GNL numbeer 68

a report of doings at meeting #68, Sunday, January 13, 2013
including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends

INVOCATION

After all these years as a woman hearing “not thin enough,
not pretty enough, not smart enough, not this enough,
not that enough,” almost overnight I woke up one morning
and thought, “I’m enough.”
—Anna Quindlen

If we could read the secret history of our enemies,
we should find in each man’s life sorrow
and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
—Lao Tsu

The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love
are dogs and infants.
—Johnny Depp

We don’t devote enough scientific research
to finding a cure for jerks.
—Bill Watterson



THEME

After some news-sharing and an extra long invocation on the topic (Enough), Anna couldn’t help quipping, “And that’s enough!”

In spite of that, Sue opened the conversation with some more good quotes, especially from her favorite rabbi, and her own first take on “enough.” (see AFTERWORDS.) She spoke of feeling the power of that idea “I might need it sometime” that has made most of us overloaded and some, even hoarders. Sue also had printed up sets of inspirational quotes from Jack in his beautiful calligraphy that he’d passed along to her, and these, his “Treasure Chest of Words of the Spirit”, she presented to us as gifts from them both.

Anna had been kidding about that’s enough, but maybe not, because she spoke of growing up a child of the depression, whose family lived very frugally and who has always to this day herself lived lean.  Furthermore, she said she wouldn’t know how to live different. She exists on her below-average Social Security check, and feels she has what she needs, “enough.”

Ann recalled friend Katherine helping clean out/organize their house with the very valuable question: what do you want this for?  And she said she’d noticed many elderly people, like her friend Gertie, habitually buy and store much more than they need, perhaps trying to be safe (especially if they’d suffered through the Depression, or as Sue said, the Holocaust). Ann also started a promising off-shoot topic by recalling the annual “Giveaways” Sharon Springs used to hold—much much organizing and labor, but very popular and healthy; and we all felt now was definitely the moment to bring such things back.

Louise too spoke of wanting to have less and give away more, but also recognized her next feeling is often to hold up till there’s a “good home”, no waste.  And she said she can’t help seeing ahead to future conditions under more drastic climate change, when even common things like jars may be scarce. She also was asking herself the question of what’s enough in terms of her farm and chickens, the optimum number for her and her land.

Cynthia passed a card of Holiday greeting to all from Adair, and like the rest of us, noted her own desire/aim/resolve to sort and disperse the wheat from chaff, especially in her many-splendored workroom. She also brought to share an essay by a life-long Republican, white male who’d been brought to a that’s-enough point by recent social-political realities, and a book about a quadriplegic polio victim whose life was beautifully enough.

Erynne gave us what for her has been an unforgettable image—the enormous pile of ruined STUFF that she and Bill threw their things on after Storm Irene, that sticks in her head and will forever remind her of too much, mostly nonessential, just wasted stuff, changing her perspective forever.  She was also struck by the A to Z range of enough: from Yes, sweetly satisfied to No, that’s the last straw. And she recalled with Ann how our culture/tv/media propaganda teaches us to yearn to be up to standard—as pretty, smart, brave, good, well-equipped, well-off, etc. as everybody else.

Nancy’s first thought  when we chose this topic was how she and most Americans already have much more stuff than we need; and not only does that feel immoral to her, she hates the way we also spend way too much of our time just managing that stuff, slaves to it. Enough of too much!  Second, and acutely, enough as tipping point, last straw with the Newtown shootings, and unregulated guns. And third was her deep-held feeling that each of us, right here, right now is enough—has enough, and is enough, to be ok, to belong here.  We don’t need to seek more to complete us. As many spiritual teachers have said for centuries, It’s all, right here, now.

We chose to send today’s offering to Solar Cookers International, a wonderful program to make solar cookers available all over the world where there are more and more hungry refugees unable to get cooking fuel or much water.



BENEDICTION

Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them. There is great freedom in simplicity of living.  It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.
—–Peace Pilgrim



NEXT TIME

Sunday, February 10, 2013 (1030), and stay tuned for the location.  (If she’s not away visiting her new grandbaby, Ellen will host in Sharon Springs where she has been house-sitting; if she’s away, Sue has offered to host again.)  The topic follows nicely from today’s:  NECESSITIES.



AFTERWORDS

from Sue:

My first take on “enough”
enough,
more than
enough, not enough, good
enough, what is enough?
enough is enough, never
enough, enough already!
enough

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~Oprah Winfrey
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi, quoted in E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful

from poem “December Dialogue” by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
Maybe I need a lamp.
— try lighting one thin candle.
Then tomorrow, just one more.
But they’re so tiny, flickering,
against the maelstrom, the juggernaut.
That’s what makes them real.
Like a child’s jam-smeared kiss.
Or a little voice saying
I love you mommy at bedtime.
Or the faith that, against all odds,
what’s imperfect is enough.

“Enough” by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
I think a lot about sufficiency. What does it mean to have “enough”? I don’t mean this as a question about consumerism, though obviously it’s that too, especially in the United States during the Advent season that’s gotten repackaged as shopping season. I mean it as an internal question, an emotional question.
Because the matter of having enough, or not having enough, is surely an emotional one, as much as or more than it is a fiscal one. Scarcity is a kind of mitzrayim, a narrow place. And the fear of scarcity can be even worse, in the way the fear of a thing is usually worse than the thing itself. Fear of scarcity can be existential, can make the whole world seem constrained.
Fear of not having enough can blur into fear of not being enough. Fear that if we’re not smart enough, or rich enough, or thin enough, we won’t be valued. Won’t be seen for who we really are. Won’t be loved.
And, on the other side of the coin, the sense of having enough can be a pearl beyond price. (As it is written in Pirkei Avot 4:1, “Who is rich? One who is happy with what he has.”) It’s simple, but it isn’t easy.
During Chanukah we celebrate the miracle of unexpected abundance. The cruse of oil that shouldn’t have sufficed, sufficed. We came face-to-face with a lack, and acknowledged the lack, and acted as though there were enough anyway, and that leap of faith made it so that there was enough. That’s a miracle that speaks directly to my heart: not in terms of physical resources, though the holiday can be read in those ways too, but in terms of emotional and spiritual resources.
The Chanukah story is really about trusting that there will be enough. That what we have is enough. That what we are is enough.
Damn right that’s a miracle.

from Cynthia:

essay online:  “America’s While Male Problem,” by Frank Schaeffer

book: We Are All Welcome Here, by Elizabeth Berg

from Nancy:

some quotes—

The butterfly counts not months, but moments, and has time enough.
—–Rabindranath Tagore

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life, is thank you, it will be enough.
—–Meister Eckhart

If you look deep enough, you will see music, the heart of nature being everywhere music.
—–Thomas Carlyle

We build too many walls, and not enough bridges.
—–Isaac Newton

All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in this world is for enough good men to do nothing.<br /
—–Edmund Burke

The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plane.
—–George McGovern

and poems—

Enough

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
till now.
Until now.
—David Whyte

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.
—Mary Oliver

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