GNL number 112

a report on doings at meeting #112, Sunday, November 13, 2016

including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends


Everything comes to the man who does not need it.

~~~French proverb

Owning fewer keys opens more doors.

~~~Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe


Sue began our conversation today on What I Can Do Without; she spoke first of her own “can’t-do-withouts” like the outdoors, planting, stories and music; and beauty in her life, and speaking for justice. She said she can do without a fancy life (the new garage was seeming to her the opposite); she wishes for the simple life. She showed a book from her story-circle work with little ones, and one on possessions in other cultures. See AFTERWORDS for more on these, a Zen story, and her quotes.

Marge began with a warm appreciation of COS, and it’s not something she wants to do without. Then she said she can’t be without music, how it makes many things easier and more pleasant to do, for instance, especially while she’s cooking; and she confessed to often dancing to music in the kitchen. She also said she and Don had done country/square dancing for years, which led her to an unexpected affection for country/cowboy music too.

Nancy had two lists, essentials first—family, friends, human contact, community, COS, Peacemakers, the natural world outdoors, ways to help, creative work/play, music/singing/whistling, laughter/joy, reading/writing, open-mind, and will toward presence, perspective, gratitude, peace. And then can-do-withouts (in addition to D.T., American culture and wars.)—TV, malls, new stuff, most of her papers, books, clothes, most of her solitude, winter, and compulsive habits. See AW for quote.

Cynthia said it’s become clear to her lately how much she needs a regular bit of solitude, like a day a week, this clearer since they’ve been sorting and thinning their stuff toward a possible move. Which has also made her find in room after room things she could do without, eg., the computer room with its many papers, books, etc. She said she has long tried to shop small/local, doing without the malls. And last, Cyn admitted she can’t find and doesn’t want to do w/o: the right bed pillow! Help!

Louise updated us on her chickens and plan to do many more plantings at both farms, and then told what was essential to her—avoiding (also doing without) toxins in her food and the chickens’ food; essential to live the way of clean food-water-air. And that she would just spend all her time on her beautiful farm if she could. She spoke of loving the sunrise, seeing the sun move across the sky and set, feeling worshipful about the sun’s light on this life on earth.

Vijaya, our hostess today, spoke of getting serious in her older years about what matters most and doing what her heart really wants rather than what someone else says to do; and of attachment versus detachment, of having simple needs, of being not so attached to things or to winning. At the end, she also brought out the beautiful “Lilies of the Alley” painting of her garden that Cynthia had made for her, and we all signed the back of it.

Ann, like several of us here, is a longtime lover of nature and of music, and also a longtime driver of vehicles large and small, so no surprise she said she can’t do without these. She said she can do without regrets, though, or at least guilt feelings. She spoke also, as Marge did, of not only many years of the fun of contra-dancing, but growing up loving music and retaining lyrics easily, so she often finds herself singing along without effort.

We agreed to send our offering today to the fund for the Schoharie County Thanksgiving Dinner.


All you need is love.

~~~Lennon and McCartney

All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.

~~~Charles M. Schultz


Sunday, December 11, 2016 (1030), at Sue Spivack’s house on Quarry St., Cobleskill. The subject is REGRETS.


from Sue


“Habit is a man’s sole comfort. We dislike doing without even unpleasant things to which we have become accustomed.” ~Goethe

“All places that the eye of heaven visits are to a wise man ports and happy havens. Teach thy necessity to reason thus; there is no virtue like necessity.”  ~William Shakespeare. Richard II, Act 1-Scene iii

“Man cannot do without beauty, and this is what our era pretends to want to disregard.” Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sysiphus & Other Essays

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” ~ Confucius

“You will find that you cannot do without politicians. They are a necessary evil in this day and time. You may not like getting money from one source and spending it for another. But the thing for the school people to do is that if the politicians are going to steal, make them steal for the schools.” ~ Huey Long

“It is desirable that a man live in all respects so simply and preparedly that if an enemy take the town… he can walk out the gate empty-handed and without anxiety.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” ~Lin Yutang

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ~William Morris, in a lecture, 1880


Buddhist parable—too many cows

One day the Buddah was sitting with a number of monks, in the wood, near the city of Vajali.  Suddenly one person came by.  He looked very unhappy.  He was a farmer.


He asked the Buddha whether he had seen his cows, passing by.  The Buddha asked, “What cows?”  He said that he had twelve cows, and they have all run away.  “Monk, I am the most unhappy person on earth.  I think I am going to die.    I only have twelve cows, and they have gone, all of them.


And I also have two pieces of land where I cultivate sesame seed plants, and they are all eaten up by insects.  So I think I will die.”  The Buddha said he didn’t see any cows, and he suggested that the farmer go in the other direction in order to look for his cows.


And after the farmer was gone, the Buddha turned to his monks and said this:  “Monks, you are very lucky, you don’t have any cows.”


So, if we have any cows, either inside and outside, let them go.  Our happiness, our freedom, our peace depends very much on our capacity to release our cows.   ~Thich Nhat Hanh telling.


From the Green Circle of stories with children:

What the 2nd grader says about bringing the stranger into the circle:

“When I met the relatives I did not know
because it was my grandmother's anniversary
and they came----lots of them from far away----they all
had my last name----but I felt shy
because they were strangers to me,
so I decided to pretend I was greeting myself

each time I said hello, 
and that helped me.
And I tried to help them because that felt
like I was helping me.”

And the two books shown were: The Table Where Rich People Sit, by Byrd Baylor,

and Material World, by Peter Menzel

from Nancy

What we need is Less.

~~~Joseph Rain


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