Monday, March 14, 2011

Real Help

Imaginary Playlist:

"Blue"--Joni Mitchell

"Blue Lips"--Regina Spektor

"You May Be Right"--Billy Joel

This weekend, like many of you, I spent time reflecting on Japan, reading news accounts, viewing photos and videos, hearing radio interviews, and reading some personal, eyewitness accounts. I alternated this with daily, familial joys and the usual duties and chores, feeling intensely my human responsibility to live on and live joyfully, somehow a way to honor those lost in the midst of their own joyful lives.

Plus church, which provided more reflective time, on the topic of mercy.  "Blessed are the merciful..."

You know how you often find mean, annoying anonymous comments after online news stories? Here and there, of course, someone angrily says something along the lines of "No prayers, please! Real help is needed." (Or money. Always a good stand-in for real help. To erase the hint of sarcasm there, money does pay for real help and supplies.)

I have to confess, I don't pray. Not in one traditional sense, of asking a personal God for help. I do ask for help--from actual people, and in a huge open-ended plaintive way. So, if God is a person, ze* can hear. But God is not a person for me; it is the name we give to What Is. This idea of what God is honors all religions (and atheism and agnosticism) and does not put them in conflict, but only in my little mind. Clearly, in the world, they are still in conflict. (But I may be right. Or I may be crazy.)

I must also confess that I send good vibrations out into the universe whenever anyone asks. Recently, I sent healing energies to my sister and her family in Ohio. I paused in the middle of the day, upon reading emails from my sister-in-law in Santa Cruz, to send vibrating sighs of relief and hope to the people connected to her company in Japan, rippling out to everyone. This may not be "real help," but I continue to do it.

I hope to find ways of really helping the world in this situation and others. I think there are dark shared times yet to come, related to the pollution and fallout from this particular disaster and to our continued habits on the earth. But right now Japan needs real help, urgent and particular, and I see our world coming together to give it, in whatever ways we can.

*gender-neutral pronoun

Birds again, from Pamela Callahan.

7 comments:

Nancy Devine said...

lovely post....so absolutely lovely!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Wow. I love your description of God as What Is. Very similar to my way of thinking. I also send out "good vibes" or spend time just thinking good thoughts for friends and family, and this is my way of prayer. On top of that I try to remember to do the work of making the world a better place. That is all we can really do.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for introducing me to Pamela Callahan's work!!!

Maureen said...

I really like the images you've included with your post.

As with Haiti, the devastation that so instantly comes to our screens can feel so overwhelming. Not everyone is able to give money but everyone can send healing energy and prayers and blessings. Most important is not to forget once the pictures no longer are on the front page.

Thank you for the comment on my post this morning. I just learned Wesley McNair was appointed Maine's new PL, so I have the subject for the next Monday Muse.

nene said...

In moments like these ze* must hear our universal heart beating with the willingness to share this devastation, hopefully mitigating the onus of the pain, the suffering. Ze* must carry to them through it's omniscient/omnipotent power our thoughts and the spirit of positive energy we are sending.

Kathleen said...

Thanks to all for your own thoughts and prayers, however you send them!

Maureen, thanks for the reminder that the healing and cleaning up and hard work goes on and on. And that's great about a new poet laureate for Maine!

Sandy, oh do follow Pamela's work at Woman Made and her own site, Otter Creek Arts, where you can also find her husband's paintings.

cathydouglas.net said...

I wish there were some real way to help. If we put a little piece of our selves in Japan, what does it matter whether we call that piece a thought, or prayer, or meditation? Mine was a poem.

Kathleen said...

Yes, good, thanks, Cathy! Yes!