in the Rock
In Starhawk’s novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, Maya tells her beloved community to approach the invading soldiers with these words: “There’s a place set for you at our table, if you will choose to join us.”
“The future, good or ill, was not forgotten,
but ceased to have any power over the present.
Health and hope grew strong in them,
and they were content with each good day as it came,
taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring)
“There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.”
― Linda Hogan
“Silence my soul, these trees are prayers.” ―Rabindranath Tagore
“Whoever you are,
now I place my hand upon you,
that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear.
I have loved many women and men,
but I love none better than you.”
—Walt Whitman, “To You”
Let it flow.
Let what may come, come.
Let what must go, go.
But we,
we will put our feet
in the icy waters of now
and know
how all will pass
around us–
through us,
between us–
how everything changes
and everything stays the same. —Beth Weaver-Kreider
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
―Eleanor Roosevelt
“Shaped language is strangely immortal, living in a meadowy freshness outside of time.

But it also lives in the moment, in us. Emotion, intellect, and physiology are inseparably connected in the links of a poem’s sound. It is difficult to feel intimacy while shouting, to rage in a low whisper, to skip and weep at the same time.” ―Jane Hirshfield

Gratitude List:
1. The way this boy turns everything into a song. When I told them I didn’t know if the party was going to include swimming, he started singing from the back seat, in a lovely melody, “Call and check. Call and check. Call and check.” When he found a Lego he’d been searching for: “Here it is. Here it is, Here it is!” Often, throughout the day, I’ll hear him singing to himself in the other room. He takes after his dad.
2. One of my deeply compassionate colleagues, in the wake of the weekend’s violence, offered this solution: To love all our students more–to show it more. All of them. That’s our work. That’s the work of healing. That’s a solution I can implement.
3. Instars. I love that word. Instars are the developmental metamorphic stages of insects in which they shed a skin and a new body emerges with new powers and abilities. That’s a bit of a whimsical way to say it, perhaps, but I think my children are both approaching new instar phases of their development.
4. Voices calling for change. Coming out of this weekend’s terrorist attack, I see people looking inward, trying to understand at deeper levels what white privilege means, what it means to live in a white supremacist society. Perhaps good will rise out of evil.
5. Bruschetta and toast.

May we walk in Beauty!

Gratitudes, Musings

Spinning Gratitude

I can’t quite make sense of my motivations for how I want to write today’s Gratitude List.  I’m thinking too hard about thinking about it.  You see, I have been complaining all day.  Really complaining about how many things have been going wrong.  I keep it sort of light, too, whining delivered on a platter of intended humor: “I think all the appliances and motorized things on this farm have had a conference and decided to break down at the same time.”

Pretty lame, actually, but that’s the place where you’re supposed to groan with  empathy, and pity me my breakdowns:  Poor woman can’t keep her food cold or drive her car, and her lawn’s turning to jungle.  But I don’t think I am looking for pity, really.  Well, perhaps a little commiseration.  That’s such a great word, such a great idea.  Let’s be a little miserable together at the unfairness of the world, and it will all seem a little easier to bear.

I have been making an internal list today (not necessarily intentionally) of all the things that have gone wrong.  If I twist that list into my gratitude list in some artful way, I will have had my chance at a rant.  But is that really gratitude?

I think it is.  Yes, because this business of writing a gratitude list is not only about finding the wonderful things that do happen; it’s also about putting the brokenness into perspective, about spinning the story into something positive.  Not for spin’s sake, but for gratitude’s sake.  For the sake of centeredness and peace of mind.

In Pronoia, Rob Breszny talks about how when something goes wrong, we focus on that one or two or five things that aren’t working instead of the hundreds of things that are working.  It’s about where you place your focus.  The clocks still work.  Gravity continues to hold me to Earth.  The plants grow.  The children laugh.  The stovetop cooks my morning egg to perfection.

Today I am a Spin Doctor.  Not in search of pity, except as it comes with a little good mojo for all my motorized things to work.

Gratitude List:
1.  My father’s car, and his gracious sharing of it while Roxanne Buick is having herself repaired to pass inspection.
2.  A new (to us) fridge being delivered this week, and the old one taken away with no extra effort from us.  And working substitutes in the meantime.  We’re so fortunate that we have the farm store fridge to tide us over until the new one comes.
3.  The string trimmer works again.  We can at least keep the edges tidy.  And sometimes keep your edges tidy is just the thing.
4.  Spinning.
5.  Perspective.

May we walk in Beauty.