“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ~Jean Cocteau
Whom My Soul Loveth
By James Dillet Freeman
“I will give rise now, and go about the city; in the streets and in the broadways I will seek him whom my soul loveth.”
I have sought God in the streets of the world, in people, and in my own soul. Have I seen God?
I have seen snow falling, the spring green pushing upward, the summer flowers standing tall, the grain yellow lingering on in the autumn fields, the fruit burdening the orchards. I have felt the glory of the Sun. I have heard the feet of the rain running among the leaves. I have listened to the conversation of ancient trees. Night after night I have watched the steadfast stars and ever-changing Moon. The redbird has wakened me, and I have fallen asleep to the crickets' tune. The majesty of mountains, the wonder of the sea, the stretch of valleys, the flight of the sky—all these I have seen.
Are these God? No, but they are the garments of God.
I have felt the wonder of life; its patient experimenting; its outward, upward striving; its eternal unfoldment. I have heard the laughter of children. I have seen the look in a mother's eyes. I have watched lovers strolling hand in hand and heart in heart. I have known men brave enough to die for one another and selfless enough to live for one another. I have felt what a wonderful thing it is to be a human being.
Is this God? No, but it is the personality of God.
I have been alone under the sky when suddenly I was one with all the beauty and wonder and glory of the world. The sky was not high enough to hold my heart. I reached out through all the galaxies and nebulae, the infinite stretches of space, and I knew that they were in me and of me.
I have walked down a street crowded with strangers when suddenly they were not strangers and I felt myself expand and take them in. I felt their loneliest longings, their loftiest aspirations, their hopes and fears, their love and faith and joy. I was the self that transcends self, the larger Self that is not bound by space and time, the Self that knows it is one with the reality in all people.
I have gone into a quiet room, shut the doors of the senses, turned within, and found the peace that passes understanding, the stillness that is the very heart of stillness, the place where there is nothing at all; yet I am one with all that is.
Is this God? No, but it is the presence of God.
Where is God?
Search for God through the crowded city streets. Seek God in the peaceful countryside. Penetrate the nucleus of the atom. Follow the curve of emptiness. Go to the end of time. God will be there. Wherever you are, God is.
Know, you who seek God, that He seeks you more steadfastly. God seeks you. God loves you. God will not leave you alone. You could not walk alone, not for a moment, not in the darkest night. Though you stretched not out your hand, yet your hand would be in God's. Though you held not out your heart, yet God's heart would infold you.
… God is the infinite livingness of life that is in all and through all and under all, ever seeking to express itself.
Some seek to catch God in a net of words, but God is more than word. God is more than any thought that a man's mind can hold, yet God is the least thought that springs there. God is the first cry uttered by a newborn child, yet God is more than all the utterances of all the theologians.
God is more than all thought, all feeling, and all vision. God is the life that reveals that there is no death. God is the love that transforms hate into constructive energy. God is the intelligence that lifts ignorance into an understanding of Himself, of human beings, and of the universe.
O child of God, God is the truth of your own being!
In the forest, high up on the steep shore, and not far from the open seacoast, stood a very old oak-tree. It was just three hundred and sixty-five years old, but that long time was to the tree as the same number of days might be to us; we wake by day and sleep by night, and then we have our dreams. It is different with the tree; it is obliged to keep awake through three seasons of the year, and does not get any sleep till winter comes. Winter is its time for rest; its night after the long day of spring, summer, and autumn. On many a warm summer, the Ephemera, the flies that exist for only a day, had fluttered about the old oak, enjoyed life and felt happy and if, for a moment, one of the tiny creatures rested on one of his large fresh leaves, the tree would always say, “Poor little creature! your whole life consists only of a single day. How very short. It must be quite melancholy.”
“Melancholy! what do you mean?” the little creature would always reply. “Everything around me is so wonderfully bright and warm, and beautiful, that it makes me joyous.”
“But only for one day, and then it is all over.”
“Over!” repeated the fly; “what is the meaning of all over? Are you all over too?”
“No; I shall very likely live for thousands of your days, and my day is whole seasons long; indeed it is so long that you could never reckon it out.”
“No? then I don’t understand you. You may have thousands of my days, but I have thousands of moments in which I can be merry and happy. Does all the beauty of the world cease when you die?”
“No,” replied the tree; “it will certainly last much longer,— infinitely longer than I can even think of.” “Well, then,” said the little fly, “we have the same time to live; only we reckon differently.” And the little creature danced and floated in the air, rejoicing in her delicate wings of gauze and velvet, rejoicing in the balmy breezes, laden with the fragrance of clover-fields and wild roses, elder-blossoms and honeysuckle, from the garden hedges, wild thyme, primroses, and mint, and the scent of all these was so strong that the perfume almost intoxicated the little fly. The long and beautiful day had been so full of joy and sweet delights, that when the sun sank low it felt tired of all its happiness and enjoyment. Its wings could sustain it no longer, and gently and slowly it glided down upon the soft waving blades of grass, nodded its little head as well as it could nod, and slept peacefully and sweetly. The fly was dead.
“Poor little Ephemera!” said the oak; “what a terribly short life!” And so, on every summer day the dance was repeated, the same questions asked, and the same answers given. The same thing was continued through many generations of Ephemera; all of them felt equally merry and equally happy.
The oak remained awake through the morning of spring, the noon of summer, and the evening of autumn; its time of rest, its night drew nigh—winter was coming. Already the storms were singing, “Good-night, good-night.” Here fell a leaf and there fell a leaf. “We will rock you and lull you. Go to sleep, go to sleep. We will sing you to sleep, and shake you to sleep, and it will do your old twigs good; they will even crackle with pleasure. Sleep sweetly, sleep sweetly, it is your three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth night. Correctly speaking, you are but a youngster in the world. Sleep sweetly, the clouds will drop snow upon you, which will be quite a cover-lid, warm and sheltering to your feet. Sweet sleep to you, and pleasant dreams.” And there stood the oak, stripped of all its leaves, left to rest during the whole of a long winter, and to dream many dreams of events that had happened in its life, as in the dreams of men. The great tree had once been small; indeed, in its cradle it had been an acorn. According to human computation, it was now in the fourth century of its existence. It was the largest and best tree in the forest. Its summit towered above all the other trees, and could be seen far out at sea, so that it served as a landmark to the sailors. It had no idea how many eyes looked eagerly for it. In its topmost branches the wood-pigeon built her nest, and the cuckoo carried out his usual vocal performances, and his well-known notes echoed amid the boughs; and in autumn, when the leaves looked like beaten copper plates, the birds of passage would come and rest upon the branches before taking their flight across the sea. But now it was winter, the tree stood leafless, so that every one could see how crooked and bent were the branches that sprang forth from the trunk. Crows and rooks came by turns and sat on them, and talked of the hard times which were beginning, and how difficult it was in winter to obtain food.
It was just about holy Christmas time that the tree dreamed a dream. The tree had, doubtless, a kind of feeling that the festive time had arrived, and in his dream fancied he heard the bells ringing from all the churches round, and yet it seemed to him to be a beautiful summer’s day, mild and warm. His mighty summits was crowned with spreading fresh green foliage; the sunbeams played among the leaves and branches, and the air was full of fragrance from herb and blossom; painted butterflies chased each other; the summer flies danced around him, as if the world had been created merely for them to dance and be merry in. All that had happened to the tree during every year of his life seemed to pass before him, as in a festive procession. He saw the knights of olden times and noble ladies ride by through the wood on their gallant steeds, with plumes waving in their hats, and falcons on their wrists. The hunting horn sounded, and the dogs barked. He saw hostile warriors, in colored dresses and glittering armor, with spear and halberd, pitching their tents, and anon striking them. The watchfires again blazed, and men sang and slept under the hospitable shelter of the tree. He saw lovers meet in quiet happiness near him in the moonshine, and carve the initials of their names in the grayish-green bark on his trunk. Once, but long years had intervened since then, guitars and Eolian harps had been hung on his boughs by merry travellers; now they seemed to hang there again, and he could hear their marvellous tones. The wood-pigeons cooed as if to explain the feelings of the tree, and the cuckoo called out to tell him how many summer days he had yet to live. Then it seemed as if new life was thrilling through every fibre of root and stem and leaf, rising even to the highest branches. The tree felt itself stretching and spreading out, while through the root beneath the earth ran the warm vigor of life. As he grew higher and still higher, with increased strength, his topmost boughs became broader and fuller; and in proportion to his growth, so was his self-satisfaction increased, and with it arose a joyous longing to grow higher and higher, to reach even to the warm, bright sun itself. Already had his topmost branches pierced the clouds, which floated beneath them like troops of birds of passage, or large white swans; every leaf seemed gifted with sight, as if it possessed eyes to see. The stars became visible in broad daylight, large and sparkling, like clear and gentle eyes. They recalled to the memory the well-known look in the eyes of a child, or in the eyes of lovers who had once met beneath the branches of the old oak. These were wonderful and happy moments for the old tree, full of peace and joy; and yet, amidst all this happiness, the tree felt a yearning, longing desire that all the other trees, bushes, herbs, and flowers beneath him, might be able also to rise higher, as he had done, and to see all this splendor, and experience the same happiness. The grand, majestic oak could not be quite happy in the midst of his enjoyment, while all the rest, both great and small, were not with him. And this feeling of yearning trembled through every branch, through every leaf, as warmly and fervently as if they had been the fibres of a human heart. The summit of the tree waved to and fro, and bent downwards as if in his silent longing he sought for something. Then there came to him the fragrance of thyme, followed by the more powerful scent of honeysuckle and violets; and he fancied he heard the note of the cuckoo. At length his longing was satisfied. Up through the clouds came the green summits of the forest trees, and beneath him, the oak saw them rising, and growing higher and higher. Bush and herb shot upward, and some even tore themselves up by the roots to rise more quickly. The birch-tree was the quickest of all. Like a lightning flash the slender stem shot upwards in a zigzag line, the branches spreading around it like green gauze and banners. Every native of the wood, even to the brown and feathery rushes, grew with the rest, while the birds ascended with the melody of song. On a blade of grass, that fluttered in the air like a long, green ribbon, sat a grasshopper, cleaning his wings with his legs. May beetles hummed, the bees murmured, the birds sang, each in his own way; the air was filled with the sounds of song and gladness.
“But where is the little blue flower that grows by the water?” asked the oak, “and the purple bell-flower, and the daisy?” You see the oak wanted to have them all with him.
“Here we are, we are here,” sounded in voice and song.
“But the beautiful thyme of last summer, where is that? and the lilies-of-the-valley, which last year covered the earth with their bloom? and the wild apple-tree with its lovely blossoms, and all the glory of the wood, which has flourished year after year? even what may have but now sprouted forth could be with us here.”
“We are here, we are here,” sounded voices higher in the air, as if they had flown there beforehand.
“Why this is beautiful, too beautiful to be believed,” said the oak in a joyful tone. “I have them all here, both great and small; not one has been forgotten. Can such happiness be imagined?” It seemed almost impossible.
“In heaven with the Eternal God, it can be imagined, and it is possible,” sounded the reply through the air.
And the old tree, as it still grew upwards and onwards, felt that his roots were loosening themselves from the earth.
“It is right so, it is best,” said the tree, “no fetters hold me now. I can fly up to the very highest point in light and glory. And all I love are with me, both small and great. All—all are here.”
Such was the dream of the old oak: and while he dreamed, a mighty storm came rushing over land and sea, at the holy Christmas time. The sea rolled in great billows towards the shore. There was a cracking and crushing heard in the tree. The root was torn from the ground just at the moment when in his dream he fancied it was being loosened from the earth. He fell—his three hundred and sixty-five years were passed as the single day of the Ephemera. On the morning of Christmas-day, when the sun rose, the storm had ceased. From all the churches sounded the festive bells, and from every hearth, even of the smallest hut, rose the smoke into the blue sky, like the smoke from the festive thank-offerings on the Druids’ altars. The sea gradually became calm, and on board a great ship that had withstood the tempest during the night, all the flags were displayed, as a token of joy and festivity. “The tree is down! The old oak,—our landmark on the coast!” exclaimed the sailors. “It must have fallen in the storm of last night. Who can replace it? Alas! no one.” This was a funeral oration over the old tree; short, but well-meant. There it lay stretched on the snow-covered shore, and over it sounded the notes of a song from the ship—a song of Christmas joy, and of the redemption of the soul of man, and of eternal life through Christ’s atoning blood.
“Sing aloud on the happy morn,
All is fulfilled, for Christ is born;
With songs of joy let us loudly sing,
‘Hallelujahs to Christ our King.’”
Thus sounded the old Christmas carol, and every one on board the ship felt his thoughts elevated, through the song and the prayer, even as the old tree had felt lifted up in its last, its beautiful dream on that Christmas morn.
One of my favorite poet and authors is James Dillet Freeman. So, on this December, Sunday morning...I share one of the things he wrote...and which I love:
My Prayer for You this Christmas ~James Dillet Freeman
(Excerpted from a past Unity Magazine® column "Life Is a Wonder.")
At Christmas it is easier to see the wonder of things. I am not sure whether the wonder wells up closer to the surface and things actually have more of a glory or whether things look the way they do because we are looking at them with more wonder in our eyes.
Is the wonder in the things, or is it in us? I would say it is in both. Certainly, things take on a special wonder at Christmas. With candles at our tables, with wreaths in our windows, with holly at our doors, with our houses festooned with colored lights, with the lampposts hung with fir boughs and bells, with mailbags bulging with greeting cards, with every shop window a window dresser's triumph, with the downtown streets alive with noisy, jostling crowds of joyous people all bent on bringing happiness to others—it is as if at Christmas God gift wraps [the] world.
Christmas has power to quicken our sense of wonder because it turns us into children. Children have a wonderful sense of wonder.
So tonight, before you fall asleep, lie still for a moment, shut your eyes, and think back to the Christmas of your childhood. Or better yet, feel for the wonder in your heart.
Can you remember what waiting for Christmas was like? It is hard to find words for that feeling.
Hope? Hope sharpened into ecstasies of expectation!
Desire? A longing so intense you could but half-believe the day of consummation ever would arrive!
Excitement? What a willowy word! A fever of the mind, so hot it was likely to produce a fever of the body!
Dreams? Dreams spawning dreams, proliferating fancies, a sweet delirium of snow, Santa Claus, toyland, reindeer, fruitcake, bicycles, bonbons, and ten thousand other delectable items stirred into the brain until it was a brain no more, but one stupendous plum pudding of imagination, set ablaze!
I remember the doubts that were sowed in my mind too. I was told if I misbehaved, I would find when I rose on Christmas morning, coal in my stocking instead of gifts.
Since I had always misbehaved and knew, if I got my just desserts, coal it would be, I always took down my stocking with dread mixed in with my hope. But always when I upended it, the Christmas stocking spewed into my greedy fingers not coal, but oranges, apples, nuts, jackknives, toy boats, tops, and as many other small surprises as could be crammed into its expandable depths.
Perhaps this is one small reason I believe in a God who is infinite forgiveness and loving-kindness. ...
And under the tree there were not all, but enough of the things I had hoped for, wished for, thirsted after, and written Santa Claus about to make me still certain these many years later that Christmas is a wonder and Christmas morning a dream come true.
I do not mean that Christmas just has meaning if you get things. I remember one Christmas when I got nothing. No gifts. No tree. Not even a piece of rock candy. Nothing at all. I was pretty heartbroken. But later in the day my sister and I went downtown to the Mayor's Christmas Tree Party. Thousands of boys and girls were there. We got sacks of candy and nuts. She got a doll. I got a little mechanical man who danced on a box when you wound him up. But I wound him too tightly, and by the time I got him home, he could dance no more. But this Christmas like all the others, happy or troubled, is part of the wonder. Christmas, even for a child, is much more than getting things.
Christmas is not getting things, because Christmas is not things at all. Christmas is a wonder. And it is for wonder.
Christmas is believing.
Christmas is hoping.
Christmas is dreaming.
It is a holiday holy to humanity's dreams and hopes.
That is why Christmas is, first of all, the Christmas story. Christmas is the birth of Christ. The birth of Christ is the birth of humanity's best dream and highest hope. It is the birth of God in humanity.
Take time this Christmas to read the story again.
Because there was no room at the inn, God was born in a stable. There Mary the Mother bent over the manger, watching her Baby asleep in the hay. The beasts in the stalls—were they wiser than humankind?—knelt down, says the legend, and worshiped the Lord Jesus.
Shepherds came from the fields roundabout. They left their flocks and lambs to tend the Lamb of God. Wise Men came from lands far away. They followed the brightest star that has ever shone in earth's night. Angels sang in the skies by the stable, though only the shepherds paused to hear. They sang of peace to an earth without peace. They sang of goodwill to all people.
Is my mind not a stable? Is my heart not a manger? They, too, can hold the wonder of which the angels sang.
The Christmas story holds hope for us all. For in the story—remember!—both the shepherds and the Wise Men found their newborn Lord.
The childlike shepherds came from near at hand. The Wise Men came from afar. It was after a long, hard journey that they found the Christ.
Angels sang for the shepherds.
The Wise Men probably were too wise to believe in angels. But they followed a star—and it, too, led them to the Truth.
When the shepherds came looking for God, they brought only their wonder, for this was all they had.
When the Wise Men came looking for God, they brought their gifts.
If you are a shepherd, God asks of you only your wonder.
If you are a wise man, God asks of you only your gift.
God reveals Himself alike to shepherds and to Wise Men, to all who come looking for Him.
If you are a wise man, you may have to come by a longer road than if you are a shepherd, but the Christmas wonder, smiling like a newborn child, lies waiting for you to find it.
So if you have a wise man's mind or if you have a shepherd's heart, come take a look at Christmas, and be filled with the wonder of God.
This is my prayer for you this Christmas:
May there always be room in your heart for divinity to find a birthing place.
May you be holy as the angels were,
faithful as the shepherds were,
humble as the cattle were,
wise as the Wise Men were.
May you have the compassion Mary had
and the understanding Joseph had,
and may the blessing of the Christ child be yours,
not because of His birthnight long ago,
but because His love is born in you today!
Today had a couple of errands to run in St. Croix Falls this morning. On the way home I took the scenic route which is a country road that follows the St. Croix River....and stopped at Nevers Dam Landing to take a few pics.
Although the river is largely frozen over this far north, the current is running swiftly...and when it is quiet like it was this morning you can hear what I call "the song of the ice." I took pics yes...but then stood for a long time on the shore and listened to the quiet: the wind sloughing through the trees, chick-a-dees chirping, and the ice. Because of the swift current under the ice, there is a lot of pressure and the sounds are remarkable: the ice suddenly cracks and it sounds like a rifle shot, the ice slowly moving and it moans and softly groans, the ice chinks and cracks...all so audible. It is like a primordial melody.
The definition of "depraved indifference": "To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting."
This is how Wisconsin's state #republican controlled legislature governs. There is no excuse for them and in my book each and everyone of them should be tried for manslaughter by depraved indifference. Everytime the Governor tries to enact protective measures, #republicans do not work with him (during this time of plague) but instead prance off to their highly partisan court...which is so right-wing with unqualified judges that it could not make a constitutional decision if it wanted to!
So, here the the grim situation we are in as of today...each and everyone of us are truly on our own because there is no leadership (this is from the 11/11/2020 edition of UpNorthNews:
Second Consecutive Day of More Than 7,000 Cases Reported
I find myself to be more of what I would describe as a spiritual person rather than a religious person. My moral compass says to respect all religions...all beliefs...for there are many ways to this thing we call God...this divine intelligence of the Universe.
Therefore, I am not sure if I may pass this way again. Who knows what is beyond this life when we make that great transition. Reincarnation? Becoming part of Divine Intelligence in an ever expanding Universe? However in my quest on thoughts regarding "I may not pass this way again," I came across this wonderful poem from Ron Atchison that brought a warm smile to my heart:
"We will meet again my friend,
A hundred years from today
Far away from where we lived
And where we used to play.
We will know each others' eyes
And wonder where we met
Your laugh will sound familiar
Your heart, I won't forget.
We will meet, I'm sure of this,
But let's not wait till then...
Let's take a walk beneath the stars
And share 'this' world again."
"Let's Not Wait"
As we start this Monday during this time of plague and uncertainty, let us take heart and not wait and share this moment for we may not pass this way again.
Lately this phrase has been reverberating within my soul: "I may not come this way again." It bubbles up on a Monday evening when I am trying to decide whether to have a fire in the fireplace...should I do it now or should I wait until the weekend? Should I wait until I have friends and family here? And then "I may not come this way again" becomes my thought and I light that fire. Or on an every day evening I am trying to decide what to have for dinner... should I have a sandwich or should I splurge on the meal and have a gourmet dinner? And, I think to myself "I may not come this way again" and then I start making a delicious meal for myself.
Recently Unity of Fort Collins, Colorado posted this meme: "Don't ever save anything for a special occasion.
Being alive is the special occasion."
It struck me that this tied in exactly with my mantra of "I may not come this way again." So why not make each and every day, moment, hour special? Most times, I've found, that it's the little things that make a moment special...so why not take note of that special little thing and absorb it into our being as part of our whole? A phone call or a text from a loved one can make the moment special. And it is also a two-way street for we can invest in making someone's moment special too via a hug, a kind word, a recognition that they are special.
So, in these days of rampant Covid-19 and none of us know what tomorrow may bring...I will dive into this moment and make it special for "I may not come this way again." Even though I may be by myself during major holidays, I will celebrate for "I may not come this way again."
Is it all not an expansion on the idea of learning to live in the moment???
I may not come this way again so I am going to live this moment. Thank you Universe. Thank you God. Thank you Divine Intelligence.
During these extremely difficult times here in the US of A, I've been practicing the practice of "living in the moment." The year 2020 has been nothing but bad news between the Covid-19 virus, a fake and drug addicted delusional would be president and a corrupt #republican party. On a daily basis one wonders if this once good country will survive the onslaught of all of it checks and balances. Sadly we are learning with with the likes of #MosclowMitchMcConnell and #WilliamBarr there are no checks and balances and at times it seems as if we are doomed to become a far right wing theocratic dictatorship.
All of this news is horribly depressing and overwhelming.
Today I found a great quote from Walt Whitman: “Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.”
Reverend Maureen Bass from Unity San Francisco used to encourage all of us to learn to live in the moment...for as she would say...this is all we have. This moment, this hour, this breath...is all that we can be sure of. Another great quote that aligns with what she said: "Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday."
So if this is my last hour...my last moment...do I want to be tied up in fear and anxiety or do I want to be at peace with my soul...and peace with my Universe. Quite simply...yes I do for all of this and the vitriolic clamoring of the world is not worth the stress. I will do my best to do what is right...and then knowing that I have that foundation for the next step, I will let go and let God.
That said, I will continue to practice another concept from Unity #Unity and declare that nothing but good will come out of this turbulent time.
And...so it is.
I am at peace.
(First of all a disclaimer...the above picture is NOT Kenosha, WI. The picture is a city scene from San Francisco and used only to capture the dynamism of any city.)
The police in America are out of control. Shooting an unarmed man in the back 7 times?!?!? If it had been a white man, it would have never ever happened.
I am no fan of the police for to this day they despise us gay folk. Also do not forget the police unions backed Trump in the 2016 election...and they also welcome with open arms the right-wing militias.
Couple the above with the conservative (ultra-conservative leaning of most police) and you realize that they are not on our side. Then, this little known fact needs to be loud and clear: "The Nazi state fused the police with the SS and Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst; SD), two of the most radical and ideologically committed Nazi organizations. Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, also became the chief of all German police forces. His associate, Reinhard Heydrich of the SD, became at the same time the head of the Security Police, charged with safeguarding the Nazi regime. Nazi ideology became part of all police activities. The police were central figures not just in maintaining public order, but in combating the so-called racial enemies designated by the Nazi state. It was in this context that "preventive police action" took on such terrible consequences. The SS, SD, and police were among the primary perpetrators of the Holocaust."
One then begins to realize that their motto of "To Protect and Serve" is bullshit.
So Kenosha burns while right-wing militias swagger thru the city with the police buying them water and not stopping them.
This is horrid beyond belief. It is true America finally exposing itself.
Family, friends and home are the treasures that bring me the most pleasure. Through my blog, I wish to share part of my life and heart with readers.