Blogs 2021

The last time I wrote in this website was August, and my intention then was to write more frequently...and now two months have passed and I am finally, finally getting to do so. Choosing to do so. Putting all work aside to do so.

For this pandemic/quarantine time is busier than (so-called) "normal" time, though - given what has been developing now for nearly two years is nowhere near what we would have called "normal" two years ago...and it shows no sign at all of settling; instead, the "passports" now being asked of everyone is more like a state of careful war than of safety. Nothing is really settled. Fear rules everyone. And when in history did fear bring about anything but war, slaughter, and death, even of innocents?

An assumption I can only smile at is that - if you are quarantined, what are you doing with all this time? So - here's to say outright that I am actually busier now than I ever was pre-quarantine. The desperation and fear of people means that people I haven't spoken to or worked with for many years are asking now again to connect. Time fills fast. Zoom meetings many times a week are increasing...I am coming to a conclusion of saying "no" for a few months so that I can finish a first draft of my memoir, in the unfinished works these several years. 

But worst of all is the constant and repetitive, hyped voices of media- warning, warning warning, repeating all the worst information from all over the world. Fear and Caution are the only messages of the day. Families are split apart when some who choose to be unvaxed are not only not welcome at family gatherings, but are outright abused by the language of those who think differently.

But there are also voices - strong, positive voices, even among health care workers, who are choosing quietly to act otherwise. I stand and salute them before our whole culture gets drowned in the most fearfilled rhetoric.

God give us all strength. God give us all moments of clear-seeing, balanced and fearless presence. And - most of all - God give us the trust and vision to see all equally, especially those who choose a different path from ourselves.

I am sorry to have been away from here for so long...times during the CoVid quarantine have been busier that so-called "ordinary time!"

That said, I too have struggled with the disbelief of it all; how quickly our accustomed culture not only disintegrated but became overcome with absolute fear, from which many rules began to fill our lives, many demands, many assumptions, many absolutes. But what I have come to see now is the understanding that what springs from fear is only more fear; and not only deepening fear - spreading to everything - but fear that divides families, groups, and all the other realities that destroy the peaceful way of life that we think we are seeking.

There is much to consider here, and more every day as time goes on and panic builds. The question I would ask is: "What am I doing, what are we doing, to calm and ground ourselves in the everyday midst of this intense societal pressure?" That will be there for a long time, but isn't it time to practice presence-in-nature, in meditation, and in the many practices that spiritual teachers are offering?

My good friend Gabriel Uhlein OSF sent me this poem yesterday. It is a lovely expression of what we are facing as we continue in lockdown and stay-at-home protocols. I am daily more aware of all who are so much more worse off than I am and I send here the only thing I can send: blessing, warmth, prayer and intention:

Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills.
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.

~ Czeslaw Milosz, New & Collected Poems 1931-2001



Four of Pema Chodron's most treasured books which I have read more than once over the years seem meant for this time:

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Comfortable With Uncertainty: 108 Teachings

Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World

Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change

May we all take in the meanings of these titles as a Heart Practice; the books themselves are helpful but only if you feel drawn...

 

Even with the quarantine, is anyone else noticing how quickly the days pass? Almost every day I think to myself that I want to go to this website, but here it is weeks since the last visit. Autumn chores, unexpected phone calls, and a strange unexpected swirling of time is all in the air - with no end in sight. What surprises are rising as a result?

For me, it's first of all how little I actually can get done in a day. Time is both stretching out and closing in, like breathing. I find myself fighting it, wanting to do other things, then berating myself for not getting more done...all useless and fruitless.

I keep before me Pema Chodron's book "Welcoming the Unwelcome". The title alone inspires me, even if I can do it infrequently. Her subtitle says even more to me "Wholehearted Living in a Broken World." The title alone inspires me, and I keep it visible to call me back to what's happening, to the present moment...sometimes it works, however briefly. Enough. Enough.

 

Latest comments

04.01 | 14:04

Thanks, Andie...that's it exactly ! So glad you experienced it!

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04.01 | 13:36

'Whatever you need
and wherever you go next -
will come to you'
My holiday experience.
Grateful!

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28.12 | 10:12

Hi Brenda,
I've just finished reading The Choice - got it from the public library. What an amazing story and an unbeatable spirit. I'll check out youtube now

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24.04 | 21:27

Hi Brenda,
I did some writing this last week.
Finally!
Here is it. :)

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