Saturday, November 20, 2010

Love Matters © 1995

In response to the tragic rash of suicide among young people in the very recent past, I choose to post a poem I wrote years ago that I hope has its place…


We’re all children
We’re the children of the rainbow
born to share a multi-colored dream
and we are bound
joining us all, every single heart
is Love’s golden seam

Love is what matters
when reason can’t be found
and lives are like a choice too close to call
Remember what we have
we have each other here
and we share what matters most of all

Love for every one of us
we are fashioned by Love’s hand
side by side we couldn’t fall
Accept each and every life
because we are Love’s greatest gifts
to a world that needs us all

Be true to yourself
and your place in the rainbow
it’s a promise made by your birth
And just like the rainbow
and it’s promise of light
we will join Heaven and Earth

So when the music plays
take someone’s hand and take the chance
and feel the chorus ring above
Because this is life
and Life is the Dance
and the Music, the Music is Love

WHO Should I Hate?

This recent mid-term election leaves me feeling very anxious.  Normally I am not really too political.  I try to exercise my voting right/privilege, but I try not to get too much into the debates and instead remind myself to “render unto Caesar the thing’s that are Caesar’s.”  But of course, when I am a TV junkie at times, it is impossible to escape the negative ads, from BOTH sides.  I find myself wondering about the vitriol and animosity that gets parlayed into a 30 second spot to be filtered through my consciousness over and over and over….and it seems they are designed not merely to sway my opinion, but to try and cause me to revile someone’s opponent.  Almost HATE them.  And the people on the sidelines fall in line with hateful words, deeds and actions.  (Anyone see that one guy actually STOMP on a lady’s head for demonstrating her disagreement?  Scary.)
It makes me truly wonder though, not just “who is right?” but why each side tries to paint the other as almost evil.  And it made me wonder further, “what makes someone worthy of my intense dislike” and is that even necessary?  If you had to ask me a question like “Who, alive right now, do you find to be the most despicable, awful human being?”  I could probably come up with a few names that I truly think do not show much compassion for their fellow man.  If pressed further, I am sure without belaboring the point too long, I could google some really vile despots or terrorists in the news who regularly call for the killing and annihilation of innocent people.  And then I think, ok, but how likely is it that my hating them will have any impact whatsoever on either them or me?  Well, on them probably not much, but if I allow myself to fall into a mindset of “hate” then it most CERTAINLY will affect me, and not in a good way!  They will, in some way, have won a battle over me of which they will forever remain unaware!  So let me ask YOU, “who do YOU think is the worst person alive?”
Now think for a moment, what are the REAL chances and likelihood that you will EVER have to deal with them directly and on a personal level?  Probably very slim.  BUT, how often do we miss the chance to offer true forgiveness or compassion to the people across the street?  Or the person who cut us off in traffic?  Or someone who USED to be our best friend but now causes us a painful, visceral reaction?  Those chances are probably pretty high.  It may be cliché to say it, but forgiveness is not something you do to help another person, it is a gift we give ourselves.  Forgiving someone is not condoning what we believe to be their transgressions, as much as it is releasing them from a constant judgement that does not allow them to become better in our estimation, and releasing ourselves from the work involved in maintaining an injury.  Also, true forgiveness may NEVER be known by the person who hurt us.  We do not forgive by telling ourselves over and over “so and so REALLY hurt me, but I forgive them.”  That is still a judgement.
Further, I think we operate on an energy system that is unduly taxed by holding grudges, nursing grievances, and being ever conscious of our wounds.  If you had a sudden emergency that required 70% of your energy, you would be at a deficit if over 30% was tied up in past hurts and grudges.
I am happy that I will probably never have to sit down and have tea with George W. Bush.  I feel good that Anne Coulter is not a member of my book club.  I know that Glenn Beck will never come to my door to sell Girl Scout cookies.  But the people I do run into at tea, or at the book store or raising money for a youth group are those to whom I should always be ready and willing to offer true compassion.  Because I am going to need it from them.

...mind if I call You "Harvey?"

I was reading a post on a friends Facebook page the other day and someone was complaining about people referring to "the Universe" or "Source" or "Spirit" instead of saying "God."  It seems they felt that anyone who didn't just use the name "God" was somehow lacking in some kind of knowledge reserved for a devout few in a particular religion.  I have mentioned before that I have no interest in trying to convince anyone else to "believe" in a particular way, it is beyond my ability and beyond my desire.  But it did cause me to pause a moment and question why I use certain words or names in referring to how I think the world works.  I do say the word "God" quite a bit in describing the force or power I think of as evident in this existence, but I don't actually think of "God" as an actual "name" of an entity or being.  I admit that I believe there is an intelligent force or power behind all that we see, but I cannot imagine this force having an egotistical desire to be called by a certain moniker, and being somehow pissed if I don't.   Whether you call it (It, Him, Her....for the purposes of this essay, I will use "He" and "Him" just for consistency) "God" or "Spirit" or "Source" or "Harvey" makes no difference to me.  I cannot imagine a force that was able to call forth the entire physical universe from nothing (from NOTHING!) via a 7-day exercise or a "Big Bang" worrying for one moment about what we call Him in conversation.  Just that when we do reference this power, we have at least a slight humility and reverence about what this power actually does on a day to day basis.

If we think of physical stuff in its simplest terms and form, we focus ever more narrowly down to a molecular and then atomic and then sub-atomic level.  At the atomic level of things, we conjure up a picture of what an atom actually looks like.  That late-sixties space age diagram of a center surrounded by circling electrons.  The space between these electrons we tend to think of as empty space.  If that is so, then over 99% of  everything physical we see is made up of EMPTY SPACE!  That alone freaks me out.  But theoretical physicists tell us that this space is NOT empty.  Some refer to "anti-matter" and "dark matter" to describe this seemingly infinite amount of potential.  There is an idea called the "Planck Scale" named after Max Planck which refers to the base level of matter.  On this level there MUST be some kind of communication or intelligence operating, or otherwise, why do the atoms and molecules that make up a physical object like a rock stay together for almost eternity AS A ROCK?  Why don't physical objects like trees, birds, or even tables and chairs constantly morph in and out of form as the molecules and atoms shift and dance?  What holds them and US together?  Some kind of power is at work!

I even love how our own Solar System resembles such a thing as an atom.  A power center being circled by a number of objects, some themselves being circled by even MORE objects.  And even our Solar System is a body circling a vaster and larger group in this galaxy.  And on to infinity.  And this "empty space" also acts like an INSTANT communication device with seemingly NO impediments.  If you have time, look up things like "bi-location" and "entanglement."  Again, theoretical physicists have done experiments where ONE thing can be in TWO DIFFERENT locations AT THE SAME TIME!  And also, two cells plucked from your heart can be MILES away and when one is stimulated in one laboratory, the other cell responds IMMEDIATELY through some kind of communication we do not yet understand.  Plants respond measurably to human emotions.  Dogs "sense" when their owners begin to head home from miles away.  The things we think we "know" in this world are miniscule when compared to the things we do NOT know.  And things we THOUGHT we knew years ago are being re-thought or sometimes dis-proven everyday.  Some estimates are that over 95% of what we "know" at this point has been learned in just the past 50 years.

So really, whatever it is that holds this Universe together, or makes it run, or may someday tear it apart, I care little in what fashion someone else relates to it.  As for me, I seek to try and have a personal relationship with it.  Further, I seek more and more to respect other people more on a day to day basis.  Please be patient with me.

Be Different!

Catastrophic illness.  Losing a job.  Death of a loved one.  Divorce.  Accidents.  There are many things that happen to us throughout our lifetimes that we categorize as “life changing” events.  We say things like “I really learned a lot from that” or “it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me” or “it was a blessing in disguise” as ways of making some kind of sense out of chaos.  We even do it as a group when it comes to natural disasters or even man-made ones.  Whether its Hurricane Katrina or the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001.  We reflect on it and pull some kind of “message” from the situation that allows us to qualify ourselves as “better because of it.”

Of course this is understandable.  How could something that we think of at first as “devastating” NOT change us when we are able to survive it?  How could we not TRY and make something that seems tragic less so by understanding how we may have grown or learned from it.  It makes it bearable.  Despite the fact that there are definite times when “misery loves company” and people who seem stuck in cycles of drama, most of us would like to think of ourselves as adult enough to rise above adversity.  And thank God for that.  But I am learning more and more that the opportunities exit to change everyday.  And it doesn’t have to hurt.

The Course in Miracles has an idea that I love that goes something like “Be different.  Be determined to be NOT as you WERE.”  And I love this idea.  It doesn’t ask us to be wishy-washy or “fllip-flop” as much as it asks us to allow life to constantly make us better, even in incremental ways.  Be  different.  Change. 

How can I not be changed by being able to observe a beautiful sunrise over the beach?  How can I not be changed by hearing children I love laughing at play?  How can we not be changed by spending time with friends and people we love when happy and joyful?  Beautiful artwork.  Our favorite song when least expected.  Finding a picture of a vacation you had loved experiencing.  An unexpected compliment from a stranger.  There are myriad moments every day that allow us to be different.  Just a bit more than we were just the moments before.  Someone smiles and thanks us for holding a door open.  We share a pleasant conversation while in line for a coffee or even at the DMV.  It is better for us that we can learn through moments of joy and not just moments of pain.  The painful moments will come unbidden.  The joyful moments are there just as regularly and can be just as powerful as instruments of learning. 

Take some time today to reflect on how many times we could have opted to consciously choose to view it a bit more tenderly.  With a bit more reverence and with just a bit more of a smile.  Change.  Be different.  Let life lead you a step or two closer to the best that it can offer you.  And know that you are not alone.  Look just beside you and offer that possibility to anyone you see.  Be the smile that they remember.  Offer the comment that helps them lift their spirits.  Change.  Be different.  Be better and love it.