Practicing Non-Violence

October 12, 2015

“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.” Thomas Merton (1915-1968) Writer, Theologian & Mystic

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

Practicing Non-Violence

I’ve never hit or slapped anyone. I’ve never thrown or broken anything in anger. I don’t own a gun or any other weapon. I even take (most) spiders outside. My guess is that many of us reading this would say the same about their own lives. “I’m not violent,” and adding, “And therefore I cannot understand the violence that permeates our contemporary culture.” Yes, I’m referring to the recent massacre in Roseburg, Oregon, and the horrific acts of violence that have come before. If we are truly All One, and we’re all in this together, the question becomes: how am I actively participating in a climate of violence?

I call upon the wisdom of Thomas Merton, as quoted above. In his world view, I could be seen of someone who is violent. I can easily work, work, work until my body stops me and forces me to rest. My mom, even into old age, was always in a hurry, rushing here and there. Like her, I often bang into things thereby gifting myself odd scrapes and bruises. Too many demands, over committing, the desire to help everyone in everything, “…is to succumb to violence.” I cannot stop the violence in our country, but I can stop contributing to it by stopping the insanity in my own life. SLOW DOWN!!! When I do that, amazing connections emerge. Like recently when having breakfast at Shari’s.

Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed a woman about my age sitting by the door. She was very small, somewhat unkempt, and shivering. I had the idea to stop and ask if she was okay. Instead, because I was in a hurry, I kept walking and met my friend for breakfast. She said she hadn’t noticed the woman at the door. During lunch I saw the woman pacing outside the restaurant, smoking a cigarette. Because the woman was again sitting on the entry bench when we paid our bill, I asked the waitress if she knew anything about her. She said she’d been sitting there since they opened at 6:00am. It was now 10:30am. “No one has checked on her?” I asked. The waitress said the woman had ordered and eaten breakfast, paid, and then told the staff that she was waiting for a ride. I actually had a violent thought—What if she’s a domestic violence victim and her partner is stalking her and might come into this restaurant and go on a shooting rampage?

Not wanting that thought to take root, instead I took a breath, walked over to the woman by the door, and sat down beside her. “Are you okay?” I softly asked. When she turned to look at me, I saw despair on her face. She said she was okay. That her boyfriend had kicked her out last night after a fight and she had no place to go. No friends or relatives, only a bench at Shari’s. “Are you safe?” I asked. She said yes, that he wouldn’t harm her. Then I asked what she wanted to have happen. She said she wanted to find a shelter or some other means of protection, but she didn’t know how. She had a cell phone so I suggested she look up the crisis phone line for Multnomah County. Because I use to volunteer there, I knew that whomever answered the call would point her in the right direction. I offered her bus money, but she said that she had enough money to get downtown.

She thanked me profusely while promising to make the call. I asked her name and I told her mine. We parted in friendship, the anam cara kind, with a hug, and a nod that said “I see you.”

It was only later that I thought of the five minute exchange as a way of practicing non-violence. How many perpetrators of violence with guns have felt unseen, unheard, or unloved? Abandoned and alone? I may not be able to stop a lonely individual’s act of violence, but I can stop my participation in violence by slowing down. Will you join me?

Simon & Garfunkel, Feeling Groovy, stereo (1:50)
Surprise singers at the end!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBQxG0Z72qM

This Little Light of Mine

September 11, 2015

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” —Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pa., in 2002

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

This Little Light of Mine

The night before 9/11 twenty-four Ireland travelers, registered for my first tour, convened at O’Connor’s Pub. The excitement was palpable as we made final plans to depart Portland on Friday, Sept. 14. I went to sleep that night with a big smile on my face, knowing everything was in place. The next morning the smile was replaced by a face that registered shock and devastation.

My stepson, 12 years old and about to start middle school, phoned us from his mom’s house. “Turn on the television,” he whispered. Together we watched in horror what unfolded over the next hour or so. At one point I asked him if he was okay. He replied, again in a whisper, “Is this the beginning of World War III?” I told him I didn’t know, while reminding him that he was safe. I asked him if he wanted me to come get him. “No,” he said, “I want to go to school.” That’s when I remembered I had to be at a Waldorf school at 9:00am for my weekly Life Lessons storytelling adventure with a group of second graders. I hadn’t a clue what I was going to say.

I somberly entered the classroom to find the children gathered around the feet of Mrs. Johnson, all with looks of devastation on their innocent faces. “Pastor Kate is here,” she cried out. “She will help us.” Suddenly I had my own little nest of baby chicks gathered around me, looking for guidance and meaning. My story went something like this.

Far back in time, when the first babies were born, the Creator gave each of them a heart. It would be the place where Love lives. (I invited the children to place their hands on their hearts.) Like a drum, the hearts would beat, making a thump, thump sound, so we could hear them and remember Love.  (We made the sounds together.) At first the heart beats came at different times. But soon they came into rhythm. All hearts beat together, from the North Pole to the South Pole, from America to Africa, reminding us that we are one human family, created to express Love, together. Now, let’s close our eyes and feel the love coming from our hearts. (At last, smiles began to return to their little faces.)

But over time some grownups started to tie strings around their hearts. (In a pretend mean voice I asked the children to pretend to tie up their hearts, making mean sounds as well.) Like a ball of yarn, soon some of these hearts were nearly covered up and invisible. And so was their Love. It was replaced by fear and hate. Show me what fear and hate looks like on your faces. (Imagine their expressions.) And that is what happened this morning. Some grownups, with fear and hate in their hearts, caused great pain and sadness for many, many people, us included. I know I’m feeling sad, and a little bit scared.  (At this point I invited the children to quietly say aloud what they were feeling.)

So here’s what our job is today. We must un-tie the strings of our hearts. Ready, get set, go! (Chaos ensued as the boys and girls ran and tumbled around the room, pretending to let fly the many invisible heart strings. Eventually we came back into circle.) Now feel the Love in your heart. (Another round of thump, thumps.) Can you feel the love again? (Cries of yes, yes, yes echoed through the classroom.) This is what we must remember today. Most people are good and they let their love shine. But some tie up their hearts with fear and hate. Fear of people who are different than they are. Hate because of skin colors unlike their own. Or fear of different languages from around the world. Maybe hate because of different beliefs about presidents, countries, or even God. But what’s true is this. Every human has a heart, even the people who did the bad things this morning. The Creator intended the human heart to be where Love lives. Let’s make a pact today to let our Love shine, even if we feel sad or afraid. How about we all connect pinky fingers. Look around our circle. Are we one family? (“Yes,” they shouted in unison. Slowly I began to sing “This Little Light of Mine.” The children joined in. We separated that morning with big smiles on our faces and young hearts once again at peace.)

It wasn’t until I got home that morning that I wondered if the horrific events of 9/11 would cause the Ireland tour to be cancelled. As 9/11 unfolded, and then 9/12, I realized on 9/13 that the 9/14 tour departure would not happen. It was declared an international day of mourning. I felt horrible knowing I had to phone the twenty-four travelers with bad news. That’s when it occurred to me, my own Life Lesson. We were merely inconvenienced, while millions were devastated. We would not go to the airport on 9/14 and demand our flights to Ireland. Instead, I would encourage my travelers to join the world in prayer, reflection and contemplation.

On 9/11/01, and every 9/11 since, I remember that it’s a choice whether to see through the eyes of love or the eyes of fear. To remember that it’s not all about my needs or desires.  To always pursue the deeper truth. Missing a tour date was an inconvenience. Loss of thousands of lives was devastation. True to the generous hearts of the Irish people, we were able to move the tour to spring, at no extra cost. The vendors in Ireland took the loss out of respect for their American anam caras, their soul friends.

My plan for today is to sing, whistle and hum “This Little Light of Mine” whenever and wherever it occurs to me to do so. Like the Waldorf second graders (now young adults) I will visualize the joining of pinky fingers, with skins of many colors, reminding us that We Are One, and that we’re all in this together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKaCqaUjV48
Miraculous Holy Spirit Moves Crowd At Supermarket “This Little Light Of Mine”!  3:15 length, 315 views

Miss Meads

August 28, 2015

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called ‘truth’.” -Dan Rather

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

Miss Meads

The first time I remember feeling back to school anxiety was the August before starting fourth grade. No longer safely roaming Roosevelt’s first floor, I would soon have to ascend the ancient stairway to the second floor. That’s where the big kids were, including my older sister and brother, and my fourth grade teacher, the wicked Miss Meads. For years I held her accountable for my fear of writing. In vivid detail, I remember the day when she ordered me to the blackboard to diagram a sentence, in front of the whole class. I failed miserably. Was it performance anxiety? Stupidity? Or the fact that I disappointed her?

The Miss Meads I remember was tall and skinny. Her face was pinched in a permanent scowl made even more dramatic by the glasses that perched on her pointed nose. Even though she was bone thin, I recall the flapping of her upper arm flab when she wrote on the chalkboard.

Today, while pondering the millions of children who are going back to school, some entering the fourth grade, I thought about Miss Meads. Who was she, really?

From the 1962 archives of the Ames Tribune: “I like fourth grade the best, because by then the teaching tools are pretty well taught and the children are ready to branch out on their own.” The article, honoring her retirement, went on to say, “Miss Gladys Meads started teaching at Roosevelt Elementary School in 1940. She estimates that in her years of teaching more than 1,500 children have come under her jurisdiction.”

Intrigued, I looked up the definition of jurisdiction:  “the right, power, or authority to administer justice.” Yep, that sounds like Miss Meads. The ultimate task master, both judge and jury. Perhaps the humiliation I recall from her admonishment that I couldn’t diagram a sentence if my life depended on it, was really her way of telling me that she saw something in me. This McKern kid, one of four in my family and an estimated 1,500 students over time, was smart enough to get the importance of a well written sentence. Perhaps she was my champion, and not my nemesis. Miss Meads, I owe you an apology.

I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

It is my belief that as we heal in this moment, we also heal the passing forward of our limiting stories to future generations. And, sometimes even more importantly, we heal back in time. As I have had this revelation, I invite you to reflect on past teachers in your life. Is there someone to whom you owe a debt of gratitude? Someone to whom you owe an amends? Someone to whom you simply want to say, thank you? Then do it. Because We Are One, and we’re all in this together.

The Saboteur

August 13, 2015

“It’s a lot easier to sabotage your career than to have a career to sabotage.” Win Butler, Musician

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

The Saboteur

I’ve been in a secret relationship for many years. We come and go, in out and of each other’s lives. Sometimes it wants my attention, even demanding it. In those moments I don’t want to give it. I want to hide and pretend I’m not in this relationship. You see, I’m a minister, a wise woman, a seasoned mentor, compassionate listener, bold entrepreneur, she who is imagined as someone who is successful in all of her endeavors. Would you still think that of me if you knew about this relationship? If I revealed this dark and secret part of my life? Okay, if you’re reading this far, you must want to know. The name of this partner is The Saboteur.

The Saboteur gets around so I won’t be surprised to hear that you’re in the same relationship. It is my understanding, through study and experience, that we all carry the archetype of The Saboteur. Author and spiritual teacher, Carolyn Myss, says this:

The Saboteur archetype is the energy that undermines or sabotages your empowerment and is the guardian of all your choices. The Saboteur is about the ways, methods and means that you sabotage your relationship to Truth. This archetype is about developing an instinct for when you or someone else is undermining your self-esteem. As you come into your own Truth, you will have a rapport and intuitive sense for what is right for you and what will undermine you. This is the Saboteur that is centered in the light attributes of its energy.

Earlier today I had a moment of panic around a choice I needed to make. It had to do with a chunk of money, and the reality that I could risk losing it if I moved ahead with a project. With that thought, I literally stopped breathing. My body froze. I felt a punch in the gut. It was the voice in my head that got my attention: “Pssst, Kathleen, that’s a lot of money, you may lose it all, you may fail, people may think you let them down, then everyone will know how inept you are, how unworthy you are, how pathetic you are. Oh, Kathleen, I love you so. Let’s ignore the Truth and keep dancing. Remember, I’m Your Saboteur. I’m always with you, guarding your choices. I will never let you down. I promise to keep showing up as long as you need me.”

Dang, The Saboteur was back! Without knowing it, I had re-entered the dance floor of my mind, accompanied by limited thoughts, to the tune of low self-esteem. We hadn’t partnered in a long, long time. But the dance was so familiar, intoxicatingly so, that I found myself spinning and twirling under The Saboteur’s confident leadership. That is, until I reached out for prayer support. And that is the point of this message.

The Saboteur is a part of every person’s life. No one escapes it. We are the ones who give it power, especially when we are feeling powerless. This morning, for a brief window of time, I felt powerless in making a certain decision that involved money. I dropped the dance hold with The Saboteur and reached out for prayer support. The dance of Truth returned.

I am a child of God. My dream is big. It’s doable, because I am worthy, smart, clever, and experienced. My partner is The Divine. All things are possible when the Truth is remembered. I remember now. I have returned to Love. I now prosper and grow. The decision has been made. Thank you God.

And so it is….

Decisions

July 15, 2015

“No single decision you ever made has led in a straight line to where you find yourself now.” Deepak Chopra

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

Decisions

Don’t you sometimes just want someone to make a decision for you? Not only does it free up inner turmoil, it also allows us to blame that someone if the outcome of the decision isn’t to our liking. Trust me. I’ve thought this through too many times to count. But what it all comes down to is choice. We have been given the gift of free will. The ability to make choices. To decide. Let’s get literal here for a moment. According to the dictionary:

Decide:  to choose something after thinking about it
De:  removal or separation
Cide:  to cut or kill (think homicide, pesticide, matricide, etc.)
http://www.fun-with-words.com/cide_words.html

So to DE-CIDE, then I must separate from that which is killing. To cut off from uncertainty, to remove myself from that which is draining my life force. For me, it’s how I can easily slip into over-thinking something. To listen only to my head. No wonder I have been feeling off kilter!

The Anam Cara Journey follows the triple spiral as a blueprint for life in general, and also the specifics of life like making a decision. If, like me, you are in decision making mode, ask yourself these questions:

Spiral One: What does my physical body say about this decision?
Spiral Two:  What does my mental body say about this decision?
Spiral Three:  What does my emotional body say about this decision?

Then invite your inner guidance to weave a thread through all three spirals. That thread is Spirit, God, Creator, Higher Power, All That Is. For me, it is my highest good, reminding me that the waters of possibility are not gunky at all. They are deliciously clear and comforting.

Today is the New Moon. It’s a time to plant a seed, to set something into motion. With this in mind, and my body and heart engaged, I am restored to fluid balance. It is from that place that I joyfully move forward with the decision I get to make.

Email info@anamcaraconnections.com to receive for your own use a free copy of the triple spiral.

Rhyming

June 30, 2015

I hear a little firecracker go off when you come up with a good rhyme. – Garrison Keillor

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

Rhyming

A funny thing happened on a recent drive home from the swimming pool. I was at a stop light in a left turn lane. Both front windows were down. Suddenly a truck pulls up to my right, driven by a man about my age whom I would guess to be an aging hippy and/or vet. This because of the icons hanging from his rear view mirror. He said hello first. I said hello back. Then the funny thing happened:

He:  I’m on my way to school
Me:  I just came from the pool.
He:  That’s cool.
Me: Yep, we’re no fools.
Aware that we were conversing in rhyme, we both let out a hearty laugh. And then the rhyming continued.
He:  I think we’re poets.
Me:  I know it.
He: Let’s show it.
Me: So we don’t blow it.

With that his light turned green. Before hitting the gas he announced:  “I’m going to keep rhyming all day!” He then peeled out, his left arm giving a big wave as I continued to wait for my green light.
That brief encounter, lasting only seconds, gave me tremendous joy. I laughed all the way home and continued to do so while I shared the rhyme story with my husband. What is it about a corny rhyme that feels so good?

Psychologists say that children process words by sound while adults process by meaning. We’re all familiar with nursery rhymes, many of us able to quote some with perfect accuracy. Might rhyming be the antidote to the fading memory that plagues most of us from middle age on? Maybe we need to let our Inner Child out to play more often by occasionally conversing in rhyme. So…

Farewell for now
As I make a vow
To continue to wow
With rhymes that go pow

Be nice to me. I wrote that in about 15 seconds. No edits. Just pure fun.  Monday, while driving home from the pool, I was again stopped at the same light preparing to turn left. I was aware of a car pulling up to my right. We both had our windows up. No eye contact was made. But I smiled remembering my rhyming buddy on his way to school. Our encounter was cool.

Self-Actualization

June 16, 2015

“Your friend is your needs answered.” Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

Self-Actualization

A friend posted on Facebook an image of a porch swing made out of odd shapes of driftwood. The caption said, “Your yard needs one of these.” My mind jumbled the words and interpreted it this way: “You and your needs are one.” It was an interesting moment of reflection. Exactly what are my needs today?

In a college Psychology of Education Class, I remember studying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Originating in the 1940s, it was a five stage model of needs that humans are motivated to achieve. It’s a “bottom up” pyramid, so start with Number 1.

5. Self-Actualization
4. Esteem
3. Love & Belongingness
2. Safety Needs
1. Biological & Physiological Needs

Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfill the next one, and so on.

I wonder, what if Maslow’s pyramid was reversed. That our first need is self-actualization? In my knowing, we are all born self-actualized, even though it takes years of maturation to recognize and express. It’s about seeing the Truth of the newborn, the toddler or the child. Each one is absolute perfection, made in the likeness and image of our Creator. Remembering this is my highest need fulfilled.

Just for fun, check out Maslow’s characteristics of self-actualizers. How do you measure up?

1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;
2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;
3. Spontaneous in thought and action;
4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);
5. Unusual sense of humor;
6. Able to look at life objectively;
7. Highly creative;
8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;
9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;
10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;
11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;
12. Peak experiences;
13. Need for privacy;
14. Democratic attitudes;
15. Strong moral/ethical standards.

After a bit of time on the downward spiral (meaning I’ve been in a funk, as me mum used to say), I am enjoying a new sense of self-awareness. I’m remembering my essence while being kind to the part of me that hasn’t lived up to my own expectations.

New levels of self-love are pulsating through my body.
New possibilities are emerging through my mind.
New connections are being made through my heart.

And, most importantly, I am remembering the words of Kahlil Gibran: “Your friend is your needs answered.”

Thank you for being my anam cara, my soul friend. Just knowing that fulfills my need to connect while remembering that I am Whole, Healthy & Complete just as I am. What is your need today? Might you seek out an anam cara and together share the joy of self-actualization?

It is important to note that Maslow’s five stage model has been expanded to include cognitive and aesthetic needs and later transcendence needs.

Source:  http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Add, Subtract

June 1, 2015

The Tao Te Ching says, “To gain knowledge, add something every day.
To gain wisdom, remove something every day.”

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

Add, Subtract

I excelled at addition in elementary school math, but not so much subtraction. It didn’t seem fair. I just learned how to add something and now I have to learn to take away something? It’s a puzzle that has bugged me my whole life—add or subtract? It feels good to add something, and feels bad when something is taken away. Unless, of course, when I’m losing extra pounds. I love seeing the numbers subtract themselves from the scales, but what will happen if I add back those pounds? Add or subtract? Feel good or feel bad? The wisdom to know the difference is by honoring the space between.

One of the tenets of Celtic Spirituality is the respect for the marginal, the space between two things, that which dwells neither here nor there. Doorways should be walked over, not walked on. Dawn and dusk are the between times of day, therefore filled with the potential for magic and mischief. The cross-quarter days are more important that the solstices and equinoxes. Their ceremonies honor the delicate times of transition. How might this idea, practiced by my Celtic ancestors, help me when I am in thought modes of add or subtract, this or that, yes or no? I again borrow from the Tao Te Ching:

We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the wheel depends.

We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing that the usefulness of the vessel depends.

We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the usefulness of the house depends.

Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.
As I read this–and I invite you to do the same–I pause, sit back and focus on the lines between the paragraphs, the space between the words, even the hollow parts of the o’s. I am restored to a new sense of fluid balance. I can add and subtract, but not at the same time. First, I must bless the space between. A reminder to breathe, deeply and often. Will you join me?

Push

May 16, 2015

When push comes to shove, it ain’t the science that’s going to lift you up – it’s the belief, the spiritual side of life, that’s going to lift you up, no matter what religion you are. -Kirstie Alley

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

Push

People watching is one of my favorite things to do. That’s the activity I was engaged in while sipping a beverage at a street corner café in Edinburgh, Scotland. Or so I thought. To my husband I said, “See that man over there, kind of swaggering in his metro-sexual clothes, cigarette in hand, sunglasses on the back of his head? I want to push him and say—Who do you think you are?”  We both chuckled, knowing that I would never do such a thing. But the impulse was real. I really did want to push him, in the kind of way we four McKern kids would push each other while sharing the cramped backseat of our dad’s car. You know what I’m talking about.

I noticed the thought impulse to push several times during our journey through the Highlands of Scotland. The next week the urge to push became a joke among my Ireland travelers. “Watch out,” I’d say, “I’m feeling a need to push coming on.”  Sometimes it was a playful, “get outta here,” kind of push I wanted to put into motion. Other times I felt motivated to actually shove someone or something. It didn’t matter if it was alive or inanimate. I simply wanted to push it.

The fascination with people watching extends into observing my own thoughts and behaviors. “What’s this sudden urge to push really about?” I pondered.

Child psychologists say that pushing is an aggressive behavior innate in almost all toddlers. Little ones don’t have the experience or vocabulary to express certain feelings. So they push, or shove, or bite. (Rest assured, I have never bitten nor have I ever wanted to bite anyone.) According to a website titled Everyday Life, a pediatrician says there are three explanations for pushy toddlers. See if you can identify with any of them.

Proving Independence

Toddlers, age 18 months to 3 years, are learning that they are individuals. Pushing another child gets them out of the way and establishes turf. Perhaps my desire to push someone is really a desire to push myself, to get my attention. To push away my momentary sense of separation that arrived through judgment. An invitation to connect rather than divide. To choose interdependence over independence.

Communicating Feelings

Toddlers have limited vocabularies, therefore they resort to physical actions over words. I have an extensive vocabulary, tempered by the parental voice that taught me to be nice. More specifically, to be ladylike. Perhaps physically shoving someone would be more socially acceptable than lashing out with a string of unladylike profanities. What was I feeling at that street corner café? I recall feeling kind of old. Like I no longer had the right to dress provocatively. To call attention to myself. That I needed to act my age. Overall, I think I was feeling sad and striving to make light of it.

Poor Impulse Control

Toddlers will react versus respond. It takes time and maturity to know the difference. I continue to work on this one, even now in my supposed mature years. To react means to re-act. To repeat something over and over again—hahaha—and expect different results. To respond puts the responsibility in my hands to behave in a way that’s going to lift me up, and therefore lift up the perceived other.

Since reflecting on the impulse to push, I notice that the urge has waned. Perhaps push finally came to shove, and shove said give it up. We are one, and we’re all in this together.

Fascinating view of aging to the tune of “Pushing On”
https://vimeo.com/102147017
Oliver $& Jimi Jules – Pushing On (Official Video) (2:47)

"I Don't Know"

April 3, 2015

“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance  to those of us who do.”   ~ Isaac Asimov

 

STUFF I KNOW BY ME © Kathleen McKern Verigin

“I Don’t Know”

When I was in ministry school, 20+ years ago, our group had a lengthy dialogue about what to say when called into people’s lives at critical moments. This could be the loss of a job, a severe injury, death of a pet, or the sudden or lingering dying process of a child, or parent, or partner. What do we say when the one suffering turns to us, asking, “Why is this happening?”

One faction in our group said we must explain that God is a part of this, so therefore we must put our trust in God. The other faction disagreed, saying the best response is, “I don’t know.” Because, in truth, we don’t know why this is happening–if we stay in the mental realms of thinking. Once we soften and move to the heart, the respectful response is, “I don’t know, but I will walk with you as more is revealed.” In other words, assuring the one undergoing great stress, “I’ve got your back.”

The term originated in military combat. The ones who stay behind in the foxhole shoot to distract the enemy while one soldier dashes out of hiding. Through The Anam Cara Journey, it has been revealed to me that the declaration, “I’ve got your back,” is also metaphysical. An affirmation to remind us that we are never alone. Learning to value the heart as much as the head is my life’s journey. And, I’m not talking about just the front of the heart.

The heart chakra radiates through the entire upper chest. That includes the front, solar body, and the back, lunar body. Both are integral for whole-heart thinking. I can tell you to your face that I’m here for you. But, better yet, I can show you that I’m here for you in ways you cannot see. That is, by honoring the back of the heart that is invisible to the one suffering. A gentle touch and soft whisper can help us remember that there are many sources of healing at work, always seeking our good. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. So when I whisper to an anam cara, my soul friend, “I’ve got your back,” I’m reminding them that they are never alone. There’s a council of ancestors right behind them. All they have to do is remember, lean back a little, and allow the mantel of Infinite Love to embrace them.

When we embrace this as Truth, then the words “I don’t know” can bring comfort rather than strife. And, a reminder that we’re all in this together.