Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seeking Service: E Pluribus Unum

With the events of yesterday still filling me, I have been moved to re-read some of my favorite poets: Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”; Wallace Stevens, “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” and “The Man with the Blue Guitar” (It must be this rhapsody or none,/The rhapsody of things as they are.), Derek Wolcott, “Love after Love.” For it is the poets who remind us in their work of our link with the Eternal. This is the gift too, of great orators—that we are lifted out of our routine selves and have the experience of timelessness. It is what we remember. In this too, we are blessed with President Obama, whether you agree or disagree with his politics. He declares us to be bigger than we know ourselves to be and to join together not only as family, friends, towns, states and country, but to be—like himself—a global citizen, accountable not only for the good, but the harm we do; not only for the great but for the least among us.

Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
readiness is all….

As a nation, we have defied augury, and we are ready, whether we know it or not. This seems a time of fear and anxiety. For many in the world who wake each day without shelter, food or water; who live amidst rubble or war; who experience or perpetrate violence (physical or emotional); whose every day is or threatens trauma, a lost home or job—is there no new day for them? As the Buddha said, Life is suffering. Yet each day, the Heart of the World opens further, contains more, heals some. The Heart is an infinite house.

So I ask, as I listen to the early plans of our new First Family, to open the White House and to be more open in the White House, that we do likewise. That, like them, we open, listen and support a new conversation. Simply, find your passion and commitment. Look within. Hear the inner conversation that runs your life (you know, that voice inside that never stops, and usually has something critical to say…?) and see what serves or doesn’t serve your Self.

My friend Craig shared a quote with me, that I’ll misquote here, but I heard as “there are no walls between people; there are only the walls we build to keep others out.” Stuff happens. I feel pain, and I can’t change that, nor would I if I could. But I can change how I relate to what happens. Will I choose to become more compassionate or will I become more rigid and shut off? Sometimes the former, sometimes the latter, but I’m beginning to find my heart more readily and easily each day. Baby steps for me. For our country. For the world.


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! Thank you for your gift.