Sunday, December 30, 2012

Become Love

Christmas is just a few days past, as are the lives of 20 innocents in a small town in Connecticut.
As unimaginable as that crime is~~and let's all pause now and once more pour love toward those who've lost so much~~we know that senseless deaths are not uncommon in this world. 16,000 children, for example, die daily of hunger~related causes. That’s a child every five seconds, at least two since you began reading this essay.
The outpouring of grief over this thoroughly preventable statistic, though, isn’t the same. It’s as if, to the human mind, death from violence is somehow worse than death from indifference, or death here is worse than death over there.
I don’t imagine the Christ whose birth many of us recently celebrated would see it this way. I suspect, too, that he wouldn’t agree that the proper response to the Newtown shooting is more guns, any more than he’d say the cure for world hunger is increased disregard. No, his teachings would lead us in a different direction entirely. He would move us away from fear, ill will and apathy, and toward love and a felt connection with one another.           
But how do we do this? How do we operationalize Christ’s call to love one another?

Obviously, it is essential that love guide our every action, love that is not a mere concept, a should, the simple doing of what seems right. Love is defined as “profoundly tender, passionate affection.” If such a quality permeates our actions in the world, we will live true to Christ’s teachings.
But to do this requires another step. To refine our external actions, we must transform our interiors. We must become love.
While the prophecies surrounding the end of the Mayan calendar did predict a time of adversity and cataclysmic earth changes, these were seen as a necessary purification for the dawn of the next world age. 

This transition has begun. We are all part of it, and we get to choose how to cast ourselves in this grand happening. In each moment, we decide. We can nurture fear and self~interest, fully anchoring ourselves in a way of being that, having outgrown its usefulness, is now falling away.
Or we can further develop our capacity for love and connection, our Christ awareness, our own Christ Consciousness. With our thoughts and our actions, we can craft in each moment a new world, harmonious and vibrant.           

Across this sweet Earth of ours, so many of us are choosing the latter. Let's choose it again~~and in earnest~~right now....

I see you, precious reader, pausing for a few moments and, with heart overflowing, envisioning a world where love guides us all. And I see you doing so throughout this day and in all the days to come.

And I see us all, together and in each individual moment, making it so. Amen.

A joyous and peaceful new year to us all!

Blessed Are!

Loanne Marie

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Let Joy Be Unconfined

Our gathering began with a poem from the Persian mystic Hafiz. "How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all of its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being. Otherwise we all remain too frightened." We proceeded, then, to immerse ourselves in that light…and to dance!
Dance has long been a path of worship, remembrance and communion. The Dances of Universal Peace are a particularly lovely way to dance the sacred. The Dances are described on the DUP website as “spiritual practice in motion. Drawing on sacred phrases, scripture and poetry of the many spiritual traditions,” chant, music and movement blend to create, “a living experience of unity, peace and integration.”
For this dance, Kalima led us through a series of dances, each a prayer engaging our whole beings~~body, mind, heart and soul. True to the DUP philosophy, our words sprang from various spiritual traditions, including Christian, Native American, Jewish, and Buddhist. Some dances were energetic, others serene. All were beautiful.
One particular dance stays with me...
Standing in a circle, we hold hands and begin a slow weave step to the left. Twice, in rhythmic melody, we chant, “The ocean refuses no river, no river.” We then drop hands and, raising arms and eyes to the heavens, turn in place, singing twice a soaring Arabic chant, “Ishq Allah mabood lillah. Il Allah,” which poetically translates as “God is Love, Lover and Beloved. Only God exists.” Perhaps it is the power of that spinning movement~~arms exalting, gaze turned upward~~or maybe it is the power within the words themselves~~God is Love, all and everywhere. Whatever the cause, as this two~part dance continues, energy building as group and solitary circles turn and turn and turn again, I am transported…transported back home to what is: God, by whatever name, song, or step.
The dancers in our circle ranged in age from 13 to 67 and arrived with life experiences as varied as those ages. As we danced, though, differences melted away. As in the opening poem, we felt the encouragement of light on our being, and fear~~in the form of shyness, skepticism, personality differences, individual woes~~loosened its hold on us. As the rose, our hearts opened. We received beauty and freely give it back to the world.
In this moving meditation, our whole~being prayer, we experience and expressed he sentiment of the brilliant dancer, Isadora Duncan. "The Dance is love, it is only love...and that is enough."

So, dear ones, dance...and may your steps be joyful!


Loanne Marie

PS. The title of this column comes from Lord Byron. The full line is, "On with the dance! let joy be unconfined." Yes!

PPS. And here's a link to a page from the DUP website that contains two lovely videos of folks dancing.