NEIGHBORCARE NEWS #33 SEPTEMBER '05

"No service is too small when given mindfully, with good intention and an open heart."

Lisa Henries

Lisa Henries
Sullivan, ME

WHY I DO THIS: When I am helping someone I feel like I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I feel connected to a larger picture of how Love can be expressed in this world. The idea that we are all here together and can make a meaningful difference in each other’s lives moves me.



DEAR NEIGHBORCARE FRIENDS: Regarding Katrina (and any hurricanes that, terribly, might follow), may our concern for our southern neighbors continue to cross all political, religious, economic borders. Kudos to those nationwide, not just those living near coastal sites razed by the hurricane, who have opened their hearts and pocketbooks and homes.
We serve best when we don’t merely feel sorry for those affected. Merely feeling sorry, we distance ourselves, denying that the dragon of loss could relocate to our own neighborhood in an instant. (Perhaps as recently as mid August residents of New Orleans or Biloxi were feeling sorry for those suffering devastation in Iraq.)
People distance themselves because they are afraid and do not want to consider they might be next in line for upset. They distance themselves because they feel helpless to ease suffering. They distance themselves when they are experiencing their own cavernous pain and are certain that feeling even one more drop of it would be the end of them. They distance themselves because it feels familiar to do so.
When we feel for, we come closer to being with—to becoming more all-embracing. Blessed with dry and sturdy homes, we can allow our imagining to go so deep that, as much as humanly possible, we know others’ suffering in our own body and are willing to bear their burden in this way.
It makes sense, doesn’t it, that our imagining must go this deep. If we cannot feel compassion for other beings until we suffer what they suffer—and compassion and love are our lessons—we are not exempt from horrific times. It isn’t enough for our minds to grasp this. Our intrepid hearts must as well and cast the feeling into action, large or small.
Sometimes I magnify my own discomforts in my mind so I can approach another's suffering. I turn traffic jams into pesky flies on festering sores. I turn a critical remark into an onslaught from a nearby tribe. I turn a bothersome heat into a crop-parching drought, a rainy day into a monsoon. I turn the longing for personal space into a lifetime of sharing one room with ten other people. In truth, I can't come close to these experiences when I imagine them, no matter what amount of time I take to try to do that, no matter how strong my intent to dive deeply. But the effort inspires in me an ever-growing gratitude for my own life, as well as a finer-tuned understanding of those whose lives I encounter every day. - maggie davis/Caring in Remembered Ways

NEIGHBORCARE NEWS  If there are enough folks in the Blue Hill are who would like to welcome in/sponsor a hurricane refugee family, let me know and we’ll see if we can help it happen.

FROM THE VOICELESS Many years ago in Florida, I rescued a mouse from a neighbor’s pool. Despite the neighbor urging me to kill the mouse, I took it outside, and stretched out beside it where it lay on its back “flipping heartbeats at the grass” (as I wrote in a poem about it). Another time I removed baby mice from a dumpster—and another time, in the middle of the night, from my cat, before making my way to the basement to release them.
When I was building what was then my little cabin in the woods, a warrior mouse featuring a scarred chest sat looking at me for what must have been a full five minutes, while I sat not five feet away. And there was the pregnant mouse I found in my cabin (about to give birth, I was sure)—I transferred her outside to a place I hoped would be safe and comfortable.
I don’t know why such a connection with mice, but one exists. (And these are only a few of the stories. . .) You can imagine my response reading the following personal account (written by Linda Rosendahl of Swampscott, MA, in ASPCA Animal Watch, Winter 2003).
Linda had been watering a planter in her greenhouse when out popped baby field mice whose mother had made a nest there. Linda was horrified over the damage she’d done. She went to find a box and something soft to nest the babies in, hoping their mother would find them. When she returned, “[t]here, standing at her full two-inch height, was the mother field mouse. With her two front paws, she clutched one of her babies to her chest. She looked at me straight in the eye. Then she bared her teeth. We stared at each other for a long moment. She did not blink. ‘I’m very sorry,’ I said.” LINDA GOES ON TO SAY: “Our culture would have us believe that big is best, and that without great power we are of little consequence. That night it did not feel one bit good to be a giant. And I knew that the mouse had more courage than I would ever have.”
Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clean air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence, so that never again will Americans be free from noise, the exhausts, the stinks of human and automotive waste. And so that never again can we have the chance to see ourselves single, separate, vertical and individual in the world, part of the environment of trees and rocks and soil, brother to the other animals, part of the natural world and competent to belong in it.
We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope." —Wallace Stegner

FOR PONDERING An old Chinese chronicle talks of the fidelity of Pao Chou Ya to his friend Kouan Tchong Wou. Said Kouan of his wise benefactor: “When I was in great want, I went into business with my great friend Pao Chou Ya. On one occasion I kept most of the profits for myself, but he never reproached me, because he knew how poor I was. Another time I failed, but he never reproached me as a fool, because he knew everyone had a good time and bad time in life. I went to the war fronts three times and ran away from them three times. But he never reproached me as a coward, because he knew I had my old mother at home . . . . It was my parents who gave birth to me, but it was Pao Chou Ya who knew me in the true sense of the word.”

TIP Use Dr. Bronners (liquid) Peppermint Soap for “skunked” loved ones in your life. My son-in-law swears by it. He’s used it twice. If you could see the look on his face when he talks about that soap, you’d be a believer! (I bathe my dog, Ozzie, in peppermint soap anyway. When the weather’s warm enough, I use the hose outside for his “bathwater.”)

FROM THE KITCHEN CORN-WHEAT GERM-RASPBERRY (WHEAT-FREE) MUFFINS (bake at 400 degrees–makes 15 medium muffins. if using brown rice flour, fill the tins fuller–moist chewy muffin)
1 c. cornmeal 1 c. low or non fat plain yogurt 1 cup water
mix these ingredients together and allow to soak for ten minutes

Combine: 2 eggs scant 3/4 c. brown rice syrup 1 t vanilla 1/2 c. sunflower oil 1/2 cup brown rice flour/ 1c. spelt
2 t. baking powder 1 cup wheat germ 1 t cinnamon 1 t. baking soda scant 1 t. sea salt
Combine all ingredients. Swirl in half-thawed, frozen raspberries or, when muffins are half baked, add raspberry jam with seeds for a thumbprint.

STILL WITH US? No matter where you live, you are more than welcome to receive the NEIGHBORCARE newsletter. Absolutely. However, if you no longer wish to receive the newsletter, you will be doing us a favor by letting us/me know. maggiesdavis@gmail.com
(A reminder to let us know names, addresses and email addresses/phone numbers of those who might like to receive it!
I’ll assume you’ve checked with these folks first.)

LIVING QUESTIONS In the Ripples newsletter (for H.O.P.E, founded by Ken Hamilton, M.D.), Ken wrote about a friend of his who had recovered completely from Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease had taken the woman to minutes from her death. Her account and Ken’s comments explore the heart of this recovery. Referring to those moments before she surely would die, Ken asks the reader: “Could you stay in perfect peace—love—with that situation? Could you pull in all of your projections and be fully present in the moment of your breath and life? Pull your projections out of fear, and you become aware. Pull your projections out of anger, and you become a presence.”
Ken’s friend was sure that love didn’t save her; yet she had undertaken rigorous work, done every day, to replace self hatred with love. What she was, in the time before she almost died, was “present and aware.”
“Consider,” wrote Ken, “. . . that with her mind, she created a dimensionless field . . . a field called ‘Now’.”
To learn of Ken’s extraordinary work, go to <www.soulcircling.com> and <www.hopehealing.org>.
"You have to strive every minute to get rid of the life that you have planned in order to have the life that's waiting to be yours. Move, move, move . . . ." –Joseph Campbell

FROM THE NOT-A-DOCTOR I burned my skin badly between my thumb and forefinger taking food out of the oven, put ice on the burn for a few seconds, then pure aloe vera gel. No pain. No scar.

NOTE: I was not able to print out Newsletter #33 before sending it to the printer via attachment; thus (as with Newsletter #32) I felt I was flying blind! In advance, I apologize for any blatant (or not blatant) errors. Also, though I may be away from Blue Hill off and on during the next few months, I happily continue doing NEIGHBORCARE from the road. Please do not hesitate to call for service (anytime at all), or just to say hello! 207.266.7673

A NEIGHBORCARE “MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK” POTLUCK took place in Marjo and Jim Kannry’s home in East Blue Hill, ME on Friday, September 30th. Several of us shared fine food and talk and addressed NEIGHBORCARE newsletters. We’ll continue to move the potluck to various peninsula locations.

Not necessarily the same people will be gathering each time. As always, don’t think for a minute you have to be a signed-up volunteer to be part of our group.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU’D LIKE TO JOIN IN, IN DECEMBER.
maggiesdavis@gmail.com (207) 266-7673

"Be really whole and all things will come to you."
—Lao Tzu



Blessings all around you—this fall and in every season,
maggie davis, for NEIGHBORCARE

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maggie davis
207.266.7673
PO Box 370, Blue Hill, ME 04614-0370
e-mail: maggiesdavis@gmail.com



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