As the world around me swirled (I awoke with vertigo this morning), I began listening to Chapter 2 of Krista Tippett’s new book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living. I had barely begun listening when words of wisdom about the mystery and art of my own life circumstances emerged.
“We are all healers of the world. It isn’t about healing the world by making a huge difference. It is about healing the world that is around us. That is where our power is. How would I live if I were exactly what is needed to heal the world?” ~Rachel Naomi Remen
Remen’s words remind me how important extending “conscious love” to my daughter is—the treasured “opportunity” that awakened within me while rummaging through the darkness that emerged when it became clear she would be living with me full-time for an extending period of time.
Remen’s wisdom, learned from her Hasidic Jewish grandfather, places this “opportunity” into a larger context. I am exercising my power to change the world.
My True Self, the higher part of me who already knows how to love, watches. I move through my days extending love in quiet ways no one around us would notice. The difference I make is not huge, but, in the week since I’ve been “consciously loving,” I do see a difference for my daughter…and for me.
I will continue keeping Remen’s question before me: “Am I living as though I am exactly what is needed to heal the world?”
The question Elizabeth Alexander asks at the end of her poem below touched my soul:
“And are we not of interest to each other?” ~ Elizabeth Alexander
Ars Poetica #100: I Believe by Elizabeth Alexander
Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there.
Poetry (an now my voice is rising)
is not all love, love, love
and I’m sorry the dog died.
Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,
And are we not of interest to each other?
And Fr. Killian McDonnell’s reminder in his poem below bestowed levity:
Perfection, Perfection by Killian McDonnell
(“I will walk the way of perfection.” Psalm 101:2)
I have had it with perfection.
I have packed my bags,
I am out of here.
As certain as rain
will make you wet,
perfection will do you
It droppeth not as dew
upon the summer grass
to give liberty and green
Perfection straineth out
the quality of mercy,
withers rapture at is
Before the battle is half begun,
cold probity thinks
it can’t be won, concedes the
I’ve handed in my notice,
given back my keys,
signed my severance check, I
Hints I could have taken:
Even the perfect chiseled form of
Michelangelo’s radiant David
The Venus de Milo
has no arms,
the Liberty Bell is