Reflections on dissociation provoked by an old Irish ritual
Nicely written and poignant. I confess I had there sense you were preaching to the choir: we who are comfortable enough with our circumstances and ourselves can absorb our roles in creating our current condition and seek ways of ameliorating our environment and our world. What worries me are the people listening to Trump and DeSantis whose life won't allow them to move past the sins of the pst and seek solutions for the future. We can't change the past, but we can. change the future, which is the same message I would give the teams I coached whose mistakes found them falling behind. We need that same optimism of hope that together we can turn things around d, not simply rub noses in the sins of the past. My parents were part of the common sacrifices while rationing meat, sugar, gas and many other things for the greater good of supporting the war effort. I am increasingly in admiration of FDR who created that unity of commitment. I am so tired of being called "woke." We need to find ways to get teammates working in the same direction for meaningful goals. Thanks for your writing. best, chuck
Thank you, Kathleen, for showing us the way forward.
That friend speaks my mind --eloquently and with feeling! At 94, I am not optimistic about humanity. I've spent my life as a peace activist, feminist, educator, and ulimately, as a Registered Art Therapist. I retired at 84, having lived in six countries. Now I write poetry trying to capture and share what moments of hope flash by. I live in a small senior retirement home in southern Oregon not far from my three lving middle-aged children whose lives are very busy, as they should be. I lead art classes, do puzzles, and visit with both Assisted and Memory Care patients. I take Sit-n-b-fit classes and walk an hour a day. I'm mostly cheerful, but when my beloved country eggs on yet another war, spends the bulk of its budget on war, and lets people languish in semi-slavery, I despair. To try to believe that we humans will come to our senses in time is less and less sane. I'm convinced that humanskind's demise will come before my cancer can kill me. Perhaps it's projection that none of us has long to live. I grieve, I read things like your fine column, I write, and then go down to lunch. Sometimes I eat with a nuclear scientist, sometimes with evangelical Christains who believe their little sect is the only one heaven-bound. My cancer suport group is the brave face of the dying, and we weep and joke together once a month.
Wonderful! Yes, preaching but of the best sort! I did not know the sin-eater tradition. Thank you!
"Or take food. Food is no longer a history-less clump of yellow or white stuff I plop on my plate"
This from a handwritten poster we have in our kitchen:
"A Bowl of Rice
In order for a bowl of rice to get to your table, the heavens must have let the sun shine to grow the rice paddy and scattered just enough rain to wet the shoots. The earth must have opened its heart to let the rice spread its roots, and the winds must have blown cool breezes to ripen the crops. The whole process must be teeming with the sweat of the farmer who planted the rice in spring, pulled the weeds in summer, harvested the crops in fall, and with the care of the one who made the warm bowl of rice, soaking it and boiling it.
Not only that but, in order for today's farming and the table in front of you to exist, there had to be vertical accumulation of technologies from numerous ancestors and traditions. Horizontally there were precious efforts to produce farming tools, fertilizers, threshers, a rice mill, kitchen utensils, fuel, and so on. Therefore, how can you call a bowl of rice yours just because you bought it with your money?
Trace its history-in a bowl of rice, there is the grace of the entire human race and the whole universe."
Copied from the book, Polishing the Diamond, Enlightening the Mind by Master Jae Woong Kim, Wisdom Publications, 1999.
I remember working in the kitchen at Songkwangsa monastery in the early eighties as a postulant monk. My job was preparing rice for the monks' consumption. I was taught by the head kitchen monk that every single grain was increadibly precious. That when even a single grain fell on the kitchen grounds, a bodhisattva would stand over and guard it until it was picked up and washed! Such was our concern with the conservation of our resources. Compare that with our wasteful ways, our thoughtless ways in America today, with enormous amounts of precious food just being thrown away! My wife can tell you that now, forty years later I still never leave any food uneaten on my plate and that even today if a single grain of rice falls on our kitchen floor I bend down and pick it up!
Thanks! Be well; live as long as you can! Your work is precious and worth doing!