11 Oct 2017 God’s Pop Quizzes – broken fences and dog poop

Hello to you. It’s a chilly Wednesday here as I write to you. Love the cooler temperatures! Really beginning to feel like fall but this is Texas, so give it a blink or two and that can change.  Did you chuckle when you read the title I chose for my blog today?  I hope so….it was intentional lol!

So this morning I was up early, just couldn’t get and stay asleep. Kyle’s current work schedule has us both pretty messed up sleep wise. We’ll probably fully adjust as he’s finishes the outage….just the way it seems to go.

I’m not a very pleasant person when I’m overtired and our neighbors dogs, who busted yet again through our side fence, got some choice words this morning as I shooed them back into their yard (think A Christmas Story with more expletives you can actually understand.)

Sons of B*tches! Bumpuses! (A Christmas Story Quote)

We’ve had this going on literally since we bought this house. My fuse gets shorter and shorter every time something like this happens. This goes back to the loan for buying this house not even being approved yet and one of their dogs was already busting through the fence. They’ve been through probably 10 or more dogs in the past 8 years. Nothing we’ve been able to do or say has dissuaded them from continuing to get dogs they don’t take care of like we take care of our dogs. They usually end up running away or getting picked up by Animal Control, dying , or doing what they are doing now, busting up the fence trying to get to our yard.  This said, our neighbors are good hard-working people.  They work a lot and the kids are in school most of the time, so the dogs get left alone a lot.  Dogs left alone do what dogs left alone do – they get bored, curious, hungry, restless and sometimes destructive.  These dogs seem to just want a different place to go poop.

I wouldn’t ordinarily be so nasty about this but this but I’m overtired and they have not only busted several holes in our fragile, rotting wood fence…they leave doggy presents for me to step in too. The fence needs to be replaced and we can’t afford to do it and I’m pretty sure our neighbor isn’t too eager to spend the money or effort on replacing the shared fence either.

Every time I get pissed off about this, I feel like I failed another “test.” God seems to do that to me with certain things….remember those pop quizzes you used to get in school with no warning? Yeah, it’s like that lol. Just when I think I’ve got something I don’t like about myself all sorted out, God will drop one of those pop quizzes and show me the truth. Nope! Big fat F!

After all, how can I expect the world to live in peace when I can’t even deal with something that simple without getting angry? I have some things yet to work on within myself. Leave it to the dogs and their smooshy stinky gifts to remind me of this glaring reality!

Does what I’m going through resonate at all with you today? Is there something you keep getting “tested” on that you know you need in improve about yourself?

A couple interesting articles about us and our technology habits…addictions:

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/10/11/mind-the-stream-where-mindfulness-and-technology-meet/

Oct 11, 2017— “Look around you. How many devices are bidding for your attention? If someone came into your dwelling space, could they tell what year it was by the technology that immediately surrounded you, or would they have to dig a little deeper?” Writer Emily Barr poses these questions, and others in this reflective essay that weaves together the latest findings around how our minds and our lives are being shaped by the technologies we use, and the steps we can take to make our interactions more conscious.

http://time.com/4974863/kids-smartphones-depression/

We Need to Talk About Kids and Smartphones

Markham Heid

Updated: Oct 10, 2017 8:24 AM ET

(excerpt)

“It seems like every generation of parents has a collective freak-out when it comes to kids and new technologies; television and video games each inspired widespread hand-wringing among grown-ups. But the inescapability of today’s mobile devices—coupled with the personal allure of social media—seems to separate smartphones from older screen-based media. Parents, teens and researchers agree smartphones are having a profound impact on the way adolescents today communicate with one another and spend their free time. And while some experts say it’s too soon to ring alarm bells about smartphones, others argue we understand enough about young people’s emotional and developmental vulnerabilities to recommend restricting kids’ escalating phone habit.”

 

 

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7 Oct 2017 Angels with paws (service dogs help Las Vegas shooting victims) and drawings

Hello to you this Saturday afternoon.  I hope this finds you doing well.  I wanted to share this wonderful story from the folks at Today about what I and so many others who share their lives with dogs or cats already know – they are healers!  To me they are angels with paws.  I think  what the folks from Lutheran Church Charities did by bringing these dogs to folks trying to heal inside as well as out after the mass shooting in Las Vegas is just a beautiful and loving thing to do!  There is a reason dog spelled backwards is God.  Our Sammy was one of the first to show me here on earth God’s love….no judgement, no boundaries, no limits….just pure unconditional love.

Me with our cocker spaniel Sammy on 25 Dec 2009. He passed away 27 April 2011.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/paws-on-the-ground-comfort-dogs-bring-much-needed-love-to-las-vegas/ar-AAt1zyL?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Paws on the ground: Comfort dogs bring much-needed love to Las Vegas

Ethan Sacks
For many scarred by seeing the carnage inflicted in the Las Vegas mass shooting, a little comfort came courtesy of man’s best friend.

 Nineteen trained golden retrievers from across the country padded their way to Las Vegas this week courtesy of Lutheran Church Charities to provide comfort for those affected by the attack, which left 59 dead, more than 500 wounded, and thousands of families and friends emotionally devastated.
But even those who survived the carnage at the Route 91 Harvest festival without physical wounds desperately needed that nuzzle — like Sunrise Hospital director of guest services Tracy Szymanski, who is still persevering through her job despite having been in the crowd Sunday night.

“I came straight to the hospital from the venue at 10:30 at night, still wearing my concert clothes, because I knew there were things I could do to help the families,” Szymanski told TODAY. “It was a sigh of relief when the first dogs arrived Monday morning, because I knew the cavalry had arrived.

“I felt I had help at a time when I felt helpless.”

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. The comfort dogs, along with their 30 human handlers, are part of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs unit — veterans used to having their “paws on the ground” after disasters, natural or otherwise.

The unit’s canine caregivers brought survivors some solace after the Sandy Hook shootings, and more recently, provided comfort to parts of Texas and Florida hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

And even amidst all the horror of the Las Vegas shooting, it’s amazing to see how quickly these four-legged pros can spread smiles, LCC president Tim Hetzner told TODAY.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.

© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. “Dogs are non-judgmental, they don’t take notes and are comfortable to talk to,” Hetzner, who oversaw the Las Vegas mission, said.

“A key part of healing in any crisis or disaster is to be able to talk about (the trauma), and people find it easier to do that with dogs.”

Those dogs — including one, Lois, who is based in Las Vegas and a regular visitor at the Sunrise Hospital — have been busy. “Because of the magnitude of this event, just about everybody who lives in Las Vegas has been affected,” said Hetzner.

Besides working with survivors and grieving families, the comfort dogs visited a high school where several students were injured in the shooting, hotel workers helping victims’ families, and traumatized first responders.

They have also visited the coroner’s office, both to support victims’ loved ones and staffers wading in such overwhelming grief.

It’s extremely emotional work for the dogs.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.

© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. “The dogs have an ability to tell when someone is suffering, so after working with them for a few hours, we take their service vest off, pull a ball out let them run around and be dogs for an hour,” said Hetzner. “These are golden retrievers, they like to retrieve. That’s how they work off their stress.”

The current team is being flown out Friday to be replaced by a new, rested crop that will stay through the beginning of next week.

“They come up to you and get dog hair all over you, and then just nuzzle up to you and put a smile on your face,” said Szymanski. “Every morning, as the person who supervises their visits at the hospital, I get to get my first dose.”

“It helps me process everything.”

My father-in-law gave Kyle and I this after Sammy passed away. It is so true!

 

 

22 Sept 2017 Revisiting capturing moments with my pets in ink (cartoons)

22 Sept 2017 – Kyle’s FFXIV character Morrigu healing me with the Astrologian class. Isn’t it beautiful?! Like a painting in a fairy wonderland.

Hello to you!  It’s Friday night, 7:56 pm as I write to you.  I decided to flex my rusty cartooning muscles this evening and try to capture something so endearing Link and Spot do almost every time I go to sit down at this computer…..they beg for treats!   It never fails.  They will be nowhere in sight or sleeping and I will go to sit down at the computer and there they are!  They will both start talking and pawing at my legs until I shamble over to the kitchen cupboard and get them a piece of mystery meat *cough TREAT!  Who is the master in our house….not me lol!!!

Anyhew.  I tried to scan this so you could see it better but our scanner is too small and so I took a picture.  I started drawing cartoons like this after our cocker spaniel Sammy died on 27 April 2011 as a way to cope with my nearly soul-crushing grief.  For anyone who has loved and lost a pet, you know how much the loss part hurts!   I have realized recently that may be revisiting this art form would make me happier in these heavy times and in the process may be bring a smile to someone else’s face too.

(These are pictures of the perp’s lool – the first two are what they look like when they beg and it’s nearly impossible to resist them!)

So please forgive the “roughness” of this, I need to get back into practice!  I’ll probably go back to drawing these on 8 1/2 x 11 sheets so they can be scanned and more legible.

22 Sept 2017 Jackie Wygant cartoon Link and Spot begging for treats Alvarado TX

ABSOLUTELY!

9 Sept 2017 Nothing Gold Can Stay – Robert Frost

20 July 2017 Link Wygant Alvarado TX

Good morning to you.  It’s 10:09 am on this Saturday as I write to you.  Last night was rough.  Link decided he wanted to eat the apple skins I had put out for the insects and has been having a lot of bowel troubles!  I was up with him most of the night trying to help him get through it.  He seems better this morning!  He is such a little foodie lol!  Learning curve for me and probably not for him lol.  As is the case with most dogs, he won’t remember why he wasn’t feeling well.  I did have some dreams.  Had yet another one with David Bowie in it!  Guess my conscious and subconscious are still trying to reconcile his passing.

I saw this silly video the other day, didn’t know it existed!  I was pleasantly surprised to find one of the stars is from one of my all-time favorite vampire movie comedies What We Do In the Shadows, Jemaine Clement!

Source Internet – Jemaine Clement stars in this goofy film! One of our absolute favorites.

I was craving poetry this morning and found this gem from Robert Frost.  A beautiful way to say that nothing lasts forever.  As I am witnessing and experiencing such dramatic history as these times, this little poem gives me hope.  Just as beauty and “good things” fade away, so do the ugly and the negative.  Time becomes the ditch digger to all unpleasantries!   At some point down the road of time, we will stand together and look back in amazement at these shared snippets of history and exclaim “how did we get through all that?!”  Much love and hugs to you today!

8 Sept 2012 Jackie Drawing – Hope emerges (I used adobe paint to add light in her chest)

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.

*PS – Happy Birthday to Phenny and Happy 50th Anniversary to Sally and her husband!

7 Sept 2017 Full (Drawing) and Footprints

Hello to you.  It’s 9:01 am on this deliciously cool Thursday morning – definitely starting to feel like fall here!  We had morning temperatures in our area between 50 and 60 degrees!

My being has been in a prayer space a lot lately – so many things going on in the affairs of men and nature!  I am left wondering if the answer to my prayers for the greatest, most loving good for this Earth is what we have before us.   The forces of Earth becoming the stern voice of God,  speaking to us in such a manner we are forced to stop and listen.   Will those who insist on ignoring what is happening to the Earth’s systems finally pay attention?  I wonder….

(The God of my understanding is pure energy,  so I was curious to see how much energy is in a hurricane)

“The energy produced is measured by the amount of water produced by the hurricane and its subsequent condensation — the measurement is called the “latent heat of condensation.”. An average hurricane produces about a half inch (1.27 centimeters) of rain each day in an area about 825 miles (1,328 kilometers) across.”

 

http://www.worldprayers.org/prayerwheel/index.html

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime;
therefore, we must be saved by hope.

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
therefore, we must be saved by faith.

Nothing we do, however virtuous, could be accomplished alone;
therefore, we must be saved by love.

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint;
therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.

the irony of american history – reinhold niebuhr – 1952

22 May 2017 Staff Sgt Edwin Caba and Thomas Ponce (Daily Good Feature articles about our relationship with Animals), The Spiral (poem), Drawings and August Rush (movie)

Good morning to you. It’s 7:25 am on this wet Monday morning….it rained again last night! No complaints here! The workers will have some soggy boxes of materials to work with today but we had been assured it won’t affect the quality of the siding installation.

A couple great articles from the Daily Good that I wanted to pass on – those who know me know that I love nature and animals very much.

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/05/21/sergeant-helps-abandoned-animals-in-afghanistan-find-homes/

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Mahatma Gandhi

Sergeant Helps Abandoned Animals in Afghanistan Find Homes

May 21, 2017— While Staff Sgt. Edwin Caba served in Afghanistan, a litter of puppies born on his base brought a sense of much needed joy and relief to the soldiers. Many didn’t want to part with them once their tour ended. Enter Nowzad Dogs. Since 2007, the nonprofit has reunited more than 700 soldiers with the animals they cared for on duty. As the only official animal shelter in the country, it also helps find homes for abandoned animals in Afghanistan. Founder Pen Farthing, a former Royal Marine sergeant, named the organization after after Nowzad — a dog that adopted Farthing, and followed him back to base after he broke up a dogfight. The dog had such an effect on Farthing that he found a way to take her home. In doing so, he realized he wanted to help others do the same. (947 reads)

American Humane

http://www.americanhumane.org/program/military/

We are committed to helping America’s veterans and recognizing their heroic contributions to our country – both on and off of the battlefield

American Humane has been first to serve with the U.S. military for a century: Our animal rescue program was born on the battlefields of World War I Europe, where, at the request of the U.S. Secretary of War, volunteers with American Humane deployed to rescue and care for 68,000 wounded war horses each month.

We continue to proudly honor this legacy today through American Humane’s Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs. The program, founded through the generosity of philanthropist and passionate veterans advocate, Lois Pope, offers meaningful support to our Armed Forces with two key areas of focus: first, providing lifesaving service dogs to veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS); second, protecting America’s hard-working military dogs and recognizing their heroic contributions to our country – both on and off of the battlefield.

About American Humane Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs

Philanthropist Lois Pope is one of the nation’s leading advocates for America’s active-duty military, veterans, and military animals.

The driving force behind the establishment of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C., the nation’s first and only permanent public tribute to the four million living disabled veterans and those who have died, she recently endowed the American Humane Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs. The Center builds on American Humane’s 100 years of work with the U.S. military by providing life-changing, life-saving programs to:

Help military K-9 teams on and off the battlefield

Help veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury obtain lifesaving service dogs

Reunite retired military dogs who are left overseas with their former handlers

Support military families in need with healing therapy animals

Recognize and honor the life-saving contributions of military hero dogs

Provide healthcare to America’s four-legged warriors when they finish service to their country, so that they can enjoy the healthy, happy retirement they so richly deserve

With her help – and yours – American Humane is opening a second century of caring for our military heroes – at both ends of the leash.

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1592/thomas-ponce-on-behalf-of-all-living-beings-awakin-call-editors/

The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man Charles Darwin

Thomas Ponce: On Behalf of All Living Beings

May 22, 2017— Thomas Ponce is a 16-year-old animal rights advocate and a citizen lobbyist from Casselberry, Florida. He is the founder of Lobby For Animals, the Coordinator for Fin Free FL, and founder of Harley’s Home, which is used as his school-based animal rights club. A vegetarian at age of 4, he began writing about animal rights at the age of 5. Soon after, Thomas’s parents realized that his advocacy for animals was not a phase, but a way of life. “I feel that it is our responsibility as both citizens and human beings to use our minds, hearts and voices to speak up against the injustices we see in the world,” explains Thomas. More in this in-depth interview with this teen activist. (321 reads)

Last night we were testing to see whether or not the DVD’s we bought worked. Kyle put in his movie choice, The Incredibles and nope…will have to return it as the disk skips. So the last one to test was August Rush. He originally wasn’t going to watch it with me because he thought of it as “my movie” and because Jonathan Rhys Meyers was in it. He’s felt that my interest in Jon has been “off-putting” which is fair. The first two times I went to the hospital, were precipitated or had something to do with my fascination with his potrayal of Alexander Grayson in the NBC show Dracula. Kyle has some residual PTSD from going through what we’ve been through, as I explained in a blog recently: https://saymber.com/2017/05/07/7-may-2017-caretakers-can-get-ptsd-too-poem-bird-drawings-from-this-morning-and-the-shamanic-view-of-mental-illness-jayson-gaddis/ .  Anyhew,  it is what it is and we can only move forward. Everything happens for a reason. The DVD disk worked and Kyle ended up watching the whole film with me. He enjoyed it – how could you not love a movie about music?!  Music, to quote August/Evan from the film, “we love it more than food.”

The opening scene from this movie is the closest I’ve seen to what it’s like when I am outside with or without my music. I connect with everything and it is like having wings – flying without having to leave the ground.

August Rush Opening

 

https://saymber.com/tag/city-of-alvarado-animal-shelter/

Spiral

by Jackie Wygant 21 July 2011

Ancient and primitive as time and space

All things go round and round

Bend from the beginning and back into the same place

The travelers wear different skins and voices

Wear thin the grass on the mountain

As they make the same choices

Different colored eyes and skin rise, breathe and become dust

Their creations gleam and shine so briefly

For soon the torrents of the jet stream char the sky with rust

Back to back, shoulder to shoulder

In their separateness bound with twine

They watch as the future is on fire while the past still smolders

The lessons written in every tongue, most primitive stain

Too painful to remember the truth

They live the past again

Twisting and turning

Always to the beginning

Returning

15 May 2017 Drawings and From Addiction to Academy Founder: Dr Teri DeLane Teaches Kids to Trust (Daily Good feature)

Good morning to you – how are you today?  Kyle and I had a great start to our day, got breakfast at the Waffle House and groceries.  I love the “easy days” like this that we have together.  We joked that before we know it, October will be here and he’ll be working again! Never take the easy times for granted as they are fleeting!

Did some drawings yesterday but mostly resting and enjoyed the beautiful day.  We moved our swinging bench under the pecan tree when we did the pergola demolition and I like it there.  The view through the leaves to the sky is like a kaleidoscope.   Since we removed the pergola, we’ve had many more birds visiting and now have a very angry squirrel!  He likes to taunt Spot and was used to climbing down the roof and hopping on the pergola to get to the pecan tree.  Well Saturday he attempted to do this but didn’t realize the pergola was gone and I heard a loud screech and suddenly there was  a panicked squirrel in front of me!  I was mortified because I know how much Spot has been wanting to kill this little antagonist!  He was scrambling all over the screen and finally found his way back up to the huge cottonwood next door.  Once he was at a higher elevation,W he let the squirrel expletives fly!!!  OH he was pissed!!

We got to talk to our Mom’s and that was a blessing.   My Mom was up at her garden planting!  She has such a green thumb. If she lived closer I know our mess for garden plots would be doing more than growing rogue potato plants!  Kyle’s Mom finally got a tour of where Kyle, his brother and Dad work as part of their day.  It’s the little things, just spending time doing things we enjoy with those we love and that is not just for Hallmark holidays, whenever we can, preferably each day!

The feature story from the Daily Good is a good one to share – sharing our experience, strength, hope and paying it forward!  That’s what recovery is all about.

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1590/from-addiction-to-academy-founder-dr-teri-delane-teaches-kids-to-trust-mj-vieweg/

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. –Frederick Douglas

From Addiction to Academy Founder: Dr Teri DeLane Teaches Kids to Trust

–by MJ Vieweg, May 15, 2017

The following article is based on an Awakin Call interview with Teri Delane.You can listen to the recording of the interview or read the full-length transcript here. Founder and principal of San Francisco’s Life Learning Academy, Dr. Teri Delane says that the success of the school that serves the city’s highest-risk, highest-need students can be replicated. The school tracks a 99% graduation rate with 85% of the students going on to college. The kids that do so well here are the kids with histories of school failure, truancy, arrest and substance abuse. The ones that traditional school settings can’t provide for.

Having the right people in place is key to recreating the success and structure of the Life Learning Academy. “It is a process that anyone can replicate if you get the right group of people that are dedicated to wanting to do it,” said Delane.

The process Delane describes has it roots in the Delancey Street Foundation, a well-known San Francisco-based self-help program for drug addicts and ex-offenders. Delane, who earned two Master’s degrees before going on to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology, has first hand experience of the Delancey Street program – entering the program as an addict herself.

She started using heroin when she was just 14. She stopped going to school after ninth grade. By the time she was 20, she had overdosed three times, in addition to getting arrested for ‘all kinds of things’.

Delane learned more than how to stop using drugs at Delancey Street. She learned about being part of community and how to trust. “The Delancey Street Foundation saved my life by surrounding me with people who would not allow me to fail,” she said. “The process is taking a person and giving them the tools necessary to live by, thrive by, to grow, to push you to your best potential, to pull out your strengths instead of always concentrating on your weaknesses,” she said.

Delane got involved with running and developing programs for incarcerated men and women that were offshoots of the Delancey Street program while earning her PhD. A chance to work on a juvenile justice reform project as an advisor was pivotal. “My heart and soul has always been youth because I was someone that got it and I desperately wanted to have an impact on changing kids. Because I know that if you get in early and really work on them and help them learn to trust, they can change,” she said.

Research for the juvenile justice reform project revealed that the educational needs kids at risk for dropping out, substance abuse or criminal activity where not being met.

“We did research for over a year on the needs of at-risk kids in San Francisco. In certain neighborhoods, we started programs like Community Assessment and Referral Center, an agency that takes kids when they get arrested and finds ways of diverting them rather than locking them up,” she said. “The idea about developing this school came up when Mayor Willie Brown contacted Delancey Street because the juvenile justice system in San Francisco was falling apart.”

The Life Learning Academy has its roots in the Delancey Street model. Delane incorporated practices of the program that would could be integrated into a school environment: creating community, engagement, leadership, dress code and working toward rewards.

And she trains her teachers and staff. “It takes training to help people understand the complexity of teenagers. The way to engage them is a push and pull process. You give them a little and you take a little. I train the staff to teach the kids how to think about their thinking so they can tune in and help them understand that have control of themselves, but it takes a long time to change that. The kids are so engrossed in negative thinking and believing that they are failures. What you need to know about teenagers is that they push against structure and crave it at the same time.””

Delane knows the background of each student and shares that with the staff. Taking into account a student’s home environment, or even lack thereof, is key to understanding the behavioral issues that some of the student’s may have. Even so, the Life Learning Academy does not rely on counseling and has no counselors on staff. “We don’t need them,” she says, and recalls her own experience as an at-risk student in a traditional school system. “I was sent to counseling because I was acting out in school. No one said, “Wow, I get it. Her environment and her family are complete disasters. Now wonder she is angry, no wonder she is fighting.” It wasn’t me that had the disorder really; it was the family system.”

“The way I changed wasn’t through traditional therapy. It was by coming into an organization with people that helped me find my strengths, who yelled at me about the things that were going to get me in trouble and who kept me moving forward,” she said. “Because the kids keep having to go back into their family environments I want to teach them tools to make them stronger and not take them back through their history. Not to open them up but to empower them. They may go home to a horrible environment, but they spend a lot of their waking hours in a positive, fun, exciting place. Kids know that they can come in in the morning, be in a bad mood and people aren’t going to be on them and we will notice they are in a bad mood.”

Life Learning Academy has grades 9 through 12. There is a 6:1 teacher-student ratio. Class periods are longer than a typical high school class – typically an hour to two hours

which allows the teacher to engage with each student and to lead interactive activities.

A daily community lunch is prepared and served by students in culinary arts working alongside the school chef. A weekly rotation of assigned tables allows the kids to eat with three or four different classmates and staff members.

In addition to Culinary Arts, the curriculum includes Engineering, Organic Arts and Digital Media. Students are expected to take part in community service projects, internships and even to pursue part-time jobs.

And woven through it all is Delane’s philosophy of ‘each one, teach one’. “What we do at the school is a circle around the kids with a number of things that have to be included in their lives in order for them to have a full life: education, a job, having money and a portion of the circle has to be learning how to give back,” she said. “I teach that the way you get is by giving. Not by

sitting around talking about your problems. We don’t stay stuck in our past. What we do is work through it, let it go and move on.”

All the students know Delane’s background, see what she has accomplished and witness her giving back every day. And they know that the way she moved on from a troubled life is what they are learning at LLA. That realization allows trust to gain its foothold.

“I think I am really lucky because I have never forgotten where I come from,” Delane said. “And as a result, I have gratitude to the ends of the earth because there is no better feeling in the world than watching kids become part of this community and start thriving and growing.”

Based on an Awakin Calls interview. Awakin Calls are weekly conference calls that anyone from around the world can dial into at no charge. Each call features a unique theme and an inspiring guest speaker. MJ Vieweg is an Awakin Calls editor with a background in community journalism and social media, she is drawn to crafting stories that both inform and inspire readers.

Resonate quotes:
It’s better to go slow in the right direction than to go fast in the wrong direction.
Simon Sinek

Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.
Arthur Koestler

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. — LOVE this one!!!
T.S. Eliot

Source Internet: Alexander Grayson and Iona dancing NBC Dracula

http://www.worldprayers.org/prayerwheel/index.html

Oh, children, don’t you weep,
If the road is long.
All of us are prayers of action,
On our way to God,
On our way to God.

Some of us are long and rambling,
Sometimes lost for years,
Some of us are small and holy,
Beautiful and clear.

Oh, children, don’t you weep,
If the road is long.
All of us are prayers of action,
On our way to God,
On our way to God.

prayers of action – tom rapp – 1973

9 May 2017 Responsibility

Hello to you today from wherever and whenever you are stopping by. Today is going to be an “inside” sort of day I think. For the past two days Kyle and I have been besieged by allergies! It’s been dry, windy, it’s spring and lots of grass cutting going on.  Wanted to mention to my pet people that I found out using a dish washing soap like Dawn is best to remove a topical flea treatment if your dog experiences and adverse reaction like ours have recently.  Regular dog or people shampoo’s won’t get it out.  Our dogs haven’t been doing well with topicals, so we are going to try the internal – not wild about that idea either!  But with how many wild and stray critters we have around here carrying ticks and fleas, we can’t really leave them untreated.   Last year one of the dogs or us actually brought a tick into the bed!

Yesterday was a very nice day for us. We went to one of our favorite local eateries, Taqueria Torres (https://www.facebook.com/Taqueria-Torres-514132938621565/) and as always it was delicious! You can taste love and happiness in every bite – it permeates the place! I think part of the reason we like the people and the place so much is there is such a peaceful and spiritual energy.  They   express their spirituality in their decoration and on one of their message boards in particular was a message that resonated with me from the Bible, James 1:26:

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (the rest of the passage) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after ophans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

This passage resonated with me and my own struggle with knowing when to speak and when to listen when it comes to matters of the spirit and religion! Sometimes it’s just better to agree to disagree!

Yesterday in the mail, as if to celebrate our special day, a package from my beautiful friend Natalie from the company Pocket Orgonite arrived. She had chosen some pieces that she felt were for me and sent them as a gift. They look a lot like the being in the drawing I did the other day! Pink and blue pyramids! The smallest piece actually helped me get through the allergy attack Kyle and I both suffered after walking to and from lunch! The bracelet is still on my wrist! It’s much like one my friend Cyndy had sent but broke. I am honored and humbled by Natalie’s beautiful work and gesture. I am planning on sending her an example of some of my crafts in reciprocity.

Had a weird dream this morning and this song comes to mind to recall it for you:

Robert Hazard – Escalator Of Life (1982)

What I remember of the dream Paul Ryan was in it and there were a bunch of people on an escalator. It was almost like watching an amusement ride but there too many people being crammed into it. It started to get dangerous and sparks were flying and people were screaming. At the end I remember seeing someone sticking a stick with what looked like, well to be honest, poop on a stick, into someone’s mouth.

What comes to mind is what happens when you try to cram all sorts of different people into one system, “one size fits all”….you get a shit-stick of a deal out of it. That’s what I feel about what’s going on with this Healthcare business. There is “no one-size fits all” answer when it comes to taking care of people – especially in the realm of Healthcare. I feel like what is going on with this repeal/reform is totally missing the mark of what actually needs to be dealt with. The “American Healthcare Escalator” itself – the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals….ahhh but that is too hard….takes too much time and means admitting responsibility for our current “death spiral” of a program ! The elephant in the room on all of this – the very same party that is trying to “fix” this mess is the same party that did everything within their power to obstruct, sabotage and neuter Obamacare!

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20170305_Commentary__Obamacare_s_flaws_were_designed_by_Republicans_to_make_it_fail.html

Commentary: GOP’s legal and political sabotage crippled Obamacare

Updated: —March 5, 2017 — 3:01 AM EST

by Abbe R. Gluck

Like a healthy body, a complex federal legislative scheme needs nurturing. Obamacare was starved to death by its legal guardians – the U.S. Congress – the same caretakers who now have the audacity to argue that the law has collapsed of its own weight. That’s like refusing to feed a newborn and then saying it died because it was sick. You can bet that if a Republican replacement bill ever passes, this Congress will give it a lot more care and a chance to actually succeed.

Let’s be clear. Obamacare was not perfect. But how could we expect a federal law so complex, affecting one-fifth of our economy, to be perfect from the get-go? Congress never gave it a chance, or even a tweak, to help it work. The amount of legal and political sabotage incessantly directed at the Affordable Care Act appears to be unprecedented in modern American history.

Political opponents filed a lawsuit the very day the statute was enacted, arguing that the insurance purchase requirement – which President Barack Obama modeled on Republican Gov. Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health reform – was unconstitutional. Republicans then turned the state-based implementation of the statute into a political football, proclaiming that any governor who implemented a state exchange or expanded Medicaid was a traitor; never mind that the idea of resting the exchanges in the states in the first place came from Senate conservatives (or that nearly a dozen Republican governors eventually had the courage to say that the Medicaid expansion was in their states’ best interests and did it anyway).

When the Supreme Court, in 2012, refused to strike the statute down, the opponents didn’t stop there. The charge to their allies, which came from a high-profile 2010 meeting at the American Enterprise Institute, was to adopt a strategy designed to “exploit” “bits and pieces” of the law, calling it a “bastard [that] has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene.” That birthed the second Supreme Court case, one that attempted to take advantage of four sloppily drafted words in the 2,000-page law to argue – impossibly – that Congress never intended for the subsidies essential for all the ACA’s insurance reforms function to apply to the federal insurance exchanges. The Supreme Court quashed that suit too, in a definitive 6-3 smack-down, but not before the uncertainty caused by the suit prevented a smooth implementation.

The opponents didn’t stop there. Next, they took aim at the “three R’s” – the provisions of the statute on risk adjustment, reinsurance, and risk corridors. Simplified, those crucial provisions gave transitional financial relief to the insurance industry to stabilize the market and insurance premiums as the ACA began implementation. Congress never gave these a chance either. Instead, in 2013 it let Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) brand them an insurance “bailout” and then passed laws preventing the appropriation of some of this critical funding. Never mind that a federal court has now held that the government must pay the contractually obligated amount regardless, Rubio’s law notwithstanding. The damage was done.

What’s more, the House then brought a high-profile lawsuit arguing that another critical part of the ACA’s funding – the “cost sharing subsidies,” payments to insurers so they can charge individuals lower premiums – had not been properly appropriated. And that’s not even to mention countless other suits aimed to chip away at the statute, from challenges to its birth-control provisions, to its legislative process, to its implementation of the employer insurance mandate.

As noted, the statute wasn’t perfect. The insurance subsidy amounts were set too low in the law as drafted; a normal, responsible Congress would have stepped in to change that. Obama made his own mistakes, too. For example, many believe that the Department of Health and Human Services’ generous interpretation of the ACA’s grandfathering provisions narrowed the insurance markets in ways that contributed to premium increases.

Even with this strangulation, however, the ACA has had some enormous successes. Not only have 20 million more Americans been given access to health care, but health costs are way down and data on positive health outcomes are starting to come in. Indeed, the best testament to the ACA’s success is the fact that all of the proposed Republican plans keep its basic structure – requiring insurers to cover everyone at roughly equal prices, continuing support for Medicaid, and largely leaving many of the ACA’s less controversial provisions in place.

If there is any great weakness in the ACA, it is its overreliance on the insurance markets as the primary means of expanding health access. That makes the statute extremely vulnerable to the insurance industry and its politics. But that is a Republican preference. It’s a way to keep health care at least somewhat in the private sector, rather than federalizing the entire insurance scheme into a national version of Medicare for all. The part of the ACA that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) claims is “collapsing under its own weight” are these same insurance provisions; and they are collapsing because Congress double-crossed the insurance industry for political gain.

And here’s the kicker. The very first proposed regulation released by the Trump HHS aims to stabilize the very insurance markets that Congress and the ACA’s opponents spent the last seven years trying to undermine. President Trump met with top insurance CEOs last week to continue that effort. And of course, the Trump administration and the House of Representatives have decided to put the House’s cost-sharing-subsidy lawsuit on hold. Because if the House gets what it wants, it will further destabilize the insurance markets – and that no longer seems such a good idea now that a Republican is responsible for the ACA.

Trump has called Obamacare a “disaster” more times than one can count, and recently said, “Dems are to blame for the mess.” Let’s be clear about who is accountable. Considering how much the ACA has accomplished, just think what it could have done had our Republican-controlled Congress bothered to actually support it.

Abbe R. Gluck is professor of law and faculty director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, Yale Law School.

John Oliver’s latest on yet another hornet’s nest getting sticks poked into it:

Net Neutrality II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

6 May 2017 Belonging Creates and Undoes Us Both (Daily Good feature onbeing.org) – “Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.”

Today’s Daily Good feature article resonates with me and the tearful conversation I had with the God of my understanding yesterday morning.  When you are “different” for whatever reason and walk on the outside edges of the circle of the Earth and society instead of blending in between, life can be very lonely at times.  Every once in  awhile you will come across kindred souls and for a time you will walk together but as is typical to life, this can change.  You may reach a point in the shared road you have walked together and the person you were walking with may find the fork in the road appealing and take it….leaving you behind for a time…or forever.  I’ve had this happen many times in my life and I find that if I am patient, sometimes that kindred soul will find their way back to where I am still walking or someone new will reveal themselves to me.   I am blessed to have at least one tangible person in my daily walk of life, Kyle, who helps me feel loved and like I belong.  Well him and of course my four-legged people Spot, Link and May 🙂

This morning I had a snippet of a dream that I remember and it is precious, it was seeing our cocker spaniel Sam who died 27 April 2011 for the first time in a long time.  It was so brief!  Our visits in dreams are always too short but I am grateful for them!  There was something about “getting Sam” and he was running towards me.  I woke up to hear our Link whining to be let outside lol.  There is a lot about Link that reminds me of Sam, but there will never be another Sam or another Link.  There will only ever be one of each of us.  Each and every one of us is irreplaceable.

*One of the kindred souls I speak of, Cyndy, sent me an adorable card yesterday expressing her hope I will return to Facebook at some point.  If being away from Facebook might mean more love notes like this, should I go back?!

 

http://www.dailygood.org/story/1598/belonging-creates-and-undoes-us-both-on-being/ – if you use this link you can listen to the recording of this interview

I think it’s important and I think it’s true that our life experience is going to be about our attitude, our thoughts, our beliefs, our speech and our actions. We can transform our life experience simply by changing our language. –Jason Mraz

Belonging Creates and Undoes Us Both

–by On Being, syndicated from onbeing.org, May 06, 2017

KRISTA TIPPETT, HOST: “Belonging creates and undoes us both.” This is the wisdom of Pádraig Ó Tuama, an extraordinary healer in our world of fracture. He leads the Corrymeela community of Northern Ireland, a place that has offered literal refuge and seeds of new life in and since the violent fracture that defined that country until the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. But Pádraig and Corrymeela extend a quiet, generative force far beyond their northern coast. They’ve learned what they know the hard way, yet they carry it with an infectious, calming joy. “Over cups of tea, and over the experience of bringing people together,” as Padraig describes it, it does become possible “to talk with each other and be in the same room with the people we talk about.”

  1. Ó TUAMA: Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other. Maybe on some things, but actually, when you look at some people who are lovers and friends, you go actually they might disagree really deeply on things, but they’re somehow — I like the phrase “the argument of being alive.” Or in Irish, when you talk about trust, there’s a beautiful phrase from West Kerry where you say, “Mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne,” “You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.” And that is soft and kind language, but it is so robust. That is what we can have with each other.
  2. TIPPETT: I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being.

[music: “Seven League Boots” by Zoe Keating]

  1. TIPPETT: In addition to his work in conflict resolution, Pádraig Ó Tuama is a theologian and poet, and the author of an incandescent memoir, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World. He grew up near Cork in the south, the Republic of Ireland. Some of us from the On Being team traveled to Corrymeela’s main campus in the far north village of Ballycastle for this interview. At any given time, there are are hundreds of young people from around the world spending weeks or months here as volunteers. Full disclosure, I’ve been in a conversation with Pádraig for many years, after he reached out to tell us that he and others were using On Being in Northern Ireland. But in the intervening time, we’ve learned far more from him than he has from us.
  2. TIPPETT: Yeah, so we’re so happy to be here at Corrymeela, all of us from On Being, and had such a beautiful couple of days in Belfast that have really — really, the reason we came is to interview you. So here we are. So, how would you begin to reflect on the religious or spiritual background of your life?
  3. Ó TUAMA: I was thinking about this yesterday because I had a little inkling that you would be asking the question.
  4. TIPPETT: Yeah. [laughs]
  5. Ó TUAMA: I mean, a very Irish Catholic background growing up in Cork. And Catholicism was part of everything, prayers you said at night. We said the rosary in Irish at night as a family and in school preparation for the sacraments, all of those things that were just taken for granted. When I was 11, there was a boy in the class who suddenly wasn’t there anymore. And somebody said, “I heard a rumor that he went to the Protestant school.” And we were shocked these — I mean, we weren’t angels. But we were suddenly like, “There has been one among us.” Not telling us — and so there was just this sense that it was part of who you were in that sense.

What it meant to be Catholic, what it meant to be Irish, all of those things were all ingrained together. I think, for me, a spiritual background for me is also language. I grew up with Irish and English. And knowing two languages and knowing, I suppose, the language that came from the earth of this Ireland has been very important for me also. And that, to my mind, over years, has grown in its significance in terms of understanding that that isn’t merely having another language, but actually, it goes deep into the bones. It goes deep into the essence of what I have found to be important.

  1. TIPPETT: There’s a lot of lovely and popular spiritual writing about the notion of “here” and “be here now.” And I mean, the subtitle of your book, In The Shelter, is Finding a Home in the World. You mention your favorite poem by David Wagoner called “Lost.” And there are these two lines: “Wherever you are is called Here, / And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.” And it seems to me that from a young age, you had a sense that there are many worlds within the world. But then you talk about moving to Belfast in 2003, which — and you had lived in many countries, right? You’d lived — where had you lived at that point?
  2. Ó TUAMA: Australia, Switzerland — I’d done some work in Uganda, and the Philippines, and Lithuania as well.
  3. TIPPETT: Yeah, and you come back here. It’s not exactly where you grew up in Ireland.
  4. Ó TUAMA: No.
  5. TIPPETT: But one might think — especially, I think, one on the outside might think you had come home, and this would be a familiar “here” where — which you would not have to treat as a powerful stranger. But it almost seems like it was your lesson…
  6. Ó TUAMA: Oh, totally. And the complication for me was moving home to Ireland after those years away and suddenly being back in Ireland, being north of the border, and realizing that some places that I went, people would say, “Oh, you’re from Cork. We beat you in the hurling last weekend. You’re just a local, just 250 miles down the road. But you know, you’re just local.” And other people would say, “Oh, you’re from Ireland. What’s it like for you living in our country?” And you’re kind of going, “I think I’m in my own country. I can read the etymology of the land, of the place names. I feel at home here.”

And so suddenly this question of, “What is home?” was really complicated. And here — you hear that way when people are speaking here, because Northern Ireland or the North of Ireland, though basically — they can be loaded terms. Sometimes you hear people saying, “Oh today’s a great day in this part of Ireland.” And other people say, “Today is a great day in this part of the United Kingdom.” So “here” is actually a complicated compromise. Also to be able to say, “What is happening right here, right now?” Even if it’s not what you’d choose.

And I think that is one of the things that, for me, spirituality as well as conflict resolution is about. There’s — so much of things are saying, “I wish things were different.” “I wish I were somewhere else.” “I wish this were not happening.” And what David Wagoner says is, “The place where you are is called Here, / And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.”

And powerful strangers might be benevolent, but only might. Powerful strangers can also be unsettling and troubling. And powerful strangers can have their own hostilities, and have their own way within which they cause you to question who you are and where you’re from. And that is a way within which, for me, the notion of saying hello to “here” requires a fairly robust capacity to tell the truth about what is really going on. And that can be very difficult.

  1. TIPPETT: I want to draw this out a little bit just because I know people will be listening from the United States. And this place, you talk about discovering all the many subtle and not so subtle ways people have to signal which “here” they are from and not from.
  2. Ó TUAMA: Totally. And that is where language is limited. Because language needs courtesy to guide it, and an inclusion and a generosity that goes beyond precision and becomes something much more akin to sacrament, something much more akin to how is it you can be attentive to the implications of language for those in the room who may have suffered.
  3. TIPPETT: It’s the dark side of the power of language.
  4. Ó TUAMA: Totally. Oh my god.
  5. TIPPETT: It’s — right? How a single word, a name…
  6. Ó TUAMA: Oh, completely.
  7. TIPPETT: …can wound and exclude. You and I were talking last night, and I can’t remember the details, but about how — I think also around this subject of the Troubles. But it’s equally true in my country right now, a single word, there are so many charged words and phrases that if someone introduces into the room, it’s going to set off this cascade of reactions, and part of that reaction is “I know exactly what you’re about.”
  8. Ó TUAMA: I think we infuse words with a sense of who we are. And so therefore, you’re not just saying a word; you’re communicating something that feels like your soul. And it might even be your soul. So the choice of a particular word is really, really important. And there is what is in the text, and whether that’s a sacred text or the text of somebody’s life. And then there is the lenses through which you read and interpret that. And those lenses I find to be extraordinarily practical.

There is the way within which there’s a generosity of listening. And when somebody says something to try to figure out, “Did I hear them correctly?” Because sometimes I’ve heard what I want to hear, and I might be completely wrong. And that can be healing. One time, somebody came up to me after I’d spoken and said, “That thing you said really helped me.” I went, “What thing?” because I was curious. And they quoted something — I hadn’t said it at all.

[laughter]

  1. Ó TUAMA: I was delighted to take credit for it. But I also…
  2. TIPPETT: And you don’t correct them because they heard something in what you said that was their translation.
  3. Ó TUAMA: They probably heard themselves.
  4. TIPPETT: Right.
  5. Ó TUAMA: And I was just lucky enough to happen to be in the way, wittering on about something, Irish language or something. And they happened to hear what it was that their life has been leading them to need to say. And I think — so sometimes, it can be extraordinarily healing. It can be very harmful when it is that we have not listened well and go, “Well, when that person said that” — and they might not have even have said that — “they meant that.” So there are at least two violations of language happening there. And language has the capacity to communicate who we are, and so therefore, the interpersonal space and the encounter becomes really weakened.
  6. TIPPETT: There’s this language now in the States of “trigger” language, which really, even the image itself is violent.
  7. Ó TUAMA: Yeah, it is. And I mean, I find myself in situations where sometimes I will say — just to let anybody know — Cathal was my friend who took his own life. I really appreciate it if somebody’d said something about suicide in advance of the conversation in the few years after that. I thought it would be just a few months, but it was a few years, really. When I just thought I won’t be able to cope with the ocean of everything that will happen here, partly because I was living so far away, and I couldn’t come to any even reconciling relationship with grief because I was living on the other side of the planet.

And so I can really respect, and I’ve been the benefit of times when people have said that. But the complication is that life comes with no trigger warning. Things happen out of the blue. Something happens, and suddenly, with no preparation, you find yourself in the middle of something that you didn’t wish to happen. And I think that’s why, for me, “here” is really important because that’s the space for — when you are in a situation for which nothing has prepared you, to have the language of “here,” it is not gentle. It’s not even consoling. It just might be part of the truth. And that can be healing, to simply tell part of the truth.

[music: “Marni Swanson of the Grey Coast” by Gavin Marwick & Jonny Hardie]

  1. TIPPETT: I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being. Today, in Northern Ireland with theologian, poet, and social healer Pádraig Ó Tuama.

[music: “Marni Swanson of the Grey Coast” by Gavin Marwick & Jonny Hardie]

  1. TIPPETT: One thing you say out of all this experience you’ve had of being with people in charged situations having difficult conversations — and this is an important truth, and it’s really hard to take in — that “most people do what seems reasonable to them at the time most of the time.” I mean, just that, that the people who may be so offending us and may seem frightening to us are actually doing what seems reasonable to them. And it’s not always safe to decide to be curious about that, but I think there’s a big place where it is safe; it’s just going to be really uncomfortable.
  2. Ó TUAMA: Totally. And I recognize that sometimes people will need to extend their generosity to me, saying, “He thinks he’s doing what’s reasonable to him at the time.”
  3. TIPPETT: Right. It works in both directions.
  4. Ó TUAMA: It works in all those directions. And so it’s really an important thing to do. I think, probably, most of us learned most of our lessons for our wider public life from the private life. And I suppose, for years and years, I worked in a really rich, faithful, loving, Christian community environment, where nobody had a clue that I was gay. And so, when people don’t know or think that there is nobody around to hear the kind of things that they’re saying, people say some pretty harsh things. But they loved me. I knew that. And I loved them also.

And I suppose one of the things that being closeted for many years helped, actually — not that this is good advice, but it is wisdom, retrospectively — it helped me to understand some of the dynamics that were happening underneath the kind of public things people said in order to then think, when it comes to having conversations about anything that divides us, that understanding itself is a really wise thing. Understanding doesn’t mean agreeing.

But I think sometimes when you ask a question in charged situations to try to understand a narrative that you might find intolerable, people think, well, you’re being complicit in that by giving that. And I think in situations like here, where people have had so many experiences of terrible difficulty, to understand might actually help us to heal. It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it that you agree.

  1. TIPPETT: Right. It doesn’t mean agreeing. It doesn’t mean condoning. But when you said our words, they hold so much from us. They hold our hopes and fears. Do you remember years ago, I interviewed Richard Mouw, the Christian theologian who…
  2. Ó TUAMA: What were you speaking — I always forget the names, but I always remember the conversation.
  3. TIPPETT: We were speaking about gay marriage back when…
  4. Ó TUAMA: Oh, yes. Yes.
  5. TIPPETT: …back when that was a distant remote possibility. Maybe eight, nine years ago, which is amazing.
  6. Ó TUAMA: It’s very recent, really…
  7. TIPPETT: And so, he was somebody whose theology, whose reading of the Bible leads him to believe that this is not something that the church should sanctify, and yet, who understands that the measure of Christian fidelity is about much more than a position you take on an issue, and has tried to walk that, live in that tension. But he — one of the things he said, and you’ve kind of put a theoretical framework around that, is we have to stop engaging on this in terms of — by calling each other names. And we have to start — we have to figure out if we can inquire and get curious and connect on a human level about, “What are the hopes and fears we are bringing to this?”
  8. Ó TUAMA: Totally.
  9. TIPPETT: But that’s a question we hardly know how to ask once we’ve turned something into an issue.
  10. Ó TUAMA: Yeah. And it becomes a very, very difficult question to curate in the public space.
  11. TIPPETT: Oh, yeah.
  12. Ó TUAMA: Because suddenly, to ask it is to be complicit. And so maybe that’s why there are a need for really robust private conversations about public matters. But there does need to be the stage then where we can go, “What can this mean for the wider civilization?” How is it that we can say — because ultimately that becomes a way of embedding fear. And I would like that public conversation can be a way within which we can talk about things with less fear. The Good Friday Agreement from 1998 — and limited as all those treaties are — has been something that ushered in something quite extraordinary. And one of the things that you hear people speaking about regularly is to say that in perpetuity, the Good Friday Agreement…
  13. TIPPETT: And this was what brought peace…
  14. Ó TUAMA: Peace agreement. At the end. Yes.
  15. TIPPETT: Peace. Yes.
  16. Ó TUAMA: To bring 30 years of conflict and murder and separation to some kind of robust framework for moving forward into a better peace and a better living together. And the Good Friday Agreement guarantees that people born here can have access to passports — British, Irish, either or both. And that that piece of language is a really important piece of language, and it introduces softness and more than just an either/or option into something that could have been tense. And I’ve heard people who find themselves to go, “That is challenging, but it is also a guarantee.” And I think that’s a really important thing to recognize.

And often, our public discourse, whatever the issue that’s dividing us, it needs a wise framing. It needs careful questioning. And it needs a way within which we can speak about these things, recognizing that words have impact. And often, if people use unwise words, they return to their intention. “Well, I didn’t mean that. I didn’t mean that.” Without paying attention to impact.

  1. TIPPETT: Right. Somewhere you said, “The awful truth is that our mixed intentions sometimes have the unmixed impact of terror.”
  2. Ó TUAMA: Totally. And we hear that at Corrymeela all the time. People who would say, “I heard something on the radio where immigrants or Protestants, or Muslims, or whoever, British people, Irish people” — whatever that gathering narrative is, where somebody says something about that, and actually it causes fear. It causes people maybe to close their doors, to feel a little bit more worried.

And when you begin to feel that, you begin to look for it. And the awful thing is you might find it then, even if it isn’t there. And that can cause a real limitation in a life. And that fails us. And that really does fail us. So the question is, how is it that language, simple language — I don’t mean complicated language that you need a dictionary to plow your way through — I mean plain, good, wise language — that can be the thing that might help us.

  1. TIPPETT: Do you want to read any — a poem that — along those lines? Something come to mind?
  2. Ó TUAMA: Yeah. There’s one — so one of the complications of here is, do you call it Northern Ireland or the North of Ireland? And in a bid to irritate everybody, I wrote a poem called “The Northern of Ireland.”

“It is both a dignity and / a difficulty / to live between these / names, / perceiving politics / in the syntax of / the state. / And at the end of the day, / the reality is / that whether we / change / or whether we stay / the same / these questions will / remain. / Who are we / to be / with one / another? / and / How are we / to be / with one / another? / and / What to do / with all those memories / of all of those funerals? / and / What about those present / whose past was blasted / far beyond their / future? / I wake. / You wake. / She wakes. / He wakes. / They wake. / We Wake / and take / this troubled beauty forward.”

There’s another one that happened — if you don’t mind.

  1. TIPPETT: Yeah, sure.
  2. Ó TUAMA: This is just a short one. The poem is called “Pedagogy of Conflict.”

“When I was a child, / I learnt to count to five: / one, two, three, four, five. / But these days, I’ve been counting lives, so I count / one life / one life / one life / one life / Because each time is the first time that that life has been taken. / Legitimate Target / has sixteen letters / and one / long / abominable / space / between / two / dehumanising / words.”

[music: “Öldurót” by Ólafur Arnalds, Alti Örvarsson & SinfoniaNord]

  1. TIPPETT: You can listen again and share this conversation with Pádraig Ó Tuama through our website, onbeing.org.

I’m Krista Tippett. On Being continues in a moment.

[music: “Cnocán an Teampaill” by Ensemble Ériu]

  1. TIPPETT: I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being. Today, in Northern Ireland with Pádraig Ó Tuama. He’s the author of a beautiful book, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World. He’s also a poet, a theologian, and the leader of a community that helped bring peace to Northern Ireland after generations of violent social fracture. Corrymeela, as it’s called, remains a beacon and refuge for people around the world. I interviewed Pádraig at a gathering of community members in the Croi at Corrymeela, the Irish word for “heart.” It is a sacred place of prayer, discussion, and rest, built in the shape of a heart as a listening chamber.
  2. TIPPETT: I want to keep going on this work, of this wisdom you have, and actually, this wisdom this place has, about understanding who we are to each other and how we are to each other. Because as I’ve said a couple of times, in these days that we’ve been in Northern Ireland, it’s very striking to me that we’re in a place that has, in living memory, moved away from sectarianism. While at this particular moment in history, in these early years of the 21st century, many places, including my country, feel like they are gravitating towards sectarianism. But I want to talk about the fact that you’re gay and…
  3. Ó TUAMA: Really?
  4. TIPPETT: Yes.

[laughter]

  1. TIPPETT: And how — here’s the thing, Pádraig, that really strikes me. Reading you and reading about the work you’ve done around this, and also just how you’ve inhabited this part of your identity in the work you do, whether it’s the focus or not — and I think it rarely is the focus — you are in an interesting position because this is culturally a time when there have been these huge, transformative, revolutionary shifts. I mean, Ireland voting to…
  2. Ó TUAMA: Yes. I know. I wept for a day.
  3. TIPPETT: You wept for a day.
  4. Ó TUAMA: And then cried for a night.
  5. TIPPETT: The Republic of Ireland voting to legalize same sex marriage, but I think — this Catholic country. I mean, before it happened in the United States, I believe. And yet, because of who you are, and where your “here” is from year to year, you are right in the thick of this — the spectrum of how — this encounter, this awakening. So, you’ve been in places like Uganda, where you are, in fact, talking about these things, about sexual identity and how churches respond to that, where you have very actively stayed in the closet, in fact, felt that you would be — were pretty sure — you would be unsafe.
  6. Ó TUAMA: Yeah, yeah. It was more than just feeling; it was just the truth. [laughs]
  7. TIPPETT: Right. And you talked about this Christian community that you were part of for many years where you felt deeply loved. Was that the same one that also tried — made you undergo exorcisms?
  8. Ó TUAMA: Yeah, totally. And reparative therapy too. And I mean, that is an important part of my story that, for a year, I went weekly to reparative therapy, change therapy, or some way within which somebody who’d done a weekend course somewhere thought that they could call themselves a counselor now. And I was 19, and frightened, and thought this might help, and was told this is the kind of thing that will help.

And what — this is a slight precursor, but language was the thing that saved me. Because I remember, at one point, plucking up the courage to say to this therapist or whatever he was being called professionally, “I’m not even sure I want to want to have sex with a woman,” because he was — it was so erotically focused in the sense of the kind of the mechanics of what success would look like. That was the awful thing. And I was trying to put that into language. And he said, “That’s because you’re saying really poor sentences.” And he goes, “What you should be” — and little did he know, the idiot.

[laughter]

  1. Ó TUAMA: But he said, “You shouldn’t be saying ‘have sex with a woman.’ You should say, ‘I want to give sex to a woman.’” And I remember thinking, “That is a terrible sentence.”

[laughter]

  1. Ó TUAMA: In terms of a conjugation of a verb into a sentence, that fails. And I had been through three exorcisms in the year previous to that, and had gone to this — I used to get the number 16 bus from the north side to the south side of Dublin, petrified, and leave burdened, like with a damp blanket of dismay on me. And I said to him, “That’s not a good sentence.” I never went back. And that was the exorcism. It was amazing.
  2. TIPPETT: [laughs]
  3. Ó TUAMA: I remember getting back on the number 16 bus elated with delight, and I had no one to tell, because to tell anybody about this exorcism into freedom would have been to have caused complication in terms of that. And so I’m really — it’s important to recognize, I think, when it comes to LGBT people’s identities, causation, cure, and consequence are some of the public fixations around people who are cautious about the inclusion or the pace of change.

But I am bored often by ways in which it can turn into something where I have received insult, where I then give insult back. I have never had a situation where that’s been fruitful, much and all as it might feel lovely for me afterwards, or somewhat vindicating. It isn’t fruitful. It doesn’t help to bring about change. So, I suppose I’ve been really interested in curating spaces of dialogue. And here in Ireland, and Scotland, and the States, and Australia, and England, as well as in Uganda, where people who believe very deeply that their faith and their social conscience causes them to be concerned, that there is the possibility within the Gospels for us to be brought into a deeper kind of belonging with each other.

So, in Uganda, we looked at this text of the woman in Luke chapter 7 who makes her way into the house of Simon the Pharisee. And she was not welcome, but she actually did the duties of the host. And it’s amazing because Jesus would have been lounging on the floor. And then in Greek, it says he turned to her and spoke to Simon, who would have been the host. His head was now to the host, turning to this woman. And he says to Simon, “Do you see this woman? And what do you see?” And these are the ways in which the Gospel text calls us to look around us in an amazing way. And once — in one of these encounters, there was an amazing situation where about 9 or 10 of us in a room, people who had chosen to come and to — they came from fairly — with deep caution about lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans people.

  1. TIPPETT: And where was this?
  2. Ó TUAMA: This was in Belfast.
  3. TIPPETT: In Belfast, yeah.
  4. Ó TUAMA: And at the end of the two-day encounter, one of the men who had — he had chosen the word “fundamentalist” for himself to describe himself as a Christian. And he said, “I have a question for all the homosexuals in the room.” And part of me wanted to go, “We don’t like that word.” But anyway, I thought, “Let’s hear the question first,” because — you know. And he says, “I want to know how many times since we’ve met together in the last while, have my words bruised you.” And somebody next to me went, “Ah, you’re lovely. You’re very nice.”

And he said, “No. Don’t patronize me. How many times have my words bruised you?” And the fellow next to me started to count, “One, two, three, four.” And then he goes, “I’ve given up after the first hour.” And then this man, who had gone to the edges of his own understanding and asked others to help populate that edge with information and insight, said, “Are you telling me that it’s painful for you to be around me?” And somebody went — a woman in the room went, “Yeah, it is.”

And he was the one who chaplained himself into that space. And I couldn’t have made that happen. As the facilitator of the room, I couldn’t — like if I had said, “Do you realize that your words are bruising?” none of that would have been sufficient. Because what he was being brought into was the transformative power of human encounter in relationship. We were un-residential.

And curiously, he had asked — we were talking a few nights previously about television, and he was saying that his absolute favorite show was this political show on the BBC on a Thursday night. And I said, “My partner produces that.” And he was like, “What?” And then he went through all the names because he’s that kind of a geek that he knew all the names of the production team.

  1. TIPPETT: [laughs] He knew all the names. Right.
  2. Ó TUAMA: And he mentioned him by name, mentioned Paul by name. And then suddenly, he was like, “Do they enjoy it?” And he had all this information that he wanted to ask, and curiosity unfolded between us. And I think that, and shared cups of tea, was one of the things that contributed to the fact that he demonstrated, and I was converted by, his capacity to ask that question. I came away just going — I want in the ways in which I’m the perpetrator of real hostility and lack of understanding and lazy thinking. I want to be someone like him, who says, “Tell me what it’s like to hear the way I talk because I need to be changed.” I went also to be converted in terms of that.
  3. TIPPETT: But you know, I think that also speaks to another idea that you and I have discussed and explored together, and that’s come up in these days in Northern Ireland, which is the urgency of creating spaces where that kind of human connection can be made. Even just that normalizing thing of, “Oh, I know the TV show that your partner works on,” which wasn’t about the issue, but it flowed into the relationship, but also, where you could come to that moment of conversion for both of you.

I mean, that — Corrymeela is a place, is the creation of a place where people whose lives were threatened during the Troubles literally fled here, physically, to be safe. I think what you’re talking about is so relevant and resonant for American life right now. And one thing I experience is that people long to begin — they want to be having those kinds of encounters in their communities, like, where they live, very close to home. And they don’t know how to start. And this question of getting the right people in the room — how would you start to give some counsel on that from what you know?

  1. Ó TUAMA: I suppose Corrymeela’s practice for all those years has been to be a place of story, and that within that, the society, the religion, the politics, the pain, are all held within those stories. They don’t exist in abstract way. These concepts like civic society exist in people, next to people, next to people, next to people. And sometimes that’s a very fractious experience.

And one of the things that I think is really important for lots of organizations of goodwill, and Corrymeela is one of them amongst many in Northern Ireland – that’s really an important thing to say — is the recognition to say, “Where are the limitations of our understanding?” “Do we have friendships?” And I really appreciate when people contact so — the question, often, is to say, “Are there human connection points where quietly you can say to people, ‘Can you help me understand this?’” And maybe then you’ll participate in this fantastic argument of being alive in such a dynamic way that it’s great fun or really enlivening. And you can have a really robust disagreement. And that is the opposite of being frightened of fear because you can create that.

When Corrymeela began in ‘65, somebody who didn’t have a great understanding of old Irish etymology had said, “Oh, ‘Corrymeela’ means ‘hill of harmony.’” And people were like, “How lovely. Amazing. Hill of harmony. Isn’t that delightful?” And about 10 years later, somebody who actually knew what they were talking about when it came to old Irish etymology said, “Well, it’s kind of like ’place of lumpy crossings.’”

[laughter]

  1. Ó TUAMA: And by that stage, there’d been 10 years. And people were like, “Oh, thank god.” [laughs] “The place can hold us still because we haven’t been great at harmony apart from the occasional song.”
  2. TIPPETT: Yeah, well, who is? [laughs]
  3. Ó TUAMA: Yeah, but that gives — and people do sometimes say — when we’re in community discussions, say, “This is a bit of a lumpy crossing for us.” And it gives space and permission to say, “Yeah it is.” And actually that’s — even the naming of that is part of what might help us and be a lovely, wise understanding about what success is because that, in itself, is a really good place to get to, to say the “here” is that this is difficult.

[music: “Fáinleog (Wanderer)” by The Gloaming]

  1. TIPPETT: I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being. Today, in Northern Ireland with theologian, poet, and social healer Pádraig Ó Tuama.

[music: “Fáinleog (Wanderer)” by The Gloaming]

  1. TIPPETT: You mentioned at one point that — I think you say that you didn’t love the book The Zen — what is it?
  2. Ó TUAMA: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
  3. TIPPETT: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. But that there’s this word…
  4. Ó TUAMA: One lovely word, yeah.
  5. TIPPETT: One word…
  6. Ó TUAMA: I’ve been reading Henri Nouwen, and I thought, “When I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I will become as wise as Henri Nouwen.” And then I read the book, and I was like, “I’m bored,” partly because I don’t understand motorcycles.
  7. TIPPETT: [laughs] Yeah.
  8. Ó TUAMA: So I suppose that was the beginning. I should have paid attention to that.
  9. TIPPETT: But this one word, mu.
  10. Ó TUAMA: Mu.
  11. TIPPETT: M-U.
  12. Ó TUAMA: There’s a Buddhist concept where, if you’re asking a poor question — if a question is being asked, go, “Are you this or that?” That what Robert Pirsig says that you can answer, according to his telling of the Zen tradition, you can answer with this word mu, M-U, which means, “Un-ask the question, because there’s a better question to be asked.” The question that’s asking is limiting, and you’ll get no good answer from anything.

This question fails us, never mind subsequent answers. And I think that’s a really delightful way to understand the world. And I think questions about Jesus sometimes that are posed in our public rhetoric about Christianity — “What do we do here?” “What do we do there?” “Is this right?” “Is that right?” “Am I allowed to be gay and Christian?” for instance, was the question that plagued me for years. And I think that in a certain sense, we’re being told by God, perhaps in silence in our prayers, “Mu,” because there’s better questions to ask. And asking a wiser question might unfold us into asking even more, wiser questions, whereas certain kinds of questions just entrench fear.

  1. TIPPETT: Yeah. Well, also wiser questions will elicit wiser responses.
  2. Ó TUAMA: Yes. Yeah. You’re right.
  3. TIPPETT: And so that will lead us together down a different road.
  4. Ó TUAMA: Totally. And maybe towards each other, and into human encounter, and into the possibility of saying, “I will learn something from somebody.” I used to be a school chaplain in West Belfast, and I trained, and I did some Ignatian spirituality training. And we used to do reflections on — prayer reflections with 11-year-old, West Belfast, hilarious young people. And we’d gather around and light a candle and have a prayer bowl, and just create a little bit of quiet. And then we’d do an imaginative Ignatian reflection where the young people would take a walk with Jesus.

And it was only a year that I had that job, and that year, I loved that job because every day I thought, “I’m going to meet Jesus as curated and narrated by 11-year-olds from West Belfast.” And they were hilarious. One young girl said, “Yeah, Jesus came walking over the water wearing a purple tutu and a coconut bra.” I thought, “Oh my god.” [laughs] “That’s not the Jesus that I know.” And then for — they have to make a drawing for the Bishop. And she said, “I’m not very good at drawing.” I was like, “Thank God because I’d like to keep my job.”

[laughter]

  1. Ó TUAMA: Maybe it was for me.
  2. TIPPETT: The other kinds of story — and I think these were younger kids in a different setting in which you were teaching — you also got this question, “Pádraig, does God love us?”
  3. Ó TUAMA: Oh, yes. That was actually in the same job. Yeah.
  4. TIPPETT: So why did he create Protestants?
  5. Ó TUAMA: She was hilarious. She was one of my favorites. She was amazing at football, and she just said everything that she thought. I was wittering on about something, and she was clearly bored, and she goes, “Pádraig, answer me a question.” And I went, “OK.” And she goes, “God loves us, right?” I went, “OK.” She was setting out her premise. And then I said, “OK. I’m with you.”
  6. TIPPETT: [laughs] She was a philosopher.
  7. Ó TUAMA: Yeah, totally. And then she goes, “And God made us, right?” OK. I knew that these weren’t the really important questions. And then she goes, “Answer me this: why did God make Protestants?” I said, “You have to tell me a bit more about your question.” And she goes, “Well, they hate us, and they hate him.” And because I knew she was brilliant at football, I said, “I know a lot of Protestants that would want you on their football team.” And she went, “Really?” Because her — she, in that little half-comedic, half-frightening incident, is telling a story of an entire society.

Because she has been educated, and she’s reflecting something — this was only — this is 2011. So this was 13 years after the Good Friday Agreement had been signed. She hadn’t been born when the Good Friday Agreement was signed. And nonetheless, these are ways in which these stories — and you mentioned sectarianism earlier on, and one of the best definitions of sectarianism comes from a book by Cecelia Clegg and Joe Liechty, and they say, “Sectarianism is belonging gone bad.”

  1. TIPPETT: Belonging gone bad.
  2. Ó TUAMA: Gone bad.
  3. TIPPETT: And they — in that book, you mention…
  4. Ó TUAMA: The scale of sectarianism.
  5. TIPPETT: The scale. And so what is that? And the scale…
  6. Ó TUAMA: The scale for them begins — I think there’s about 14 or 15 points. The first part of the scale is going, “You’re different. I’m different.” Fine. And the 15th point is, “You’re demonic.” And that’s the word they use in all the scales down to that — one of the pieces…
  7. TIPPETT: And the farther down that scale you go, the more violence…
  8. Ó TUAMA: The more danger. Yeah.
  9. TIPPETT: Dangerous it becomes.
  10. Ó TUAMA: The more you justify it, because if somebody is the devil, well, then you get rid of them, generally. One of the scales — and that is, “In order for me to be right, it is important that I believe that you are wrong.” And ways within which that is really alive to how it is. And I think what you’ve been saying in terms of recognizing that, fragile and limited as our process has been here, Northern Ireland has transformed itself and involved in that has been — politicians, and peacemakers, and victims, and perpetrators, and all these limited words like that. People who have said, “I was caught up in something,” and have now given extraordinary contributions. So many people of goodwill, and courage, and protest saying, “We can find a way to live well together.” And this can be the hope.
  11. TIPPETT: And that’s very hopeful…
  12. Ó TUAMA: It is.
  13. TIPPETT: …to think that you have collectively — including people who were violent, who were — “terrorists” is one of those words, but who actually collectively moved from that place on the spectrum of demonizing others back towards, not necessarily agreeing or loving in terms of feeling jubilant in each other’s presence, but making that move…
  14. Ó TUAMA: And giving committed guarantees to the other’s safety. And finding ways in which we can say, “This can be a place where our disagreements will happen in a tone that is wiser, and in a tone that is safer.” And I think that’s a really helpful place to be. I mean, because the implication that to agree with each other is what guarantees safety is immediately undermined by every experience of family — like, we just know that. And friendships — that’s what we know.

Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other. Maybe on some things, but actually, when you look at some people who are lovers and friends, you go actually they might disagree really deeply on things, but they’re somehow — I like the phrase “the argument of being alive.” Or in Irish, when you talk about trust, there’s a beautiful phrase from West Kerry where you say, “Mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne,” “You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.” And that is soft and kind language, but it is so robust. That is what we can have with each other.

And it’s so physical, that beautiful understanding. And you can find that with each other, even when you think different things about what jurisdiction we are or should be in. You can find you’re the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore with each other. And that is soft and kind language, but it is so robust. And it is part of the firmament that upholds what it means to be human. That is what we can have with each other.

And we are failed by headlines that just demonize the other and are lazy. And where I might read a headline about myself and go, “I don’t recognize myself in the language that’s being spoken about there,” we are failed by that. But we are upheld by something that has a quality of deep virtues of kindness, of goodness, of curiosity, and the jostle and enjoyment of saying, “Yeah, we disagree.” But that curates something, and in a psychological context, contains something that actually is a vessel of deep safety and community.

  1. TIPPETT: OK. I’m going to skip over all of my other brilliant questions.

[laughter]

  1. TIPPETT: I just want to read this — on the power of the idea of belonging: “It creates and undoes us both.” And you also wrote, “If spirituality does not speak to this power, then it speaks to little.” I think what I’d love for you to do is read the very end of your book. And I have it — or you have it.
  2. Ó TUAMA: Right here.
  3. TIPPETT: OK. So it would be starting at, yeah, “Neither I nor the poets I love…”
  4. Ó TUAMA: Sure.

“Neither I nor the poets I love found the keys to the kingdom of prayer and we cannot force God to stumble over us where we sit. But I know that it’s a good idea to sit anyway. So every morning I sit, I kneel, waiting, making friends with the habit of listening, hoping that I’m being listened to. There, I greet God in my own disorder. I say hello to my chaos, my unmade decisions, my unmade bed, my desire and my trouble. I say hello to distraction and privilege, I greet the day and I greet my beloved and bewildering Jesus. I recognise and greet my burdens, my luck, my controlled and uncontrollable story. I greet my untold stories, my unfolding story, my unloved body, my own love, my own body. I greet the things I think will happen and I say hello to everything I do not know about the day. I greet my own small world and I hope that I can meet the bigger world that day. I greet my story and hope that I can forget my story during the day, and hope that I can hear some stories, and greet some surprising stories during the long day ahead. I greet God, and I greet the God who is more God than the God I greet. / Hello to you all, I say, as the sun rises above the chimneys of North Belfast. / Hello.”

  1. TIPPETT: I don’t know if we need a question. I would, though — when I read that, I’ll just be really honest and say — oh, here’s something I didn’t say that’s honest that I still want to say to you. It’s a bit — becomes so clear in your book, especially, that you’re so hard on yourself. Like…
  2. Ó TUAMA: Oh, really?
  3. TIPPETT: Right? And you tell that story about your friend Rory, who says…
  4. Ó TUAMA: Oh yeah. [laughs]
  5. TIPPETT: …”Here’s the one thing I know about you, Pádraig, you always make things more difficult.” [laughs]
  6. Ó TUAMA: Yeah, yeah. And I was prepared for him to — I was prepared with great modesty to receive a compliment in that situation.

[laughter]

  1. Ó TUAMA: He undid me.
  2. TIPPETT: Yeah. And you are one of these people — and I recognize myself a little bit in you — you bring a lot of solace to other people and hope to other people, but you’ve struggled a lot.
  3. Ó TUAMA: Yeah, totally.
  4. TIPPETT: Yeah. And I was very curious — I just love those pages. I loved that image of you praying and how you pray.
  5. Ó TUAMA: Yeah. I do love praying. Like prier from French, “to ask.” And what I love about that word is it doesn’t require belief. It just requires a recognition of need. And I think the recognition of need is something that brings us to a deep, common language about what it means to be human. And if you don’t — if you’re not in the situation where you know need, well, then you’re lucky. But you will be. That won’t last for too long. Need is happening in so many ways, in so many levels, in people and in societies and in communities.

And I suppose I really think that prayer is also not only naming or asking, but just saying hello to what is and trying to be brave, trying to be courageous in that situation and trying to be generous to your own self, also. To go, “Here’s a day when I feel intimidated,” or “Here’s the day; I’m just waiting for the end of it,” or “Here’s the day when I have huge expectations of delight,” because those can also be troubling.

And Ignatius cautions people to have an active detachment, recognizing the things that will cause you great distress, as well as things that can cause you great delight, can be things that distract you from what he calls your principle and foundation, which I suppose I ultimately understand as love. And that that is the principle and foundation of the human project, of the human story, of the human encounter, is to move toward each other in love.

And to find — like, in Corrymeela, we talk about living well together. That that is the vision we have, to live well together. That doesn’t mean to agree. That doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect. It means to say that in the context of imperfection and difficulty, we can find the capacity and the skill, as well as the generosity and courtesy, to live well together.

And I think by — in the morning times, I say hello to all those things, and then I try to say hello a little bit to what I know won’t happen. And in that sense, prayer becomes a way within which you cultivate curiosity and the sense of wonder. So that you know I’ll be returning back to this and can say hello tomorrow to something that I wouldn’t have even known about today. That’s how I understand prayer in that way. Every now and then, Jesus shows up and says something interesting. [laughs]

Ms. Tippet: [laughs]

  1. Ó TUAMA: Through the Gospel. I read the Gospels in Irish too because there’s something about reading the text in Irish. I love the richness of the etymology. And certain phrases that — actually, it’s difficult enough to say in Irish the way within which — like, in Ireland, I think we have this understanding of, “Why use five words when you can use 50?” So sometimes, the texts are longer than they would be in Greek or English. But it’s a lovely thing to do in that sense because you realize the way these translators have found a way to say something that really unfolds something really delightful.
  2. TIPPETT: Thank you so much.
  3. Ó TUAMA: It’s a joy, Krista.
  4. TIPPETT: Thank you.
  5. Ó TUAMA: It’s a joy.
  6. TIPPETT: Thank you.

[applause]

[music: “Belfast” by Brian Finnegan]

  1. TIPPETT: Pádraig Ó Tuama is the community leader of Corrymeela, Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organization. His books include Sorry For Your Troubles, Readings From The Book Of Exile, and In The Shelter: Finding a Home in The World.

STAFF: On Being is Trent Gilliss, Chris Heagle, Lily Percy, Mariah Helgeson, Maia Tarrell, Marie Sambilay, Bethanie Mann, Selena Carlson, and Rigsar Wangchuck.

[music: “Belfast” by Brian Finnegan]

  1. TIPPETT: Our lovely theme music is provided and composed by Zoe Keating. And the last voice that you hear singing our final credits in each show is hip-hop artist Lizzo.

On Being was created at American Public Media. Our funding partners include:

The Fetzer Institute, helping to build the spiritual foundation for a loving world. Find them at fetzer.org.

Kalliopeia Foundation, working to create a future where universal spiritual values form the foundation of how we care for our common home.

The Henry Luce Foundation, in support of Public Theology Reimagined.

The Osprey Foundation, a catalyst for empowered, healthy, and fulfilled lives.

And the Lilly Endowment, an Indianapolis-based, private family foundation dedicated to its founders’ interests in religion, community development, and education.

This interview originally appeared in On Being, and is reprinted with permission. Krista Tippett is the host of the award-winning show ‘On Being‘.

Spirituality is a walk each day of our lives, not merely a costume, change of clothes or a new speech writer.  We must lead by our example.   

4 May 2017 May the 4th be with you, Birthdays belated, Beautiful spider (Bold Jumping Spider) Streams in the Desert messages for 4 and 5 May

Source Internet: Yes, this is an actual thing…..Kyle reminded me this morning as he is a long-time fan of the series.

Good morning to you. I hope you are well from where and when you are. I am not firing on all cylinders this morning.  The allergies are really bad at our house these past few days (high winds and mostly dry) and even with the vibrating/rumbling almost to silence I am still not fully rested.  So a nap will probably be in order at some point today! I don’t know if you are familiar with the video game called The Sims. I used to play it quite a bit. Well I feel like a Sim that just can’t get my “needs bar” maxed out. I don’t have a handy “rejuvenation” chamber like I did when I played the game. It was a cheat you could download that looked like a shower. You could have your Sim go into it and instantly get all their needs maxed out which made playing the game a lot more pleasant. If you have played the game, you know what I’m talking about.

Source Internet: Simslice Rejuvenator for Sims

I realized after reading a letter from our dear friend Les this morning that I screwed up and missed sending her a birthday card!  Les is the sort of person who remembers ALL the special holidays for those she knows and loves.  So forgetting her special day makes me feel like a real dufus!  Her birthday was on the 1st and no matter how many times it’s happened, birthdays at the first of the month are the hardest for me to remember!  I normally write all the birthdays for the year on new calendars and didn’t do that – remedied that this morning!  So a much belated, yet heartfelt Happy Birthday to beautiful Lesley!

Yesterday, when we were showing Michael, our Home Depot rep to the side yard, we got to see a Bold Jumping Spider was near the door latch! Michael named him George lol – we do that too. I didn’t get my own picture of the little guy but found one here that shows the part that amazed me the most really well — irridescent green fangs! Just a beautiful spider!

Source Internet: I didn’t get a picture of my own of “George” but this is almost exactly what he looked like. Just beautiful (to me!)

The reading for today kind of resonates with me in that I’ve noticed how “calm” usually precedes difficult times. It’s like God giving us a chance to catch our breath before the next lesson we must learn comes. Many in modern times would refer to this gap of “nothing going on” as boring and or experiencing boredom. I’ve learned to embrace these times and not complain when nothing is going on! More times then not, when “something” is going on, it’s not what I want to be happening and would do anything to be bored again! LOL!!

May 4

“He maketh sore, and bondeth up; he woundeth and his hands make whole.” (Job 5:18.)

As we pass beneath the hills which have been shaken by the earthquake and torn by convulsion, we find that periods of perfect repose succeed those of destruction. The pools of calm water lie clear beneath their fallen rocks, the water lilies gleam, and the reeds whisper among the shadows; the village rises again over the forgotten graves, and its church tower, white through protection “in whose hands are all the corners of the earth, and the strength of the hills is his also.” – Ruskin

God ploughed one day with an earthquake,

And drove His furrow deep!

The huddling plains upstarted,

The hills were all aleap!

But that is the mountains’ secret,

Age-hidden inn their breast;

“God’s peace is everlasting,”

Are the dream-words of their rest.

He made them the haunts of beauty,

The home elect of His grace;

He spreadeath His mornings upon them,

His sunsets light their face.

His winds bring messages to them–

Wild storn-news from the main;

they sing it down the valleys

In the love-song of the rain.

They are nurseries for young rivers,

Nests for His flying cloud,

Homesteads for new-born races,

Masterful, free, and proud.

The people of tired cities

Come up to their shrines and pray;

God freshens again within them,

As He passes by all day.

And lo, I have caught their secret!

The beauty deeper than all!

This faith–that life’s hard moments,

When the jarring sorrows befall,

Are but God ploughing His mountains;

and those mountains yet shall be

The source of His grace and freshness,

And His peace everlasting to me. — William C. Gannett

I typed tomorrows up for you too because I saw that I had visited this day back in 2015 with a very fond heart. Music is so important here at our house! Kyle and I are always singing something even if it’s nonsense or a parody of a popular song. I sometimes like to sing in the morning when I am outside or in the evening as the sun is going down like the birds do. I look at it as giving thanks to God for the day beginning and thanks for another day I got to be here. It is a way I use to show my gratitude to God for the blessing of this life I’ve been given.

May 5

*5 May 2015 note I wrote: Validation of music being part of creation — God– Adonai–“Aada”

(‘Aaaah’ is the sound you make with your mouth that you can feel in your heart – try it!)

“When they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushments…and they were smitten.” (2 Chron. 20:22)

Oh, that we could reason less about our troubles, and sing and praise more! There are thousands of things that we wear as shackles which we might use as instruments with music in them, if we only knew how.

Those men that ponder, and meditate, and weigh the affairs of life, and study the mysterious developments of God’s providence, and wonder why they should be burndened and thwarted and hampered-how different and how much more joyful would be their lives, if, instead of forever indulging in self-revolving and inward thinking, they would take their experiences, day by day, and lift them up, and praise God for them.

We can sing our cares away easier than we can reason them away. Sing in the morning, The birds are the earliest to sing, and birds are more without care than anything else that I know of.

Sing at evening. Singing is the last thing that robins do. When they have done their daily work; when they have flown their last flight, and picked up their last morsel of food, then on a topmost twig, they sing one song of praise.

Oh that we might sing morning and evening, and let song touch song all the way through. – Selected

“Don’t let the song go out of your life

Though it chance sometimes to flow

In a minor strain; it will blend again

With the major tone you know.

“What though shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,

And hide for a time the sun,

The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,

If you let the melody run.

“Don’t let the song go out of your life;

Though the tremulous note may die in your throat,

Let it sing in your spirit still.

“Don’t let the song go out of your life;

Let it ring in the soul while here;

And when you go hence, ’twill follow you thence,

and live on in another sphere.”

 

 

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