Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Frozen Danube (c)

Wouldn't it have been better to refuse
to look askance, or perhaps peruse,
to allow me a little while to think
allow my ice to clink
in my glass a bit longer.

Let all the visions and revisions 
pass me by,
let me remember, let me cry
over the currents of our passion
that faded into sweet resignation,
that faded on my icy dream, like a fossil
that never quite
surfaced into
its own reality.
The Blue Danube repeats itself--
a frozen vision.

Five for Flannery (c)

 Young girl…
Reading her picture book…
Transported by images, words

Steady gaze
Poised, pretty, wise,
Already successful,
Discovering her audience

Is evident.
The attack was acute,
Giving her a bit of a moon-face.
Straw hat

Front Porch
Sits with crossed legs,
Writes another page, rocks
In her high-backed, caned rocking chair.

Spreading feathers,
“Tail glittering green-gold…
stepping at a strained attention…”

Notes:  These verses are cinquains, inspired by photographs I discovered of Flannery O"Connor on the Internet.  The quotations about peacocks were taken from “The Displaced Person,” a short story by Flannery O’Connor.  (O’Connor, Flannery, The Complete Stories.  New York:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.)

Why Forgive?


       Do you have a difficult person in your life?  Have you been lied about?  Verbally abused?  Physically hurt?   
     We experience hurt, yet we hang onto the anger and resentment, hurting ourselves in the process.  It’s like allowing the perpetrator to live rent free in our heads, as we go over and over the injustices done to us.  This can become a pattern that keeps us locked into the hurt that affected us in the first place.
     What is forgiveness, anyway?  According to the Old English word, “forgiefan,” it means to “grant, allow, or give up.”  In the modern sense, it refers to “giving up the desire to hurt a person.”  (Source:  Online Etymology Dictionary).  Forgiving someone does not excuse the behavior.  It does not require us to keep relating to that person in some sort of friendly or sentimental way.  
    There’s the phrase, “forgive and forget.”  But if we forget, we have to forgive the person all over again.  We have to forgive and remember.  Remember, and forgive anyway.  It becomes a sort of mantra:  remember, forgive, remember, forgive.  We can’t change the other person, but we can change our thoughts and attitudes.  The other person can’t help the way they are.
     There’s a remarkable brochure on forgiveness published by the Order of St. Luke the Physician.  It states that:  we need to “forgive in self defense.”  The author goes on to say that:  “we have a tendency to carry the people we do not forgive around on our back, or somewhere in the body.  We are literally punished by the one we condemn until we forgive.  I have no idea how my unforgiveness affects the other person, but I know it makes me sick.  I forgive to set them free, so that I might be set free in the process.  I turn loose the grasp in which I hold them that I might turn that hand to God to receive the forgiveness that He extends to me.  I cannot hold both in the same hand…I must release to receive, and so I forgive in self defense, to receive the healing power of God’s love into my life to banish dis-ease, and embrace the healing power of His love.”  (Source:  “What is Prayer, Anyway?”  Order of St. Luke the Physician, P. O. Box 13701, San Antonio, Texas 78213).
     There’s one thing that’s important in forgiving someone who has harmed us, and that is not to apologize to them.  Their behavior is not our fault.  I once had a boss who was openly critical and accusative.  A bully, actually.  Targets sometimes have the feeling that what they are doing is not “good enough,” and that if only they work harder or longer, then they will finally land in the good graces of the perpetrator, and be off the hook.  But the role of a bully is criticize and condemn, actions which come out of a place of deep insecurity and fear.  It helps to consider the bully a sick person.
     Jim Glennon, a well known teacher of Christian healing, believes that forgiveness is essential to healing. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Irish Porridge

"Into four cups of briskly boiling water,

sprinkle one cup of oatmeal, stirring well.  

When the porridge is smoothe 

and beginning to thicken,

reduce heat and simmer uncovered 

for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

 Traditionally served with fresh buttermilk,

 Irish porridge is also good

with milk or cream and brown sugar, 

or with honey."

Friday, January 4, 2013

On Hope

       Emily Dickinson wrote:

"To be alive is Power
Existence in itself
Without a further function
Omnipotence enough."   Emily Dickinson

     This brief poem is about the present moment.  If we are in the present moment, there is no way to be sad!  If we are in the present moment, we keep the flames of hope alive.
     This morning I am enjoying the warm sunlight filling up my study.  I can lie down and practice the restful breathing of Qigong and the peaceful cadence of mindfulness.
     My meditation for this morning stated that:  "Today is where the past has its meaning, and where the future is shaped.  Looking far forward, mapping out my life in the future, I waste the power
of the present, twisting its circumstances and falsifying its memory.  This is an injustice to both past and present."
   My friend Maya and I talked at length about this reading.  I am thankful that  my past has brought me to this present, which is today, and to a new friend.