Tag Archives: Rumi

Rumi & Me…the US Election.

Like millions around the world, I was shocked to hear that Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States.
By now, there’s not much left to say, which hasn’t already been said. That is, other than to share my son’s insight on the fiasco: “Mum, did you realise that Donald Trump was elected President on 9/11?!!” Not a good omen, but we already knew that.
While doing some research today, I came across this quote from Rumi:

“If in the darkness of ignorance, you don’t recognize a person’s true nature, look to see whom he has chosen for his leader.”

-Rumi.

That Donald Trump wasn’t a lone voice calling out in the American wilderness, is only one of the scarier aspects of Trump’s victory. That he has millions of followers and like-minded people who may not agree with all of his policies, but agreed enough to get out there and vote. Vote in a country where the hard won right to vote, is optional and millions bail out. Where voting requires a lot more political and philosophical motivation than it does here in Australia (we get fined if we don’t vote.)

So, these people really chose to vote for Donald Trump. Or, they chose not to vote for Hillary Clinton.
2016-election
In addition to those who voted for Donald trump, there were those who didn’t vote in this critical election, even though the future of the so-called “free world” may depend on it. These people potentially trouble me more than those for voting for Trump.
Moreover, while I’m being critical of the US elections, let’s address the question of whether America is truly democratic. After all, is it democratic when you have to be a zillionaire to have any chance of being elected President? If the system is rotten to the core, how can you expect to elect good fruit?
This rot isn’t confined to America, of course.
Britain has its Brexit.
Australians have elected controversial Pauline Hanson to the Senate.
If our elected leaders, as Rumi suggests, do reflect who we are as a people, what do these choices say about us?About them?
It is a concern.
Yet, of course, it doesn’t say an awful lot about those who didn’t vote for him.
Indeed, many of these folk fought long and hard to block Trump’s quest for the White House.
So, what can they do now when they’re forced to live under his Presidency? How do they and those of us around the world,  stand up and fight for social justice when our faith seemingly flies against the wind?
Unfortunately, I am a woman of words, not of action. However, I know that I am not alone and neither are you. A  few grains of sand can gain momentum, building up into a mighty storm. However, we have to find the courage and strength to act.We need to get up out of the couch and plant ourselves somewhere we can make a difference. I don’t know where that is for me. As a writer, I hope that these words become seeds and get people thinking about what they are planting…seeds of love or seeds of hate. After all, those seeds will grow tall and strong fueled by sun, rain and soil and then they will bear fruit. We need to be very careful about the kind of fruit we’re mass producing as this is definitely not a game.
seed
If we plant two seeds of love, for every seed of hate, anger and fear… then collectively we can overcome these negative vibes which are spreading throughout democratic nations which value freedom, truth and justice. We can defend the values our countries have always held dear, even under the terrorist threat.
After all, we don’t want to change our stripes and become what we hate…especially when we as nations have fought long and hard to defend democracy, freedom of speech, equality. Values which could see someone as small as an insignificant mustard seed rise up and become the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Britain or Australia based on merit instead of money.
Evidently, the US election, as well as elections in Britain and Australia, have given me much to think about in terms of our political systems. Obviously, I’m idealistic but I’m not about to throw out my rosy-coloured glasses yet. How about you? What are your thoughts? Let’s keep this constructive. I’m wanting to encourage the good stuff at a time when it’s seemingly under threat.
xx Rowena
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R-Rumi Replies #atozchallenge.

Dear Rowena,

The sweetness of the flower lies within and I thank you for taking me inside your soul and bathing me in love. Acceptance is such a simple gift and yet it peels back the clouds, allowing the sun to shine in.

Hold onto love but not too tight for it needs air to breathe. Love is like a bird. It must be set free, so it can fly and spread its wings across the sky. Love dies in a cage.

Eating ice cream at Sunset

The Fledglings.

Yet, you already understand these things. It is just when it comes to your little fledglings that you’re not so sure. Yet, you have taught them well. One day, they will grow too big. They must leave the nest and yet those heart strings always bring them home.

Of course, they cannot live on milk alone!

Meanwhile, you my friend who has been so focused on writing and chasing your questions to the end of the earth inside your head, must leave your cave. Re-embrace the world, wrapping your arms around her heart and shouting your joy from the rooftops. Don’t hide yourself away!

 A Community of the Spirit

There is a community of the spirit.

Join it, and feel the delight

of walking in the noisy street

and being the noise.

Drink all your passion and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes to see with the other eye.

Open your hands if you want to be held.

Consider what you have been doing.

Why do you stay

with such a mean-spirited and dangerous partner?

For the security of having food. Admit it.

Here is a better arrangement.

Give up this life, and get a hundred new lives.

 Sit down in this circle.

 Quit acting like a wolf,

and feel the shepherd’s love filling you.

At night, your beloved wanders.

Do not take painkillers.

Tonight, no consolations.

And do not eat.

 Close your mouth against food.

Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.

You moan, But she left me. He left me.

Twenty more will come.

 Be empty of worrying.

Think of who created thought.

 Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.

Live in silence.

 Flow down and down

in always widening rings of being.

 Rumi

 

Lastly, I know that you have suffered much but you have also found out you have had it good. That there will always be somebody worse off. Never play self-pity’s harp.

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”― Rumi

 

Yacht at sunset

Yacht at Sunset

I said: what about my eyes?
God said: Keep them on the road.
I said: what about my passion?
God said: Keep it burning.
I said: what about my heart?
God said: Tell me what you hold inside it?
I said: pain and sorrow?
He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

Rumi

 

Well, I’d better get this to you before your train departs.

Love and Blessings to you my friend. God is with you.

Rumi.

 

R-Rumi: Letters to Dead Poets #atozchallenge.

 “Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloudcover thick. I try to stay
just above the surface, yet I’m already under
and living within the ocean.”
Rumi

Dear Rumi,

It’s been such a long, long journey through the desert, without so much as a camel to transport  my weary body across these unrelenting desert sands.  Thirsting for water, my mouth dried and parched, I’m thirsting for water. Water! Water! How I long for even a drop of water!

Then, there you were.

An oasis…a soothing, watering oasis. Not just a drop or a sip but a river flowing into the vast oceans of the Earth.

Tenderly, you grasped my hand, lifted me out of those desert sands and your words bathed me in their healing balm. Hope flowed through my veins anew and gaining strength, my eagle wings were restored. At last, I flew once again to the sun.

I became whole.

Birdwings

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralysed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.

Rumi

And so, I carry these words forward and sprinkle them all over the desert, longing to reach other lost and weary travellers struggling along the road. Indeed, so many are lost in the desert without a map, a compass or any kind of food and without the hand of a friend, will surely perish.

For while each of us travels along their own “road not taken”, we can have an understanding. We have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to absorb one another’s joys and sorrows and to share them like a banquet. While we do need times of solitude and time away to reflect and rejuvenate ourselves, we were not meant to be alone. We must all join and hold hands and become one. Forget all these barriers which divide and focus on the whole. Be one people on one planet with one moon and one sun. That is precious and its future lies in the palm of our hand…just like a pearl. Don’t drop it. Whatever you do, don’t drop it. We only have one Earth. We have to hold on. Keep holding on. Our waters, our skies, our birds and fish, the leaves and every blade of grass are all intimately entwined, dancing with the air we breathe.

What are we doing to save it?

Rumi, no doubt you will relate to being a scribe. That sense that you are no longer writing the words on the page and that someone else is more of the driving force. Writers have always known this force. Is it the muse, the Holy Spirit or just a part of myself, which is somehow estranged from my everyday voice? I don’t know. I wasn’t going to write you all of this.

As I ponder all of this, all around me, there is only darkness, punctuated by the light of the moon and the stars. There is no lightning bolt as we speak. Indeed, the heavens are absolutely quiet and all I can hear is the crash of the waves on the beach. Taste a distant sea breeze.

Where are you? I know you’re so much more than simply words in a book and that somehow your spirit lives on in all around me…a man of God. Or, do we really end up in the Earth waiting for the world’s greatest mystery to finally unfold.

Wean Yourself

Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher after wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say ‘The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding.’

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.
Listen to the answer.

There is no “other world.”
I only know what I have experienced.
You must be hallucinating.

– Rumi

 

How I’d love to share a meal and break bread. For eating together is a merging of minds, a fusion of souls when you don’t just park yourselves in front of the box and fix your eyes on the screen. You listen and you talk. Sometimes, when you dine at our place, you might even write Haiku.

Yet, I cannot linger over bread or even wait to share that meal because my journey must continue. I need to move on. For better or worse, I’m on an express train from A-Z and this is but a fleeting stepping stone along the way.

Unfortunately, it is already time to go. Yet, I leave knowing that we have fed each other’s souls such an array of fertile seeds, which with a touch of sun and rain, will surely grow into nourishing trees.

Our journey will never end.

Love and blessings to you my friend,

Rowena

Sources

The Essential Rumi Translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

Compassion Fatigue: A Light Bulb Moment!

For so many with a passion for compassion, there can come a point where we need to reassess our vision. Admit that we have over-extended our scope or perceived list of responsibilities beyond our sphere and have actually gone too far. Moreover, although we not be thinking about compassion fatigue or burnout, we need to pull our heads in before we implode. Otherwise, instead of being able to help and support others, we risk needing help ourselves!

I would suggest that if you are watching ants lugging heavy loads with more than just a casual eye and indeed considering learning ant language so you can help them more effectively: “Hey, can I give you a lift?” Then, perhaps you have taken compassion just that little bit too far.

IMG_0061

There comes a time when especially the most compassionate souls need to re-visit their priorities before it’s too late.

 

I have been putting a lot of thought into compassion since I signed up for the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion Movement where on this day Friday 20th February over 1000 bloggers worldwide have signed up to write a post about compassion on their blogs.

Here is a link to the project: http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=497564&fb_ref=Default

Today, is the United Nations Day of Social Justice. Thanks to my husband and has his particular way of challenging “stuff”, I would just like to stress that “social justice” has nothing to do with society taking justice into its own hands, mob rule or the formation of such abhorrent organisations as the Klu Klux Klan. Rather, it’s about giving everyone, as we Australians put it: “a fair go” and fighting against all forms of discrimination…even the insidious, invisible ones!!

Bloggers Around the World Unite: 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion.

Bloggers Around the World Unite: 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion.

Writing one post about compassion for me is impossibly difficult. It’s like taking me to the most sumpuous smorgasbord restaurant (all you can eat)  and being told: “You can only eat one thing!”

WHAT THE???!!

My husband would tell you that’s impossible. That I could never, ever go into a smorgasbord restaurant with all those tempting tables of every kind of Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mexican etc etc food each piled up as high as Mt Everest and all those tantilising aromas ticklooing my senses coaxing me to completely pig out: “Eat me! Eat me! I know you want to eat me.” THat’s before we even get to dessert and I can’t even think about chocolate without salivating, even in extreme heat when most mortals find the concept of molten chocolate abhorrent.  They want something cool.

THerefore, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I’ve never left a smorgasbord restaurant without feeling incredibly ill and being reminded of that infamous restaurant scene where Mr Creosote explodes in Monty Python’s: The Meaning of Life:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aczPDGC3f8U

Unfortunately, my poor brain just can’t cope with sooo much choice and its default mode is:

“I’ll take the lot, thanks!!”

So with that graphic image of over-eating firmly etched in your brains, you’ll understand just how hard it is for me to write about just one aspect of compassion. There are literally limitless possibilities out there and a bit like Mr Creote, I could spew all those fabulous anecdotes and reflections out in the post, which would just be counter-productive….not to mention messy and very, very smelly, stinky and downright repulsive!!

MY instructor helping me up the magic carpet on my first ski lesson in 2013.

Giving me a helping hand: my ski instructor helping me up the magic carpet on my first ski lesson in 2013.

Just a few of the anecdotes I’ve considered revisiting today include address the love of a stranger and the compassionate support I received from my ski instructors who skied back down the mountain lugging my skis, boots and poles so I could take the chair lift back and conserve my small reserves of energy. Their compassion and using their physical strength for good, enabled me to ski down the best slope for my ability and give me the experience of a life time. It would not have happened otherwise and I would never have left the “magic carpet” or beginner’s area. Moreover, my testimony of skiing down the mountain for a second time after overcoming a flare up of my auto-immune disease, pneumonia and chemotherapy would not have happened.

Skiing down the mountain at Perisher in August 2013.

Skiing down the mountain at Perisher in August 2013.

I also wanted to write about some of the ways people actually treat people with disabilities with anything but compassion. Things like parking in disabled car spaces without a permit, crashing into people using a walking stick and how there is the completely inadequate social support to allow people with disabilities to live with dignity. For example, despite have a muscle-wasting life-threatening disease, it took me five years to get any domestic assistance and that is completely inadequate. There are also no long term supports for parents of young children who might be dying or living with severe, disabling illness and who require ongoing child care but lack the second income to pay for it.

Just to compound this sense of paralysis through analysis and compassion overload, I started looking up inspirational quotes about compassion.

Some were beautifully poetic:

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”

Rumi

“The dew of compassion is a tear”.

Lord Byron

However, reading through compassion quotes became quite challenging and rather than concentrating my compassion into some kind of manageable, bite-sized portion, it expanded the scope exponentially:

“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”

Albert Schweitzer

“Let us fill our hearts with our own compassion – towards ourselves and towards all living beings.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

“If we’re destroying our trees and destroying our environment and hurting animals and hurting one another and all that stuff, there’s got to be a very powerful energy to fight that. I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.”

Ellen DeGeneres

Okay. So after reading all of these quotes, I’m starting to think i should go back to the ant I saw this morning lugging that mighty big crumb and offer it a lift. After all, an ant is one of these living creatures we’re been calling on to assist!!

Ouch! Double ouch!! My brain hurts. Really hurts. This compassion fatigue seems terminal!!

But to add further salt to the wound:

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

Haile Selassie

That’s why I decided to write about compassion fatigue. Not the clinical version but just the garden variety which anybody with even just the smallest social conscience can experience. After all, each of us only has so many gold coins we can put in the collection tin and some of us, especially those living with any form of severe chronic illness, can feel like we could warrant some charitable donations ourselves. That’s particularly after paying for prescriptions, a medical specialist or about ten or when all our household appliances decide to breakdown at the same time. Moreover, if you have kids, you are the charitable institution. I remember my Dad telling us that: “Money doesn’t grow on trees”. “Kids, I don’t have a money tree, you know.” I don’t know whether we ever believed him. However, I still kind of believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy and given their generosity to kids worldwide, there has to be a money tree or at least a magic wishing tree out there somewhere!!

However, all this takes me back to what has almost become a cliche:

Think global: Act Local.

We can not help or save everyone but the chances are that we can help our neighbours in small, little ways that don’t really cost much such as giving people a lift, mowing their lawn and you know what I value the most: a smile and a hug. They are absolutely free and we could keep on passing them on. Well, we would be able to send and smiles and hugs right around the world if Australia, as our national anthem so ridiculously put it, wasn’t “girt by sea”. Gee, that ocean can get in the way at times!!

That’s been my modus operandi for awhile and while blogging and recent world events have extended my scope, I will still focus on the home front. After all, “charity begins at home”.

” I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Mother Theresa

I almost forgot to mention this but unlike Atlas,  we  don’t have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. The state of the world, the environment and all the people and animals in it are not our responsibiity alone. While as individuals we might be ineffective on our own, when we collaborate we can move mountains. Moreover, through the power of prayer, we can also call on divine intervention. Never under-estimate the power of prayer!! Miracles can and do happen although I must also admit that sometimes for whatever reason God seems to be deaf…just like our kids.

Here are some of the other posts I have written about compassion and tomorrow I will post a selection of posts which were part of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion.

Brain Plasticity & Saving Two Australians on Indonesia’s Death Row: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/brain-plasticity-two-australians-on-death-row/

The Aftermath of the MH17 Tragedy: Compassion in Action!! Sowing those precious sunflower seeds: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/?s=sunflower

Emotional versus Physical healing: The Struggle To Heal The Broken Foot & the Sydney Siege: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/the-struggle-to-heal-the-broken-foot-and-the-sydney-siege/

Love of a Stranger: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/?s=love+of+a+stranger

Skiing: Back to the Mountain Almost: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/back-to-the-mountain-almost/

Have a wonderful International Day of Social Justice and I’ll start the ball rolling by sending a smile and a hug to you!

If you have participated in 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, please leave a link and even a brief intro to your post in the comments here for inclusion in a follow-up post.

Love & blessings,

Rowena