Let the beauty we love be what we do
We are born fully formed with everything we need – our seeds of true Self, our birthright gifts, our temperament. We come with a sense of connectedness to everything around us. And then the deformation begins.
Our wholeness becomes hidden, We lose sight of our gifts. We misunderstand our temperament. The seeds of true Self go dormant as they recede from the light and nurture they need to grow. We see ourselves as separate from everything around us.
This book offers the stories of 21 remarkably diverse individuals who share the desire to live into their birthright wholeness. The individuals who make up our Writers Circle of Trust made the decision to live divided no more – and that decision often brought them to a retreat, seeking safe space and community for the inner journey. The individuals in this Circle have been invited to share their stories, to go public with their decision to live an undivided life, to name and embrace their ongoing journey, with its shadows and light, stops and starts, bridges and potholes. These are first person narratives which have emerged from the writing of Rumi, 13th century Persian poet, theologian, and mystic, Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
In the 1950’s and ’60’s, my parents, siblings, and I lived in what we dubbed “The Big House”, an old rambling ivy-covered two-story brick house with substantial acreage in rural western Pennsylvania. It was a house filled with odd little spaces – closets, out-of-the-way bathrooms, bedrooms, a pantry, big dining room, little dining room, basement, and rooms within rooms.
It is 1953. My mother, with me assisting, is determined to splint the twisted leg of a female bald eagle whose broken wing is making her frantic and dangerous, enclosed as she is in the water closet of a downstairs bathroom. My job is to distract her with a hamburger-laden popsicle stick while my mother tackles the leg. “Her wing”, my mom assures me, “will heal on its own.” I am timid but resolute, fearing that my mom will be mauled if I fail to accomplish my job; truthfully I am afraid she will be shredded regardless.
This magnificent creature who has the capacity to crush bones with her beak, grips my mother’s wrist, all eight skimpy little bones of it, just under her skin. I want to shut my eyes, but I can’t. My mother is humming now, “My grandfather’s clock”. It takes her an eternity to splint the leg, hampered as she is by the beak around her wrist. But my mom perseveres, and the eagle does nothing aggressive, not once; she simply keeps my mom’s wrist in her beak.
Over the years “The Big House” served as sanctuary for wild animals of all kinds – the wounded, the sick, and the orphaned. My mother was the principle healer, but we all did what we could, often giving up a bedroom, a bathtub, or a closet for a turkey, orphaned possums, deer, snakes, fox, skunks, raccoons, bobcat, bugs, birds, ducks, dogs, a bear cub. We kids never knew who we would be greeting (by name) as we lugged our backpacks up the long hill, home from school.
My mom’s love of the untamed embraced streams, ocean corals, trees, mountains, caves, wildflowers, rocks, prairie grasses. The learning for me has been profound, and life long. All life has immeasurable value, no one form of any more or less value than any other, including the humans. This was my
Rarely do I assign five stars to a book. There are always reasons why I withhold one or more, for it always seems to me that five stars means perfection. However, in this case, there is a kind of perfection: it’s a kind of perfect joy that these essays elicited in me, reading these reflections, for they remind me that the undivided life is not only possible but it is beautiful. And it is never too late to approach this way of being in the world.
This is a rare book where each participant/writer has so well and humbly written thoughts that only she or he has and knows. Without pretense these remarkable folks have allowed me into their hearts and lives, and into the living circle that is called a “Circle of Trust”.
This is a collection of stories — for each of our lives is a rare and wonderful story — which I began reading early one recent evening and found myself setting aside with lights-out at midnight! I hope that readers everywhere will find similar joy spending a quiet evening with Sally Hare, Megan LeBoutillier, and their friends.
This book will have you up and down the emotional scale as you live thru the words of each person’s journey to their own undivided life. As a Courage To Teach, Courage To Lead, and Teacher Leader participant, I felt like I was once again in a Circle of Trust as I made my own personal connections to the stories being so eloquently told. I admire those who have the courage to publicly put their voice out there for others as an example of the world we are all striving for–one that is just, compassionate, nurturing, and professional. The contributors to this book are living proof that living a life undivided is an ongoing journey filled with bumps and twists and turns and many, many rewards. No matter what profession you are, there is something inspirational and thought-provoking for you in the pages of this book. You will NOT be disappointed!
I very rarely write a book review. However, after reading the twenty one stories in this collection, I felt compelled to share my thoughts.What all these stories share in common is the ability to pull us back into ourselves, and to think and reflect on why we’re here and what really matters. Much too often, I think, individuals just drift through life on cruise control never realizing their dreams and passions. The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas sums it up: ” if you bring forth what is within you, it will save you; if you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you”.
The diverse stories in this book exemplify individuals who have “danced with their shadow”, have paid the price, have listened to their heart, and are “bringing forth what is within them”.