Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Morning Had Broken In The Peace Garden*

Cat Stevens certainly had it right, our beloved "Peace Train" artist/song writer--  In our Peace Garden "Morning had broken, like the first morning..." but no black birds speaking from here. We certainly have our hummingbirds, robins, blue jays, owls, hawks & their relations, so far this season.

Last week was challenging as it became necessary for me to write some letters to two of our local papers in response to a politician in our town who behaves less than gentlemanly at times. He chose to have printed in our town's local paper some rather inaccurate & unkindly remarks about moi' & the commission I am part of.  Because I am the chair of this commission this person of unkindly deed chose to criticize me publicly rather than getting in touch with me for a conversation on the topic of an idea our commission had suggested our town consider.  I certainly have no qualms with constructive criticism, but inaccuracies & half truths were a bit much to deal with especially in a public forum.  So last week I composed letter after letter, doing what my heart & mind told me was the right thing to do.  I had even submitted two different letters to two different local papers.  I was confident with these decisions, but still there was something in me that felt, well it still didn't do it for me, & it resonated with me many a morning.  In the mid part of last week I received several emails from a fellow commission member, he had only recently returned from being out of town extensively.  What he shared with me further opened my mind, for though my letters were good, & I was totally confident with what they had to say they addressed the issue at hand honestly and accurately speaking my truth, as that is only what a person can do at any given time is--  to speak their personal truth. Ultimately I was not totally comfortable with a situation that I was about to allow myself to become part of, this became obvious to me at 2:30AM of the Wednesday of last week.  So I emailed one of those papers at that hour & thankfully my request arrived in a timely fashion & my requests were honored.  One letter I was told  by the editor-- "You just made it.", as it was only several hours away of being printed. It very much felt like one of those old time movies of-- "Stop the presses!" .  What preceded those phone calls of pulling the letters was an exchange of emails with one of our well respected commission members. I realized from what he said & shared was that I did not have to go forward & respond at that time. I also realized that in many ways I was responding because I was angry, as I was publicly insulted by being insinuated in inaccuracies that could be believed for the half truths they expressed & could then take on a life of their own with his truth.  Yes the pen is mightier than the sword, but I was being tested as to how not to participate in a war of words, & I know I don't do war.  All week as I was putting together letters, their drafts & all, all the time I would ask myself-- What would the Dali Lama do? What would Mother Teresa do?  And then the emails from a friend, emails just in time, & so very late into all of this.

I definitely had an angel on my shoulder last week, but I've come to realize we always have an angel on our shoulders, we don't walk this path alone.  We have love, guidance & care, but it is always up to us to be open to receive it.  This can & does come to us from the people in our lives, as we all are on a path & we all learn & grow from these experiences -- to fully flower to be better at being people, our true purpose-- being better people.

In the end I did write a 5th letter, [as the other 2 each of course had their 1st drafts] , this my fifth letter truly states my position as truthfully as I could in words.  My latest recent letter is free of any anger, merely describing the intention of the idea that was put forth by our commission, yet dispelling the inaccuracies & half truths without malice. The editor of our town's local paper was most patient, supportive & open to my request of a resubmission,  for though the original letter I had sent to her was good I felt it still had it's hint of anger & I did not want any of that put forth. Yes anger is real, & it is very powerful, & we all possesses it at times, for we are only human, always growing, evolving.   To be a person of peace in body, mind & thought is our natural state, yet discipline & reverence in many aspects does hold the key. This final letter which is soon to be in print came from a place of peace, love & understanding, once a flower child, always a flower child.  Yet a person is entitled to speak if they have been inaccurately presented, it is that balancing of  the weight of our words that needs to be weighed.  To do unto others no matter the hurt that may have been cast is an attainable goal.  As my dear friend's husband stated many years ago when we were enjoying the beautiful blooms of a late summer's day-- "Life is fragile."  Peace too is fragile for it all begins one person at a time.  We may get stuck in the mud with a flood of thoughts on how to address the hurts of untruths, but what I have found is ultimately we can get through it, & the healthy nutrients from the mud does eventually penetrate, renewing us, giving us strength--  yes the compost of life, refortified & with renewed hope.
                                                                                                                                                                          I am presently preparing myself as I am about to leave one decade & hopefully with God's Grace about to enter another significant decade--  Living on hope, my guide & way since childhood.  Isn't that part of a gardener's creed, remaining hopeful each season in it's turn, "a purpose under heaven", to bring forth a beauty which is springtime, a reminder with it's gentleness of color & form--  for this I will always be thankful.  Always.


Today's post script from my Confucius Quote For Today reads: "To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it." So I will continue practicing this practice.  If it were easy it wouldn't need practice.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

All Roads Lead To Spring*

This past week had certainly had it's highs & lows.  I worked my usual Mon.-Wed. & on Thursday my husband & I went into Hartford to meet with the gal who is in charge of the volunteers at the Mark Twain House.  She was delightful to meet with & she certainly is an excellent ambassador for this wonderful living museum.  My husband is sooo the Hartford guy, he loves Hartford & it's interesting history.  It will be exciting to become part of this great fabric of our capitol city learning about & then teaching others about Twain will definitely provide future trips into the city to relish. I will definitely post my Twain episodes as they arise as they should be very interesting.  

I was able to get out & visit with a good friend for one of those country walks also this past week, that too was enjoyable.  The part of the week that seems to be a bit of a blur is my having had to deal with a rather obnoxious politician in our town.  He's the Second Selectman & has a reputation as quite the instigator.  He often times yells, & insults people when they don't agree with him.  He's also know to write these opinion pieces in the local papers about people he disagrees with often stating half truths which of course then become untruths.  So since this past Friday I've been rather consumed by putting together my own rebuttal letters, 2 letters with at least 2 drafts each.  A very time consuming process, but very important for we all learned the hard way when John Keary did not rebut the Swift Boat lies quickly enough or when Lee Atwater would just spin damaging lies against an opponent.  I'm no body's opponent, am not & never will run for any office.  I am the Chairperson of our town's Conservation Commission, but even for a Second Selectman here in this New England town, our small advisory powerless commission has become target of this Dickens ish  type man on several occasions.  We all know about the pen & the sword, but not everyone that uses the pen has kind or fair intentions.  Some of these people you can tell right away by their behaviors are still very, very angry from long ago childhood traumas.  It is no reason to pick fights & lash out at others, but I've seen it time & time again & unfortunately it is a part of the human condition that will be with us for a long time.  This is of course an imperfect world & human beings are flawed, yet as these things work their way through in our society it is so important to keep ourselves level headed & in the process not allow ourselves to be bullied.  Quite the challenge & my aim is to meet it.  The balance is so delicate in regards to how to deal with these types of individuals, but it can be done & must be done.


{As none of us can do this alone, it will be with God's love, grace & guidance that I will meet this new challenge.  *Amen, *Amen, *Amen}

*This "post's" post script--  Though this blog's title is of peace, it does become necessary for me to contemplate, think & to express thoughts on topics that at times do not initially give me peace.  I have found when I face these issues & practice dealing with them honestly, openly, & with my truth I do at times experience those moments of true clarity & when that happens I feel the sunshine and I am at peace.  May peace be with you.

Easter Was A Lovely Day Just Last Sunday*

The weekend of Easter was charming.  Most of our family was together on Saturday for our annual Egg Hunt.  The Bunny hid the eggs so well that quite the number were never found. Next year the Bunny will have to be sure to give some good hints for I really can't afford to have unplanned candy in the house.  Our dinner consisted primarily of Passover food, which was a good blend for our interfaith family.  On Sunday there was more observance with extended family.  "Food glorious food" is truly a wonderful focus, along with interesting conversations, good stories & laughs.

The only glitch for us was the traffic on the Mass Pike as we were heading into Worcester from the Hartford area on Easter Sunday so our son could take the train into Boston.  The highway was backed up at the toll booths due to a massive "sick call outs" we learned later in the week on the news.  It was a labor action in regards to ? overtime pay that ? was to be withheld on the holiday.  Well let me tell you the state workers certainly made their point as the traffic jams were massive.  We made it to the train station on time & "Alls Well That Ends Well."  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

After Experiencing A Sedar For The First Night Of Passover, A New Train Of Thought Is Added To My Experience---

Several years ago my husband & I attended a Passover Sedar hosted by the Chabad Community in the area of where my mother lives.  We returned again yesterday evening as guests of this warm hearted & generous community, of whom we thank today.  

As always the central theme of Passover is the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt & our wandering in the dessert for 40 years.  The topic of Egypt & our leaving this land thousands of years ago, to this day is a very foremost exercise in working through our attachments--- for when we leave this world the only attachment I have learned along this journey that is to be meaningful & everlasting is our relationship with God.

Several days ago when I experienced a sense of exclusion through an aspect of language people have been known to communicate through, for it was evident with visible cues yet very suttle, my radar picked it up.  On the broad scheme of things truly it is not a crucial element to the purposeful life I focus on & aim to lead, though it was very painful to live through at the time. Ultimately Passover reminds me of the reason why I'm here, where I am going & how to get there.  It is no wonder that it has been my favorite holiday since my early days in my Grandmother's kitchen on the Lower EastSide of New York.

I wish you all an enlightening Passover Season, & may your journey out of Egypt bring you strength in knowing there will always be a way to overcome whatever your Egypt may be-- "keep the faith" & help one another, for we won't get there alone, & even if we did something would seem amiss, for it can feel very overwhelming in the dessert as it's elemental forces can & have been devastating to those who are not prepared to learn.

My Confucius quote today reads--- "Heaven means to be one with God"

I will always remain hopeful that we all have the ability to be kinder than not, we have nothing to loose.  A most simple yet beautiful song that Jewel composed & sang some years ago will forever remain true--  "Only Kindness Matters".

A Healthy & Happy Holiday Season to you all--  To *All Faiths of your own personal faith based Holiday, for we are of One Heart, the Human Heart.


On One Of My Daily Walks Having Had Contemplated Having Had Been Between A Rock & A Hard Place-- I Am In Awe Of It's Beauty & Power*

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"Go Down Moses"

Some Get Down, Some Fling For Spring!

As My Family Watches The Final Four From Near & Far, I Remember Last Weekend's Travels*

We were up in Syracuse, New York visiting our son to celebrate his recent 26th Birthday, part of the day's events was a walk in the very unique Green Lakes State Park.  In all my years I have never seen liquid quite like this. You be the judge--

Some Things Never Get Easier*--

There's a beauty to joining new groups, as time goes by & one becomes comfortable within themselves in newer settings, the familiarity with the mingling of personalities distill. Seemingly in most human systems there are those invisible/internal lists, those pecking orders, alliances & loyalties.  {Sounds a bit like the modern day "Survivor" TV program.  I'm sure that's a main reason why it has been so successful for so long.} Therefore there should be no surprise to discover from time to time when the exclusion or two takes place.  In this society it is the norm, in other more inclusive societies it is the ab norm.  Our societal norms present at times as--  head games, pecking orders & power plays & no matter how many decades a life is lived it all can become relevant again, like a grade school child, excluded from the list, bringing reminders of one's adolescent time.

If one can hold on to themselves, & hold steady to the ground, that may or may not help.  As people our natural instinct is to belong, why else do we join groups?, & when we don't make the cut is it necessary to allow those old feelings to rise up again?  Probably not.  It's not who does & does not accept us we've often told our kids, for self acceptance is the key.  Once in awhile the key gets rusty, it enters the lock with long ago feelings of resistance, the not fitting in familiar feel raises up.

Stand strong, stand tall, know that your knowing is but another key & this too shall pass.  It is in the stardust of our possibilities that we are meant to dwell, for God is with us & we belong in the beauty of a chaotic universe. 


{My aim is to live a spiritually heartfelt, honest life-  to live as my Rabbi Alan Ullman taught- "my  truth".  On my google home page today is the daily quote from Confucius, it reads: "Forget injuries, never forget kindness." It is an excellent philosophy & to do it, in it's self is a true exercise of love, compassion & peace.  What would the Dali Lama do---  as I too will strive....  baby steps.... 


My Father's Birthday In Heaven, My Thoughts On Earth 4/03/09

A Distant Birthday Lesson Learned

Intentions right
Intentions wrong
Square peg
Round hole
God knows why
I sing this song
Round peg 
Square hole

Gazing in beyond the stage
knowing limits, lifetime's maze

Intentions be of what they are
Visits to the famed "Bell Jar"

Knowing that this thread of truth
Keeps the hurt trapped under roof
Yet I know that God's good Grace
Never misses time or place
Keeps me near when I am far
Keeps my constant glowing star
Keeps me focused, heals my ache
This my God it is my place.