NL number 118

a report of doings at meeting #118, Sunday, May 21, 2017

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

INVOCATION

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?

~~~major league baseball pitcher Satchel Paige (still pitching in his 60’s)

I’ve never

stopped wanting to cross

the equator, or touch an elk’s horns,

or sing Tosca, or

screw James Dean in a field of wheat.

To hell with wisdom. They’re all wrong:

I’ll never be through with my life.

~~~Rita Dove, On the Bus With Rosa Parks


THEME

Sue opened this conversation on Age(ing)/Change/Sage(ing), and with her anticipated word origins/meanings report. She also had lots of good quotes, and told of an experience with her two brothers that reminded her she can’t do it all without great tension and overload., a message needed in this age of Trump, when need for resistance is so pervasive. See AFTERWORDS for her notes and quotes.

Our hostess Gail spoke not only as child of two strong examples of very alive and active elders, but as sister to a younger sib who’s been suffering. Gail reported she did extend the offer of help and invitation to come up here to her sister,.who seemed empowered by that loving gesture itself to apply herself strongly to what she needs to do. All of which seemed to Gail like part of the learning and growing that aging is all about.

Ann‘s comments included many fine quotes, eg.,from one of her favorite old guys, Heraclitus, another old Skippy saint, Mark Twain, and good old Anonymous (“The older I get, the better I was”). Happily, she brought lots of 6-wordies too, which prompted lots of laughs as well. And her insight: We are all looking for a degree, measure, level of preservation of things/ideas that make us feel comfortable, engaged, important. See AW for her N and Q.

Marge first read from Mayo Clinic reports about the common physical features of aging, and good advice therefore. And she spoke of her own experience with physical issues, including cancer a few years ago and the common and chronic urinary urgency that so many of us could relate to, as well as the kegel exercises in response to it, and the not as common physical therapy for this. And she reported on her and Don’s recent trip to Europe too!

Vijaya spoke of her own health issues in recent years, eg. diabetes and high blood pressure, for which she takes meds, and the help for arthritic pain she sought while in India recently. And about that trip, and how her sisters want her to stay; but she said in the many years she’s been here she’s become more Americanized, and also still gets good energy from her store. So she has learned to try to be true to what her heart tells her.

Nancy had had some chronic health issues for years while still able to do most physical things. Now, she said, the wonderful fine-motoring tho arthritic hands are less reliable, making minor accidents, leading to her forcing, then even more slips, then meltdowns at them and then, at her own jerky meltdowns. But she tries to recall: can still see, hear, walk, run a bit, dance a lot, write and talk enough to commune with people. Then she told two anecdotes from a recent family trip, with two aging-related readings. For these and quotes, see AW.

We agreed to give our offering today to the Office For the Aging, for its nutrition program.

(Sue later spoke with their representative and sent our $75 there.)


BENEDICTION

The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.

~~~Frank Lloyd Wright

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.

~~~Robert Frost

The sooner growing older is stripped of reflexive dread, the better equipped

we are to benefit from the countless ways in which it can enrich us.

~~~Ashton Applewhite, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism


NEXT TIME

Sunday, June 11, 2017 (1030), at Ann Adams’ house on Pavilion Ave., in Sharon Springs. (With Nancy’s place as Plan B.) The topic is ROCKS (as usual, the topic is very elastic, and we are a creative group, to say the least).


AFTERWORDS

first, from the editor,

some exciting, noteworthy dates:

We designated two good dates this summer for our long-desired field trip to the Syracuse Cultural Workers Store in Syracuse:

  • Tuesday, August 15 or
  • Tuesday, September 17.

Please be thinking about this.

And a thank you note:

to Vijaya, for the photos she took at this meeting at Gail’s beautiful place out in Worcester.

These are sent to you all in a separate email.

And the editor promises to make and send:

soon—–a list of old and newer topic ideas for you to chew on

and hopefully by next meeting—–

an index of the past almost 10 years of meeting topics and dates

from Nancy:

a quote from an old classic—

By the time you’re 80 years old, you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.

~~~George Burns (1896-1996)

and an original 6-wordy on our subject from my dear sister Kathy:

Oh shit—Oh shit—Oh shit.

And the anecdotes noted in Theme—

From recent revelations on this topic from the previous weekend trip with three of her kids to the wonderful surprise birthday party for her youngest daughter in MA.The long drive itself, a wonderful talk opportunity, leading to son Jimmy’s enthusiastic expression of admiration for Japanese artist Hokusai, who for almost 90 years hardly stopped seeing and creating beauty. Which reminded me of the poem art historian Roger Keyes wrote about him, an excerpt included below:

Hokusai Says

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing

He says everything is alive —
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,
or write books. It doesn’t matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care
It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.
–—Roger Keye

Then, a few days later, came daughter Mary’s post-trip check-in call, and telling her about this COS meeting with the aging topic not my favorite at the moment; and her response was immediate: “Mom! Don’t you remember what Skippy’s all about and how it got started?!”

Well—YES. So I had to grant her that, and went back to the first page of our COS history, where there’s a copy of my response to Cynthia’s request for a draft idea of this group, part of which follows below.

The background

  1. In case you don’t remember the origin of the name, Skippy is not the pastor of the Church, or even the patron saint. But maybe she is a mascot-angel.
  2. She was me, a child of 4, called Skippy by my father, and the name reminds me of the qualities of childhood i don’t want to lose, and ones i long to learn.
  3. Any Skippy i know
    • –notices everything and takes real joy in all those small things she discovers
    • –asks questions all the time
    • –smiles a lot
    • –laughs a lot
    • –honestly proclaims her problems
    • –sings and dances whenever she likes
    • –wants to be outdoors as much as possible, and live in a tree house
    • –knows instinctively we’re all in this together–big and little, people and animals, bugs and green things, rocks and dirt, and it’s messy but good
    • –not only accepts the mission, but like Paul, age 7, says
      • I love you, Big World
      • Sometimes i wish i could
      • Call you up and tell you,
      • I love you, World
    • –and of course, she skips.

 

From Ann:

 

Six wordies”

  • Ageing is watching time made visible.
  • Knobby knuckles, weaker grip, ageing hands.
  • The times they are a changin”.
  • Youngest, younger, young, old, older, oldest.
  • Past times wile away our lives.
  • So, given the alternative, life works.
  • Playground rules, some learn, some don’t.
  • Always approaching the next minute, inexorably.
  • Crow’s feet ha! Grand Canyons ya!
  • You really don’t look your age.
  • The first time happens only once.
  • My favorite time of year? Today!

We are all looking for a degree, measure, or level of preservation of things/ideas that make us feel comfortable, engaged, important.

Quotations:

The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -”  ~~~Heraclitus

We are most nearly ourselves when we achieve the seriousness of the child at play.”  ~~~Heraclitus

Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen. ~~~Mark Twain

One today is worth two tomorrows. ~~~Benjamin Franklin

We are happier in many ways when we are old than when we were young. The young sow wild oats. The old grow sage.  ~~~Winston Churchill

Peace is born out of equanimity and balance.

Balance is flexibility, and ability to adjust graciously to change.  ~~~Jack Kornfield

 

If you expect your life to be up and down, your mind will be much more peaceful  ~~~Lama Yeshe 

Serenity Prayer:  “May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

The older I get the better I was.     Anonymous

People waste years of their lives not being willing to waste hours of their lives.  ~~~Michael Lewis, nonfiction author and financial journalist

We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.  ~~~Unknown Source

Changes are not only possible and predictable, but to deny them is to be an accomplice to one’s own unnecessary vegetation. ~~~Gail Sheehy,  American author, journalist, and lecturer

As I grow older and older/And totter towards the tomb/I find I care less and less/Who goes to bed with whom.  ~~~Dorothy L. Sayers, mystery novelist

From Sue:

Time and Change as we Age (Sage) from Sue
Definitions: age (n.)   late 13c., “long but indefinite period in human history,” from Old French aage, eage “age; life, lifetime, lifespan; maturity,” …extended form of Latin  “period of life, age, lifetime, years,” from aevum “lifetime, eternity, age,” from PIE root *aiw- “vital force, life; long life, eternity” (see eon).

sage (n.2)  “man of profound wisdom,” mid-14c., from sage (adj.). Originally applied to the Seven Sages — Thales, Solon, Periander, Cleobulus, Chilon, Bias, and Pittacus.sage (adj.)  “wise,” c. 1300 (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French sage “wise, knowledgeable, learned; shrewd, skillful” (11c.), from Gallo-Roman *sabius, from Vulgar Latin *sapius, from Latin sapere “have a taste, have good taste, be wise,” from PIE root *sap- “to taste” (see sap (n.1))
Quotes
“At fifteen, I set my mind upon learning;
At thirty, I took my stand;
At forty, I no longer had doubts;
At fifty, I knew the will of the heavens;
At sixty my ear was attuned;
At seventy, I follow all the desires of my heart without breaking any rule.”
Chungliang quoting Confucious

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
― Yoko Ono

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” ~ Robert Frost
“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”~ George Bernard Shaw
“Wisdom is the reward for surviving our own stupidity.” ~ Brian Rathbone
“You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.” ~Woody Allen
“I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” ~Albert Einstein
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ~Leon C. Megginson
“Human beings can get used to virtually anything, given plenty of time and no choice in the matter whatsoever.” ~ Tom Holt, Open Sesame

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
For everything there is a season:

And a time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

“From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the forms of things. By the time I was fifty I had published an infinity of designs, but all I have produced before the age of seventy is not worth taking into account.  At seventy-three, I have learned a little about the real structure of nature, of animals, plants, trees, birds, fishes and insects.  In consequence, when I am eighty, I shall have made still more progress.  At ninety I shall penetrate the mystery of things, at a hundred I shall certainly have reached a marvellous stage, and when I am a hundred and ten, everything I do, be it but a dot or a line, will be alive.  I beg those who live as long as I to see if I do not keep my word.  Written at the age of seventy-five by me, once Hokusai, today Gwako Rojin, the old man mad about drawing.”  ~Hokusai, from Preface to The Hundred Views of Fuji
for images of his paintings: https://www.google.com/#q=Hokusai+wave    and http://www.hokusaionline.co.uk/code/36_views_mount_fuji.html


—            

GNL number 117

a report of doings at meeting #117, Sunday, April 9, 2017

INVOCATION

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” Chinese Proverb & Eleanor Roosevelt
“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” ~Rabindranath Tagore


THEME

Marge opened with 2 ways she and Don make sure they bring light into their lives:

  1. The tour group Overseas Adventure Travel which has helped them explore wonderful places around our planet. They’ll be off on another journey in May to see the tulips blooming in Holland and then moving on to other nations.
  2. The interesting workshops they attend on the SUNY Cobl campus sponsored by the Schoharie County Home of Ongoing Learning.

Then she shared 6-wordies:

  • “In that forest, I can wander.”
  • “The gardener of the World, Sun.”
  • “Wherever you go, there you are.”

Gail also shared 6-wordies to convey thoughts on darkness & light.

  • Reddish blond hair, descends on country.
  • Friends help heal wounds of darkness.
  • Winter gray light. Snow brings Bright.
  • Are we sleeping with hopeful wishing?
  • Black birds eating on snowy morning.
  • Dark black cave. Bright sun opening.
  • Rain water mud—wet smell dog.
  • This morning—Sun, Birds & Friends.

Ann shared a childhood memory of watching the Dick Van Dyke show as he impersonated a tulip bulb sprouting from beneath the soil—with much spitting and spewing of dirt from his mouth as he pushed his way through darkness into the light. She still thinks of it most springs as she walks through her garden to see the tulip bulbs sending up their first leaves.

Sue shared quotations and commented on how they helped her see that darkness and light are two sides of one reality, and the ways personal experiences and public events affect our sense of the world in terms of darkness or light. Since Passover was approaching she told how the story of the Hebrews’ escape from Pharaoh & slavery in ancient Egypt including the plagues of darkness & the night of the deaths of the 1st-born sons has been interpreted by many Rebbes as finding our way through our inner darknesses to the light of connection with all that is beauti-ful/righteous/wondrous when we open to true presence with each other and the cosmos. See Quotations in Afterwords.

Cynthia sent this note to summarize her very moving report to us of Michael’s recent parole hearing: “Let me start out by saying THANK YOU ALL! The love and support of this little ‘church’ is so amazing.
Our hearing on March 22nd for Michael’s parole was not the miracle we hoped for-BUT- it is the path from darkness into light and we are thankful to be granted this opportunity. Michael was recommended for transfer to another facility where he could take part in more programs. After he is transferred from Martin Correctional to Sumter Correctional, Michael will FINALLY have a chance to enroll in re-entry classes, will be given more privileges and —  we HOPE — he will connect with people he can trust and follow to the gate of release and redemption. We are looking at 3 more years before his next — and I hope his final — hearing. I am sure that the thoughts and prayers from our extensive network of family and friends has surrounded us with a cushion to break the fall and we are ready to bounce back for the next round!!
I did have a “6 wordie” poem to offer:
Turn your face to the sun
A brand new day has begun
Skippy meetings always make me feel so much better emotionally, and I expect to feel much better physically now! AND…. my ‘uncomic’ BOOK OF DAZE continues- I know we will survive this administration because of communities like Skippy, Peacemakers and so many other pockets of humanity!”

Nancy who felt too ill to be with us sent this message for our newsletter: “Wish I’d been with you guys, and later I did get to feeling better enough to go for a little walk in the beautiful afternoon.” Here’s a few quotations w/ comments:

  • “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” ~Sir Francis Bacon. (NS—Yes, as night into day, both parts of the whole—so darkness into light.)
  • “Truly, it’s in darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.” ~Meister Eckhart. (NS—Maybe we need the quiet of night to hear, feel, see more clearly and deeply our dark fears and denied pains, so we can find more power to face and deal with them as part of this life.)
  • “At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~Albert Schweitzer. (NS—I think no day of mine passes without such a rekindling, by family, friend, or yes, stranger, who’ve given me their presence, eyes and ears, and even kindness unexpected.)
  • “To love beauty is to see light.” ~Victor Hugo. (NS—And this has been true for me, a path out of darkness. Not only music—whistling and singing and dancing, but seeing and being in the beauty of the big natural world, and surrounding myself with signs of nature too—like rocks and leaves, as you know.)

OUR OFFERING of $100 today was taken by Cynthia to support Michael’s Parole Advocate Ken in his work for all inmates. To learn more about that work, visit Ken Cooper Prison Ministries, Jacksonville Florida.


BENEDICTION

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr
“There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” ~Leonard Cohen


NEXT TIME

Sunday, May 21, 2017, 10:30 am, at Ann Adams’ home at 107 Pavillion Ave., Sharon Springs. (Gail will be backup location–we’ll let you know) The subject is “Time & Change As We (S)age”


AFTERWORDS

Marge

  • It is very nice to think;
  • Beat the drum, here we come!
  • Gail: What’s to come—sadness not knowing.
  • Light Spring Family—Friends Nature Outdoors.
  • Dark feelings future—Politics population world.
  • Chinese at Mano Largo—Trump’s personal property.
  • Discussion on information—Educational & action.
  • We thought Bush was a King.
  • Is this a preamble to doom?
  • Singing of frogs on spring night.
  • Shock, disbelief fear—Sadness and hope.
  • Bomb white death—white snow softness.
  • Darkness of fear—Light of Reason.
  • Evening with Virginia—fun with games.
  • Life goes on no matter what.
  • Back and forth—what life is.

Sue: Quotations:

  • “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” ~Carl Jung
  • “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” Francis Bacon
  • “What interests me is the sense of the darkness that we carry within us, the darkness that’s akin to one of the principal subjects of the sublime – terror.” Anish Kapoor
  • “You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light.” Edward Abbey
  • “All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing without shrinking into the darkness.” John Ruskin

“Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this too, was a gift.” ~ Mary Oliver, “Thirst”

  • “Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry
  • “When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin
  • “In the beginning there was nothing. God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.” ~Ellen DeGeneres

Nancy:

  • “I am in the world feeling my way to light ‘amid the encircling gloom’.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Night brings our troubles to the light rather than banishing them.” ~Seneca

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