Wednesday, November 18, 2015

TO BREATHE IN SOMETHING DIFFERENT



 I don't just love Japanese Gardens for their esthetics. There has been something more at work here in me over the past decade....it is much deeper than just liking a style of garden design.....it is more connected to being a better human....a way of understanding better...a pathway to compassion...and more.

These things have always been important throughout human history. And sadly too often ignored. In our time it is no different....it remains so important and too often ignored.

Naomi Shihab Nye touches on it here.

 BILL MOYERS: You write in here about what it means to be half and half, where love means you breath in two countries. Help me to understand that.

 NAOMI SHIHAB NYE: Well I think whenever you love something or somebody it means that you have to extend yourself, you have to grow-- get a little larger. You can't stay in your little comfortable-- spot. So you have-- it's a challenge it's a risk, and-- whether it's loving another culture far away that suddenly has been represented by an act of violence-- or whether it's loving another person-- and that always involves you know all kinds of growing-- we're challenged. And so every time you care about something or somebody that relates to a different place in the world, then you're empathy grows. And for example, for all Americans who have friends from Iraq, I'm sure that things that have been going on-- they're thinking about it not only in political terms, but in human terms. You know what will that mean for their friend's families, or what will that mean for all the children of Iraq? You know during the Gulf War I remember two little third grade girls saying to me-- after I read them some poems by writers in Iraq-- "You know we never thought about there being children in Iraq before." And I thought, "Well those poems did their job, because now they'll think about everything a little bit differently." They'll feel closer to that place in a different way

Sunday, November 08, 2015

A NEW WAY OF SEEING LEADS TO A NEW WAY OF BEING




 Learn to see the beauty that surrounds you in a new and imaginative way, and allow it to teach you a new way of being in the world.

All the things we need so desperately to retrieve, so often turn out to be the things so many write off as being naive. So people continue to neglect things like love, and beauty, and mind boggling generosity, and actually being peace and creating peace themselves, and instead continue to follow ways of thinking and doing that never have the ability to change them, help others to change, and in turn, change the world in some positive way.

I love the opening to John O'Donohue's book BEAUTY...The Invisible Embrace.

"These times are riven with anxiety and uncertainty, given the current global crisis. In the hearts of people some natural ease has been broken. It is astounding how this has reached deep into the heart. Our trust in the future has lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen, from one minute to the next. The traditional structures of shelter are shaking, their foundations revealed to be no longer stone but sand. We are suddenly thrown back on ourselves. Politics, religion, economics and the situation of family and community, all have become abruptly unsure. At first, it sounds completely naive to suggest that now might be the time to invoke and awaken beauty. Yet this is exactly the claim that this book explores. Why? Because there is nowhere else to turn and we are desperate; furthermore, it is because we have so disastrously neglected the Beautiful that we now find ourselves in such terrible crisis.

 In a sense, all the contemporary crisis can be reduced to a crisis about the nature of beauty. This perspective offers us new possibilities. In parched terrains new wells are to be discovered. When we address difficulty in terms of the call of beauty, new invitations come alive. Perhaps, for the first time, we gain a clear view of how much ugliness we endure and allow. The media generate relentless images of mediocrity and ugliness in talk-shows, tapestries of smothered language and frenetic gratification. The media are becoming the global mirror and these shows tend to enshrine the ugly as the normal standard. Beauty is mostly forgotten and made to seem naive and romantic. The blindness of property development creates rooms, buildings and suburbs which lack grace and mystery. Socially, this influences the atmosphere in the workplace, the schoolroom, the boardroom and the community. It also results in such degradation of the environment that we are turning more and more of our beautiful earth into a wasteland. Much of the stress and emptiness that haunts us can be traced back to our lack of attention to beauty. Internally, the mind becomes course and dull if it remains unvisited by images and thoughts which hold the radiance of beauty."

I no longer just see a Great Blue Heron anymore when I see a Great Blue Heron. I see more. And that holds true with everything I now see.