Sunday Best – April 17, 2022

 

May you awaken to the mystery of being here
And enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift
And find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift,

Woven around the heart of wonder.

    – John O’Donohue, A Blessing for Presence

 

Dear ones,

the spring has arrived

at long last!

 

Let us awaken.

 

Sunday Best – April 10, 2022

 

Sometimes a profound revelation lies beneath the most ho-hum wrapper, like a corporate strategy slogan. Often these pithy sayings arrive laden with compromise – you can almost feel the eye-rolling meetings that led to their development, the bevy of consultants and facilitators and designers who did their best to polish up the results.

But this week, with one corporate leadership team, the strategy was simply “AND.” We can invest in our employees AND this is good for our profits. We can offer our customers value AND this accelerates amazing new product development. We can contribute in our community AND this supports provide good returns for our investors.

To some this sounds Pollyannaish, and to others it sounds like common sense. But to see the CFO’s eyebrows rise up as he described the better margins that followed wage increases, and how this reframed all of the lessons from his basic financial training…. Well, that was something.

Dear ones, where have we misplaced an OR? Where are we feeling pulled between two things that might actually coexist, or even strengthen one another?

Where could an AND change something big?

Smart AND kind.

Generous AND protective.

Committed AND flexible.

Open AND strong.

Operating margins are the least of it.

Let’s see what might be possible.

 

Sunday Best – April 3, 2022

Sometimes there is a place or a person or an idea that just lifts us up, a refuge where we know we can exhale and rest and feel safe. It’s easy to appreciate these shelters in times of strain, like the friend who calls at just the right time, or the poem that recognizes a deep sorrow, or the path that leads us through the woods to a sunny clearing.

But a refuge is not a hiding place.

The hidden power of these refuges (places and people and poems) is that they also the spots where we can shine forth in all of our glory. Our shelterers know that they aren’t doing us a favor. They are recognizing our singular and universal awesomeness, allowing it to strengthen and thrive.

Dear ones, may we be all rest on foundations of flourishing.

May we offer the same to others.

And when we all blaze forth,

may we bask in the light.

 

 

Brene Brown’s commentary on empathy vs. sympathy is full of wisdom on this front. “Wanna sandwich?”

Sunday Best – March 27, 2022

Some times are lumpy with loss. This week two formative teachers passed away, Madeleine Korbel Albright and Edward C. Johnson III. I could tell how Secretary Albright delighted groups of young students at Wellesley with stories of sisterhood and how Mr. Johnson would come to my holiday parties even though I was a Very Unimportant employee of his at the time. I could note how their quotes, “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” and “we are not here for our own amusement” echo constantly in my mind. I could list dozens of lessons that they taught, not through lecture but through example.

Beyond all of that telling and noting and listing, one common attribute shines through for both of them: sincere, unbridled enthusiasm and curiosity. When Madeleine met a new person, she wanted to know the person, weaving together context and community and connection. When Mr. Johnson encountered a new idea, he wanted to pull it apart and poke at the pieces, seeing what was really new and what rhymed with history.

Dear ones, may we stay awake to the wonders of our world.

May we illuminate them for others.

May we inspire with our attention.

May we be married to amazement.

May we take the world into our arms.

 

***

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
      – Mary Oliver

Sunday Best – March 20, 2022

 

Podrán cortar todas las flores, pero no podrá detener la primavera.

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.   

      – Pablo Neruda 

 

Every year in Boston there is the One Sunny Day in March, where everyone bursts outside, awkward in tank tops and flip flops and squinting at the sun. On that day, all the babies are smiling and all the birds are singing and all the bulbs are poking up from underground at long last. 

It can seem incongruous to dance during a troubled time in the world. Oblivious, or disrespectful. But joy can be the greatest celebration of life, the most appropriate expression of gratitude, the greatest form of resistance.

Dear ones, if we are able,

let’s rejoice in this day,

no matter the circumstances.

And if we are lucky enough to flower,

let’s bloom our hearts out.

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