One-Page Wonder

 

While my daughter is at ballet class, I walk. I drop her off at the studio and then head West, past the old warehouses, under the railroad bridge, through downtown, and to the park along the river. Before I get to the park, though, I always make a pass through Auntie’s Bookstore. It’s on the way, so it’s just a matter of walking through, not by. I pick an aisle, then a shelf, then a book. I open the book and read the page I land on. Then I put the book back and keep on walking, and thinking about what I’ve just read.

I love doing this. It’s fun. And I find treasure.

On my last Auntie’s long-cut, I stopped right in front of a book by one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. I’d not read this particular collection, Felicity, so I was delighted. I opened the book, read one poem… and felt the “yes” soak into me like warm lavender dishwater into a sponge.

Mary Oliver has a way of stating things so simply and elegantly and rightly, without extra words or sentiment or fuss. And she does it in a way that makes you feel the ahhh of recognition and understanding, as if, yeah, actually, you’ve always thought that too. You just never said it as pretty.

I love this poem. I love the acceptance of it. The non-judgment of it. And the reminder of it.

 

Nothing is Too Small Not To Be Wondered About

The cricket doesn’t wonder
if there’s a heaven
or, if there is, if there’s room for him.

It’s fall. Romance is over. Still, he sings.
If he can, he enters a house
through the tiniest crack under the door.

Then the house grows colder.
He sings slower and slower.
Then, nothing.

This must mean something, I don’t know what.
But certainly it doesn’t mean
he hasn’t been an excellent cricket
all his life.

 

We are all souls on a journey. We are all made in and of love from the same Source. We are all different, with different lives and different vocabularies and different contexts and different beliefs and even different levels of exposure to different beliefs. It’s reassuring to remember that whomever we are — enlightened or not, cricket or not — is exactly, perfectly, excellent.

Everyone is divine.

We are Source. We are love. We are everyone. Everyone is us.

It is important to recognize the divine within ourselves. Recognizing it in ourselves empowers us to love, forgive, and be the best versions of ourselves. Recognizing it in others makes it harder for us to hurt them, to disrespect them, to disregard them. When we live by this philosophy, we can realize love, the karmic balance.

Karma, the great equalizer, applies to all of us. No one is immune. The balance, and our goal, is the state and the act of love. Living as deity will bring us love and earn us peace.

What many of us do not understand, or perhaps what we forget, is that to free ourselves — to find the love balance in life and to, ultimately, free our souls of incarnation, we need to accept and understand karma. This means that we must take personal responsibility for our own actions. Our soul’s growth is in no one else’s hands but our own.

I recently drove to South Dakota from my home in Utah. Along I-80 and 90 and the state highways in between, I was surprised at how many “Jesus saves” billboards there were, planted like missionary outposts along the gravelly shoulders of tarred Macadam. And I couldn’t help but think that these well-intentioned PSAs were perhaps more disservice to than encouragement for the 85 mile-per-hour passers by. Each placard was a peeling reminder of the disempowerment of the soul — the rule of otherness that extends personal responsibility only so far as the choice to believe that someone else who lived more than 2,000 years ago already did all the heavy lifting for you.

No matter religion or faith or inclination, it actually does all come down to you. Each person is on an individual path of karmic learning. We all must take personal responsibility to love, to forgive, to own our transgressions, to be our best selves. No one else can “save” you. No one else can advance and free your soul.

Love, accompanied or not by faith or dogma, is still love. And it is love that is important.

Everyone is divine. There is divinity in all of us. We are all part of Source. In living true to this simple theme, and in understanding karma, we can realize true peace together.