GNL number 35

the GOOD NEWS lately

a report of doings at meeting #35, Sunday, May 9, 2010
including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends


It is not with our righteousness or our ideas that we solve the ills of the world, but with the power of kindness and our capacity to be intimate with one another…..We are healed by the loving presence of another.
—–Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield


Jack spoke movingly of his 68 years of love with his late wife Louise and then of the love he came to know after Louise’s passing, for his chief caregiver, Evelyn, who died last winter. He remembered gratefully her husband’s visits afterwards and their crying together. We in the room also remembered Jack himself as the giver of love to multitudes–friends and strangers, animals, all living things.

Chris was about to go to Ireland for a workshop led by the therapist-teacher Michael Murphy with whom she had taken an earlier, shorter version. She told us about this Love, Loss, and Forgiveness program, which features learning to love and forgive oneself as well as others, even to forgive beyond death; and about Murphy, who had also founded the Hospice program at St. Peter’s, and written a book on love and death.

Gail, like several of us, said she found this word and subject so big and open as to be difficult to get hold of. But the thing that came to mind for her was how some in her family called attention to her habit of saying “Love you” liberally, rather than reserving it for just a few close family; thinking about this, she realized, yes, that’s what she wanted to be doing: showing appreciation and love freely. Additional notes in AFTERWORDS.

We were also delighted to have the company of Virginia, Gail’s granddaughter, today. When asked what came to her mind hearing our subject-word, Love, she said she was reminded of “goodnight kisses”. And later, she showed some of us her wonderful I Spy book and read part of it.

Anna said she had grown up in a family where feelings were not discussed, and she had earlier told us she learned to smile late in life, so reaching out has not come naturally for her; but reaching out to others is what she said she wants to do more of. She is glad for her friends and Skippy.

In Sue’s absence, Nancy read the thoughtful statement on Love she’d left for us. It appears in AFTERWORDS.

Nancy thought first of the people in her life—family, friends, and strangers too—doing love in little and big ways. Then, how love is not just romantic, but something in us that knows the other as ourselves. She read quotes from several teachers, and Galway Kinnell’s (Mother’s Day?) poem for a sow. See AW for all.

Cynthia read us two lines of a poem in progress on Love (“Sometimes LOVE comes looking for me, sometimes I have to hunt her down…”), and she quoted to us the lyrics of the classic old song and wisdom from Reba McIntire, Love Isn’t Love Till You Give it Away. See AW for these.

Ann read some original word strings and 6-wordies while also reporting some of the funny results she got googling “love in” (including love in my tummy, and glovebox), all of which you can find in AW, page 2. She also underlined the importance of attention in all kinds of love.

Vijaya, who had suggested the topic Love, said she had proposed this because she wanted to hear what the rest of us thought about it, and she was especially glad to hear the recurring idea today of the importance of learning to accept and love oneself in being also able to give love to others.

Our offering today, upon Cynthia’s idea, was given to the Gathering Stones project via the Streetscapes program in Cobleskill, to be used to “dress” and mark a space on Union Street in Cobleskill in the parking lot in front of the Art in the Valley building. Special stones will be donated by Skippys and others. An update note from Cyn appears in AW.


Eventually, you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is.
—–Gary Zukav


Sunday, June 13, 2010 (1030), at Jack’s. The topic is BOXES and BUTTONS (e.g., Boxes we get stuck in, and Buttons that when hit signal alarm / panic / boredom / annoyance / imminent explosion, etc.?
Or for collectors like CW and NS, Boxes of Buttons)


from Gail:

six wordie: “Love bugs thugs my heart tugs”

Other thoughts: the love of laughter which I remembered after hearing, seeing and feeling Virginia break up with the giggles at a concert the night before. Also the love of examples, the love of helping and being helped, the love of thought and creativity, the love play.

from Sue:

Here’s a few thoughts on Love
For me Love and loving-kindness is the whole ball of wax, the central necessary truth around which all being revolves. Every thought, or action that constricts the love flow from my heart leads me away from joy. Every thought or action that opens my love valves opens me to joy. For me love of my family, love of my friends, erotic love, love between groups of people, love of my gardens and the wilderness, of art , music and stories, of beauty, are all governed by the same principles. And I believe that all the spiritual practices I have worked at have the same common underlying prime directive–in order to be present to my day to day moments, I must be open to love in spirit and action, especially when it feels most difficult. For me it’s that simple, and at the same time very challenging. My fears and opinions are constant barriers to open hearted constant loving.
Here is a Thich Nhat Hanh meditation on love that I have found helpful. Substitute “we” for “I” in these, or the name of someone well love, or resented, and the practice keeps deepening. It’s powerful and instructive to try to do it for one’s enemy.

1. May I be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.
2. May I be safe and free from injury.
3. May I be free from disturbance, fear, anxiety, and worry.
4. May I learn to look at myself (and others) with the eyes of understanding and love.
5. May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself (and others).
6. May I learn to identify and see [with the eyes of compassion] the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself (and others).
7. May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself (and others) every day.
8. May I be able to live fresh, solid, and free.
9. May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.
—–from Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh, Parallax Press, 1997

Number 9 on this list is meant to be the apex of one’s practice in attaining a state of true love. It is most challenging to me, because it seems so very dry and abstract, but it has taught me the most–because of course I often am boomeranging between being too attached to something/someone or turned off or judgmental (aversion) or trying to talk myself into not caring (indifference), and all of those represent impediments to love which over and over I see chain me to my suffering.

I’ll end with this Rumi quote:
“The sun never says to the earth,
‘You owe me.’
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights up the whole sky.”

from Nancy:

What the word brings to mind: First—the people in my life, especially family, and the way I see love in action there, and I guess I could talk about my kids all day. The friends, especially here. And too, others new to me—anyone doing something kind, neighborly, brave, zesty, playful , or doing their work with real presence and pleasure. The other thing for me is how much bigger Love is than the idea we grew up with. And there are many wise commentators on this:

The deepest meaning of Love is knowing the other as yourself.
—–Eckhart Tolle

Like the Buddhists say, the capacity to do that is right here in all of us, always, even if buried deep, ready to be awakened when we feel, express compassion, or forgiveness, or delight. A passage from Pema Chodron talks about this quality Buddhists call bodhichitta, or the Love That Will Not Die. It means awakened heart, a heart made tender by knowledge of the suffering we all share and the basic goodness of all beings. We can remember this; it’s available, she says.

Bodhichitta is available in moments of caring for things, when we clean our glasses or brush our hair. It’s available in moments of appreciation, when we notice the blue sky or pause and listen to the rain. It is available in moments of gratitude, when we recall a kindness or recognize another person’s courage. It is available in music and dance, in art, and in poetry. Whenever we let go of holding on to ourselves and look at the world around us, whenever we connect with sorrow, whenever we connect with joy, whenever we drop our resentment and complaint, in those moments bodhichitta is here.
—–Pema Chodron

Attention is the most basic form of love.
—–Tara Brach

Looking at people and communicating that they can be loved, and that they can love in return is giving them a tremendous gift. It is also a gift to ourselves.
—–Sharon Salzberg

We can all do this, in the most everyday ways, especially if we slow down and relax our own agenda. And here is a beautiful example of someone making the simple gift of attention and recognition to another someone people usually think of as lowly. It’s told in a poem that’s a gift to me too:

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
Stands for all things
Even for those things that don’t flower,
For everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing:
Though sometimes it is necessary
To reteach a thing its loveliness,
To put a hand on the brow
Of the flower
And retell it in words and in touch
It is lovely
Until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
As St. Francis
Put his hand on the creased forehead
Of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
Blessings of the earth on the sow, and the sow
Began remembering all down her thick length,
From the earthen snout all the way
Through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
From the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
Down through the great broken heart
To the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
From the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
And blowing beneath them:
The long, perfect loveliness of sow.
—–Galway Kinnell

from Cynthia:

Smile’s not a smile until it wrinkles your face
Bell’s not a bell without ringing
A home’s not a home when there’s nobody there
A song’s not a song without singing

Love isn’t love till you give it away
Love isn’t love till it’s free
The love in your heart
Wasn’t put there to stay
Oh love isn’t love till you give it away

You might think love is a treasure to keep
Feeling to cherish and hold
But love is a treasure for people to share
You keep it by letting it go

Love isn’t love till you give it away
Love isn’t love till it’s free
The love in your heart
Wasn’t put there to stay
Oh love isn’t love till you give it away

Cause love can’t survive
When it’s hidden inside
And love was meant to be shared

Love isn’t love till you give it away
Love isn’t love till it’s free
The love in your heart
Wasn’t put there to stay
Oh love isn’t love till you give it away
—–Reba MacIntire

And Just a little addendum for our Gathering Stones Together project: Our donations now total $60.00!
We have cleared the project with Gary Bywater from the Village so we now need:
a stone-working advisor (cc to Katherine), estimate on materials needed & cost, some willing and able volunteers to dig out the plot, to gather our stones together—(maybe as Sue suggested…make our initial arrangement in Jack’s living room @next CofS?) Also thinking we could tuck in some symbols for Skippy, Peacemakers, CFACE and other community groups? Love, Cyn

from Ann:

On a billboard: Love triangle – one bottle of light beer, one bottle of regular beer, one slice of lime.
Love the feel of the sun after a long period of clouds and cold rainy days.

Rushing, gushing, breezy, complicated, confusing, fearful, way up, way down; if lucky can become comfy, warm, secure, serene, easy. Dream on!

Loving: love, laugh, live, look out for, look forward to, looking to, lingering look, look longingly, look lovingly … looking lovely.

Would you rather she had been less dear so that you might grieve less?…the price of love is grief.
In searching the web, when you type in “love, in…” (I was looking for love in history) the google choices were: “love in: this club lyrics, the time of cholera, different languages, Italian, Spanish, French, the bible, Japanese, elevator lyrics….

Then I tried “love in my…” (I was looking for love in mythology) you get love in my: tummy lyrics, tummy, glove box, pocket, heart lyrics, mythology, pocket lyrics, room lyrics, hood lyrics….

Six wordies:

  • Love…that’s a tough one…anyone?
  • Love at 16, love at 61.
  • Slowing down, sloping down – ageing’s toll.
  • From Chris in Ireland:

    What an incredibly beautiful country!!!….how I wish all of us could have been here to share it with me. I want you to know….I was sharing the CofS with one of the other participants, a psychologist from Michigan, and she was so intrigued and impressed by what I told her. It made me fill with love even more for all of the Skippiites, or whatever we call ourselves! We are so incredibly lucky to have each other! Hug any of them you see for me!
    Love, C

    (And of course, there will be more from Chris later on the LLF workshop experience.)


    1 Comment

    1. Ann Adams said,

      June 5, 2010 at 2:22 pm

      This is a story submitted by a student of a volunteer Literacy Volunteer tutor in Fulton County, NY.

      Keep Balance of Life

      That picture was drawn by a nine years old boy while he was in an art class. His art teacher wanted her students draw a picture, the boy drew the picture and showed it to his teacher. He asked her, “What do you think about this picture”?

      That picture is very simple; however it makes people think, and it teaches some lessons. It asks to people; what is more important? Is responsibility and love or is freedom and loneliness? That picture is about two birds. These birds are in two different cages. The cages are in balance on a seesaw, unfortunately the seesaw is on a rock in the middle of the ocean. One of the birds is on top of the cage. It looks free, but the other bird is inside the cage, it is captive. They are in balance; however, there is a critical point; if the “free” bird flies, the seesaw is going to be unbalanced on the ocean and unfortunately the captive bird would die.

      Is the “free bird” really “free”? Yes and no.
      Yes; because the bird is physically free, it is out of the cage. No; because the bird out of the cage feels responsibility to the other bird; that’s why the free bird is no really free, It is only apparently free, it is physiologically captive. If the “free” bird chooses to fly, the other bird is going to die. The bird out of the cage may be the mate of the other bird; therefore the “free” bird will not leave the captive bird until it is safe. So the “free” bird is physically free but it is not psychologically free. That physical freedom is not really freedom, but real freedom is a responsibility and love for the captive bird. It seems that there are two choices; freedom or responsibility.

      Today it is very common to confuse freedom with license, many people believe, that freedom is media tries to convince everyone that this selfish freedom brings happiness, and comfort. On the other hand, all responsibility seems to be a heavy obstacle to be “free”, the true is that fundamental freedom, to be responsible and to be love others, is the only way leads to happiness.

      Responsibility and freedom must be in balance. God gave everyone of us our own freewill, at the same time God gave us a brain the use it and realize what is good and what is evil. Fundamental freedom consists in choosing to do good, the right thing. Also freedom connects our own responsibilities; to family, to people, to morality, to the government and to our country.

      People have some duties and responsibilities in society. Families constitute to society. In this case, family relationships are very important to learn about responsibilities. Family’s members are responsible to each other; therefore, family members need to put effort into their relationships in learning how to relate inside the same family and outside it, in the society; besides, these relationships assist them in learning how to communicate. Communication brings the sense of responsibilities and increase love. It must be in balance, I don’t mean to close this balance into “roll duties” like for example, the wives cook for the family or take care of the children and the husbands work out to support the family; but all the needs and duties should be shared between the members of the family in love and respect.

      There are so many levels to love; these are the ones we see most in life. Friendship starts with this list. We do love toward our friends, why we miss them when we don’t see our friends for a long time. It’s also why we hold certain friends over other no matter what happens. The bond between friends depends to the point where a stronger bond of love is made, making them family.

      A second level to love is the bond that brings man and women together. This level is among the strongest of them all. Poems, plays, and legends can only briefly touch the true meaning of love. We can only feel what that meaning is.

      Love is bond between a mother and her children. There is no stronger, nor will there ever be. This bond starts from the very first tiny movement and never ends. A mother protects her children in the name of love. The phrase, love makes the world go round is very true. It’s our driving force, for whatever reason it may be. What is love? I don’t know, but I’ll do what I can to express it to my son, my husband, my family and friends. I have or ever will own in the best possible way that I can.

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