Friday, May 13, 2011

The moments that change us

What is alive today? Too much buried under the rubble of my own broken expectations of myself. I keep thinking, "You are what you do every day. What do I do everyday?" I hurry and shove things toward the world in an effort to get where I want to be all the while thinking: life should be slower.

Hurry, blurry, fast with flurry
Find some time to sit still
In the quiet of the noon
Near the heart, an open room
Time to listen in the stillness and the dark

Slow like a heart beat
First a rhythm, then a spark
Ideas emerge and begin to collate

From gentleness, reach across the divide
Touching the soul and the hand
With words and deeds that unite
Known and unknown to each other,
It is the giving, the connecting that help us grow

Scattered you are less of yourself
Wind swept and whisked about
There is no depth from which to spring
No root from which to push.

Listen, to those with pain
Feel their mystery and let them unfold
It diminishes you not, despite what you've been told.
You are only diminished if you do not listen, do not hear
Lend your ear, let them flow- the other one

Beauty can renew grandeur to our human fate,
But words shared and held between two can renew our strength
Move along and open that there yonder gate
Follow an unknown path from this known place.

I wrote that a few days ago, but I felt unsure of posting it. However, I want to pursue my thoughts, where they take me, as they come to me. There are so many people in need of simply being listened to, but we package programs with zippy names and think we can race in and zap away their concerns with a bit of information when what is needed is to be present and some small amount of time.

A Quaker man told the story on On Being that when he was in the midst of a serious depression, many people came to see him. They tried to cheer him up with "you have everything to be happy about" and this kind of talk, but it didn't help. I think I related to it at the time because I was overwhelmed with the sleep deprived baby stages of motherhood- the be grateful stuff seemed to add to my difficulty- I knew of the good news, but in my heart I felt an avoidance of something.

The Quaker goes on to tell of one man who visited everyday and said nothing. That man came and rubbed his feet (with permission) and went away, everyday. There is such intimacy and humility in this act. The Quaker said it was a transformative healing experience. A presence- no words, no potions, no agenda- a humble intimacy, helped him recover. Such powerful healing and yet very few of us have likely experienced it or offered to one another.

I realize the world needs a lot of things, but if a person is to chose a wise path they first need beauty and light. Our burdens hold us back if we find no way to let them go. When we forge connections, not to the pain or to the walls separating each of us, but to the intimate and fragile parts inside of us, we grown in strength. It is this strength that gives us courage to ask for more from ourselves and each other. When we can advocate for beauty, education, and something that is fair; we create a better world. Improving the world starts with presence and beauty. When we feel the depth of humanity within, we can be present in silence for others, and then together we can see the need for jobs and industries that are ennobling and enriching, or environments that are fair and beautiful, or the willingness to help and help again. The moments sustained by beautiful music, observing a sunrise, or in touch with the gentle hand of a loved one, feed us more than the news already played out or rancorous politics that distract us from issues we can impact. The moments that change us come from beauty not from anger that holds us in its grip.