Friday, September 23, 2011

Dear God,Help Us Remember.

O God, Help us
remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother
who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with
homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us to remember that the
pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a
worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams
with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary
looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to
get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst
nightmares.
Help us to remember that the old
couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our
shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy
report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping
together.
Dear God, remind us each
day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not
enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not just to
those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and
quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
- Author Unknow
 


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Saturday, September 17, 2011

If you really pay attention

If You Really Pay Attention
by Paula Underwood
 
 
 

When I was a little bitty kiddy, about five, my Dad began a process … anytime somebody came and said something to us, my dad would say, "You remember what he said, honey girl?"  I would tell my father what the person said until I got so good at it that I could repeat verbatim even long presentations of what the person had said.
 
And he did this all the time.
 
Finally, one day there was this old gentleman, Richard Thompson. I still remember his name, he lived across the street.  And every time my Dad started to mow the lawn, there came Mr. Thompson. And so I would stand out there.
 
Dad says, "You might come and listen to this man, honey girl.  He's pretty interesting."  And so I listened to him, and then my dad would say, "What did you hear him say?" And I would tell him.
 
Well, eventually I was repeating all the stories he liked to share with my dad verbatim.  I knew them all by heart.
 
And my Dad says, "You're getting pretty good at that.  But did you hear his heart?"  And I thought, what?  So I went around for days with my ear to people's chest trying to hear their hearts.
 
Finally my Dad created another learning situation for me by asking my mother to read an article from the newspaper.  He says "Well, I guess if you want to understand that article, you have to read between the lines."
 
I thought, "Oh, read between the lines. Hear between the words."
 
So the next time I listened to Mr. Thompson's stories, I tried to listen between the words.  My Dad said, "I know you know his story, but did you hear his heart?" And I said, "Yes.  He is very lonely and comes and shares his memories with you again and again because he's asking you to keep him company in his memories."
 
It just came out of me.  In other words, my heart echoed his heart.
 
And when you can listen at that level, then you can hear not only the people. If you really pay attention, you can hear what the Universe is saying.
 
--Paula Underwood, clan mother of the Turtle clan, Iroquois nation
 


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