South Florida was hit with a great cleanser in the form of Wilma. Wilma taught my husband and I that Love is the most important thing in the whole universe. Keeping Love in awareness became a moment by moment conscious focus. I’m sure many of us experienced many frightening moments during the storm.
Right after the storm, one of my friends phoned and said that she had an odyssey. Since speaking with her, I’ve heard many odyssey stories. An odyssey is a perilous journey. I’m sure we all have perilous tales we could tell about the past week. But, I’m sure, too, there are also many miracles we could share. There were times during the “week-without-power” we just had, that I thought I was reliving the Maccabee saga: our resources lasted longer than we expected. Our propane stove worked fine for five days without running out of propane; so did our propane lantern. Our fridge stayed cold for almost four days; our radio ran constantly on the original set of batteries. Our candles lasted, as did our flashlight batteries. And more miracles: we met our neighbors who were really, really, really, really, really helpful.
A Course in Miracles says “God is but love, and so am I!” I watched love in action this past week as I kept allowing Love to come through me and to fill me and to heal the fear.
While I was at my Teacher Training in Switzerland there were other stories about the need for local communities to stand strong together. Right now there is a need to speak about the incredible injustice towards refugees in German speaking Europe.
One student in Austria was telling stories about the mistreatment towards people of African descent in Austria and the need to bring public awareness to this.
During my workshop one student had a phone call from her husband about a terrible event with her neighbors. The police broke down the door in the middle of the night. The husband was separated from his wife and children and their cell phones were taken away from each other so they could not be in contact.
After a few days the media did find out about this and came to do a story. The government is looking into this but no decision had been made at the time of this writing.
My group and their own local community have sent a tremendous amount of support to this family. The father has said that his family throughout their entire life has never felt as much support and compassion as in this present moment. It gives them hope and strength in this very difficult time.
The story of this family is one of many. There is too little publicity, support, and justice in these matters. And it will be up to local communities to change the injustice that is occurring.
My student who is grateful to the support of our circle shared the following Advent’s tale that comes from an old storybook.
The Four Candles
The four candles were shining their light on the wreath. There was silence. It was so silent you could hear the candles speak.
The first candle sighed and said: My name is PEACE. My light shines, but mankind does not have peace, they do not want me. The candle’s light got weaker and weaker and finally faded away.
The second candle was flickering and said: My name is FAITH. Yet I am superfluous. People do not want to know about God. There is no reason for me to burn on. A rush of air went through the room and extinguished the candle.
Very quietly and full of sorrow the third candle started speaking: My name is LOVE. I have no more power to burn on. People put me aside. They focus on themselves and have no more compassion for all beings on earth. Also this candle died.
A child came into the room. Seeing the four candles it cried out: You should burn and shine your light into the world! It almost started weeping. Then the fourth candle raised its voice: Don’t be afraid. As long as I burn, we can light all the other candles again. My name is HOPE.
The child took the candle and lit all the others as well.
This month find a way to create a gathering with some of your neighbors. Get to know them. We don’t have to come together in community only in tragedy. Learn about your neighbors. They are people who also want to thrive just like you. This begins a process of creating loving and supportive communities. And this process brings change itself.
Find the vocabulary that you can use within your local community to share with them creating a human web of light. You can click on Creating A Human Web of Light on this site to see the words I used and change them in ways that can touch the heart of each person.
This is a way to further the work I have written about before. I have shared with you that I strongly believe that generations in the future will read stories of how communities of people gathered together to change the world.
A few months ago I wrote about a wonderful book I had read titled The Flight of the Goose. This book was written by Lesley Thomas and is published by Far Eastern Press (www.fareasternpress.com).
This book is beautifully written and I really loved it. An Inupiaq elder who grew up on the Bering Strait reviewed the book. I am sharing this review with you as I feel this elder has some potent words to share that go beyond the book.
Review of Flight of the Goose by Lesley Thomas
— Fred Bigjim, Alaskan Inupiaq author
Flight of the Goose: A Story of the Far North is a novel about loss and loneliness, alienation and fear, acceptance and forgiveness, natural and supernatural. Lesley Thomas has carefully crafted a complex story set in Alaska at a time of rapid change, competing economic and social interests, and national crisis.
Her characters seem drawn from life. Both they and the circumstances in which they find themselves are believable, memorable, tragic, and hopeful. Although the novel is set in a time and place where inevitable conflicts must arise from clashes of cultures, communities, and beliefs, and from change itself, the real depth of Thomas’ work derives from the way she examines conflicts within individuals themselves. To an even greater extent, she illuminates how we are all responsible, through our own choices and actions, for much of the tragedy and alienation that afflicts all of us, regardless of our culture, country, or religion.
One of the most interesting and thought-provoking aspects of Flight of the Goose is the portrayal of the clash of beliefs in the Arctic. We see there is little basis in the common idea that Christianity is a “white man’s” religion, for none of the non-Native characters in the novel are practicing, nor even nominal, Christians. Instead, to find meaning in their lives, the bird man places his faith in scientific rationalism, the teachers in education and humanism, and the hunters in hedonism. Among the Native peoples, too, there are clashes of belief. Some families are Christian, some are not. Even those in the novel who are drawn to shamanism demonstrate an understanding of Jesus that is richer than that shown by any of the non-Native characters. We begin to realize that the real conflicts arise from individual choices related to exploitation, greed, selfishness, misunderstandings of others — all of which have less to do with the precepts of any particular religion than with true practice of the precepts of these. Either way, we learn how dangerous it can be to delve into the supernatural carelessly, without understanding and preparation.
To a great extent, we watch tragedy unfold before us, brought about less by a clash of “great religions” than by refusal by all individuals involved to practice the moral precepts, common to these, to do good to one another. Instead, we find rejection of others, in both Native and non-Native settings, and as a result, alienation, confusion, and misunderstandings on multiple levels.These lead ultimately to loss of innocence, loss of culture, loss of family, loss of belief, loss of land, loss of life.
Yet, we are not left hopeless. Tragedy has not meant total destruction. This is also a novel about triumph over despair; maturity gained through pain; forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration made possible through acts of the will.
Flight of the Goose is a remarkable achievement. Its memorable characters, believable setting, and complex treatment of problems that face us all in a world of unavoidable change and contact, will haunt the reader long after the covers have been closed.