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Daily Dose (June 11 – 14)

TUESDAY JUNE 11 —

This week we’re talking about the nutritious food of life. Where do we see or find sustenance and nourishment for our emotional and spiritual well-being?
“When (we) were born, (we) were allowed to enjoy the solid, nutritious food of life–namely, work, play, fun, laughter, the company of people, the pleasure of the senses and the mind. (We) were given a taste for the drug called approval, appreciation, attention… having a taste for these drugs, we became addicted and began to dread losing them.” A.S. Neill

Some movies I need to watch over and over. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is one of them. A group of disparate British retirees are lured by an invitation to “outsource” themselves for a stay at the newly opened Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in Jaipur, India. It is no surprise that, upon arrival, they discover a place far from a luxurious retreat. The advertising claim, bodacious… “for the elderly and beautiful.” And who wouldn’t welcome that enticement?
Recently widowed housewife Evelyn Greenslade, who must sell her home to cover huge debts left by her late husband. Jean and Douglas Ainslie seek a retirement they can afford, having lost most of their savings through investing in their daughter’s Internet business. Muriel, a retired housekeeper prejudiced against Indians and every other person of colour under the sun, needs a hip replacement operation, which can be done far more quickly and inexpensively in India. Madge is hunting for another husband, and Norman, an aging lothario, is trying to re-capture his youth. High Court Judge Graham Dashwood, who has for many years been retiring “any day now”. During the retirement speech of a colleague, Graham declares, “Today’s the day.”
Of course, not everything works out quite as expected.
And yet, how each “sees,” determines the wealth of their experience. “India, like life,” writes Evelyn, “is about what you bring to it.”
Jean Ainslie brings anger, sprinkled with bitterness. Their life savings gone, their marriage lifeless, and her spirit drained.
“I want to stay in another hotel, the one in the brochure,” she shouts at Sonny (the hotel’s ebullient manager).
Why is it that every part of life that is not in the brochure, feels like an interruption and a threat?
In one encounter, she asks Graham, “How can you bear this country? What do you see that I don’t?”
With a bemused smile, he answers, “The light, colors, the smiles. It teaches me something. Where people see life as a privilege and not as a right.”
Oh my, Yes. The invitation to see with new eyes.
Robin Wall Kimmerer’s wonderful affirmation, “Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.” 

WEDNESDAY JUNE 12 —

Where do you see or find the nutritious food of life–sustenance and nourishment for your emotional and spiritual well-being?
For me, some days it is necessary to pause, and to set down (or aside) whatever is consuming (overwhelming, crowding) my mind space, and to be available, to nutritious soul food—say little moments of wonder and joy.
No, this is not easy to do in a world with a throng of attention consuming competitors. Like this morning, unable to spend any attentive time at my desk, or to write, because of a project around the pond near my house, involving two weed whackers and a leaf blower for about 3 hours. All gas powered. All volume buttons set on exasperating. Let’s just say, it got to me.
So, I hit the pause button. I put on my headphones and some music, and relished the clouds dancing in the southwestern sky. And one of the first songs, reminded me why we need these moments and why we can’t be without the healing sustenance from nutritious soul food. It was Cat Stevens singing Morning has broken.

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dew fall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the One Light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word

Music here — Morning has broken – Cat Stevens

And I reread Robin Wall Kimmerer’s wonderful affirmation, “Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.”

“Morning Has Broken” is a Christian hymn first published in 1931. It has words by English author Eleanor Farjeon and was inspired by the village of Alfriston in East Sussex, then set to a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune, “Bunessan”. Cat Stevens included a version on his album Teaser and the Firecat in 1971.

THURSDAY JUNE 13 —

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” (Thornton Wilder)
Another way of saying that it can be easy to miss those moments—the nutritious food of life—if we are not conscious (looking, aware, present, seeing). It can happen for a number of reasons… expectations about where life is to be found, fretting, distraction.
I loved my garden on Vashon Island. But even in the garden, sometimes we miss the nutritious food of life treasures.
It is a garden that took its time, which meant that for years, behind my house was a large hole. “It’s going to be a pond. You know, someday,” I would explain.
When people visited my garden, I directed traffic so that we enjoyed the charming areas, making sure that no one would notice the eyesore. On one visit, a young woman broke from the pack, and stood at the abyss… now, from years of neglect, a hole filled with dandelions. An amphitheater of dandelions. As if a five-gallon bucket of butter yellow paint were poured, creating a river to where the waterfall will begin, 140 feet away. I walked over to apologize for the “unfinished” garden.
But she stood, mesmerized. “What a remarkably creative idea, to make a river and pond of dandelions. I never would have thought of that. It’s peaceful and beautiful! Genius! Whatever made you think of it?”
“Oh,” I said (modestly), “It just came to me.”
What I saw as blight or indictment or shortcoming or deficiency or scarcity, she saw as genius. She saw as treasure. Go figure.
And that is where spirituality and growth begins; with acceptance and attention: “Look. I never noticed that before.”
In other words, I begin here. In this moment.

On my walk today, I spent some time mesmerized by a Bewick’s Wren, making a nest near the pond, using fluff from the cattails in the pond. The fluff that happens in the spring, on that female flower distinctive brown head (yes, the “cat tail”).
Bewick’s are medium-sized wrens with a slender body and a strikingly long tail often held upright.
And throughout the open native space, one of my favorite springtime plants, Digitalis purpurea, Foxglove, stately with tall, elegant spikes covered in bell-shaped blossoms, beloved by hummingbirds and bumblebees and this Sabbath Moment writer.

FRIDAY JUNE 14 —

Prayer for our week…
Our gracious and loving God,
we thank you that you have been touching our lives:
illuminating us;
opening us at deep levels of our being;
stretching us at points of our narrowness;
confronting us where we are distorted;
challenging us to become the word you speak us forth to be;
but in every way working in all for your good purposes in our lives.
Amen.
Robert Mulholland Jr.

Photo… “Hi, Terry. Sunset in West Des Moines, Iowa… finding beauty in the everyday!” Leah Canfield … Thank you Leah.. And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to [email protected]


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