Dreamed into Being

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The idea that we are dreamed into being by generations past is a common one among Indigenous people around the world. I realize that I hold it so deeply that I am surprised when it is new, and resonates, with others.  Michael Watson – Dreaming the World

I follow Michael on WordPress and many of his posts speak to me about things I know, but know with shadows around the edges. He brings a personal perspective to what I know about being different, having unique needs in a world that very often finds people who are different scary or annoying. And he offers me insight from a world perspective that I’m familiar with only through reading novels or professional literature.

Periodically Michael talks about the role of ancestors from generations past, usually insights on how they influence mental health and relational difficulties. When he talked about being dreamed into the world by ancestors, I had to do a lot of thinking to wrap my mind around it. But I liked the concept. I just wasn’t sure I could believe my ancestors dreamed me into being.

Could I really have been dreamed into being when my being wasn’t planned by my 17 year old second-generation Polish Catholic mother who worked at a soda fountain and my 16 year old Anglo somewhat-Christian father who played football in his junior year of high school. This was in 1943 when out-of-wedlock pregnancies were a disgrace and Catholics weren’t allowed to date Christians. And Christian parents warned their adolescents about marrying a Catholic. I wasn’t planned for – maybe not even wanted. Did my ancestors from generations past on both sides of the Atlantic really dream me into being?

After months of letting this concept percolate through my brain cells I have discovered that I actually find comfort in believing that my ancestors dreamed me into being. I can support this comforting belief because I am dreaming my great-grandchildren into being and even my grandchildren’s great-grandchildren. I also believe in an afterlife and my afterlife wouldn’t be worth looking forward to if I couldn’t continue to care for and guide those who are born long after I have departed.

On this Memorial Day weekend I spent some time thinking about the people who are no longer living but have impacted my life. Because I have been loved and nurtured throughout my life, I feel better equipped to deal with the pressure of living in a world with increasing threats and challenges. Because others felt hope for me, I also have hope for opportunities for self-fulfillment and loving relationships for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as they negotiate creating lives with integrity.

I am also in the process of thinking about how to integrate into my self image those who prepared the way for my birth, loving me long before I was born. “May we remember that we are the prayers of past generations, and their hope for the future, and may we carry those hopes and prayers lightly into the future as we continue to dream future generations into being.” (Michael Watson)

 

Finding Joy in our Faith

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Our faith traditions and stories give our lives meaning – they guide us in our living and give us hope for our futures. When the world around us is off kilter and scary we know we can look to the stories we have heard since we were children for comfort.

As Christians we are remembering and celebrating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and our Jewish neighbors are celebrating God leading the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. May our shared belief in one God bring us together and give us the courage to lead lives that are compassionate, loving and joyful. May we all work together for justice and equality.

 

A Good Match: Cuban Friends

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I never met these women – didn’t even get closer than across the street, looking down from my hotel window. But I know they are a good match – close friends. Look how they are talking, how relaxed they are. And the biggest clue that they are a good match, is that they are humble enough to give and receive a pedicure from each other. I don’t know if they are religious, living here in Havana, but I know that the Holy Spirit I believe in is sharing this beautiful moment with them. After all, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.

As I am growing older, I am less sure of some of my beliefs – and at the same time I am more sure of other beliefs. I am less sure of the breadth and width and depth of God because of the limitation of my comprehension, but more sure of his central message of love. I have grown to believe that the God I worship is bigger in her acceptance and forgiveness than I ever thought possible and thus maybe calls me to be more accepting and forgiving of those around me. Maybe I am being called to see God wherever I see love. Another benefit of aging is that I am better able to recognize when love is present, when things come together in a good match. A good match is respectful and allows one to be all it is meant to be, like when a plant or animal or person is well matched with its environment.

This photograph and my reflections are in response to The Daily Post: A Good Match.

Sending a Bit of Sunshine

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I seem to be low on words, so I’m sending a wee bit of sunshine to all who need a little. I hope it will shine through you to spread some joy and love to those you encounter today.

“Faith, hope, love abide; but the greatest of these is love.”

We Were Made For These Time

My friend, Barb, posted this on Facebook and after going to the original I decided to use it as a blog post. We don’t have any control over when or where we are born, but we do have control over how we use our personal strengths to touch the world and the people within it. It is up to each of us to determine the ways in which we can fulfill our purpose for being made for these time.

I hope you find meaning in the words written for these times by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

 My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

By Clarissa Pinkola Estes

American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.