Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A pal recently sent me a chain letter, inviting me to share words of inspiration with her and a friend.

"Send a quote? I'm full of quotes!" I thought, so I passed it along with this message to eight friends:

My pal Angie invited me to play Buddhist chain letter. Who can't use a little more inspiration in their lives? (And luckily, you won't die if you don't play.)

Here's how it works.

I'm participating in a collective, constructive, and hopefully uplifting exchange. It's a one-time thing and I hope you will participate. We have picked people we think would be faithful, and make it fun. Please send an encouraging quote or verse to the person whose name is in position 1 below (even if you don't know him or her). It should be a favorite text verse/motivational poem/prayer/meditation that has lifted you when you were experiencing challenging times. Don't agonize over it--it is one you reach for when you need it or the one that you always turn to.

(Minimally, I invite you send some inspiring love to Angie.)

Imagine two names and email addresses here

After you've sent the short poem/verse/meditation/quote/etc. to the person in position 1, and only that person, copy this letter into a new email, move my name to position 1. and put your name in position 2. Only my name and your name should show when you email. Send to 20 friends using BCC. (I can't think of 20 people to send this to! Pick as many as you think is appropriate.) If you cannot do this in five days, let us know so it will be fair to those participating. It's fun to see where they come from. Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas and inspiration. The turnaround is fast, as there are only two names on the list, and you only have to do it once.


I share with you what I received in return. 

1.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.  Desiderata

2.  Art & Fear:Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland
The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the "quantity" group: fifty pound of pots rated an "A", forty pounds a "B", and so on. Those being graded on "quality", however, needed to produce only one pot - albeit a perfect one - to get an "A". Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the "quantity" group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the "quality" group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.


Sometimes, hidden from me in daily custom and in ritual
I live by you unaware, as if by the beating of my heart.
Suddenly you flare again in my sight
A wild rose at the edge of the thicket where yesterday there was only shade
And I am blessed and choose again,
That which I chose before.

4. See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little.

5. "Dear Crazy, Crying Heart" by Barbara Pescan
Oh, my hear
dear foolish on,
sweet crazy keening heart---
Get ready -- hush ---
let the winds sweep clean the hidden corners of your lies
Stop crying and wrap your arms
around that child in htere
the one in the crash helmet
the one with the broken leg
the baby in the dark
the one with the broken heart
the baby knowing its hand for the first time
the child full of milk and lullabies
the child with not food in its belly
It is all God
It is all God
the food         the baby     the hunger
the starfish hand with translucent fingertips
the wrinkles of your face
the memories of seventy years
and knowing your wholeness at another's touch
the brokenness
the cry at the bottom of the mine
the song from the top of the tree
All God, All God
all pouring itself out 
for you, heart
dear crazy crying heart
listen to your song.        Ah.      Amen.

6. "I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will." ~Edward Everett Hale, Unitarian minister

7. Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. 

8. Some lines that I love, from Dylan Thomas's Fern Hill (I hope he'll forgive me for chopping his poem down to a few lines):
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green, The night above the dingle starry, Time let me hail and climb Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, Time held me green and dying Though I sang in my chains like the sea. 

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