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27.04.2015
Petrarch was born to Florentine parents but was raised along the River Rhone in eastern France.
It was as a writer that Petrarch has been referred to as the Father of the Renaissance in Italy. There were several experiences in his life that shed light into what shaped this man and why he became so revered and respected.
He confessed that even though he had a noble family and loving parents and even received training as a priest, he was deeply entrenched in patterns of sexual sin until the age of 40. A major event that led to the a€?throwing off of the old and putting on the newa€? was a climb with his brother to the top of Mount Ventoux (which means a€?windya€? in French), the highest mountain peak in southern France.
The passage struck him like an arrow and from that wound he turned from a preoccupation with the world of nature around him and instead began to focus on the inner world of the soul. A second major impact upon Petrarcha€™s life was his infatuation with a beautiful girl, Laura, who attended the same church in Avignon.
As a priest, Petrarch was forbidden to marry but did father two children, a son and daughter, by a woman or women whose identity(ies) was lost. The sonnet is a lyrical poem expressing onea€™s emotions rather than tell, for example, a story.
The following is an example from Petrarcha€™s collection of sonnets (1327), Rime in vita e morta di Madonna Laura (a€?Rhymes in life and death of Lady Lauraa€?) contained in his major collection of works, Il Canzoniere (a€?Song Booka€?). I bless the place, the time and hour of the daya€?that my eyes aimed their sights at such a height,a€?and say: a€?My soul, you must be very gratefula€?that you were found worthy of such great honour. His son died young in a plague but his daughter lived on and off with Petrarch for her entire life.
Although he was born in Florence during the later stages of the Middle Ages, Dante is considered to be one of three a€?mountainsa€? of poetry that Italy produced during the Renaissance, together with Petrarch and Boccaccio. In Dantea€™s lifetime, the Emperor Henry VII entered Italy, and Dante envisioned him as the new Charlemagne.
Henry VII is depicted in Dantea€™s Paradise seated on a seat of honor as the one a€?who will come to set Italy straight before her time is ready.a€? (Or, a€?. In Hell (Inferno) Dante has as his personal guide, the Roman philosopher Virgil who cannot leave hell for purgatory because as a Roman he was a pagan.
Mohammed is seen as a disemboweled spirit wandering aimlessly through hell because of his deception of millions through his false religion. In addition to Boniface VIII, Dante meets various leaders of the Italian city-states who are confined in hell because of instigating political intrigue, warfare, and death.
Dantea€™s treatment of Boniface in the Comedy created a wide audience of readers, because the Pope was considered by many throughout Italy to be a notorious villain. In the third section or book in The Divine Comedy, Dante is accompanied by Beatrice, the young woman he loved in life but for whom his love was never fulfilled. Paradise concludes with Dantea€™s encounter with God, which he describes as an experience filled with glory and brilliance in Goda€™s presence. Hence, The Divine Comedy is a work filled with Dantea€™s theological comments and political opinions.
Dante was married at the age of 9 by his parents to the daughter of another wealthy Florentine family of nobility.
Dante states, however, that he loved another girl who he knew in Florence but that this was a secret love known only to him and never by her.
Perhaps because of his infatuation with Beatrice and his inability to come to terms with what would seem to be a necessary masculine maturity, Dante never mentioned his wife in any of his writings and she never accompanied him during the many years of exile in northern Italy. The novel depicts ten youths (seven girls and three boys) who flee Florence to escape the Black Death. The tales they tell were gathered by Boccaccio from all over Europe and the Middle East and reveal important insights into the cultures of that time period. The novel was banned for long periods of time because the bawdy tales broke custom, not only by including sexual content generally but also tales of priests engage in illicit sexual activity as well.
Just as Dante was in trouble because of his public opposition to the political power of the pope, so, too, Boccaccio was in deep trouble because of the content of Decameron, especially the public broadcasting of the immorality of priests and bishops.
In the later part of his life, Boccaccio had a desire to enter the priesthood, perhaps in an attempt to atone for the sins he committed in his younger years (he was in loved with a married noble woman while in Naples and made her famous through the false name, Fiammetta).
He established the novel as an effective part of Renaissance literature which became a model for novelists in later centuries. Decameron was an important collection of tales gathered from many areas of Europe, the Middle East, and India and served as an instrument preserve the tales. The important literary work for which he is known, The Courtier, was his handbook for courtiers. The royal courts were located in the palace of the king or prince that required onea€™s full time attendance. Courts were also the place where musical concerts were preformed, plays presented, and recitations of recent literary works given. It was in this climate that The Courtier greatly influenced Renaissance behavior and further advanced the qualities of the ideal Renaissance man. His most important work, The Prince, was a handbook which gave advice to young rulers who were inexperienced in ruling.
There were three major ideas advocated by Machiavelli that set him in opposition to the pope and clergy. First, the most famous pieces of advice from The Prince given to young rulers was the line, a€?It is better to be feared than loved.a€? Ita€™s nice if those you govern love you, but eventually without fearing you they will turn on you and attack you behind your back. Machiavelli was perhaps the clearest spokesman for a humanism that concentrated on the here and now and divorced itself from the concept of personal accountability to God. Today people in contemporary politics who constantly change their values and follow the principle, a€?the end justifies the means,a€? are referred to as being a€?Machiavellian.a€? The term was applied, for example, to President Nixon when he lied to Congress about his knowledge of the Water Gate break-in, and to President Clinton when he lied to Congress about his relationship with a young female aide. The Prince was more widely read and followed than any other literature produced during the Renaissance because it touched a raw nerve, the frustration in Italy with the Churcha€™s involvement in civil government. How did Petrarcha€™s climb up the mountain and reading Augustinea€™s Confessions change his life? Dantea€™s work, The Divine Comedy is considered one of the greatest pieces of literature in history. What did Dante do through his literature to greatly aid Italy later to become a unified nation?
How did Castiglionea€™s work, The Courtier, help shape Italian society, especially among the nobility? If someone today is accused of being Machiavellian (and often people are), what are others saying about that person? If from the little you have read about these three authors, which do feel most attracted to?
Petrarch from early childhood loved to learn and the study of ancient history was his special area of interest.
I bless the place, the time and hour of the daythat my eyes aimed their sights at such a height,and say: a€?My soul, you must be very gratefulthat you were found worthy of such great honour. During his lifetime, Italy was torn with conflicts between the city-states and between the pope and the Holy Roman Empire. In the third section or bookA  in The Divine Comedy, Dante is accompanied by Beatrice, the young woman he loved in life but for whom his love was never fulfilled. Dante states, however,A  that he loved another girl who he knew in Florence but that this was a secret love known only to him and never by her. As an experienced courtier (one who serves in the kinga€™s or princea€™s court at his invitation) Castiglione felt it necessary to counter the Middle Agesa€™ concept of the perfect knights who were sworn to bravery and virtue. 1.How did Petrarcha€™s climb up the mountain and reading Augustinea€™s Confessions change his life? 3.Dantea€™s work, The Divine Comedy is considered one of the greatest pieces of literature in history. 5.What did Dante do through his literature to greatly aid Italy later to become a unified nation? 6.How did Castiglionea€™s work, The Courtier, help shape Italian society, especially among the nobility? 9.If someone today is accused of being Machiavellian (and often people are), what are others saying about that person?
10.If from the little you have read about these three authors, which do feel most attracted to? The Greek peninsula was originally settled by the Minoan people who originated in Egypt and came to the mainland via the island of Crete on the south, by the Achaeans who settled in the Peloponnese, and by the Dorians, Ionians, and Aeolians who entered over the mountains from Europe in the north. The name comes from the ruins at Mycenae where a large palace and many graves were discovered. The values that emerged from Homera€™s epic tales became the basic values of Greek culture and formed the basis for Greek education. Excellence (arete) -- doing the best you can, setting high levels of achievement, being the best at what you do, being superior in achievement to that of others. Honor -- being a person of virtue, one who lends to neighbors without expecting repayment, and one who keeps promises and commitments.
Bravery -- for the Greek man bravery during war and athletic prowess in peacetime were the goals. Sacrifice -- being willing to give up self-comfort for the sake of the polis, choosing to defend the polis over family life. Glory (kleos) -- glory one achieves for parents, family, and polis through great deeds of excellence, honor, bravery. Impermanence of human life -- everything in life is impermanent, but glory (kleos) never fades. After the Trojan Wars, the Mycenaeans went through a period of civil wars and their defenses became weakened. This period extended from the beginning of the wars with Persia up to the death of Alexander the Great in 336 B.C. The ideal Greek man was considered to be a brave warrior during war time and an excellent athlete in peace time.
The olympic site at Olympia still contains the actual fields, large dirt berms where spectators sat, the tunnel through which the contestants ran onto the fields, and remnants of many statues to the gods.
Persia, a major power that developed to the northeast of the Fertile Crescent, expanded through military power into present-day Turkey (Anatolia) and into the western areas of the Black Sea, just to the north of Greece. The Greeks had established colonies in Troy, Ephesus, and other locations along the eastern edge of the Aegean in present day Turkey. Every modern marathon is exactly the same distance, whether it is run in London, Tokyo, or Boston.
Xerxes is also well known to Christians and Jews because he was the husband of Queen Esther, a Jewish young woman who lived during the Babylonian Captivity of Judah. Xerxes took his time -- four years -- to assemble a huge army of 2 million men and 1200 ships to attack Greece.
The Persians marched to a point to the north of Athens, burning and pillaging Greek villages along their path.The goal was to conquer Athens and burn it to the ground in retaliation for Dariusa€™ previous defeat at Marathon. The Persians were like a herd of elephants attempting to crawl inside the neck of a Coke bottle. The Athenians meanwhile began evacuating all the citizens of Athens to Salamis, an island south of Athens, which was separated from the mainland by the Bay of Salamis.
Why was the Athenian army not present at Thermopylae if the goal of Xerxes was to destroy Athens? Why did Leonidas not dismiss the Thespians from the battle, as he did the other Greek troops? What can be learned from the example of how Leonidas chose Thermopylae to fight the superior forces of the Persians? By the time the Persians entered Athens, the entire city had been evacuated except for some priests and priestesses who were supposedly given the job of defending the sacred temples on the Acropolis. Why did Xerxes not head immediately into the Peloponnese to deal with Sparta, the hometown of Leonidas, who had angered him at Thermopylae? When the Persian ships entered the Bay of Salamis they were quickly surrounded by the more maneuverable Greek ships. The Athenians went on to build the worlda€™s largest navy and a merchant fleet that trading throughout the Mediterranean, while the Spartans developed the worlda€™s most powerful army. After the Persian wars Athens and Sparta continued to develop two radically different cultures.
The Peloponnesian League attacked Athens, but the outmanned Athenians under Pericles gained allies in the Peloponnese, thus damaging Spartaa€™s supply lines, and encouraged the Spartan helots (slaves) to flee to the Athenian allied city-states for safety and freedom. Athens had built large stone walls from the city down the rocky slopes about 8 miles to Piraeus, its port on the Aegean.
Eventually in following years Athens proved to be the city with the most resiliency, vitality, and potential.
What two confederations were set up in Greece in view of disputes and bad attitudes between the various city-states? Pericles was the leader of Athens following the Persian Wars and led Athens in its war against Sparta. Socrates lived during the Peloponnesian Wars that racked Greece and brought Athens and Sparta to exhaustion. Socrates sought through his philosophy to teach a better way, and to do so through the education of the youth of Athens. Socrates was upset by an earlier group of Athenian thinkers, the Sophists, who maintained that there were no universals or absolutes in life. The elders of Athens were very disturbed by Socrates questioning tradition and teaching his students to do the same. Socrates was held in deep respect by his students, but resented by the leaders of the polis.
In the Apology of Plato (Dialogues 32, 41) when asked how he felt about his soon death, Socrates is reported by Plato to have replied that he had no feelings or emotions about death.
What does Socrates believe about the soul that leads him to conclude that everything a person needs to know already exists in his mind, and merely needs to be allowed to come out?
Since Socrates never wrote any of his teachings down, what is one source of his teachings that we can consult to discover what Socrates believed and taught?
Early in life Plato wandered around the Mediterranean and was at one point captured by pirates. In The Cave, Plato describes several people chained inside a cave who have never viewed what lies on the outside of the cave. But if there are real Forms of chairs and trees and red apples, then there are real Forms of humans, also. It was Platoa€™s emphasis on the upper story that appealed to people in Northern Europe during the Renaissance and during the Protestant Reformation, as opposed to the man-centered humanism of Aristotle which was favored in the Italian Renaissance. How is this expressed in the statement by Plato to his teacher: a€?a€?And what, Socrates, is the food of the soul? Aristotle was the son of a physician who had served the grandfather of Alexander the Great.
An educated mind is able to listen to and entertain a thought without blindly accepting it. Aristotle departed from his teacher, Plato, by maintaining, as did Confucius and Buddha, that there is not enough time in this life to worry about a life to come. Aristotle was a pioneer biologist in observing and classifying the plants, trees, and animals of Greece. Aristotle, in similar fashion to Plato his teacher, saw two energies or components of the soul -- desire and reason. At the close of the middle ages, many Italians began to discard the traditions of the Roman Church. All three of these philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, emphasized human reason as the major force of life. In Christianity there is the important matter of the necessity of being born again, having our minds made new, of submitting our minds and wills to God, in trusting Him for wisdom and understanding. Some speculate that the gods and goddesses in Greek mythology were heroes from the earliest Mycenaean periods of Greeks history, preceding even Troy and Homer. This speculation comes from a careful study of Greek pottery, art, and sculpture, which gives, in the opinion of some historians, evidence that the gods and goddesses may have been the glorification by the early Greeks of major characters from the line of Cain who lived prior to the flood. For instance, Zeus could possibly be Nimrod, the first of the great warriors and the founder of the first city according to Genesis. Thus Greek mythology, maintains Johnson, is a corrupted version of biblical history, a twisted memory.
To understand the whole story that underlies the stories contained in Greek mythology, one must be aware of the clash between the older Titans and the younger Olympians.
In other pieces of Greek art there is a continuous emphasis on capturing and grasping the tree that contains the fruit of knowledge and mysteries. If Johnson is correct in his interpretations of the many scenes depicted in Greek pottery, Greek mythology deifies the pre-flood line of Cain and depicts Zeus as triumphant over Noah and his God for rule on the earth. Athena is consistently represented in Greek art as not only the patron of Athens but the goddess who possesses knowledge, wisdom, and access to the mysteries. At the wedding feast celebrating Philipa€™s marriage to Cleopatra, her father made a toast, asking the gods for the birth of a son to become heir to the throne, obviously discounting Alexandera€™s legitimacy. In the melee that followed, one of his bodyguards, a friend of Alexander, stabbed Philip to death. It is interesting to note that about 700 years later when a Roman general demanded that all of his troops sacrifice to the Emperor to confirm their loyalty, the same Thebian elite unit, now comprising a legion of 6,000 men, refused to sacrifice and the entire legion was put to death. Alexander invaded Anatolia, conquered Syria and Palestine, became the only one in the history of Afghanistan to conquer it, and conquered mighty Egypt.
His goal was to unite the entire known world under one leader, speaking one language, and possessing one culture. Before you read the following account, please read the story of Paula€™s visit to Athens as described by Luke, Paula€™s companion, in Acts 17:16-34. The Athenians developed a complex mythology in an attempt to make sense out of human existence.
By the time of Christ there were literally several thousand gods and goddesses in the religious system of Athens. Monuments and altars to the many gods and goddesses lined the highway from Piraeus, the port, to the center of the city of Athens. Paul stopped in Athens on his way to Corinth, waiting for companions to arrive from Thessaloniki. In describing Paula€™s reaction to the Athenian idolatry, Luke, the companion of Paul, uses the Greek word paroxysm from which we get paroxsymal.
Epicureans taught that the basis of human life was to a€?eat, drink, and have a good time, because tomorrow we will die.a€? There are no moral absolutes. Sophists were an itinerant group of philosophers who emphasized the intellect as the basis of human success. Paul was invited to climb up to Mars Hill, a large hill inside Athens about 300 yards from the Acropolis. Some have suggested that Paul made a mistake by resorting to philosophy and logic in an attempt to be accepted by the Areopagus.
They asked the oracle at Delphi, what had they done to cause this plague, and most importantly, what could they do to end it? Further, the Oracle said, the Athenians must travel to the Island of Crete, to Knossos, a traditional enemy of Athens, to seek out the legendary prophet, Epimenides. Upon arriving at Athens, Epimenides noticed the hundreds of altars and monuments dedicated to the scores of Athenian deities. According to Plato, he states in his Laws, since the deity sacrificed to was unknown to the Athenians and unknown to Epimenides, the sites were named in honor of Agnosto Theo, the unknown god who had been appeased and who had lifted the plague. Plato further noted that Epimenides prophesied that in ten years Persia would again attempt to invade Athens but would be frustrated and turned back. Within ten years, Persia, under Darius, attempted to invade Athens, just as Epimenides predicted, but was defeated at the famous Battle of Marathon.
Lest we become too enamored by Epimenides, however, he also claimed that Zeus was immortal.
The refusal of the people of Crete to adore Zeus as the Immortal One caused Epimenides to make that classic statement, a€?All Cretans, liars!a€? This quote is cited by Paul in Titus 1:12.
In the book, Peace Child, Don Richardson describes how the Gospel seemed to be a concept beyond the ability of the Asmat tribe in New Guinea to understand.
Likewise, in the Ekari tribe of New Guinea the loss was lamented of the knowledge of Ajii, a place where the dead could go after death, where there was the absence of war, illness, sadness. In this same way, Paul used the bridge of the agnosto theo to enable the Athenians to understand the Gospel. Although Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were later revered by the rest of the world, they were not well received during their lifetimes in Athens. What truths did Epimenides declare about the true God when he made his four suggestions about the agnosto theo? What can we learn from this story to help us in talking with other people about the Good News of Jesus? Although Rome conquered Greece, Greece in its religion, philosophy, and language conquered Rome.
The Christian faith grew rapidly in Greece, including such famous Christian communities as those in Corinth, Athens, Philippi, and Thessaloniki. After the fall of Constantinople to the Islamic Ottoman Turks in 1453, most of Greece in 1460 fell to the Ottomans.The Ottoman Turks were mountain people from the north of Persia who invaded and conquered present-day Turkey by the 12th century. Facing Russian troops sent by the Christian tsar of Russia at the walls of Constantinople in 1829, the Sultan of the Ottomans finally recognized Greek independence. In the 20th Century Greece was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II, and a communist government was elected shortly after the war. Greece is important and of interest to Western Christians because it was the birthplace of the Christian Church in Europe. Greece is also the civilization that served as a bottleneck, preventing the domination of Islam in Europe. What is not laudable, is the religious darkness that existed in Greece prior to the arrival of the Gospel.
What are the differences between the limited democracy of Athens and democracy as practiced in the United States?
What evidences are there for humane treatment of girls and women in the ancient Greek civilization? It is said that the Romans capture the Greeks, but in reality the Greeks captured the Romans. The classical civilizations of Greece established institutions and defined values and styles that endured for many centuries and that continue to influence our lives today. Alongside of these religions developed two divinely revealed religions: Judaism and Christianity. The first Greek civilization was the Minoan civilization, located on the island of Crete, with Knossos as its main community. The migration into the Greek mainland from the north by the Mycenaean people, and their subsequent invasion of Crete, resulted in a common language. Troy was a city-state strategically located at the Hellespont, where it controlled traffic to and from Europe and Asia Minor.
Athens served as one of the models for the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, but as a direct democracy functioned very differently than the representative democracy established in the United States. While Athens was experimenting with a direct democracy, Israel had received from Jehovah through Moses a form of democratic, representative government. Israel, even though embracing a limited monarchy, considered itself a theocracy, with Jehovah at its center and the temple and sacrificial system centered in Jerusalem. The story of the plague at Athens and the wisdom of Epimenides led to the worship of the a€?Unknown Goda€? and to the eventual entrance of the Gospel to Athens and Greece.
Persia became the feared enemy of the Greek city-states, resulting in three major battles at Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis.
Ironically, the wife of Xerxes, king of Persia, was Esther, a Jewish woman whose family had been takenA  to Babylon in the Babylonian Captivity of 566 BC.
The refusal of Athens to share its democratic dream with the other city-states, as well as jealousy and rebellion on the part of the other city-states, resulted in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC). Macedonia under Philip the Great conquered all of Greece and established the Macedonian empire.
The values contained in The Iliad and The Odyssey that permeated Greek culture and Western Civilization.
The difference between a direct democracy, like that of Athens, and a representative republic, like that of the United States of America.
The battles in the Persian-Greek wars at Thermopylae, Marathon, and Salamis, included the reasons why the numerically smaller Greek forces were able to ultimately defeat the vast forces of Persia. 1.Excellence (arete) --A  doing the best you can, setting high levels of achievement, being the best at what you do, being superior in achievement to that of others. 2.Honor -- being a person of virtue, one who lends to neighbors without expecting repayment, and one who keeps promises and commitments. 3.Bravery -- for the Greek man bravery during war and athletic prowess in peacetime were the goals. 4.Sacrifice -- being willing to give up self-comfort for the sake of the polis, choosing to defend the polis over family life. I went to a workshop at Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York, and I had a few early morning hours dancing seemingly alone in the moonlight, which will stay with me.
It was 4:00 am on that other morning, and I had slept soundly and felt rested and excited about the learning that was occurring in me, but I also felt completely alone. This is the day I have set aside to explore my close surroundings before I head out on my Maui adventure activities for the next seven days.
As I allow the disappointment to get as big and painful as it needs too, something happens that has happened many times in my life during difficult experiences.
During a recent trip to Maui, I rediscovered that beautiful child in the eyes of the aging woman Ia€™ve become. For many years, I searched to be a better person, to become wiser, and to learn how to live a full and productive life, and to be admired. Patience has been my work this year and Ia€™ve learned much about the difference between tolerance and patience. The voting was heavy and because most of us know each other in some way, our politics are often known.
As Zacha€™s son-in-law returned to the inside of the voting precinct to witness the casting of Zacha€™s vote, he said two simple words: Thank you.
Later heading home, fatigue turned to laughter and memory recorded these shared emotional experiences of inspiration.
The written word has often been the way spiritual messages have been received during my Life. The human survival instinct supports us in seeing what is there that needs to change or is threatening to us.
Sometimes an old message said in a simple direct way can change the Life of the one who truly hears it. Since that time, I have written of the learning that came from my choice and consequently his choices. As I was leaving the workshop, a young woman came up to me and asked me to share what meditation had meant in my life. My deepest longing is to love and be loved and yet fear can hold me back by expecting perfection.
Michael Singer wrote a book called The Untethered Soul, and it speaks of the way to let the personality desires play out while the Seer of what is transpiring watches without judging or clinging to an outcome.
It has been some seventy-two hours since I began this essay and then stopped writing because I realized I was living in a huge story and could not write authentically from that place. It has been seven years since this small community called to me and embraced me within its furry mountains and quiet streams.
During the last few weeks, I have begun to feel that my time here in this small community is limited. The rock in the creek feels cold against my warm skin in contrast to bike riding on this hot day.
When he turns, his familiar face and eyes are beaming toward me as he explains that he is looking for the rock we used in meditation the last time we visited the creek.
His love for me is visible in the steady gaze of his eyes, and it both comforts and frightens me.
It is late evening and Mark Nepoa€™s words speak to me; his writings have been an inspiration in many ways during the past few months.
At first, the feeling is a bit overwhelming and tears flow as I remember Nepoa€™s request to include looking at the lighted candle as part of my meditation.
It is spring again; forty-eight years have past and yet my memories of a small toddler are as vivid as every. It is good to remember the joy of him running across the yard, small frog in hand and joy in his face, panting as he recalls how challenging it was for him to catch it. He made the team, got a new girlfriend, went off to college, had much success, and oh so many friends. May the light in the eyes of our children remind us of the light that is possible in our own. Mark Nepo is my author of choice the last few days, and his writing speaks to me in the silence of my being and I am changed by what I hear. Those who have poor vision, those who have less than average senses of taste and smell, those who have physical difficulties, those who have hearing challenges, what do they have in common? My friend has learned to angle his head in a certain way that tells me he is listening carefully sometimes cupping his ear with his hand. Recently Ia€™ve been seeing growing older as a limitation; an ache here, a gray hair there, a bit of fatigue at the end of the day, a need for a short rest more often, a wrinkle on the back of my hand, a need for glasses more often. As the mother, the blind childa€™s face filled with wonder inspires me to see more clearly through her blindness. As the cherry blossom, I stand in the glow of the sun knowing that I add beauty and wonder to the earth and to its inhabitants. Mark Nepo in his book, The Awakening, asked the questions: How am I different from others and how am I the same. In this silence, the wisdom of Lamotta€™s quote is known somewhere deep in the part of me that I share with all others. Each of us experiences death of our physical body, each of us grows physically from birth to death, each of us is capable of thought, each of us experiences the pain of physical life and the joys. I believe deep in our core of being, we are each a small piece of the Universe, and we have manifested into this unique physical form equipped with the tools and a gift we need to create our healing part of the collective. As I began to ride the bike, it seemed a bit big for my frame and often my back hurt after riding a long distance, so I chose to buy a new girla€™s bike. Two days ago, a new friend suggested he would like to go biking with my group, but his bike needed repairing.
On the ride back to the trailhead, my friend and I rode together; I shared that the bike had belonged to my son and he was the first to ride it besides me.
A limiting beliefa€”just as it soundsa€”is having a thought about the past, present, or future that keeps you from seeing what is true in the moment you are living right now.
This natural symbol of equality of day (light) and night (dark) is a reminder that light and dark are different not better or worse. Equality is a slippery word in our culture and the term is often used to compare one thing, one thought, one person, and one event to another.
This search for meaning has brought me to this autumnal point, and to a knowing that equality is expressed within through an attitude of a€?non-judgmenta€? about what we can see, smell, hear, taste, and touch through our five senses. Recently in a difficult discussion with a male friend about equality between genders, I suggested that our older generation seems to have more difficulty with this deeper feeling of equality since our culture has encouraged stories about superiority vs.
This experience has supported me in looking closely within me to see where I discover feelings of inequality as a part of my physical existence. Observation of the equality of light and dark during this Fall Equinox reminds me that deep equality means no judgment or comparisons are needed. During the past few weeks, Ia€™ve spent time at the Wintergreen Nature Foundation as a volunteer. One particular Saturday, a call came that a baby rabbit had been very still in the garden for a long time and appeared injured.
A few days later, I was the human contemplating the impermanence in nature and wondering what to do. Recently I met my daughter and her family to fulfill her wish to visit the two homes where she had been a baby. As I approached the door, I remembered my husband carrying me across the threshold; I remembered bringing my son and daughter home to the loving arms of an extended family that had arrived to celebrate their coming into Life. Unbelievably, the man and woman that had bought the house from us still lived there, and it felt wonderful that they had continued to add their love of the house to ours. Neighbors dropped in yesterday and provided me with fun, friendship, and an unexpected sacred moment. It was a balmy late spring day and the hydrangeas were in full bloom and served as a backdrop as we drank smoothies, ate rice chips and salsa, and enjoyed a glass of wine on my screened porch.
We shared how important it is to avoid fearful story-telling about what is happening and to simply deal with what is happening right now in the present moment. My friend is out of town and some part of me is pleased by the freedom that gives to me and I have an authentic knowing that he is doing what enriches his life. As I sit typing this, I realize that my day is my own creation and whether or not I act from a place of fear is all up to me.
From some people the question triggers a feeling of annoyance within me, and I sometimes give them an answer like, a€?nothing special just the usual things or therea€™s always plenty to do.a€? It is more avoidance of responding from annoyance than an answer. As I examined my feelings during these different experiences, I discovered the part of me that wants to be what the other person perceives me to be, a busy, active, interesting person.
It is a reminder that I am not here to fulfill anyone elsea€™s expectations; I am here to find meaning and purpose for my own life. This morning I awaken to the gentle sound of rain, and I snuggle down into the nighta€™s accumulated warmth under my blankets. Again no thoughts come, just an incredible presence and knowing that in each moment there is beauty and nurturing for the soul for the taking.
If unused muscles and bones create a message to the brain that their dysfunction is normal until the imbalance creates pain, is that also true of emotional dysfunction? The physical discomfort is in my second energy center, which I understand to be the energy center of creativity and belonging, and it is sending me a message.
A few days ago, Eckhart Tollea€™s book, called The New Earth, was mentioned in a conversation with a friend, and I had a knowing that I wanted to reread it. In that moment, I began to look at my choices during the past few months and the intentions behind them. Tolle goes on to say that if you can neither enjoy or bring acceptance to what you doa€”stop. In that moment, I chose to look into his clear blue eyes and said, a€?Hi.a€? He didna€™t look at me, but his eyes were alive with the joy and pure light of the incredible sun that rose through the window of the elevator. In gratitude, I left the elevator carrying the gift of pure light that had come to me from the sun through a young man that reflected it. His father had been forced into exile from Florence during one of the numerous political intrigues that plagued Florence.
Some cite Petrarcha€™s passion for mountain climbing to be an example of the Renaissance spirit -- the quest to see the new, higher view. Today the mountain is a major ski attraction and is most famous as a major climb in the Tour da€™France bicycle race. He attempted on several occasions to avoid what appeared to be hard parts of the climb which were taken by his his brother, and to save energy Petrarch took what appeared to him at the time to be easier routes to the top. It contains 14 lines broken into two sections: the octave (eight lines following an abba abba rhyming format) and the sestet (six lines following a bcb cbd format).
The majority of his sonnets were written to Laura -- 365 sonnets in all -- one sonnet per day to the love of his imagination.
In Il Canzoniere were contained other important themes addressed by Petrarch: politics, time, spirituality, religion and the papacy. He is considered one of the literary greats in history and his greatest work, The Divine Comedy. Dante was politically active and was vocally supportive of the emperor and critical of the popea€™s involvement in politics.
The Comedy is a tale covering an extensive journey that Dante took through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise.
Dante meets many famous persons from history, including Mohammed and several popes, including Boniface VII, who Dante labels a€?Public Enemy #1a€?! Dante sees also Ali, Mohammeda€™s son-in-law, leader of the Shiite sect of Islam, who also wanders eternally in hell. In other words, Dante picks a fight with many of his contemporaries and must move from city to city in northern Italy for protection, where many who share his opinions are able to shield him. He was accused of heresy, simony, sexual fornication, self-idolatry, sodomy, assassination, violation of the confidence sworn to in the confessional, political intrigue, embezzlement of Crusade funds, and a whole host of other sins and crimes. This was not an unusual practice in Florence at the time when families needed to establish as many alliances as possible to achieve additional success or, on the other hand, protection in an era of great political intrigue and upheaval. He would see her occasionally on the streets of Florence while still they were still young. However, Petrarch, the priest who was torn by unrequited love, talked Boccaccio out of joining the clergy. He was sent by Pope Clement VII to Spain as papal ambassador and watchdog on the activities of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.
Some were even invited to spend the night at court and others were given apartments for longer periods of time.
One such was a young member of the Medici family who had just been given his own small area to govern.
It was humanistic, opposed to traditional values and morality, and advocated a harsh, selfish approach to governing. But if their attitude is primary one of fear, they will be too fearful to do anything but support you. It is still widely read in many languages and is used in college courses in history and political science.
Ita€™s most famous ruler was the legendary king Minos who established the capitol city of Knossos.
It was a warrior culture mentioned by Homer in his two epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, describing the events that took place during the Trojan Wars between the Mycenaeans from the mainland of Greece and Troy on the western shoreline of Anatolia (present-day Turkey).
They were carried into Roman culture by Virgil, were embraced by the Byzantines, and were carried into Italy during the Renaissance. Art, pottery, sculpturing, and architecture developed, establishing the foundation for much of the Classical period.
Athenian democracy developed under Pericles and the Parthenon was built on the Acropolis in Athens in worship of Athena.
It derived its name from the goddess Athena who in Greek myth competed with Poseidon to be the patron of the city.
The Isthmus games were held every two years at the narrow isthmus of Greece, located near Corinth. He was most angered by Athens and Sparta, because when his father Darius sent messengers to those two cities to offer them the opportunity to surrender prior to the Battle of Marathon, they killed Dariusa€™ emissaries by throwing them down into deep wells.
The Persians arrived at a narrow, rocky pass, Thermopylae, which overlooked the rocky shoreline below -- a 50-foot wide narrow pass which only permitted a limited numbers of troops to squeeze through the pass at a time. King Leonidas of Sparta blocked the pass with 300 Spartans and 400 soldiers from other city-states.


A Greek traitor, however, revealed a hidden pass through the mountains that would by-pass Thermopylae and allow the Persian to attack Leonidas from the rear. He sent a messenger to Xerxes with the message that many of the Greeks were terrified, that they would not fight, and that if Xerxes sent his ships into the Bay of Salamis they could easily wipe out the Athenian navy. This would not bode well for the future of peace between the two city-states, however, and ultimately resulted in the Peloponnesian Wars. During the Peloponnesian War Athens suffered from a plague, which took the life of Pericles. Pericles led a number of major building projects in Athens including the rebuilding of the Parthenon, constructing a large statue of Athena in the Parthenon, and rebuilt the acropolis.
Socrates maintained that the universe and life below here on earth pointed to a different reality. In the dialogue, Meno, Socrates set forth the idea that when a person is born it is a reincarnation of the eternal soul which contains all knowledge.
He argued that the soul is eternal, lives on after the death of the physical body, and existed before the physical body. Although he disagreed with some of his teachings, Plato memorialized Socrates in his work, the Apology of Plato.
In it he describes the ideal form of government and society comprised of three classes of people: producers (craftsmen, farmers, builders), warriors, and guardians (rulers).
The goal is to follow the lead of the rational and spiritual portions of the soul and to make them masters over the appetite. They can only speculate and guess, based upon the shadows they see moving across the floor and walls of the cave. Plato seemed to these North European Christians to be saying that reality is above where God is. After his education in Athens, Aristotle was hired by King Philip of Macedonia to be the personal tutor of this son, the future Alexander the Great in Macedonia.
Too many good things go unaccomplished because of either a bad beginning or not beginning at all.
During the Reign of Terror in France all Christian symbols were removed from the cathedral in Paris and a statute of the Goddess of Human Reason was placed in the cathedral. On the other hand, there is considerable evidence, some speculate, that many of the Greek gods and goddesses were reminder remnants of Biblical history prior to the Flood of Noah.
Eve may be the prototype of Athena, because invariably when depicted in Greek sculpture Athena is pictured with a snake at her one side and a sword at the other. Access to its snowy peaks was very difficult, it was shrouded in mystery, and was supposed by the Greeks to be the home of the Twelve Olympians. He is the son of Gaea and then became her husband; together they had many offspring, including twelve of the Titans. Because Atlas led the Titans in the battle, he was singled out by Zeus for a special punishment and was condemned to hold up for eternity the world on his back. Earth (Gaia) presents the new-born child to Athena, who represents the reborn serpent-friendly Eve after the Flood. In Section One of the Cycle of Rebirths in Buddhism, the gods and demigods are continually engaged, as here with the Greek deities, in a struggle over who will obtain the magic fruit of the tree that dispenses wisdom and eternity.
To depict this, Athena is usually accompanied by one or several snakes -- the symbol to the Greeks of hidden wisdom. As the story goes, Olympia, a mystical follower of the god Dionysus, often slept with a giant snake in her bed as both a pet and a spiritual symbol of Zeus.
Olympia immediately feared that Cleopatra would produce a son who would become the legitimate heir to Philipa€™s throne.
When he ran from the banquet, two of Alexandera€™s other friends caught him and killed him. When a boy baby was later born to Cleopatra, Alexandera€™s mother Olympia arranged to have Cleopatra and the child killed to prevent a challenger to Alexandera€™s throne. In Egypt he left behind a Greek, General Ptolemy, who became the first of the Ptolemaic pharaohs. Wherever he went he left behind Greek soldiers to intermarry with the population and in this way to capture the local culture. In other words, Paul was a€?deeply shaken.a€? he had a a€?sudden attacka€? or a€?deep disturbance,a€? and felt impelled to make a statement. He informs them about the unknown God, the Creator, who is near to each one of us, the one whom they worship but whose identity is a mystery to them.
The Greeks, whether from Sparta, Athens, or Thebes, would never think of going to war, embarking on a new project, or taking a long trip, without consulting with the Oracle. The Oracle's advice disturbed them -- an Unknown God was the cause of the plague, she said, who intended to punish the Athenians for having violated many years before an ancient Greek code of conduct against another city-state. The grateful citizens wanted to reward Epimenides, but he declined any payment, asking merely for a treaty of peace between Athens and his home city, Knossos. He spent the majority of his time in front of them filling that empty concept of the unknown god with truth about the God they worshipped as the agnosto theo.
That is, until he discovered the exchange of little children made between warring clans for the purpose of making peace.
The Roman gods, for example, were for the most part simply re named Greek gods from Greek mythology. It impacted the entire culture of Greece and the population were almost entirely Christianized by the middle of the second century. They destroyed most of the ancient Christian communities in Turkey, like Ephesus, Laodicea, Pergamum, and other churches listed in the New Testament. The long struggle of Greece to resist Islam and to serve as a guard for the rest of Christian Europe against the Islamic Ottomans was at last over. It is interesting to travel through Greece to see white crosses placed virtually every hilltop to celebrate their independence from Ottoman rule. Churches at Corinth, Ephesus, Thessaloniki, and Philippi all had New Testament letters addressed to them. Many school children in America study Greek mythology in school, thinking of it as some sort of fairy tale, cartoonish system, not realizing its demonic roots and total domination of the Greek culture. Thomas Jefferson seemed to have favored implementing a certain form of limited democracy in the United States. How might they have been modified and re directed after the Greeks embraced the Christian faith?
They drove many of the Mycenaean people to the Ionian coast, and intermarried with the remaining Mycenaeans to form the Greek people. 700 B.C), authored two important epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the oldest known European literature. There is some indication that this mythology was the deification of a€?heroica€? men and women of old, who, before the Flood, composed the line of unrighteous persons. This was in stark contrast to the polytheism and idolatry practiced by its neighbors, including Greece and Rome. It was so incredible that I tried to write about it, because it was the perfect topic for an essay. My room was a dorm room about seven-feet square, and I shared a bath with several men and women in similar rooms.
I welcomed their company and the aloneness that I felt seemed to lift with the sound and movements of our Moon Dance. Life was hidden in the shadows and difficult to see, but it had completely surrounded me as I danced.
It is a dark starless night, the rain slashes against the window, the winds howl with 50 miles an hour gusts. It is morning, a light rain continues, the winds are not as strong and yet the bamboo grove sways and sweeps the ground. The week continued to have some misadventures and some spectacular adventures and the courageous and joyous parts of me lived them fully. So as this year ends, the compassionate patience I feel for myself fills my heart and it is soft with love; a love that has always been close at hand and seemingly just out of my reach.
The voters are old friends, new friends, community workers, casual acquaintances, and families coming together to express their preferences through voting. As the voting lines formed for this election, we stood together only as neighborsa€”rich and not so rich, young and not so young, extraverted and not so extraverted, highly educated and not so highly educated, multi-raced, blue voters and red votersa€”without malice or ill intent.
She was adorable in her winter hat pulled down over her ears; it brought attention to her laughing eyes. He looked concerned and said to me, My father-in-law is out in my truck; he is 85 and hea€™s had a medical procedure today and wea€™ve been with the doctors. It was an unforgettable moment; we hugged and thanked each other for making it possible for Zach to vote. Since saying a€?yesa€? is the first rule of improv, the message didna€™t seem new at first. The need for control is strong so supporting someone elsea€™s ideas or interests each moment seems difficult at times. This one has certainly changed the content of my last two days, and the intention to expand the experiment is exciting and feels like a spiritual loving act.
As I sat on my deck looking out over the city, the leaves of fall were turning the world into bright hues of red, orange, and brown. I felt reluctant, but I had had some physical limitations during the last year that had been difficult to accept and meditation had really supported my healing.
Mostly it happens when a small activity of the day seems more difficult than I judge it should be. Without being sure of outcomes or things unseen, this is my opportunity to act without attachment and with the joy of what I will learn from the experiences my actions create. It was a time of change from working long hours to going inward to discover what was left to uncover within me. The withdrawal I needed and the healing it has brought to me has completed this phase of my life. The need for expansion comes from an internal voice that says explore, experiment, and do not become complacent. When the time and move is right, something within my spirit will say, a€?Get crackin.a€? The patience to wait for that insight has come as a part of the growth Ia€™ve found in this small blue house on top of a hill surrounded by mountains. He agreed to run away for a day to escape the heat and discomfort brought on by a loss of electrical power in our homes even though his electricity had returned. This evening he invites me to light a candle, to close my eyes, to reopen my eyes, and to see each thing before me. I stood in wonder at this amazing child so full of life and uninhibited yearning to have a good time and accomplish what he set out to do.
He wanted to have the biggest paper route and he wanted to make the most sales at his part-time job. Academics didna€™t seem to be his focus, but he seemed to relish his relationships and became the life of the party and the favorite student to his teachers.
Now his spirit of aliveness lives in me and the memory of his voice reminds me that Life in this physical realm is short and that what we create here lives forever within those we have truly touched. Today in the quietness that is The Wintergreen Nature Foundation on some Wednesday mornings, my clarity about what I was to learn came. His voice stills my mind, brings me to the present, and opens my heart to listen not to the words but to the message his words point too. What Ia€™ve noticed is that they look more closely, eat more slowly, move more deliberately, and listen intently to others.
A young blind childa€™s face radiates the sun in his eyes as he turns his face up to feel the warmth. So today, Ia€™m altering my thoughts about limitations and seeing opportunities everywhere.
I am sometimes impatient, but Ia€™m learning to accommodate his need for being on my right side to hear more clearly.
Then he issued an invitation to sit in silence with eyes closed and contemplate these questions. We are here together at this time, in this place, and in this specific body to understand that the essence of all Life exists in each of us humans and in all living matter. If we examined each Life, it would not be what happens to us that would be different for pain and joy comes to everyone; it would be how we respond to what happens to us that has created our unique experience of our individual Life.
Another woman loses a child and creates a charity in its name and supports the lives of many children. To live well is to choose to grow into what we are most capable of being and be grateful for the uniqueness of the Life. I am a personality in a physical body with the power of logic and thought as is everyone else.
Two years ago it was refurbished with new tires, new horns on the handlebars, and had been given a good checkup so it could be used for riding with my new bike group.
Without hesitation, I offered the unused bike in the garage, and I felt my heart open to the possibility that the bike would finally be used.
Perhaps you awaken from a long nighta€™s sleep and have the thought that you are tired; but are you really tired or just not quite alert as yet? They were planted by the property owner in the early 1900s and seem to be a symbol of welcome outside the front door of an ancient majestic medieval stone castle. To quote Wikipedia: a€¦the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator and ecliptic intersect. Who could argue that day and night have distinct powers to aid in the Life upon planet Earth? In my youth the expression, a€?all men are created equal,a€? stirred many thoughts of disbelief in my mind: Does that include women, does that mean skill level, does that mean talent, does that mean appearance, does that meana€¦on and on?
It is a deeper understanding that the Universal energy dynamic of which we are a part is without judgment. If there is a value judgment placed by me on what I see, it is sure to mean that I do not see myself as equala€”it could be a feeling of doing better or of a feeling of doing less, of being stronger or of being weaker, in control or not in control.
To honor what each contributes with no value judgment added supports my intention to appreciate all that a€?isa€? because it a€?is.a€? If Ia€™m walking on eggshells, stomping heavily through a room, or withdrawing my love in a reaction to another to gain acceptance or power, it will be my challenge to ask why I do not feel equal in this moment without demanding an immediate answer.
It is summer and the calls to rescue injured or troubled animals and people come in quite often. The caller stated that hawks were circling and it wouldna€™t be long before the rabbit could not be saved. What happens are visions of past experiences, people, and places that are pictures in the minda€™s album.
They had added gardens, doors, patios, waterfalls, fireplace, and fisha€”just to mention a few of their creations. It is challenging to accurately describe a sacred moment and the power it contains, so Ia€™ll start slowly from the beginning.
I can feel within me the need to know who is the night raider and how can I change what is happening in order to have my world be as I choose it to be. For some reason, I have doubt about whether that person is capable of caring about me just as I am in this moment. The birds are chirping in the trees, the squirrels are trying to get into the bird feeders, the breeze is moving the leaves, the raindrops are collecting on the deck, and the mountains stand observing it all.
There is no thinking only comfort and presence; it is as if I am one with my feelings and it feels like what I believe peace to be. Ia€™ve felt that my body is trying to tell me something so each morning Ia€™ve asked the question: a€?What do I need to know that I do not want to know?a€? Without requiring an answer, Ia€™ve continued to just be open to learning. As I began, I felt I was reading it for the friend to support him in his relationship with someone he loves; but as I began to read, I knew the booka€™s message would bring me the understanding of what I needed to know that I was resisting unconsciously. My intention is to have compassion for the part of me that feels I need all the answers to lifea€™s questions now. I dona€™t know what it is I am not aware of in this moment, but I am fully aware that I am enjoying the quietness of it.
The elevator door opened and a middle-aged woman entered pushing a teenage boy in a wheelchair. He wasna€™t concerned that it was crowded or that too many obstacles were in the way of what he wanted.
But a careful reading of Petrarcha€™s letter about this trip reveals something more profound. He sat down to rest and pulled from his pocket a copy of Saint Augustinea€™s Confessions, a work he probably found comforting, since in his Confessions Saint Augustine also admitted to being plagued by sexual sin prior to his conversion. There is no evidence that he ever addressed one sonnet to the mother or mothers of his children, but those written to or about Laura comprise the majority of his writing. As a priest forbidden to marry, Petrarch reveals the searing pain of love that can never be fulfilled and a longing for relationship with a woman that is never an attainable possibility. He wrote in the Monarch that the ideal situation for all of Europe, including Italy, would be union under the leadership of the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VII.
The Black Guelph party favored the popea€™s involvement in Florentine politics and the White Guelphs, Dantea€™s party, opposed the popea€™s involvement. Throughout his journey Dante meets numerous people from history who live in either hell or purgatory, depending upon Dantea€™s opinion of them.
On one occasion, for instance, in a dispute with the king of France, Boniface replied that he would rather be a dog or an ass than a Frenchman!
His most noted work was Decameron, a collection of bawdy tales gathered from a variety of places and times and woven together into a novel with a setting during the time of a plague that had fallen on Florence.
Each of the ten is to tell stories on successive days, for a total of one hundred tales (ten days x ten story tellers = 100 tales). The courtier was to reflect the Renaissance ideal of being well-rounded, educated in poetry, art, language, history, and,cultured, bright, witty, and a good conversationalist. It was a place where people sought to be a€?seena€? and a€?hearda€? and thought of as being a€?coola€? and part of the a€?in crowd.a€? Most were wealthy nobility who could afford to spend so much time away from their own properties and duties. Often the king or prince could spread word to the common people by simply sharing it at court.
Machiavelli hoped that this good deed would atone for his sins and bring back into the good favor of the Medici family. Do whatever it takes to achieve the goal and stop doing whatever does not achieve the goal, even if it means going contrary to traditional Christian morality. His ideas were read by rulers in subsequent generations, including Adolph Hitler and the leaders of Communist Russia. He refocused Castiglionea€™s reshaping of the values and morality for the ideal Renaissance courtier by switching it to how the ideal Renaissance ruler should govern. He refocused Castiglionea€™s reshaping of the values and morality for the ideal Renaissance courtier by switching it to how the ideal Renaissance ruler should govern.A  And, like Boccaccio, Machiavelli dismissed the value of the clergy because of their immorality and the failure of their values system.
He probably did not write the Iliad and the Odyssey because handwriting was not discovered in Greece until about 400 years after the time Homer was said to have lived.There were Greek colonies all along the Ionian coastline. The philosophic schools of Socrates and Plato developed.The Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) was fought between Athens and Sparta and their allied city-states. Darius and the Persians invaded Greece with over 100,000 troops but were defeated by 20,000 Greek hoplites in the famous battle at Marathon just north of Athens.
Her story is recorded in the Book of Esther and through her efforts a major slaughter of the Jews was averted. When a spy told them that the Persians were so numerous that when they shot their arrows they blocked the sun, Leonidasa€™ response was, a€?Good! Xerxes sent about 400 Persian triremes into the bay where the larger Persian ships, loaded with soldiers who could not swim, were faced by 300 smaller, sleeker Greek ships built to sail from island to island and were much more maneuverable.
These wars involved virtually all of the Greek city-states who allied themselves with either Athens or Sparta. He was so important to the life of Athens that his period of leadership is called the Age of Pericles (5th century).
He is also known for his contribution to the further development of democracy in Athens, which also provided salaries for magistrates and limited eligibility for public office to those who were born to two Athenian-born parents.
Confucius was the result of the Warring States period in Chinese history and he sought employment as a civil servant in order to sell his ideas to the rulers.
Therefore, each child, upon physical birth, is a reincarnation of that eternal soul and hence possesses that ancient knowledge. When he was ransomed by his friends they purchased a small property for him so that he could settle down.
But we are trapped in our human bodies and cannot conceive of those Forms other than by observing their shadows down here in the lower story where we live. We only see his reflections down here but one day we will be fully enlightened when we go to heaven to be where he is.
For example, it is okay to laugh at a joke during lunch time, but probably is a bad idea in the middle of your grandmothera€™s funeral.
They knew nothing about a personal God who lies outside of us, who communicates with us, and who has set out for us ideas and principles that are absolutes by which we are to live. Hera represents the serpenta€™s Eve before the Flood, and Athena represents the rebirth of the serpenta€™s Eve after the Flood.
The ruler of the Titans was Cronus (or Chronos, from which we get the words a€?chronologya€? and a€?chronometera€?).
Gaea seems to have been an earth-mother who was worshipped before the Indo-European invasion into Greece that lead to the Hellenistic civilization.
His rule ended when his son Cronus, encouraged by Uranusa€™ mother-wife,Gaea, castrated him.
190 BC), Nereus, the Greek Noah, standing in the rear to left, is the only one among the many other figures who is not actively engaged in the battle. The figure to the left of Gaia and the child is Hephaistos, the eldest son of Zeus and Hera, the deified Cain, the eldest son of Adam and Eve. Is it possible that Athena, as with the other Greek deities, is a flashback to a pre-flood person -- possibly, Eve? Later she convinced the young Alexander that when she conceived him in her womb, she had become pregnant, not by Philip, but by Zeus, king of the gods.
When Philip, drunken from wine, stumbled over a table in his attempt to strike Alexander, Alexander taunted Philip in front of all the guests by exclaiming, a€?Look!
The most famous of his descendants was Cleopatra, lover of Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony.
He also created several cities which he named Alexandria, the most famous becoming the capitol of Egypt under the Greek Ptolemaic pharaohs. As each group of invaders swept into Greece, parts of their mythologies and deities of their religions were incorporated into the Greek religion. On the top of the Acropolis in Athens stood the Parthenon, the temple devoted to the worship of Athena. Luke tells us that Paul attracted the attention of the Epicureans and the Stoics, the two main schools of Athenian philosophy at the time. They even founded a debating forum called the Areopagus, a unique Athenian group, at one time the ruling institution of Athens. Paul was a master at meeting people where they were, moving them in the direction of truth, and then explaining to them the Gospel.
Every year a woman from a local village was selected to spend the entire year sitting on a stool at Delphi, next to an open crevasse created by one of the many earthquakes in the region.
All of the known gods either dona€™t hear us or are incapable of helping you with this plague.
It was in this condition that the Apostle Paul found the Athenians when he visited them in the first century A. When one of the warring clans wanted peace, they would take one of their own baby boys and, traveling under a truce to the enemy village, would offer the little boy as a peace offering. Letters in the New Testament were written to Greek churches at Corinth, Thessaloniki, Philippi, and Ephesus.
When Constantine built the new Roman capitol at Constantinople, Greece became the host-area for the Byzantine Empire. Christian monasteries in mountainous Greece became the safe havens for the Christian scriptures and other Christian literature. Many buildings in the United States imitate great architecture with their large marble pillars, built during the a€?Greek revivala€? in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Under each tree and beneath each bush, there seemed to be an aurora of light that painted a distorted picture of each bush upon the ground below. I turned to head back to the dorm, a little wet, a little cold, and covered with the glow of Moon Dancing with my Shadows. 50 mile an hour gusts of wind in Virginia would encourage me to hunker down for protection.
The disappointment is strong and yet I can take a small step toward the bathroom and get dressed.
As I compared the pictures of me as a child and me as a grown woman, I finally could see my own beauty and it made me laugh with joy. As the New Year begins, my heart is open and I look forward to the experiences I will create. As a poll worker, the day was long, warm inside, cold outside, enjoyable, inspiring, and at times emotional. He is immobile at the moment and concerned because he has never missed an election since he began to vote.
Sometimes it is before an experience and during the experience the words start ringing in my ears. As we began to practice creating scenes, it was immediately clear that it was easier for me to say a€?yes, buta€? and it was equally clear that doing so blocked the scene from expanding.
Acceptance of a€?what isa€? can be challenging and this simple idea of energetically saying, a€?yes, anda€? has given me clarity about my own negative or judgmental views as Ia€™ve gone through my day.
The experiment itself has supported me in living more fully in the present, which is, of course, the only place we can live fully. My heart seemed to stop breathing, my throat was tightly constricted, and the top of my head felt as if it would fly into the trees so great was the pressure.
His choices were courageous; his experiences were dramatic examples of how to live and not to live for those who watched his progress. It could be loading bikes on a rack, spilling milk in my new car, lateness of a friend, hot when I want it to be cool, or appreciation not shown.
The deep longing for companionship thwarted by my fear of losing independence is simple but complex within my thoughts about what to allow and what not to allow into my world.
Ia€™ve been living at least for the past few day in a story of my own making about what others want me to do, how they want me to live, or what they need from me. Recently a friend was talking about his experiences and how excited he was about his hopes and dreams for the future; I recognized them as both different and similar to my own. It has been amazing and comfortable and productive in a different way than accomplishing projects. Last night as I looked around during a concert on the mountain, I saw the same people I see almost daily. It isna€™t dissatisfaction with what is; its more a wonderment of what other experiences and growth are possible for me. There is a joyful feeling of contentment as the warm air circles close in and sweat runs down my back. Joy has not always come to me with ease, as my human need to protect myself and those I love is well practiced and vigilant at times. He talks about a concept in a book we are sharing and wonders if hea€™s got it right; if he has understood it. He encourages me to ask myself how the things Ia€™m seeing are different and how they are the same and listen to my heart speak.
It is orange and ita€™s light is a lacy hue; two triangles extending from ita€™s center one reaches toward me and the other away from me.
What an awesome experience to see the love of a husband and a father reflected in the toothless grin of a new life.
Memories of his birth and death have supported me in finding this place where I intend to live with compassion for others and myself and with a love of Life every day and every minute. I cannot change it, but I can surrender to a€?what isa€? in each moment in order to respond from the healthiest part of me rather than to fearfully react.
This habit has triggered in me a new perspective about what I see as limitation and opportunity. Today that message is to consider every limitation as an opportunity and to be opened to what is most important to learn in each moment. The woman in a wheel chair demonstrates patience as she waits to enter through a revolving door. I now move slowly enough in the morning to watch a cardinal land on the bird-feeder, my glasses magnify the beauty of the gifts that fill my home, my aches encourage me to stretch and care for my body and to find the wisdom to rest when rest is needed.
My nose will tell me of ita€™s fragrance, my touch will tell me of its softness, but only through my mothera€™s tone and voice will I know what that fragrance and softness belongs too.
As I carefully describe what Ia€™m seeing, my gift to this unseeing child supports me being present enough to fully see it myself; and this level of awareness is the childa€™s gift to me. As the child, as the mother, or as the cherry blossom, my purpose is simply to live my best life and to grow.
The manifestation of that essential Life we have brought into being takes many physical forms; all different, all unique. All of these things have resulted in my becoming the a€?soul in a bodya€? that I see in my mirror this morning. If in this Life, we do not become conscious of the power of the collective Life of the Universe, we will be given another chance. To make that possible, I pulled it out, pumped up the tires, admired ita€™s beauty, and my heart felt lighter. As we remounted and rode on, the bike was a€?just another bikea€? racing to the song of the fall breeze. Perhaps you look in the mirror and think that you are getting older and no longer beautiful; yes you are getting older, but aging has ita€™s own beauty. The ability to bring awareness to the harsh, dramatic, judgmental, and repetitive sounds within our minds contains the freedom we think is not open to us.
These points of intersection are called equinoctial points: classically, the vernal point and the autumnal point. So to carry the a€?Pointa€? into an individual Life, who could argue that pleasant (light) experiences are better or worse than difficult (dark) experiences since every experience has the potential for learning by the being that experiences it. Like the similar times of day and night in this season, we are connected by individual and collective purposes with an equal opportunity to live our best lives. As I was hearing the story, it occurred to me that we saved the rabbit or deprived the hawk of its meal. It is a beautiful spot and it was early evening as the light played its songs upon the angles of the rocks and crevices as we watched. Today if someone walks along the same path we took, there will be no hint of what occurred between the snake and the frog. Going back there did not necessarily appeal to me either since my relationship to my former husband and her Dad had become faded memories of love and pain. As often happens with this friend, the discussion turned to nature and bird songs in particular. It was quickly replaced with a look of acceptance of what was now occurring as she described her coming treatment. Ia€™m grateful for the awareness of this part of me that continues to need challenging if I am to be at peace with what is in this moment. How do I challenge the part of me that judges his actions and wants him to be different so that I can be happy? That feels nurturing and I can feel my heart open as I consider the possibility that life is an illusion created by my thoughts, and I can choose which thoughts I will give my energy too.
For others, I just say something like, a€?planning a quiet day.a€? That answer feels authentic and supportive of the way I want to live my life. For sure, I am an active person with a wide variety of interests, but sometimes I enjoy a€?Beinga€? in my home.
Today I have set an intention to answer the question, what are you doing today, with authenticity no matter who is asking. As the morning unfolds, the feeling of hunger comes and without questioning it, I stretch, arise, and move to my robe.
Without thinking, there is a deep knowing that I am not a separate entity seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling this moment, but an integral part of it and without my energy and presence it would be different.
She said that I was flexible in my hips and so compensated there for the lack of flexibility in the last vertebra of my back. I begin to remember the times in my life when I have felt emotional pain and have chosen to override it with thinking.
Also this week, Ia€™ve felt the need to remain quiet while reflecting with more stillness than is my normal pattern. This morning I read Tollea€™s words I needed to hear: If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others. I will ask for guidance to accept what is happening in the moment without adding drama and fearful thoughts or intelligent explanations. I felt impatient with the loss of time and the people that swirled around in the garage seemingly in my way.
He seemed challenged both mentally and physically, and my reaction was to look away so that his mom would not feel I was staring at the young boy. He wasna€™t complaining internally, he wasna€™t judging others; he was without fear and was gazing in awe at the light. In 1340, at the age of 36, he was invited by both Paris and Rome to come and live as their Poet Laureate.
There is no evidence that Laura ever knew about or suspected the love that Petrarch had for her. His opposition to the Vaticana€™s political adventures put Dante into a precarious position, causing him to be in constant flight from city to city during most of his career to avoid papal capture and death by burning at the stake. Dante and Henry shared the hope that a united Italy could be formed under Henry and this would lead to a peaceful Greater Europe. This early novel served as a model for later English authors, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Keats. However, while in Spain Castiglione developed a friendship with Charles and purposely failed to alert the pope of Charlesa€™ plan to sack Rome in 1527 for the citya€™s many sins. Other areas in which he should be skilled were jumping, swimming, running, and playing tennis. The Iliad and the Odyssey were memorized by the Greeks and became essential components of Greek thought and culture. It is proposed by some that writing developed in Greece shortly after Homer in order to record his epics. It was in response to the aftermath of this war and the defeat of Athens by Sparta that Socrates (469-399 BC) grew to prominence in an attempt to bring order out of the chaos that developed. Pressure from Greecea€™s traditional enemy, Persia, prevented the idea of limited democracy from developing further and it was forgotten until much later under the leadership of Pericles (c. The Olympic games were held every four years at Olympia, in south-west Greece in the Peloponnese. Darius, king of Persia, was furious to learn that Athens had aided the Greek colonies in their rebellion. A bad taste was left in the mouths of the Athenians because the promised military assistance from Sparta never materialized.
The troops were recruited (usually by force) from all of the Persian colonies throughout the Middle East. Hearing that the entire army and navy of Athens was on the nearby island of Salamis, Xerxes decided to postpone his march through the isthmus and to first annihilate the Athenians.
Xerxes, who was overlooking the battle from a high cliff, watched in dismay as the Greeks used oars, spears, and heavy clubs to kill the Persians when their triremes were overturned. The job of the teacher is simply to induce it to come out by asking wise, guiding questions. He named the property Academus -- Academy -- because he quickly turned it into the site for a school, following the pattern of his mentor, Socrates. Each has its own area of specialization and should not intrude into the areas of the other two classes. It is okay to eat a doughnut, but probably not a good idea to eat a dozen doughnuts, especially just before you go to bed or just before running a race. For instance, even though every village and town had its own favorite god or goddess and each had its own temple or sacred place, there was one goddess to whom it was permissible to make sacrifice, and none of the other gods and goddesses would be offended. To insure his safety and superior position, when each of his children were born, he ate them!
The sculptors have placed him as a mute witness to the Greek godsa€™ defeat of the Giants (Nereusa€™ Yahweh-believing sons) signifying the end of Greek faith in Noaha€™s God.
Heracles, the Nimrod of Genesis, demands to know something that only the Salt Sea Old Man can tell him. Philip, King of Macedonia, assembled a powerful military and was intent on conquering Persia as payback for Persiaa€™s earlier invasions of Greece and, in his day, its current ongoing threat to the well-being of Greece. However, he died prior to completing the second step, his planned invasion of Anatolia and Persia. This divine parentage elevated Alexander to be a god in the flesh, on a par with the noblest heroes of Greek mythology. Did Olympia and Alexander assassinate Philip prior to any chance of Philip fathering a son with Cleopatra?
Beyond the beauty of the sites visited, however, Paul was deeply disturbed by the rampant idolatry.
While Paul seemed to them to be an ignorant babbler, still, it was new and interesting information he was babbling about!
By the time of Paula€™s arrival it had become more like a breakfast club that gathered to hear all the latest ideas, fads, and philosophies.
His approach at Athens was not a new tactic and did not result in a rejection of the Gospel.
Assemble also teams of stone masons and have ready a large supply of stones.a€? The next morning 100 goats arrived together with teams of masons and loads of stones.
Second, if there is an unknown god, that god must have the ability and the inclination to hear us when we sacrifice to him or her.
The Greeks resisted conversion by the Muslim Ottomans and maintained a strong Christian culture, even in the face of frequent persecutions. My feet picked up speed, my fear lessened, and I began to explore the light that broke the shadows.
The lake lay in stillness and hovering above it was a wall of mist, kind of stringy, but not transparent; and above all that, hung the moon spreading its final visible glow before dawn arrived with the sunrise. Outside the window, the lily pond beyond the deck is beautiful, the deck is wet and shiny, and the door slightly open lets in a pure and sweet freshness.
I can take a small step toward my car and drive the dirt road to the main road; and if the wind is too strong, I can return to this rugged North shore bamboo farm and make the best of it.
As I gazed at the photo of the beautiful child holding the doll, I remembered that feeling of love; my heart was soft and full. The beauty had nothing to do with the physical features displayed in the photos; it was the radiance that traveled from my heart through my eyes and took in the world around them.
Let me tell you why inspiring and emotional experiences were my companions on this day in small-town America.
We kissed each other, hugged each other, waved to each other, talked with each other, supported each other, and laughed and yes cried with each other. I focused on these positives as we supported him in whatever healing was possible, and eventually, supported him as his alcohol-damaged body died.


As she led us in meditation, I felt the deep pain of powerlessness again, and again I invited it to get as big as it could. When Ia€™m in that centered place what happens outside me is like a movie and I can watch my personality, the actor, think and plan and wish without attachment. It is all a a€?Storya€? from the part of me that loves stories and the justification they give for me to be less than open and less than loving.
As we parted, I heard myself say to him, looks like youa€™re on it and Ia€™m just standing beside it. It has been exciting, it has been challenging, it has been peaceful, it has been stimulating; and mostly, it has been healing. Ia€™ve come to look forward to their presence and the feeling of security and safety they trigger within me. Change for many is difficult, but for me the newness of change is invigorating and stimulating. Expansion now calls and the excitement of just what that will entail lifts my energy and makes me want to sing. In my view as I watch the water run over the rocks, he stands with his back to me looking into the creek. His open heart is almost always constant even when he is confused or slightly annoyed with his surrounding world. As we danced I asked him, a€?What was the best thing about today?a€? And, without waiting for his answer, I laughed and said, a€?Everything.a€? He laughed out loud with complete delight and agreed. I listen to his expressed doubt and somewhat confused words, and have a knowing that he understands it perfectly.
We are many flames from the same candle, and yet, just one light; apart we are a flicker but together we make a luminous Life. The memory fills my heart and I see a vision of him in a jaunty Easter hat and sports jacket toddling up the small hill in front of my house; two steps forward and one step back and finally falling and rolling to the bottom only to rise again and begin again with laughter and determination. In those magical days, he marveled at the beauties of the life of which he found himself a part be they giant mountains, rock music, or the smallest of butterflies. In time he began to drink alcohol to lessen the pain of the world not always being as he wanted. It is my full responsibility to live with presence and courage and to grow into the person I am called to be. This act of responsible choice and the intent behind it becomes the vehicle of my creation and the consequence it brings.
It has been a life-long habit to observe closely human behavior and sometimes to judge or to give value to what I see; that is changing. They are aware that the opportunity to connect must be given their full attention and they have learned how to do that.
The man whose taste and smell is not so acute takes two bites before he makes his choice of what to eat. The veins and wrinkles on the back of my hand remind me that Ia€™m dehydrated and need to drink more water today. I hear from her there are five petals close together in almost a circle; and where the petals attach in the middle of the cherry blossom, it is a deeper shade of pink that grows almost to white at the petalsa€™ edges.
This delicate flower filled with color and shadow created by the warm and nurturing sun comes alive in my being and is energetically past to this curious and loving child.
My heart called me to the computer to put down my feelings, and I became distracted by email for a moment.
Each of us makes choices that create our life day-to-day, hour-to-hour, moment-to-moment, and those choices add up to a Life unlike any other.
The experiences were the same; the creation process of what remained in each of them became very different. If I stood in a long line of people, those who know me would recognize me even though we all have two eyes, two arms, two legs, one nose, and one mouth. For this Life, in this place, I have a knowing that the Life I have created has supported the Lives of others and me. The answer for me is in what I choose to give my attention and time too; with a conscious intention to live my life fully not someone elsea€™s, just mine. He had bought the bike as transportation when he lost his drivera€™s license because of a drunk driving charge. Later we loaded the bike into his SUV, and I felt as feathery light as the evening air rushing across my skin. No memories flooded me for I was in the moment, and this moment was another level of healing I had not expected. You see a friend walking and think she really wants to walk alone; but in reality when you join her on the walk she is welcoming and the walk enriches you both. In each moment, we can step back from a belief and ask one simple question: Does this thought or belief serve to expand my Life or limit my life? Since being human with the power of our minds to create stories around our experiences, it is often easier to live in an imaginary story of what happened and how we should react than to see that how we respond to an experience in this moment creates the suffering or not.
Growing and aging brought new a€?judgmentsa€? about equality and how to discover what equality really meansa€”not to others, but to me.
It is not always easy to carry that deep sense of equality into our relationships for we are indeed spiritual beings in physical human forms with old patterns of reactions and judgments.
The rejoicing of anothera€™s strength or my own cannot diminish or inflate my feelings about either if I am without judgment of that persona€™s or my own value as a result. It was peaceful and awe inspiring to see the effects the water has played and still plays upon the landscape as it all shifts and changes imperceptibly. But there we were in front of a house that I had come to as a bride, altered it with the support of my dad and husband to accommodate our familya€”a house in which I had brought my children, and where I laughed and cried and planned the perfect future. I thought of a day when the world was perfect because we were exhausted together and happy. The small trees that we had planted cast some shade now, and the flowers his wife had planted added color all around them. My friend had started them from her plants, and her husband had traveled along with her to deliver them to me and to share a few moments of time.
So she and I pulled out my IPad to compare what we were hearing in my yard with the Audubon recorded bird-songs. I looked at her husband and there I saw a deep pain quickly replaced with an expression of deep love for this woman with which he has shared many years. Only then can I make a responsible choice to support the life I want with the consequences that come from making choices within the presence of acceptance. This is not a new conflict; the difference is that I am aware of the thoughts and feelings within this dynamic that create circumstances I do not wish to occur. I alone am responsible for the experiences I create and it is those experiences that enrich my life if I choose. Of course, routine chores like making a bed, fixing food, doing dishes, caring for my home are always needed, but this question seems to be about something more. Ia€™m reading, Ia€™m writing, Ia€™m thinking, Ia€™m dreaming, Ia€™m questioning, Ia€™m answering, but more than anything else Ia€™m simply being here now doing this and it nurtures my life. Sometimes I will be playing golf or tennis, rushing around running a project, working to beautify my yard; but sometimes Ia€™ll simply be choosing to a€?Bea€? and for me that will be enough. The rain is, the fruit is, the wood is, the carpet is, the chair is, the joy garden is, Jon Kabat-Zinn is, the peace is, and I am. She said that when some part of the body is not used, the brain notices and will see the lack of movement as a€?normal.a€? She said the unused area becomes more and more unbalanced and eventually creates pain in the body. Ia€™ve told myself that life is difficult sometimes and have moved on without giving the pain its due course and attention. As I sit with that question and just relax into the moment, I feel certain that if I remain open the question will be answered; not by the intellect, but by something deeper inside me that guides my life if I choose to listen. The light from the sun had entered his eyes and body completely and radiated outward toward anyone who chose to look. Like Petrarch with Laura, Dante wrote three love sonnets to Beatrice, the object of his unrequited love. The handbook also gave advice to the wives of courtiers concerning behavior that would best advance the reputation and achievement of their husbands. A major idea promoted as an example was a€?the end justifies the means.a€? Although practiced since the time of Cain and Abel, Machiavelli was the first to place this concept in writing for wide reading.
There were two early forms, one a derivative of hieroglyphics in Egypt, and the other from the Phoenicians. Famed military heroes and kings of the polis from the Mycenaean Age were included as gods in the growing mythology of the Greek religion.
A two-tiered class system developed based upon onea€™s personal wealth, with the greatest power going to those at the top of the ladder; the lowest classes, however, were free from taxation. When they arrived at the Hellespont, Xerxes filled the channel with ships and built bridges over the decks of the ships so that the men and supplies could pass over into Greece. He did not dismiss the Thespians because not trusting their loyalty, he wanted to keep his eye on them. Furthermore, the Athenians, Corinthians, and other Greek ships were highly motivated because they were fighting for the survival of Greece.
Not only could the Persians not swim but their long robes became water-soaked causing most to drown.
Athens was viewed by many as the big, bad, prosperous wolf of Greece and potentially dangerous to the other city-states.
His three principle featuring filial piety, he believed, would bring harmony and order to political, economic, and family life.
This meant that it was not to the gods or the elders that we should run when seeking answers but through contemplating about onea€™s life, about what produces good, harmony, and happiness in this life. From Socratea€™s death comes the expression, a€?Pick your poison.a€? He chose to drink a beverage made of a lethal poison, hemlock. The rightful goal of every person is to faithfully live out the role assigned to him by nature and should not seek to do any other business or seek another other role. They probably would not believe him because what he saw and then reported to them would not necessarily conform to what they sightlessly imagined it to be. Most of the Titans fought with Cronus against Zeus and were punished by being banished in defeat to Tartarus in the underworld. This worked fine until Rhea, unhappy at the loss of her children, tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock, instead of the newborn Zeus. Herakles demands to know from Nereus, who is a living connection to the pre-Flood world, where he can find the enlightenment of the serpent. He wondered how the Athenians, who had developed their special brand of democracy and produce philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, could fall for such pagan concepts of spirituality. As she sat there on her stool, breathing in those toxic and perhaps hallucinogenic fumes, it was believed that she could predict the future.
Rubbing his sleepy eyes, Epimenides said, a€?Now, turn the goats loose and allow them to graze wherever they choose.
Third, in order to help us this unknown god or goddess must have the ability and power to actually do something about the plague.
In this way the two warring clans were related together in one confederacy by the presence of this one a€?peace child. After the Ottomans failed in their 1683 attempt to conquer Vienna, Austria, Christian troops from Venice and Austria invaded Greece, attacked the Ottomans in Athens, and greatly weakened Ottoman rule in Greece, By the late 1700s, however, Ottoman rule was re established until the Greeks won their independence, region by region from the Ottomans. But from what I had written, the reader would most certainly understand the essence of my experience. This time when movement caught my senses, I saw on the side of the Main Hall at Omega two shadows. As I glanced up, I noticed that the stars were vanishing from the sky and the moon had moved toward the lake so I let my feet dance after it. If I could remember to challenge my fearful thoughts, Moon Dancing would always be possible.
Doubts about whether I should be here alone nag me and breathing deeply doesna€™t seem to help. Many times Ia€™ve experienced that feeling over the years: when I married my new husband, when each of my children were borne, when a bond of female friendship was revealed to me, when I gave unconditional love to an amazing yet flawed man, when I held my grandsons the first time, when I witnessed my son-in-lawa€™s tears at a grave site, and so many moments in nature.
Many times the circumstances of life and my thoughts about them hid my beauty from me, and I could not believe others even when they shared their love and compassion for me. May I remember to look deeply into my own eyes to find love and then freely give it away to others. She literally danced to the voting booth and then out; waving and glowing as she left the precinct. The voice in my head was still, the polling precinct was quiet, and the room filled with the light of choice I had been witnessing all day. Of course, there are times when I have to say no to someone, and what Ia€™ve found is that even that is easier when I say yes to what is transpiring in the moment and then expand the conversation or activity to make my point or acknowledge someone elsea€™s need. But inside me deeper than even I imagined was a sense of sadness and powerlessness to change the drinking habits of my 37-year-old son.
When I could bare it no longer, it vanished and was replaced with a deep stillness of peace. My overall intention for my life is to love well, and of late, that seems more difficult than it has for the recent past years.
It protects me and not in a way that is creative; it prevents me from living each moment as it is with an intention to hear the quiet voice that wisely guides my Life. Then from deep inside me came that still small voice, that is not the Phyllis I know; I recognized the voice as me and not me. It is a song of healing and caring for this person I am and the growing Being that awaits me with my next choice and adventure. It does not; so I reach my hand toward it and it appears as if the light is resting upon my hand.
All these objects, all those Ia€™ve loved, and all those who have loved me are part of this one light. I may need to remain silent.A I may need to speak aloud about something that is bothering me about whata€™s happening. It is with gratitude that I accept all the parts of mea€”the difficult and the pleasanta€”and quietly surrender to the learning that my experience offers in this moment, and the next, and the next. Now more often I observe not to give value but to learn and to appreciate the insight that observing brings to me about me. As my hair grows and the gray is more visible, Ia€™m reminded of what a long and remarkably healthy life I have and the freedom that brings.
From the middle of the deep pink rise varying lengths of stamens with small orangey-pink, round fluffy dots at each of their tips. My heart aches with gratitude for this small being whose blindness first filled me with sadness; but now has added a measure of being alive that could not have been possible without what I once considered to be her handicap. There in the emails I read: We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be. They may remark that I look like someone else, but if they truly know me, they know that I am like no one else. When it came off the moving van five years ago, it went into the corner of the garage, because I was still not ready to let go of the memory of the healing I thought it would bring to my son. It sat and sat, and I would see it with a flood of emotions triggered by the healing and loss it represented. We stopped again to sit by the river; all I felt was deep gratitude for all the extraordinary experiences of this Life lived fully. Perhaps the thought is that living alone is not as enriching as living as a couple, but the amount of freedom that comes with living alone is amazing. It takes a deep intention to look inside us and see those patterns, take a second look, and remind ourselves they are imaginary stories we have created to feel okay in this particular incarnation and perhaps others.
Since the evolutionary process of physical a€?survival of the fittest,a€? has taught me to judge whether or not I am safe when with another, this approach to Life is challenging and yet interesting and exciting to me.
Only the man, the boy, my friend and I will really know the changes created within us from these experiences. We took smiling pictures with a camera to add to our real photo albums of course, and we spoke of the skill and time that each family had given to this beautiful modest home. As I watched them drive away, I knew this strong, courageous couple was focusing their attention on accepting and living Life fully in each moment, and I was grateful that they were part of mine! Simultaneously, I feel a€?less thana€? because Ia€™m choosing not to do something a€?importanta€? and a€?more thana€? because I feel at some level the other person isna€™t capable of understanding that need. Sliding my feet along the carpet, the harder surface of my wood floor is recognized at the doorway. She continues my therapy and she comments that my pelvic area begins to move a little, but I cana€™t seem to feel it. Have I, therefore, sent a message to my intellect to override this pain and continue to function.
I will not seek the answer in my mind, but I will relax into the present and observe what comes to me. It has felt really good and freeing, but Ia€™ve also had this voice in my head that says, a€?Whata€™s wrong with you?a€? I watched the thought come and go and remained quiet, peaceful, and still.
I will look at my activities one by one to see if there is a second agenda lurking in the shadow of my fearful ego. As the elevator door opened, I said to his Mom that I believed he was enjoying the sunshine. The Mycenaeans were adventurers, traveling to and trading with peoples in Anatolia, Europe, and throughout the Mediterranean.
It was a a€?limiteda€? democracy because it only allowed adult males (not women!) (1) to vote and hold office, (2) but only if they were born in the city of Athens, (3) and if they owned land. The teachera€™s role is to encourage that knowledge to come out by use of proper questions. Therefore, ethics is personal and autonomous (determined by onea€™s own thoughtful insight and not something received from others).
We see the shadow of the Real Chair, the Real Tree, the Real Red Apple by looking at their shadows down here on earth. During their rule the Titans were associated with the various planets and their names remained attached to the planets when the Romans adopted much of Greek mythology. Zeus revolted against Cronus and the other Titans, defeated them, and banished them to Tartarus in the underworld.
While on his death bed, lying in a tent in Baghdad, his troops filed past in a huge procession to honor their great leader.
Since it is early morning, none of the goats will normally lie down, but will eat their full after a night with no food.
And fourth, this unknown god or goddess will understand that it is in ignorance that we do not know his or her name and will forgive us for our ignorance.a€? With those words, the sacrifices were offered up to the unknown god.
Greek honor guards at the presidential palace today in Athens have 450 pleats in their native uniforms, signifying the 450 years that Greece was subjugated to the Ottoman Turks.
During the remainder of the week there, I edited the essay several times and eventually it morphed into a short surreal poem.
As I gazed out into the darkness, I had the urge to take a walk, but felt frightened that I would be walking in an unfamiliar place in that darkness, and it might not be wise. As I entered the garden, it was a cascade of silence punctuated with the crunching sounds of my footsteps upon the path. I remembered one of my favorite childhood poems, a€?I Have A Little Shadow That Goes In and Out With Me.a€? I remembered how much I loved giving it to my grandchildren!
I hummed a€?Que Sa Ra Sa Ra, what ever will be will be,a€? all the way back to the dorm and into the shower.
The curious part of me whispers, a€?go out and take a few photos.a€? So dressed in my robe and slippers with camera in tow, my hands slide back the door, and I venture out. As I said a€?yes, anda€? to what she had to say, the profound lesson came that what she was saying would be an amazing way to not only do improv, it would change a life from a negative focus to a positive one. Over the years, my daughter and I, had pleaded, threatened, and prayed for him to give up drinking.
He was free and it was spring one year and four months after his first healthy choice in a very long time. The last few years have been filled with the joy of living and remembering his life and what it brought to mine.
Do this, dona€™t do that, go here, stay there, love this, mistrust that; the mind chatter is overwhelming in these moments. So when discontent of the kind Ia€™ve been experiencing of late is present within me, it puzzles me as to what Ia€™m to learn this time. One of me is the movie my personality creates with thinking, assessing, resisting, and this me was the Seer who watches in loving amazement at times. There was a time in the past when this need would cause me to question a€?who I am,a€? and a€?why am I like this;a€? now it feels warm with acceptance like the return of an absent and beloved friend. This slow to respond, slow to move, slow to show emotion man has a great capacity for deep joy that I admire. He wanted to hear his music uninterrupted and spit on his sister when she came into his room to chat.
These moments of choice step-by-step and consequence-by-consequence truly become the Life I experience.
This year as I focus on creating more humility through patience, the experiences that I a€?m creating through what Ia€™ve viewed up to now as limitations are supporting me in doing just that. Her words say that the stamens are the pollen-bearing male part of this delicate precious flower.
She never considered herself handicapped, and her acceptance has brought me bravery and added awareness that life is created by the choice to live with a€?what isa€? with courage.
This quote by Anne Lamott brought me back to my intention to explore Nepoa€™s original questions.
Another man loses his job and decides to create a different way of living and becomes a role model for others.
We are a soul having a physical experience that has the opportunity to contribute to the healing of all living beings.
In the peaceful stillness, I closed my eyes and let the gurgle of the racing river wash through me as the sun shared its warmth. Perhaps your belief is that your children should behave differently, but then you see them blossom into their own lives that are very different from what you imagined.
If the answer is limits, look at it and let it go for it does not serve your Life or anyonea€™s. With closer observation of the direction of the winds and of the angles of the sun, it becomes clear that the one that seems to be leaning-in has twisted, has transformed, and has become deeply rooted thereby protecting the other from the elements. Our patterned reaction may not be the healthiest response in this moment, and if it is not, it may be wise to make a different choice.
It was clear to me that as a male, he had automatically assumed that the woman in his relationship had to have been weaker or less assertive for inequality to exist.
Later a call came that a skunk, which appeared to have a broken leg, was outside the restaurant by the golf course. Life is by definition impermanent and the cultivation of acceptance has been my yearlong intention since Winter Solstice of last year. I remembered a summer of disruption as Dad added the addition and my son walked in the foundation ditches and later put nails into the exposed electrical outlets.
In that moment of presence, their togetherness seemed all that truly mattered, and I was touched by their love for each other.
No one knows in Life what will come next, living in this present moment is where we find our power. Ia€™ve watched the French Open and seen the victory there as a moment in time that is relevant only to the lives involved. She says thata€™s okay because the movement is subtle, but necessary to maintain the health of the back and ultimately the nerve in that area. I will trust the Universal force to support me in my learning and relax into the pain, feel it deeply in the moment; I will no longer resist the discomfort, but welcome it in with whatever message it brings. Ia€™ve read, baked cookies, watched the birds out my window, slept late, meditated, done yoga, watched old movies, and just stayed in my home with just me.
If I find one, I will look to see what I can learn from that situation in the present moment. What a waste of my day!a€? These thoughts were still in my head as I entered the glass elevator with a few others on the top deck of the parking garage. Because of this the Athenians developed a€?overseasa€? colonies in order to grow wheat and other grains. To the women and to those who moved to Athens from other areas, this was hardly a democracy. A soldier, Pheidippides, was sent running back to Athens, 26 miles to the south, to announce the good news of the victory. Zeus and his wife (first known as Dione and then Hera) are deifications of Adam and his wife Eve.a€? (Johnson, The Parthenon Code 2004, p.
The New Testament was not written in Aramaic (the language of Jesus and the apostles) or in Latin (the language of the Roman conquerors) but was written in Greek, the most widely spoken language. It seemed bettera€”it captured the light of my mooda€”but somehow did not convey the importance of that few hours of Moon Dancing with my Shadows.
Now and then something would move in the silence and take my attention away from the shapes and forms of the plants that lined the walkway.
Now absorbed in the beauty of the ocean, focused on the view in the camera, and not feeling my feet, my body tumbles down on the lower deck, my camera flies off into the grass about one foot from the lily pond. As more new-generation voters came to exercise their right to choose along with others that had been voting for a long time, it reminded me of how precious this right is to Americans. As he voted, we prepared to go outside to collect a€?Zacha€™sa€? vote from the truck, being careful to follow procedures that would allow his ballet to be cast privately. What I have never written about is how difficult and how painful it was to be the Mother of a dying son, and what Life was like for me when I could no longer touch his physical presence. No longer do I pretend that losing a sona€™s physical presence is easy, no longer do I need to be that strongest person in the room, no longer do I hide that losing him changed my own life in ways I could not have imagined. I smiled with the recognition that it is the Seer that I can trust and I let the Story of discontent go. The need for change calls to be embraced with wonder and welcoming; it is part of the personality that has formed my human experience for as long as I can remember. I try again; I want to catch the light and hold it, but the flame of the candle cannot be held, it must shine wherever it will or it disappears. Without judgment of how things should be, we can simply shine and bask in each othera€™s light.
His physical body left us nine years ago, but for me his spirit is in the sound of the wind through the treetops and in the light of an early Easter morning sunrise. And as I chuckle at this thought that is now present, my perception of losing some short-term memory gives me ample time to remember the most important thing: what is the present moment offering me as an opportunity. My mother says, behind the flower the great sun, which I feel on my face, casts a dark surrounding edge that make the blossom even more vivid and creates a shadow of the stamens on the petal itself. The light shining in her sea foam green eyes reflects what she is seeing through my voice and her other senses.
As a physical manifestation of a living Universe with unique skills, hopes, dreams, and personalities, how much healing we contribute is up to each of us for we have free will to choose what we will create.
In the words of Lamott, I am truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who I was born to be. The strength coming back into his body was coming too late for him to survive this incarnation, but he seemed to love his experiences on the bike.
Because of their ages, that would be a very long time into the future, but it was the logic I used to hold on to this small symbol of my sona€™s longing for health and my own. I turned and sped away leaving him to his own period of learning since he had not ridden a bike for sometime.
It was a beautiful river, a beautiful moment, a beautiful bike, another memory, and I loved and was honored to share it with this friend. Perhaps your belief is that you love to write, but that you are too old and unknown to get published; you go forward anyway and your book is published and it brings you great joy. Because they are almost 100 years old, their roots under the surrounding plants, rocks, and soil are entwined with and supportive of each other in ways that cannot be undone. Since I did not feel he was open to the idea that this assumption was in and of itself telling about his view of equality, I just said there are many kinds of strength and the subject was ended.
As this thought was taking up residence in my brain, I noticed a man and a small boy up ahead.
She said, a€?He still makes me laugh.a€? He, in character, chuckled with pleasure at that thought.
Ia€™ve dressed to go biking and yet I stayed in the drama unfolding at the French Open as if it had some significance in my own life. Time to make the smoothie that has become a part of my mornings of late: cantaloupe, pineapple, blueberries, yogurt, strawberries, apples, and raspberries. It has been years since I fearfully resisted emotional pain and stiffened and numbed against it. For so long, I have worked to be conscious, to be authentic, to be present, and in that moment, the part of me that feels sorry for myself was active yet again. They invaded south to Crete where a blending of the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures took place. Some historians state that the United States acquired its concept of democracy from Athens. Yes I said a€?shadows.a€? Now a week later I am at home and awake in the early hours of morning and I know it is time to write.
Out of that stillness a rabbit hopped, two deer walked slowly behind me, and the early birds of morning began to chirp. This week as I gazed at the two photos, the child and the woman, it dawned on me that the beauty of love has always been within me patiently waiting for me to rediscover it. With the wisdom that I was changing my own life not his, I decided to offer him my support for sobriety one more time.
The silence of deep meditation, the practice to live in this moment, and the awareness that we are a part of something bigger than our physical being have supported me to accept and heal from the things I can not change. As we close our eyes and state our intentions for the week, I feel his love and send him mine. I am filled with love and gratitude for the ability to write my thoughts and feelings down in a way that enriches and expresses my experiences. Each day the intention to live in fear of losing a physical existence that is inevitable carries us away from the love that is the essence of the Life we all share. When I took it to be restored with new tires, etc., the repairman remarked on how well it was made and how unworn it appeared.
Perhaps your belief is that your life experiences should have been different, but deep inside you know that it has been those experiences that have created you Life.
This deep presence and seeing of their combined lives bring a growing appreciation of connectedness.
By convention, equiluxes are the days where sunrise and sunset are closest to being exactly 12 hours apart. His physical pain during the discussion expressed itself in a visible expressed pain in his chest as he talked about the need to live a more solitary Life to insure his freedom to be himself. I have a deep knowing that no matter what my perception is in the moment, the Universe is a friendly supportive force within me that a€?does not take sides, but seeks only balance.a€? It is my intention to have compassion for what I hear and see and to learn the lesson of impermanence as I witness it in nature. What mattered was the memory of love and support that flowed through the energy of the house into me and then to my daughtera€™s family.
I began to think he was just bored as my friend and I turned to playing games on my IPad, so I asked if he would like to join us. Their smells mingle with the sounds of the rain and for a moment the blender whirl drowns out all other sounds.
The area with its moderate climate was ideal, however, for the development of olive groves, vineyards, almonds, and apples.
The Saducees were hellenized Jews, and thus denied the reality of the resurrection of the dead.
I had forgotten this feeling of freedom that has moved my spirit since I was a child, the love of nighttime, and the magic of moonlight.
Since staying here on the deck doesna€™t seem to be an option, I pull myself up, retrieve my camera (bent but not broken), and shuffle back to my room and sit silently on the bed. He lay in the back seat of the truck, and as I stood on my knees in the front seat to get his ID papers, Zach asked, Can I vote?
It had been a few years since we had seen him because he just never showed up to family gatherings.
This time was different than before; this time I knew I could accept whatever choice he made, but he was my son and for myself I needed to offer him assistance one last time! The deep wound of loss affected many of my relationships and still I clung to the strength of knowing that I had done the a€?righta€? thing.
Without the wisdom and acceptance of or a€?surrendera€? to each moment as it is, I cannot choose an appropriate action with a conscious intent and honor my need to live authentically in this moment, and the next, and the next. Her voice falls upon my ears and her words become my thoughts, and I imagine with great specificity how the cherry blossom appears and admire its beauty. This cherry blossom is magnificent, and the glory of its connection to this growing child leaves me speechless and filled with awe for this blessed life. Perhaps your belief is that there is only one Path to God and that prevents you from appreciating all those who believe in a different God than yours. Depending on where you stand, they are framed by the sky above, or the garden below, or by the giant stone arches of the porch.
There is evidence that we are still there as surely as we are here through our choices to give of ourselves.
He said, a€?No, Ia€™ll just walk up to the edge of the golf course.a€? His demeanor seemed unusual, but I dismissed it and returned to the game my friend and I were sharing. I glide to the coffee maker and the smell of coffee is strong enough to feel like I taste it already.
In his honor and memory (his kleos) the Greeks established the marathon of 26 miles, exactly the distance of the modern marathon race. Kronos (Chronos), the father of time in Greek mythology, a€?could very well be,a€? says Johnson, a€?Greek religiona€™s equivalent of Yahweh, the Lord of Tome.
They constructed gymnasiums and athletic stadiums in Palestine, to the horror of the traditional and legalistic Pharisees. Just when I could hardly believe the vision my courage had co-created with the moon, a flock of wild geese cut the mist of the lake as they winged their way across in perfect formation.
My body is tired, my mood is gray like the clouds above the ocean, and self-doubt seems to have taken me over. He had stopped answering his phone and his friends called me to say they thought he was dying.
Perhaps your thoughts are that your thoughts are true and you do not question further how best to live your Life with yourself or in relationship to others. The annoyance I felt in my body as I viewed his pain turned into compassion and acceptance for us both. The back legs and rear of the frog were already in the snakea€™s mouth and the froga€™s body was badly bloated as its eyes bulged, its front legs kicked, and it sought freedom from the snake.
My choice to visit the past because I love my daughter created a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of time passing in the present, and my gratitude for my daughter and our choices to share our Life sang within my heart; a reminder and then a another memory of time passing in the present!
I smile at the wonder of just being present without thinking something should be different than it is. This need to understand everything that happens has been a recurring theme for as long as I can remember.
In that moment, under his white hair and beyond his aging body, there was the light of youth and his eyes held the same excitement I had witnessed in the young girl that morning. The last five years had been a roller coaster ride of emotions for me as he was better and then not better over and over again. I could do this and I began a long path of self-healing without the courage to ask for support directly. Perhaps you have doubts about your own goodness and forget to look at the generosity that has been a major thread of your Life.
Earlier that day, a dog had stumbled upon a horneta€™s nest and had been stung badly, and a staff member went looking for the nest to eliminate it so humans could walk the path without being stung. I felt the pain of the froga€™s struggle; I wanted to do something to make this stop, but what? I relived a day when my small son gave my baby daughter a drink from a cup as she rested in her crib; she almost drowned. If I understand it then I can accept it, or more accurately change it; or so my Story goes.
Then as if a powerful director had taken over the scene, a fish danced to the ice-like surface of the lake. Meditation had supported me in staying centered enough to love my daughter and her family, support my partnera€™s interests, hold a demanding job, and attempt to just enjoy and learn about my life. Perhaps your belief is that friends and family should be more open hearted and open minded and so you close your heart and mind to them. It is the most reoccurring event involving injury that comes to the attention of the Nature Foundation. They are delicious and colorful in contrast to the dark quiet of the room and the day outside my window. I turned to find a circle of life rippling the water and the dancing fish no longer visible. Perhaps you have made what seems like a mistake and your belief is that you cannot be forgiven and that thought keeps you separate from someone you love. My thought was that the bees were there first and should be left alone to resettle into their lives. I chose only to stand and watch with sadness and curiosity as this unusual sighting in nature played out.
I gaze at my joy garden that is bright with purple, pink, and white against a blue-gray sky.
It had the slight chill of autumn, and I could imagine the burst of color that would soon fill the trees. On this glorious October day, I felt that I had done everything I could and my body sagged from the weight of wanting him to be different. Perhaps the belief is that if you dona€™t act in a certain way, you will not gain acceptance; but someone once said, a€?if you do not always bring with you who you truly a€?area€™ others will fall in love with who you are a€?nota€? and how limiting will that be? It is hard to express all that I saw through the visual memory there in our first small house. It took him some time to physically fill out the ballot, and it was my honor to wait for him. For me, Zacha€™s light infused the darkness around the truck and as I looked from my fellow poll workera€™s eyes to Zacha€™s son-in-lawa€™s eyes, they seemed to glow with something unexplainable.
I could no longer watch so we turned away and continued our walk through this civilized and yet still wildly natural, tourist attraction. In the pages, he quotes, William Stafford: What can anyone give you greater than now, starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?



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