A Companion That Walks Beside Us …

Empathy is connection … Empathy is connecting with the emotion that someone is experiencing, not the event or the circumstance. …

… Empathy is a strange and powerful thing. There is no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It’s simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting and communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘You’re not alone.’

— Brené Brown from Daring Greatly

 

There’s no way to be spared sorrow. I wouldn’t even wish that upon someone. But we shouldn’t get stuck in our grief; it’s not a permanent address but a companion that walks beside us. Everything I love, I will lose. That’s the harsh truth. You either have to shut down your heart — and miss the love that is around you — or wrestle with that truth and come out the other end. There is indeed such a thing as joyful sorrow. Continue reading “A Companion That Walks Beside Us …”

Autumn Sunset …

Autumn in my part of the world is a season of bounty and beauty. It’s also a season of steady decline—and, for some of us, a slow slide into melancholy. The days become shorter and colder, the trees shed their glory, and summer’s abundance starts to decay toward winter’s death.

I’m a professional melancholic, and for years my delight in the autumn color show quickly morphed into sadness as I watched the beauty die. Focused on the browning of summer’s green growth, I allowed the prospect of death to eclipse all that’s life-giving about fall and its sensuous delights.

Then I began to understand a simple fact: All the “falling” that’s going on out there is full of promise. Seeds are being planted and leaves are being composted as Earth prepares for yet another uprising of green. Continue reading “Autumn Sunset …”

From Acorn Into Oak Tree …

If you took a blue spruce tree and planted it in the desert, it would obviously perish. How do we forget that we too are living systems, and each of us have unique environments, needs, and conditions within which we flourish or wither?
— Dawna Markova from I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

 

You need not, and in fact cannot, teach an acorn to grow into an oak tree; but when given a chance, its intrinsic potentialities will develop. Similarly, the human individual, given a chance, tends to develop his particular human potentialities….In short, he will grow, substantially undiverted, toward self-realization. Continue reading “From Acorn Into Oak Tree …”

The Earth Is Burning (Prayers For The Amazon) …

For us to regard the bomb, the dying seas, or the poisoned air as monstrous injustices would suggest that we never took seriously the injunction to love. Perhaps we thought all along that Gautama and Jesus were kidding, or their teachings meant only for saints. But now we see, as an awful revelation, that we are all called to be saints — not good necessarily, or pious, or devout — but saints in the sense of just caring for each other.
— Joanna Macy from Coming Back to Life (The Injunction to Love)

 

We do not exist outside of nature
or above nature
or independent of nature —
we are simply its most vulnerable part.
— Joan Chittister from Becoming Fully Human

 

Prayer To Future Beings

You live inside us, beings of the future.
In the spiral ribbons of our cells, you are here.
In our rage for the burning forests, the poisoned
fields, the oil drowned seals, you are here. You
beat in our hearts through late night meetings.
You accompany us to clear-cuts and toxic dumps
And the halls of the lawmakers. It is you who drive
our dogged labors to save what is left.

O you who will walk the earth when we are
gone, stir us awake. Behold through our eyes the
beauty of this world. Let us feel your breath in our
lungs, your cry in our throat. Let us see you in the
poor, the homeless, the sick. Haunt us with your
hunger, hound us with your claims, that we may
honor the life that links us.

You have as yet no face we can see, no names
we can say. But we need only hold you in our
mind, and you teach us patience. You attune us
to measures of time where healing can happen,
where soil and souls can mend. You reveal courage
within us we had not expected, love we had not
owned.

O you who come after, help us remember: we are
your ancestors. Fill us with gladness for the work
that must be done.
— Joanna Macy from World as Lover, World as Self: A Guide to Living Fully in Turbulent times

 

The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.
― Albert Einstein

 

An Ancestor Worth Coming From …

I make a prayer now to your old ones,
to those whose face you never saw
and voice you never heard
and name you haven’t known,
that they remember you
while you try to find them remembering you,
that they come at the proper time to gather you in,
that they whisper to you the truth that you haven’t been alone,
and won’t be,
that they know the hard friendship of the ending of days;
I make a prayer that all who were there at your making
will be there for your gathering in,
that their hands will be there just by your opening head,
your little fountain,
to make a home for your sorrowing heart and for you;
I make a prayer that your house and your people
will be blessed by your coming and your going,
that the day will come
when they will boast of for a while having known you,
and will marvel at the way of your going out from among them,
and that you might be reason enough for them to continue for a while,
and that in the days to come
you will be claimed as noble,
as an ancestor worth coming from.
Stephen Jenkinson

 

 

How You Can Help …

Support: The Rainforest Alliance

 

 

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Empathy …

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.
― Thich Nhat Hanh from At Home in the World: Stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk’s Life

 

The way I define spirituality is a deeply held belief that we are inextricably connected to one another by something bigger than us, and something that is grounded in love. Some people call that God …
Brené Brown

 

Continue reading “Empathy …”

The Voice Of Your Own Soul …

Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work.
— Adrienne Rich from On Lies, Secrets, and Silence

When you take the time to draw on your listening-imagination, you will begin to hear this gentle voice at the heart of your life. It is deeper and surer than all the other voices of disappointment, unease, self-criticism and bleakness. All holiness is about learning to hear the voice of your own soul. It is always there and the more deeply you learn to listen, the greater surprises and discoveries that will unfold. To enter into the gentleness of your own soul changes the tone and quality of your life. Your life is no longer consumed by hunger for the next event, experience or achievement.

Continue reading “The Voice Of Your Own Soul …”

Love Is The Superstar Virtue Of Virtues …

If we are stretching to live wiser and not just smarter, we will aspire to learn what love means, how it arises and deepens, how it withers and revives, what it looks like as a private good but also a common good. I long to make this word echo differently in hearts and ears—not less complicated, but differently so. Love as muscular, resilient. Love as social—not just about how we are intimately, but how we are together, in public. I want to aspire to a carnal practical love—eros become civic, not sexual and yet passionate, full-bodied. Because it is the best of which we are capable, loving is also supremely exacting, not always but again and again. Love is something we only master in moments. It crosses the chasms between us, and likewise brings them into relief. It is as captive to the human condition as anything we attempt. Continue reading “Love Is The Superstar Virtue Of Virtues …”