Category: Spirituality

A chance in love.

Our neighbourhood watch garage sale has Jean and me fully occupied for these next two days.

Plus much of yesterday afternoon was spent getting our ‘site’ all set up ready for today.

I have taken the opportunity of showing you two videos, one today and one tomorrow.

This was sent to me by Suzann and will melt your heart in a very big way.

►If watching the flowering of love could inspire love, then “The Story Of The Weeping Camel” would forever alter the world…

►The Story of the Weeping Camel.
Mongolian: Ингэн нулимс, Ingen nulims, “Tears of the Camel” is a 2003 German docudrama released internationally in 2004.

►During Spring, a family of nomadic shepherds in the Gobi Desert, South Mongolia, assists the births of their camel herd. The last camel to calve this season has a protracted labor that persists for two days. With the assistance and intervention of the family, a rare white bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) calf is born.
This is the mother camel’s first calving. Despite the efforts of the shepherds, the mother rejects the newborn, refusing it her milk and failing to establish a care-bond with it. The family resolve to secure the services of an indigenous ‘violinist’ to play the music for a Mongolian ‘Hoos’ ritual.

When repeatedly intoned the calming sounds and beautiful melody of the violin, the mother camel starts to weep, tears visibly streaming from her eyes. Immediately after the rite the mother and calf are reconciled and the calf draws milk from her teat.

►Added music: Sad Romance – Thao Nguyen Xanh

Learning about last breaths from our dog.

The wisdom of a six-year-old.

Very grateful to Chris Snuggs for sending this on to me. As seen on the BoredBug website:

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They Told This Little Boy His Dog Was Going To Be Put Down. His Response STUNNED Them.

On Belker’s last day, Shane seemed calm, petting the old dog as if he understood that he was saying a last “goodbye”. Within minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. Shane seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion.

Saying-Good-Bye

They all sat together after Belker’s death, wondering aloud how sad it is that animals lives are shorter than humans. Shane, who had been listening quietly, spoke ”I know why! People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life, like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, ”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Shanes-Wise-Explanation

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You all have a good, loving weekend.

Has the human ‘pack’ moved on!

Believers and non-believers alike owe Pope Francis a giant ‘thank you’.

As regular followers of this place will have heard before, one of the roles of the ‘alpha’ dog, or more accurately referred to these days as the Mentor dog, in other words the female dog that in the days before domestication was the leader of her pack, was to move her pack if she intuited that the pack’s home range was not sustaining them. (Her other role was pick of the male dogs!)

Thus the title of today’s post came to me as just possibly the metaphorical equivalent. That the global human ‘pack’ has been sharply reminded by one of the world’s key religious leaders that ‘more of the same’ isn’t going to work for much longer.

Quite rightly, there has been a huge amount of reporting and analysis of last week’s Papal Encyclical. But one of the most beautiful and profoundly eloquent came from the writer Jennifer Browdy. If you haven’t come across her before then do drop across to her website; you will love what she presents!  I have been a subscriber to her blog posts for some time and that was how I came across her post called: And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: Pope Francis Shows Us the Way. Jennifer very kindly gave me permission to republish her post today.

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And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: Pope Francis Shows Us the Way

By Jennifer Browdy

The Encyclical on climate change and the environment released by Pope Francis this week has all the magic of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991. Back then, the antagonism between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. seemed implacable and unresolvable, a fight to the death. And then suddenly the wall came down and the world walked through, marveling, into a new era.

Now we have another abrupt shift, this time of a religious order. The leaders of the Catholic Church can hardly be accused of being “radical tree-huggers.” And yet here is Pope Francis, solemnly exhorting his flock of a billion Catholics worldwide to be respectful to Mother Earth and all the living beings she supports. In the blink of an eye, the language of Native American spirituality has been taken up by the same Catholic Church that once tortured and executed indigenous peoples precisely because of their different religious beliefs.

I urge you to read the entire Encyclical for yourself. It is a truly remarkable document, worth serious study. Of many passages I’d like to underline, here are two:

228 Care for nature is part of a lifestyle which includes the capacity for living together and communion. Jesus reminded us that we have God as our common Father and that this makes us brothers and sisters. Fraternal love can only be gratuitous; it can never be a means of repaying others for what they have done or will do for us. That is why it is possible to love our enemies. This same gratuitousness inspires us to love and accept the wind, the sun and the clouds, even though we cannot control them. In this sense, we can speak of a “universal fraternity”.

229 We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it. We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty. It is time to acknowledge that light-hearted superficiality has done us no good. When the foundations of social life are corroded, what ensues are battles over conflicting interests, new forms of violence and brutality, and obstacles to the growth of a genuine culture of care for the environment.

Here we find spiritual ecology enshrined as Catholic doctrine. And one thing about the Catholic Church—it is big on obedience. For believers, to ignore the Pope is to risk hellfire and damnation. In this case, though, the hellfire and damnation will be earthly, if we do not listen to the wise advice of Pope Francis and curb the insanity of industrial growth that goes beyond the limits of the planet to support.

Scientists appeal to our sense of reason, presenting compelling evidence that if we continue on our present path of wasteful consumption of the Earth’s resources, we will destroy our own future as a flourishing species. Religious leaders appeal to human beings’ moral conscience in invoking the responsibility of current parents and grandparents to leave a livable world to our descendants. It is up to the politicians, though, to translate vision into practice.

For too long, Christian conservatives in the U.S. have played the role of the ideological wing of Big Business, using money, manipulation and scare tactics to buy politicians and votes. In the face of the new Papal Encyclical, can American Christians really continue in good conscience to support the worst of the planet’s polluters and plunderers? Can they continue to elect mercenary politicians who hold our country hostage to the highest bidder?

If all good people who love our Earth and its creatures were to translate our love into action, as Pope Francis has just done so forcefully, I have no doubt the seemingly invincible wall of the industrial growth society we’ve been living with these past 200 years would melt away, revealing the path into a green, prosperous future.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” the saying goes. Pope Francis has just shown us the will, and the way. It is now the task of us ordinary citizens to break the stranglehold of Big Business on politics and insist that our politicians follow his lead.

I close with an excerpt from the Pope’s “Christian Prayer in Union with Creation,” a vision of ecological interdependence if ever there was one:

“Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,

teach us to contemplate you

in the beauty of the universe,

for all things speak of you.

“Awaken our praise and thankfulness

for every being that you have made.

Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world

as channels of your love

for all the creatures of this earth,

for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.

Enlighten those who possess power and money

that they may avoid the sin of indifference,

that they may love the common good, advance the weak,

and care for this world in which we live.”

Amen.

Browdy
And the meek shall inherit the Earth…. Photo by J. Browdy, 2015

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I am sure that, whatever your religious or spiritual persuasion, you will agree with me with regard to the beauty of Jennifer’s essay. I know there are millions and millions of people who will want to look back in a few years time and see how Pope Francis’ legacy literally saved our lives.

Picture parade one hundred and one.

Welcome to the Summer Solstice!

(And grateful for the technology giving me a window in which to write and post this.)

Only one way to open this week’s picture parade!

Rising sun over the Heel Stone at Stonehenge on the dawn  of the Summer Solstice.
Rising sun over the Heel Stone at Stonehenge on the dawn of the Summer Solstice.

Now to the second set of pictures under the theme of

Hiding in Plain Sight

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Danny9

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Danny10

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Danny11

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Danny12

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Danny13

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Danny14

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Danny15

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Danny16
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Yet another set of these incredible pictures in a week’s time; technology notwithstanding!

Saturday serendipity

Facing up to our challenges often inspires new beginnings.

I subscribe to Val Boyco’s blog Find Your Middle Ground (and love it!).

Last Thursday, Val published a beautiful poem that she, in turn, had seen over on Mindfulbalance, a blog that I hadn’t come across but suspect that I am going to like.

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Originally posted on Mindfulbalance:

Trittsteine_am_oberen_Teich_Japanischer_Garten_Kaiserslautern

It may be that

when we no longer know

what to do,

we have come

to our real work,

and when we

no longer know

which way to go,

we have begun

our real journey

Wendell Berry, The Real Work

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Going to close today’s post by repeating something that is in a little book that I have had for years: Extracts from Peace In Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh originally published by Bantam Books.

Aimlessness

There is a word in Buddhism that means “witlessness” or “aimlessness”. The idea is that you do not put something in front of you and run after it, because everything is already here, in yourself.

While we practice walking meditation, we do not try to arrive anywhere. We only make peaceful, happy steps.

By taking good care of the present moment, we take good care of the future.

You all have a wonderful present moment!

Easter weekend reflection

As read over on Find Your Middle Ground.

For Christians the world over the Easter weekend is the religious moment of the year.

For all of humanity, believers and non-believers alike, the following simple but powerful words ought to be a reminder of eternal values for every day of the year.

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Today’s Quote from Theresa

Beautiful words and image from Theresa at Soul Gatherings. Let it settle in.💛

Originally posted on Soul Gatherings:

purple-trees

In the end, only three things matter:
how much you loved,
how gently you lived,
and how gracefully you let go of things
not meant for you.

~ The Buddha ~

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Thanks Val for allowing me to republish this. (Val Boyco of Find Your Middle Ground.)

Misery Is Optional

Another guest essay from the old lamplighter.

It seems to me that it is so incredibly easy to be influenced, even engulfed, by bad news.

Back on the 20th I posted an item that had been sent to me by John Hurlburt, who is the old lamplighter, called Interstellar News.

Here’s another essay from John that is a great reminder of that old adage: We are what we think.

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Lost

Misery Is Optional

There’s always been a delicate balance in the struggle between growth and stagnation. The emerging universe invariably prevails. The good news is that absolutely insisting upon the denial of reality naturally backfires in the long run. Common sense has repeatedly saved our collective bacon from the fire as our species has faced former crises. The stakes have never been higher.

There’s a natural balance that runs through our relatively brief species history. Extreme cultural alternatives include plutocracy and anarchy. There’s no question that if we’re not an active supporter of an inclusive solution we contribute to our collective dissolution.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned. There’s a current global analogy. Global media communications reflect hate, divisiveness and violence. The obvious truth is essentially ignored. A result is our present state of angst, paranoia and associated stress disorders. We compensate with bread and circuses.

Indifference doesn’t have to be a local reality. We’re all naturally connected in whatever we conceive of as God. We share a common soul. If we are wise we’ll act accordingly. We’ll accept our inherent responsibilities as stewards of Creation. The fulfilment of positive actions in according with the nature of our being is a blessing that keeps on giving.

an old lamplighter

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These are beautiful words and whatever one’s religious or spiritual convictions if we don’t recognise that we are all “naturally connected” then it won’t be long before we run out of bread and circuses – and deservedly so.

Going to close this post by using the following picture and quotation taken from the latest Terry Hershey newsletter.

Machado

Beyond living and dreaming
there is something more important: waking up.

Antonio Machado

Call of the wild.

A Monday morning reminder of our beautiful planet.

American Wilderness: The John Moulton Barn on Mormon Row at the base of the Tetons. Photo: Jon Sullivan
American Wilderness: The John Moulton Barn on Mormon Row at the base of the Tetons. Photo: Jon Sullivan

Just a random picture found by doing a web search. (Actually found on what looks like a great blog: I am Wilderness.)

This morning’s post was prompted by listening to one of my favourite music groups: The Alan Parsons Band. Listening to this particular track: Call of the Wild. From his third solo album The Time Machine released in September, 1999.

Lyrics written by Ian Bairnson

Well I’ve talked to the wind and I’ve listened to rain,
I have climbed to the clouds and I’ve cried out with pain,
This life is for living so come to my side,
And open your heart to the call of the wild.

We are all of one nation, all of one creed,
We are all out of nature, all of one seed,
We are in this together, man, woman and child,
So open your heart to the call of the wild.

We talk the same language in different tongues,
We’re somebody’s daughters and somebody’s sons,
But those who believe we are head of the chain,
May wake up to find we are all that remain.

There is no need to fear what we don’t understand,
For we breathe the same air and we walk the same land,
The strong and the anxious, the meek and the mild,
All dance to the drum that’s the call of the wild.

Impossible to listen to this beautiful track and not reflect on how badly we are treating Mother Earth.

Interstellar News

In celebration of the 2015 Spring Equinox.

space-graphics-planet-earth-stars-moon-3d

 

The moment of the equinox is Friday, March 20, 2015 at 22:45 UTC.

I want to share something with you that was sent in the mail to Jean and me two days ago.

Interstellar News

The essence of a shadow is the energy of the leading edge of Creation.

The dominant species on a remote, possibly unique, planet called Earth has as yet to learn that life is the essence of a shadow.

As a result, the self-centred dominant species on this possibly unique planet appear to self-destruct. The shame and the pity are that a majority of life on the beautiful and evolving planet will accompany the selfish human species into the void of biological extinction.

The good news is that although extinctions have not been previously caused by dominant life forms on planet Earth, multiple mass extinctions have taken place. Life has regenerated every time. The planet will create new life and consciousness as it heals.

The Nature of Creation always wins. Stay tuned to learn if humans wake up in time.

AOL Universal Communications

Picking up on that last sentence, humans will wake up in time if we learn to care for each other and the environment as Nature’s animals have done for ever.

Just watch this short video of a mother wolf and her four one-week-old pups as evidence of the power of caring.

More on Danna Faulds

Captivating ideas, thoughts and words.

(NB: I am presently away with my son enjoying the Wintry delights of Bend, Or and Mount Bachelor.)

In yesterday’s post, Be good to yourself, I featured a poem from Danna Faulds.  I had not come across her before and this time around it was thanks to a recent post over on Val Boyco’s blog Find Your Middle Ground.

It didn’t take much effort to find more beautiful ideas from Ms. Faulds. Try these, for example:

Awakening Now
by Danna Faulds

Why wait for your awakening?
Do you value your reasons for staying small
more than the light shining through the open door?
Forgive yourself,
Forgive yourself.
Now is the only time you have to be whole.
Now.
Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true nature.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Please, oh please, don’t continue to believe
in your stories of deficiency and failure.
This is the day of your awakening.

Elsewhere, on a yoga website, we learn that Danna is:

Danna Faulds, poet and dedicated practitioner of Kripalu Yoga, is the author of four popular books of yoga poetry: Go In and In; One Soul; Prayers to the Infinite; and From Root to Bloom. She credits Kripalu Yoga and expressive writing with transforming her life.

Another web search very quickly finds this item over on the All Things Healing blogsite.

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Allow

by Danna Faulds

Editor’s Note from Diane Renz: I have just returned from the Center for Mindfulness Scientific conference, a powerful gathering for all teachers, researchers, clinicians, and practitioners engaged in Mindfulness in the world. The Center for Mindfulness if the base point for Jon Kabat Zinn’s MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program developed over 30 years ago which, through science, has proven to benefit psychological, physiological, emotional, cognitive, and the many neural correlates relative to well-being. The last day we had the chance to practice mindfulness with Jon Kabat Zinn, Saki Santorelli, Florence Meleo-Meyer, Bob Stahl, which is where I first heard the Poem here called “Allow”. It is through our allowing where we each find our healing and return to our wholeness. In light of spring and all rebirth and beginning again, learning how to turn toward our pain so we can open to bright new growth rising up from the dark compost of our suffering.

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There is no controlling life. 

Try corralling a lightning bolt,

containing a tornado. Dam a

stream and it will create a new

channel. Resist, and the tide

will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry

you to higher ground. The only

safety lies in letting it all in –

the wild and the weak; fear,

fantasies, failures and success.

When loss rips off the doors of

the heart, or sadness veils your

vision with despair, practice

becomes simply bearing the truth.

In the choice to let go of your

known way of being, the whole

world is revealed to your new eyes.

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Again from that All Things Healing website:

About the Author

Danna Faulds is a long-term practitioner and teacher of Kripalu Yoga. A former librarian, she incorporated writing into her spiritual practices DannaFauldsyears ago, and this book is the result. Drawing inspiration from yoga and meditation, from the natural world, and from life, her poems capture both the struggle and the delight of the attempt to live consciously, in a voice that always encourages and uplifts. Common themes include awakening to true nature, touching the divinity within, overcoming fear and self-judgement, and the ineffable joy of spiritual union.