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Life is Transition

(modified from a prayer by Mary Menninger)

I breathe in and breathe out. I have good days and bad days. I am comfortable and I am in pain. I feel happiness and sadness. I am in calmness and I am in chaos. I am angry and I am forgiving. I am energized and I am tired. I am focused and distracted. I welcome newness and say goodbye to what is done. I succeed and I fail. Life is full of opposites. The only consistent non-changing aspect is my inner light, my inner spark, my inner fire, the essence of my presence. I use my skills to do the best I can with any situation and fight to help and change and stand for justice and be all I can be. I recognize when I can’t do any more and choose to loosen my grip on control, accept the ins and outs, ups and downs as best I can in the moment. I learn from every experience. I hold my gaze steady. I breathe in and out.

I recognize the power that is infinite and everywhere present. It is a formless energy that I feel in the warmth of the sun on my face and in the breath in my lungs. It takes form through me and all beings. The one energy is in everything I see and experience.

This one power is like the ocean, immense and deep and also reaching for expression on the surface. I am like a wave, individual enough to identify and at the same time completely connected to the One. I am a spiritual being in a human body, living in unity with all. I will continuously be one with the One, no matter the form of my wave.

I open my mind to new ideas today and I know there is a new idea about life and death and birth. I am empowered to break free from any ties to fearful thinking that doesn’t serve my greatest good. I know that there is Light within every circumstance. As conditions change, there is newness to embrace. Death may take my loved ones from physical experience but they live on within me and enrich the depth of my life. As I witness death, I open myself to the sacredness and blessed-ness of Life. The pure sweetness of Love rises through the pain.

I know that as Love expresses through me that I am supported in every way. As I surrender to the transitions of Life, may the wholeness of each “now” moment nourish me completely.

I am grateful for each & every situation, knowing that at our core, we are each Light. That is enough. I notice blessings everywhere and I am free to be joyful.

I release this prayer to the creative law, knowing that the energy of these words meets the one energy and manifests in a shift towards peace in my heart.

A’ho, Amen, so it is

Fear and love seldom

stand, shoulder to shoulder

it’s rare to laugh and

lie in the same breath.

But strength and weakness

failure and success,

faith and desolation –

they are different ends

of a single stick.

To pick one up

is to receive both poles –

stark contrasts contribute

to a knowledge of the whole.

What is life but growing

wide and deep, so

open from weeping

that opposites, ambiguity,

and a thousand shades

of gray can co-exist

without despair.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • That was profound. So beautiful. My breath is taken away. And the poem. This whole idea that some things can be opposites and some aren’t. Like fear and love, they are opposites. And these other things, they come together. It’s so true. I look at most things in a continuum. We make these polar opposites of things, like gender or race. But everything is fluid. It comes together and this poem captured the idea. I’ve never heard anything capture that so well. Thank you so much.

  • I loved it too. I loved all of it and found it profound. It’s just what I needed to hear today. I said to someone yesterday how hard it is to be in a place where I have totally different feelings, it’s so mixed up. I found myself in that place yesterday. I stood there thinking it’s such a muddled place to be. It’s understanding something and still being angry with it. Growing up with my mother, as an adult, I understood a lot of her behavior and it was still really painful. To be in that place is always holding the tension of two different things trying to be present. When she died, my sisters and I were in different places with her. I think I had done more work dealing with my anger than they had. They couldn’t understand how I wasn’t triggered. They thought it was harder to be comfortable with the situation than to express the anger. Sometimes it is easier to do that. I’ve been experiencing that a lot lately, dealing with understanding and anger at the same time, and how to maneuver around the situation. I’ve been substituting ‘and’ for ‘but’ and experiencing everything. Thank you. This was very timely for me. They all are, but this in particular.

  • I had a mentor that challenged me to take the word ‘but’ out of my language and replace it with ‘and.’ It was an eye-opening experience because I had to take the resistance out and put acceptance in. I think I wrote this because I’m on a threshold. My purpose in life now is different than what it used to be. I am standing on one side or the other and trying to justify or resolve. It’s interesting. Thank you.

  • Thinking of the poem with the sticks and what you said. Many times, I’ve seen how branches break and start to fall but get caught by the other branches of a tree. Sticks teetering back and forth. I relate that to this group and myself. I am teetering so much of the time with so much pain in me and my family member. The group helps my branch not fall to the ground and crash. All the support and the evening out of the teetering branch. Thank you.

  • During the meditation, I went to an old memory of when my son was in the 3rd grade playing soccer. He formed a friendship with another little boy. My son is white and had strawberry blond hair. The other little boy was black and from another country. The little boy’s mother said to me “I look at them and think of salt and pepper.” During the meditation, I mused about our salt and pepper opposites. I know these two little boys were only opposite in their outer look. Otherwise, they were a complete fit. Then I went back to four years ago after the election. I carry a deep concern for the way our politics and social narrative carries huge opposites. It makes me sad. The poem talking about the opposites being on the same stick is a shining light for me on that concern. I pick up sticks year round in my yard. That is going to stay with me a long time. I thank you also for pointing out the common light in all. Even the people who make different choices than I do, they live with opposites too. Lastly, I felt what you shared was your credo. Thank you for sharing that with us.

  • This brought me back to a lesson that I learned from my son when he was in pre-K. They taught him the phrase of double-dipping into their emotions. You are feeling this and you are feeling that. It was a lesson for me for permission not to beat myself up. It’s okay to double-dip into emotions. I feel this and I you feel this. It’s okay.

  • I’m going to finally read Hegel because I’ve always been a great believer in the Hegelian dialectic with thesis, anti-thesis, and synthesis. My grandmother was always telling me to keep your balance. The interesting thing is balance isn’t static. It’s alternating between two extremes and constantly regaining that balance. It’s a challenging opportunity.

  • The body has homeostasis. We think our body is in static balance. It’s not, it’s always fluctuating, maintaining this state of homeostasis but flying all over to maintain. In terms of co-existing emotions and thoughts, our computers are based on binary devices that can be in one state or another but not both. The field of artificial intelligence tries to make computers smarter. The power of the human brain is that we can hold two differing opposite concepts at the same time. You can’t do that with binary logic where a circuit is either on or off, yes or no. But our brain can be in two states at the same time. How do you capture that? Computer scientists created fuzzy logic to make computers more fuzzy. That’s how we work. We are in fuzzy states between conflicting thoughts and emotions. That’s the power of our brains.

  • I was reading an article with an interesting photograph of a town in Italy where a post-vaccination waiting lounge was created in a museum. It was fascinating to look at that. And to note that the implementation of vaccinations in Italy was to leave out the elderly. It wasn’t the policy and a lot of the elderly died as a result. So you have these two very different images of Italy. One is classy using a beautiful space for this important work. The other is oops, we made an error there.

  • Thank you. Thank you for joining me today. Thank you for stepping on this threshold, this cusp of change. However it looks, we can see clearly the opposites of everything and it’s hard to embody and it’s hard to breath and it’s hard to be with. And we do it every day on a small scale. And we practice and we share and we be together. Thank you.

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