Friday, January 06, 2006


We are here for one another. That’s the fundamental realization. If you are grounded in that understanding, that’s it. Everything else is just a pass-time. Our business is helping one another. The bottom line is being with one another for the good of the other. “What do you need, now? How can I help you with that?” That’s the basic orientation. The basic orientation is the good of the other. In order for it to work, we have to see ourselves as “the other” on the same level that others are “the other.”

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We have to see ourselves as another among others in order to share the wealth of our attention among all. How much for us, how much for them, is the eternal perplexity. We will never figure it out. Sometimes, it will be too much for us. Sometimes, it will be too much for them. It will never be equal shares all the way around, all the time. Don’t worry about it. Just don’t think it’s always about your good at the expense of everyone else’s good. Or, that it is always about their good at the expense of yours. As long as “you” are one of “them,” you will get enough and they will get enough. See yourself as one of “the others,” and don’t treat yourself as God, or as garbage, and you’ll be fine.

On, the other hand, you can’t help anyone if you don’t know where you stop and they start. “How can I help you today?” has to be balanced with, “I’ve helped you enough, already!” or with, “I’ve helped you all I’m going to help you!” We are here for one another, but that doesn’t mean we are going to allow ourselves to be taken to the cleaners. Help is an investment, not a subsidy. If your level of neediness is a black hole, you can’t be helped. My ability to be helpful depends upon what you bring to the table. What are you doing to help yourself? I’m not going to take in your laundry, or pay your car note, or your vet bill. I’m willing to be helpful, but I’m not willing to be used. And, I’m the one to say when I begin to feel like I’m being used. I’ll draw the line. I’ll say, “Nope. That’s it. No more.” Don’t say “Yes” if you can’t say “No.”


David Connell says, “You can’t see what isn’t ready to be seen.” He’s talking about your future; about what’s going to become of you; about what’s going to happen, and what’s going to happen after that, and how it is all going to impact your life, and whether you are going to like it or not. You have to wait to see some things. Some things sneak up on you, and you never see them coming, and you lie steamrolled in their wake. We can only be so smart, so insightful, so perceptive, so aware, so ready. We cannot see it all, or know what we wish we knew. We just have to live it out. Wait it out. In the meantime, we do what needs to be done with as much acumen as we can muster, with as much compassion as we can generate, with as much good-will and bigness of heart as we can manage.

We cannot see anything before its time. Before the time of its unveiling. Before the time of its coming out. We can wait expectantly. Trusting. Hoping. Trusting in ourselves. Hoping that we will find a way to deal with what comes. To let come what’s coming and to let go what’s going. To adapt. Adjust. Accommodate. Acquiesce. And go on. Chances are, we will. Chances are, we will have enough of what it takes to take what comes, deal with it, and go on. To the next thing. Which we also cannot see before its time.


I would love to be able to look and see. To listen and hear. I don’t know why that is so hard. But, if I had a wish, it wouldn’t be for a riding lawn mower or a life-time supply of Community Coffee (New Orleans Blend with Chicory). It would be to look and see; to listen and hear. We should start earlier with our children, getting them to practice the art.


We are here to create an alternative reality, perhaps alternative realities. We do that by finding the path with our name on it and allowing it to carry us into the heart of what we love. We do that by understanding our primary task to be that of bringing life to life within ourselves, of simply being alive to the moment of our living, to be alive in the fullest, deepest, best sense of the term. Of all the things we might say about the couple in American Gothic, “being alive” isn’t one of them. If we are going to “be” anything, we have to be alive first. It all starts with being alive. It all flows from being alive. Being alive flows from who we are and what we love.

The gift of who we are and what we love transforms the world. If you are going to believe in anything, believe in that. As we give the gift of who we are and what we love to the moments of our living, we transform the world one moment at a time. How does it work? Magically. You have to believe in magic if you are going to take up the practice of giving the gift of who you are and what you love to the moments of your living. But, we have to believe in something. Why not magic?

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