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I love, love, love our Living the Five Agreements group. I love all of our groups for different reasons, but this group, perhaps because we are all so comfortable with each other, is one that makes me wonder why I even have an end time on the group because we have NEVER ended on time. For the last few months, we have been doing something interactive. I had bought three card sets dealing with Toltec Wisdom, one box of The Four Agreement cards, The Mastery of Love cards, and The Fifth Agreement cards. Each month, we have taken the cards for a different agreement and picked one that felt right for us. Then we have spent our time together discussing the cards drawn by our group members.

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I want some of that

June 26, 2013

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One of the things I enjoy most in life is cooking delicious meals for friends. A few weeks ago, a dear friend of ours came over to help my wife with some weeding, which turned out to be internal and external. While a good deal of the weeding was going on, I was inside preparing a simple, but delicious dish for my friend who loves lentils. One of the things I love most about my friend Maryanna is that food does not need to be gourmet or cost a lot to make her happy. It is usually the most simplistic of dishes like my tomato basil soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, my olive oil and garlic bread, or baked ziti. This particular night was just as simple, a lentil and rice pilaf with carmelized onions. What inspired me was her comment about how the smell carried her off the front porch and into the kitchen. She was already in love with the dish before it ever made it to the table.

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The last few days I have had some time, maybe too much time, to think about all the injustice in our world and the inhumane ways we treat each other. In the last few weeks, a number of people have lost their lives due to urban violence, people have put off needed surgeries because they cannot afford the deductibles, and this morning the Supreme Court gutted the Voters Right Act, leaving the door open for legislation, which would prohibit the rights of all Americans to vote.  Each of these acts, as well as others, is related in that they are all forms of structural violence.

One need not look further then the local television station, newspaper, or internet provider for examples of physical, emotional, and mental violence. The one form of violence not discussed is structural violence.

 

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Several years ago, someone asked me how I came to this space of compassion for humanity in my life. I remember the question as if it were yesterday. At first, I was not sure how I was going to answer the question, and then this simple word floated up from my heart – LIFE.

I once heard LIFE was an acronym for Love Is For Everyone. The simplicity of that message resonated with me because it was part of what I have learned my entire life. It was a valuable lesson I learned from my parents who made room in their hearts for an infant who was looking for a home. My parents believed that their love, as parents, was for me and for my two brothers who arrived a few years later. Love is for everyone.

 

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A friend of mine laughs at me and says I can find spiritual lessons in just about everything. So when I offered to help a friend learn how to grill, it also got me thinking about the qualities that are important when making food on the grill.

One of the things I began thinking about is that the quality of what comes off the grill often depends on what is done before the food ever goes on the grill. This past Memorial Day, like every other holiday, we had our potluck barbecue. A friend called me the day before to let me know she was bringing some marinated chicken and pork chops. By the time she arrived, the meats had been sitting in their marinades for more then 24 hours. The marinades had soaked through the meats and you know that every bite you took would be incredibly flavorful. Conversely, another friend brought some chicken to cook, which was not seasoned or marinated at all. She brushed some sauce on while it was cooking. While it looked flavorful and tasty, it was dry and flavorless. The one that had been marinating all night was moist and juicy and made you want to keep going back for more; it was that good.

 

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Making a Change

June 10, 2013

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Last week, I ended by asking how we use our status in the world to create a more humane world. How do we, consciously or unconsciously, contribute to the inhumanity in the world? How do we try to avoid and deny responsibility for our place in creating a more humane world for all of humanity? 

We have this tendency in our culture to blame people for not having achieved as much or done as well as others. We see things at an individual level and rarely look at the systemic forces that make it more difficult for some to achieve or have access to what seems within the grasp of others. Rather than be willing to critically look at these issues and the ways they are embedded within larger institutions and systems of injustice and inequality, people tend to try to get off the hook by denying and/or minimizing the situation or blaming the situation on the “victim.” 

 

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