a little late, but…
May The Fourth Be With You!
much needed after today, here are some favorite Force and wisdom quotes from Star Wars:
“It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” ~ Obi-Wan Kenobi
“Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter.” ~ Yoda
“Close your eyes. Feel it. The light…it’s always been there. It will guide you.” ~ Maz Kanata
“I’m one with the Force. The Force is with me.” ~ Chirrut Imwe
“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” ~ Yoda
“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda
“To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not. In this war, a danger there is, of losing who we are.” ~ Yoda
For those of us in the LGBTQ community, for people of color, for Muslims, for the differently abled, for women, for the immigrant, and for anyone else who feels a sense of being the “other” or oppressed, the results of this election may feel frightening and concerning. Our hearts broken, vulnerable, and tender.
Stay with this.
STAY with this. Do not cover it up, do not hide from it, do not run from it. There is no need to pretend.
This brokenness, this vulnerability, this tenderness of heart, IS our strength and our power.
It is the same strength and power imbued and made manifest throughout history by artists, peacemakers, spiritual warriors, and lovers. This is what the world needs right now. Perhaps, more than ever.
For those of us who are LGBTQ – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are people of color – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are Muslim – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are women – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are immigrants – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those who are differently abled – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
For those whom I may not understand, who may hold opposite views (even views I consider harmful), who also seem to be feeling frightened, disenfranchised, and angry – I love you, you are valued, you are loved.
The road ahead will surely be work. Perhaps, very difficult to work. But I vow to continue to work in service of the values and principles that define my life, my art, my writing, my spiritual practice.
I vow to continue to work in service of the same values and principles that moved me to vote for whom I continue to believe is the most qualified and representative candidate.
I vow to continue to work in service of all that speaks to the best of who we are and can be.
I vow to continue to work in service of all that opens hearts, nurtures kindness, motivates fierce compassion, elevates the “other”, and opens doors to the immigrant – the hungry -the poor.
I vow to continue to work in service of all that produces dialogue, civility, nonaggression and nonviolence.
This is what I can do, what WE can do, no matter who is President or who is in Congress or who is on the Supreme Court.
This world desperately needs healers, lovers, peacemakers – bodhisattvas.
Will we hear the cries of the world and answer the call?
on the death of Justice Scalia and the celebration by some of loss and tragedy…
I think this is important.
the ability to disagree passionately, to oppose perhaps with rigor and defend what one feels is just and right, working to unravel what one feels is harmful in another’s opinions and actions. all the while, not forgetting a shared humanity. all the while, still seeking a place of common ground, a place to connect, to meet and find resolution.
in my life, in who I am, with what I believe, I have encountered many (some of whom are friends and relatives) who are in opposition to these things and even work against them. this can be hurtful and even cause harm. but they are not the enemy. the enemy may be ignorance, it may be fear, it may be harmful religion or politics, but not them.
I made the choice a long time ago, I could view these things as burdens, unfair and unjust. or, I could see them as opportunities to teach that there is another way. a way of love and openness.
It has been said that our “enemies” (strong wording with unfortunate resonance…perhaps read as those in opposition to you) are our greatest teachers. it can be they who challenge us to rise and rise, thereby benefitting this world.
all of this is transitory. we all love and care deeply. we will all age, break down and weaken. we will all get sick and have pain. we will experience loss and heartache. we will all die and our loved ones will grieve and weep. this is our shared journey.
let us rise.
the thing is, around every corner beauty is waiting to be seen,
anxiously calling our attention.
love is calling to be held close and to be given away.
beauty and love.
sometimes they are disguised as the wind dancing through and with the
willing, swaying trees.
sometimes they are disguised as the little ants working together in
purpose or in laughter from a good joke, or the taste of your favorite
food, or the look in your beloved’s eyes.
sometimes they are hidden in struggle and grief, pain and loss.
but they are always present.
can we see the beauty in our broken moments?
can we hold ourselves with love?
sometimes the beauty we find and the love we discover are in how we
respond to life.
we have the capacity of heart to respond to life with openness, with a
spacious quality that allows. love allows.
so we still ourselves.
becoming aware of our breath.
we listen with fresh ears.
we look deeply.
and we stay open.
everything is a miracle, every moment sacred.
it is all i can do
to just sit
here in this naked moment
my heart broken open
how else can all of this Love pour out?
…here i sit. at present words fail me, so i have pulled from words assembled in the past, reflecting a moment then, to reassemble them here in the present, reflecting this moment now.
i hesitate to use the word “lost” when regarding the passing of a friend. love is never lost, never gone nor diminished. love just transforms herself and continues her lovely dance into the next hall where her beauty can continue to grow and delight. how can the great work of love ever be done? nevertheless, in this transitory life we call home, when a friend continues their journey it is we who can feel lost.
i hold these uncomfortable feelings, these feelings of sadness for all who are suffering in this “loss.” i hold these feelings with tender care. allowing them to grow this heart in love and teach the bravery that is openness.
Lori Miles Rubino is a bright light, who has embodied bravery and openness, a gift to all who know her and have the privilege to call her friend. kind, compassionate, encouraging, funny, open and loving. a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, coach, friend, artist, photographer, and writer. her life has been one of great love, the work of a bodhisattva, as is so evident in the amazing family she has raised and of whom i am so grateful and adore.
in honor of her bravery, her openness, and her beautiful talent as a writer i want to invite and encourage you to read her blog One Toe Over the Line Sweet Mary. her most recent entries will shake you, wake you up, make you laugh and open your heart. do yourself the great favor and gift of reading her words. chew them, reflect and meditate on them. especially her entries, Forgiving and Dying among others. i was so moved in reading the latter – it was our final correspondence in the first week of January 2015 beyond mutual Facebook “like”ing more recently. i cherish it.
the rawness, i attempt to express in my words at the top of this page – is so deftly brought to life in Lori’s essays. i will be reblogging her work, here, to share.
love you, dear Lori, and so grateful for the gift of your love. i look forward to watching how it continues to grow in the hearts of all who know you and love you. rest in peace, kalyanamitra.
Friday, December 14th 2012
dearest ones ~
…life is so preciously fragile and yet continues to live and move with incredible resilience.
…in this heart, this tiny muscle – our heart, we are capable of growing such hate, harboring such darkness
…and yet in this heart, this tiny muscle – our heart, we hold an unfathomable strength, capacity for compassion and the brilliant Light of Love which has in its very nature the gift of dispelling any darkness
…love the Light of Love, dear friends, harbor no darkness.
~ namasté ~
Today’s Solidarity Thursday blogging topic is “support networks”…which like most things for me, I see through a particularly spiritual lens. This is not to say that this lens is sans practicality. From my perspective spirituality is best when it is practical. It is not just sitting on a cushion or attending Sunday services. Spirituality IS feeding the poor, visiting the prisoner, working for peace, opening our door to our neighbor, and greeting the person working behind the counter with a smile and an open heart. It doesn’t seem to matter much if we can answer the big questions like – Why am I here? Is there life after death? Is there a God?” – if we are unable to feed the hungry next door, or properly take care of the earth, or even find peace in this moment. Perhaps they all go hand in hand. Perhaps as we practice at being kind and compassionate, mindful and awake, patient and open, we discover who we are and why we are here. Perhaps we find God within all of it – the joy and suffering. Perhaps if we are living life so fully in this moment, in love with one another, in love with life, then it doesn’t matter much if there is life after this.
Perhaps it does.
Whatever the case, walking this journey together is a gift. No matter how much we want to believe that we are completely self-reliant, that we can conquer and attain anything we set our minds to if we work hard enough…Life, fully and honestly lived, will humble us. We will face illness and loss, we will face death. And in those moments we will realize that having loved ones, family, friends – people who support us and hold us up, who care what we do and how we do it, people who feel our pain and seek our happiness – is a great part of what defines what this life is about.
Why is The Buddha so emphatic about this? Why does he correct Ananda with such clarity? Would you argue with Ananda on this point? It seems fair to say that good friendship is a “part” of life. The Buddha in his teachings seems to be pointing toward something greater though – to wholeness, to unity. It is, after all, our perceived separation and deep desire to avoid change that causes us to suffer so greatly. If we see ourselves as separate, then we grasp – we cling – we are unable to let go.
Life is letting go…and becoming aware that the nature of life is change, that the nature of life is us. There is no separation. Life is One, expressing Itself in all the beautiful diversity that you see in you, around you. All is gift.
For some reason, though, we need to learn this or perhaps re-remember this through first experiencing separation. Life is so often paradoxical. It seems we first need to learn duality and eat from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, before we can see through to the deeper unifying Reality, Wholeness that contains light and shadow. It seems we must first leave the Garden before returning to Paradise. We must fall, before we can rise above. We begin life within the body of our mothers. Living as one – eating as one, breathing as one. Doctors say we continue to feel as one with our mothers even after birth. Soon after though, we begin that very difficult journey of becoming aware of being other from our mothers, becoming aware of being separate. The best of religion, the truest of spirituality points us back to our Wholeness with all of Life…not just our mothers. And what is most fascinating and inspiring, is now science is showing us how this is true biologically, chemically, and atomically. All is gift.
It is like the Zen proverb says – first we notice the mirror clouded as it is, then we wipe the mirror and wipe the mirror, only to one day realize that there was never a mirror at all.
How do we learn this? Where do we learn life?
In our relationships. In community. In Sangha. Sangha is the Buddhist term for spiritual community. Isn’t all of this spiritual community? Aren’t we all one Body of Christ? Aren’t we all one expression of Life? I challenge you to find this out for yourself. In this One Body, this One Community, this One Life – we learn patience, we learn humility, we learn grace. In this Sangha, we are broken and our hearts are grown wide and spacious in their capacity to hold and let go in love. In this Body, we are wounded and healed, we die and are reborn. In this Life we don’t become Whole, we become aware that we are already Whole. All is gift.
Is there a better “support network” than that?
For more reading on this Solidarity Thursday topic, please check out these wonderful blogs: The Horizontalist and Church in the Canyon. And this week, joining us for the first time with a truly unique take on all things Solidarity Thursday is Triskaidekapod. Welcome!
spent the evening watching 9/11 footage as i do every year on this day.
i find it incredible that 11 years later, the emotions that rise up from my chest – that turn my stomach – that tighten in my throat, can still be so present. and although the emotions of sadness and anger manifest their presence once again, i do not watch to give them life anew. i watch to remind myself. to remind myself that suffering not grieved, that anger not transformed, that bitterness unchecked – left in its darkened cave, grows into hate. and that hate when held onto, when taught and modeled, finds life in hopeless – desperate hearts. possibly giving birth for generations, slowly separating us from our humanity, from what is divine.
i also watch to remind myself of what it looks like to see such bravery in the face of horrific disaster and tragedy, to watch courage and compassion manifest as it did that day in the police and fire fighters, in doctors and nurses, in coworkers and friends. i watch to remind myself how a nation who can get lost in division, can all at once be unified in their grief, their desire to hold life, and in their humanity.
i know in my heart we are given all we need to heal, all we need to reconcile and restore. the solution is us. our hearts, our minds, our light, our love – together. in moments we see this and in the long arc of history i believe its thread is clear.
but there are dark moments, periods of time that can shake the heart, and i am left to wonder – have we learned?
wishing all of you, dear friends – relief from your suffering, happiness and peace.
September 11, 2012