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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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This and That

PART I: ACCEPTANCE  

I took a meditation walk and from a bag of stones labeled with various words, I randomly chose one to think about as I walked. The stone I chose said, “Accept.” Of all the stones in the bag, that is the one I least wanted. All the  thoughts about candidates for things I need to accept came pouring in. Before I allowed them to destroy my meditative mood, I was rescued by the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change.

The Courage to change the things I can.

And the Wisdom to know the difference. 

Somehow that made my thoughts more manageable. I started categorizing the various thoughts into those I have to accept and those I can work on changing. But the real grace is that as we go along in life, if we are paying attention, we gain the wisdom to know the difference between the two. It wasn’t easy, but making that mental list gave me peace of mind. 

As I continued along the path, endorphins started flooding my brain, and I put away the thoughts and just concentrated on noticing the beauty of nature that was all around me. The water, the leaves, some falling, some clinging happily to the branches; the sky, the birds. I felt buoyant and light. The problems that seemed like such burdens just the day before became decipherable. And even though I didn’t find all the answers during my walk, I began to feel that I could at least tackle them one by one.  

PART II: #WORLDEMPATHY DAY

What if we planned a #WorldEmpathyDay and started a movement to get a  many people as possible, in as many countries as possible, and in as many institutions as possible (schools, hospitals, jails, mental institutions, newspapers, book publishing companies, internet providers, churches, synagogues, mosques, covens, corporations, governmental entities, country clubs, social media outlets, factories, museums, movie theaters, financial institutions, skating rinks, etc.) to practice empathy towards all they come into contact with for just one day. ONE DAY! 

What would change? Would anything shift in the global consciousness? Could this start a domino effect of tearing down the divisions that cause us to see and vilify and “otherize” anyone not like us? Would this, at least temporarily, reverse the Atomic Clock ticking towards midnight and total destruction? Would it allow us to tap into the supposed unified consciousness that predates our physical bodies? Would it halt increasing acts of terrorism? Would we open our hearts to more love, less war, more compassion, less selfishness? Would it allow our world leaders to see solutions to problems that were heretofore hidden from their view (or their hearts), and embrace them as an antidote to the increasing warring industrial complex? Would it let us peep through the membrane between this world and the next and allow us to merge with it for just a second and glimpse infinity? Could we begin to practice the ideas that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s salvation, and that society is better when we are all better?

PART III: THE POPE

I love this Pope Francis. Il Papa. And by gazing in the future, I see a day when we will also lovingly embrace La Mama. Our first female Pope.

PART IV: MY BIRTHDAY

My birthday is coming up in mid-October (I am a Libra Girl), and I am hoping the next year will be transformational for me. I have wished for this before, but this time I am declaring it publicly. Two of the gifts I want for my birthday are: the gift of weight loss, and the gift of incredibly good health. But I also have other less tangible things on my #BirthdayWishList. Here goes: Creativity; Imagination; Purpose; Motivation; Meaning; Empathy; Humility; Discernment, Kindness; Peace; Happiness; Joy; Zest; Compassion; Tolerance; Patience; Wisdom; Mercy; Forgiveness; Courage; Protection; Safety; Serenity; Balance and Fun! And while the Universe is taking my order, may I request Clarity and Good Will for our world political and religious leaders? Oh yes, and better movies. Is that too much for a Libra Girl to ask for?

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