The Imperative


There is a lot of negativity and darkness in the world right now. I still don’t believe in war but I can see we need to stop this barbaric and horrific genocide. In the UK, there was a demonstration and it consisted of Muslims holding up signs which said, “They don’t speak for me.” I give these young people my support and I want to praise their bravery to take a stand against the fundamentalists in their countries. It will be important going forward that we remember that not all Muslims are fundamentalists and extremists. Many thousands of them are just like you and I. They don’t want war anymore than we do. They want peace and the ability to live their lives without constant danger and retaliation.

 

“Hunger for love, He looks at you.

Thirsty for kindness, He begs from you.

naked for loyalty, He hopes in you.

Sick and imprisoned for friendship, He wants from you.

Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you.

Will you be that one to Him?”   —Mother Teresa 

 

“What we need is to love without getting tired. How does a lamp burn? Through the continuous input of small drops of oil. What are these drops of oil in our lamps? They are the small things of daily life: faithfulness, small words of kindness, a thought for others, our way of being silent, of looking, of speaking, and of acting. Do not look for Divinity outside of yourself. It is not out there. Divinity is within us. Keep your lamps burning, and you will recognize the Divine.”   —Mother Teresa

 

Rumi was very good friends with Shams Tabriz. He absorbed all of the traditions and doctrines in the ocean of reality. The way that Rumi and Shams clarified for the world of mystical experience is their continuously unfolding friendship. The source of that friendship-sunlight, everything the sun lights, and the mystery of the inner sun-is what he worships. This is a difficulty some traditional believers have with Rumi: he does not stress the distance  between human beings and the Beloved, but rather he stresses the remembered intimacy. Rumi taught a continuous conversation with the Beloved.

 

Coming up on September

 

White butterflies, with single

black finger paint eyes on their wings,

dart and settle, eddy and mate

over the green tangle of vines

in Labor Day morning stream.

 

The years grinds into ripeness

and rot, grapes darkening.

pears yellowing, the first 

Virginia creeper twining crimson,

the grasses, dry straw to burn.

 

The New Year rises, beckoning

across the umbrellas on the sand.

I begin to reconsider my life.

What is the yield of my impatience?

What is the fruit of my resolve?

 

I turn from my frantic white dance

over the jungle of productivity

and slowly a niggun slides,

cold water down my throat.

I rest on a leaf spotted red.

 

Now is the time to let the mind

search backwards like the raven loosed

to see what can feed us. Now,

the time to cast the mind forward

to chart an aerial map of the months.

 

The New Year is a great door

that stands across the evening and Yom

Kippur is the second door. Between them are song and silence, stone and clay pot 

to be filled from within myself.

 

I will find there both ripeness and rot,

what I have done and undone,

what I must let go with the waning days

and what I must take in. With the last

tomatoes, we harvest the fruit of our lives.”   —Marge Piercy

 

Tonight at sundown, the Jewish New Year begins. It is the beginning of the Days of Awe. It is a time for reflection and introspection. Where each Jew and the community look inside and see and confess their sins. The Jewish people look at things like lack of compassion, lack of kindness and withholding love as sins. They use these ten days to review their lives and decide what to change within themselves. Jews around the world will be eating a holiday dinner and going to Temple. Prayers and love for G-d will open their hearts for reflection. So I wish every Jewish person on Mother Earth to have a sweet New Year. May it be a good year.

 

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A time of renewal

A time of renewal

 

New Year prayers and candles

New Year prayers and candles

 

 

For a sweet New Year

For a sweet New Year

Mother Teresa


Mother Theresa in the early years of her ministry

Mother Theresa in the early years of her ministry

Mother Teresa was a Catholic nun who saw the poverty and suffering around her and she was filled with compassion and kindness. She and her order of nuns began to assist the people everyone wanted to forget. She began in Calcutta, India and worked selflessly with “the poorest of the poor.” Her order began in 1950 and  are called the Missionaries of Charity. There are now more than 500 centers around the world to help the sick, the dying and the destitute. This woman  was a heroine and is considered a saint in the Catholic religion. I am told she was working her way to sainthood. This is all great, but what has amazed and inspired me is Mother Teresa’s compassion, caring, kindness, generosity and authenticity. She walked her talk.

Mother Teresa admonished people to listen to the silence, because if your heart is full of other things you can’t hear God. I believe that all religions and spiritual paths would agree with this. Whether you pray, meditate or chant when you go inside you are in the presence of the One. Being in the presence of the Divine is to experience real love and compassion. The contemplatives and ascetics of all ages and spiritual paths have sought God in the silence and solitude of nature. Many live in caves, forests or on mountaintops. Mother Teresa also would withdraw at times to recharge herself for her work among the least of God’s children.

” Silence of our eyes,

Silence of our ears.

Silence of our mouths.

Silence of our minds.

in the silence of the heart

God will speak”    —Mother Teresa

“Love each other as God loves each one of you, with an

intense and particular love.

Be kind to each other: It is better to commit faults with gentleness

than to work miracles with unkindness.”  —Mother Teresa

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This is a story Mother Teresa often told. I am quoting her words. “One day I picked up a man from the gutter. His body was covered with worms. I brought him to our house, and what did that man say? He did not curse. He did not blame anyone. He just said, “I’ve lived like an animal in the street, but I’m going to die like an angel, loved and cared for! It took us three hours to clean him. Finally, the man looked up at the sister and said, “Sister, I’m going home to God.” And then he died. I’ve never seen such a radiant smile on a human face. He went home to God. See what love can do!” I wonder how many of us have ever shone kindness to a homeless person, let alone one covered with worms.

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Mother Teresa daily gave care to lepers, the dying and the hungry. She also never worried about catching a disease or if she had eaten. I have always made it a practice to give money to the homeless. I am not rich, but I try to divide what I have. One day in Memphis, I was with friends and I saw an obviously homeless and destitute woman sitting on a bench in downtown Memphis. As our group was walking by and talking, I noticed her and took money from my wallet and gave it to her. My behavior horrified the people I was with. One dropped back and asked me why I did that. I told him that I make it a practice to practice random acts of kindness. He expressed surprise and a young woman scoffed at me and said the woman probably owned the building. I responded that that would be fine because she would pass the money on to someone who really needed it. Yes, I know I am an optimist.

Another story that Mother Teresa told was as follows: “Some time ago I made a trip to Ethiopia. Our sisters were working there during that terrible drought. Just as I was about to leave for Ethiopia, I found myself surrounded by many children. Each one of them gave something. “Take this to the children!” they would say. They had many gifts that they wanted to give to our poor. Then a small child, who for the first time had a piece of chocolate, came up to me and said, ” I do not want to eat it. You take it and give it to the children.” This little one gave a great deal, because he gave it all, and he gave something that was very precious to him.”

” Our mission is to convey God’s love—not a dead God, but a living God, a God of love.”  —Mother Tesesa

“Poverty doesn’t only consist of being hungry for bread, but rather it is a tremendous hunger for human dignity. This is where we make our mistake and shove people aside. Not only have we denied the poor a piece of bread, but by thinking that they have no worth and leaving them abandoned in the streets, we have denied them the human dignity that is rightfully theirs as children of God.”  —Mother Teresa

All over the world, we are shoving people aside and taking away their dignity. Here in America, we have replaced compassion, kindness, generosity and love with hatred, bigotry and violence. This is why our societies are breaking down. So, I recommend random acts of kindness. I recommend writing to your Congresspeople. Find the love and compassion for others we have lost and use it to make a better society. Remembering that we are One Family living on One World and love is what binds us together.

Mother Teresa before her death.

Mother Teresa before her death.

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Samhaim


Dragon Bridge

Dragon Bridge

The Pagan Wheel of Life

The Pagan Wheel of Life

For many a millennium, there were Goddesses and they were greatly revered. The Romans and Greeks had a large assortment of Goddesses who represented the feminine aspect in life. While there were warrior goddesses, most had other purposes.  The Celtics gave us the triple goddesses, the maid, the mother and the crone. The only one I think needs explanation is the Crone. The Crone was the oldest of women, had lived her life and experienced many things. She taught the young ones.  Christianity brought the first religion that had no female aspect. Although, I think Mary is the archetype of the Goddess in our time. But that is just my opinion.

The Pagan people were the Celts who lived in close accord with the land. They had many rituals to thank Mother Earth for harvests, the plantings, the birth of baby animals and for their own babies. They used herbs to heal and used many things the pharmaceutical companies use in our medicines and the same herbs to heal that are often used today. Chamomile, lavender, garlic and so on. What we call Halloween, they called Samhaim and the pagans believed that the veil between the worlds was the thinnest and therefore souls could cross over. Food was cooked for the ancestors and left for them to eat. Jack o lanterns were carved to look scary to keep bad spirits away.

Goddesses kept a balance between the male and the female, the yin and the yang. Women felt a connection to the goddesses and felt that they awakened and restored the natural power within them.  There are many myths, symbols and archetypes that can fill you with a strong sense of being female.

The Goddess Hestia, transforms the mundane into the sacred. Our very homes become sacred and all of our activities become sacred and allows us to walk in radiance.

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote:

” A billion stars go spinning through the night.

Blazing high above your head.

But in you is the presence that will be.

When the stars are dead.”

” You were born together, and together you

Shall be forevermore…

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance

Between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup…

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let

Each one of you be alone…

And stand together yet not too near together:

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the Temple stand apart.

And the oak tree and the Cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

——Kahlil Gibran

The triple goddess is maid, mother and crone.

The triple goddess is maid, mother and crone.

Mother Teresa embodies the goddess Hestia. She the guardian of hearth and home. Mother Teresa daily practiced communion with the Divine through service to others and meditation.  She always carried a silence within her.

” We too are called to withdraw at certain intervals into deeper silence and aloneness with God. Together as a community as well as personally. To be alone with Divinity–not with our books, thoughts and momories but completely stripped of everything—to dwell lovingly  in Its presence, silent, empty, expectant, and motionless. We cannot find God in noise or agitation… In silence we will find new energy and true unity.  Silence gives us a new outlook on everything.”

 —Mother Teresa

The female aspect of Divinity

The female aspect of Divinity

May the goddesses bring love and peace to all hearts and peace to all souls

goddess3

The feminine energy

May the goddesses bring love and peace to all hearts