GNL number 36

the GOOD NEWS lately

a report of doings at meeting #36, Sunday, June 13, 2010
including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends



My mind is a dangerous neighborhood.  I should not wander in there alone.

Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
—William Shakespeare


Gail and Virginia weren’t able to come today, and sent their regrets, thoughts on our subject, Boxes and Buttons, and warm regards for us, which Nancy read to start things. (And which appears in Afterwords.)

Sue brought many actual examples of  boxes and buttons to show us, several treasured items that preserve family history, like the jewelry box of her mother-in-law, some small and old Torah boxes, and a lovely old photo of her grandparents in their store.  And then, from Sue’s own more recent but still longtime history as a social activist, a lampshade and jacket covered with peace and other socio-political buttons, which were both fun and poignant to see again.

Vijaya also brought something to show: a beautiful painted cloth hanging she and her grandchildren had made, in the shape of the classic peace symbol, which had been outlined in little buttons, and which she invited us to add buttons to, as well.  She also passed a box and bag of buttons for all of us to take samples from.  Later Vja spoke of having the scroll recording her father’s birth in India, and her intention of donating this to a museum.

Ann, thinking of Buttons, recalled her mediation training when the class explored their own button-like “triggers” (like feeling turned off by a client’s dirty fingernails) that could bias them in their efforts as mediators. And she also brought her mother’s jewel/sewing box, with her tiny silver thimble, beautiful slim old sewing scissors, and buttons, especially those from her mom’s satin bed jacket, which Ann remembered the lovely feeling of as a child. More notes and 6-wordies in AW.

Jack was very aware today of pictures and things he has in boxes or other places that he wants to give to people or find homes for.  And Cynthia reminded us that there’s still a box upstairs at her house full of the remaining packages of notecards made from Jack’s and Louise’s beautiful paintings (and these are still for sale and benefit the Jack and Louise Peace Fund).

Adair said her first thought about boxes was as mausoleums or coffins, and how wasteful and unnatural she felt this was compared to simple burial in shrouds, as she favors.  She also cited a book by an Italian scientist which had fascinated her with the essential power of water in the life process, and in a multitude of ways most of us don’t realize.  The title is Water, Pure and Simple: The Infinite Wisdom of an Extraordinary Molecule, by Paolo Consigli, MD. She read three quotes (for which see AW) and gave us a 6 (or 7) wordie:  Perhaps the universe is made of music. (Or was it: Perhaps the universe is all music.) And recently she sent a special note and poem from her friend to share in AW as well.

Anna was reminded, because she “never throws anything away”, of several boxes at her house: not only the boxes of photos she’s taken over many years, but boxes or bags of old envelopes she uses for notepaper before she recycles them, and of course, boxes of clothes she’s had forever. And then she remembered boxes new this year, full of wildly growing salad greens given to her as a birthday present by her daughter, Janaye.

Christine had recently returned from the workshop in Ireland, and so the first thing she spoke of was its site, the breathtaking Beara Peninsula, which she showed us with a beautiful photocard. But she had also brought many box theme items, in fact a trunk-drawer full. And these turned out to be memorabilia from her life, from charming old hats of her mother’s and a shirt of her husband’s, to her own favorite outwest outfit from a few years ago (really cute litle shorts and winery shirt).  Fun!

Cynthia first thought of rooms in the house as boxes, and holders of boxes of items that help us keep people and times we don’t want to forget, especially family members, and she thought of Ron’s Adirondack Room upstairs, and the way the record of her C-FACE experience is preserved, and all her art work and tools in their place.  And she showed us a wonderful example of personalized holder of important things: a lovely bag made for her by a fellow artist, from her knit vest and appliqued with colorful birds in a tree.

Nancy was thinking of boxes as mental ruts or unquestioned habits, especially of the self-protective kind, and buttons as emotional hot-spots, where we have a pattern of strong reaction to something.  She spoke of her own boxes, e.g., fear-based ones that keep her trying too hard to do and understand everything; and buttons, like tending to shut down when people just talk and don’t listen. But she also realized  she has positive buttons too, that can send her into delight whenever somebody does something boldly silly, or sweet (not just kids). Some quotes, and further notes in AW.

Our offering today was happily given to the Jack and Louise Daniels Accord Peace Award Fund.


When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego,
and when we escape like squirrels turning in the cages of our personality
and get into the forests again,
we shall shiver with cold and fright
but things will happen to us
so that we don’t know ourselves.

Cool, unlying life will rush in,
and passion will make our bodies taut with power,
we shall stamp our feet with new power
and old things will fall down,
we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up like burnt paper.
—–D. H. Lawrence


Sunday, July 11, 2010 (1030), at Jack’s. The topic is THINGS or ACTIONS THAT GIVE YOU STRENGTH.  (Vja’s idea)

And here’s some other ideas for future topics we’ve heard recently:


from Gail:

  • Wanted to say Virginia was ready to bring her button collection and was interested to hear about the other definitions of the two. When I told her about putting some of the things we don’t want to think about in boxes. She said “Oh like putting your temper in a draw when your mad.” We will miss you all and we do have rocks to add to the pile.
  • Jack called last night and we had a very nice talk with him. Virginia was flattered he called to compliment her on her art work and hand writing. How sweet of him. I have to thank you all for making Virginia feel so special. She was disappointed she couldn’t come.
  • from Ann:

  • Buttons and Boxes

    **Buttons, triggers, were an important part of our mediation training – the one I remember specifically was dirty fingernails.  When we first meet someone, what do we notice, what does it make us think of them, how does it affect our “judgment” of them, can we get around the button.
    **My boxes (that I can identify): judging, jumping to conclusions, looking for something rather than letting the information come in, impatience.
    Some buttons: “W”, denial of global climate threats, cruelty to animals, children, women, etc. i.e., power trips, greed, religious inanities.

  • Six wordies:
  • Outside of the Bachs, there’s Mozart.
  • Open the lid and look around.
  • Family boxes are hard to open.
  • Loosen up, give it a chance.
  • from Adair:

    Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.—Isak Dinesen

    You will find something more in the woods than in books.
    Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.—St. Bernard

    Fast from criticism, and feast on praise;
    Fast from self-pity, and feast on joy;
    Fast from ill-temper, and feast on peace;
    Fast from resentment, and feast on contentment;
    Fast from jealousy, and feast on love;
    Fast from pride, and feast on humility;
    Fast from selfishness, and feast on service;
    Fast from fear, and feast on faith.
    —the Rev, John B. Wolf, “A Lenten Diet”

    from Nancy:

    Have been realizing what an education this past two years has been and continues to be, spending more time with my mother, and seeing how I tend to put her in a box of my expectations and needs.  Seeing how i want her to be–more like i want to be myself: not panicking but finding faith and responding creatively, not like me, so often fearful and struggling.  And i see her panics over new things and choices can so easily activate my own O no, i can’t do this button.  But recently i also begin to see how she’s me too, struggling and trying to find a way just as i am, and (i can allow her to be) bigger than these needs of mine.  So i think maybe we’re growing together, even in these very advanced years of ours.

    There are those who would misteach us that to stick in a rut is consistency, and a virtue: and that to climb out of the rut is inconsistency, and a vice.—Mark Twain

    There is great value in doing new things, not just for diversion or escape, but in order to help us awaken……Sometimes we have to take a leap in order to experience and heal the fear that holds us ever at the edge of familiar safety. Our task in awakening is to go against the grain of our mechanical tendencies.—Ezra Bayda

    And a note about a book I just read that bears on our subject: This is Beyond Happiness, by Frank Kinslow, a chiropractor and former teacher of the deaf, about the way we all tend to be stuck in our time-bound, ego-driven, “me”-believing Box. When, as he says, that little me is not the real thing;  the real thing and the real peace, is the all-encompassing us he calls Self.  Like Eckhart Tolle and many other teachers, he says we can climb out of this box, and must for the sake of life on earth.

    and a later AFTERWORD

    from Adair

    My friend Peggy that I am so close to has been diagnosed with widely metastatic cancer, and is not responding to treatment. She will most likely die in the next two weeks. Before she was diagnosed, she sent me a poem, and I had meant to ask her if she wrote it, or if there is a known auther. She’s much too sick for me to ask her now, but I wanted to share it with CoS.

    The blessing
    As the richness of my life brings peace
    To my soul
    So do I actively share this peace
    With all.
    Peace with those I love
    Peace with those who trouble me
    Peace with those I fear
    Peace with beings far and near
    For it is I who chains the dove of peace
    Or I who let it fly.

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