NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

Staying Awake

August 30, 2017

 

" . . . Be kind, but be fierce. 

You are needed now more than ever before . . ."

—Winston Churchill. 

 

I am not feeling particularly calm today, and so I am using the "Yes, and..." awareness practice from The Book of Calm

 

"YES, I am feeling extremely jaggedy today, AND I am grateful for everyone and everything in my life—near and far, wide-open to both the beauty and turmoil around me."

 

Once admitted to myself, I can sense the conflicting energies within. I remember that beneficial actions are an antidote to such unease and confusion. My action today has been to be vulnerable, courageous, and awake to how connected we all are—simultaneously—by that beauty and turmoil.

 

So I'm asking my Facebook friends—and you, my supportive reader—once again for a contribution and sharing of this blog during this last week of the publicity campaign for The Book of Calm and its timely, much-needed message of clarity, compassion, and choice as we walk through our days. Twenty per cent of all proceeds contributed from today, August 29th and through next Monday, September 4th will be donated to reputable charities helping people who are displaced and otherwise impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Here is the link: http://igg.me/at/the-book-of-calm

 

Thirty of you have contributed over the last month, two of you just today. The book and I thank you! I know it's been both a wild and wonderful summer, and Labor Day weekend is fast approaching, and all of you may be feeling jaggedy in one way or another. 

 

May we all be kind and fierce today—and everyday—our eyes wide open, our hearts willing, our actions beneficial in small and large ways. May we stay awake to what is going on inside of us and outside of us, as poet William Stafford urges us in his poem A Ritual to Read to Each Other:*

 

If you don't know the kind of person I am / and I don't know the kind of person you are / a pattern that others made may prevail in the / world / and following the wrong god home we may / miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind, / a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break / sending with shouts the horrible errors of / childhood / storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each / elephant's tail, / but if one wanders the circus won't find the /  park, / I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty / to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something / shadowy, / a remote important region in all who talk: / though we could fool each other, we should / consider— / lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the / dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake, / or a breaking line may discourage them back to / sleep; / the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe— / should be clear: the darkness around us is deep. 

 

 

* William Stafford, "A Ritual to Read to Each Other" from The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems.

Copyright © 1998 by William Stafford.  Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

 

 

 

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Calming Practice: To Do, or Nap?

 

Sometimes the urge to ignore the energy to "Do Something" is overwhelming.

A nap calls, or a walk whispers.

Though sometimes the Doing is the answer.

Not always, though often enough.

That's when an aware discernment, and listening to one's very core, are needed.

And a little humor and a little help from friends.

 

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