GNL number 102

a report of doings at meeting #103, Sunday, February 7, 2016
including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends


Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me, they are proof of the fact that there is healing.~~~Linda Hogan

I haven’t measured it, but I’ll bet cat-purrs vibrate at a healing frequency. Also, a whispered I love you almost certainly resonates with heart and DNA repair.~~~Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not For Sale


Sue opened this discussion of HEALING with a word-origin report, eg.,the root meaning “whole”, and then spoke highly of a book by Dr. Atul Gawande, Being Mortal, on our medical system’s failure to treat the whole person, living or dying. She also recalled how her aunt would do a hand-moving ritual to strengthen the kids, and later Sue’s daughter loved a version S did for her. She spoke too of a healing ceremony she and a friend had made for another friend whose son had died. And she spoke of her many daily prayers for people, which, even if she can’t be sure help them, do help her. She concluded with the moving story of the Iroquois’ first Condolence Ceremony. (In AFTERWORDS with her notes and quotes.)

Ann cited one of her favorite regular activities, Pickleball, as wonderfully healthy exercise for body and mind—not seriously competitive, but very collegial and laughter-filled—light-hearted and renewing in all ways. She also brought and recommended Bill Moyers’ Healing and the Mind, the classic collection of his interviews with experts and lay people exploring the body-mind connection. And Ann spoke too of learning much from her experience with her late elderly friend Gertie, about acceptance of differences in cultural heritage, and common rights to decent quality of life, with which Ann and Elliott helped her.

Louise said doing her life as she does with the chickens and working for good food and small farming, is the only way she can operate and be herself, in other words, healthy and whole. She told us about a report she’s writing in her “spare time” to the County Farmland Protection Board with science-backed support of small farming without GMOs. She brought to the meeting as well her sister Teresa, who had come to visit and help for the next few weeks. And Louise brought the greetings of her daughter Ayana, who had also joined us at recent meetings, and who said about this subject that she feels that crying can be a help.

Cynthia spoke of the current YES!magazine issue on Creating a Culture of Good Health, which had impressed her greatly; she mentioned first the essay, Mind+Body+Community=A Better Health Equation, by Dr. Gabor Mate, who said some of the same things that Sue’s cited book author Dr. Gawande does. Another article that struck her was one on The Anti-depressant, Anti-anxiety Backyard Garden, by Dr. Daphne Miller. And on a more personal level, Cynthia said she and Ron had come through a difficult period of facing what they need for their good health, and have decided to move to a more open, spacious locale. They’re looking for this now.

Gail noted several experiences from her life, recalling eg., early challenges and beauties of her and Virginia’s relationship, how she would do a get-rid-of-bad-mood pretend game with V when she was little, and how she’s so grown up now and they communicate so well. She observed too about her mom and dad: they’re well into their elder years, but still so open to life that it’s uplifting just to be with them. And she saw how having friends who are very different from us, can help us learn a healthy acceptance. Gail also noted as extremely helpful her visits over the years with Dawn, a practitioner of acupressure and healing touch, and she cited especially a grounding exercise to connect one with the earth’s core heat energy.

We were very pleased to have Louise’s sister Teresa joining us today. And Teresa told us she had not been planning to take a turn, but at the end wanted to respond, especially to Gail’s comments about therapeutic help from Dawn. As it happens, Teresa said, she was also familiar with this, and had had similar beneficial experiences herself with acupressure/healing therapy where she lives, including the grounding exercise. We hope she’ll stay long enough to come join us again!

Nancy cited not only the 3 W’s (writing, walking, and whistling) as agents for her health, but all kinds of beauty that bring us back home to knowing it’s all ok somehow. First among these for her: music, especially that to which she can sing (words or not) and dance, often music made from pain, turned into beauty, even joy—blues, klezmer, much traditional song. And the natural world full of wonders. And our fellow struggling imperfect humans, many of whom offer kindness in gestures, listening, acceptance. And children, with their openminds and open-hearts. And the friends we have in books, like the one she brought today, Josh Baran’s anthology of poems, excerpts, reminders of our common heritage of belonging in this universe. And, slowing-down, just breathing, quiet, here now. Her notes and quotes in AW.

We agreed to send today’s offering to one of our favorite forces for good and health, the House of Flowers Orphanage and School in Kabul.


Wounding and healing are not opposites. They’re part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to find other people or to even know they’re alone with an illness. I think I have served people perfectly with parts of myself I used to be ashamed of.~~~Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, My Grandfather’s Blessings


Sunday, March 20, 2016 (1030), at Gail Sondergaard’s in Worcester. The topic is ALTARS (as always, open to interpretation).


from Sue:

Word origins:

Old English hælan “cure; save; make whole, sound and well,” from Proto-Germanic *hailjan…Gothic ga-hailjan “to heal, cure”), literally “to make whole,” from PIE *kailo- “whole” (see health). from late 14c. Related: Healed; healing.

Indo-European Root

  • kailo –   Whole, uninjured, of good omen.
  • hale1 – whole, from Old English hāl, hale, whole;
  • wholesome – from Old English *hālsum (> Middle English holsom)
  • hail2 – wassail, from Old Norse heill, healthy. a-c all from Germanic *hailaz.
  • health – from Old English hǣlth, health, from Germanic *hailithō.
  • heal – from Old English hǣlan, to heal, from Germanic *hailjan
  • holy – halibut, halidom, holiday, hollyhock, from Old English hālig, holy, sacred.

    [Pokorny kai-lo‑ 520.]

word Shalom in Hebrew – wholeness/completeness/fulfillment/Peace
peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility, used in Torah when asking after health of someone… basic well-being


  • “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” ~Hippocrates
  • “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.” ~Paracelsus
  • “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. “ ~World Health Organization, 1948
  • “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” ~ Marianne Williamson
  • “A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ.”  ~John Steinbeck
  • “Kindness and a generous spirit go a long way. And a sense of humor. It’s like medicine – very healing.” ~Max Irons
  • “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation – either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”  ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Condolence ceremony

from my telling (based on White Roots of Peace, by Paul A.W. Wallace)

Hiawatha floated down the Mohawk river in a canoe.  He came to the Flint People’s village where the Peacemaker lived.  He made a fire, set up his poles and sat with his beads.  From that village walked the Peacemaker.  He heard Hiawatha: “If I found a person bowed down with grief as I am, I would take these bead strings and console him.” The peacemaker walked right up to Hiawatha.  “Greetings Brother. At last we meet again. I see a great grief weighing on your heart.”

Then the Peacemaker lifted the bead strings and held them with ones he had made himself from porcupine quills, he spoke the words that have been spoken ever since in the Longhouse, and at every Council of the Chiefs as part of the Condolence Ceremony. “With these words I wash the tears from your face…..With the white fawn-skin of pity I lift the darkness covering you….I take the grief from your eyes so you may see the beauty of the world again.  I take the grief blocking your ears so you may hear the world’s songs again.  I take the grief blocking your throat so you may speak your heart’s wisdom again.”  This is how Hiawatha was healed of his great grief.

These links give more information/history about the Condolence Ceremony.

from Nancy

  • There is as much healing power in a Beethoven sonata or a painting by Constable as in excerpts from the Bible…George Bernard Shaw
  • The soul is healed by being with children…Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of creation…Wendell Berry
  • Pain in this life is not avoidable, but the pain we create avoiding pain is avoidable…R.D. Laing

and a note on the anthology by Josh Baran: as published in 2003, the title was 365 Nirvana Here and Now. Recently republished under the title The Tao of Now.

and a list of
old and new TOPIC-ideas:

* ––Your top 10 Glad-Abouts

* —Talents and Skills

* —Aging: the Pains and Pleasures

* —What Have You Learned Lately?

* —What Gives You Courage?

* —Stuck, in some Assumption, and What Unstuck You

* —Freedom: what is…?

* —Living Slower (How?)

* —Frustrations

* —Overload

* —Little True Stories

* —Graces

* —What do you need to do more of?

* —What do you need to do less of?

* —Patterns and Habits, good and bad

* —Something about You that most people Don’t Know

* —Recent Delights

* —What Keeps You Going?

* —Home: what/where/how?

* —Surprises

* —Control

* —Growing Up: what/how/when?

* —Magical Mystery Tour (Life)

and one more note:
Ann is still looking for those recipes from y’all


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