I didn’t see much of the eclipse
… or so I thought.
A friend and I were on the back deck with the computer on the table
chatting, visiting, sipping tea
watching the NASA feed on the computer.
“When will it happen?” we wondered.
The computer showed us that the eclipse *was* happening
but other than no wind movement in the trees
a darkness on the left side
and a drop in temperature
not much seemed to be happening where we were.
But tonight, when I downloaded the photo I took this morning
I saw something I hadn’t seen during the eclipse
… fascinating swirls of light!
Those swirls of light made me stop and think
about things we miss
about people we miss
when we are not
… expecting the unexpected
… being open to possibilities
… dealing with the “ism’s” we don’t want to admit
… acknowledging the negativity we feel
and there is an eclipse in our corporate soul.
May we see beyond the things and people seeking to
… cloud our minds with negativity
… confuse our thoughts with misinformation and lies
… obliterate light from this world.
… your time has come to a close.
May swirls of light of
replace our obscured vision.
© Photo & Text June Maffin
I remember a stormy night
the likes of which I’d not seen in many years.
Thunder and lightening
… more thunder and lightening
… and heavy, non-stopping rain.
And the sky?
… the sky was beautiful!
I didn’t even think of taking a photo of it
as I was too busy oohing and aahhing at the beauty.
When I grabbed my camera
all I got was this photo which only represents
about a quarter of how majestic a sky it was.
I couldn’t help thinking about
… how beauty and potential destruction can go hand in hand
… how goodness and evil can exist side by side
… how grace and suffering can be present at the same time
These days, sadly, we’re getting to know all about all of that
because of Charlottesville, Virginia where
… clergy walked quietly and peacefully, hand in hand
as armed white supremacists flooded city streets.
… ordinary citizens stood watch outside a synagogue as people of all ages
gathered inside to pray and KKK members marched with flame-torches in their hands
shouting “Jews will not replace us”
… and much more.
When we encounter storms
may the words from Rudyard Kipling’s “IF” poem
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man (sic), my son (sic)!
<Rudyard Kipling, adapted for inclusive language)
Photo & Text © June Maffin
Don’t know about you but
there’s just too much hate happening these days.
So let’s balance things out.
Let’s plant LoveSeeds!
Let’s sprinkle a bit of
… loving kindness
… loving thought
… loving prayer
… loving words
… loving action
in the world around us on social media like
… our blogs
… our emails.
And let’s sprinkle Love Seeds
… in our neighbourhoods
… in our families
… in ourselves.
If you could use some LoveSeeds
aka ‘use some love’ because you’re
… in physical pain
… feeling fragile in this world that seems to be so alien these days
for whatever reason,
pick a LoveSeed
and consider yourself
gently hugged, affirmed, encouraged and loved.
In ways we can’t even being to ask or imagine
may the Love Seeds we plant
and the Love Seeds we receive
blossom and fill hearts, minds and souls with hope.
Text: © June Maffin
Image Artist: Not yet confirmed after a lengthy search but I think it is Nonnetta whose FB page is here. Am waiting to hear back from the artist for confirmation.
Long ago, when monks transcribed manuscripts by hand,
mistakes were made because the language of the time had no punctuation.
So, letter after letter was strung together with other letters
… with no capitalization to indicate a new sentence/thought)
and this often provided dilemmas for the monks.
For instance … quickly, without spending a lot of time thinking, what does the following say:
Capital letters, punctuation and “spaces” are vital when trying to understand written text.
So, does the above say: “It is good to believe that God is now here.”
Or, does it say “It is good to believe that God is nowhere.”
Our society is filled with people who believe that God is “nowhere”
and many of them live loving, productive lives and bring blessings to this world.
Our society is also filled with people who believe that God is “now here”
They experience and understand God
… in different ways
… in different places
… with different traditions related to their beliefs
… dressed in different ways
… using different names for their deity
Yes, there are differences … many!
But so what?
Really, so what?
If lives are lived, expressing lovingkindness
… to people, animals, the earth, the sky, the waters, themselves
what harm is expressed if people choose
to acknowledge God “now here” in their own way?
I don’t understand hate crimes.
I don’t understand racism.
I don’t understand religious intolerance.
I never have.
I doubt I ever will.
It is good (for me) to believe that God is now here
especially in these present difficult days of
fear-mongering threats by world leaders.
Text & Photo © June Maffin
Whether we want it to, or not.
Whether we welcome it, or not.
Whether we celebrate it, or not.
*Growing old* is different.
Growing old is more than chronology.
Growing old is about attitude and is about play.
When we stop playing,
we stop delighting in life;
we stop being hopeful;
we grow old.
While I may be chronologically aging (more quickly than I wish)
and my body may be showing its age (a bit more every day),
I refuse to grow old.
Play is my middle name
– even if it’s only a few minutes each day.
In this grieving process, some days are more difficult to include a play-filled activity
than other days.
But I make a conscious effort.
I remember one of those “more difficult days.”
There was no rational explanation.
The sadness and profound sense of loss just was there
… big time.
I could feel the waves of grief tumble and erupt.
I could feel my body experiencing the loss of my husband
in an overwhelming sense of exhaustion.
So I decided to head outdoors and take a short walk around the block.
On my little walk I encountered a little girl.
She was singing a familiar melody while she walked her dog
and I began to hum the melody.
It was my ‘play’ for the day!
It was just a few seconds.
But it was play
and I felt a hint of joy as the tears tumbled down my face
because I wanted to tell my husband about this lovely encounter.
Then as I walked back home, a smile began to form on my face
… because I did tell him. 🙂
When we play, joy begins to emerge.
Whether we are encountering a familiar melody sung by a little girl walking her dog,
(or dancing, or doodling, or engaging in board games,
or strolling along the beach, or playing bridge,
or are involved in a sport, or interacting on the internet,
or playing an instrument, or sharing a meal with a friend,
or creating anything (be that a handmade card, a tool shed, a dress, a poem,
a painting, a piece of calligraphy, a meal, a book, a piece of pottery, a magazine article,
a computer program, a piece of sculpture, a photograph, a mandala,
a garden, a scrapbook, a bookcase … whatever!),
we begin to realize that there is still life within us,
and joy has space to flower.
There is such wisdom in the words of George Bernard Shaw:
“We don’t stop playing because we’re old.
We grow old because we stop playing.”
By the way, the photo was taken several years ago
when I surprised Hans with a ride on a Zodiac boat.
He loved it!!!
That’s not exactly the word I would use to describe the zodiac-experience!
But, he was having such fun,
even when the rain started
even when the wind picked up
and even when the storm quickly arrived.
So how could I not delight in his delight?
A spirituality of play has many ways to surface! 🙂
Embracing spiritual concepts and peaceful ways
the Toltec people of southern Mexico around 900 A.D.
considered all of life to be part of the Great Mystery
… science and spirit were seen to be part of the same entity.
Even though the Toltec culture left no written records about their beliefs,
it was believed that a shaman was the repository of Toltec culture
and had the ability to guide people in their lives.
One day, a near-fatal car accident changed the life of a surgeon born in rural Mexico.
He apprenticed himself to a shaman to learn about the Toltec culture
and then a move to the United States found him exploring the human mind
from both an indigenous (Toltec culture)
as well as a scientific perspective (his medical training)
resulting in a unique combination of traditional wisdom and modern insight
in a very short book.
The man’s name was Don Miguel Ruiz.
The name of the book was called The Four Agreements.
It was a New York Times bestseller for more than seven years
and offered four simple guidelines to life.
Here’s how Ruiz explained the Four Agreements:
AGREEMENT 1 Be impeccable with your word
… Speak with integrity.
Say only what you mean.
Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
AGREEMENT 2 Don’t take anything personally
… Nothing others do is because of you.
What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.
When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
AGREEMENT 3 Don’t make assumptions
… Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
AGREEMENT 4 Always do your best
… Your best is going to change from moment to moment;
it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.
Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid
self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
Such wisdom, Dom Miguel Ruiz.
Photo & Text © June Maffin