Saturday, April 10, 2021

Planting Seeds, Part 2

      Last week we were discussing planting seeds to build the future that we want to see.  We agreed that it's a bit like planting seeds in a garden, because you need to be specific about what you want to see, you need to have a plan for where it should grow, and you need to be wise about your timing.

     First, be specific.  We have all seen things in our society that we don't like or agree with.  Perhaps it's racial equality and justice, prison reform, economic opportunities for all, overpopulation, equitable health care, telling the truth instead of spinning lies to manipulate people, climate change, pollution . . . the list goes on and on.  Choose one.  Choose one that stirs your passion.  Choose one that you can envision helping to make a difference.  No, you won't be able to do this alone; the problems are too big.  But choose.

    Next, have a plan.  The chances are that there are already organizations or movements that are addressing your chosen issue.  See if you can align with their motives and methods.  If not, start your own.  Ask for help.  Change won't come without some buy-in and assistance from others.  Also, be wise about where you want to see the change happen.  If possible, keep it local.  That way, you can be part of the movement toward change in your community and you will see the results on a personal level.

     Finally, be wise about your timing.  Just as you don't plant tomatoes in January snow drifts, you want to make sure your community is awake and aware enough to desire change, and to help you achieve it.  Otherwise, you risk just beating your head against the wall.  People resist change when they don't see the need or have any buy-in.  This takes wisdom.  Rely on the wisdom and insight of others.

     So, let's get out there!  Let's plant some seeds!  Let's build a better future for all of us.

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Planting Seeds

      Perhaps you follow some of the leaders in the metaphysical world -- people who say that we're in a rebuilding phase in the evolution of our society.  One of the things I've read over and over is that this year is the time to plant seeds for building the future that we want.

     I was thinking about that -- planting seeds.  In some parts of the world, this is the time to tidy up our gardening spots, amend the soil, till perhaps, and start planning what we want to grow, and where.  We need to be specific and have a plan to make sure we have as much success as Mother Nature allows.  

     Similarly, in planning for a better future, we need to be specific and we need to plan.  What are some seeds that we want to see sprout and grow in the future?  I know that for many of us, it's clearer to say what we DON'T want than what we DO desire.

     But that's no way to plant a garden, is it?  I mean, you wouldn't go to your local garden center and ask to buy a packet of "non-onion" seeds, would you?  What would non-onion seeds be, anyway?  Carrots, parsley, corn, tomatoes, rutabagas?  No, you need to be specific.  You need to know what you do want.

     Also, you need to have a plan.  In a garden, you wouldn't plant corn under heavy shade or delicate herbs in the hottest, sunniest plot, would you?  Similarly, you wouldn't plant your tomatoes in the midst of winter, would you?  In the same way, you need to make sure your seed is planted in just the right conditions and at the best time.  More on this next week.  

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, March 27, 2021

A Book to Treasure, Part 4

      I couldn't leave this month without sharing one more excerpt from that wonderful book, Heaven's Face, Thinly Veiled: A Book of Spiritual Writing by Women.  This is from a letter written by Louisa May Alcott to a friend who had apparently experienced the death of a loved one:

     I feel that in this life we are learning to enjoy a higher, & fitting ourselves to take our place there.  If we use well our talents, opportunities, trials & joys here when we pass on it is to the society of nobler souls, as in this world we find our level inevitably.

     I think immortality is the passing of a soul thro many lives or experiences, & such as are truly lived, used & learned help on to the next, each growing richer higher, happier, carry[y]ing with it only the real memories of what has gone before.  If in my present life I love one person truly, no matter who it is, I believe that we meet somewhere again, though were or how I dont know or care, for genuine love is immortal.  So is real wisdom, virtue, heroism, &c.  & these noble attributes lift humble lives into the next experience, & prepare them to go on with greater power & happiness. . . . . . 

     This is my idea of immortality.  An endless life of helpful change, with the instinct, the longing to rise, to learn, to love, to get nearer the source of all good & go on from the lowest plane to the highest, rejoicing more & more as we climb into the clearer light, the purer air, the happier life which must exist, for, as Plato said 'The soul cannot imagine what does not exist because it is the shadow of God who knows & creates all things.' 

     Ah, yes.  What a treasure. 



Saturday, March 20, 2021

A Book to Treasure, Part 3

      I'd like to share another excerpt from the wonderful book, Heaven's Face, Thinly Veiled: A Book of Spiritual Writing by Women.  This one is from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, best known for her writings on the grieving process.  Here, she talks about finding inner peace and presents a lengthy quote by Black Elk:

     The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the soul of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka (God) and that this center is really everywhere; it is within each of us. 

     This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.  The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations.  But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which . . . is within the souls of men.

      The rest of her essay, actually a chapter in her book On Children and Death, discusses how we avoid peace and choose unhappiness because we are not being honest about what is within us.  Good reading.



Saturday, March 13, 2021

A Book to Treasure, Part 2

      Last week I was telling you about how much I enjoyed a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for years -- Heaven's Face, Thinly Veiled: A Book of Spiritual Writing by Women.  It is definitely a book to treasure and refer to again and again.

     I marked some pages that especially touched me with green sticky notes.  By the time I was finished reading the book, it looked like a tree branch in spring.  I'd like to share some of my favorite parts.

     Here is Katharine Trevelyan, writing about a mystical experience she had in a garden:

The wonder was beyond anything I have ever read or imagined or heard men speak about.  I was Adam walking alone in the first Paradise.  That it was a garden near the outskirts of London in the twentieth century made no difference, for time was not, or had come round again in a full circle.  Though I was Adam, I had no need of Eve, for both combined within me.  Marriage and maternity fulfilled and surpassed, I had run beyond womanhood and become a human being.  

     I love the quote "for both combined within me" because it echoes one of the themes of The Gemini Bond, that the masculine and feminine aspects of our personalities must combine in order for us to evolve and grow.  Delicious stuff. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

A Book to Treasure

      With the continuation of the pandemic and the need to avoid public places like bookstores (sigh), I've been exploring some of the books that have been sitting on my own bookshelves for years.  And I came across a real treasure.

     Entitled Heaven's Face, Thinly Veiled: A Book of Spiritual Writing by Women, this is a compilation of writings from women across many centuries, many different spiritual traditions, and in many forms.  Poetry, essays, letters, book excerpts; Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, traditional; voices from centuries ago to contemporary writers -- they are all represented here.  Many of the writers were unknown to me, which was a special treat.  And some of the writers that I did know expressed themselves in ways that were unexpected and very touching.  

     I don't think I ever read this book all the way through before.  I must have just peeked at different sections here and there.  I do recommend that you take the time to read it cover to cover.  The compiler and editor, Sarah Anderson, did a wonderful job of organizing the chapters into seven topics:  the world as a work of art; aiming at the highest; finding a constant source of pleasure; burning with fire; lost in the abyss; grace under pressure; and how this life is the germ for the next.  It's fascinating that despite the differences in life circumstances or the time in which they lived, so many writers echoes each others' sentiments on these topics.  Get this book.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

An Oldie but a Goodie, Part 2

      Last week I was praising editor and translator Jane Hirshfield's book, Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women.  There is one poem that I would like to share with you, to give you a taste of the treasures in this book. 

     Written by the Japanese Zen poet Jusammi Chikako around the year 1300, it speaks of how the bright moon, a symbol of enlightenment, enters the house when the inhabitants are not awake, that is, not actively trying to reach enlightenment.  All that is needed is that the door remain open.  

On this summer night
All the household lies asleep,
And in the doorway,
For once open after dark,
Stands the moon, brilliant, cloudless.

(translation by Edwin A. Cranston)

     Lovely, no?