Collecting Tears

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May our tears collect in an ocean of active compassion

“I collect all your tears.  I am the God of Love.  I am life.”  I have been releasing tears and asking a loving god to collect them since my church shared that our pastor’s credentials are again under review for once again officiating at the marriage of a gay couple.  How long must we spend energy and time on these reviews, energy and time sorely needed to do the ministry of Christianity: Loving?

Comfort and inspiration have come to me from watching the 1993 film, “Philadelphia,” the story of Andre Beckett’s struggle to receive justice from the law firm that fired him because he was a gay man dying of AIDS.  This character’s integrity and courage represent hundreds of real men and women who have suffered through the stigma reserved for those who live outside familiar “norms” of society;  men and women whose sacrifices now sustain others.  If you missed this film or were moved by it the first time, now might be the time to visit it.

As he awakens to the unavoidable truth of his impending death, Andrew Beckett listens to the aria “La Mamma Morta,” and experiences pure ecstasy, in the sense of standing outside of oneself.  He becomes one with the god who is love, who is life itself with the god who “collects his tears.”  Listen.  Open.  Be comforted.

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La Mamma Morta, The Dead Mother,” is an aria from Umberto Giordano’s opera, “Andrea Chenier,” composed in 1896.  It is sung by a daughter whose mother died protecting her during the upheavals of the French Revolution.

 

Libretto

They killed my mother
at the door of my room
She died and saved me.
Later, at dead of night,
I wandered with Bersi,
when suddenly
a bright glow flickers
and lights were ahead of me
in the dark street!
I looked –
My childhood home was on fire!
I was alone!
surrounded by nothingness!
Hunger and misery
deprivation, danger!
I fell ill,
and Bersi, so good and pure
made a market, a deal, of her beauty
for me –
I bring misfortune to all who care for me!
It was then, in my grief,
that love came to me.
A voice full of harmony says,
“Keep on living, I am life itself!
Your heaven is in my eyes!
You are not alone.
I collect all your tears
I walk with you and support you!
Smile and hope! I am Love!
Are you surrounded by blood and mire?
I am Divine! I am oblivion!
I am the God who saves the World
I descend from Heaven and make this Earth
A heaven! Ah!
I am love, love, love.”
And the angel approaches with a kiss,
and he kisses death –
A dying body is my body.
So take it.
I am already dead matter!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_mamma_morta

 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.easyfreeclipart.com/sad-face-with-tears-clipart.html

 

Sending Loving Kindness to Furloughed Government Workers

 

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The Scream Edvard Munch

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/mysterious-motives-behind-theft-scream-180964531/

 

 

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Loving kindness Meditation

https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/loving_kindness_meditation

My Soul Is My Soul

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I was recently introduced to a children’s song about respect for body. These lines caught my attention:

“My body’s nobody’s body but mine.
You run your body, let me run mine.”

Peter Alsop, entertainer, counselor, psychologist

I am taken aback by its stark, bold truth. It carries a wake-up power that summons us to respect. What if we paraphrased these lines to read:

“My soul’s no one’s soul but mine.
You run your soul, let me run mine.”

Thoughts translated into words are an energy that either affirms or negates its intended target. Yet, we pass easy judgment on the process of one another’s spiritual development as though we have that right and as though we actually know the heart of someone else.

In their book, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald describe their study which concluded that every human being fills in what we don’t know with what we think we know. We develop Mindbugs which keep us from seeing reality clearly. E. Adelson defines them as “ingrained habits of thoughts that lead to errors in how we perceive, remember, reason, and make decisions.” Banaji and Greenwald point out that mindbugs can be so powerful that they can cause us to more often remember things that didn’t happen than things that did happen. Given this research, I ask, Who has the moral authority to judge the status of someone’s soul? Is it not deserving of as much respect as our body?

There is a place for professional discernment, even for nonprofessional discernment for the sake of protecting our souls from intrusion. However, we must always be aware that we have mindbugs and try to get out of their way as we discern. Otherwise, discernment becomes judgment of motives and choices .To pass on judgments made out of our mindbugs is not only irresponsible, it is often just an act of self-aggrandizement. If the other is down, I am up.

Isn’t the task of running my own soul monumental enough without trying to run other’s souls? Leave it, I say.

“My soul’s no one’s soul but mine.
You run your soul, let me run mine.”

A Spiritual Practice

My spiritual practice comes in the form of a pause. I try to pause before I judge. I breathe in respect and release fear. I breathe in love and release judgment. Once in a while it works. Our human instinct is to protect our ego, but the pause interrupts the knee-jerk impulse to insert our ego into the unknown spaces of the other. The pause lets in the Spirit who sees reality as it is.

Photo Credit:  Pixabay.com

 

Advent

Light from Light Holy Night 2

Darkness is a gathering time, a state set apart from the glare of light in which we can see what is real.

In the dark we sit with the energy generated in the light and try to make sense of it. We sift through, “clinging to what is luminous in ourselves, in others, and in life itself,” and releasing unwanted ego energy.  We brood our way through the darkness back into light, illuminating the way for fellow pilgrims, each bound for their own Bethlehem.

So we begin.  Advent 2018.  See you on the way.

 

A Spiritual Practice for Recovery

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Last week I had total hip replacement. One way I prepared for it was by imagining myself in three months walking upright, sans pain, sans cane. Walking not just three blocks, but three miles! It was an effective incentive that served me well. Still serves me well.

I find that now it serves me better to live authentically in this liminal time of recovery. As seers say, live in the now. I am trying to be faithful to a grounding meditation in which I release unwanted ego energy (“I should increase my walk today”) into the earth, and draw healing energy from the earth into my hip and leg and whole body. Without that ego clamor I am then able to hear my body tell me what it can and can’t do. This liminal time between disability and ability has become sacred to me. I can only imagine what other lessons will present themselves in the weeks ahead.

Please leave us a note about practices you have for dealing with the in-between times of your life.

Peace,
Rita

 

 

photo credit: twiga269 ॐ FEMEN <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/24257706@N07/5432841163″>Closeup of a Crevasse, we had just jump over !-)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Dealing With Unwanted Energy

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Yesterday, when I read Anita Neilson’s excellent post, “I Beat the Blues.”  I was unaware how saturated I was with energy that wasn’t doing me any good at all.  “Depressed,” or “The Blues” didn’t ring true for the state in which I found myself, but Anita’s post was the catalyst I needed to release myself.

I find it a gift and a curse to have a heightened awareness of energy.  I am consistently aware of that, but inconsistently faithful to protecting myself from the sometimes intense or negative energy of others.  Political dissonance is causing even folks of good will to cast blame onto others of good will and that energy hangs out with the truly malignant energy spewing out of hate mongers.  I realized that I wasn’t taking well enough care of myself.

So I begin again.  I am blessed with the privilege of solitude and silence, so I usually remember to center, but I need to do it in the day’s middle as well as its beginning.  I’ve been forgetting to ground myself, which is essential for me to manage the energy I pick up.  The  meditation podcast that Anita recommends in her post is excellent.  I found tremendous relief from the centering/grounding meditation I found there.  A walk outside on the earth and in intimacy with trees returned my sense of rootedness.  I selected a glorious red leaf and stone to grace my inside altar. Spritzing  water all around my body helped me shake off accumulated energy that kept me on edge.

I cannot afford to be careless.  I really must intentionally protect myself from energy bombardment.  These are only a few ways to do that.  A simple google search with keywords  “energy-protection,” will yield many suggestions for those in need.

I feel so much better now.  Thank you, Anita.  May I remember to faithfully care for myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Not Swollen Cities Suffocate

 

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Like a Metal That Hasn’t Been Mined

by Rainer Maria Rilke

You, mountain, here since mountains began,
slopes where nothing is built, peaks that no one has named,
eternal snows littered with stars,
valleys in flower offering fragrances of earth….

Do I move inside you now?
Am I within the rock
like a metal that hasn’t been mined?
Your hardness encloses me everywhere….

Or is it fear I am caught in?
The tightening fear of the swollen cities in which I suffocate….

The Book of Hours III, 2

in A Year with Rilke: Readings from the Best of Rainer Maria Rilke
trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

 

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Call me a pantheist. I don’t mind. I am one with my cat, so why not with a mountain? Sherlock just jumped onto the table and has boldly pushed his way into my arms. I lay my head on him and feel the deep resonant purring. Our breaths synchronize and for that moment all is well. It isn’t enough that I observe momentarily. To become one with nature takes time. Time enough to blend breathing.

When I feel suffocated in the city, and all the politics that come with it, I need to immerse myself in nature to the point of saturation. Only then can I return to the city strong enough not to lose my self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: diana_robinson <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/62501682@N00/41437040220″>Seattle skyline from Kerry Park, Seattle, Washington</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

photo credit: Onasill ~ Bill Badzo <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7156765@N05/40223073965″>Mount Hood – Oregon – USA</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;