Light the Sky

 

“Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

You owe me.

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.”

~Hafiz

Advertisements

Door to Door Soul Salesmen

**Reposting from July 2008**

RANT alert!

True story.

The phone rings and I check caller ID. Hmmm… I don’t KNOW the person listed, but it IS a local number.

“Hello?”

“Is this Miz Fencepostings?”

“Yes?”

“Hi. This is SomeRandomName and I’m a Jehova’s Witness and recently while in your neighborhood we stopped by your house, but you weren’t home – so we’re calling you instead. May we talk to you about some scriptures important to the salvation of your soul?”

Seriously?!

What makes them think that they hold the answer to my soul’s longevity? If I’d not ever been Soul Solicited by them through the years, I would have answered the door to begin with. I’ve listened before, when caught unaware doing some gardening in my front yard on a weekend. To be polite. Maybe I would learn something, who knew?

I’m not opposed to soul saving. Really. I just don’t want someone coming to my home and trying to convince me of their point of view…especially when they feel as though everyone else requires “saving” and they are just the ones to lead the way.

And how did they get my phone #? Isn’t that just a little presumptuous? I mean, I have to give them kudos for their tenacity, but really? Seriously? Could it be that the fact that there were cars in the driveway and obvious signs and sounds of occupancy present when they knocked (not once, but three times! Yes, I saw them through the window coming down the road), yet nobody answered the door -could it be a sign? Is a literal sign on the door saying “No Solicitations” really going to be necessary?

If I were a different person, or if I gave in to my baser nature, I could EASILY imagine a scenario where I call the number that called me and say something along the lines of

“Hi! My name is FillInTheBlank and I’m with the Southern Branch of the Souls Without Borders(sort of catchy, no?).

I’d like to talk to you about privacy and respect of people’s personal beliefs. How about if me and several of my fellows come by your house, oh, say right around dinnertime? Maybe on a beautiful Saturday while you’re trying to catch up on yard work or spending some time with your family? We’d like to enlighten you as to the error of your ways of believing – SAVE you from your current state of spiritual ignorance.”

Sigh….

I get the idea. I really do acknowledge all the people who so loudly have an opinion about this subject which they’ve seemingly done so little to try to understand. An “open mind” doesn’t come from one source you draw all your knowledge from. An open mind comes with realizing that the universe is full of countless ineffable things that defy our limited understanding, as everyday people.

And an open mind implies a somewhat open heart. Maybe outside of the boxed and neatly tied package? How can so many just walk around, spouting that they know the truth about all of it?

I do sincerely believe that the Bible is full of eternally relevant thoughts, beautiful teachings, and spiritually valuable lessons. So is the Torah. Metaphorically, it allows for a vast range of interpretations, like many other similar religious and faith-based tomes. Yet so many have used it to divide, to ridicule or criticize, to justify a reason for their way of life, without considering the possibility of an alternative being just as right, sometime even to the point of war. My understanding is that is not what that book, or any of the books, were meant for. I’m not arguing the things many people say are aimed to “save” their fellow people. Really. But is it possible that it may be more helpful to listen than to speak over? Or to live by example according to the principles laid out and be a LIVING example of your beliefs?

To be humble is to know that you know nothing. To realize that even though your beliefs say you are somehow superior to the person beside you, you are the same, made of flesh and bone. And you can keep your faith without espousing it to the people you have not begun to try to know. The Truth, however well you think you may know it, is too far beyond you to fall from your lips. It’s too simple and infinite for we mere mortals.

Mantras?

Keep it simple.

Listen rather than convince.

Respect rather than besiege.

Live and let live.

Accept people as they are, knowing you can’t know everything.

Be open to possibilities.

And finally,

Treat them as you wish to be treated.

Peace,

~me

What’s my legacy?

*This is a re-post from 3/08*

daffodils.jpg

I was driving down the road today and passed a clump of bright daffodils. It wasn’t really that they were extraordinarily bright;

its just that they were in stark contrast to the overgrown weeds and trees that still wore their winter browns.

And the sight made me feel…well, melancholy.

melancholy

adjective

1.

characterized by or causing or expressing sadness; “growing more melancholy every hour”

2.

grave or even gloomy in character; “solemn and mournful music”; “a suit of somber black”; “a somber mood” [syn: somber]

noun


1. a feeling of thoughtful sadness

I know, I know… flowers usually brighten up my day, but these were all that remained of what was once someone’s homestead – their home. The house was long since gone, the trees and underbrush stretching themselves into the void.

But the flowers kept growing where somebody once intentionally planted them, multiplying each year. They were unaware that the hands that dug them a bed and placed them there by the road no longer lived in the world around them.

I doubt they would have cared, if they had the capacity to. They were just doing what flowers were intended to do.

I really do have a reason for all this introspection. I’ve been going through boxes. Boxes of memories. Of pictures of a young girl, dressed in her best Easter dress with a basket of eggs, squinting into the sun … of notes scrawled in childish writing professing things important to them in that space in time…of ribbons won on long, hot afternoon swim meets decades ago … of dolls given by family no longer living, that sat on bedroom shelves, reminding me of the smell of my grandmother’s house at Christmas … of love letters written 20 some odd years ago by the man I still wake up and go to sleep with each day. I think you get the picture. Sitting there amongst WAY too many boxes, I think of the person who planted those flowers, however long ago it was, and wonder,

“What will be MY legacy?”

It surely doesn’t lie in a box. Comforting and nostalgic as all these things may be to me, in 50 years will they still matter? More pertinently, if I died today, the task of going through all of these would fall to someone else. Would they find value in things tied to the past? Probably not in the same way I do, probably not at all. All of my things will pass away with time, just like my grandparents and great-grandparents before me. I can’t imagine what I would do with memorabilia from my parent’s high school years…why would I expect anything different for my children? If these things are SO important that I’ve kept them all this time, then why are they in a box that hasn’t been opened in years?

At least the flowers lived.
daffodils2.jpg

So I try to look at it from a different point of view. As I judicially choose what I just can’t part with (today) – and I’m not exaggerating about being judicious – I try and think of what my family would find in these boxes. If I can’t find permanence or a piece of personal history, I chuck it. I certainly can’t take it with me! I look for opportunities to plant the the same type of memories that these THINGS represent to me instead. Moments of laughter, tears, music, and love that will live on in the souls of those that I love when time has warped the papers, faded the pictures, and age has rendered fragile the things that were witness to them.

I think I will plant myself some flowers by the road ~ daylilies, peonies, freesias, and irises – all in a clump together.

And of course, some daffodils.

~me

An Instrument of Peace

Worth a repost, the following post came into my reader. Having to do with St. Francis’ prayer, it arrived at the perfect moment for me. =) Enjoy!

Namaste,

~me

(From Wayne Dyer’s website)

Being Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
The Prayer of St. Francis

You can become an instrument of peace in any given moment of your life by deciding that you are not going to use your mind for anything other than peaceful thoughts. This may sound extreme to you when you take into consideration all the difficult people you have to deal with, your financial picture, the illness of a close relative, the inconsiderate boss you must face, the taxes you owe, as well as outrageous traffic delays, and on and on. Try taking a breather from your habit of continuously looking for occasions to be non-peaceful. Go to that quiet, serene peaceful place within you that is covered by the outer layers of your material life. It is here that you know what being an instrument of peace means. Here, your emphasis is on giving, rather than receiving, peace.

When you are an instrument of peace, you are not seeking anything, you are a peace provider. You do not seek peace by looking into the lives of others and wishing that they would change so that you could become more peaceful. Rather, you bring your own sense of calm to everyone you encounter. You do not go about viewing every circumstance of your life in terms of whether it meets with your standard of peace. Rather, you bring your peaceful countenance to the chaos you encounter and your presence soothes the outer turmoil. Even if the turmoil continues, you have the freedom to choose a peaceful thought, or to quietly remove yourself from the immediate scene. How do you do this? Repeat the words of St. Francis that appear above. Chaotic moments are times to remember that you will not gain your peace from anyone else and that you choose to bring peace to every life situation you encounter.

The most important moments for cultivating this awareness are when you find yourself right smack in the middle of a tumultuous exchange, when someone is argumentative, surly, or irrational and you sense yourself falling into the pandemonium. Usually, in such moments your inclination is to blame all of the external forces for your absence of peace. Begin to look at these situations in a totally new way, one that will help you not only become a delivery person of calmness, but will make you a more reliable and steadfast instrument of peace.

Every Day Another Opportunity

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.

Pericles (via Angie at Pick My Brains Art)

Wandering through my inbox, I found this quote from my good friend Angie. It was followed by a Google Reader feed that also addressed the question of what our purpose is here.  Things that keep popping up in my days I call my “theme” of the week/month/year. So my theme, it would seem, is what I’ve come to believe is what’s important to me and how I honor that principle.

Every moment in my day is an opportunity to try a different way of thinking. To truly SEE with the eyes of gratitude. Each moment offers me a choice – in how I  respond and act, words I choose, etc.  But also and just as important to this soul is choosing the myriad of little, seemingly trivial choices: which thoughts to listen to, choosing to make eye contact with a stranger and smile, choosing what’s more important in a situation, or choosing my motives.

Consciousness is a requirement. I find that when I’m not practicing gratitude, my actions all become rote. I sleepwalk through so many things, so many opportunities that would be lost without making a decision to pay attention to each of the individual moments I’m given.  And at the end of the day I take stock of what would be left behind in that day, should it have been my last.

  • Where was I Love?
  • When did I choose forgiveness?
  • When did I offer charity, even if I wasn’t really feeling like it?
  • Did I offer hope?
  • Did I uplift people in my world that day?

“Everybody knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently…

‘So we kid ourselves about death’

‘Yes, but there’s a better approach. To know you’re going to die and be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can be actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.

Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?‘ … The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live…

Most of us walk around as if we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience the world fully because we’re half asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do…

Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.'” – Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

If we really had that little bird on our shoulder asking us throughout our day if we are ready to die today, we would find gratitude and so much opportunity in every moment. We would appreciate every sunset, every drive or walk,  every phone call from our parents or siblings, every chat with our friends, every taste we experienced through all of our senses, and so on. Urgency, significance, and passion would electrify every moment.

We would remember how significant each human experience is and pinch ourselves regularly as a reminder to appreciate these moments. Every day and every situation and every event would be meaningful and memorable down to the most routine of things.

I choose to imagine that little bird on my shoulder, though some days I’d just as soon he fly away and find some other shoulder to perch upon! But when I’m honest with myself, in my heart of hearts, I like to keep it there as a reminder to stay conscious and present. For its in learning how to die, that I learn how to live.

Namaste,
~me

What if …

(Part 2)

What if

…every negative in our lives that wants to bring us down finds an equal amount of love that will buoy us back up if we embrace it?

…people sought the truth as often as they assume the worst?

…children were the teachers for adults … who have lost the ability to believe?

…the people we love can hear us even after they’re gone?

…we heard a smile and saw joy as tangible?

…the lost time spent was given back as a second chance?

Namaste,

~me

Connectivity

“With each breath, you take into your body 10 sextillion atoms, and — owing to the wind’s ceaseless circulation — over a year’s time you have intimate relations with oxygen molecules exhaled by every person alive, as well as by everyone who ever lived.” ~ Guy Murchie, *The Seven Mysteries of Life*

There has always been talk of being connected. A feeling of being a part of the human race. A kinship felt with others, even when we don’t know them all that well.

I sometimes scratch my head and wonder about people – why they act the way they do, do the things they do, say the things they say.  Try as I might, I sometimes just can’t get my head around what motivates some people. Yet even when I cannot relate, I still can appreciate the things that make us different. Where I am strong, you may need help. Where I fall short, you have the experiences and strengths that balance it all out.

When I say “Namaste” at the end of a posting or at the end of a message, I do so because it is the most complete way I have heard to recognize and be the Love.  It is a way to humbly say, “I recognize that we are all on equal standings, all of us are children of Divinity. We are one.” The literal  interpretation is “the Spirit of God within me recognizes and honors the Spirit of God in you.”

However we may move in this world, we all breathe in the same air. We all have been made each wonderfully flawed so that we really DO need each other in this life. The Divine resides in each of us, just as we hold atoms that have criss-crossed both distance and time to become a part of each and every one of us that breathes.

I dunno much about alot of things, but this one simple truth for me – when I keep it present in my day – helps me to realize that even though some people will continue to baffle me, I can always recognize and honor the spark of the Divine that we have in common.

Namaste,

~me