An Unexpected Rainbow

June has been quite dry,

little rain.

While eating dinner

last night,

the sky opened with a loud roar

and heavy rain fell down

refreshing the greenery,

washing the pollens

and dust, leaving everything

looking shiny and refreshed.

The view out the back

is wooded and buildings.

As the pelting rain

eased up,

the remnants of

the sun pierced through

and a rainbow appeared.

Rainbows don’t usually

show up

with the blocked view.

An unexpected rainbow.

We stood and paused,

in the moment

in wonder.

I cannot tell you

how long we stood there

as the rainbow’s edges

faded into the sky

or wherever

rainbows go

after astonishing us.

An unexpected rainbow

can be the bridge

to the surprise

and mystery of life.

Where do they

begin

and where do they end?

Perhaps the rainbow

takes a leap from

one place to another and begins again.

Discovering

as a young child does,

experiencing things

in the moment

never the same,

as we bridge our own lives to another’s.

Revelation, Celebration

“Sunlight fell

upon the wall;

the wall received a borrowed

splendor.

Why set your heart

on a piece of earth,

O simple one?

Seek out the source

which shines forever.”

Rumi, Sufi mystic poet

“The universe unfolds in God,

who fills us

completely.

Hence,

there is a mystical

meaning to be found

in a leaf,

in a mountain trail,

in a dewdrop,

in a poor person’s face.”

Pope Francis in Laudato Si his encyclical on the environment

Praise Be to You

“The initiate

will capture

what is being said

when the wind blows,

the trees sway,

water flows,

flies buzz,

doors creak,

birds sing,

or in the

sound of strings or flutes,

the sighs of the sick,

the groans

of the afflicted.”

Ali-al-Khawas, a 9th century mystical  Sufi Muslim poet

Manners, Yes, Etiquette, Old Fashioned

Etiquette

written in books

taught

at home, school

went away

when life

became

more casual,

communication

changed.

Manners

seemed to go

gradually too.

Formulas

about how to act,

who to hold the door for,

which fork to use,

who to stand up for and greet

did offer

formulas for how

to behave.

There was value

in knowing what

guidelines

could  help people

feel more comfortable,

doing the right thing.

Did the baby get thrown out with the bathwater?

Underlying etiquette

is manners.

Manners are not about

formal rules

but

more important

about how to treat

others

with respect,

kindness,

gracefully.

One day last week,

I was crossing a busy

city sidewalk.

A large group

of pre-teen boys,

uniformed with bow ties, shirts

trousers or shorts

moved in a pack around me.

Oblivious.

No stepping to the right,

I was stuck in the middle.

No eye contact,

not even seeing me,

acknowledging

I was there.

High school tuition,

but what are they learning?

Later that day,

the local news

showed

an inner-city class

of boys and girls,

paired somewhat

uncomfortably

in a position of holding

in dance position.

Guided by an unseen voice,

they were learning

MANNERS!

No white gloves

this group.

A girl said,

“oh, this is ok

except his hands are sweaty.”

Gradually they seemed

to become

more comfortable.

Decades ago I remember

going to dance class

at the same age.

Other than the tall boys

choosing the short girls

leaving we tall girls with the short boys,

we learned to dance

and our manners, learned at home and school

were expanded

to other situations.

I will hold open

the door for you

and you for me.

It doesn’t matter

our age, our sex,

our neighborhood.

It is thoughtful courtesy.

More Than a Cliche?

Spiritual but not religious.

What does that mean

to you

or to others?

Pew Research Center

polls

these trends.

Their findings

show

the number of people

unaffiliated

with any religious body

is continuing

to grow

at a rapid pace.

The number is

about one-fifth

of the U.S. public

and

one-third

of adults under thirty.

However,

two-thirds

of this

unaffiliated group

say they

believe in God.

Churches and places

of worship

are being sold

and re-purposed.

One denomination

buys and forms

a  new congregation,

a community

with another way

for worship.

Empty churches

can be

discouraging.

Some people and families

are coming together in

different places,

some in homes

where

as the Bible

says,

“Wherever there are more

than two people gathered,

there am I

in their midst.”

Spiritual but not religious.

Is that how you feel?

Are you seeking

others

to create

new rituals

which express

and become

community

for you?

Ritual- Potential

Ritual

is

poetry in action.

What makes routine

have the

spiritual potential

of ritual?

Ritual

calls for

taking pause,

for reflection.

Recast routine

as a poem.

Select,

re-position,

augment

the same nouns, verbs

to shed beauty

insight

inspiration.

Thoughts from Gates of Prayer by Rabbi Chaim Stern as related by Dennis S. Ross. OnBeing May 2, 2015, saying that Rabbi Stern spoke to people of many religions.

Ritual, An Ongoing Perspective

Routine

How can what

we do

become ritual?

For some,

up early

to run,

meditate,

yoga,

steal time to write.

Putting out clothes

for yourself

for the children

the night before.

Make lunch, bag it,

ready in the morning.

Would you call this routine?

What about thinking

Ritual?

Do you

self-describe

as

spiritual

not religious?

Has something

been missing,

repetitive

not thinking

of meaning

of the routine?

Is there

a way

to deepen

the value?

Create a ritual,

savoring the meaning

of gratefulness

for time,

food and clothing, shelter.

Emotions.

Thoughtfulness.

In the moment

by moment.

Many people like to read about different spiritual traditions or to perform rituals but don’t want to practice their teachings very much. The teachings can transform us no matter what religion or spiritual traditions we belong to, if we are willing to practice.         Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger p. 26

Friends

One thought

my Mother

shared with me-

if you have one real friend in your lifetime

you are very fortunate.

I am

blessed

with a

bouquet of friends.

Each is like a different flower.

Our reciprocal  relationships

have brought out

our many

interests, talents

and ways of being.

When a family member

is also a friend,

the splendor

of each of us

grows.

The special depth

with some friends

makes them

Soul Friends,

Anam Cara

in Gaelic.

My Mother

would be so

pleased

to know

how many really

wonderful friends

fill my life

with love.

Ritual

Ritual.

Ritual

Ritual

Tradition

Out of the darkness of winter

Primal celebration

Holy Week

Passover

Easter

Some continue to come together

Honor

those who have gone before.

Some are too busy

or don’t believe rituals and traditions

are important anymore,

at least to them.

Have we lost a gift of community

leaving rituals and traditions

in the past?

Can we find a way to be grateful for the gifts

of life, light, new growth?

Seeing beauty

All around

Can bring dissonance

into harmony.

Seeing beauty, being grateful

for a bird’s song,

green shoots poking through layers,

for the smile of another.

Love is the ritual we can

all share.