Your Way

There are many

ways

to

lead

an Examined Life.

On your own

or

in a place

which gives you

space

and

silence

to contemplate,

observe

and

learn.

Moment by moment

awareness

examined

at the end

of each

day.

Maybe a day

or several days

to

Be

not

Do.

Do

you

have

a

way?

Gaining Some Control

When you feel life is too intense

imagine it as

a TV soap opera.

Turn the sound down

until is seems manageable

or mute the sound

and read the text.

It reads

differently

than it sounds.

Sometimes

we can’t

eliminate

the drama

in our lives,

but,

we can

turn the volume down.

Breathe In

Breath Out.

Breathe In

Breathe Out.

Again.

Again.

Being Open

As

I

Get

Older,

birthdays

feel

more

poignant.

When

friends and family

share their

kindness and love,

I think

it feels

that

I am

more open

to receiving

and being

nourished.

That

sometimes brings

some

tearing

and

reflection

on how

each

has traveled

with me

in my life.

I am grateful.

Milestones

Tomorrow

is

my birthday.

Decades declare milestones.

At certain ages

there can be

the realization

that there are fewer

years ahead

than

already lived.

Mid-life

it is called.

Demographers

and cultural observers

 now offer

more gradations than

young,

middle aged

and old.

Early middle age,

middle age

late middle age.

At what point

does your category

become early old age?

Are you in

middle old age

and when

really old age?

For some,

lifespans

extend into the ninth and

even tenth decade.

When Social Security

was made available

at 65,

people weren’t

expected to live

much beyond that.

For some,

there can be

many decades

beyond

that mark.

How to live

these years,

whatever they are called?

Wisdom

offers

the suggestion

to shed

as we age.

Things,

images of ourself,

expectations,

hopes,

dreams,

disappointments.

Shedding

seems to say

that

growth stops

at some point.

Adults

we are.

Approaching

this birthday,

I am beginning

to understand

that letting go

is a better perspective

of what no longer

serves me.

Traveling

lighter,

I

hope

I

am

Growing

Into

Older

Age.

Learning,

growing.

Shifting gears,

slows me

to follow

the Inner Light

to savor

each moment,

each friend,

loved one

and stranger.

Sometimes the

Light

offers

a clear path.

Sometimes

intuition

brings

me on the path

I cannot

see

in this moment.

THOUGHT LEADER

Thought Leaders

are especially

important

during times of

Disruptive Innovation,

a concept

used in

this time

when things

aren’t working

and ways of thinking and doing

must be changed.

Since Pope Francis was chosen,

he has become a

powerful

THOUGHT LEADER.

From his first moments

Pope Francis

showed his

humility

asking for us

to pray for him.

He chose

simple garments,

comfortable black shoes,

paid his own hotel bill,

moved into a

simple apartment.

During Holy Week,

he washed the feet of the poor,

not all Catholics.

He told priests

to be merciful and compassionate

 towards those who are divorced

women who have had

abortions.

When asked about homosexuals,

he replied,

“Who am I to judge?”

Smiling,

he loves everyone

and in return,

he is loved.

The rules have not necessarily changed,

but the

TONE

has completely.

This change in tone is

Francis’

greatest achievement,

and it is HUGE!

In this

political season,

candidates

could learn

because Pope Francis

is an astute politician

in the best sense of the word.

As a South American

he sees the entrenched Vatican

as needing to be cleaned up,

finances and favoritism,

swept out.

Reflecting

compassion.

the tone,

the message

is that God is a God

of LOVE,

not JUDGMENT.

The Church’s role

is to make God

accessible.

Coming to the United States,

his first trip to North America,

he will speak

at the United Nations,

address Congress,

say Mass in Madison Square Garden.

Popular entertainers will

engage people,

using their words and music

to

open up people’s senses

to the music of their hearts.

Disruptive Innovation.

Bring it on!

Active Awareness

Perhaps

you have heard the expression

“If you want to hear God laugh

tell him your plans!”

Lives spent

multi-tasking,

making calendars for

planning ahead,

electronic devices

tracking our whereabouts

through

satellite GPS,

may call

for some TIMEOUT.

There can be so much

to do

in a day,

a week,

a month,

I realized

I needed

to find a perspective.

This is now

my mantra:

“I no longer

make a plan

for myself,

but respond

to the things in my life

that are part of

a pattern

or a plan

I cannot see.”

On the surface,

these words may sound

passive,

but they remind me

to strive for

active awareness.

While I may not

be

in control of events,

I can be ready

to respond.

Synchroncity and Opportunity

I see

synchronicity

In

the shocking murder of

nine people

in a Bible class

at the AME Emmanuel Church

in Atlanta

by a young white supremacist ,

many retailers no longer

selling Confederate flags,

the decision in Georgia

and other states

to remove the

Confederate flag

from public display.

President Obama’s

moving eulogy,

words moving into

singing

Amazing Grace with

all joining in.

Conjecture, publicity

To Kill a Mockingbird

 Harper Lee’s beloved book and movie

told by young Scout

seeing her father Atticus

through a child’s eyes.

The much anticipated

release of the

old, discovered

first book

taking place twenty years later.

Go Set A Watchman,

portraying Atticus

in a segregated  town,

challenged by a

climate, calling, demanding

equal rights for blacks and white.

An Off Broadway show

Hamilton

moves to Broadway

full of hip hop

historical characters played by

multi-racial cast.

Another play

Amazing Grace 

opens on

Broadway,

its writer, leaving his job

compelled to write this story

and produce it.

Publisher of Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

moves up release date

so we can read

his words written to

his fifteen year old son.

Growing up in Baltimore,

he feels the same

fear for his son

as week by week

there are

unnecessary murders

by police of young black men

barely adults.

Whatever events, words, books, musicals

might stir you,

move me,

the convergence

is an opportunity.

In the words of Amazing Grace

that forgiveness and redemption

are possible

regardless of sins committed,

“Amazing grace!

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost,

but now am found,

Was blind,

but now I see.”

What can I see now

that I did not see before?

What do you see

that you did not see before?

“‘Twas grace that taught

my heart to fear,

And grace my fears

reliev’d;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!”

Where To Begin

You

do not

convince

people

with arguments,

strategies,

or tactics.

You

convince them

by learning

how to

welcome

them.

For that,

it is

necessary

to keep

doors

open,

above all

the doors

to the heart.

Pope Francis, South America, July, 2015

Let there be peace

on Earth.

And let it

begin

with me!

To Kill a Mockingbird

Watched

To Kill a Mockingbird

countless times.

This time

it moved me

in ways

more deeply.

When you know the story already,

the details become

more striking.

The trees’ leaves

play a role.

Scout and her brother Jem

are out at night

quite a bit.

The black and white film

intensifies

 light, darkness and shadows.

Sometimes it is scary.

They call their father

Atticus.

When

Tom Robinson, a Negro

was standing trial

for raping

a young white girl,

Scout and Jem

ran to the courthouse

to watch the trial.

Sitting in the balcony

with the town’s Negros,

they listened to

Atticus giving an

impassioned defense.

“All men are created equal”.

Mockingbird

was published in 1960,

barely before

the civil rights movement

began.

Recent events,

the murder of 9 people

at a Bible study

in a Charleston church

have brought many people

together.

The Confederate flag

still a symbol of the Civil War and slavery,

is being taken down in many places

where it still resonates

with hatred.

Large retail businesses and manufacturers

will not sell these flags.

Pulitzer Prize writer

Harper Lee

has been in the news quite a lot.

The mysterious discovery of a manuscript

which may have been

her original version

taking place twenty years later,

will be published soon.

Go Set A Watchman

is preordered, events planned

many conjectures about its

origin and its history.

Before that story takes over,

read To Kill a Mockingbird

and watch the movie with deep attention.

It is my favorite movie and book.

It is real and true and

we are living later versions

of the basic story.

With justice

for all and

RESPECT

for all human beings.

With Amazing Grace

Whatever side of a bridge

each of us stands,

no one

can be

untouched by the events of this week

June, 2015.

Sharp divisions

on civil rights

about race and same-sex marriage

have permeated

hundreds of years of our history.

Shock shook us.

A young white man

entered the historic

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

in Charleston

sat with nine black people

for an hour

of Bible study

and then shot them.

At his court hearing

the families of those slain

forgave him.

Within days, the governor

called for the removal of the Confederate flag,

still held high while

the American flag

honored the dead

at half mast.

On Friday morning,

the Supreme Court

announced its decision

on same-sex marriage.

In Justice Anthony Kennedy’s eloquent words,

“No union is more profound than marriage,

for it embodies the

highest ideals of

love,

fidelity,

devotion,

sacrifice,

and family.

It would misunderstand these

men and women

to say

they disrespect

the idea of marriage.

Their plea is that they do respect it,

respect it so deeply,

that they seek to

find its fulfillment for themselves.

Their hope is

not to be condemned to live

in loneliness,

excluded from one of

civilization’s

oldest institutions.

They ask for

equal dignity

in the eyes of the law.

The Constitution

grants them that right.”

In the afternoon

on the same day,

President Obama

gave an eloquent eulogy

at the funeral of the slain

Pastor Clementa C. Pinckney.

Pausing for a moment,

President Obama began to sing

Amazing Grace,

how sweet the sound.

When he sang

“I once was lost,

 but now am found,

Was blind, but now I see”

6000 people and a 1000 outside

joined him in the

hymn.

Perhaps others like me

joined in.

“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieve’d;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!

Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.”

GRACE

GRACIOUS

DIGNITY

For ALL.

PEACE