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Archive for April, 2011

By CarbonNYC – David M. Goehring

 

The City of Kalamazoo, its residents and surrounding law enforcement members, the family and friends of Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata are united today in a large moment of grief, compassion and outpouring of love. Today is the day of the police officer’s funeral. He is the first public safety officer or personnel of the Kalamazoo police force to be gunned down in the line of duty. The loss of young Eric, a ten year veteran, is overwhelming to all concerned.
 
Nearing the end of his shift last week — one he had exchanged as a favor to a fellow-police officer, — Zapata was a responder to a call for assistance in the Edison neighborhood of Kalamazoo, a location long troubled with a history of safety issues, death and violence. The first officer on the scene was shot at upon approach on the front porch. Then the assailant fled down the alleyway where he encountered  Officer Zapata and shot him in the chest and face with a large firearm. The shooter then  turned the gun upon himself and killed himself. Officer Zapata was taken to Bronson Hospital and expired from mortal wounds.
 
All media accounts of Eric’s life and mission described it as one of grand service, responsibility, and purpose — to himself, his family, and his friends and community — above and beyond the call of duty.  He lived to make life better, through his humorous outlook on life, his devotion to help others, his compassionate caring for the people he served, often people who lived their lives in dangerous circumstances and far less opportunities to inherit “the good life” than most of us.
 
All this goodness, wrapped up in one good man, has caused a huge outpouring response from many of us who did not even know him, but became grateful for who he was and what was important to him. We are grateful that he lived his values– which benefitted all of us.
 
His steps in life were about peace — the peace he achieved through the practice of his Catholic faith; the peace he enjoyed in fatherhood; the peace he found within his mission of law enforcement where turmoil and danger and violence were regular mainstays of his line of work; the peace he found in volunteering his time with youth, building self-image and esteem and human dignity and respect through the practice of martial arts; and the peace of regularly engaging in fun and appreciative things in life.
 
There are two teachers of peace I read regularly. In my quiet time this morning,  thoughts of Zapata’s funeral and day of honor which lay ahead flowed through this quiet. I picked up  the little blue book of Peace Pilgrim’s “Steps Toward Inner Peace“.  She believed world peace would come when enough people attain inner peace. Her life and work showed that one person with inner peace can make a significant contribution to world peace.
 
“This is the way of peace,” she said. “Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.” In a nutshell, after a very successful life in the businessworld, she began a spiritual search for the real meaning of life, love and peace — in earnest. And then after a spiritual experience, she followed through on doing what she felt called to do — become a walking pilgrim and sharing with those who would listen to her about the path to true peace.
 
It starts with peace within the individual. That is where the largest war of all occurs. When that war is won, there will be no wars to fight on the world stage. Between 1953 and 1981, Peace Pilgrim walked over 25,000 miles across this country. Her essential  needs were met during all that time. She was comfortable with all provision given her along the way. She remained healthy and got healthier with each step taken, as she shared, talked and taught along the way.
 
Vietnam-born Buddist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh, a global peace worker, recognized by world leaders and governments, and spiritual greats, believes that peace is not external or to be sought after or attained. Peace is already present in every step, and if we walk in a way that recognizes this, our life will turn into an endless path of joy.
 
The Dalai Lama, in his foreward to Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Peace is Every Step” says that attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult but that it is the only way.
 
                              “Peace  must first be developed within an individual. And I believe  that love, compassion, and altruism are the fundamental basis for peace.  Once these qualities are developed within an individual, he or she is then  able to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony. This atmosphere can  be extended from the individual to the family, from the family the community, and eventually to the whole world.” (The Dalai Lama)
 
Peace Pilgrim, Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama, all workers for peace on the large stage, start with the importance of the first individual steps we all must take….like the baby learning to walk. That is where I do my peace work, on the daily small screen of my own life and who and what I encounter during each day.
 
Some of my steps may be faltering, but some steps are the ones that make me want to try some new steps in another direction as eagerly as the toddler who has tumbled, scoots up and sticks that chubby leg out for the next step with a squeal of joy.
 
Officer Eric Zapata had peace in the activities and daily living of his life. Today in the liturgy and memorials, he will be blessed to rest in peace. 
 
The living of peace — that is now for us to continue, in individual ways, in big and small ways, in ways that matter, in ways that make our life and our world a better place to live in for ourselves and others.

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Morning Glory

 

                            Morning Glory

                                     Susan H. Hajec

The breath of dawn gives birth
to the day reflecting the lavish expression
and perfect personality of God.

Kisses of dew drops hug
the trillium carpets which bloom
in the hills, hollows and valleys
of God’s precious fields.

Migrating birds, a mantle of lace, float
with romantic grace across the ridges and valleys.
Jubilant fields awaken and jump for joy
as the rising sun tiptoes above the horizon.

My heart beckons me into this bountiful orchard
and amidst sparkling streams and waterfalls
I find the radiant beauty of your Presence.
My thankful voice forms a garden arch of praise
and I sing of your Glory.

For the crisp air of this Heaven on earth
speaks sacred sounds of sun-filled serenity.
And in these meadows and hollows,
I find you, my God,
and I celebrate this precious moment.

Yes, you are here in the blossoming vistas of grandeur
and today, in the mountain laurel
and whispering wildflowers, I realize
I am one with all good.

Then silently, in the solitude of evening
I rest and am made comfortable
knowing that You, who are in all,
over all and through all,
in this garden of glory
are the keeper of my soul.

 

 

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Charlie’s Art Studio

Charlie told me he liked trees. Then one day a photo of Charlie painting a tree on one of the walls in his home came across my Facebook page. I take it Charlie really likes trees!

Even though there is snow on the ground today, we know that spring is here and soon the blooms on the crocus and daffodils will do their best to announce the season amidst strange weather across the land.

Charlie’s art has blossomed as well. And it seems to have a lot to do with trees and blossoming. I am awestruck by the dances of colors in his art — how the hues have gone from pallet to canvass or other surfaces to announce life, hope, joy, wonder, buoyancy, spirit leaping…..all these states of being have some meaning to me when I look at the art he has made and shared on facebook. 

This is life, itself, speaking to me. I listen. It speaks wondrously of miracles, sacredness, breath, paths, and the delicacy of humanity. It tells me of purpose within randomness…. the strength of minuteness.

Charlie may have been just playing with color. I don’t know.  My own mind and spirit play when I see this.

Charlie is my young nephew, recently graduated from college. Born and raised on the East Coast in Camden, Delaware, he is now newly married and living and teaching school in Colorado, which in my mind’s eye is a perfect setting for an active, curious, healthy and adventuresome young lad such as he.

He didn’t major in art in school. He says he just likes to draw and paint. Indeed!

It all begins with the seed. So, where does this come from Charlie? This expression is meant to impact — and impact, it does. I absorb the vibrancy.

The day Charlie was born, we got a phone call and my husband’s brother announced to us with great joy and satisfaction, “My Charlie is here.” It was no secret in the family that Joe had always wanted a son he would name Charlie. Now destiny was fulfilled.

Charlie grew and grew and grew and grew…..and then he grew some more. We did not live near each other so every time I would see Charlie, he’d be….well……taller. 

 

 Charlie is fun to be around. His laugh is contagious and I think he finds a lot of things to laugh about.  Some of his discernment in life’s choices seem to come from a place of Christian devotion and in his teaching position now, he can freely draw upon this.

Charlie has a heart for ministry and this makes him a great asset to the Denver Street School where Charlie joined the faculty. He teaches Government/Economics, US History and World History, Social Studies and Bible to students. As important as these studies and Christian faith are to these students, so are the other things Charlie does with them: community service projects, trips to ball games, and encouraging and helping them find a way to succeed at school.

With an emphasis on both education and spiritual wholeness,  Charlie is one among the rest of the caring staff with a 10 to 1 student to teacher ratio working to influence these young people for successful lives, free of addictions, gangs and violence.  In Charlie’s classroom, they have a second opportunity to earn a high school diploma.

These are students who have not succeeded in America’s traditional schools. So you know, something extra, is called upon from all those who serve the students. I believe Charlie has thatsomething extra and it will take his grit and “His Grace” to discover it in their daily encounters together.

This is an exciting time for Charlie and his wife, Brittany, who is pursuing a Registered Nurses degree. Their move to Denver marked “a new beginning” that offers a new beginning to others as well. They trust in the Lord’s blessings upon them which they know they have.

Their world is filled with light and love.  I believe that is what bursts forth through Charlie’s paintings.  When I took some art classes, they told me to “Paint what you see, Sue.”

In Charlie’s paintings, I see…..

The Light, the Seed, the Word, the Wood, Glory in the Tree, the Flame — Paint what you see, Charlie. I want to see it too.

 

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Like a Child

 

Like a Child

                            Like a child, I could giggle when the jetliner
                                   hits turbulance
                            And shout, “Yahoo” on a bumpy landing.

                           Like a child, I could cry when I get overtired
                                  so someone – maybe even me – will know
                                  to lay me down in bed.

                           Like a child, I could laugh a lot at wonders
                                   that amuse me.
                           Then I wouldn’t be so apt to miss them.

                           Like a child, I could ask to be served dessert
                                   first and maybe on some rare occasion — 
                                   get it.

                            Like a child, I could get so lost in the crawling
                                  caterpillar that I would also lose the list
                                  of to-do things in my head.

                            Like a child, I could freely exclaim, “Hey,
                                   that hurt me”
                                   when someone sent
                                   an unkind zinger my way.

                              Like a child, I could wide-eyed and
                                    happily proclaim, “I did it!”  and
                                    then promptly knock it down
                                    and start all over again.

                              Like a child, I could fall asleep in trust
                                     knowing I am cared for and loved.

 

 

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We Have Heard the Seed Growing!

We have heard the seed growing.

 We have seen with our own eyes.

 

We have heard with our own ears.

We were welcomed into a Circle of love and trust.

We honored our intentions for being together.

We worked at our tables.

We loved what we shared and heard.

This is the time and we are the ones, so of course, we danced
and celebrated.

We confirred upon each other and received
our Sacraments of Creativity.

We bestowed blessings upon our world,
our families, friends, and peoples everywhere.

We sat again in our sacred circle.

Sisters are we.

We love you Sister Jan!

Sing a song, sing out loud,
sing out strong.

 

Jan Phillips is a visionary thought leader, award-winning author and dynamic speaker. Jan is known worldwide for her keynote speaking, workshops and multimedia video …

www.janphillips.com/

Experience the warm, hospitable surroundings of Weber Center while taking part in one of our many workshops, special events, and retreats (group, private, or individual directed). Space is also available for any non-profits groups bringing in their own program.

 

   Image

 

   

 

   meeting room

 

   Image

 

   Garden

Modern conference facilities include:

  • Two large meeting rooms with multi-media broadcast capabilities
  • An auditorium with multi-media broadcast capabilities
  • Conference rooms for small groups or breakout sessions

http://weber.adriandominicans.org/Facilities.aspx

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Nicklaus and Palmer

 

I’m going on retreat this weekend to one of my favorite retreat centers. Tom is retreating to his lounge to watch the Masters Tournament on TV. It will be a weekend of fulfilling moments for each of us, I am sure.

Before there were Tiger and Phil…..before digital cameras hit the retail stores…..in others words…..

A long time ago in a land called “I just love golf”, Tom came upon an ad in the newspaper about a very reasonably priced charter flight from Kalamazoo Michigan to Augusta Georgia out of Detroit for a one day excursion to a practice round of the Masters.

We were signed up to go in a jiffy! It was a very early flight out of Detroit, so we reserved a motel with airport service near Detroit Metro and left the night before our plane would depart.

Good thing, actually. We travelled by car along I-94 in an April snow and ice blizzard. Pretty precarious path. Then, in the morning we were driven to our departing terminal,  and boarded the plane (there were three in the charter group).

Then we sat there….on the ground. We were scheduled to depart second. The first charter was air-borne. The de-icer came out and de-iced the wings, not once, not twice — but three times. You know what I’m thinking about this time.

But Tom, like a golfer, trying how to figure out how to get a birdie out of a sure par, sat there ice-faced himself, waiting for the engines to rev up and fly us to Augusta.

We did get to go, but the third plane never got to depart, due to the weather conditions. By the time we deplaned in balmy Georgia, the ice-snow had turned to a steady rain, and the umbrella-group ,herded into the busses waiting for us, were now destined for Augusta National Golf Course.

I love the theme music played throughout the Masters televised event. Raindrops or not, the grounds are a sight to behold. You could almost hear that music just being on the course. I used plenty of rolls of film and can only imagine how many digitals I would have snapped, had that technology been invented. It was somewhere in the late 1990s that this wonderful opportunity presented itself to us and in many of the wondrous travels we would yet make, this still ranks right up at the top with other world-famous spots.

We arrived just in time to watch Lee Trevino’s group tee off on the first hole. We walked every part of the course. We saw and were up close with the golf stars of the day; Jack Nicklaus, Arnie Palmer (Tom’s hero), the Shark  Greg Norman,  Nick Faldo, Nick Price and many others.

After a full day of play (actually, walking for us) we met back at our bus, hitched our plane ride home and had a comfortable drive back to Kalamazoo, bearing souveniers and lots of photo memories, a few of which will complete this post.

I should catch up on just the last part of the winning round when I return from retreat and then I will get to hear one more time the marvelous theme music as the 2011 Masters comes to a close. I am cheering for Phil.

Trevino leaves the first tee.

Nicklaus & Palmer – Two Greats

Masters Leaderboard

Arnie coming out of sand.

Green nestled in sand.

Greg Norman – practice time

Walking along with Jack

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When I began this Napkinwriter blog in late December last year, I promised to introduce you to some of the muses who have influenced the creative work I do and actually the life I live — for they are one and the same.

Meet Jan Phillips who walked into my life around 1995 at my first attendance at the IWWG (International Womens Writing Guild) summer conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

It will come as a surprise to Jan, but unaccustomed, to the high energy of the week-long conference, I first heard about her in the chow-down, constant chatter of the lunch break room of 400 overly-charged, excited creative women.

They were saying something about Jan….Jan……Jan….. and being sure they left the lunchroom to be on time for her 1:00 pm Marrying Your Moose Workshop.

Now I had a hard time choosing which of the truly enticing creative workshops to attend, (for there were too many) but I could not reckon what marrying a moose had to do with creativity.

“No, Sue,” said one. “It’s Marry Your Muse.  You know, the creative partner that gives you your ideas.” 

Oh, that Muse.

So I went to her workshop to find out if I, indeed, wanted to marry my Muse. It turns out, it was love at first sight, and wouldn’t you know it, by the end of the week, I was “hitched up” right there in Jan’s classroom, with Jan doing the spiritual officiating.

It was a mass wedding ceremony, for I don’t think there was a single soul left waiting at the altar by their muse.

We all got to know and love our muse through Jan’s teaching and her Artist’s Creed.

We learned that it was:
                       worth the time it takes to create
                              whatever we are called to create;

We learned that:
                        our work was worthy of its own space
                                and worthy of the word, Sacred

We learned that:
                          we had a right to work uninterrupted

We learned to believe:
                          that what it is that we are called to do
                                   will make itself  known
                                       when we have made ourself
                                                                      ready.

That thread of readiness is what I see and hear, almost twenty years later, in the work of Jan Phillips. Her unique expressions of artistry in her books, photographs, videos, and workshops reflect the joy she receives from the gifts of her muse and prompt us into a readiness to think about and offer our own gifts as co-creators who put forth good into our world.

One of the great things about the IWWG conference is that a woman “without a portfolio” is actually welcomed as a writer, artist, creator. We find out there how we frequently belittle or discount our claim, as in…..”Well, I haven’t actually published anything yet”….or “I’ve started several things but never seem to finish”. 

Jan, in her video, “I am a Woman who Writes” gave us loads of credibility as writer. “I am the woman who writes with fire…writes alone…struggles to believe I have anything to say…write letters to grandson so he knows what I loved along the way…write to find myself between the lines.” Words spoken between images from a young child with the joy of kite flying to the images of women in their 80s and 90s — we are “women who write.”

On her CD cover, “All the Way to Heaven“, Jan says that when she is asked “Why am I doing this?” the answer is always the same: because the joy is in the sharing.

She says that if she does this, she believes someone else will find the courange to do theirs. Because “this is what we do as creators — we shape our thoughts and experiences into forms that can be of use. But they are only useful when we put them out into the world.”

So her CD is a gathering of her prayers and thoughts and love songs, lessons she’s learned along the way, produced in 2001, but making use of words she had written over the previous fifteen years. This is so like many of us artists who have many treasures sitting amongst us that are not out in the light of day yet.

Ten years later, her work is all about sharing what she’s learned about how to be in this world as a creator artist, peace-leader, true companion and champion of  personal uniqueness. And yes, in her presence, you feel her as a cheerleader for each of us to find and express our own creation as a light which our world needs – and without us– will go without.

 For Jan, bushel baskets are for gathering apples at harvest, not hiding our light beneath.

Jan wrote that producing her CD back in 2001 was near the top of the leaps of faith she had made in her life to that point. So what is bigger than a leap? Because she’s been mega-leaping in her creative and spiritual life since that time. Her latest published book is evidence of that.

Do you want to be there when Rumi meets Teilhard? Catherine of Siena meets Dorothy Day? I do.

In “No Ordinary Time, The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creativity”, Jan brings together a tapestry of threads from the arts, sciences, sacred texts, and her own mystical poetry. 

Gloria Steinem describes the book as a lifetime of Aha’s that suddenly give us clarity — about ourselves, about other selves and about our world.

It is a story of one woman’s journey from Catholicism to the new face of global community and co-creation. It is no surprise to me then that she compellingly creates a living illustration of 1)How spiritual practice 2) leads to heightened creativity and 3)expresses itself in inspired evolutionary action.

From the time I’ve known Jan, — from her Artist’s Creed, to I am a Woman Who Writes, through her Marrying the Muse workshop and book, to her stories, songs, and jokes springing forth from her workshops, from her human service mixed into her world travels and communications, to her most recent topics of Original Thinking and Spiritual Intelligence — her artistic expression reveals and calls her own thoughts and images into the world to blend into the sacredness of all. Then, she invites — no actually challenges and dares — others to add their contributions as well to art, thought, imagery, and leadership;  to not hold back; to banish excuses; to lose our littleness and step into the light of day with our own light.

Now those are two long sentences, most likely even grammatically incorrect, but I don’t want to break them up any more The thought is correct and it connects us all to Jan’s work.

Want to know what I think? Here it is:

The writing of this book, “No Ordinary Time”,  is a natural progression of the inspired and compassionate life Jan is living. The reading of this book will lead the readers to try on some new configurations in their own lives that are speaking to them from their own heart.

Find it and many of Jan’s creations at:
http://www.janphillips.com/giftshop.html

Also upcoming workshops in Jan’s Travels:

 April 8-10, 2011  Weber Center, Adrian, Michigan;
Creativity as Sacrament: The Mystery, Power and Grace of Self-Expression. Register by March 25, 2011 For info, http://weber.adriandominicans.org/
Taking registrations through Wed. April 6.

April 15-17 Evolutionary Creativity, Wisdom House, Litchfield, CT
register at jan@janphillips.com or 858-571-1417

 April 29-May 1- Siena Center, Racine, Wisconsin- The Image, the Word, the Story-Tools for Transformation; call Rita Lui, 262-639-4100; http://www.racinedominicans.org/retreats.cfm

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Updating my favorites list for websites and deleting many, I came across this one and was reminded once again of my interest in the power of global prayer.

I am not a part of this group yet, but I am profoundly interested in practicing the peace within and the approach to peaceful exchanges with others, so that this peace can be reflected out into our world.

It is also in tune with my Reiki healing principles and practices, as in, “this day, I shall be kind to every living creature.” “this day, I will let go of anger, hurt.”

I’ve had a couple of non-peaceful episodes lately with others that I am noticing, paying attention to, and desiring to release in peace.

So it is in this spirit that this website caught my eye and my conscience, I suppose, and I am sharing it with you at this time for your own thoughts.

Although my prayer focus is on “pray always”, I will try to bring my attention to the moment of High Noon with the intention of personal peace and healing, extending that to all others and to our lovely world. I will be willing to use the words, “I’m sorry” where necessary and appropriate.

PEACE IN OUR LIFETIME
The Peace Clock

A WORLDWIDE EVENT

STARTING NOW: Wherever you are, perform a silent meditation for world peace

EVERY DAY AT NOON FOR ONE FULL MINUTE

THE GOAL: To have EVERY PERSON ON EARTH performing this event

SYNCHRONIZED INTENTION IS THE KEY

With an alarm, a bell, a note, or any other method that works for you, remind yourself when it is noon in your time zone.

Aquire the active participation of your company, your school, community, city, state and nation.

Involve radio and television. Have them broadcast the PEACE CLOCK name, and slogan, accompanied by one minute of silence every day.

* Above all: approach all interactions with others in peaceful,  constructive and creative ways.
                              (my focus)

 Each Sunday for the past twelve years, many wonderful people all around the world have shared love, prayer and healing energy with individuals featured on our healing list.  We meet from 1-2pm and 8-9pm Eastern Time to focus on the healing list and also planetary healing.   In addition we connect at 12 noon in our own time zone each day.   Peace Clock

We hope you will join us! And if you have already joined the World Healing Network, thanks for your continued support

  Visit http://www.worldhealing.net/

A special note about prayer:
A call to shift to an active and effective form of prayer
called “feeling-based prayer”

 Greg Braden has been sharing important information about  The Lost Mode of Prayer, a powerful tool for changing our lives, our world and our destiny.  The Lost Mode of Prayer was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran.  You will also enjoy this interview with Gregg Braden and Diane M. Cooper on the creative power of this ancient method of feeling-based prayer.

“The Fifth Mode of Prayer is an active form of prayer, based in the technology of human feeling. Rather than thinking “please let this prayer be answered,” this fifth type of prayer invites us to feel as if the prayer has already been answered… Feeling is the power of emotion merged with the guidance of human thought. It is this language of feeling that Creation responds to. In this feeling state we have the ability to touch Creation and the world around us through prayer…As we are surrounded and enveloped by the feeling of our wish fulfilled, we are actually living in a state of compassion, gratitude, and appreciation…”

“Quantum physics is “the study of the non-physical forces affecting our physical world.” From that perspective, when we are dealing with feeling-based prayer we are dealing with quantum science…by feeling the feelings of our prayer already answered, we demonstrate the ancient quantum principle stating that the conditions of peace within our bodies are mirrored in the world beyond our bodies…we acknowledge the power of our prayer and know (feel) that the focus of our prayer has already come to pass…” –Gregg Braden

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