NEIGHBORCARE NEWS #24 JUNE '03
"No service is too small when given mindfully, with good intention and an open heart."
Dear neighborcare friends:
Recently I played a small part in the Nevola
Conference at Colby College for which forgiveness and reconciliation
was this years theme. What resounded throughout the day reminded
me of a section ("mercy on us") of Caring in Remembered
Ways I had written a few years before. Heres an excerpt from
that section: "There is nothing each of us has not grown fromfoolishness,
certainly, and perhaps harm we ourselves committed. Someone we shut
out, for whatever reason, might be as we once were, or will be, in this
or another lifetime. One moment we are poor, making judgment on the
wealthy; the next moment we are rich with inheritance. . . . Not judging
people who test our compassion, there is room for good to growin
them, and in usthough we might never reconcile our attitudes or
see proof of any change. At some point, we realize our greatest gift
is to love those, most, who seem least worthy of it . . ." Deepest
forgiveness is born from the understanding which makes forgiveness unnecessary;
what inspires us to tap this understanding are opportunities to come
together on safe and common ground to tell our stories.
Sometimes, though we long to be consistently forgiving, our deepest understanding fails us. Despite our purest intentions, we burn or sink in ways that do not seem fitting, either forour own good or for the worlds, and opportunities for forgiveness are missed or put aside. How grand when we manage to dedicate our excesses (anger, frustration, sadness and tears, alleged failure, disappointmenteven joy and abundance) to those who suffer. These become, a kind of compost for gooda prayerfulnesswe offer not in any formal way that takes us away from our daily rounds but as a gift of attention in the time it takes our hearts to leap.
Each individual person has the power of participating in the transformation of the whole Earth. The evil that reaches you after so many millions of years of existence can be absorbed and transformed. You have the power to accept the suffering, to refuse to pass it on to another, to forgive, to end the needless torment, and, most of all, to transmute evil into energy for the vitality of the whole. Thomas Berry
NEIGHBORCARE NEWS These days, the newsletter goes out to nearly 800 people. Requests come in; needs are met. More and more people are calling from out-of-town and out-of-state to learn about us. This, mostly, via word of mouth.
for pondering One afternoon, for a long while, I had been walking my dog, Ozzie, in Blue Hill. During our walkabout, I was glad to let Ozzie stop to sniff and pee at every shrub and stump and pole. But then the wind picked up. There was a sudden blast of rain. I was wet and cold in no time. Gently, I tugged Ozzie away from his next lengthy sniff, explaining to him what was what. At that moment, I noticed someone I didnt know just out from her house, looking at us. Easily she might have been thinking I was refusing Ozzie his most modest canine pleasure. Being of a certain frame of mind, she might have magnified my gentle pull on Ozzies leash and supposed me to be a mean and withholding person. Then, she might have exploded this view onto Ozzies entire life. Oh dear!
An interview with not-a-particularly radical soldier from Desert Storm revealed that when he and fellow soldiers faced "the enemy" with no high-ranking officials around to order them otherwise, they put their guns downsoldiers from "both sides" put their guns downbecause in each other they knew they were seeing themselves.
from the kitchen a deluxe summer potato salad Scrub (do not peel) and chunk (do not mince) boiled (not overboiled) potatoes. Add chopped onions, green and/or red peppers, celery, (and any or all of the following, depending upon whether or not you want your potato salad to be a complete meal or a side dish: hardboiled egg, black olives, drained canned tuna or salmon, lightly steamed chopped broccoli, marinated artichokes, minced hot cherry peppers). Swirl in Nasoya (or Miracle Whip, not mayo), a generous amount of Plochmans horseradish mustard (outstanding product), dill weed, garlic granules, black pepper, Braggs (or sea salt) and a touch of curry powder if youd like.
recommended Greenfingers, a charming, high-spirited video made in England. The video is based on a true story and is for anyone of any age who has ever loved a flower garden. (One small rock garden, sad to say, does not fare well.)
from the not-a-doctor Heres a "folk tip" from Ken Hamilton (www.hopehealing.org and www.soulcircling.com) who is an M.D. "A friend told me . . . she'd had an anaphylactic shock from a hornet, so she carries a "kit" to prevent such potentially lethal responses. . . I told her of an old Polish remedy for immediate relief of the pain and swelling of such stings "Put steel on it." in the words of a wonderful Polish gardener . . . It always works, and immediately. I told a woman up in Carabassett that she didn't have to believe in it when she yelped with the pain, but just put the sting on the rusty bucket of a nearby front end loader. You should have seen her eyes become saucers! So I thought I'd tell you about it, for I'm sure there are plenty of gardeners and hornets in Blue Hill. I don't know if it would detoxify well enough to block an anaphylactic response, so I'd suggest to a gardener that s-he take the injection in the emergency kit, and then hold the sting up against the spade or trowel s-he's just been working with. Steel in any form works."
come lift your heart A woman living in mid-state Vermont, along with the woman shed been renting from, recently lost their home to fire. In a letter-to-the-editor appreciation to her friends and neighbors, the woman included the following words by the Sufi poet Rumi. She had been reading them hours before the fire took everything she owned, and gleaned comfort from them later. "Each day is a guest house and we must be willing to open our door to each visitor that comes, be they of joy or pain. And if a sorrow so great comes to your door as to sweep your house bare . . . then welcome this too, as a house swept clean will reveal true blessings in its emptiness."
summer caregiving When you visit neighborcare friends during the hot months ahead, offer a summer treat, why dont you: a thermos of fresh, cold lemonade, a generous bunch of wild roses, a ride in the country, fruit salad, chunks of ice-cold watermelon, maybe a small fan if one is needed.
living questions two from a Journal of Living interview with Julia Butterfly Hill, an earth activist who believes that being of service is integral to a life of integrity and who follows her beliefs and her passion in making the world a better place. "When I see a struggle, I see an opportunity for transformation. The hero and the destroyer lie within each of us. We are all that strong and we are all that weak. Are you willing to accept the challenge of becoming your own hero?" AND "Every choice affects the world because no choice is made in a vacuum. The question is not 'CAN we make a difference?' The question is rather "DO we make a difference?' We are ALL the ones to make the difference. The kind of difference we make is up to us."
"[Human beings] have grown . . . and learnt how to think, and even though they may think wrongly, and may initiate disastrous experiments, the ultimate good is inevitable and unavoidable. Temporary discomforts, passing depressions, war and bloodshed, penury and vice, may lead the unthinking into the depths of pessimism. But those who know and who sense [an] inner guiding hand . . . are aware that the heart of humanity is sound and that out of the present chaos, and perhaps largely because of it, there will emerge those competent to deal with the situation and adequate to the task of unification and synthesis." from Serving Humanity the writings of Alice Bailey and the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul
on the internet Do visit www.mothersactingup.org. What a small group of mothers sparked, in Boulder, CO, from their passion for peace for their (and all) children is inspirational. All things possible when we dont limit ourselves. and, while youre "connected," make a stop at www.worldgoodwill.org. This is an international movement helping to mobilize the energy of goodwill and build right human relations. Read the crisis, tension, emergence article in the No. 2 2003 newsletter.
Blessings all around youthis summer and in every season,