love and wisdom walk into a bar

love and wisdom joyfuel 2015 2

Dearest Hearts,

My son brought this exquisite bloom-within-a-bloom flower back for me from a walk he went on with my husband. My boy-sage–now 6– smiled ear-to-ear as he handed me a double-blossoming flower only a few minutes after I penned the beautiful gem of love/wisdom from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj into my journal. To me, the double flower–name unknown to me–embodies Maharaji’s beautiful words.

Love says “I am everything”.
Wisdom says “I am nothing”.
Between the two my life flows.

The moment my son gave it to me, my breath was captured; I felt my knees buckle to grace–and I held on tightly to my son–my teacher– giving over to the splendor of duality … to everything.

I knew his timely gift had to be shared with you. For joy. I don’t need–or even want–to know the name of the flower. Simply knowing that it is, is knowing enough.

my <3 and wishes for your joy, becky

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my new american courage

found on a wall at the United Nations Building, New York City

“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. Cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it. Courageous men never lose the zest for living even though their life situation is zestless; cowardly men, overwhelmed by the uncertainties of life, lose the will to live. We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My 6-year-old son heard news on radio of America bombing a village with women and children in it. He asked me, “America did that?” I said yes, America did. He said, “But I am America. I didn’t do that. It wasn’t me?” He held a question in his voice that pierced my heart. He said, “I wouldn’t do that!”

My heart flooded. Emotions I have been trying to avoid moved piercingly from my stomach to my heart and my throat. He saw as I felt tears roll down my cheeks.

I hugged him and said, “I know, me too. I am America too. It is so very sad.”

from the UN’s Universal Declaration of Rights

Our worldwide news and fears are immensely difficult to explain and process, to adults let alone young children.

So many of us seek to understand things that perhaps are not understandable or even to be understood.

In my heart I know I am America and I cannot withhold my heart and love from others who want to be America too.

Throughout our modern history, it has taken courage and tremendous human suffering to be and become America.

As I contemplate our future America, I wonder what would happen if America committed to collective courage and chose not to respond in actions, but to respond in love? What would happen if our government issued a formal “Love Letter” to the people who intend us pain, instead of bombs and more pain?

Risking appearing naive, I ask you to think and feel about this. What could that letter look like? I’m not suggesting sending a love letter in support of continued suffering, but rather a letter honoring the potential of a greater humanity, challenging them to rise to love.

A few years ago I went on a retreat where I found myself in the middle of a self-defense training. I hadn’t expected this, but I have curiosity for many things so I was curious to see what would happen.

The course leader began an attack demonstration with me. I was advised to stop her with my stance and my reaction. She challenged me and rushed at me in attack mode–with pain, ferocity and intensity in her eyes and body.

Even though I felt afraid, my first inclination was to open my arms to embrace her, even though she looked like she was about to hurt me.

I didn’t. I didn’t act with love. In that moment, my fear of others’ perception of me was greater than my convictions. Instead I tried to summon the stance and replicate the “hutt” noise she had demonstrated.

My imitation failed. My instincts still strong about the hug and smile thing, but again the risk of others’ poorly judging and criticizing me dominated my actions.

Love was never suggested as an appropriate response.

Again, the trainer came at me. This time I decided to sing opera, loudly. She didn’t like that either. Everyone else in our group laughed.

She came at me, over and over and I kept trying to find a response that would stop her, but I never could get it right, at least by her counsel or expectations. Indeed I did break her patterns, and surprise her.

For a few moments after the exercise–as she was pretend attacking others in the training–I was concerned that I was not aggressive or self-protective enough… that somehow my own safety was in jeopardy because I didn’t naturally have a fierce defensive barking response to protect me.

As days passed after that weekend, I realized that for me, my instinctual path of defense was love. To me, love was the most natural and centered response. Perhaps love would get me killed, but still, it feels like the most authentic way to be true to my own energy and the way I want to survive.

Strawberry Fields, New York City

I don’t think it my place to say that LOVE should be ALL of our first responses, but–as real as that feels in me as my own truth–I deeply wonder and imagine our world when the majority of humans find courage to choose love instead of more pain infliction.

I am an American immigrant. I came to this country in the 1970s. I became a US citizen by choice and conviction to choose America as my home and values, the place to birth and raise my children. I chose America because I believe we are a country that chooses to honor, respect and celebrate our differences.

As I look at my son, a child of the earth–American as his birthright– my American heart is wide open.

I hold steadfast courage and love in my convictions while intensely feeling the fear of the unknown and the unknowable. I can only take responsibility for my own actions.

I love America. I love all Americans. I love Americans who believe peace is the way through the fear. I love Americans who believe harming people who hurt “us” is the best way to love and protect our country. (I don’t condone or agree, but still as an American it is my obligation to love and respect them while respectfully disagreeing.)

I am grateful to be American. I am grateful for all the people–seen and unseen generations– all who have suffered and suffer still–who have brought us to this moment in history, a moment that has such possibility for love and courage.

I imagine.

I imagine we humans are becoming a bit more evolved. (Did you just notice the word LOVE is in there, nearly twice? I did.)

I pray sharing my story and words create ripples of love and contemplation, not division or pain. I don’t have the answers for anyone, except to commit to grow myself as a real aging–hopefully wisen-ing– contemplative thoughtful contributor to our new America.

(As a writer, sometimes I find enough courage to share my inner world outside of myself, despite my fears. Thank you for reading.)

with my courageous, aching, imaginative, yearning and love-filled eager-to-evolve heart,
<3 becky

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our secret reflection

<3 David Whyte’s masterful poem All the True Vows beckons, honors, advises and reminds me of our personal splendor: our own secret and sacred possibility. Every time I hear, read, and re-experience these words, my heart breaks open while refilling with wonder, discovery, and possibility.

I am deeply grateful for each day I have to possibly live my secret vow, and to witness how you choose to honor yours.
<3 becky

(Thank you to Maury Liwerant’s lovely photography combined with Mr. Whyte’s recorded voice.)

All the True Vows, by David Whyte

All the true vows
All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.

There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.

Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.
don’t turn your face away.

Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.

Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen

nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.

By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
you can
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.

Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,

it wants you to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.

in this place
no one can hear you
no one can hear you

and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break,

that way you’ll find
what is real and what is not.

I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.

Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
and spoke
for the first time
after all these years

in my own voice,

before it was too late
before it was too late
to turn my face again.


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thanks to mother earth

mother earth field thanks joyfuel

Thanks to Mother Earth
(a prayer of the Eastern Woodland Mohawks,
created by Joseph Bruchac)

Onen, we give thanks
to our mother, the Earth,
for she gives us all that we need for life.

She supports our feet
as we walk upon her.
She is there to catch us
if we should fall.

It has always been this way
since the beginning,
for she is our mother,
the one who cares for us.

So it is that we join
our minds together
to give greetings and thanks
to this Earth, our mother.

<3 Many blessings upon your time of gratitude.
I am grateful for Mother Earth, I am grateful for you.
with my love, becky <3

kindness is a fire

firework heart

kindness is a fire

kindness                               is a fire
a lovefire burning  rampant in my heart
alive burning glowing sparking radiating
–fueled by the dark cinders of my being–
seeking for ways to escape my body
to lovingly attach my fire to yours
to burn even brighter
even kinder

 <3 becky jaine

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