Showing posts with label World Event. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World Event. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What Can I Do?


The Orlando shooting happened this past Sunday morning. As was the case of many on social media, my facebook feed was inundated not only with posts of sadness at the world's recent events, but it was full with aggression. The combination of this horrible and tragic event, on top of all that is going on in the political world right now, spewed anger and hatred all over a feed that is generally speckled with posts from artists, spirituality websites, funny cat videos and summer vacations. They simply went away. Or some facebook algorithm pushed them so deep that even my unusually high amount of surfing today didn’t reach them. Understandably so.


The first time in my history with facebook I had to unfriend someone. Someone I hold dear. Someone I would rather keep in contact with. Someone, who like me, has suffered great illness and understands what it means to still be walking on this planet. This was very hard for me, for a number of reasons. Mostly because I care about this person, but also because I value the opinions of people who don’t think like me. I truly do. But this friend became so angry, so full of hatred, their language so hurtful that the conversation was just shut down. It no longer retained the basic characteristics of “an informal exchange of ideas”. There simply was no exchange. One view, full of anger and hatred, limited in fact and gross in overgeneralization - with an unwillingness to hear or respect the views of others. I had blocked this person from showing up in my newsfeed a while back, but today my attention was brought to something this person had said recently. Upon reading the words written, I decided that as difficult as it was, I had to do something. My passive “hoping” that the situation would resolve itself or that I could maintain the relationship by avoiding this person’s behavior was no longer a solution...if it ever was.


Feeling not well enough to really do anything physical today, I spent an unusual amount of time paging through my facebook newsfeed, surfing news articles and listening to online news radio. I purposefully read and listened to as much as I could from both sides of "the story”, trying not to get involved in sensationalism on either end (which is basically impossible, but I gave it my best shot). The Orlando news, intertwined with all the political agendas on both sides, made it intensely difficult. Beyond my ideas of why this happened or how it happened or what the solution is, lies a profound sadness and the heavy feeling of helplessness. Over and over and over again, the question in my head... What can I do? What can I do? What can I do? This sense that the world has gotten so out of control left me feeling like the only thing I truly can change is me. Overwhelmed with the bigger picture, yet longing desperately to do something. What can I do?...


Then, I stumble upon a video shared on facebook of Stephen Colbert’s reaction to the Orlando shooting. These are the words he ended on,


It's easy, it's almost tempting to be paralyzed by such a monstrously hateful act, to despair, and say, 'That's the way the world is now.' Well, I don't know what to do, but I do know that despair is a victory for hate. Hate wants us to be too weak to change anything. ... Love is not despair. Love makes us strong. Love gives us the courage to act. Love gives us hope that change is possible. Love allows us to change the script. So love your country, love your family, love the families and the victims and the people of Orlando but let's remember that love is a verb. And to love means to do something.


And again, as I surfed aimlessly, I found myself watching a video of the Dalai Lama at the Youth World Peace Conference. In his opening remarks he offers a few moments of silence for a time of prayer and then says,


Although some are quite skeptical about the effects of prayer, it has to come through action. Serious action, continuously, despite difficulties and a lot of obstacles, we cannot lose our determination, our courage. And on top of that, some prayer is ok, no harm. Without action, it is just prayer.


Love, in action, is compassion. Compassion, by definition, is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate that suffering.” What can I do? What can I do? What can I do?


There was a lot hate and anger and finger pointing and blaming and judging on facebook today. So much so that by tonight I felt like I needed to sage the house just to help myself let go of it all. It hung heavy on the humidity that came rolling in with the storms. Heavy and dark. I understand these reactions. Because that is exactly what they are - reactions. And quite often, they come fast and they come heated. But one post, one very well written and brave reaction to an article describing the complicated history of the shooter, dared to show compassion for the shooter. She wrote, “While I utterly, utterly condemn his atrocious actions, I also believe we must extend some compassion to him for his own distress.” Unimaginable? Maybe. Impossible? I don’t believe so. And it really made me think.


After sitting here today, reading all the news articles and surfing through all the posts, I found myself so angry, so full of what feels like hatred to me. A justified hatred. A hatred that comes easy in light of such tragedy. A hatred that comes easy when listening to racism and sexism and rape and murder and lying and all that fills our news. We’ve had enough. And nothing seems sweeter in light of fear, than justified hatred and anger. Yet nothing is further from the solution.


Compassion must have the final word. And compassion does not mean agreeing with everyone. And it surely does not mean letting people get by with things that are harmful. Just as I had to “unfriend” someone very important to me, there are times when difficult things have to be done (to speak on an extremely simplified level) or said. Compassion is not easy. For one thing, it threatens our ego. In order to have compassion you have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Let go of what you know. Move toward the pain of the world, beyond bias, beyond prejudice and fixed opinions and open your heart to people - those we like and more importantly, those we don’t like. Compassion counteracts our tendency to stay stuck in our way of thinking and counteracts our resistance to change. Instead of acting or reacting with aggression when we are provoked, endlessly perpetuating the cycle of aggression, we trust that we can interact with others from a place of inquisitiveness, calm and caring, without feeling threatened.

I don’t claim to know the answers to all of life’s difficult questions these days. But this I do know, the answer to even the smallest of these is not hatred. It never will be. And some of the most daring work we can ever do is to challenge our own way of thinking - our fixed ideas, the labels we are so invested in, our conventional ways of experiencing things, our opinions of right and wrong. It’s not until we do this that we can move beyond bias and prejudice and actually care for people, actually make a difference. With all that I feel helpless about, this I can do.  

This I can do.  


Theresa

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When The Train Hits

I35W Bridge re-build, after the collapse.     Photo by David Ralph Johnson


I was reading An Imperfect Life by Jodi Hills yesterday. It’s a wonderful little book given to me by my oldest daughter for my birthday – which happened to be yesterday as well.  Small in size, it only measures about five inches in both directions; enormous in courage, it measures to infinity and beyond in truth and vulnerability.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been hit by a train,
so forgive me if I’m not sure what to do,
who to call,
or how to act.
I just can’t believe I didn’t hear the whistle,
or see the flashing lights
before I got knocked off the road…

I need to sit here for a bit and catch my breath.
I’m not sure of a lot right now,
but I do know I’m not going to stay with the wreckage,
or carry it with me…
I am going to catch my breath,
and walk on.”

We all have times in our lives when we feel as though we’ve been hit by a train. When the news comes and takes with it every molecule of breath from our lungs. When the world goes silent, and there’s a space that fills our being that is so big, so empty, so void of everything we’ve ever known – all we can do is fall to the ground in its vacuum.

Trains come in all shapes and sizes.  Some merely knock us off the track and some change our lives forever.  In every case, we have a choice.  Not in the size of the train or when it comes, as pain is an inevitable fact of this life, but in our response to our pain, which ultimately determines the duration of our suffering.

I love the honesty of the moment spoken here.  “So forgive me if I’m not sure what to do, who to call, or how to act.” I just can’t believe I didn’t see this coming! These are real feelings that speak openly to our vulnerability.  No justification, no self-degradation, no blaming, no story line…just the facts.  

When we allow ourselves this exposed confession, we keep the space open.  We don’t rush to fill it with added debris. We simply sit for a bit until we can catch our breath.  It’s only then, in the absence of drama and chaos that we can think in the clarity of reality. That we can proclaim in the midst of our tragedy, “I’m not sure of a lot right now, but I do know I’m not going to stay with the wreckage, or carry it with me…
I’m going to catch my breath,
and walk on.”

Peace,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Output"


Before I got sick, I was a business analyst (in the IT world) for the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Early on in my career, I was very fortunate to "study" under a gentleman by the name of Joel Schwartz. Joel had been working at DHS long before I ever came into the picture and continues to this day to be quite respected for his skills in system architecture. I use the term "study", because I, along with many others, consider Joel more of a teacher than that of a business associate. Although, in the end, he became one of the closest friends I have ever had - impacting my views on things such as politics, philosophy, spirituality and relationships to name a very few. It's only been within the past couple of years that I have come to realize how his fundamental and intrinsic understanding of Buddhist philosophy is the clarity through which his immense wisdom emanates from. It took me awhile to slow down enough to understand these things. I can not tell you the frustration I felt as a green BA needing to "get the job done" when our daily meetings would begin with statements such as, "there is no self" and other profoundly ontological quips. How these things had anything to do with building software applications was far beyond me.

But I learned.

Speaking from an analytical perspective, one of the foundational truths he taught me when building any new system - or working on any project for that matter - is that you always begin at the end. Totally counter intuitive to how I was used to functioning. Seems only right - you start at the beginning.

Input - Process - Output

But the best way to insure a correct end result (output) in programming, is to figure out the piece right before the last, sequentially, leading backward to the first (input).

Output - Process - Input

I have since realized the value in this wisdom and it's implications on things well beyond the IT world.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Since the news broke Sunday evening, millions of people have been discussing the death of Osama bin Laden. It is horrifically tragic when the life of a human being becomes directed toward the destruction of so many other human beings. Yet this has been true of countless individuals throughout the history of this world, perhaps the most noted in recent times being Adolf Hitler. I have sat at my keyboard motionless since this event took place. Wanting to say something. Most of my time being spent reading other people's responses to the event. As time passed, I then found myself reading responses to those responses. But still the words didn't come - at least not for this blog.

I did, on the other hand, express my views somewhat publicly on my personal facebook page. In a time of unprecedented and universal emotion, I am very proud of the conversations I was a part of - as few as there were, they were good, healthy conversations. It took only two responses before I realized why I could not find the words to write this blog. After stating my opinion as to why I believed the killing of Osama was not something I agreed with or felt should be cause for celebration, the question was asked of me, "Then what is your solution?" As the words appeared on the screen before my eyes, I can honestly tell you that not even breath found it's way into my being. I was paralyzed. All the work I have been doing over the past two years, all the reading, all the soul searching, all the "truths" that once glared so clear seemed to have skipped out the back door while I wasn't looking. And in a moment of panic, I was empty.  


~*~*~*~*~*~

People, me included, want solutions. "How do I keep from getting sick?" "How do we prevent bullying in our schools?" "How do I loose weight?" "How do I control my anger?" "How do I get out of debt?" ... We have problems. We seek solutions. Without getting caught up in semantics here, I feel as though we are a people very concerned with solutions and not all that concerned with answers. In my mind, solutions do one thing - they solve a problem. Maybe. Often times, temporarily. Answers, on the other hand,  lend themselves more towards understanding the nature of why there may be a problem in the first place. Like...what lead to the problem? What sequence of events, played out over time, created an unfavorable outcome? Do you follow me?

Output - Process - Input. I took my fingers off the keyboard and I grabbed a piece of paper and began to write...

What's the Output?

Compassion. True Compassion. We can not hate what we have compassion for. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other: irrespective of whether another person is a family member or an enemy.

Yes, it's a big subject. Break it down. Go backwards. What comes right before compassion? Think about it.

Empathy. We have compassion when we realize we are all equal in our suffering. When I learn there is much more that makes us the same then different. When there is no more Us and Them. When I see myself in you.

How do I find empathy?

Connection. I can not be connected to something that I keep my distance from. Connection forms when I recognize my interdependence on all people and all things.
 
How do I feel connected?

Vulnerability. Really. In being vulnerable we actually feel more loved, more sure, more connected. Think about it. Vulnerable people are the first ones to say I love you, they're the first ones to get into relationships that may not last...they are willing to risk, because risk is neither good nor bad. It's neutral. When we are weak, we are strong. In forsaking all, we gain everything. It was not until I lay on my death bed that I realized this. And it was at that point that my real life (my life of being real) began.

Alright...keep going. How do I feel safe enough to be vulnerable?

Un-attach. Less stuff, less to loose. Let go of identities, expectations, labels, things, thoughts... I'm not saying give them all up. Un-attach yourself from them. Open yourself to the unfinished statement, "I AM." Period. Don't add anything.

Okay, I could keep going - really, I could just keep going. But I won't, because I think you get the idea. Sifting down through the rubble of our lives we find ourselves in the fine details of what make up our every day experience.

I can not solve the problems of the Middle East. I have no immediate solution for the problem of terrorism. Or bullying in our schools, or violence in our homes, or a broken health care system. I do have a basic, fundamental belief in the sanctity of human life. There is no one solution to any of these problems. But, there are millions and millions of little choices that lie in between, that we can make. That we do have the answer to. That make sense. THIS is how change occurs. One choice at a time.

I won't see the solutions to many of these problems in my lifetime. But I will be part of the answer. I know that violence, met with violence only escalates to more violence. I know that before I can love anyone, I must first love myself. Little by little, grain of sand by grain of sand, choice by choice, generation by generation... we are changed.

Peace.

Friday, April 29, 2011

What I Want Most


JK!
(FYI: net lingo for just kidding)
Blogging has been a good thing for me. Social media, although quite controversial in some circles, in general, has also been of great benefit to me these past two years. I've mentioned before, prior to becoming sick, I was probably one of the tallest on the box - the soap box, that is. I believed that time spent socializing on the internet was what people did when they - well, didn't have enough real stuff to do. Beyond email, once I left work, sitting in front of a computer screen was the last thing I wanted to do. I voiced my opinion rather self-righteously, I'm sure. That is another story.

Not only is blogging extremely beneficial  from a cognitive exercise point of view, but it has become a place of healing, both for me and for many of those that take a moment in their day to read what I write. Quite often my writing is inspired not only by my experiences, but by the books that I read. I'm sure, if you were to know what book I am reading, you might be able to take a pretty good stab at what's next on the docket for posting. And if you're my family, by the time you read the blog, you've heard the general idea more times than I'm sure you would wish for. That's all fine and dandy if you're my family, or if you are one of those tried and true that follows my every post. But what if you're not?

Because I have made my email public, many of you have chosen to write me directly rather than to post comments at the end of the blog. I do this primarily because quite often the conversations that arise are deeply personal. For me, and for you. And often times, it is during these conversations that I realize that not everyone is my family, not everyone is reading the same book I am reading, not everyone has been following my train of thought since day one - and so, sometimes, not everyone "gets" what I am trying to convey. I'm cool with that. I hope, by this point in the journey, I've learned a few lessons about pleasing everyone. But it does make me stop and think.

I AM
Tom Shadyac
I recently had the most AWESOME pleasure of experiencing the movie I AM. I say "experiencing" because this is not a movie  you "go and see" - you experience it. It's not actually a movie at all, it's a documentary. And right now, unfortunately, it is showing for limited times in theaters that feature primarily independent films. I saw it at the Uptown in Minneapolis, and not only did I experience the film, I met and spoke to the man that wrote and directed it, Tom Shadyac. I can not say enough good about this film. It's the first thing - actually a movement of sorts - that brings me great hope about the future of our planet. But I'm not going to take up space here trying to convince you of all the reasons you should go see this film - or buy it when it becomes available. What I want to relate, and what seems pertinent to what I am writing to you, is one of the questions that was asked of Mr. Shadyac in the Q&A following the film. The experience of this film leads you on a journey, that in the end, leaves you with an amazing gift. An awakening of sorts, that in it's simplicity, becomes  transcendental. And the viewer is left with the ardent desire to share what has been learned. So the question was asked, "How, without experiencing a life changing event like you have experienced, do we pass this message on and help our children to understand it?" 

I was very eager to hear Mr. Shadyac's response to this question. For one, we both experienced a life altering   event  - almost losing our lives. Two, this event has lead us down a very similar path spiritually and philosophically, with much in common in our "end result". And this end result, this gift, is so capacious, so transforming, so inspiring that the desire to give it away - to share it - consumes me with a tenacious persistence that I can not ignore. I have never wanted the people I love to have something so desperately.
But there is a legitimate question here. And this was his answer...

Live it.

So much of what the world hears, so much of what our children hear, comes from words spoken by a society more concerned with perception than with truth. And believe me, no one knows hypocrisy more than our children do. The disparity between what we say and what we do, even in it's most minute and camouflaged form, glares so brightly in the face of our youth that their only recourse is to turn away. It's a simple answer really. Gandhi knew it when he so eloquently said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Every day we make choices. Big ones, little ones and millions lie in between. And you vote - do I base this choice on perception or do I make a choice based on the truth that arises from experiencing life conscious and aware - awake to this moment - right here, right now. Hence, Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say,'Lo, here it is!' or 'There! for behold, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you." And we can not see that to which we are not awake to or conscious of. So busy, living our lives in the past or in the future. Waiting for life to happen. Live it.

It's funny, when Tom Shadyac set out to create this documentary, he wanted to answer the question, "What's wrong with our world." In the end, he found out everything that was right in this world. What changed? The world sure didn't. When I gave up my soapbox and found healing and comfort in the world wide web, what changed? The world wide web sure didn't. 

Our minds.
Me. 
I changed.

So I guess it's not so much about the words that I write, the eloquence with which they are written or their grammatical correctness. Or even my ability to cultivate a particular train of thought (which can sometimes be a difficult task for me!). It's about the choices that I make every day. It's about being that change. I know that not everyone is going to "get" what I write. Good grief, sometimes when I go back a week or two and read what I have written I don't get it! But maybe what you do "get" is the new and improved me. Ironic that the better version is the one with Lupus and a multitude of other maladies. 

There is a lot GOOD with this earth. If you truly believe that the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you - and I do - then heaven is right here, right now. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." In some translations, "meek" is translated as humble. If you are meek and humble, there is no room for perception fed ego. The meek are "egoless". They are the people, that through consciousness, have been awakened to their essential true nature. They live in a surrendered state of Being completely conscious of the interconnectedness of All that makes up this planet. They are free.

This is what I want for you. Not some futuristic idea of things to come. No one becomes "free" in the future. The only place we are free is Now

Namaste.




“When all your desires are distilled
You will cast just two votes
To love more
And be happy”
*
“I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being.”
*
“Why go to sleep each night,
Exhausted from the folly of ignorance.”
*
“I
Have
Learned
So much from God
That I can no longer
Call
Myself
A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.”
*
“The
great religions are the
ships,
poets the Life
Boats.
Every sane person I know has jumped
overboard.”
*
“Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts…
But the God who only knows four words…
“Come dance with me.”"
*
“Even after all this time
The Sun has never told the Earth
“You owe me,”
look what happens
with a love like that,
it lights the whole sky.”
*
“Die before you die,
Then do whatever you want.
It’s all good.”
                                ~ Hafiz

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Afghans and Angels

Yesterday was IVIg day for me. Not my usual Monday, but because of our trip to Florida, I had to rearrange things a bit. Most of the infusion time I spend sleeping. The IV Benadryl they give me beforehand pretty much knocks me right out. Since this is a six hour ordeal, I don't mind the nap one bit. In fact, I look forward to it!

Somewhere around hour three or four, I was wakened gently by the soft voice of this beautiful little old women. "Would you like a blanket dear? I have this one, or this one. I made them both and I would like to give one to you."
"To me? To keep?" I said.
"Yes, for you to keep. Which one would you like?"
One was quilted with a soft pink floral pattern and the other was a hand knitted afghan. As you can see from the picture - I chose the the afghan! How could I not? For any of you that know me personally, sunflowers are a big part of my wild flower garden. It was perfect!

Being extremely tired from the past weeks, combined with the Benadryl, I again fell fast asleep. If it would not have been for the soft blanket that lay across my lap when I awoke, I would have thought this silver haired lady was an angel in my dreams. But lucky for me, she was an angel in reality.

About thirty minutes before my infusion came to an end, I began to notice my heart skipping a few beats. I have a history of arrhythmia, so at first this did not alarm me much. Until those skipping beats got faster, and faster, and faster, with no reprieve. My heart rate eventually reached about 120-130 beats per minute - and there it stayed for over an hour. Needless to say, this is not something that the Specialty Infusion Clinic can handle. So I was immediately whisked to the ER where I spent the remainder of my day. Heart attack was ruled out first thing. But because of the presence of the anticardiolipin antibody in my blood, deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots, are the biggest concern. One of the tests they do for this condition is a blood test called the D-dimer Test. According to Lab Tests Online, the following is an explanation of a "positive D-dimer":

A positive D-dimer result may indicate the presence of an abnormally high level of fibrin degradation products. It tells the doctor that there may be significant blood clot (thrombus) formation and breakdown in the body, but it does not tell the location or cause. It may be due to, for example, a venous thromboembolism (VTE) or DIC. Typically, the D-dimer level is very elevated in DIC.

Well, mine was elevated. Normal range is about a .5 - mine came back at 1.3. So the next hours included just about every test under the sun for blood clots, including a lung ventilation perfusion scan where I was required to breath in (and be injected with) radio active isotopes! Not really what I had on the agenda for the day! In the end, I am happy to report they could find NO blood clots anywhere in my body. My heart eventually snapped back into normal rhythm, follow-up appointments with new doctor's were made and we were sent home.

If you have ever spent time in the emergency room, you are familiar with the "law" that ER rooms can not be above 58 degrees....well, maybe a little warmer, but it sure feels like 58 degrees. And any room that includes big machinery like x-ray machines or CAT scans falls even below that. It's never a good sign when you get wheeled into a room where the technician is wearing a sweatshirt and down vest!

painting by me!
I needed that blanket yesterday. More than I can even tell you. The comfort it gave me fell way beyond the warmth of it's fibers. I kept it with me the entire ER visit, through every test and even under the x-ray. I kept thinking about the hands that knit it. About the face that shown like an angel above my bed. I let it comfort me like my own grandmother - whom I thought of in my most difficult moments throughout the day. She made afghans, too.

There are so many good things in this life. So many good people. Some of them are still here with us and some are but memories. Some lay across our laps like blankets, or children, or pets and some just make up the fabric of our hearts. I find that when I am feeling alone, it's not the absence of these things in my life, it is the absence of my ability to be conscious of them.


This day, I have a lovely sunflower afghan to help me remember!











Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Sound of Suffering

"Flowers" by Dr. Robert O. Fisch
The past couple of days have been quite a struggle for me, in a number of regards. On a physical level, I can't quite seem to shake the aftereffects of my infusion on Monday. Either that, or I'm just experiencing some sort of flare. Regardless, I've acquired quite a headache and "thinking" in general is taking more of an effort than I like. What makes this most frustrating for me is the fact that I have so many thoughts running through my head that I want desperately to piece together in some sort of message to you. This desire is so persistent, that I can not ignore it. So if this message seems disjointed or chaotic, please know the difficulty at which it comes.

On an emotional level, the past days I have been overwhelmed with highs and lows.The tragedy that ravaged the people of Japan is a horror I never thought I would see in my lifetime. Comprehending it seems impossible. So silenced was I by the magnitude of this event, I neglected to even reach out to those I knew of that had family living in the country. In fact, those I neglected are a part of my very own family. If not for the compassionate reminder of my sister-in-law, I may still be paralyzed with inaction to this day.

On Monday, after my infusion, my husband and I had the absolute privilege of attending a performance at the Ordway. I generally go straight home and to bed after IVIg because of the side effects. But this night was different. We had been invited by our daughter Casey to see a production entitled Light from the Yellow Star, Remain Humane Even in Inhumane Circumstances. The music was that of Boris Pigovat, entitled Music of Sorrow and Love and was performed by the University of St. Thomas Wind Ensemble. Also featured was the Saint Paul City Ballet and the art and commentary of Dr. Robert O. Fisch, Holocaust survivor. But what made this event most special to us was the featured soloist, my step-daughter Casey.

The evening was comprised of the writings and artwork of Dr. Robert O. Fisch, intertwined with poignantly beautiful music and the intense emotion of the St. Paul Ballet. Throughout each piece Casey's soprano voice swept throughout the theater, caressing the ears of the listener, not unlike that of Sarah Brightman in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem. It was a moment I will never forget.

Casey Johnson with the UST Symphonic Wind Ensemble

The narrative, given by Dr. Fisch, was extremely moving. Despite his story of terrible suffering, his message exudes hope and optimism about life. Choosing compassion over bitterness, Dr. Fisch describes his life of service towards others, especially children. His stories and artwork both follow his progression from darkness into light. Transforming his suffering into hope.


Already, still in the midst of unfathomable tragedy, signs of compassion and hope can be seen on the faces of the Japanese people. How this is possible remains the secrete of the human spirit. Transforming our greatest sufferings into opportunities to love, are the miracles of choice. And when this happens, walls fall down, cultural lines are erased and countries are without borders.


As I sat there in the Ordway listening to Casey's voice my heart understood something. Even as the music she sang had no words, only as her hauntingly beautiful "Ahhhhs" filled the air,  was it then that I realized the importance of our voices in the midst of suffering. Even if they are but a whisper or a moan. What a loss it would be to this world if Dr.Fisch had chosen to be paralyzed by his experience. If he had been silenced by his suffering. I can not begin to compare my suffering over the past two years with the pain of the people of Japan or the Holocaust. But what I can do is learn from their courage. No matter how small our words may seem, when they are spoken from the depth of our experience they hold incredible healing, not only for ourselves, but for those that hear them.

When I think of why I write this blog to you, it's that very hope. That in our conversations with each other the lines that divide our sufferings can be erased and the common thread of compassion can weave the tapestry that is this life. Beautiful, colorful and real.

Peace.