— When We Are Undone

July 25, 2012 at 9:31 am | Posted in Online Ministry | 1 Comment

In the 11th hour of working to finish my grant work, REACH: A UU Digital Ministry Program, some of life’s unnecessary unpleasantness is trying to disrupt me. If you find yourself in circumstances that are dismantling, perhaps the following words will offer some comfort:

“This is the reality we live: aspiring to be at our best, longing for and sometimes finding meaning and connection within ourselves and with that which is larger than ourselves, we are undone by messy bathrooms, traffic jams, and burnt toast. I am not interested in spirituality that cannot encompass my humanness. Because beneath the small daily trials are harder paradoxes, things the mind cannot reconcile but the heart must hold if we are to live fully: profound tiredness and radical hope; shattered beliefs and relentless faith; the seemingly contradictory longings for personal freedom and a deep commitment to others, for solitude and intimacy, for the ability to simply be with the world and the need to change what we know is not right about how we are living.”

(Oriah Mountain Dreamer, 1954 – )

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  1. In my travels, I’ve found that (with the exception of Asia, which I don’t know as well) most of the rest of the world is more willing to take chances with spontaneous encounters with strangers — to say “yes” to the potential of welcoming strangers and the unexpected into our personal space. Americans are often challenged, even though we may like to meditate and believe the below words of wisdom. We are challenged to live this because we, IMHO, are extraordinarily anxious about intimacy. I’ve been reading 30 years of correspondence between my father and his fellow artist/musician colleagues. Their letters were single spaced, typed, full of humor, intimacy, and tremendous give-and-take support. They come from a time when long-distance phone calls were too expensive. They witnessed each others lives – pouring out minutia and grand ideas onto paper. In holding their letters, I’ve been holding the hands of the writer. You can’t do that with email.


    “This is going to sound crazy. Say yes to everything. Accept all offers. Go along with the plan. Support someone else’s dream. Say :yes”; “right”; “sure”; “I will”; “okay”; “of course”; “YES!” Cultivate all the ways you can imagine to express affirmation. When the answer to all questions is yes, you enter a new world, a world of action, possibility, and adventure… It is undoubtedly an exaggeration to suggest that we can say yes to everything that comes up, but we can all say yes to more than we normally do. Once you become aware that you can, you will see how often we use the technique of blocking in personal relationships simply out of habit. Turning this around can bring positive and unexpected results… Try substituting “yes and” for “yes but” — this will get the ball rolling.”

    (Patricia Ryan Madson, mid-20th century)

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