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The Sustainable Fuel in My Life

Do you remember the first time in your life that you wrote a to-do list? Before that, it is likely that you had time to play, hang out, think! What happened then? Yes, yes, life got complicated: too much information, too much communication with demands and expectations to match. All our “fuel”, then, is directed to fulfilling these endless tasks. Check off an item of the list just to add another two, or three, or four. When was the last time I had nothing pending and leftover fuel? When did I finish checking off all the items in my list and breathed with deep satisfaction? In all of this complexity, is there time left to pray? Can we pray anymore? Or is it prayer one more item in the endless to-do list, most probably not a priority one? Is prayer even sustainable in our modern world?

In my experience, prayer has become the “sustainable” fuel in my life. Even more, as time went by, the act of praying underwent a transformation: it started permeating my daily tasks, those items in the to-do list, until it became life sustaining. Before, I used to pray while exercising; now, I exercise so I can pray. Before, I prayed while working; now, work gives life to prayer. Before, I prayed while going to study; now, I study so that prayer expands beyond limits. Now, I live so that my life can be a prayer. Prayer is certainly sustainable in our modern world, and as meaningful as we choose it to be.

Do you pray?

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The Poet's Desk

Did you ever ask yourself where poets write? Is there a place that inspires them the most? Do they have a formal place, an office let’s say, where they go every day to write? Or do they just write their poems on a notepad wherever they may be and whenever the muse inspires them?

Pablo Neruda is one of my favorite poets, and a great inspiration to me. Therefore, when I visited Chile recently, I made sure to visit his house at the edge of the ocean.  “Isla Negra” (Black Island), as he called it, is in a place of stunning beauty. His many collections are displayed there for visitors to enjoy: seashells of all sizes and colors, vintage bottles with ships, masks of various cultures, and so much more. They reflect his attention to detail, the interest he had in everything, especially in sailing and the sea.

As I was pacing through the different rooms, a small rustic desk called my attention. The caption read something like this: “One morning, Pablo Neruda was looking out to the sea when he saw a piece of driftwood from a shipwreck. He said: ‘The sea has brought the desk to the poet’ and went to the beach to sit down and wait for it. It is at this desk where he wrote great part of his work.”

The eyes of the poet see the potential in what many of us can easily overlook, take for granted and readily dismiss. I wonder how many times a possibility, an opportunity has gone by without me noticing. How many times did I fail to find beauty, meaning, depth, taking life for granted? All I need to do is to be able to see with the eyes of a poet, find a desk in the piece of wood adrift, the desk where life becomes a poem.

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Perseverance

 

Perseverance is the strong force enabling us to reach the end of whatever it is that we have started. Nobody will know how much one can accomplish, and there will always be uncertainty about if something is really possible or not. The fulfillment of what one has begun is the only desirable good, the only crown of fidelity.

Where does one find the strength to persevere?

 

I have found that it is through persistence and determination.

 

After forty-six years of living in Community, with many different companions along the way, and throughout all the different stages of life, I have full knowledge that perseverance makes Love possible; that love of the spiritual vocation which is manifest every day.   And this is through the simplest things that happen every day.

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The Unknown

I have a friend who is going through an experience with cancer. We have shared so many happy times together:  holidays and working together. Now I accompany her as she lives this new and unknown space of cancer. She states “this is all new and unknown.”  I realize this is unknown for me too. Part of me wants to pull back.  I am fearful and would like to avoid this unknown territory.  The choice is clearly before me.  I choose to let the awareness of my friend’s situation enter within.  I accompany her and we learn as we go.  I am so grateful. 

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Is it possible to be kind?

kindness

I decided to be kind when I noticed how people frequently respond to each other.  They forget to care and be gentle and consider others' needs.

Some people can be rough and cruel.

When I was using public transportation, I would see mothers standing with their babies in their arms while those sitting looked the other way.

You can hear people being insulted in airports. In school I witnessed teachers and classmates criticizing others and laughing at their deficiencies.

It was after seeing these behaviors that I realized that change can start with a very simple act of kindness. When I was on a bus, I stood up as soon as I saw somebody needed a seat. I controlled my own anger and negative thoughts and emotions. But I still have a long way to go and I want to learn from you.

In what ways do you show that you are kind? Let me know and we can light up the world with a single act of love. Take good care and keep in touch.

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