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I love what Wendell Berry writes of in this poem.  A Mother’s love
that is so willing to rest always in love.  No matter what little or big
things come up, that love remains.  In other words, those things
that can come up — she ‘pays it no mind’.

Believing in someone is always a force for the good.  It is to merge
Heaven on Earth, as Wendell Berry brilliantly reflects in this tribute
to his Mother.  Enjoy and Happy Mother’s Day!

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To My Mother

I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.

So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,

prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,

and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
to see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it

already given. And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,

where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.

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I was so impressed by a Jeff Foster video today, that I sat down to transcribe parts of it for myself and for all of you. He is one of many gifted spiritual teachers who is helping others practice compassionate awareness with self. I am always up for sharing that wisdom with all of you, so that we can all benefit.

Guest: I’ve been on this journey for more than 20 years…and I still hurt.

 

Jeff Foster: So this word … still — this is a huge one. This is the voice of the mind. After all these years, after all the healing, after all the courses, after all the books, why am I STILL feeling this? That’s one of the big stories of the mind: after all I’ve done, after all my insight, and my clarity, and my healing … why am I STILL feeling this sadness? Why am I still feeling this burning?

 

This word ‘still’ is very interesting because it implies an expectation. ‘By now’, that’s another way of saying it, isn’t it? By now this should be gone, by now I shouldn’t be feeling this. By now is the big lie. By now, is the great dishonoring of your experience. By now, still, I should be over this by now.

 

It’s so violent to ourselves, so cruel, so unkind. So quickly we go into the old story – why are you still here? I thought you would be gone by now. I’m so disappointed. Can you feel the self-violence in that? They just come, all they are asking for is to be allowed here now.

 

We go so quickly into – why are you still here? Seems like such a small thing, but when it comes to the voice of the heart it’s such a huge thing. That’s not the voice of the heart. The heart doesn’t say – why are you still here? The heart says, “aw, you’re here.” There’s no ‘still’, there’s no ‘by now’. There’s only here, there’s only now.

 

This idea that I should be “free from”. That’s the mind’s version of freedom. These are all your children: rage, doubt, joy, sorrow. They are all your children, and they come to you not to punish, or show you how much you failed, but because you are their home.

 

Sadness does not want to be healed. It wants to be held … which is the healing ironically. The word heal and whole are from the same root. It wants to be part of the whole.

 

You are presence. You are home and all these children come to visit you. Sadness will come and visit you, and she’ll leave and come back. If your heart is open, that never has to stop. That’s how you break the cycle of violence.

Back Pocket Wisdom

Image by Rassouli

The words below in quotes are by US Andersen and adapted by Kelly Howell from “The Secret Meditation”.  My comments are sprinkled throughout in italics:

“I know that I am pure in spirit and that I always have been and always will be.”

Breathe in, I am pure in spirit.  Empty the breath into a golden pool immersing you in pure spirit.  Feel what it means to say and feel this about yourself: I am pure in spirit.  Honor whatever comes up and breathe with it.  From the time you were a mere “seed”, you were pure in spirit.  This is a Universal Truth that is an unending, never changing, constant. 

“I am one with Universal Mind and I know this mind is perfect and I may rely upon it for guidance in all of my affairs.”

I am not alone.  I was never really alone, though I could pretend otherwise.  When puzzled for answers, I needn’t try to figure things out all on my own.  I can ask for Divine Guidance at any time.  It is always available to me.  The answers come when I rest in the quiet, open, receptive places.  Actually they come no matter what, but I can’t hear them if I’m not in receiving mode.

“I rely upon this power for guidance in all of my affairs.  I know and recognize my one-ness with all things.  I know that all form and all circumstance are the creation of an Infinite Intelligence that is within and around me.”

By relying upon this power, it leaves my mortal mind with nothing to figure out.  Relying on this power means faith and trust are my constant guides.  Beyond mere words, trust and faith, is the umbilical cord that keeps me continuously connected to Divine Infinite Intelligence.  I take action now when the prompt comes from within, inspired action.

“I know my purpose in life is to reach ever upward and outward to expand in knowledge, and love and unity.  I place my future in Divine hands.  I turn over each problem of my life to that great All Knowing mind to which all things are possible.”

“I am merged with the infinite power of love that surges through me.  The limits and inhibitions of my past are gone and each day is a new birth, another step on my journey towards one-ness with God.  I do not seek, I know.  I do not strive for I am guided.”

How can one not be seduced by: I am merged with the Infinite Power of Love that surges through me?  Doesn’t it make you want to drop everything right now, be still and breathe that precious life giving breath and melt into the arms of Divine Love?  Certain now you are renewed forever lying here, resolve to remember this and return the moment should you ever forget.

This I must repeat:

“The limits and inhibitions

of my past are gone

and each day is a new birth,

another step on my journey

towards one-ness with God.

I do not seek, I know.

I do not strive for I am guided.”

I hope you all enjoyed the writing of US Andersen, Kelly Howell and my comments today.  It moved me to tears.  I plan on printing it, so I can carry it around in my back pocket.

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It was a bright and sunny morning when I walked downstairs and saw this, not one but four 16 oz. glasses, all of which had held milk on the kitchen countertop. My son had consumed them all that morning. Never underestimate the ways in which an awakening can come.

Some background, my son is a 19 yo differently-abled person. A healthy impulse you may have to inhibit or choose what is most personally beneficial, my son does not always have ready access to this.

But back to the glasses. This is important because it’s 20 years of exposure to “A Course in Miracles” and never quite grasping the material fully. So I decided to pick up the workbook lessons from the VERY beginning.

When I got to Lesson 7: I see only the past  ___________. This is when I was graced with a direct experience of the lesson.

I walked downstairs to the morning dishes and I saw four of those 16oz. glasses, with pools of milk drying at their bottoms. I did not see four glasses of milk as if I had never seen them before. Instead, I felt: “Oh no, not again. I can’t take this anymore. When will it stop?” Followed by “I’m so burnt out”.  Every single one of those statements were rooted in the past! And burnout cannot exist without a past, a story, a history, a chain of pain!!

I had a lot of opinions about the empty milk glasses discovery that morning. But just then I said: “I see only the past in this glass.” And all the inner commentary stopped to give way to a broader wisdom.

Seeing the past in this glass was a gateway to seeing just how often thoughts limit me (and even those I love), thoughts imbued with only the meaning I give them. Everything I saw in the glass was the past – the sense of being tired, burnt out. These are constructs of the past that have to be fed regularly to keep the untruth of them going. But if all we have is right here and now, and I’m not fully here, then I’m locked in the past.

Lately, I spend my days checking the credentials of every thought that wants to get a foot in the door, aka scare me, or cause suffering – as soon as I hear their inner commentary – I affirm the truth: I have no neutral thoughts. None of us do actually.

Would you like to know what’s well beyond self-limiting “not neutral thoughts”? I sure did. Even though the Course compels us not to fill the void, I feel a sense of what has to be beyond the limitation, the human propensity to assign meaning to everything. It has to be that all knowing, all encompassing field of infinite potentialities. This is God, Source, Spirit, All That Is.

Still learning and sprouting my wings, but will say “I have no neutral thoughts” is a very powerful exercise to practice during the day. And if you would like to do the daily lessons, many websites and apps now support this.

Be well and at peace my friends.

Whimsy

 

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I came upon him in the forest, imagining that he could be anything.

Perhaps an ancient bearded wooly mammoth.

Or maybe it’s the shroud of the original unicorn.

Maybe it will begin to rise up and stretch after centuries of sleep, and then lean down for me to hop on.

Maybe that’s why they put the horn on top, for the holding on place. And off we would go, where time turns on end, fantasy is reality, and wonder and curiosity are the shiniest coins in my pocket.

 

11585056-abstract-illustration-of-a-glowing-flowerThis quote is from mindfulness teacher Jeff Foster. Below I will append the quote, and then add links where you can get additional quotes from him.

DO YOU EVER GET THE FEELING…?

Do you ever get the feeling 
that you live on the threshold 
of pure possibility? 
That you are life itself, 
and the power that creates galaxies
moves through you? 
And you are that power?
And every thought, every sensation,
every feeling, however intense,
however uncomfortable, however fragile,
is itself an expression of the same power?
That no thought nor sensation is against you?
That you are vast enough to hold it all?
That you are not a person becoming conscious,
nor a seeker seeking that which seekers seek,
but consciousness itself pretending to be 
a person becoming conscious,
seeking itself and delighting in the seeking?
That the wave cannot be divided from the ocean?
That you are the destination and the origin?
That love is closer than the next breath?
And infinite peace is your nature and birthright?

Do you ever get the feeling
that you live on the threshold
of pure possibility?
And all the wonders of the universe 
are already yours?

– Jeff Foster

Yum, isn’t that just so inspiring! You can find more on his Facebook page at Jeff Foster (www.lifewithoutacentre.com) or his main website: http://www.lifewithoutacentre.com.

He writes so many inspirational, heart opening pieces, that I would be spamming you daily if I reposted them, so I hope you get to read and select some of your own favorites.

Buddha Shovels Snow

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It’s been a long time since I posted any poetry from Billy Collins.  He’s an interesting poet – irreverent at times, addressing life even in its difficulty with equal parts depth and humor.   His poetry is accessible to even those who don’t like poetry.
I was having an online conversation with a Northern Michigan friend, speaking in metaphors about how even the most mundane, repetitive work can be honored as sacred.  She began to tell me how much this mirrored her day shoveling snow, and I was immediately reminded of this poem.  So for all my friends out there who weathered the snow and frigid temperatures lately, this is for you:
Shoveling Snow With Buddha

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

~Billy Collins~