December 24, 2009
For many, this has been a terribly difficult time. Many of us feel fragile, and we also have a heightened understanding of how delicate our earth is. Old ways are not working, and new patterns have not yet set in. We all need courage, compassion, faith, and patience.
That is my message to you — may you be filled with compassion, surrounded with love, blessed with faith, and given the gift of patience. May this be your best year yet!
December 15, 2009
A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.
She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat.
She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, and her torso, and a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed for help.
Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her — a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.
They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them.
Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.
The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
May you, and all those you love, be so fortunate … To be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.
And may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.
November 13, 2009
Each week I’m delighted to receive “A Pause for Beauty” — a wonderful newsletter that comes free of charge from Heron Dance. Each issue contains a beautiful watercolor illustration (the original is for sale, as are cards, prints, etc), along with some spiritually enriching or life affirming text. The following arrived with issue #144 (sent July 14, 2002):
“One does not need to fast for days and meditate for hours at a time to experience the sense of sublime mystery which constantly envelops us. All one need do is notice intelligently, if even for a brief moment, a blossoming tree, a forest flooded with autumn colors, an infant smiling”.
“Simon Greenburg”, from “A Grateful Heart” by M.J. Ryan
The reality that is present to us and in us:
call it being … Silence.
And the simple fact that by being attentive,
by learning to listen
(or recovering the natural capacity to listen)
we can find ourself engulfed in such happiness
that it cannot be explained:
the happiness of being at one with everything
in that hidden ground of Love
for which there can be no explanations….
May we all grow in grace and peace,
and not neglect the silence that is printed
in the centre of our being.
It will not fail us.
Thomas Merton, in “Prayers for Healing”
November 8, 2009
This post was originally published in December 2001, and is included here without changes. Sadly, I believe it is at least as relevant today as when it was written.
Kathleen Parkers recent column, “Even Pacifists Benefit From War” (11/30/2001), cries out for a response. I write as a pacifist and a Quaker — and must say that I don’t benefit in any way from this war.
Part of my pacifism is spiritual and moral. Believing, as a Quaker, that there is that of God in each person, I feel that killing — for any reason, in any situation — is wrong. That means that war is wrong, regardless of the justification that may be offered.
As a religious pacifist, I must say “no thank you” to those who offer to fight this war in my name, with my tax money, and for my supposed benefit. There were so many lives lost (in New York, in Washington DC, and in Pennsylvania), and so many lives disrupted. The war we are waging only adds to the carnage, and seriously disrupts many more lives. I believe it is morally wrong, whether or not it offers any security benefit. Read the rest of this entry »
October 5, 2009
This was the subject on a promotional e-mail I received. What
an oxymoran! Or is it?
It set me thinking about simplicity, about what we need, want, crave,
appreciate, enjoy, use, draw sustenance from. What do we have to declare?
No answers, and (without apology) no guilt, but keen interest.
October 1, 2009
I’m co-leading this workshop the last weekend in October, at Woolman Hill — a Quaker conference center in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Arthur Fink and Tony Stapleton are Quaker photographers who carry their photographic work (or play) as a spiritual inquiry or expression. They invite you to join in this weekend of photographing from within, which will include time for worshiping together, making pictures, sharing our work and process, and just enjoying Woolman Hill. Our goal is to broaden our vision, open our spiritual awareness, and, in the process, learn how to take more expressive pictures. This will not be about technical photography instruction, and all photographers are welcome regardless of technical knowledge or experience.
September 29, 2009
Learning how others see one’s work can be a frightening trap when one lacks confidence or passion, but can be illuminating when it informs a passionate and committed soul.