Saturday, May 08, 2010
The first person to fight for an official Mother's Day celebration in the United States was Julia Ward Howe. Howe was born in New York City on May 27, 1819. Her family was well respected and wealthy. She was a published poet and abolitionist. She and her husband, Samuel Gridley Howe, co-published the anti-slavery newspaper The Commonwealth. She was active in the peace movement and the women's suffrage movement. In 1870 she penned the Mother's Day Proclamation. In 1872 the Mothers' Peace Day Observance on the second Sunday in June was held and the meetings continued for several years. Her idea was widely accepted, but she was never able to get the day recognized as an official holiday. The Mothers' Peace Day was the beginning of the Mothers' Day holiday in the United States now celebrated in May.
The modern commercialized celebration of gifts, flowers and candy bears little resemblance to Howe's original idea. Here is the Proclamation that explains, in her own powerful words, the goals of the original Mother's Day in the United States...
MOTHER'S DAY PROCLAMATION OF1870
Mother's Peace Day
Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Blessed be all mothers and all whose nurturing presence has touched our lives. May peace prevail and may it begin with me,
Friday, May 07, 2010
WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Finals are over and because I would have had six contiguous hours of exams for the three classes yesterday, I was able to move one exam over to today. I took it alone and when I returned to his office at the end of the two hours with the exam, the professor (of my linguistics class) asked if I'd like to end the agony right away and know what my grade is. Of course I vigorously shook my head YES and left while he graded it and determined my overall course grade. Check it out...I managed to barely slide into an A (91.5%)
Ok, Ok...so is THIS how I want to be remembered...as "a good student"...or as "someone obsessed with 'the grade'"...or....It's clear that I'm definitely in the "unwinding" phase now that spring semester has ended, like Sandra said about herself yesterday. The 15 units I have completed are large on my mind. But it's also definitely not WHO I am...or HOW I want to be remembered.
Let me share a few miscellaneous photos that will help to paint a more accurate picture for you of what IS important to me....
Sharon is the director of the university's language lab. She is also a yoga practitioner and we met many years ago at the Iyengar yoga studio (where she now teaches!). Over the years of attending yoga together we talked about my Ecuador project and my Spanish proficiency in a variety of contexts and I asked her lots questions about the Spanish program. She also invited me to use a software program at the lab to further hone my Spanish facility while I was still directing the Ecuador project. Her KINDNESS to me found me on-campus using the software, then taking the school's Spanish proficiency test...then deciding to actually jump into the program. Since beginning last fall, Sharon's assistance and counsel have been generous and extremely helpful.
Daryl is a graduate student and took the linguistics class with me. He willingly spent time with me going over concepts and information and sharing materials, and his KINDNESS was a big help to this rookie non-traditional student. He will be continuing his Latin American History studies at the University of New Mexico this fall and I will miss him. I love how many of the students seem to take me at face value now that I'm feeling more comfortable this second semester and how, in many ways, they are beginning to treat me as a peer.
These are my friends Fritzie and Janice. Fritzie graciously AND lovingly opened her beautiful home for a gathering of friends for my birthday celebration...her KINDNESS touches my heart. And that's really just the tip of the iceberg of her compassion toward me and others, e.g., her assistance to a mutual friend from Guatemala in his time of need has truly been "over the top".
Here's another photo of my dear friend Janice. We were housemates for over two years...and we're very close. Janice went with me to visit my friend John who had emergency abdominal surgery. She immediately sprang into action and brushed all the tangles out of his hair and shaved him (neither had been done for days). That unique genre of KINDNESS is "typical Janice."
You all know Sandra, my wonderful friend and bike-riding pal (and Sparker), a kindred spirit who has also returned to school, pursuing a graduate degree in social work. She has "been there" for me in so many ways (I still remember with gratitude her invite last Thanksgiving Day for dinner, knowing I was alone). Her KINDNESS in helping me at a moment's notice with details about writing one of my papers and access to online research made all the difference in completing a hopefully well-done and interesting project.
"Your friend is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving." (Kahlil Gibran) My friends are my family, since I have no nuclear family and I, for all intents and purposes, live alone. Their KINDNESS and support and love nourishes and sustains me.
And, as I said in my status, I am SO deeply "thankful for the support and love -- and KINDNESS -- of SparkFriends, expressed in so many ways!" This community of kindred spirits enlivens and nurtures me in countless ways. I have met some...and hope to meet yet more this summer!!! You have made me smile when I've been down and made me laugh during the high times. I bow in gratitude to each one of you...truly.
So here's where we finally arrive at the subject of my blog..."what consitutes a life worthy to be remembered?" Watching this week's KarmaTube offering confirmed for me that, like Amy, KINDNESS is a supremely important value to me -- given and received.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal's film is lovely and spoke deeply to me. Click here to watch: www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=1931
Saturday, May 01, 2010
This so beautifully and so simply reflects the essence of my teacher, Swami Satchidananda. I sent it to a friend this morning...and her response helped me to remember how important this wisdom is...and how wonderful it is to take 10 minutes out to post it for the nourishment of other SparkFriends....
The Sign Of A Healthy Person
What is the sign of a healthy person? Such a person is happy anywhere. He or she is relaxed everywhere - always at ease and in peace, within and without. Even in hell, such a person will be at ease. A healthy person hates no one, dislikes nothing. Total love, universal love emanates from within. There is no tension anywhere, no stress or friction. These are the signs of real health.
A person who is healthy doesn't hurt anyone. He or she is not afraid of anyone. Not only is he unafraid, but he sees that others are not afraid of him. The "others" include animals, plants, everything. A healthy person emits always and only a loving and pure vibration.
A really healthy person takes everything in life as a game. Whether we win or lose, it's still a game. Often people forget that. In a way, I feel that losing is a better game. Why? If you lose, you allow the other person to win. When the other person wins, what do you see? A winning face. When you win and the other fellow loses, what do you see? A losing face. There is great joy in losing and making the other person win and have a happy face. Who will be the happiest person? The one who brings happiness to others. That means our minds should be well balanced under all conditions. That is yoga.
Om Shanthi, Shanthi, Shanthi
-- Sri Swami Satchidananda
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I have been going through a difficult phase for a while now. My life is very uneven and I have been caving in on mindful care of this body that's been entrusted to me. I'm not sure what all accounts for this, but upon reading Eknath Easwaran's Thought for the Day today, I had an epiphany.
My choices...the toughness to take hold of my life...and the very disciplines that will aid me in that are some of the areas that I'm falling down in...meditation, hatha yoga, and exercise. I keep telling myself "baby steps" but I'm not even succeeding in the baby steps. Through my public acknowledgement to you, my friends on the Spark Journey, I hope to find a new pathway to begin, yet again in my never-ending quest toward loving care of body*mind*spirit.
Here is Easwaran's commentary that "set me on my ear:"
The philosopher is Nature's pilot. And there you have our difference: to be in hell is to drift: to be in heaven is to steer.
-- George Bernard Shaw
The real issue in life is choice. If you had a car that could only turn one way, would you say that it is free? If it ran around crashing into things, denting its fenders and wasting all its fuel, would you shrug and say, "That's the automotive nature. That's my car's mode of self-expression"? It would take you a long time to get anywhere, and where you arrived would not be up to you.
The other day I set out for a drive through the California wine country. With a car that did not obey me, I might have ended up about a hundred miles away at the River's End restaurant, where the Russian River empties into the sea. It is tragic, but many lives are like that. At the end of the line there is nothing to do but go inside, get something hot to drink, and recall a line or two from Swinburne: "Even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea."
Meditation and other spiritual disciplines are largely meant to give us the toughness required to take hold of our lives. Without this toughness, despite the better goals we may cherish in our hearts, we will not be able to take the road that leads where we want to go.
-- Eknath Easwaran
Friday, April 23, 2010
Just after reading Sandra's heart-wrenching sharing about a young woman who attempted suicide www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3151780 I watched the story of Dr. Aumatma Shah, who believes that health is SO valuable that it should be given as a gift. Moving beyond words and debate, she just started an experiment: Karma Clinic, in Oakland, California. I thought to myself, hmmm...would this resource have made a difference to Lorie?
At Karma Clinic, conventional and alternative medicine doctors see patients in need of healing the body, mind, and spirit. But there is no charge. Instead, each patient is given an opportunity to pay-forward for the person after them.
I find this kind of service in the world simply awe-inspiring...and it gives me courage to continue on, finding solutions to my personal conundrums as I tread the path toward freedom.
Karma Tube: www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=1922
And I LOVE being part of the Smile Cards community that Dr. Shah also participates in! I've been handing out the cards for awhile, an interesting experience to be sure, living in the heartland.
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