Monthly Archives: January 2010

HOPE

I recently finished reading Greg Mortenson’s new book, Stones into Schools, sequel to Three Cups of Tea. I feel something rising in my heart that I have not felt for my country or the world in a very long time–hope.

St. Paul wrote that three things would always abide–faith, hope and love, and that the greatest of these is love. As one who teaches others how to create restorative culture in their classrooms and organizations–a concept firmly grounded in the idea that all behavior is the product of what we believe about ourselves, others and how we should respond to the world–I am struck by the order Paul has listed these three abiding qualities.

First, faith. For anything to become, there must first be the thought; the thought repeated until it is solid and ingrained–a belief. When we believe, we have faith. Faith is defined in the dictionary as a belief in which we have, or that allows us to have, confidence and trust. That surety, according to ancient wisdom, religious teachings (based on ancient wisdom), and “new” quantum scientific proofs, is what creates our experience (our reality) and has proven to effect physical, material matter.

When we are able to raise up our heads in confidence, with trust, believing that our thoughts and desires for a better world–for healing, for reconciliation, for peace, for beauty–our hearts are flooded with hope. Hope allows us to smile. Hope sets our feet to dancing. Hope sings.

And when my heart is so full of hope, how can I not love? When my faith and my hope have sent Fear flying in retreat, Love fills up all those spaces previously occupied by the boggart. And it is Love that permeates the entire universe; Love is the very fiber of which it is woven. So of course, of the three things that will abide, Faith, Hope and Love, the greatest would be Love. But the other two are necessary. Without them, we might remain closed off from Love, tyrannized by boggarts, even for a lifetime.

Haji Ali (Head Man in Korphe village, Pakistan) said (to Greg Mortenson), ‘The first cup of tea you share with us, you are a stranger. The second cup, you are a friend. But with the third cup, you become family—and for our families we are willing to do anything, even die.’ Of the many lessons that that old man imparted to me, this was perhaps the greatest. It underscores the paramount importance of taking the time to build relationships, while simultaneously affirming the basic truth that in order to get things done in this part of the world, it is essential to listen with humility to what others have to say. The solution to every problem, Haji Ali firmly believed, begins with drinking tea. And so it has proven.
Greg Mortenson, Stones into Schools

Three Cups of Tea was inspiring, but Stones into Schools renewed my faith and hope in my people, in the leaders of our military, in our future. First, to read that Greg and the Central Asia Institute (CAI) have built over a hundred schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan–most of them for girls–in the past 10 years was exciting. That many of the schools are in the heart of Taliban territory, was amazing. To know that thousands of ordinary Americans are supporting the CAI in this endeavor, including many American schools and students, was thrilling. But when I began to read about how leaders in our military, leaders such as General Mike Mullen and General David Patraeus began to consult with Greg and his organization, require Three Cups of Tea to be read by military commanding officers, and have been in full agreement with Greg’s belief that terrorism will not be defeated with bombs and war machines, but by education and the building of relationships between the people of Afghanistan and Americans (military especially), hope began to break through the crust of my synicism and anger. I read the last chapters of the book with tears streaming down my cheeks. These were not tears of despair, but tears of relief and hope.

I was struck by the sheer magnitude of the mountains that have been moved by Greg’s unwavering faith in the goodness of people. Despite the terrible things he has seen, the damage done by selfish, greedy and powerful people on both sides of his world, despite mistakes made by himself and others, he gets up every morning to offer his life as a gift and see what good may be done. He is not so quick to make assumptions or to judge, even when he feels angry and his heart is grieved by what he sees happening. He has learned to the very core of his being the value of hearing the other person’s story. He has learned the value of first drinking tea with the other, even one you might think is your enemy.

Cannot I do the same? Could not we all?

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WISDOM SEEDS

I held a little speckled bean in my hand. I knew a strong, 18 inch green plant lived inside that tiny seed. I knew it was leafy and that from it I would harvest a gallon of long, green beans. I held the bean between my thumb and fore-finger, lifting it up to the sunlight. Then I pressed it into the earth: I would never see that seed again. A week went by. The ninth morning when I went to visit my garden, there was a tiny little plant with two tiny leaves struggling to emerge from the earth where I had pressed the seed. We would have beans.

Nearly three months have passed since I went for a series of Reconnection Healing sessions. I went desiring and anticipating healing for my body, especially for my left arm and shoulder. I went desiring emotional healing, to be freed from depression and anxiety. I went wanting a greater connection to the Divine. With the exception of one thing, my sessions were seemingly uneventful and I did not come away feeling any better. In fact, at the last session I experienced waves of anger and rage and have been rather out-of-sorts ever since! This has been a source of great confusion for me. I have held onto the one perplexing experience I did have, that, and my belief that something good is happening within me–even though just what I haven’t understood.

In one of the sessions, I had a very vivid experience of sensing a Being of Light speaking to me. He told me that I was to focus on opening up my left side and my heart chakra, that once I did that, that all these things I have desired would flow to me–more than I could hold.

I had learned that our left side is the receptor side for energy, our right the giving side. It made sense to me that if my energy receptors/channels were closed down, it would make it pretty tough to receive much of any of what I was wanting–healing, understanding, success. And it would leave me chronically depleted of zest and vitality, which in fact, has been my experience for years. So, despite my disappointment and confusion these past few months, I have persevered in visualizing opening up these energy channels. I have wondered if the irritability and rage have been in part, like an emotional detox–a cleansing of sorts. Old stuff long left rotting in the corners being dislodged.

It has seemed to me that the past week or so my shoulder has felt a little better. This morning I was sending healing light to that area when I suddenly realized that perhaps the pain and “injury” in my left shoulder and arm have simply been the manifestation of the energy blockage that I created through my fear and anger in the past. The longer I kept that flow shut down, the more severe the injury and pain became. Of course. Wasn’t it rather obvious?

The seeds of wisdom that we are given, will never actualize their potential if we keep them safe in a box on a shelf. But we have to know, that even when we plant them, it may seem at first as though nothing will come from it. The seed disappears into the earth of our heart, our mind, our body and perhaps there is no evidence of change for days, weeks, months, even years. Then one day, suddenly there is the tiny green plant standing happily in the sunshine, shouting how good it is to be alive!

I allow all that remains of this blockage to melt away, like fog evaporating into the warmth of the sun. It is good to be alive!

The Experiment

It began last Fall when I was trying to walk on the railroad track without falling off. I fell off about every fourth or fifth step. Finally I asked myself, “If I knew that the things I so badly want to manifest in my life depended on my being able to walk this rail without falling, would I walk it differently?” I thought about it for a few minutes, and then I stepped up on the rail again. I was focused and intent on remaining on the rail. And I did. All the way to where I needed to leave the track and walk down the road to my house. I have walked the rail many days since, and always, when my intention is focused, I walk the rail easily and without losing my balance.

I can’t say I have been walking through my life quite as surely or as easily or with such fine balance. But the lesson has not escaped my notice. A new experiment in my life has been underway since this past September. As with any skill, I understand it will take focused practice.

This is my experiment: if I intentionally, day after day, focus on being present and in the Now–if I am able to accept what IS in the Now without resistance while still holding the images of myself and my life as I want them to be, if I focus on nurturing a positive attitude, if I daily open myself to the frequencies of Love and of Light–will I experience the changes in my life that I desire? For real?

I set my foot again upon this “rail”, I find my focal point, and I walk with clear intention and determination to manifest the goals I’ve set.

Intention precedes manifestation.

2009–The Year of the Crysalis

As I move between the years, I often find that the one I am leaving had a theme. I am able to give it a title and sometimes in doing so I see the events of my year and their inherent lessons more clearly. I have had the Year of Endings and the Year of Beginnings. I have had the Year of the Swan and the Year of the Tiger.

2009 was, for me, the Year of the Chrysalis. After years and months of seeking answers for the riddles in my life; after years and months of reading and studying and learning new truths about life and the Universe and how it all works; after all this gathering of information and this eating and digesting, this grumpy, fat caterpillar spun a chrysalis this past year. For more than six months I have felt hidden in the darkness–not alone, really, and not lost. And yet, both alone and lost. For six months I have pondered all that I have been learning and have wondered if that which I desire and long for will ever manifest fully into my life. I am told that it is possible, but that it is up to me to bring it to being.

I have some hard work ahead of me. Work requiring courage and persistence. I must emerge from my chrysalis. I must find the courage to fly. I must become the jewel-winged Butterfly.