GNL number 101

a report of doings at meeting #101, Sunday, December 13, 2015 including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends


The course of true love never did run smooth.
~~~William Shakespeare

We love because it’s the only true adventure.
~~~Nikki Giovanni

A reporter asked the couple: “How did you manage to stay together for 65 years?” The woman replied, “We were born in a time when if something was broken, we would fix it, not throw it away.”


To begin, Sue read Cynthia‘s ‘absence’ note, and Nancy, song lyrics Cyn had sent (The Rose), and then Sue opened our ‘formal’ conversation on the Way Love Involves a Peculiar, Unfathomable Combination of Understanding and Mis-Understanding. She gave us first the results of her research on roots and meanings of the words, especially, Understanding, as well as a number of quotes, and excerpts from the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh. Then she cited some of her own experiences in relationships, eg. with an old friend who had become so demanding that Sue saw that though she loved this person she couldn’t healthfully continue the relationship. See AFTERWORDS for her notes and quotes.

Vijaya told several vignettes about relationships from her life, eg. of an email message from a friend sending a poetic appreciation of a flower fed by tears, and another about growing up a much-loved child in India, and finally, the example of her father-in-law, whose empathy and kindness for her as she struggled in the family during her difficult arranged marriage, was unforgettably helpful to her. She also said she had reached a place where she has no need for more relationships with those with much baggage.

Ann spoke of the difficulty, perhaps impossibility, of truly understanding where the other person in a relationship is coming from, and remembered scenes from her family history—arguments between her uncle and aunt, that demonstrated how hard it is to be open enough to see or hear the other. Ann also.brought and read a poetic appreciation by a young blogger from Zimbabwe, which granted the difficulties of fully understanding lovers and love, but concluded, still, Love is the answer. (See AW.)

Nancy first thought of the different kinds of love—eg. between spouses, parent-child, friends; in all, potentially a deep recognition of the other as related, another self, and yet knowing the other so well, also the tendency for generalizations and assumptions. Even so, she felt, if we can manage to really listen, and give each other the real story and feedback we all need, then misunderstandings have a chance of becoming actual understanding, and the relationship, real-er, deeper, richer. And she recalled an experience, of two in her family, each stressed and misunderstanding the other, then seeing what really mattered was they loved each other, and taking the breath to keep open and working on it. Love.

Louise spoke of growing up in her big family without examples of good communication, and without tactful language—getting in the habit of saying things like “You need to…”, and learning later as a young woman, eg., from her husband-to-be, that “I don’t need to…”, and to use language more carefully. She also was very happy to report how her daughter Ayana, who we were delighted to have with us today, not only loves her, but likes her, and what’s more, L both loves and likes A as well.(And as Ayana said later, both: that’s the best.)

Ayana confirmed her mom’s testimony with a smile, and teased her about the lack of tact. Ayana herself recalled what had been most concerning for her in school was when girls had treated her with meanness, and that when that happened she ‘d always been able to tell her mom, and mom would listen and say, “Those girls are bitches.” Since then, like most of us, she has had concerns that she would not be understood by others, but has also the rock and solace of an understanding friend-mom.

We agreed to send our offering this time to two deserving organizations: the Sustainable Schoharie group that has succeeded the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities, and to the Albany Refugee program (USCRI-Albany), about which see Afterwords below.



Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings, infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.~~~Rainer Maria Rilke

Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.
~~~James Thurber



Sunday, January 10, 2016 (1030), again at Louise’s Sky Hill farm (and if the weather makes getting up there too hard, Sue will host at her house. You’ll get an email or call if there’s a change.) Our subject will be Indigenous Peoples.



from Sue:

Quotes&Notes On The Way “LOVE Involves a Peculiar Unfathomable Combination of Understanding and Misunder-standing” (from a quote by Diane Arbus).

1. 2 other quotations from Diane Arbus–to provide some context and clues to how she thinks:
“What I’m trying to describe is that it’s impossible to get out of your skin into somebody else’s…. That somebody else’s tragedy is not the same as your own.” ~ Diane Arbus

“If the fall of man consists in the separation of god and the devil the serpent must have appeared out of the middle of the apple when Eve bit like the original worm in it, splitting it in half and sundering everything which was once one into a pair of opposites, so the world is Noah’s ark on the sea of eternity containing all the endless pairs of things, irreconcilable and inseparable, and heat will always long for cold and the back for the front and smiles for tears and mutt for jeff and no for yes with the most unutterable nostalgia there is.” ~ Diane Arbus

2.  excerpts from  LOVE (Maitri/Metta) by Thich Nhat Hanh   
’The first aspect of true love is maitri (metta, in Pali), the intention and capacity to offer joy and happiness. To develop that capacity, we have to practice looking and listening deeply so that we know what to do and what not to do to make others happy. If you offer your beloved something she does not need, that is not maitri. You have to see her real situation or what you offer might bring her unhappiness.”


“Without understanding, your love is not true love. You must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the one you love. We all need love. Love brings us joy and well-being. It is as natural as the air. We are loved by the air; we need fresh air to be happy and well. We are loved by trees. We need trees to be healthy. In order to be loved, we have to love, which means we have to understand.”


We all have the seeds of love in us. We can develop this wonderful source of energy, nurturing the unconditional love that does not expect anything in return. When we understand someone deeply, even someone who has done us harm, we cannot resist loving him or her. Shakyamuni Buddha declared that the Buddha of the next eon will be named “Maitreya, the Buddha of Love.”


The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even- mindedness, or letting go. Upa means “over,” and iksha means “to look.” You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other. If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love


“Upeksha has the mark called samatajñana, “the wisdom of equality,” the ability to see everyone as equal, not discriminating between ourselves and others. In a, conflict, even though we are deeply concerned, we remain impartial, able to love and to understand both sides. We shed all discrimination and prejudice, and remove all boundaries between ourselves and others.”


“You say you love him, but if you do not understand his aspirations, his needs, his difficulties, he is in a prison called love. True love allows you to preserve your freedom and the freedom of your beloved. That is upeksha.”

3.  Other quotations: “True Love is born from understanding.” ~ The Buddha

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~Carl Jung

“The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather what he does not say.” ~Kahlil Gibran

“The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.”~Oscar Wilde

“Love your enemies.” ~Matthew 5:44



“to understand” from Merriam Webster

•    the knowledge and ability to judge a particular situation or subject

•    an informal agreement

•    a willingness to understand people’s behavior and forgive them

understand (v.) Look up understand at

Old English understandan “comprehend, grasp the idea of,” probably literally “stand in the midst of,” from under + standan “to stand” (see stand (v.)). If this is the meaning, the under is not the usual word meaning “beneath,” but from Old English under, from PIE *nter- “between, among” (cognates: Sanskrit antar “among, between,” Latin inter “between, among,” Greek entera “intestines;” see inter-). Related: Understood; understanding.

That is the suggestion in Barnhart, but other sources regard the “among, between, before, in the presence of” sense of Old English prefix and preposition under as other meanings of the same word. “Among” seems to be the sense in many Old English compounds that resemble understand, such as underniman “to receive,” undersecan “examine, investigate, scrutinize” (literally “underseek”), underðencan “consider, change one’s mind,” underginnan “to begin.” It also seems to be the sense still in expressions such as under such circumstances.

Perhaps the ultimate sense is “be close to;” compare Greek epistamai “I know how, I know,” literally “I stand upon.” Similar formations are found in Old Frisian (understonda), Middle Danish (understande), while other Germanic languages use compounds meaning “stand before” (German verstehen, represented in Old English by forstanden “understand,” also “oppose, withstand”). For this concept, most Indo-European languages use figurative extensions of compounds that literally mean “put together,” or “separate,” or “take, grasp” (see comprehend). Old English oferstandan, Middle English overstonden, literally “over-stand” seem to have been used only in literal senses. For “to stand under” in a physical sense, Old English had undergestandan.    Understanding

misunderstanding (n.) Look up misunderstanding at

“want of understanding,” mid-15c., from present participle of misunderstand.

Meaning “dissention, disagreement” is first recorded 1640s.

I donated $80.00 to USCRI-Albany (The Albany regional office of the  US Committee on Refugees and Immigrants)  , 518-459-1790
   I spoke with Jill and she said the organization is hoping to see Syrian Refugees arrive in the Capital District in the next couple of years–they have a long vetting process to get through.  Right now they are supporting refugee families from Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma, and some African nations.  She was very happy to know of our group in Schoharie County that values their work–and said they are are always in need of volunteers for many different kinds of tasks.  She really would love for us to set up some kind of local event where a speaker from her office could come to tell some of the stories of the people they are helping–which she hopes would open people’s hearts and minds to the need to welcome refugees from Syria and other places where violence and discrimination forced them our.

Here’s what they say about themselves:

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’ Albany field office (USCRI Albany) opened its doors in 2005 to help refugees build new lives in upstate New York.  USCRI Albany brings hope and opportunity to the lives of refugees and immigrants by defending human rights, promoting self-sufficiency, and forging community partnerships.  USCRI Albany focuses on meeting the immediate basic needs of new arrivals, assisting refugees in obtaining early employment and achieving self-sufficiency, and nurturing community integration for new Americans.  USCRI assumed the resettlement and immigration assistance activities of its former partner agency, the International Center of the Capital Region (ICCR), when ICCR announced that it would discontinue its refugee resettlement and immigration services after more than fifty years in operation.

What is a Refugee?

A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.  Refugees differ from other immigrants in that they do not have the choice to remain in their home country. Refugees flee their countries to save their lives, often losing beloved family members along the way.  Many refugees then spend years and sometimes decades in substandard refugee camps.  Less than one percent of all refugees get the chance to leave a camp and resettle in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, or other countries that resettle refugees.

What is Refugee Resettlement?

Each year, Americans welcome refugees to the United States.  The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement partner with agencies like USCRI Albany to assist refugees through the resettlement process.  When a refugee arrives in America, he or she usually comes with little more than the clothes on his or her back.  Organizations like USCRI Albany meet refugees at the airport and help them to begin building new lives in America.

from Ann:

Love; The Greatest Misunderstood Understood

Genuine words can communicate the message before their even understood.
We all make mistakes even when our intentions are only ever good.
I’m writing this for those that have been hurt by love
But who keep searching for it because the little hope they have will always be enough.
How greatly those passionate in their affection sacrifice for others.
It’s been said if you’re first best friends you’re destined to make it as lovers.
Even the average person when it comes to love they have their own philosophy;
An epiphany of sorts
At times these are just confounded words
Or misinterpreted love quotes.
It seems bounding love to a deeply thought notion only complicates it instead of making it easy.
It’s fools wisdom to think you understand love completely.
“It’s not all black and white there’s an area that’s shaded grey”
Well love is more than just shaded grey
Just try looking at it from a different angle
It has different shapes and sizes, and even colours of the rainbow.
I know I’m probably causing you to raise more questions than answers
Well to whatever question raised in your mind just know that love is the answer.
Approach it with an open mind
A pure heart and true intentions
Then just maybe
Just maybe
It’s secrets might open.

by Tee Madzika, a Zimbabwean blogger who says, “I paint with words, call it speaking silently”.

from Cynthia:

I am sorry to miss our meeting tomorrow but I am sending along this copy of the song “The Rose” because it says so much of what I would say about “LOVE”- such an elusive emotion that none of us has been untouched by! {thankfully!} One thing for sure tho’… I LOVE SKIPPY! I am obligated to be in Schoharie tomorrow for most of the day to be on the panel for Arts Council grant applications- and I do love the arts!I wish you all a happy holiday season and look forward to our meeting next year…thank you, every one, for the work you do to make this world a “lovelier” place.

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.

Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed.

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It’s the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.

It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin’
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose.

from Nancy:

Assumptions are the termites of relationships.
~~~Henry Winkler

The first duty of love is to listen.
~~~Paul Tillich

What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes part of us.
~~~Helen Keller

The giving of love is an education in itself.
~~~Eleanor Roosevelt

The art of love is largely the art of persistence.
~~~Albert Ellis

The quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love.
~~~Jean Racine



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