Monday, April 10, 2017

Today's Gem of Grace in the Gray Areas

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”


                                                            ( Howard Thurman, theologian)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Today's Gem of Grace in the Gray Areas

“Fear is the cheapest room in the house.  I would like to see you living in better conditions.”  
                                                     (Hafiz)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Spiritual Practices for Dealing with Trump

I belong to a spiritual friends group, and at our last meeting one of our members posed the question, “How do we develop spiritual practices to deal with all the hate coming from the Trump administration?”

One thing is that while it’s important to stay informed and be part of forums for discussion on current events, it’s also important not to drown in the barrage of bad news, so put some realistic limits on your exposure.  I know I’ve had to take myself off social media some days as I sank into despair in the constant news of yet another outrage from our new administration and righteous anger from my Facebook friends.

Our group talked about how meditation worked for some people as a coping practice, but not all of us.  For some, meditative practices take the form of yoga or playing the piano, for example, or spiritual reading.

We agreed that as part of our spiritual practice we needed to somehow push back, to feel we were making a difference. Sometimes this will mean taking to the streets again in protest, as some of our members did for the recent Women’s March.  But small but insistent incursions on our communities’ woes, like volunteering for a good cause, while not solving all the country’s problems, do carve out a sphere of good in a sea of bad.

Another way to push back is by donating to a cause that benefits one targeted by Trump, like the Human Rights Campaign for LGBT advocacy and Planned Parenthood for women’s rights. Even a small donation can make a difference when it’s multiplied by many people.

Perhaps most important of all is the purest way to deal with hate, and that is with love.  All of us in the group knew intellectually that this was right, but in all our imperfect, Buddhist-learning good intentionedness would find it challenging to put into practice.  So we will put our love out there maybe not for the source of the hate, but for those under fire from it.

The trick is to be able to cultivate hope in the midst of an environment that can so easily create hopelessness, not only for those directly affected by new executive orders, for example, but also for all of us who worry for the present and future of our country and our world.  Me, remembering the admonition that there are no atheists in foxholes, I’ve added prayer to my arsenal of spiritual practices. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year's Resolutions for Not-So-Perfect People

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions because I think they put too much pressure on us to be perfect versions of ourselves, which I think is an impossibility.  But I got in the spirit the other night of what I prefer to think of as promises to ourselves, and came up with a few I thought I could keep.  Some are uniquely mine but others may resonate with you, too.

  • Keep the faith.  In the face of a Trump presidency this is going to be the hardest resolution but the most important.

  • Spend more time with friends.

  • Practice forgiveness—especially towards yourself.

  • Exercise.  Getting up and down from your recliner a few times a night doesn’t count.

  • Eat better.  A diet of Lean Cuisines for dinners doesn’t do the trick if you have junk food snacks every afternoon.

  • Push yourself harder at work.  Really, really a lot more so you can continue to pay the rent.

  • Get more freelance editing gigs. Editing makes you feel great and puts you in that excellent state of flow.  Plus the extra bread is helpful.

  • Get your creative mojo working again!

  • Dress for work on workdays. You invented Pajama Day as a Sunday tradition--stop turning every day into Pajama Day (a peril of working at home).

  • Stop being such a hermit. Take a class, join a club.  Go to more cultural events. Meet new people.

  • Have fun!


Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

TODAY'S GEM OF GRACE IN THE GRAY AREAS

“Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the constant omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”
                          Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, November 28, 2016

Today's Gem of Grace in the Gray Areas

“Sometimes the days burst open like seedpods and we see thousands of futures, and it’s so much that our throats swell and we can’t do anything but turn away and try and forget that gleaming, all that possibility.  Who could live into such brightness?  Sometimes the days beat their wings slowly so we can take their measures, so we know how lucky we are that we are being given just one moment more.” 

                                       Melanie Gideon, 
                                       The Slippery Year:  A Meditation on Happily Ever After

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October Night

For tonight's full autumn moon:


OCTOBER NIGHT

Magic moon
swollen goddess of the sky
white warm
childish wishes
grownups gazing

Bathing in your light
I am brave
I am calm
I am the wild woman
of the night
Silver and ice
your beams souls entice
Magic moon.


                           Karen Kullgren