GNL number 28

the GOOD NEWS lately

a report of doings at meeting #28, Sunday, November 8, 2009
including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends

INVOCATION

Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn’t learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn’t learn a little,
at least we didn’t get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn’t die:
so let us all be thankful.
——the Buddha



THEME

Several of our number couldn’t attend today; Sue, Chris, Gail, and MaryLou sent their love and Sue sent email notes as well on our topic GRATITUDE. From these Nancy read some quotes and a passage about the daily rituals Sue observes that involve stating gratitudes in several different forms from at least three different traditions. See AFTERWORDS, below, for her quotes and notes.

Ann expressed the wish we humans could more often appreciate things in the here and now rather than later, when they’re gone; and she brought several quotes, some 6-wordies, and this word-association list-poem on gratitude:

Gratitude, latitude, magnitude, multitude, attitude, solitude, solitary, unitary, voluntary, wary, scary,
thimbleberry, prickleberry, stickleberry, skipping merry, merry Skippy….with….gratitude.

(And for the rest of Ann’s goodies, please see AFTERWORDS.)

Anna spoke gratefully of the gorgeous day first, and then the wonderful folk music concert in Schoharie the night before, with great local musicians (Kim and Reggie Harris, Magpie, and Rev. Rick Hill) donating their services to benefit the new Butterfly Cafe program in Cobleskill (of Tuesday meals for those in need). She also noted she’d found she’s even a little grateful for her declining memory, since that way she can enjoy things anew, over and over!

Vijaya, who’d also attended the benefit concert and had been a fan for many years of Kim and Reggie, was enthusiastic about it too, but she also had just enjoyed concocting an adventurous quinoa dish for lunch, so also gave us an enthusiastic account and how-to of that fun. (And the dish was fabulous, too.)

Cynthia said she had been reading a book by the Afghan author of The Kite Runner (A Thousand Suns by Khaled Hosseini), and it made her feel very grateful to have been born and raised in the USA. And she had cooked a soup which, set to simmer on the woodstove, made her think of many more things to be grateful for. These Cyn listed for us, and we reproduce in AW, along with the Recipe, for “Gratitude Soup”. (And she reminded the rest of us to email her our recipes for the cookbook too!)

Adair, though admitting she has had complaints about aspects of her present job, still spoke of her deep gratitude for having it at this moment in her life, as it’s made possible not only the choice of expensive veterinary care, but preparation of her present home for sale and her eventual move to Maine. She also gave us a very memorable 6-wordie: Joy is contagious; share it daily.

Jack again expressed gratitude for the band of kind and good-humored women who are his caregivers, and the other group of regular, furry visitors who provide much good care as well—Evelyn’s pet dogs. He also showed us something he was glad to rediscover—his booklet of his collected Letters to the Times Journal, which it turns out is full of not only arguments for world peace, but many notes of pleasure in the wonders of life at hand. (For a literal instance, the one on the amazingly talented human hand, page 30…)

Nancy said she wanted to be able to see with more open eyes, and think thank-you notes not just for presents, but for gifts—abilities we tend to take for granted, like being able to see, hear, walk, write, so many things—and beauty waiting for us in nature, in people’s kindness, courage. She felt especially grateful today not only for the people in her life, but for the way her achy old body still wanted to move and live and heal, in all ways. And for music, and for Skippy, as reminder of grace, as community, as way of witness. She showed a version of the Iroquois Thanksgiving Address, which is not for “Thanksgiving Day” but every day. And some quotes too, in AW.


BENEDICTION

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass,
it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
—-Henry Miller

Find the good and praise it.
—–Alex Haley



NEXT TIME

Sunday, December 13, 2009 (1030), at Jack’s. The subject is ABUNDANCE. And we repeat below Sue’s original idea for this:

My suggested topic/activity — “Opening our hearts to abundance” — Each person prepares a basket and fills it with symbols of their prosperity. (Examples: a dollar to represent material wealth, a book to symbolize knowledge, objects and/or pictures/photos of family, friends, places to remember the treasures of our relationships, places we’ve loved to be, experiences, etc.) We will also decide on a charity that benefits some disenfranchised population—refugees, the homeless, hungry, etc. and set aside some money as a Charity/Justice (hebrew-tzedakah) offering. Follow activity with a shared meal.

We will also have a space at the center of our circle to place the objects from our baskets—after we have shown them to others and talked about them. This space will be decorated with fruit, flowers, and a box for the charity/justice offering. Idea adapted from Rabbi Shefa Gold, “Torah Journeys, The Inner Path to the Promised Land,” BenJehuda Press, 2006.


AFTERWORDS

from Sue:

First some Quotations:

  • “…gratitude is a mind-set, a way of seeing and thinking that is rooted in a remembrance—the remembrance of being without the gift. As the philosopher William Barrett reminds: “’Think’ and ‘thank’ are kindred roots, and the German word andranken—literally ‘to think on’—means to remember; hence, think, thank and remembrance are related notions. Real thinking, thinking that is rooted in Being, is at once an act of thanking and remembrance.”
    ~E. Kurtz & K. Ketcham, The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling & the Search for Meaning, p.176
  • “Gratitude is the beginning of wisdom” ~Ted Williams, Tuscaroroa Elder, Healer and Writer, in address to Iroquois Indian Museum Annual Fall Festival
  • “This slogan [‘Be Grateful to Everyone’] encourages you to realize that when you’ve met your match, you’ve found a teacher.” ~Pema Chödron, Start Where You Are, Shambhala; 1st ed. (1994), p.5
  • “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” ~Cicero
  • “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~Meister Eckhart
  • Go to http://www.nativevillage.org/Inspiration-/iroquois_thanksgiving_address.htm to see the traditional Iroquois Thanksgiving Address laid out in a lovely way.

The more stories I learned to tell, the more cultures I came to know through storytelling, and the more I read in Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, the more I’ve come to understand that gratitude for every sunrise we see, for every experience (even the tough ones) that comes to us, for every breath we take, is the place to most openly, and joyfully move through this life. Being a quick to judge, quick to anger as my first defense against adversity, I’ve found it very helpful to begin my day with prayer, affirmations and thanksgiving—and wish I could remember to keep repeating what I say in the morning throughout my days.

Right now I’m just grateful to have reached this day in pretty good health, and with so many family members and friends to love and to be loved by. The older I get the easier it is to just be grateful I’m still here, still breathing, still able to find lots of reasons to smile and laugh.
I have been most inspired in arranging my morning prayers and rituals by the 1. Iroquois Thanksgiving Address (which I say while I do the Yoga Sun Worship postures, 2. the Buddhist practice of bowing in gratitude to a number of Bodhisatvas, and 3. most recently by the practice davenning (bowing/ bobbing) as I work my way through a very edited set of Jewish morning prayers. Because I slowly added these numbered items to my morning routine—I tend to be repeating gratitudes in several different forms and from at least 3 different traditions—and often I realized that I’m doing all this because I NEED to get sort of reboot my wayward mind to sit in the gratitude seat and to fortify my intention to keep doing this all day.

from Ann:

GRATITUDE

How come thankfulness or gratitude for the sound ankle, the sunny stunning day, the long everyday, fulfilling acquaintance seems to come only after a broken ankle, a rainy day, a lost loved one, etc. Can we not live in the moment of gratitude?

Thanks to whom, is that necessary? Give thanks, gratitude for what is, sense of connection, peace.

Alfred Painter: Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.

Buddha:Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

G. K. Chesterton:You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

Leroy [Satchel] Paige: [D]on’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.

“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.”~Lucille Ball

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Gratitude, latitude, magnitude, multitude, attitude, aptitude, solitude, solitary, unitary, voluntary, wary, scary, thimbleberry, prickle berry, stickle berry, skipping merry, merry Skippy…with… gratitude.

Six Wordies:

  • From AARP article on holiday memories in 6 words: Dad was Santa, mom was exhausted.
  • Scarlet, russet, golden, bronze, (autumn glow). Challenge group ending:
    scarlet, russet, golden, bronze, fall exploding (—–from Adair)
  • Thanks to my teachers, all of’em.
  • Time given, time served… the same?
  • I am grateful, when I remember.
  • “Sweet are the uses of adversity” and “Sermons in stones…good in everything” (Shakespeare, As You Like It)

from Cynthia:

GRATITUDE SOUP

6 slices bacon, fried very crisp (optional for vegetarian version)
1/2 cup each coarsely chopped onion and celery
1 Tbs olive oil plus a bit of bacon drippings
1 cup boiling water
(hot pepper flakes, cumin and celery seed as desired)
Remove bacon from heavy frying pan to drain on paper towels, leaving some of the bacon drippings in the pan. Add olive oil, oniions and celery, stir-fry till lightly browned. Add (or not!) pepper flakes, whole cumin and celery seed to taste. Stir in the cup of boiling water and let simmer while assembling the following ingredients into a large heavy pot:
4 cups cooked or canned beans with liquid
4 cups diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups cooked or canned mashed pumpkin seasoned with 2 teaspoons cumin powder and 1/2 teaspoon each–salt, pepper, allspice, ginger and coriander
1 cup well drained, finely chopped sauerkraut
Blend all together and add simmered onion/celery mix. Cover and simmer till dinner time. If using bacon, place a strip in the bottom of each bowl then spoon soup over, sprinkle grated cheese on top and serve with toast, crackers or freshly baked rolls!
As I put this lovely soup to simmer on the woodstove, I think of all the things I have to be grateful for this chilly November afternoon. So, they too become ingredients, stirred in gently and giving rise to an aromatic peace of mind. As darkness falls, supper is ready and we settle in for an evening of safe, warm togetherness.

GRATITUDE:

  • FOR BEING BORN IN THIS COUNTRY, AT THIS PLACE IN TIME
  • FOR THIS OLD, COMFORTABLE HOUSE WE CALL HOME
  • FOR THE ONION AND CELERY GROWERS, AND FOR ALL THAT MAKES OLIVE OIL AND BACON POSSIBLE
  • FOR HAVING SPICES FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, STASHED IN REPURPOSED JARS IN MY CUPBOARD
  • FOR FRESH, PLENTIFUL, CLEAN WATER
  • FOR THE AMAZING AND AFFORDABLE CHOICE OF DRIED OR CANNED BEANS
  • FOR TOMATOES AND THOSE WHO MAKE THEM AVAILABLE IN OR OUT OF SEASON
  • FOR MY NEIGHBOR’S SWEET, SHY OFFERING OF SURPLUS PUMPKINS FROM HER GARDEN
  • FOR CABBAGE…SO STURDY AND SO VERSATILE
  • FOR STACKS OF DRY FIREWOOD AND THE HUSBAND WHO PROVIDES THEM
  • FOR THE GATHERINGS KNOWN AS CHURCH OF SKIPPY
  • and MORE!!!

Cynthia (together with Gail) suggests a topic idea for a future meeting: Something they call BABALOOS, which refers to ways of unloading and defusing frustrations (healthy ones hopefully?)
——-They will elaborate next time.

from Nancy:

Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live.
—–Jacqueline Winspear

Gratitiude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all the time gratitiude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.
—–Marelisa Fabrega

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you”?
—–William A. Ward

Don’t you think it would be a good idea, if sometimes instead of praying or asking for something for ourselves, or even for someone else, we just said to God, “thank you for a very nice day”?
—–suggested to Dr. James Gordon by his old mentor, Harvard professor Bill Alfred

and from a conversation where Shug is instructing Celie about God and life…….
Listen, God love everything you love—and a mess of stuff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration.
You saying God vain? I ast.
Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.
—–The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: