I look out on another exquisite day. I am with the power of painting to ease pain. I feel quite fine today, though subdued, and my breath is expanded and light, which means I am. I recommend painting as a way to spread your heart on paper or canvas and see what is there. It is relief. Or maybe you like to play with clay. Try that, too.
I am reading Karen Armstrong's book, The Great Staircase. She became a nun at 17, and lasted seven years. Through my Rosen work, I have met two women who also became nuns at the age of 17. The Church knows now that is too young for a girl to commit, and yet, it has worked well for the two I know, though they admit they wouldn't do it again. Still, they are very involved in the world and travel for their work, and do not look like my idea of a nun, "the penguin," as the Blues Brothers put it, in black habit and veil. My friends, my colleagues, wear jeans, make-up and color their hair.
I know another who also entered young and then withdrew. What I hear from all of them is how difficult it was to absorb the changes of the Vatican when the altar was turned around, and guitars brought in. They had entered a place of silence, and now, there was noise.
There is a film I periodically enjoy called Into Great Silence. It is by Philip Croning. In the film, you enter and are part of the Carthusian Monastery. All is silent and yet it isn't. There is no artificial light in the film, and the light sparkles. I recommend it if life has you down, and you are wanting to silence some of the patter in your head. Just watch and absorb.
This comes from Truthout yesterday. I found it so upsetting, I could not contemplate putting it here then, but, now, I do. I feel well enough to face the insanity of the world.
US Officials Defend Drug Spraying in Colombia. You can check this and other issues out at: http://www.truthout.org
Truthout reporter Thomas D. Williams reports that US presidential candidates are ignoring painful Colombian environmental devastation fed by billions in US aid. "The viewpoints are literally the powerful corporate north country versus the vulnerable, impoverished agricultural south country. It's US politicians ignoring the painful cries and complaints of human and animal sickness and environmental as well as massive crop and food destruction from Colombian and Ecuadorian indigenous peoples."
What amazes me is how we think we have the right to spray another country, another group of people. That is bad enough, but how can we think that spray doesn't come back at us, doesn't poison the whole system? It is insane. I may need to bring my paints back upstairs as I now deal with the anger, that is replacing the grief. I'm sure if I paint today it will be very different from what poured forth yesterday.
Let's enjoy this day as we pray a wee bit of sanity creeps into the orchestration of our government. I have determined lately that anyone who survives the presidential campaign must be insane.
I was reading Sylvia Boorstein yesterday, an excerpt from her book Happiness is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life.
I place the end of the excerpt here.
"So here is the ongoing question that is the core of my daily practice, "In this moment, am I able to care?" Not, "Am I pleased?" There are all sorts of things I don't like. And, in response to what I find unpleasant, I often feel dismayed or impatient or annoyed or disappointed or grieved. What I try to do is keep my mind from fighting with my experience, confusing and isolating myself in self-centered despair. The contentious mind is, by definition, confused. It hasn't remembered that struggle creates suffering and graceful response creates clarity. I am trying to stay unconfused and connected to my own kindness. Whenever I do, I relax, see what my options are, and choose the best of them. I won't always be pleased, but I'll be happy.
It's not a mistake that contentment doesn't get established once and for all. Life is an ongoing series of changing circumstances to which human beings are continually called upon to respond. What the Buddha taught is that we could respond happily."
Happy response to you today and every day, until all days are one.