Tag Archives: we are all connected

And So I Pray

In every life, a little rain must fall so flowers can grow and hearts can learn to weather the storms and break open in Love. Pgs 28 – 29. Sheltered Wonder art journal

When I started this Sheltered Wonder art journal project, I wrote out the Wonder Rules to guide me. The reason for the journal is clear – to identify, acknowledge and celebrate the things I’ve learned, experienced, grown through, been challenged by and challenged during the sequestered solitude of Covid.

There have been so many moments where fear rose up, threatening to consume my peace of mind. It was through spending time in nature and in my studio that I was able to grapple with my fear so that I could find my calm even in its presence.

There have also been moments that absolutely took my breath away. Moments where the beauty of the world around me outweighed the sorrow and grief.

And, there have been moments where I felt like I was drowning in sorrow and grief. It has been here, in my studio, creating and writing, that I have found comfort, insight, healing, grace.

In this bubble in which I live, life flows as effortlessly as the river outside my window.

I struggle some days to align my world with what is going on in the world around me. And right now, that means how do I Share Grace, the fifth Wonder Rule, with my neighbours to the south where violence and death tolls continue to mount as the unrest boils over and Covid ravages lives daily.

There is little I can do in the physical world to change the course of events outside my own sphere of influence.

There is lots I can do in the metaphysical world, and also in this ‘cyber world’ where we meet up and share and learn and grow.

And that is, to practice every minute of every day, the art of sharing grace.

The issues that are impacting our US neighbours are deep and profound. Sitting here, north of the 49th parallel, it can tempting to sit in judgement. To cast aspersions upon those in leadership roles, those in power and control, those breaking the laws, those upholding them.

Grace means, I don’t do that. I cannot share darkness. I must share only light.

Light comes in many forms. For me, to add value (which is part of the fourth Wonder Rule – Find Value ) – my light must come in the form of my prayers. I must use my prayers to override any commentary I might want to make so that it is only my prayers that ripple out into the world for peace, understanding, compassion and healing for my neighbours to the south and all the world.

Just as the girl in the painting is carrying a bouquet of flowers to the tree surrounded by a field of wildflowers, I can only add my prayers to the millions of prayers going out to our US neighbours and to the world.

And so, I pray. In rain and sun, under grey skies or blue, I pray.

And I send my prayers out to the sky, the trees, the air, to the river of love flowing to those whose hearts are breaking, those whose lives are ending, those who are carrying burdens that feel too heavy and are falling under the weight. Those who are fighting for and against the turmoil of these times.

Those who are standing in confusion, fear, worry, sadness, sorrow, grief. Those crying in the darkness of their grief, those crying out for mercy, those calling out for the violence to stop, those calling out for change to happen now.

I pray and in my prayers grace finds me and hope embraces me. Hope for our neighbours to the south. For the world still struggling to come out from under the yoke of Covid. Those still struggling to come to grips with the loss of those they love, the life they had, the life they knew as normal. Those praying for peace. For change. For relief. For life.

I pray and send my prayers and my Love out into the world. It is the only way I can Share Grace.

May we all know peace. May we all know Love. May we all find the courage to heal what separates and divides us. May we all embrace our differences and celebrate our humanity as one people, one world, one human race.

And so I pray.

Namaste.

Share a Hug | 52 Acts of Grace | Week 4

 

acts of grace week 4 copy

When in an open-hearted space and place like the Choices Seminar room, it is easy to give generously. Of yourself. Your time. Your treasures and talents.

At the hotel where the Choices Seminar is held, participants are encouraged to be generous with their tipping — we are a large group and can at times overwhelm restaurant staff and other areas of the hotel. Being at Choices meant Week 3’s Act of Grace invitation to show my appreciation for people who served me was easy to fulfill on.

It also means, it takes me a few days to get out of “Choices” mode out in the ‘real world’. To not greet everyone I meet, whether in meetings or on the elevator, or in my office with a hug.

Maybe I should change that!

One of the things I say in the Choices room is that my dream is to create a world ‘out there’ like it is in here so that I can effortlessly be ‘out there’ as I am, as I feel, as I breathe in the Choices room. A place where everyone has the opportunity to feel loved, safe, supported. A place where mistakes are celebrated as opportunities to grow and learn and do better. Where people believe in themselves. Find their voices and sing out loud. Celebrate who they are. Love themselves in every condition.

And one way to create it that way, no matter where I am, is to offer hugs. To simply not listen to that voice in my head that whispers, “Don’t hug. They’ll think you’re weird. You’re invading their space. You’re being pushy. You’re over-stepping…”

Hugs are a powerful communication tool. Hugs require no special equipment. They’re easy to give and take. Hugs connect us and create a powerful bond between our humanity.

Yesterday, as I approached a table where a hotel staff was selling tickets for the Sunday Brunch, I didn’t even have a chance to say hello before she stood up, opened her arms and walked towards me. We shared a hug and then went about the business of the Sunday Brunch ticket, both of us smiling broadly.

What a wonderful gift!

To know that hugging means as much to the staff as it does to me. To know we are connected.

And let me be clear — 10 years ago, you would not have caught me hugging strangers, hotel staff, or most people for that matter.

Now, I love hugs. I love how for a moment, two people stand silently together, take a breath and simply share human touch and a moment.

Make special moments this week. Share your warmth and generosity of spirit through hugs.

May we all take care of our planet Earth

Film-maker, Louie Schwartzberg, has been filming time-lapse video of flowers for years. The work, he says in his powerful Ted Talk, The Hidden Beauty of Pollination, is something he will never grow tired of. “It fills me with wonder, and it opens my heart.”

To be filled with wonder. To walk through each moment with my heart wide open is my intent every morning when I awaken. In the summer, I walk into our garden and marvel at the colour, the beauty, and the wonder of it all. How from a tiny seed set in earth, such luscious beauty can grow never ceases to amaze me. How a bumblebee can buzz around a flower, sip its nectar and go off to create honey is a constant wonder to me. I love to watch the Hops grow and climb up the wall of the garage — they grow so quickly I swear I can see each leaf unfolding! I love to hear the splashing of the water in the fountain, the rustle of the breeze whispering in the branches of the crab apple tree, the birds twittering at the feeder.

Time in the garden opens my heart to awe and wonder.

Yesterday, my beautiful friend BA sent me a link to view just the video from Louie’s Ted Talk. I knew I had seen it before so went in search of the entire presentation.

I’m glad I did.

In his words and through the beauty and wonder of his video, I was reminded once again of the incredible gift of being alive on this planet. I was reminded of how precious each and every life and life form is and of how we are all inter-dependent upon one another. How we are all connected. All breathing in the same air. All walking on the same earth.

We live on a precious planet. We live in challenging times. As I read of a plane being downed by a missile, of human beings being killed by one another, of animals being harmed by humans, of pain and desolation, destruction, and more, I can sometimes lose hope. I can sometimes lose sight of the power of life itself and forget about how precious this life is and what a gift it is to be alive, in this time, in this place, in this moment.

There are so many things in this world I cannot change, cannot undo, cannot prevent. But there is always something I can do to make this moment better, to create beauty in the world around me, to send out ripples of peace and love and joy and harmony.

There is always something I can do.

This morning, that something is to share with you Louie Schwartzberg’s Ted Talk so that you too can hear his words and watch the video he created. May we all take Louie’s words to heart:

“When I heard about the vanishing bees, Colony Collapse Disorder, it motivated me to take action. We depend on pollinators for over a third of the fruits and vegetables we eat. And many scientists believe it’s the most serious issue facing mankind. It’s like the canary in the coalmine. If they disappear, so do we. It reminds us that we are a part of nature and we need to take care of it.

 I realized that nature had invented reproduction as a mechanism for life to move forward, as a life force that passes right through us and makes us a link in the evolution of life. Rarely seen by the naked eye, this intersection between the animal world and the plant world is truly a magic moment. It’s the mystical moment where life regenerates itself, over and over again.”

May we each know the wonder and awe of being connected to life all around us and to one another. May we all take care of our planet Earth.

 

Ubuntu – I am what I am because of who we all are

DIFFERENCES ARE NOT INTENDED TO SEPARATE, TO ALIENATE. WE ARE DIFFERENT PRECISELY IN ORDER TO REALIZE OUR NEED OF ONE ANOTHER.
~ DESMOND TUTU ~

When I first see them, they are just two men walking down the street in opposite directions on the same sidewalk.

The moment transcends ‘normal’ in one instant. As the two men pass eachother, one of the men strikes out and shoves the other man off the sidewalk onto the roadway. He falls to the ground and the other man continues to walk away.

The man on the ground jumps up. His hands are balled into fists. For one moment, he takes a belligerent stance, and then it’s gone. He’s standing facing the retreating back of the other man, his shoulders slumped forward, his arms hang loosely by his side.

I am sitting in my car, about to drive down the lane, away from the shelter where I used to work when this scene unfolded in front of me.

I am stunned. Bewildered.

I stop my car. Get out and approach the man who is still standing in the laneway. “Are you okay?” I ask.

He turns towards me. He is in his 50s, maybe 40s but it can be hard to tell sometimes how old someone who has lived the ‘streetlife’ really is, ‘the street’ can make you appear ten to fifteen years older.

“Yeah. I’m fine.” And he shrugs his shoulders and starts to walk towards the shelter.

“Is there anything I can do?” I ask.

He sighs. “No. I just got off work. I don’t wanna make no trouble. I just wanna lay down.”

I leave him, get back in my car and turn around back to the shelter. I follow him into the building. I want to make sure he’s okay.

At the security desk I wait until he’s checked in. “I’m sorry that happened to you,” I say. And I touch his shoulder with one hand.

“Yeah. Thanks.”

Tears form in his eyes. I wonder when someone last spoke to him kindly when he’s been hurt. Offered comfort. A gentle voice.

“Can I give you a hug?” I ask.

He looks at me surprised. “Sure. That would be nice.”

Later, at my meditation class I am deeply relaxed when our guide instructs us to ‘walk into the desert.’

“Walk with no intention,” says our guide. “There’s a figure walking towards you. Welcome them. See who it is.”

It is the man. Not the one who was thrown to the ground. It is the perpetrator.

He is a dark shadow. Dark clothes. Dark hair. Shrouded.

As he walks towards me I want to shake him. Rattle him. Ask him why he did it. Do something to ‘make him see’.

And I realize, he cannot see me. His world is too dark. Too shadowed to see there is light all around. He is beaten down in the darkness.

I stand and hold the light around him. It is all that I can do.

It was a powerful realization. To know that there was nothing I could do to ‘make him see’, or hear or be anyone or anywhere other than that moment right there.

In that realization I knew – he didn’t see the man he shoved. He saw — his past, the pain and anger of the moment, his powerlessness to change the past, his anger at the moment.

It doesn’t make what he did right. It does make my witnessing of what he did more understandable to me.

Sometimes people do things that hurt others. They strike out — with hands and fists and words and weapons of destruction. They strike out and we rail against the injustice, the inhumanity, the cruelty of what they did believing we would never do the same.

Standing in the desert in front of that man, I knew — I was capable of those same actions. His darkness exists in me because I can see it.

The only difference is — he can not yet see there is light within that darkness.

In Africa there is a word — Ubuntu. It means — ‘human-ness’, Humanity to others — “I am what I am because of who we all are”.

I cannot be me unless you are you and you cannot be you if I am not me.

That man’s darkness cannot exist without my darkness. And my light cannot exist without his light.

For him to see his light, I must be my darkness and light. Hold true to my being, without being pulled into darkness.

May we all be inspired by the power of our ability to inspire others, to be our most incredible selves, even in the face of darkness.

May we all live the truth of Ubuntu so that each of us can live peacefully in the light of knowing, we are all connected in our human-ness.