“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

“THE WELL WITHIN”

“THE WELL WITHIN”

A gentle leader and humble man, Thich Nhat Hanh, died today, January 21, 2022.

Born in 1926, he became a Buddhist monk when he was only sixteen. Working tirelessly for reconciliation between North and South Vietnam, his lifelong efforts to generate peace moved Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Living in exile in France where he founded a retreat centre, Hahn became a prolific writer, renowned scholar, world leader and spiritual guide, championing a movement that weaves traditional meditative practices with nonviolent civil disobedience. His teachings revolved around … respect for life … generosity … loving communication … and cultivation of a healthy lifestyle; his Mindfulness meditation technique helped people in their desire for wholeness and inner calm for generations.

Often quoted, one of Hanh’s phrases particularly spoke to me as I was writing the ‘Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture Your Spirituality’ book. That phrase become one of the quotations in the book – a book which puts forth “Soul Questions” for readers to reflect upon and consider their purpose in life and reason for living. To learn more about the ‘Soulistry’ book and read some reviews, you are welcome to click: www.soulistry.com/books

In thanksgiving for the life of Thich Nhat Hanh and in thankfulness for his permission to use his quote in the ‘Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul’ book, I share Hanh’s words and the Soul-Questions based on his quote for your personal reflection … in your thoughts; in your journal; in discussion with a friend, spiritual guide, soul friend, religious leader,

THE WELL WITHIN Thich Nhat Hanh
(“Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul”, page 11)

“The well is within us. If we dig deeply in the present moment, the water will spring forth.”

Soulistry Soul-Questions:

* What do you think the author means by “the well is within”?

* How have you dug “deeply in the present moment” in your life?

* What growth/learning/self-discoveries resulted from such reflection?

* How might you begin to “dig deeply in the present moment”?

* Are there things in your past or evident in this present time that are preventing you from looking at “the well within” you? If so, name/journal/talking them over with a counselor, spiritual director, soul friend, religious leader so that these things no longer have power over you, restricting your ongoing tapping of the well-within.

* What “water” do you hope “will spring forth” from such self-examination?

Thank you, Thich Nhat Hanh for your gentle leadership, for you faithfulness to the call you heard, and for your wisdom. May you rest in peace now for all eternity.

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

“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

“IT’S A MMMMM Morning”

“IT’S A MMMMM Morning”

This morning was an “M” morning … a Magical … Mystical … Mysterious … Marvellous … Memory-Making … Morning!

As I entered the roundabout, the sight before me was so lovely that I drove all the way around the roundabout, parked in the school’s parking lot across the street, and snapped this photo to remember what had captured my attention.

And then, within minutes, the fog had lifted and the beauty of the moment was gone.

But not forever, thanks to my little camera and the availability of the school parking lot.

And thanks to the gift of memory, the photo will continue to remind me for years to come of an MMMMM.

In the midst of a pandemic, where mask-wearing, social-distancing, curtailed family and friend visits/activities are commonplace, it’s not always easy to recognize the MMMMM … magical, mystical, mysterious, marvellous, memory-making moments before and around us.

But they’re there
in the fog
in the twinkling and smiling eyes of another
in the “may you stay safe”
in the beauty of the world
in the giggle of a child
in the wag of a tail and the cuddle of a feline
in the daffodil trying to surface
in the breath of fresh air
in the first step of the morning
in the comfort of a steaming cup of tea
in the warmth of bed
in the …

Hope your morning, afternoon, evening, day
for whatever reason, is (was) lovely
… MMMMM
Magical … Mystical … Mysterious … Marvellous … Memory-Making!

*************

© 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
www.facebook.com/groups/soulistry
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