NEIGHBORCARE NEWS #21 SEPTEMBER '02
"No service is too small when given mindfully, with good intention and an open heart."
DEAR NEIGHBORCARE VOLUNTEERS AND FRIENDS:
We cannot teach young people to be good. We can only inspire them to itremind them by blooming, ourselves, in this direction. Otherwise, what we see may look like good but be little felt and, like some baseball teams, impart little depth and staying power.
A sea of talk regarding character and kindness education pales in contrast to our children witnessing the most minuscule drops of compassion, consistently and genuinely issued. And compassion can be genuinely issued only when it is birthed in the heart. And the heart can be coaxed to open and to birth compassion only when it sees deeply the story of the life being tended to in that moment. The more we see story everywhere, focusing deeply to see causes, the more we increase our capacity to feel compassion for every living being. Forgiveness blossoms as well, then, which is not really forgiveness at all, but understanding that lives deep.
It is no sentimental thing to honor life around us. Our children, our pets, our partners and parents and spouses deserve this honor, but they are not the only ones. Recently, a friend driving in Downeast Maine saw a chipmunk dead just ahead of her, hit the moment before and still intact. What she witnessed next, as she slowed, both astonished and moved her. A second chipmunk had run out from the groundcover. Human(e)lydesperatelythis chipmunk tried to pull the first chipmunk to the side of the road, its tiny paws on the dead chipmunks shoulders. Who would discount the urgency and heartbreak the second chipmunk was feeling in that moment?
Even our chairs and tables have stories (i.e. Where did the materials for these items come from? Who made them and what is their history? Who delivered them, and what is their history? What is the history of these persons countries and cultures?).
The richness we feel from familiar objects is determined by the measure of care infused into the creation of them. That is why when we are surrounded with items mass producedand roads despoiled of their curves and their ledge and their old, old trees, and mountains and rivers disrespectedwe sense their stories missing (or degraded) and are lonely and drained trying to maintain our own storyour own alivenessin the midst of the barrenness we feel.
Giving everything importance, we treat everything importantly. Defending life that is most vulnerable, we inspire our children to do the same. Our compassion colors, vividly, how we think and speak and act. It determines whom we vote for. As we pro-gress (and, yes, we can choose what were for and wish to advance toward), it is a banner of wholeness and hopenot blindness and disconnectionwe carry. Quality education for all.
selections from A Warriors Creed—Anonymous Samurai, fourteenth century
I have no parentsI make the heavens and earth my parents. I have no homeI make awareness my home. I have no life or deathI make the tides of breathing my life and death. I have no divine powerI make honesty my divine power. I have no meansI make understanding my means. I have no magic secretsI make character my secret. . . I have no designsI make "seizing opportunity by the forelock" my design. I have no miraclesI make right-action my miracles. I have no principlesI make adaptability to all circumstances my principles. I have no tacticsI make emptiness and fullness my tactics. . . I have no armorI make benevolence and righteousness my armor. . . I have no swordI make absence of self my sword.
More and more we are inspired to look upon one another as heroes. Diane Lee, awardwinning filmmaker who was present at the very beginning of neighborcare, when it scarcely was a twinkle in the eye, died Tuesday, August 27th, in a two car crash in Orland. Considering the size of the crowd attending her memorial service on the Bucksport waterfront the following Sunday, she, too, was and will continue to bea hero to many. Great hands, feet and presence, magnificent looking in black, (which she always wore, being colorful enough herself, someone astutely pointed out), hair blond and untamedvoice, sometimes thunder and lightning that could fill a room and knock you over, sometimes honey, for soothingthis woman throughout mountainous change, unrelenting physical ordeals and golden triumphs chose life. With boundless spirit, she spoke her mind which, routinely, soared beyond our galaxy then dived to cosmic kingdoms within. My conversations with herlike her conversations with otherspulsed with talk of planetary alignments and universal connections and promise. At the end of themor duringwhat moved me most was how Diane, hearing a poignant or thrilling or horrifying story, would croon from the perfect place in her (in tune with the perfect place in all of us), "Bless your heart," or "Bless their hearts" and I would feel in that moment as if every cranny in the universe were safe as a cradle.
news from neighborcare "south": a woman with an elderly mother and a 30+ daughter with cerebral palsy in Rockland needed help two evenings a month so she could serve on the board of a non-profit organization. She also wanted one full day so she could take a CPR class. No previous volunteers could help with this, so the neighborcare "keeper" in Rockland shifted into neighborcares next level of servicei.e.upon request, if volunteers cannot not be found, locating someone willing to help, for pay. The very day the request came in the nc keeper happened to go to town. There she met a woman she knows who reported she suddenly was out of work. Not only did this woman want the caregiving job. She has a grandchild with cerebral palsy. Such a match! Such a wonder!
FROM THE KITCHEN Quickn easy nutritious tacos "plus"? Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sauté onions, garlic, "gimme lean"/seitan/tofu/chicken/turkey burger/garden burger/you-name-it, plus any favorite chopped leftover vegetable, sauté a bit more, add generous dollops of salsa, a sprinkling of cumin, low salt/no salt added aduki beans/black beans, strips of pepperjack cheese/pepperjack soycheese, a bit of pure water to create just a touch of broth, stuff into taco shells and pop into the oven till the shells soften slightly and the cheese melts. A tasty, fun dinner in 20 minutes or so.
SHOPPING TIP To avoid forgetting items at the market, I created an A-Z shopping list on the computer—nice large, dark print and complete with check boxes. I began by listing everything I could think of, easily (worded in a way that would be easy to find e.g. sweet potatoes, rather than potatoes (sweet). For the next several days I added every item I could think of, then printed out about five copies. of my list (ten lists in all, using both sides of a 81/2 by 14 piece of paper).The list eases shopping time more than I can say and can always be updated.
VIEW FROM THE BED "The reason we dont give up, easily, our own control over people in our care is because their kingdoms dont look like kingdomsa pill bottle here instead of there, tea at three oclock instead of fourwhat could it matter? Requests seem sometimes as if they are contrived to irritate us. This adds to increasing pressure and weariness were feeling.
Then we remind ourselves that we arent the one with only a pill bottle to look at day after day. We take time to picture being helpless. We remember, no matter when we may have experienced this, how weve felt being confined to bed. When we do these things, the understanding comes. Then when were called from the book were writing or the cake were baking or the seeds were planting or the thoughts were thinking by those were caring for who are in chronic pain or powerless without us, be we author or cook or farmer or philosopher at work, were less likely to see them as nuisance. We realize they, too, may have had passions that consumed them. We understand that their kingdom, so very small, may mean as much to them as our grander realm means to us." maggie davis/Caring in Remembered Ways: The Fruit of Seeing Deeply
"The love of our neighbor means in all its fullness simply being able to say to him, What are you going through? and then acting on the answer." Simone Weil
FROM THE NOT-A-DOCTOR: Calms (formerly Calms Forte, I believe) by hylands is a mild, non-habit-forming aid for reducing nervous tension and sleeplessness. The remedy contains homeopathic preparations of chamomile, passion flower, hops and oatstraw. I and many others Ive spoken with about it have found Calms to have only beneficial effects.
poignancy everywhere, character actor Billy Bob
Thornton describes himself as happy and sad all the time. At the end
of each day, reminding himself of his human responsibility, he asks
himself, "Who do you love and why, and how do you do it?"
CAPTURE THE FIRE OF SUMMER Have a lovely glass or crystal bowl you dont use much? Fill it with clear water for floating the gardens last burst of golden marigolds and red nasturtiumtheir short stems dont do that well in vases. "Lights up" best on a south-facing windowsill.
Blessings all around you—this fall and in every season,