Reflections

Below are readings I offer for reflection and inspiration.

Please let me know if these are meaningful for you.


1) Kathleen Dean Moore in her short story, "The Willamette", writes:

"Scientists say that a wasp can leave its hole in the ground, fly from fruit to fruit, zigging and zagging half the day, and then fly straight home. A biologist once moved the three rocks that framed a wasp's hole and arranged them in the exact same pattern, but in a different place. The wasp landed between the rocks, right where its hole should have been, and wandered around, stupefied.

"My three rocks are the Willamette River. Whenever I walked out of the airport, coming home from a visit to my father's house, I could smell the river, sprayed through sprinklers watering the lawn by the parking lot. The willow-touched water would wash away the fumes of stale coffee and jet fuel and flood me with relief. This is what I want for my daugher."

(Kathleen Dean Moore, Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving Water, pp. 11-12)

The rocks can symbolize chraracteristics, traits, values, or experiences we frame our lives with.

What are the three rocks of

  • your life?
  • your family?
  • your friendship circle?
  • your workplace?
  • your community?

 

2) Life in your years

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Abraham Lincoln

What is the life in your years?

 

3) "Peacemaking Technique #1: Halving the Cookie

Problem: One cookie. Two kids.

Solution: One kid divides the cookie in half.
The other kid gets first choice of halves.
(American Folk Advice)"

Margaret Read MacDonald,
Peace Tales: World Folktales to Talk About.  Page 86.

How would this peacemaking technique change your life? the world?

 

4) A Good Story

"Long ago, but not so far away...."     Susan Kaplan

Do you remember any tales you heard when you were a child?

Have you shared your family and cultural stories with someone

What stories do you like to tell

  • around a campfire?
  • on trips?
  • at bedtime?
  • for rites of passage?
  • to give hope and encouragment
  • when you want to laugh?

What are your favorite stories?

Have you told them lately?

 

5) Are you listening? What are you listening to?

"In listening to our own stories and the stories of others, we can create bridges of peace.
Listen with your body, mind, heart, and soul. Seek to balance these levels in your own
life and in the lives of others." Susan Kaplan

What are the stories you tell yourself? Are there stories of

  • balance and harmony? joy? lovingkindness?
  • family or cultural heritage?
  • building bridges within your life?
  • connection to others?
  • helping other to build bridges?
  • connection to our planet?
  • compassion?
  • healing? hope?
  • movement towards a sense of wholeness?
  • other stories?

How do you listen to the stories of others?

  • with curiousity?
  • without any judgement?
  • finding bridges of similarities?
  • universal themes in all of our stories?
  • hearing the real story under the spoken story?
  • slowing down to take time for conversation?

Can you find gifts in the stories of everyone? Who do you listen to?

  • children?  youth?  adults?  elders?
  • others who are like you?
  • others who are different from you?
  • people from a different culture?
  • those who look very different from you?
  • people from another religious or spiritual tradition?
  • people from a different country?
  • others of the same or different gender?
  • those I disagree with? agree with?

How do you listen with

  • your body?
  • your mind?
  • your heart?
  • your soul?

What would balance look, feel, sound, and taste like in your life? in the life of others?

What do you need to live a balanced life?

What do others need to live a balanced life?

 

6) Playfulness

"...a wakeful flea who bites the mouse,
who scares the cat,
who claws the dog,
who thumps the child,
who bumps the granny,
who breaks the bed,
in the nappiing house,
where no one now is sleeping."

Audrey Wood, The Napping House


When was the last time you took a nap?

When was the last time you awoke and stretched your imagination?

 

7) Global Soul

"Reflecting on all this, I began to wonder whether a new kind of being might not be coming to light - a citizen of this International Empire--made up of fusions (and confusions) we had not seen before:a 'Global Soul' in a less exalted (and more intimate, more vexed) sense than the Emersonian one.  This creature could be a person who had grown up in many cultures all at once -- and so lived in the cracks between them--or might be one who, though rooted in background, lived and worked on a globe that propelled him from tropic to snowstorm in three hours."

Pico Iyer, Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home, p. 19.


"I can't be Japanese and I can't be Western -- but I understand both. I am double-binded, but--
this is perhaps most important--I am also in a position that generates a great deal of energy and creativity." Arata Isozaki

 

If you are of two worlds - how do you step into your creativity?

What bridges have you built between your worlds?

Describe the gifts from your worlds and how you use them?

What do we lose when we become one Global soul? Gain?

 

8) A place of enchantment - everyone needs one

"It was deep and wide and the walls were taller than I was, and when I looked up I could only see the sky. I always had to run there. I had to life my arms up high. I had to be barefoot even if sand was burning my feet. Since then I've seen a hundred deeper canyons but I still miss that gully that wasn't even a canyon at all."

Byrd Baylor, Your Own Best Secret Place.


Where is your secret hiding place?

Where was your childhood hiding place?

Do you have a place of enchantment you visit daily? weekly? monthly? yearly?

 

9) Building Bridges for Peace

"You just understand that there is always the third side -- always a middle to these sides...and to find peace, no matter where, you have to give up something and you earn something else."

"This is how people really interact with each other and really make friendships. That is what peace is-relationships. It is really about getting to know someone from the 'other side'."

"I was born into a life where walking in the street or taking the bus is a risk. I was born in a place where it's 'normal' to see people die. Is that normal? Before I came to Building Bridges for Peace [special program of Seeking Common Ground] I had never really talked to a Palestinian even if we lived 10 minutes from each other. Today one of my best friends is a Palestinian and I trust her with my life. In Israel some people do not understand that. Today when people talk about peace, I think about Rawan. I think that peace is between people, not governments or countries and that's the reason I belive in this program [of Building Bridges for Peace]."

Adva, Seeking Common Ground


Tell the story of when you got to know someone from "the other side."

What have you given up to create a relationship and peace? What did you gain?

How can you create greater peace between people in your life? those who are in the world?

Take a current conflict you have and find the two sides. Then find the third side - the middle side.