“WE MUST REMEMBER THE HOLOCAUST”

“WE MUST REMEMBER THE HOLOCAUST”

Today, January 27th, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp at Auschwitz.

And we must remember.

We must remember the horrors that happened when good people did not believe what was happening.

We must remember the hatred and lust for power which resulted in intimidation, intolerance, corruption, horrifying violence against Jews, Roma (gypsies), homosexuals, political activists, the disabled (physically and mentally).

Exact numbers of those who died in concentration camps in the Holocaust are unknown but it is estimated that six million Jews,
15,000 homosexuals, unknown political prisoners, the disabled, and about 1.5 million out of an estimated 2 million Gypsied (Roma) were murdered in the Gypsy Holocaust – Porajmos).

Records of one concentration camp (Auschwitz) show unbelievable facts: 1.1 million died … 960,000 Jews (865,000 of whom were gassed on arrival), 74,000 non-Jewish Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 prisoners of war, and up to 15,000 other Europeans.

Many try to forget the reality of what happened in Europe to these people, including clergy who also died while doing their best to support and protect the vulnerable. Many denied the reality of the Holocaust then. Many deny the reality of the Holocaust now.

We must remember the words of Martin Niemöller
“First they came for the Socialists,
and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak for me.”

What gave rise to the Holocaust then
– anger, hatred, fear –
is happening now and growing
around the world.

If Niemöller’s words are not taken seriously
… if history is not remembered
… if action is not taken
… if people do not speak up
there will be no one left to speak.
Democracy will no longer be the reality.

We must remember.
“It didn’t start with gas chambers.
It started with politicians dividing the people with ‘us vs them’.
It started with intolerance and hate speech, and when people stopped caring, became desensitized and turned a blind eye.”
<Auschwitz Memorial>

We must remember and become educated about the atrocities of the past.
We must educate today’s children so they know the truth.
We must do our part in speaking up and speaking out.
We must remember.
Not to do so will have dire consequences.

These sites might be a beginning towards knowing the truth.
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/gay-men-under-the-nazi-regime
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/genocide-of-european-roma-gypsies-1939-1945
https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/10/world-war-ii-the-holocaust/100170/
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-murder-of-people-with-disabilities
https://www.newsweek.com/international-holocaust-remembrance-day-2020-timeline-events-hitlers-rise-power-nuremberg-1483916?fbclid=IwAR2yaunjq1ueOzXF6CYLNy05UhCAEmEVrE1_SqMKqg5xTprUL-z7QoI4nvA


© June Maffin
www.soulistry.com/blog
www.facebook.com/groups/soulistry

“Weeping God and Martin Luther King Jr”

“Weeping God and Martin Luther King Jr”

Another day of darkness and teary-rain in the weather in many places today.
Another day of darkness and teary-rain in the news today.
Another day of darkness and teary-memories on this, the anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Racial slurs and violence continue.
And God weeps.

Weeping God,
how you must ache
for your people who face uncertain futures.

how you must ache
for those who enter into conversations and political debate with open hearts and minds only to find threats,  harassment, and fear leading the discussions and governing decisions.

how you must ache for those whose love of power, love of money and love of self, supersedes commitment to honesty, mercy, compassion, justice and integrity.

Some cry … “How long O Lord, how long?
Some whisper … “Let this cup be taken from us.”
Some try to remember … that the presence of the Holy One
even “in the valley of the shadow of death.”

Many feel a kaleidoscopic tumbling of emotions and know not what to do, how to pray, what to say.
And as they weep, the Creator weeps.

On this anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., may his words
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”
light a spark
so that those who weep will have hope,
those who perpetrate abusive words and actions will be transformed;
and there will be no cause to refer to you as Weeping God
unless your tears (and our tears) are tears of joy.

WatermarkedArtMannPark

© June Maffin
www.soulistry.com/blog
www.facebook.com/groups/soulistry

“THE ALPHABET OF LIFE”

“THE ALPHABET OF LIFE”

The month of January is two weeks old today.  The new year has begun and the door is open to the future. 

What does the future hold for us … as individuals? family members?  community members?  society in general?  religious organization? country?  world?

Perhaps this Alphabet of Life can give guidance if each letter of the alphabet is a gentle reminder of how we can be good-to-ourselves … aka “love ourself” and in doing so, contribute in positive ways to wellness in our families, communities, society in general, religious organization, country, world?

A     
Accepting of self
B 
Be-ing, not do-ing
C
Creating something each day
D
Drawing on our inner resources
E
Elevating our thoughts to new heights
F
Feeding our soul
G
Graciously accepting compliments
H
Hitting goals
I
Initiating contact with a friend
J
Joyfully receiving the gift of life
K 
Keeping our head while the world seems out-of-whack
L 
Loving our neighbour as ourself
M 
Mirroring the goodness we admire in others
N 
Nourishing our spirit
O 
Opening our heart to receiving love in new ways
P 
Paddling through each day in spite of the blocks
Q 
Questioning the imponderables
R 
Realizing our potential
S 
Smiling when we meet a stranger
T 
Treasuring the precious moments of each day
U 
Understanding that we don’t have all the answers to life
V 
Valuing our education and those who have been/ are our mentors
W 
Weaving experiences of life through a loom of learning
X 
Xtracting information from the Universe so we grow in wisdom
Y 
Yielding to the holy, however we understand that term
Z 
Zeroing in on the truly important things of life

I had fun creating this little alphabet sampler in the photograph as it gave me an opportunity to play with some new art tools and techniques and consider phrases to go with the letters of the alphabet (okay, “x” was a stretch <g>).

© June Maffin
www.soulistry.com/blog
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www.facebook.com/groups/zengage
www.facebook.com/groups/foldedtangles

 

“CHALKING   THE   DOOR”- A Ritual for Epiphany

“CHALKING THE DOOR”- A Ritual for Epiphany

Have you ever noticed a mysterious series of letters and numbers which looked like a math equation, inscribed in chalk over a doorway (or at your church, or at the home of a friend) and wondered “What is that?” But you didn’t ask. After leaving, you began to wonder what the chalked letters and number combination was all about. What was it?

It’s called “Chalking the Door.” Some “chalk the door” (literally write on or above the entrance of their home in chalk) with a particular inscription of specific numbers/letters which changes each year. This year, the inscription is: 20 + C + M + B + 22. Here’s a quick ‘translation’.

The letters “C, M, B” can represent
1. The initials of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar) who were reported to visit the baby Jesus on January 6th.
2. An abbreviation of the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat which means “May Christ bless this house.”

The “plus” “+” signs are said to represent
– the Cross of Jesus

The “numbers”
– The “20” at the beginning and the “22” at the end represent this current year: 20 (2000) plus 22 (+ 2022). As the numbers change every year, next year the inscription would be “20 + C + M + B + 23” (2023).

“Chalking of the door” is a centuries-old ritual throughout many parts of the world and can be a wonderful family activity and spiritual practice, invoking the Creator’s blessing and protection on all who live/work/visit the home.

In some respect, it is similar to what Jewish people have done for centuries when they attach a mezuzah to the front door/doorpost in response to a mitzvah (a commandment) believing in protection for those who pass through the door.

When to do the “chalking of the door”?
– Some do it on New Year’s Day.
– Some do it on Twelfth Night.
– Some do it on a day of their own choosing between New Year’s Day and Epiphany.
– Some do it on Epiphany (January 6th). After the storming of the Capital in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, this day last year, today seems appropriate.
– However, the actual date of the “Chalking of the Door” isn’t the important thing. Being intentional, making the time to invite and welcome the Creator’s presence and protection, is.

How does the Chalking of the Door ritual unfold?
– First, you’ll need a chalk and a board (even cardboard would do).
– Write the inscription on the board.
– Let others in the home know about it so they can be there (we’re in a pandemic so wearing a mask, social distancing, and only those who share the home with you, this year, should be present).
– Finally, you’ll need a hammer and nails/tacks to put the inscription on/over the door

The ritual (writing the inscription on/above the door and offering a short prayer) can be done by one person who lives in the home; it can be shared by people living in the home; and when there is no pandemic concern, an ordained person can be invited to preside at the ritual. There really is no formal way of “chalking the door.” It’s a custom, a ritual, which we make our own. So – “Do your own thing.”

Chalking of the Door Prayer
– It can be informal (use your own words)
– It can be semi-formal (something similar to the following)
“Holy One, Creator, God, (I/we) ask your blessing on this entrance and home and upon all who live here (work / visit here). May they may be blessed in ways that will be nourishing to their body, mind and spirit. May peace dwell in this home. May laughter and joy be experienced. May kindness, patience, thoughtfulness, and respect be present in conversations and actions. And may All That Is Good be present in the waking and sleeping of all who dwell herein. Amen
– It can be formal, based on an ancient Celtic prayer (below):
God who is Three, God who is One, give blessing to the house that is here. Bless it from roof to floor, from wall to wall, from end to end. May your Spirit alone dwell within these walls to bring joy and laughter. We call upon the Sacred Three to save, to shield and surround this home. The circle of God around it. The peace of Christ within it. The life of the Spirit above it this day and night and every night. May the Triune God be the protector of this place. Peace be here in the name of the God of love. Welcome be here in the name of the Christ of peace. Joy be here in the name of the Spirit of life. God who is one. God who is three, bring light for the day and rest for the night. We call upon the Sacred Three to welcome, guide and nurture all who enter here; the Circle of God around friend and stranger; the Peace of Christ within it; the life of the Spirit above all who stand at the door this day, this night and evermore. Amen.” <Adaptation of Celtic prayer by Christine Sine, used with permission):


May the “Chalking of the Door” be a blessing to all who read it on a front door and a blessing to all who decide to “chalk the door” this year.

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As with all “Soulistry” reflections/blog postings, you are welcome to share this or any Soulistry reflection.

© June Maffin
www.soulistry.com www.soulistry.com/blog www.facebook.com/groups/soulistrychurchyear

Photo: © Dmitry Zvolskiy (used by permission Pexels.com)
Graphics on door: Thanks to WaterMark Pro app
“EPIPHANY – Light in the Darkness”

“EPIPHANY – Light in the Darkness”

I love the word ‘epiphany.’ 

Epiphanies are those “ah-hah!” moments in life when we suddenly ‘understand’ … ‘get it’ … ‘gain insight’ into the nature or meaning of something (or someone) we hadn’t grasped or understood previously.

Many around the world are celebrating the Season of Epiphany beginning today, January 6th.   Its origin began long ago, when it is said that a star guided three Magi to travel great distance to pay homage to the baby Jesus.  Not surprisingly, the image of a star is often seen as a metaphor for bringing light in the midst of darkness … a darkness of any kind: physical, emotional, spiritual, political, financial, vocational etc.  

In the United States this day, one year after the assault on their Capital in Washington, D.C., many are worried that the light of democracy is slowly being extinguished.  

In the western and northern parts of the world, winter is a time when light is slowly extinguished.  Likewise, throughout the world, with the growing rise of *Strongman Leaders,* the light of democracy is slowly being extinguished. 

Welcoming the Epiphany through images helps to bring light – in our homes and world.  I’ve been enjoying “light” since the beginning of the Season of Advent: royal blue lights on the tree for Advent; red and green lights added on the tree for the Season of Christmas; and just before heading off to bed last night (Twelfth Night), the coloured tree lights were removed and white tiny lights for the Season of Epiphany took their place on the little wooden tree in the front window.

That wooden tree is relatively new for me.  When I saw it in the local hardware store several days after Christmas one year, and learned that the store manager wanted to just about give it away as he didn’t want to dismantle and store it, I thought I would buy it and share with children at the local church as a Jesse Tree (if you’re curious about this, a ‘search’ for Jesse Tree on the Soulistry blog will introduce you to that tradition).   Sadly, there are no children in that church, so I decided to keep the tree and turn it into an Epiphany Tree.

I’m glad I did as I love it!  It contributes in a new way to my “winter tradition” of keeping the symbol of light everpresent in this home for much of our dreary-weather winter and is a constant reminder against dreary-politics.   In addition to the Epiphany Tree (a tree made of branches, or wood, painted white with white lights woven around its branches and trunk), some other ideas which might lend themselves to your adoption of the Season of Epiphany as the Season of Light in your home.  

*Handmade Origami paper stars … I suspend them from the leaves of indoor plants (even the fig plant one year – see photo below), across mirrors, on windows and on the Epiphany Tree.  They’re easy to make (youtube has easy-to-follow videos), are a creative outlet, simple to do, and remind me of the Star the Magi decided to follow.   Over the years, as I work on and string the paper stars in various places, they become a prayerful metaphor that I be guided in making wise decisions that day/week/month/year.

* Tiny white lights … appear around the house in many
places.  They weave their way through plants as well as on the Epiphany Tree reminding me to welcome the Light that comes into the world through ordinary people (of all religions, no religious belief, ethnicities, sexual identities, abilities, races, etc.) who bring kindness, caring, gentleness, peace, patience, goodness, compassion, love, hope, and is a gentle reminder for me to give thanks for these ‘bearers of light’ each day.   In these days of the pandemic, I find myself giving thanks more and more for the ‘bearers of light’ in hospitals, care facilities, ambulances, Covid testing facilities, fire and police stations.

* Play S.E.W.  During the Season of Epiphany, I play “S.E.W.” (Star Epiphany Word).  What is S.E.W.?  Rather than focus on my frustration when I hear people using the word “so …” far too often and inappropriately, I think of the “so” homonymn: “S.E.W.” and let it be a reminder of my Star Epiphany Word which I hope will guide me in some way to a transformative self-growth epiphany.

Each Season of Epiphany, I have fun choosing my S.E.W  This year, my S.E.W. is the word “open.   I want to be open … open to possibilities, learning, sharing, networking … and open to changing frustration into play like creating S.E.W.    :-).    

What about you?  How can you encourage Epiphany to make a difference in your life this year?   Perhaps you could

Choose a S.E.W. to guide you in the coming year

… String tiny white lights
somewhere in your home. 

… Make origami stars
and suspend them on windows, plants, doors. 

Create an Epiphany Tree

… Light some white candles.

… Think of ways you could be the light in the world around you and bring the light of patience, generosity, forgiveness, gentleness, self-control, thoughtfulness, goodness, compassion, kindness to others and your self so that work of Christmas doesn’t stop with Christmas as educator, theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman wrote:  “When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart.”  

While the Season of Epiphany can last anywhere from 40 to 63 days (because the date of Easter changes each year), for however long the Season of Epiphany lasts, may it be a Season of Light in your life and this pandemic world and in its own way, continue “the work of Christmas.”  Happy Epiphany!

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Today, January 6th, is also a day for the “Chalking of the Door” ritual.  Another Soulistry reflection will be posted on the blog (www.soulistry.com/blog) later today.  You’ll be able to recognize it by the photo (below) of the door with the “chalking” inscription at the top of the door.

AN ASIDE: The asterisked *The Age of the Strongman* (above), references a book by Gideon Rachman: “The Age of the Strongman How the Cult Leader Threatens Democracy Around the World”  (ISBN 9781635422801) to be published by Penguin Random House (Other Press) in April, 2022, which I’ve recently had the privilege of reviewing.  If you’d like a copy of the review, just let me know and in the meantime, here’s a sample:  “Anyone can raise the questions of this book, but few can do so with the political experience, knowledge and journalistic background of this author.  Rachman brings decades of qualifications as chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times, former correspondent at The Economist, winner of the Orwell Prize and Commentator of the Year of the European Press Prize (aka the European Pulitzer Prize) to his writing, and the individual chapters on today’s global Strongman leaders from 2000 to 2021 take the book to yet another level of integrity.   Solidly researched, historically accurate, the visionary author offers a glimpse into a global perspective on the Age of the Strongman as a very present and real danger.   Democracy is at risk.  Is anyone listening?”

© June Maffin   www.soulistry.com/blog
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“Chalking of the Door”
Epiphany Origami paper stars on fig tree.
Epiphany – Origami Paper Stars strung on mirror.
Epiphany Tree in the front window where metallic, crocheted and origami paper stars have begun to appear. Something tells me that more stars may appear on the Epiphany Tree next year. 🙂
“TWELFTH NIGHT”

“TWELFTH NIGHT”

It’s Twelfth Night!  Tonight!

Twelfth Night is a festival for those following the Gregorian calendar that takes place on the last night of the Twelve Days of Christmas and marks the coming of the Epiphany tomorrow – January 6th.

What is Twelfth Night all about? When there is no pandemic and people are able to gather together, Twelfth Night is a night of celebrations, partying and merriment where a Twelfth Night cake with a bean or coin inside, (aka King’s Cake in the UK and in the Netherlands; Martha Washington’s Great Cake in the U.S.) is ceremoniously presented and eaten; a crowning of mock royalty happens; lots of music, plays, puppets, theatre and singing; and wassail, a toast of spiced ale or cider (or hot apple juice/cider with a cinnamon stick for flavour) is offered for good health. Yummmm!

In some homes, it’s been an excuse for everyone to dress-up: a masquerade.  In other words, Twelfth Night is an opportunity to feast, and play, be silly and have fun!

Historically, around 1601, William Shakespeare wrote his ‘Twelfth Night’ play, a comedy, as entertainment for the close of the Season of Christmas and set the stage for the Twelfth Night feast with Orlando’s words: “If music be the food of love, play on; give me excess of it.”  In 1849, Queen Victoria marked Twelfth Night with an abundance of music, theatre performances and dance for her court which the populace began to imitate.

Many well-known painters depicted the frivolity of Twelfth Night: … Peter Brueghel the Younger painted “The King Drinks” showing the King drinking to himself, a costume procession, general feasting and merry making … Jan Steen, (known as the most prolific of Twelfth Night artists – six on that theme!), focused on the role of music, symbolism of the Epiphany star and the waffles that are served royalty on Twelfth Night, and even included eggshells littered on the floor in one of his paintings. And poets like Robert Herrick’s 1660 “Twelfth Night: Or, King and Queen”):  “Now, now the mirth comes” got into the celebration of the festival.

Let’s re-discover the Twelfth Night, bring some celebration and festive merrymaking into our lives, and welcome the light of the Epiphany when dawn breaks in the morning … in spite of the political tension in many countries and the pandemic around the world. Or maybe, because of it all. Pick up the phone and call a friend; let social media be the bridge for you to celebrate Twelfth Night; or simply put some apple juice in a pot on the stove, add a cinnamon stick and when it’s been cooking for a while and has “cooked down”, pour yourself a cuppa and as you gently sip from the cup, consider celebrations in your life in the past that brought you joy and dream of celebrations in the future. Get dressed up – make a crown and put it on your head and crown yourself king/queen for the night. 😉

May this Twelfth Day end with a festive spirit … a spirit filled with joy and hope!

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Soulistry offers reflections throughout the calendar year. If you are looking for a particular subject, theme, holiday – whatever – type the word into the Search bar of www.soulistry.com or the Soulistry blog (www.soulistry.com/blog).

Happy Twelfth Night! And tomorrow – Epiphany! And Soulistry reflections along themes of lights and stars. 😉

© June Maffin www.soulistry.com/blog
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“TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS – drumming possibilities”

“TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS – drumming possibilities”

Merry Twelfth Day of Christmas! We’ve come to the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas and it’s time to  “Drum Possibilities” because on this day, so the song goes, the drummers were drumming.

Why?  What?  Music ethnologists remind us that every culture has utilized the drum for a multitude of purposes
to touch the heart and communicate emotions, actions and messages in a variety of ways: social dances, feasts, sporting events, religious rituals, prelude to war, ceremonies, weddings, births, funerals, etc.

When drummers *drum*, they are trying to gain interest or support in some way.   In fact, the phrase “drum up” has become a favourite of people in business (drum up sales), as excuses (drum up an alibi or story), in advertising (drum up more customers) and yes, in politics (drum up support for a particular Bill / Amendment / Candidate), too.

As interesting as are the gain interest/support uses of the *drum* image, I’d rather “drum up” possibilitiesopportunities to
… be creative
… do acts of kindness
… experience joy
… make a difference  
… dream
… be involved in self-care
… ‘think’ and ‘respond’ before ‘reacting’
… imagine
… be hopeful
… find ways to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive throughout the year.

Journalist, English writer, poet, philosopher and lay theologian, G.K. Chesterton reinforced the hope that the Spirit of Christmas is lived every day by people of all religions and by people of no religion:  “Christmas which is now over, ought to go on for the remainder of the twelve days … (in) our own topsy-turvy time we all hear such a vast amount about Christmas just before it comes, and suddenly hear nothing at all about it afterwards … I am going to plead for a longer period in which to find out what was really meant by Christmas and a fuller consideration of what we have really found.”   <G.K. Chesterton>

Chesterton’s point of view is simple … Let’s keep Christmas alive in our hearts beyond this, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, so that Christmas isn’t just one day, or only for those who are Christians, or only for the Twelve Days of Christmas.  It’s for us all to enjoy, to keep, to maintain throughout the whole year. 

Even though the Season of Christmas draws to a close this night (known as Twelfth Night – and yes, another Soulistry reflection about Twelfth Night will emerge later today), may the Spirit of Christmas continue to be alive *every* day!

Tomorrow morning, the third Season of the liturgical Church Year begins.  The Season of Epiphany (Advent was the first; Christmas was the second), for those following the Gregorian calendar, enters the scene with special images and messages. Soulistry Reflections will appear on the blog and on the Soulistry FB groups throughout the year about a variety of themes, subjects and thoughts.  If you have a subject/theme you are looking for, hope you’ll use the magnifying image and search for it on the blog.

You are welcome to follow the Soulistry blog Reflections in several ways:
… the Soulistry blog www.soulistry.com/blog
… via the Soulistry website:  www.soulistry.com
… via the FB Soulistry group: www.facebook.com/groups/soulistry … the Facebook ‘Church Year’ group: www.facebook.com/groups/soulistrychurchyear

An important aside: Soulistry lists are not sold or loaned or given to anyone.  Your information is confidential, very safe and private.  

Thank you for your encouragement of Soulistry and its blog with your comments on the actual blog and on the various FB Soulistry groups.  You are always welcome to share Soulistry postings.

As the year unfolds, may you be blessed in ways you cannot even begin to ask or imagine. 

Special thanks to calligrapher Cari Ferraro for permission to use her lovely work highlighting today’s blog, reminding us of the theme of each of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and to James Toose for permission to use his photo of drummers, drumming.

© June Maffin
www.soulistry.com/blog
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Calligraphy Art © Cari Ferraro https://cariferraro.com/gallery/

“ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS – Pipers Piping”

“ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS – Pipers Piping”

On this day, the Eleventh Day of the Season of Christmas (part of the Twelve Days of Christmas), the Pipers were piping! 

I was intrigued by the story of Scottish Infantryman and bagpiper Daniel Laidlaw who became known as the Piper of Loos in the Battle of Loos in 1915 in World War 1.  When he was awarded the Victoria Cross medal for the courage he showed when facing battles, it was said that he was “an exemplar of grace and coolness under fire.

Interesting phrase: “under fire.” 
The Piper of Loos was “under fire.”
We all have experienced being ‘under fire’ in some way, at some time, in our life. 
Surely the last two years with the pandemic experience the world has been “under fire.”  That’s not all though.

Many have been “under fire” battling physical fires because of climate change, electrical storms, arsonists or … 

Many continue to be “under fire” struggling with fires of different kinds: … physical illness … mental illness … infections … broken relationships … poverty … disability … grief … misogyny … financial instability … addiction … broken relationships …religious intolerance … injustice … bigotry … jealousy … loss …

And then there are the “under fire” experiences of “ism’s”: racism …  sexism … classism … ableism … anti-semitism … ageism … heterosexism.  And the list goes on.

As this New Year unfolds and the uncertain, scary political environment and pandemic continue, may the Piper of Loos and pipers of this day offer encouragement to each of us to be “an exemplar of grace and coolness under fire” when we confront our battles.  Courage is attainable.

Let the piping begin!

Happy Eleventh Day of Christmas!

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The Soulistry Christmas series is posted along with other Soulistry reflections as a reminder that Christmas isn’t just “one day.”   The Spirit of Christmas can continue to be alive every day – even beyond the Season of Christmas.   🙂

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© June Maffin
photo © Jesse Roach  Used by permission
www.soulistry.com/blog    www.facebook.com/groups/soulistry

“TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS – Let’s Leap”

“TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS – Let’s Leap”

Merry Christmas – Tenth day!
On this day of Christmas, the lords were a-leaping!

Leaping?   
Ahhhh, of course!   
They were young.   

But, what about those who cannot or can no longer physically leap? 

‘Leaping’ can involve more than ‘physical’ movement.
Leaping can involve our mind and spirit.
Leaping over limits, can open minds, nourish our spirit.

But what about the limits we place on ourselves?
… the limits society puts before us?
… the limits others place on us? 
… the limits the pandemic has brought?

We can still leap!
When astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, he set a gentle reminder that “one small step” for one person can lead to “one giant leap”  for all.   

When we ‘leap,’ others can be encouraged to leap over the limits they find blocking / restricting their emotional or spiritual growth.

But what if fear is what keeps us/them from leaping into the big decision: a house move … a project …  a relationship … a particular job or volunteer activity … whatever!   

Naturalist and essayist John Burroughs wrote: “Leap and the net will appear.”   

“The net will appear”!   
We can be creative in our leaping – even in this global pandemic. 
Let’s “leap”
… ‘leap’ into action
… ‘leap’ into healing 
… ‘leap’ into love
… ‘leap’ into hope
… ‘leap’ into joy
… ‘leap’ into peace
… ‘leap’ into personal growth.

Happy Tenth Day of Christmas! 
Happy leaping!

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© June Maffin 
Artwork © Banu Moore  Used by permission

www.soulistry.com/blog 
www.facebook.com/groups/soulistry   www.soulistry.com www.facebook.com/groups/soulistrychurchyear
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“NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS”

“NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS”

Merry Ninth Day of Christmas!
And yes, we’re still in the Season of Christmas. 

Many were grateful to see last year come to an end as it represented a second year of living in the midst of a pandemic and living with anxiety about the future.

So what of the future?  What of this New Year?  The 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Samuel Beckett, wrote: “Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.”  Perhaps, on this the Ninth Day of Christmas, the “nine ladies dancing” of the Twelve Days of Christmas could offer encouragement for the new year that has just begun and help us to look beyond negativity which may have carried over into this new year.

On this the Ninth Day of Christmas, the dancing ladies offer a suggestion … dance!  

But, how can we dance when there is a pandemic escalating and dancing with others, joining in Dance or Zumba classes, dancing at wedding or parties are no longer possible due to Covid restrictions?  We can still dance … dance on our own:  in the kitchen, in the entrance to our home, in the garage, in the Studio, in the bedroom, between the rooms of our home.

But what if we are not able to do that?  What if we are in a wheelchair, need to use a walker/cane?  We can still dance – in the wheelchair, with our walker/cane, in our imagination!

Dancing (even imagining ourselves dancing) is great exercise … for our body, our mind, and our spirit.  When we are dealing with physical or emotional pain be that grief, depression, addiction, relationship issues, financial issues, housing issues, employment issues, etc., we are living with high levels of stress, and our body becomes rigid and tight, our mind can’t think as well as we can normally, and our spirit is drained.

But when we dance and experience the joy of the moment, there is a release of endorphins which can lower physical, emotional and spiritual pain, give a natural ‘high’ increasing metabolism, blood and oxygen flow, and re-connect us to our spirit.  In other words, dance can be a spiritual connection!

John O’Donahue, Irish author, priest, and poet was known for popularizing Celtic spirituality and this part of his “Beannacht” poem is a gentle reminder of the importance of dance to bring balance into our physical and spiritual lives.

Beannacht
On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.
[“Beannacht” is the Gaelic word for “blessing”]

Let’s nurture our spirit as this New Year unfolds and let the dancing ladies of the Ninth Day of the Twelve Days of Christmas encourage us (in the words by Sydney Carter set to the Shaker “Simple Gifts” melody ) to “Dance then, where ever you may be!”   

Happy Ninth Day of Christmas!  Let’s dance!

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© June Maffin
Calligraphy artwork © Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
www.susangaylord.com   Used by permission

The Soulistry Christmas series is posted each day during the Season of Christmas along with other Soulistry reflections can be found at www.soulistry.com/blog and  www.facebook.com/groups/soulistry.
May the Twelve Days of Christmas be a reminder that Christmas isn’t just “one day.” The Spirit of Christmas can continue to be alive every day – even beyond the Season of Christmas.   🙂