GNL number 29

the GOOD NEWS lately

a report of doings at meeting #29, Sunday, December 13, 2009
including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends

INVOCATION

Riches are not from abundance of worldly goods, but from a contented mind.
—Lao Tsu



THEME

And we had so much to show and tell about our theme today that we could probably say we were abundant with ABUNDANCE. It was Sue’s idea, and she opened the testimonies with her basketful of symbols. This contained photos to represent her family now and in childhood, as well as beautiful places she’s been, including her own land; and a book that had entranced her as a child (Swiss Family Robinson), starting a lifelong passion for books, language and poetry. She brought a set of her daily poem booklets to share with us, and also read some good quotes on our topic, included with further notes in AFTERWORDS, below.

Adair brought two small owl figures to signify her sense of the richness of the natural world; and then to represent her love of books, she told of a visit she’d made to the Library of Congress in Washington, which made an indelible imprint on her with its huge, hushed halls of apparently endless books, such a shrine to learning that it felt like a cathedral.

Jack showed, as a symbol of the treasure that was his marriage to Louise, the little scrapbook of notes he wrote her years ago when he went on his daily walks; and we took turns reading aloud and delighting in these. Then he showed his niece Penny’s new book, On Teaching Religious Literacy to Adolescents, which not only represented that close relationship, but wonderfully important work he would applaud by anyone.

Anna didn’t bring any possums or white skunks from her wonderful wild yard, but did cite that wild yard and nature as her treasure; and as someone who buys little and recycles everything, she said her interpretation of abundance is truly “less is MORE”. Others present praised the abundant charm of her candid photographs, especially of life in New York City.

Among the symbols of abundance that Gail brought were a favorite item today–family photos–, and some not common ones–rocks, to represent nature, but one in particular painted by Virginia also suggesting creativity and art; and an apple, for the Sondergaard farm and husband Cliff; and then a shuttle, to represent the love of learning so strong in her family (she cited her dad learning to weave as an adult, inspiring Gail to learn too, and her sister, who has learned and taught her so much about biology).

Cynthia spoke of delights found in childhood, a formative one with food (which helped propel her into study of nutrition), and with books (she had spent many happy hours as a sickly child in Grandma’s roomful of books, with ones like Aesop’s Fables). Then she too cited the beauties of the natural world and plant life in particular, which she represented with the calendar of her own gorgeous pen and ink drawings of plants (which she passed around for us to put our birthdays in, and we urged her to make more of for us).

Ann’s riches included some in common with others here, like dried flowers for the wealth of plant life (especially trees, well-loved and studied by both Ann and Elliott), but she’s the only one who brought a kayak’s anchor, symbolizing her treasured time on the river. She also brought a book that’s been fascinating her —SUM: 40 Tales From the Afterlives, by neuroscientist David Eagleman, with its stunning imaginative insights into the human condition. (Ed. note: Eagleman calls himself not sectarian, mystic, or atheist, but “Possibilian.”)

Nancy got carried away again and could hardly carry her basket, but it was Abundance after all. She too brought photos of her dear big family, and address book (for friends), and flowers, veggie seeds, butterfly, fossil to represent nature. And music is precious to her, so there were also cds, a tambourine, and music box…And for the glories of the human body–senses, hands and feet, to name a few, there were items too, as there were for our wonderful mind, with its capacity for delight, smiles, laughter, creative acts, language, communication, and all the connecting this makes possible. (Amen, she said.)

And speaking of delights, we were very happy to be joined by Mary, Jack’s new nextdoor neighbor whom he had invited, and when we asked her for her thoughts on our topic, she said that recently her sense of abundance derives from becoming friends with Jack and visiting with him. And because of Mary’s idea for Jack to be able to hear radio music first thing in the morning, some of the group were able to set it up with automatic timer for him.

At the end of this meeting, we did pass a “justice” offering bowl and decided to offer the contents to the Cobleskill Earth Day program, the International Rescue Committee, and the House of Flowers Orphanage in Afghanistan. And we liked it so much, we decided to continue to make these offerings, all of us to suggest organizations as potential recipients.



BENEDICTION

Look at you, you madman! Screaming you are thirsty and dying in a desert, when all around you there is nothing but water!
—Kabir



NEXT TIME

Sunday, January 10, 2010 (1030), at Jack’s place. The topic: “What if…” (suggested by Cynthia and Gail, who withdrew the Babaloo suggestion for further development.) Also please add the idea of Music to our list of possible topics.

And please be thinking about causes you’d like to suggest we support with our monthly offering.



AFTERWORDS

from Sue:

  • “ Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”
    –Wayne Dyer
  • “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”
    –Wayne Dyer
  • “I noted that people are happy here in India. When I went back home, people had everything in the materialistic sense and were surrounded with abundance, but they were not happy.”
    –Goldie Hawn
  • “Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.”
    –Epicurus
  • “There came into the world an unlimited abundance of everything people need. But people need everything except unlimited abundance.”
    –Karel Capek
  • “To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.”
    –Buddha
  • “When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears”
    –Anthony Robbins

Notes: Sources of Abundance in my life
**Love-family, friends–I have always been loved–I’ve always had lots of people to love
Stories and storytelling
**Prayer, meditation, bowing, gratitude practices—and the superabundance of teachings from Judaisim and Buddhism in particular that have nourished me. (Mezzuzah)
and which keep teaching me to stop and look/listen and then I see abundances of beauty/love/peace all around me.
**Abundances of connections between my small individual self and all other beings, ideas and places
Troubles—mental and physical illness, death and dying, conflicts among loved ones—have brought me an abundance of opportunities to learn patience, compassion, generosity, loving-kindness because they knock me hard against my impatience, selfishness, greed, tendencies to rage, despair and blame–I focused most on my brother Steve when I spoke of this.
**Seeds–gardening abundance and metaphoric seeds of love, creativity, etc everywhere I look
Other Abundances-Good Books, wonderful songs, National Parks, Natural beauty in my back yard and everywhere.

from Nancy:

  • Gratitude is the open door to abundance.
    –Unknown
  • The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
    –Eden Philpotts
  • In my hut this spring, there is nothing—there is everything.
    –Sodo
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