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Devotion and transformation

“In every religious tradition there is a practice of devotion and a practice of transformation . . .
Devotion means trusting more in ourselves and in the path we follow. Transformation means to practice the things this path imposes on us.”

Thich Nhat Hanh in Living Buddha, Living Christ
city street with a large tree in the middle
Trusting in the path, and growing through what it brings us to do.

2019 New Year glass: Half empty, half full of potential

Are you a half full or half empty kind of person?

Perhaps an impartial view is best? The glass is neither half full or half empty; it just is.

No matter how you see your glass, it is yours to do with as you wish. You can choose to drink from it and savour the contents, or empty it and fill it with something else, or add something to it to make it more interesting.

Your 2019 New Year glass is here, and there’s one thing it’s full of: potential.

Savour it. Fill it up. Make it interesting.

half-full glass

Thanksgiving for Today: Hafiz

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada, may everyone in the world move slowly over the lines on God’s palm with hearts full of wonder and kindness, as Hafiz would have wanted.


TODAY

I
Do not
Want to step so quickly
Over a beautiful line on God’s palm
As I move through the earth’s
Marketplace
Today.

I do not want to touch any object in this world
Without my eyes testifying to the truth
That everything is
My Beloved.

Something has happened
To my understanding of existence
That now makes my heart always full of wonder
And kindness.

I do not
Want to step so quickly
Over this sacred place on God’s body
That is right beneath our
Own foot.

As I
Dance with
Precious life
Today.

a-line-on-God's-palm

A line on God’s palm

Wow! Completion and gratitude in one word

Photo courtesy of Franco Folini on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Franco Folini
on Flickr

Wow.

The word we say when we don’t think we’re going to say anything at all. But then something stupendously perfect and surprising appears before us, and the word leaps out of our mouths before we know we have the need to speak.

A silver coyote flits across a path lit by the twilight. For an instant he gleams with feral beauty.

Wow.  What a perfect complete moment. How grateful we are for the experience. 

The word we say when an artist’s performance surpasses all expectations. When his voice echoes away and the room falls silent, in the suspension pause, we whisper the word before our hands come together in applause.

Wow.  What a perfect complete moment. How grateful we are for the experience. 

The word we say when overcome by the essence of a moment. When we witness a birth or a death—any birth or any death—the word slips out through our tears as we acknowledge the inexplicable “somethingness” and “nothingness” of life.

Wow.  What a perfect complete moment. How grateful we are for the experience. 

The word we say when we overflow with gratitude for the kindness of others. When a friend fills a need, when a stranger lends a hand, or when goodness comes to us in a quantity grander than we could have ever imagined, we shake our heads and all we can summon is, “Wow.”

Wow. Completion and gratitude all in one word. What are your wow moments?

Wow!

A small epiphany: Thanks fully

epiph·a·ny: noun \i-ˈpi-fə-nē\

: a Christian festival held on January 6 in honor of the coming of the three kings to the infant Jesus
: a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way

— definition from http://www.merriam-webster.com

Epiphany: a time to contemplate moments from our past when sudden shafts of light of understanding remove shadows from events or concepts. Epiphany moments make us pause; they bring us up short. Sometimes they send the path of our life off in a direction 90° from where it was moments before. Sometimes we raise our hands high in the air and shout with the joy of illumination. Sometimes we spend some time thinking and absorb the new information into our brain library.

I’m sure you remember such moments in your own life. Everyone has some. 

I had a small one earlier this week. A friend of mine is undergoing cancer treatments, and in a recent Facebook post he shared some details of his radiation treatment experience. He chose to share the information widely to answer to the inquiries he receives, and I expect the sharing had therapeutic value for him too.

In his post he wrote about being bolted down and inserted into the radiation machine. He speculated about what a challenge the small space would be for people who are claustrophobic. “Thanks fully I’m not,” he wrote. 

When I was reading his post I paused at this point. The phrase brought me up short. He could have written “Thankfully I’m not,” but he didn’t. His way of writing that phrase conveyed the depth of his gratitude in a way that the words “thank” and “fully” crammed together would not.

Joining those two words together diminishes each one; together they are not stronger, but weaker.

I have spent some time thinking about this new information, and I have absorbed it into my brain library.

In future, when my gratitude is deep, when I want to use the strongest phrasing to convey it, I will let “thanks” and “fully” stand alone in their power.

A small epiphany prompted by a friend facing big challenges. Thanks fully. 

winter-waiting

Remembered love and remembered slights

“I would like, belatedly, to thank the people of Canada for a kindly gesture. When I was at primary school toward, and just after, the end of the Second World War, in bomb-damaged Liverpool, we all received a large, red, eating apple. The boxes were marked “From the people of Canada.”
I have never forgotten this and now, after nearly 70 years, I am able, with the help of the Internet, to finally say thank you. Canada’s gift made many little boys and girls very happy. It just shows how a small gesture can make a big difference.
Thank you, once again, Canada.”

This letter, written by Ray Mitcham of Southport, Merseyside, U.K., appeared in the Ottawa Citizen this week.

Wow.

I read it once. I read it again. And then I read it a third time.

Such a small thing: A splash of bright red juiciness in the bleak, grey aftermath of war. Remembered. 

One small Canadian act of love harboured warmly in his heart, for a lifetime, moved him to express gratitude.

Then I thought Imagine if the remembered moment was not a happy one. Imagine if the bright red juiciness was blood, not an apple. Imagine how he would harbour that in his heart. Imagine what he would be moved to do in response. 

That’s why there’s still war and conflict. People harbour moments in their hearts, and if the remembered moments are of pain or death, it moves them to express hatred, not gratitude.

That’s why we have to do better, to try harder, to give more. People don’t just remember the big things; they remember the little things, too. They hold onto those bright, red, juicy moments—good or bad—for a lifetime.

Better apples than the alternative, I think. 

____________________

See the original letter here: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Thank+Canada/9461528/story.html

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