Me in the Middle of Letting Go 2016>Welcome 2017 (#FlashBack)

        
It’s FlashBack Friday ~ A time of the month where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn’t get enough attention, or that you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc.  This Blog-Go-Round is hosted by Jemima Pett and originally introduced by Michael D’Agostino from A LIFE EXAMINED.  That’s where you’ll find the rest of the participants or to join up yourself.

The post I’ve chosen for this month first appeared on ME IN THE MIDDLE on September 12, 2015.  To see the original comments to that post you can click on the title  ~ Poems and Sketches ~ below to be taken to the original post. 

I chose this post because I’m letting go of the old year 2016 and welcoming the new year 2017.  The poems were written by a friend who came into my life at just the right time and inspired me to let go of the past and make room for new and better things in my life.  My sketches were inspired by his poems and, joined together, they represented an opening up in my life to a new sense of joy and promise.  What better reminder for me as I close the door on 2016 and step through into the promise and hope of the New Year?  “Letting go can be your best friend.”

new-year-1904679_1920

 Hope Beyond All Hope

Lovers of the world, unite
Bound to Creator’s vision bright
That even these our darkest nights
Become the light, become the light

Fashion all you can create
That delights the one who incarnates
And links himself to the same fate
As we sleepers who must rise to wake

Alana Levandoski

 ********************

 ♥

Poems and Sketches

********************

Letting Go

(c) Mary Lou Q

 Letting Go

Letting go – Is a place;
Is a time; Is a space.
Letting go – Sometimes a pain;
Sometimes numbness; Sometimes gain.

Letting go –
of the memories that are bad;
Of the arguments we had; Of times that were sad.
I let go of those things; Of those times; Of the zings.

Instead, I choose not to ever lose;
And I will retain those things where we gain.
Smiles and laughter; Creation and elation;
Security and maturity; With these make a nation.

Letting go isn’t easy;
And, yet, we know It’s the path to take
– From the learning we grow.

So – let go . . . Of what fails thee;
Focus on what enthralls thee.
There is a beginning to each end;
Letting go can be your best friend.

Arthur Rashap

***************

Seasons Sketch #3 Cropped

(c) Mary Lou Q

Season’s Song

When I leave this body, My aura, more spoor
May I be like Autumn’s leaves: Multi hued, flaming.
Set in clear contrast to that awesome blue sky
On a cloudless day in Fall,
Attracting and reflecting the sun,
Low in the heavens as it rises and sets.

  When I “die”, remember me as the one on a Quixotic Quest,
Searching for meaning. Feeling alone and apart,
Swimming in the context of Love’s eternal soup.
The seasons of the year, like the seasons of life,
Have been given to us as paper and paint
To create our picture of time’s journey.

And, what is time but some made-up measure
So we can box experiences. Storing them on the Shelf of Life.
Ah! Autumn, when we can harvest the fruits of lifelong learning;
Of lifelong yearning.
When all the “this’s” and all the “that’s” line up,
Coming together.

And, all the colors of thought and deed
Do come together to flash as Rainbow
No longer whispering,
But making a bald, bold statement:
Live, harvest, expire
Be, be in each moment.

Winter: The bare, still, colorless cold.
Time: Is this a season for passing?
Or rather, a season for resting?
The pause in the cycle of creation;
The contemplation, the stock-taking
Before ONE’s re-borning?

Winter: Season for preparing; For recycling
The re-coiling. Springing forth.
Ah! Listen! Regard!
The seasons sing; Life’s stages harmonize.
We, in the end, are ONE
And Love is the answer.

Arthur Rashap

*************

Seasoned

We sit in a circle,
Breathing in the smoke of elderhood
As we watch the flame reflect life’s turnings.

At first, there was the time Spring:
The time for springing forth,
full of energy, dreams, desires;
Tilling, planting, cultivating
Wide-eyed and impressionable
As we now see it In life’s rear-view mirror.
 
Greening turned to
 the full colors
and active buzzing of our Summers.
Life was like the circus performer
running back and forth,
Spinning so many plates
on sticks overhead;

Did it matter that some fell and shattered?
What was growing then, so important, bursting forth:
Bearing all kinds of fruit,
Now changes as viewed
through the glory of Autumn’s colors.


  Let us luxuriate, making new tracks in the colors of Autumn,
 Celebrating the days past; The work done.
Time to share the harvest.
  Our seeds now drop, Some to take root
Even as Winter stills the cycle,
 Covering the fields that once were plowed and yielding.
There is fresh space, Time is stretched,
Memories bring smiles And “Ah Ha’s!”
 
We sit in a circle
 around the fire,
Fashioning solutions from the smoke of memory
And the joyous living that was/is our lives.

 

Arthur Rashap

***************

Nature and Soul NYC #2

(c) Mary Lou Q

NYC Weekend

 
The most exciting thing in New York City
Is the robin building her nest outside the kitchen window
where I am staying.

One can bring nature and soul
Into any nest – Anywhere.
Pile in the shining leaves –
Create a hiding spot underneath.
Weave pieces of string into a nest that is “home.”

The most exciting thing in New York City
Is the robin affirming life by building her nest
Outside the kitchen window.
Noises, graces, shops, cafes, taxis, get-aways;
Couples sparking; Unimaginable diversity:
Museums, universities, slums and alums
If you can’t find it here it ain’t anywhere.

The most exciting thing in New York City
Was the feeling that the robin gave me:
A feeling of being safe and secure,
In the tree outside the kitchen window.
Two weeks’ salary to park your cars;
Anything you could want ain’t very far
Except perhaps Nature’s balm,
Babbling brook’s sound,
Senses becalmed.

People, faces, noises, graces, shops, cafes, taxis,
“Oy-veys:”
Sirens, barking, sirens, hawking;
Shopping, charging, pushing, bargaining;
Humanity spilling out everywhere;
Their hearts, their souls, their cares.
If you can’t find it here, it ain’t anywhere.

The most memorable thing in New York City this weekend
Is to know that a robin is building her nest
Outside the kitchen window.

Arthur Rashap

 *****************

Mariposa #4

(c) Mary Lou Q

Mariposa

 Winged friend: Mariposa;
You flew circles
while I waited for love to arrive.
You incarnated in each place
Cupid-playing while bathing in the vibes
Of love’s unfolding.

Winged friend: Mariposa; You were there,
Trailing twinkles and love dust
Wherever we looked.

Dear Mariposa,
Winged friend. Love’s messenger.
Come fly on the bosom of enchantment.
You have earned a place in our hearts.

Arthur Rashap

 ****************

 Watercolor Sketches ~ © Mary Lou Q

*Special acknowledgement and thanks to Arthur Rashap for his support in my putting together this website.*

Me in the Middle Looking for a Leader (Part 2)

free-leader-3

Pixabay

********************

This is the second post on what qualities make a good Leader.  The first ~ What Kind of Leadership is Needed for Our Time by Heather Plett ~ looked at Leaders as Host rather than Leaders as Heroes.
My good intentions have been not to get political on this blog.  I hope to explore these qualities without picking a particular candidate or bashing a particular candidate.  It seems the campaign season here in America has gotten way off track.  It’s become almost impossible to explore what Leadership means much less what kind of Leadership America needs at this time.
Today I’ve chosen a post by Arthur Rashapwww.promiseamericaindicator.com.   I’d love to hear what you think of Arthur’s definition of Winners or Losers and the qualities to look for in our Leaders.

********************

“Our society is replete today with a focus on winning. Rather than focusing on informing the public about positions, possibilities and programs, the candidates for public office (and the office holders once elected or appointed) seek attention and headlines by playing the game of personal invective and catering to their ‘fans.’ They make promises to attract contributions and votes, promises that they hope will get them to the “winner’s circle.” The media and the ‘reporters’ and pundits are obsessed with looking to see who “won” a debate, or who is winning their election ‘game’ as is predicted by the daily polls that get changed more often than the diaper of a six month old. We get a break-down of the supporters for the players in such games – which ends up creating substantial animosity between the groups.”

********************

free-winners-or-losers

********************

ARE WE WINNERS OR LOSERS?

  •  “Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing”UCLA Bruins Football Coach Henry Russell (“Red”) Sanders (not Vince Lombardi who did use this).
  • “It’s not that you won or lost, but how you played the game” – Grandland Rice.
  • The most important thing . . . is not winning but taking part”Pierre de Cubetin, Modern Olympic Creed.

Somewhere in the evolution of humans the concept of winning and losing – of being a winner or a loser – came into play. Think of the consequences of that concept: wars; slavery; sexism; discrimination of all kinds; the great disparity in income and assets; power being lodged in the hands of a few; ageism, and on and on.

There have been societies where the concept of equality reigns. There are societies where humans regard themselves as just being a part of the overall ecosystem with all living things support each other. The societies in today’s world have been largely minimized by “progress” and the taming and exploitation of the environment for those at the top of the food chain – we the modern day humans.

The underpinnings of religion aren’t involved with winners and losers: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Don’t beat them into the ground and exploit them for your own benefit. The examples set by those who have been the founders and acknowledged leaders of religions and spiritual movements – the way they lived their lives – demonstrated that they honored and helped all peoples, not singling out winners and losers. The sermons delivered weekly to congregations by their religious leaders ring high and mighty about being kind, generous, live simply– and how to live our lives according to these words is too often left in the sanctuary as the congregants file out.

Powell Davis, a prolific author of theological books and sermon collections, who came to national prominence in the U.S. through his liberal activism advocating civil rights for African-Americans and women and ethical stands against post-war nuclear proliferation and the methods employed by the American government during the era of McCarthyism, noted in this vein: “So far as I can see, all the great leaders—and the great exemplars of religion—possessed faith in life’s essence, in its hidden meaning, in its moral claim, and in the rightness of its inner spiritual guidance. And by this the great ones lived their lives. So must we. There are no problems greater than our power to solve them. There are no burdens greater than our strength. We shape—by every moment of our lives—the great decisions. Then let us venture still!”

Our society is replete today with a focus on winning. Rather than focusing on informing the public about positions, possibilities and programs, the candidates for public office (and the office holders once elected or appointed) seek attention and headlines by playing the game of personal invective and catering to their ‘fans.’ They make promises to attract contributions and votes, promises that they hope will get them to the “winner’s circle.” The media and the ‘reporters’ and pundits are obsessed with looking to see who “won” a debate, or who is winning their election ‘game’ as is predicted by the daily polls that get changed more often than the diaper of a six month old. We get a break-down of the supporters for the players in such games – which ends up creating substantial animosity between the groups.

And, isn’t all of this mostly a narcissistic ploy with one object – to be a winner, and leave all the others behind! So, look in the mirror, look to your left and your right, look around at all those who people your life, understand who is supporting the standard raised that our goal in life, our goal from the time we are old enough to go out and kick a ball, is to be a winner. That part of us – our ego – whose prime purpose is to provide protection so we don’t step off the curb and get hit by a bus wants to ‘win’ the game of who is in control of ‘us.’ It thrives and grows with all the accouterments of being a winner and does its best to take over to drive toward that goal and result.

Substantial awards – monetary for those who are “professionals” – are awarded to winners. Those players who are playing the infinite game, who complement their opponents, who are courteous and caring, who are observed doing the best that they can do in their current human condition, fall mostly in the category of “losers.”

What would happen if games were played in the context that they are all – in the end – part of the “Game of Life.” We are in it to play, to perpetuate the game, to do the best we can at the level of being part of the “ONE” of all life?

We are told that those who kill more of their enemies than the other side become ‘winners.’ This last century, there were well over 100 wars and many more than that number of conflicts that involved loss of life let alone damage to property and the environment. That then results in lots of “losers” – particularly in contests where there are one or several winners and many more non-winners or losers. Our views and rhetoric in politics, in sports, in relationships – in pretty much everything we ‘do’ are structured (too often) by this concept of winners and losers.

I would like to lift up the concepts advanced by James P. Carse, in a little book published in 1986 entitled: Finite and Infinite Games. His Chapter 1: “There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the game. Carse, who was a Professor of Religion at New York University and winner of the University’s Great Teacher Award, concludes the book in Chapter 100: “Infinite players are not serious actors in any story, but the joyful poets of a story that continues to originate what they cannot finish.” Then there is Chapter 101: “THERE IS BUT ONE INFINITE GAME.”

If, indeed, “We the People” are interconnected and understand that we are all part of the same gift of life and all are here to share and preserve the gifts we have been given and that one of our obligations and/or opportunities is to help advance the quality of life – life for all, – then it would seem that playing each and all games as if each and all were in and playing the Game of Life, with the understanding that the ‘bottom line’ of the game – whatever it may be – is to play and do the best you can do at that time and at that place.

If, because of our history, our education,

If, because of our DNA and evolutionary impulse,

If, because it does feel good to be declared special,

If, because to be heard and have our ideas for the greater good advanced,

If, because it is valuable to have our egos satisfied,

If we are willing to sacrifice much of what exists on this planet and perhaps elsewhere –

Then keep playing the finite game.

But how about taking a step back, opening your mind, heart and soul . . . and reprogramming to play the infinite game? Go on, it really is fun.

 Arthur Rashap

********************

The Power of the Dream