7 January 2013
Winter Letter from Char Sundust
Thankfully we humans have the ability to reason. Perhaps. Perhaps not. There is a poem by Walt Whitman where he states ‘I think that I could turn and live with animals. They are so placid and self contained. Not one bows to another. Nor to his kind. That lived hundreds of years ago’…from Walt Whitman’s poem Leaves of Grass. Animals simply live. They take care of what they are faced with each day. No one does for them. I have yet to see entitlement in the animal kingdom. Or a lion who says with a den full of cubs and a nursing lioness ‘well I am king of the forest, someone else should hunt for me’and I will relax here in the comfort of my cave’. Interesting how they don’t think the world owes them anything. How everything is earned through the energy they put in. There is no wild creature that does not know how sufficient they are. We do make them weak and reliant. Pets are wonderful but animals who sustain themselves in the natural cycles of winter, spring, autumn and summer are not supported when we leave them food in the deep fall going into winter. When we ‘help’ them many birds don’t make it if we make them overly reliant. As Angeles Arrien says ‘nothing in nature survives if it is too dependent or too interdependent. Both are needed. So I find it interesting to notice how we human beings as animals have become accustomed to having things done for us.
A friend of mine says her mother taught her ‘if you really want to help you don’t ask, you do.’ The lion doesn’t ask. He follows his true nature. He hunts. He is in contact with his instincts and follows through in his actions. He takes care of his family. The instinctual nature is in us also. An internal guidance system so that we can do what it takes to care for ourselves, our families, our work and our creative lives. This seems to have fallen by the wayside. And we are the birds at the winter feeder having not migrated because of a reliance because of something outside… and we don’t only hope but raise quite a fuss if things are not done for us. If we’re are not fed in our own way on our own time. Our acceptance of the way things are and what we are responsible for is skewed by the not so helping hand. We can take care of what we have come to take care of. We need space. We need connection. Sometimes we need help from another’s perspective. Sometimes we need to reflect to find clarity for our next action. To be the lion crouched in the tall grass ready to spring. But do we ever take action? Because we know we alone are responsible for the results of our lives. No one else can carry our dream.
On our tombstones that won’t be said ‘I had a dream but I couldn’t do it because’ ____(fill in the blank)___ ‘I wanted to be entertained’, ‘The people around me wouldn’t do what I wanted’… When the truth is that I could diverted distracted and seduced into putting my energy everywhere except where it really meant something to me. Something emotionally important to my heart. Something that did not require anyone else in order for me to follow through. Sometimes our addiction to being the victim is greater than the work and dedication it would take to mend and repair our own mistakes. Our epitaph is inscribed with our deeds and actions alone. What we have done and not done is etched in the stone of eternity. What does my epitaph say? I followed my instincts or played it safe? I kept my gifts to myself or I shared them with those in need? I risked and won or I never attempted and never gained or lost a thing? We know in our hearts what we are called to do. We are responsible to hold vigil over what we value most. Our work, our friends, our family, our health and well being, our dreams, our community, and our creations. Vigil-vigilance. Will we hold vigil to lead our hearts and minds in the lives we are choosing and creating every moment? We can figure it out or we can ask for help. But the one who takes aim and sends the arrow is us and us alone. Am I hitting the mark? Am I responsible, accountable, vigilant? Do I hunt cleanly? Do I wait and spring at the right moment? Do I choose to show up and be present to my commitments? Do I do as Angeles Arrien says ‘say what is so when is it so, say what I mean and do what I say?’
If we do this, this will reduce conflict in our lives by 85%. And am I willing to do this for myself, for others and for the earth for future generations? We are all here to serve them. Those who are coming. This requires right action, right timing, contact with the undiluted human self. The human soul that will always risk for what has heart and meaning. ‘My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.’ ~ The Buddha.
May we all have the solid ground of our valor and integrity. May this be so for all of us. That we stand accountable that we receive new perspectives and views from others to assist us with our work, growth and fulfillment. And may we always enter with what the Dalai Lama says to himself upon greeting each person ‘I cherish you, I cherish you, I cherish you. I give thanks for all that I am learning from you. I give thanks for the gifts you bring. I cherish me, I cherish me, I cherish me, I cherish you,’
May this year be blessed with great harvest through right action leading to excellence in the fulfillment of our deeply personal dreams. And may we follow and trust our innate human and instinctual responsibilities to kindness with each act, responding with ability to the blessings in us, to the blessings we carry within us, and the gifts we all receive from our rich and varied lives.
Just as the great lion everyday following his true nature, may we be as the great lion everyday following our true nature so our people may live. May you have many blessings in this time of winter and throughout the coming year.
With Deep Gratitude and Respect, I Cherish You,
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