Author Archive

A PRAYER FROM AMERICA


A PRAYER FROM AMERICA

Peace to All People on Earth: A Prayer from America
by Charlene Costanzo


God bless me,
my family
and all families.

And peace to all people on Earth.

Bless my friends
And everyone’s friends.

And peace to all people on Earth.

Bless the creatures
who swim and fly,
creep, crawl, and climb,
hop, run, and roam.

Bless all our homes.

And peace to all people on Earth.

Bless all fruits and flowers,
grains and greens,
oceans and rivers,
lakes and streams,
every rock and stone,
every grain of sand,
every speck of soil on every land.

Bless America.

Bless all countries.

Bless the sun, the moon,
all the planets and stars.

And peace to all people on Earth
(c)Charlene Costanzo 2009 ALL RIGHTS


Martin Luther King Jr. Quote

 

A MESSAGE SENT TODAY VIA THE “INNERNET”

A MESSAGE SENT TODAY VIA THE “INNERNET”

During the past week, I came across several references to the “Innernet.”
This clever and evocative name is already being used by individuals and businesses in a host of ways. A quick Google search offers over 650,000 results.

But imagine an Innernet… the Innernet… as real and relevant as the Internet, perhaps even more so, because absolutely everyone on the planet is on it. Imagine a wondrous energy web in which we are all connected, sending and receiving messages 24/7.

I wondered: How we might use this Innernet to spread hope on the planet? That question triggered a memory that I’d like to share with you now.

It was a typical summer day in Sedona, Arizona. The cloudless blue sky provided a perfect back drop for the area’s amazing rock formations. While waiting for the stop light to change from red to green at the intersection of 179 and 89A–where there is now a roundabout –I watched a young woman clothed in a long-white robe cross the street in front of my car. Only when she reached the other side and stepped on to the sidewalk did I notice her feet. They were bare! The air temperature outside my car was nearly 100. Imagine the heat of the black asphalt!

When the signal changed, I u-turned and pulled into a strip mall driveway so that I could encounter the young woman. I rolled down my window and offered her money for shoes. “I cannot accept money,” she said.

I offered her my sandals.

“Thank you. But, I cannot accept shoes either. Being shoeless is voluntary for me. It’s a kind of prayer,” she said. The young woman went on to explain that being shoeless was part of loving service she was doing for humankind. Beaming with joy, she offered to chant a blessing for me, which I accepted.

On that day, in that way, she sent a Therevada Buddhist Blessing out on the Innernet.
Today, in this way, I am sending a similar one from The Twelve Gifts for Healing:

May you allow fear to soften and melt away.

May you release all regrets and resentments.

May you see the world with wonder.

And may you imagine only good things.

May hope rise within you.

May peace wash over you.

May you hear the voice of wisdom.

Listening, may you act with trust.

May your heart open.

May joy emerge.

May love flow through you.

May you heal and help others.

What if, just once each day, we each simply whisper “Hope”
and we send that out on the Innernet?

 

WHAT IS IT ABOUT STONES?

Aunt Mary Lou's stones

What is it about stones?  So many of us are drawn to them.

The accompanying photo illustrates this phenomenon.  It shows a collection of pebbles picked up over a lifetime of travel around the world.  It belonged to my Aunt Mary Lou.   In one stone she etched “Greece, 1979.”  In another “Syracusa, Sicily.” Other stones are from Germany, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Russia, China, Egypt, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, and places I don’t remember.

Why, like so many people around the world, did Mary Lou stoop to pick up stones when she walked on Earth?

An obscure Eastern European fable offers an explanation. In The Thirteenth Gift we

learn about a kingdom that was suffering as a result of growing fears. One night the inhabitants of that kingdom entered a deep sleep, visited the dream realm together, and shared a vision: Everyone saw how all creation breathes together in the heart of Love.  In the morning, rousing from sleep, everyone held a shimmering stone.  Like the details of the dream, each stone faded and disappeared within moments.  Yet each stone had remained in hand long enough to anchor the vision. According to the story, that is why people are drawn to stones. Stones urge us to hold on to the truth of who we are.  We pick them up because we yearn to remember who we are, to see the world with wonder, and to experience the truth of the dream that lives in the consciousness of all humanity.

FIVE MINUTES FOR PEACE

Ice Cube Melting

Here is a simple practice you can incorporate into your day with relative ease no matter how busy you are. It is a small yet real way to foster peace within yourself and bring a measure of peace into the world. Over time, it can become a sacred daily ritual with profound effects.

Upon waking or before you begin your work day, remove an ice cube from your freezer and place it in a cup, saucer, or bowl. Set the container in a room temperature place where it will remain undisturbed by pets or children.

See the ice cube as representing fear, your own fear in all the ways it shows up, as well as fear in the world.  Silently or out loud say, “This represents fear. I am willing to allow my feelings of fear to soften and melt away.”

Go about your day.

At a convenient time later in the day, bring your attention again to the container. Notice the water now in the liquid state. See it as representing fear transformed. Bless the water. Use this water to nourish a plant in your home. Or, go outdoors and pour it onto a place where, symbolizing your intention of contributing to healing on Earth, this modicum of water can nourish some tiny living thing.

LOOK UP!

 

Look Up Moss in Tree

Please try this: Sometime today, pause, and for a moment, look up. Be open to see something new. Or, look all around you and be open to seeing differently.

While out for a walk this morning, I stopped under a tree and did this.  Just then, the stillness in the air was replaced by a sweet gentle breeze. A string of Spanish Moss hanging from a branch directly over my head swayed back and forth and then twirled in circles.  Can you see it?  It seemed to be dancing with delight. The child in me imagined that the moss somehow noticed my attention. Read more

DON’T WORRY, DON’T HURRY

Don't hurry

photo credit Steve Barrow

“Don’t hurry, don’t worry.  You’re only here for a short visit.  So be sure to stop and smell the flowers.” – Walter Hagen

WE ALL HAVE GIFTS TO SHARE: THE GIFTS OF YANA

I am always on the lookout for demonstrations of The Twelve Gifts. Often I encounter them in unexpected ways.  One time it was during a mammogram.

The radiology technician, Janice, and I made small talk. At the end of the procedure, as I was ready to leave, Janice stopped me and said, “For some reason I want to give you something. It’s a poem written by my daughter.”

And in just a few minutes, before her next scheduled patient, Janice told me a little about the life …and death… of her daughter, Yana.

After years of running away, struggling, and rebelling, at age 24 Yana moved back to her hometown, reconciled with her parents, and began to live her life joyfully, creatively, and responsibly.  Janice was once again enjoying her bright, spirited daughter and the woman she was becoming.

Janice was at her job at the medical center when she heard that, while hiking, a young woman had fallen off a cliff. The accident was probably fatal. Janice began praying for peace for the girl’s soul and for her family. As she did, Janice experienced a sense of peace, feeling that the girl had died doing what she loved.

When Janice learned that the girl was her own beloved Yana, she went into shock.  For awhile, Janice was completely numb.  But slowly, as she began to feel again, she discovered and received many gifts, not in the death, but in the life of Yana.  Some may seem small, but they are significant things that reveal Yana’s large spirit.

For example, looking through photographs, Janice noticed that throughout Yana’s life, from early childhood on, whenever she posed for a picture, Yana leaned in and touched her head to another person in the photo. Janice hadn’t observed that before.  Since that recognition, Janice leans in to touch heads during photos and, in general, “leans in” more to touch and connect with people.

At the funeral, a 60 year-old woman who worked at a grocery store with Yana years earlier–when Yana had seemed to be a troubled teen–told Janice about her daughter’s kindness to homeless people who came into the store looking for handouts.

Most recently, Yana was working as a waitress.  A diner whom Janice had served told Janice about an incident that revealed Yana’s honesty.  Before ordering, he had asked Yana if she had tried the prime rib. Yana answered, “Yes and it is delicious.” Later, she told that man that she wanted to come clean with him. “I’m a vegetarian,” she said. “I didn’t taste the prime rib. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the truth.”

Months later, on what would have been Yana’s 25th birthday, Janice received a poem that Yana had written a year before she died. Her fiancé had found it among her things and saved it to give to Janice on that special day.  It was the poem she shared with me after my mammogram, which I would like to share with you now:

Sometimes…..just for one minute
everything is perfect
and in that moment everything is
nothing
and time and space become
completely irrelevant
because in that moment a lifetime is
lived.
However insignificant you think
whatever you’re doing is
it is all most important to do.
The purpose or meaning to life is
exactly that.
Yana

Yana’s wisdom, friendliness, compassion, truthfulness, love….all live on in many ways.  For her mother, as she shares stories and is influenced by them, and for us, as we hear them and are perhaps influenced by them, too.  I know that I am now more likely to lean in and touch my head to someone in a photograph with me. I very well may recall Yana’s “coming clean” when I catch myself in a seemingly harmless white lie. I will remember and be guided by her compassion if ever I begin to judge or feel discomfort around a homeless person.

We all have gifts to share–our own and the gifts we see in our loved ones –that can enrich our lives and help us to be better people.

HOMESICK? CONSIDER AN UPLIFT FROM HOME

I came upon a John-Roger quote about “home” this morning. When I read it, a memory and idea popped up and got my attention, like the first hot corn kernels that hit the bag in the microwave and call for me to watch and take care.

The quote is:

“Sometimes a person will feel a sadness and despair that nothing in this world can relieve. It is experienced almost as a feeling of homesickness, and that is actually what it is.” John-Roger goes on to say that we all long to be in touch with this place of “home” in us, the soul place in us, especially when we are out of touch with it.

I’ve known that feeling. Have you?

Well, the memory that suddenly popped was this:

In 1987, my sister-in-law, Mary Margaret, and I started an enterprise called UPLIFTS FROM HOME. It was a part of our main business, TISKET A TASKET, which was a gift basket service located in Jamestown, New York.

Through UPLIFTS FROM HOME, parents sent gift boxes to their away-from home college children who may be experiencing homesickness. Each monthly UPLIFT FROM HOME gift box was designed to nurture a student with food for the body, inspiration for the mind, and love for the spirit, all in a fun way. UPLIFTS FROM HOME were sent to military sons and daughters too.

The idea that burst forth was this:

What if we regularly sent ourselves some sweet little UPLIFT from that place of HOME within us? I think that this very idea came from that place of HOME in me! But, how would we do that? The intention itself is a start.

I invite you to consider sending your self AN UPLIFT FROM HOME today, from that place in you that loves you unconditionally.

What do you think of this idea? Goofy? Maybe. But maybe we all need to be a little goofy now and then. Consider having some fun with this. Be playful. Be child-like.
And let that place of HOME in you let you know that you are loved.

Eat some popcorn.
Play a piece of music you love.
Do a little dance.
Smile.
Tune in to the place of HOME in you.

GOD’S CHAIR

Sedona Arizona God's Chair by Robert Arnone

photo credit Robert Arnone

Focus your attention on the center of this scene in Sedona, Arizona.

Notice the upward protrusion.

Does this Red Rock formation suggest anything to you?

Throughout Sedona, many rocks have been given names

Based on what the formations suggest.

There’s Bell Rock, Snoopy Rock, Coffeepot Rock, and more.

This one is called God’s Chair.

Can you see why?

Whenever I see this rock,

I am filled with a sense of Protection,

Which becomes a reminder of the Presence…

Everywhere.

Not just in some heavenly chair.

But everywhere

Out there, far away,

And right here, in you and me.

Whatever you believe about the Source of Life and the Universe,

Consider today looking for the Presence of Meaning everywhere,

Especially in things that feel confusing.

Consider seeking the Presence of Beauty everywhere,

Especially in what may appear ugly.

Consider trusting that the Presence of Love is everywhere,

Especially in situations that seem to lack love.

God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere.” – St. Bonaventure

THIS MEANS SOMETHING!

Have you ever seen the 1977 science fiction film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind? The main character, Roy, who is played by Richard Dreyfuss, has a vague image of a mountain in his mind after he sees a UFO. Feeling compelled to find the meaning of that mountain, he attempts to form that mountain in a pile of shaving cream in his hand, in a heap of mashed potatoes on his dinner plate, and in mounds of sand outdoors, as well as in soil he carts into his kitchen. With each zealous effort, he exclaims, “This means something! This means something!”

Sometimes I feel like that character, Roy. Often, when I think about, speak about, or write about life’s gifts, my heart seems to proclaim, “This means something! This means something…SOMETHING MUCH MORE THAN WE YET REALIZE!” And I want to know: what is it about these gifts that we do not yet realize? I sense that when we do realize (as in understand), we are going to realize (as in bring about) a profound transformation.

I sense that, even with the high regard and deep appreciation I have for life’s gifts, it is only a dim glimmer compared to what is possible for us to realize. Perhaps that’s why, like the film character Roy, I feel driven to seek better understanding of these gifts and to learn how to use them consciously day-by-day.

I invite you to join me on this quest. Together, let’s realize.