I'm reading the latest issue of Parabola. In an article by Ram Dass he describes a talk he gave many years ago to a group of young, hippie explorers about altered states of consciousness . In the audience was a woman about 70 who wore a hat with "little fake cherries and strawberries and things like that on it. …She wearing black oxfords and a print dress, and she had a black patent leather bag. I looked at her and I couldn't figure out what she was doing in the audience. She looked so dissimilar to the rest." Ram Dass goes on to say that this woman was nodding and looking as though she related to what he was saying, so afterwards he went to speak to her.
"She came up and said, 'Thank you so much. That makes perfect sense. That's just the way I understand the universe to be.' And I said, 'How do you know? I mean, what have you done in your life that brought you into those kinds of experiences?' She leaned forward very conspiratorially, and she said, 'I crochet.' And at that moment I realized that people arrive at spiritual understanding through a much wider spectrum of experience than I ever imagined."
I just loved this! I am reminded once again - make no assumptions. Many times in my own work with people I have encountered the "unlikely looking people" being the ones who teach me most about depth and sacred discovery in their spiritual journeys.
(PS: I don't wear hats with fake cherries and I don't crochet … but I am an 'about 70' spiritual explorer - and I knit!!)
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Valerie Weisler’s story begins like this: “I grew up thinking I had no worth. My peers bullied me every day for making friends with the odd ones out – the new kid [at school], the deaf janitor, the nine-year-old boy who skipped two grades.” To read the full story of what she did about the bullying and feeling she had no worth, click here.
I am inspired by a lot of young people who don't just complain about "the way the world is" but set out to do something about it. Valerie is a case in point. Her decision to make others know and feel their own worth led to the Validation Project which now has branches in all 50 states of the USA and in a dozen other countries. See the website here.
Let's join in! Who have I made smile today? Who has felt a greater sense of value and worth by my presence (with or without words.)
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Easter is late this year but maybe that's good as the beginning of Lent is not far away and we have time to prepare for good ways to use this time of reflection. Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season and is on the 5th of March. The website Spirituality and Practice has some excellent on-line retreat options for the six weeks of Lent. The link to one based on Brian McLaren's writings is here.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Invited you to a party
In the ballroom tonight
Will be my special
How would you then treat them
And Hafiz knows
There is no one in this world
His Jeweled Dance
from The Gift Translator Daniel Ladinsky
from The Gift Translator Daniel Ladinsky
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Saturday, February 1, 2014
I am challenged by this quote about three kinds of generosity:"We can consciously develop the quality of generosity. The Buddhist scriptures speak of three kinds of giving. Step by step, they point the way to increasing happiness by opening the heart. The first is known as "beggarly giving". Perhaps you have something in your closet which has been gathering dust for eons and, after some deliberation, you finally decide to pass it on. Even though it is clearing space for new clothes, you still feel a twinge of concern that you might need it someday yourself. The second kind of generosity is called "friendly giving". You have enough of something you value, or it wouldn't really hurt to let go of something you enjoy using, so you give it to someone. This giving is rather fun and easy with no feeling of sacrifice. The most noble generosity is called "kingly or queenly giving". You give what you prize highly even if it is a sacrifice on your part. It's the kind of generosity I've seen in some cultures when I've traveled. I learned quickly not to admire objects or articles of clothing, because no matter how poor the owner, I was likely to be the immediate recipient."
Awakening to Joy James Baraz & Shoshanna Alexander