(Commercial Prelude: Today is the Worldwide March Against Monsanto. Very possibly there is one happening in a town or city near you. We have one happening in Lancaster, PA, today in the center of the city at 2, with a rally and Awareness Fair afterward. Join us, wherever you are. For the bees.)
What are the ideas and assumptions you live by? What are the beliefs that give meaning to your life? I know they change from day to day, moment to moment, but if you fling your butterfly net into the brisk morning air of your spirit this morning, what might you catch in there? How about writing five to start with, and as fast as you can, without thinking, without trying to find really cool ones, but just the ones that first float to the surface. It strikes me that “creed” might not be the most accurate term, but somehow that’s the one I want to use.
Here are a few that I found in my net this morning. Remember, this is just a quick, top of the head free association. That’s the point. It will be raw, but hopefully it will catch some meaningful tidbits that my thinking mind would overlook or dismiss. Try it!
1. Love. Whatever promotes and supports deep and faithful and trusting Love. Wanton Love of all that is around us. Answer the question with Love.
2. Notice. Notice as much as possible. Every detail. Color, shape, movement, flickers of energy. Like Sug said in The Color Purple: “I think it pisses God off if you pass by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.” I think the converse (or is it the inverse?) is true: I think it makes her intensely happy if you DO notice it.
3. There’s a place for everyone at the table. I believe this and I want to live by it, but there are people I don’t want at my table, and I don’t know how to reconcile it. I think I mean that compassion (not just the broad love of #1) ought to somehow be extendable to all, but I want to have my compassion for the rapists and murderers and frackers and oil executives and warmongers from a distance. Still it’s an ideal I believe in, even if I can’t live it yet.
4. Listening. I work so hard at this, and I still get caught up in telling and spilling and requiring you to listen to me instead. But I think there is something incredibly holy in the act of listening, something that strengthens and fortifies that web that connects us all.
5. Treasuring the web of all life. In one sense, I think we’re all one organism of many parts. Trying to see the world this way helps with the compassion dissonance of #3, I think. We are all one. What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves. What harm I do to you, I do to me, too. And when we spread love outward, it heals ourownselves.
So a really interesting thing happened there. Originally, I wrote ten as the suggestion for a number, but I found that by the time I hit the fifth one, I had started to engage my brain, had started to worry what people would say (“That’s too religious!” “That’s not religious enough!”), had started to delete and re-type, delete and re-type. Five seems to be a good number for quick reflection, before the brain gets too involved, too Editorial.
1. This amazing and perfect spiderweb outside my window. Thrive, little spider. May you and your offspring eat well here in the hollow.
2. The voice of the people. Daily I become more cynical about whether the democratic process has any more validity in a system where the richest candidate wins, where corporations and lobbyists can donate huge sums of money to campaigns so that the candidates become beholden to their causes. I get pretty twisted up inside about it. But I still think the people have a duty to make our voices heard, perhaps now more than ever. When this chapter gets written, I want it to be noted that people spoke up. So, today I join the people in the agora. For the health of our children. For the bees and the monarchs. For the future of the planet. I am grateful for the voice of the people.
3. Short fiction. I am finding it difficult to get a good overall view of the English 9 course I will be teaching in the fall, because I have gotten stuck reading the short stories. I guess I just have to sit down and read them all so I can focus on the big picture. What a lovely chore to have.
4. Belly laughing with the kids
5. Watching my 8-year-old beginning to develop grace and fluidity to his movements. Body confidence. Dancing and climbing and jumping and running. I think even the klutziest among us (like me) probably went through those phases in childhood where we began to live in our bodies with more awareness. Today, treasure your body and the ways it moves, the way it propels you from place to place, whether you run or whether you hobble. What an amazing thing it is that those nerves and synapses within us all work so beautifully.
May we walk in Beauty!