Tuesday, September 13, 2022

         When I am faced with what seems to be a problem, it’s always a relief to realize that the distress caused by the problem – any problem – can easily be assuaged. The word ‘assuage’ comes from the old Latin word meaning ‘sweet’, so the word originally meant ‘to make sweet’ – and how good it is to get the news that any ostensibly sour situation can easily be sweetened. And how is this done? Well, simply by settling into peaceful stillness and remembering, once again, that all problems come from thoughts about situations, not from the situations themselvesEvery situation is like a healthy piece of bread. I can either make it horrendous by spreading a red-hot sauce on it, or I can experience the inherent strength and sweetness in it by simply biting into it. It’s my choice – always. There’s health, somewhere and somehow, in every situation, even the truly awful ones, and any distress I might feel in facing a situation can be assuaged by looking carefully for the freshness and newness and strength and sweet wisdom somewhere inside it. At the very center of every moment, even unpleasant and smelly ones, there’s a secret sweetness that can easily assuage any sourness. I hope to be a better searcher for this sweet magic. 


When sadness visited her,
he said to just hang on,
but she didn't understand
what to hang on to,
so she tried hanging on
to a favorite thought,
but soon the thought broke
and the breaking
almost broke her as well.
Then she tried
hanging on to happiness,
but it was wispy
and couldn't be grasped,
and always slipped away.
So then she decided
that hanging on
didn't help her,
so she stopped hanging on
and simply floated free
and found that relief and love 
were everywhere,
as long as
she didn't hang on.



Thursday, July 21, 2022

         There are many kinds of power, but to me the power of gentleness is the greatest. For example, consider the strong gentleness of a river. Water is one of the softest of all material things, and yet it can move trees and houses when it floods in the spring. This gentle substance that washes your dishes can effortlessly wash away an entire town in flood season. Then there is the persistent power of even the softest breeze. A cool breeze in the summer can cool the lives and nerves of an entire town in a matter of minutes. One minute you’re sweating and frustrated, and the next minute you’re relishing your life as a tender breeze rustles your hair. Finally, the strongest, bravest, and most admirable people I have ever known were also the gentlest. These are people who know that the most important battles are won only by powerful and authoritative gentleness. Like rivers, these people flow along softly with enormous power. Like the breezes of summer, they change our lives with their sturdy, relentless gentleness.

(about Shay M., 91, Blessings, CT, USA)

Shay's become a soft touch in his elder years. 
He softly touches problems
and they easily dwindle away,
and fears always fall victim 
to his easy-going touch.  
He lightly strokes his worries
as if they're his friends.
and they slowly fade off with smiles. 
If he smoothly rubs a sorrow,
 it whispers its wisdom to him,
and sometimes stays for weeks 
as his special instructor. 
At the gentle age of 91, 
Shay's spoken words have a soothing touch,
as if you could stroll with them 
and softly toss away your worries.   

Below, two happy riders on the Kingston Rail Trail yesterday …