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Archive for the ‘meaning’ Category

Art by Steve Hanks, Bookends

Art by Steve Hanks, Bookends

One easy way that you can tell which books in my library have touched or taught me the most would be to notice which are the most marked up.  I came across a book just the other day that is filled with yellow highlights, it’s Dawna Markova’s, “I Will Not Die an Unlived Life.”   Beautiful and wise.  Reminding us of what’s sacred,  asking us what it would look like to live our lives “fully, sensually alive, and passionately, on purpose.”   Encouraging us to live days that are “a sweet and slow ceremony” and nudging us as winter approaches to let go of “what no longer is alive, to get bare enough to find the bones of what is important” to us.

“I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit. ”

~Dawna Markova~

 

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allison 2
Photographer: Allison Fowles

“I suppose the other thing too many forget is that we were all stories once, each and every one of us. And we remain stories. But too often we allow those stories to grow banal, or cruel or unconnected to each other.We allow the stories to continue, but they no longer have a heart. They no longer sustain us.”
― Charles de Lint, The Onion Girl

What sustains you? What gives your life meaning? Where is the heart in your story?

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I’d like to warmly and humbly share a gift with you today in honor of Father’s day. For the rest of this month you can listen to the audiobook, “Discovering Meaning,” for free! “Discovering Meaning: Living and Loving the Good Life” is the second of four audiobooks in the “BirthQuake: Journey to Wholeness” series.

“The Birthquake: Journey to Wholeness series is one of those rare finds written by a psychotherapist that not only enlightens, inspires, and comforts – it befriends and embraces the listener. It’s the culmination of the author’s many years of research, clinical experience and perhaps most importantly, her own life lessons. The BirthQuake series is an invaluable tool for anyone who has ever struggled or stands anxiously at a crossroad.”

Listen to Part One
Listen to Part Two

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I listened to a talk by Jean Houston on Gaiam TV today and was moved tremendously by one observation she made in particular. She noted that each of us gets wounded during our life times, and that if we live long enough, we become so full of holes that we ultimately become holy.

My own life has taught me that my wounds will ultimately diminish or enrich me, depending largely upon whether I meet them with a closed fist or an open heart. I’ve also come to understand to my amazement that an ordinary day can be transformed from the mundane to the holy not so much by what happens during the course of it, but by what questions I choose to ask of myself when I first encounter it.

Michael Beckwith urges us to ask the following three questions each and every day.

How can I grow?

How can I give?

What can I celebrate?

I’ve found that every morning that I ask myself these three questions and then commit to living the answers by the end of the day, my life is so much more likely to be experienced as the profound gift that it is.

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I  just finished reading Rocky Braat’s blog, a young man who is devoting  his life to serving poor orphaned and abandoned children stricken with aids in India    I read  his blog surrounded by creature comforts in a land of plenty while our collective national preoccupation appears to be our faltering economy.  I read two days following a holiday still deemed by many to be sacred in spite of the sad fact that its primary message appears to have become “buy this.”   I read in my warm and cozy room, shaken once again by the profound suffering and deprivation  that exists in other parts of the world, and by the spiritual poverty that threatens  my own country.

Braat observes, “very few people in the West recognize how often the white knights of citizenship, medicine, and raw, brutal wealth sweep us up in their powerful arms and bear us from the battleground of suffering. Our bank accounts, our families, our insurance policies and hospitals, our consulates and ambassadors have so often rescued us from folly and misfortune that our psyches cannot squarely contemplate the torment that is the lot of the truly poor. ”

In the midst of our pain and our shame and our debt, there are alternative stories to the “Buy Me”  story so prevalent in the United States.  Following is one of those alternative stories, told by  activist and philanthropist, Lynn Twist.

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I believe in morning rituals although I fail all too often these days to engage in them. Still, I can’t stress enough how important they are, how effective they can be in getting me ready to greet my day feeling steadied and grounded, readied (at least for the moment) to really see the beauty before me and committed to greet those I meet with an open heart.

I’ve found both poetry and music to be particularly helpful when initiating one of my first deliberate and conscious acts of the day. I thought I’d share one with you that was written by the late poet, John O’ Donahue entitled, “For the Artist at the Start of the Day.”

“May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.

May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear
Of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings,
And fixed fortress corners,

A Morning when you become a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend from silence,

May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,

To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,

Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved

Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart

In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.

May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light

To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.”

~ John O’Donohue ~

O’Donohue reminds me here that every life is a work of art and that att some level we are reborn again and again with each brand new ordinary/extraordinary day….

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Bill Seitz wrote in response to Umair Haque’s article, America’s Addiction and the New Economic’s of Strategy that, “maybe consumerism is a pathological vacuum-filler compensating for a lack of meaning/engagement/creativity…” I believe there is significant truth in Seitz’s statement.

This economic crisis certainly calls for a life filled with far more meanginful activities, civic engagement, and enormous creativity. Questions that I think are important to ask ourselves right now are:

(1) are enough of us going to answer the call?
(2) In addition to asking how we might live with less, we need to consider what will ultimately offer us more of what matters most.

Here are just a few sources that I’ve been reading lately

Excerpts from Bo Lozoff’s book, “It’s a Meaningful Life”

Sustainable Consumption: Facts and Trends (an online document available online)

The New Economics of Sustainable Consumption (a book, not available online however you can read an article by one of the authors here )

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