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BEAUTY AND ATTRACTION: A Novel ~Liz Rosenberg

Monday, October 31st, 2016
beauty-and-attention

beauty-and-attention

An Advanced Reader copy of this story arrived in my inbox and I just thought the cover of this book was a good first hook.  I found this story about a young woman in the 1950s to be very interesting and a good read.  The story is about a “freedom” which can manifest after a death; it is about how to express and explore this new stage in a time period known for being quite restrictive.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review.  It is a good read.

The precision of the writing truly pulled me into the story of Libby Archer, a  naïve, young woman living in Rochester, New York as her father has just died and left her an orphan.  Her aunt and uncle who live in Ireland ask her to come and spend time with them and she choses to do just that as her friends push her to get married to be cared for and a young, smart enterprising local fellow is hoping she will say yes.

The banter between her cousin, an English Lord, and Libby is quite remarkable and compelling as Libby is quite outspoken and feisty.  Libby has very few resources at her disposal except her wit, charm, and kindness.  Her rather narcissistic aunt takes charge of her future and introduces Libby to a fascinating friend.  There are trips to Paris for clothing and style and Libby is loosing herself with each chapter.  She becomes more and more molded into a rather pathetic person and then falls in love or is manipulated into a relationship, when in Rome.  Money has come her way and this makes her an even greater “mark”.   Death keeps signaling change in Libby’s life – and then in a surprise twist she takes hold and takes a new direction.  Makes it worthwhile to read to the very last paragraph.

I enjoyed the book and liked that it was short and to the point.  There was good context material, such as reference to the McCarthyism pervasive in the USA and the focus on the development of computers.   I so liked how the story ended.

“The author of more than thirty books for adults and young readers, Liz Rosenberg has published three bestselling novels, including The Laws of Gravity and The Moonlight Palace. She has also written five books of poems, among them 2008’s Demon Love, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and After Great Grief, forthcoming from the Provincetown Arts Press. Her poems have been heard on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion. Rosenberg’s books for young readers have won numerous awards and honors and have been featured on the PBS television show Reading Rainbow. A former Fulbright Fellowship recipient, Rosenberg teaches English at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she earned the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She lives in Binghamton with her daughter, Lily, and a shih tzu named Sophie. Although she has homes in New York and North Chatham, Massachusetts, her heart is still in Ireland.” (TLC book tours)

Liz Rosenberg Wikipedia

Related:
The Moonlight Palace
The Imaginary Life
The Time Travelers Boyfriend

Leaving with Rake

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Walking the Dogs in the Rain

Our walk was started with awareness because the clouds were graying dark and the wind sharp touched us as it whirled the leaves in dance. We walked with great speed knowing that soon the rain would fall and we could easily be soaked.

Already during the night, the winds had cleared numerous branches and deposited in every gutter and drain. I scraped my hands and the sides of my shoes digging deep into each drain to remove the piles of leaves. My friend John was heading towards his car for work and saw my endeavors, questioned my motives, and went in to his shed for his own rake.  In minutes, his drain and gutters were cleared.  Thank you.

The house that is not rented is covered in red leaves and I bend and swoop my arms with big loads and deposit the bundles up higher in the yard and in the garden beds.  Puppy tries to help and I remain ever watchful of the cars and buses going by; they seemed to take no notice of us. My head grumbles about the property owner’s neglect.

We head home and I sweep the plum leaves from our driveway and add them to the compost pile knowing that I must gather my gear and head off to the worst offender at 8th and Decatur. Rake, bucket, scoop, and gloves and I proceed to clean up and let the water flow. I am feeling self-righteous. I am feeling angry. I want to come up with a whole list of words to encompass my feelings about the people who live beneath these nine huge maple trees. I want to bring these words to a boil and let them churn about within me as motivation to clean up and free up the drains and gutters.

The lady of the house comes out and says, “what are you doing?” I explain that all the leaves are blocking the flow of the rainwater which will in just minutes run into my house, make the sump pumps run, and filled the city drains to overflowing. Whereas, if I rake up all the leaves blocking the flow, the water will run in intervals off the street, through the storm grateful and drain system thus bypassing my house. She said, the city workers will be by to do this in about a month. I replied not anymore, for three years leaf cleanup has been taken off the city budget. I could call for an extra trip but I would have to pay lots of money to have them come. I do not wish to use my money that way.

It has started to rain and I go back to work moving the leaves.  It is totally out of her awareness that these trees and leaves are her responsibility.

Kindness begins to saturate my heart and my mind is feeling the repercussions of this flow within me. I am raking and moving the leaves because I am selfish. I do not want a river of water rushing into my home. I do not want all these leaves blocking the drains and making my sump pump$ run and run. What I want is my home to be safe and dry. What I want is to be able to go away for a week and know that my home is safe and dry. I can achieve this by loving each bundle of leaf and by placing the bundles safely away from the street. Meditation begins.

The passing cars begin to move around me with greater care. The two city bus drivers, who are on this route today, smile and wave each of their 20 minute excursions of passing. A walker says, “Aren’t the leaves beautiful?” I hear her but I do not respond for my mind is full of the beauty of these leaves. My body is telling me it is tired and the rain is feeling heavier; I look around and see that the job is generally done. I stretch up and see the many leaves still hanging on and know I will need to return.

It has taken me nearly 20 years to achieve this level of kindness in my practice.  I am full of Thanksgiving for this opportunity and for the grace of this day.

Have you been practicing something for 20 years? Has it become a practice of loving-kindness? Does it change your heart and mind?

Please share it with us.
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Spectacular Gift coming to this blog on 11-24-2011 just need to make a comment – Have we got a surprise gift for you dear readers!

Related Reading:
Being Alive- Another Teacher Arrives
A New Ebook and It’s Free
Willpower
Trees Coming Down

Shadows Play Upon a Death

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Dove of Peace

I understand the jubilation of the soldiers in the death of Osama Bin Laden, yes, I do understand.  The warriors were given a task and a mission and now another assignment has been accomplished, I understand that sense of victory and the want to experience it out loud with clanging gongs.  And just as certainly as a suicide bomber detonates, I knew this “leader” would not be taken alive. I can reconcile my feelings, but I cannot dance and rejoice in the wild passions of glory.

I am extremely happy that the people who took care of this tragic person and did not bomb the whole neighborhood around the area and use such bullying aggressive tactics.

I do not condone the behaviors and actions taken by this person or of others throughout history. The evil residue of their horrific treatment of their “others” permeates my cells and interferes with my loving spirit.

I am called to love my enemies and to live my life with kindness, I am called to work for justice and so I take a deep breath and work to find forgiveness and be forgiving.

I am begging the question again and again of what was the message that motivated this assault?  Why is it so important for these despotic individuals to hang on to the past as the answer to the future?  What part did I willingly play to promote these perceptions?  How am I not sharing my values and actions in a way that the “others” might understand?  How does one communicate with those who are unable to listen and hear?

I believe that there are canonized holy books in every corner of the earth that have value and wisdom.  I do not believe that because they were bound together and offered up for centuries as rules, that there is not a huge body of wisdom and spiritual understanding that is continuously being added to these tomes of ideology.

Jesus said to me, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Pema Chödrön, a Western Buddhist Nun said, “It is fairly common for crisis and pain to connect people with their capacity to love and care about one another.  It is also common that this openness and compassion fades rather quickly, and that people then become afraid and far more guarded and closed than they ever were before.  The question, then, is not only how to uncover our fundamental tenderness and warmth but also how to abide there with the fragile, often bittersweet vulnerability.  How can we relax and open to the uncertainty of it?”  (From Taking the Leap)

When I close my eyes in contemplation, I breathe deeply into the pain of what has happened and acknowledge all the suffering that has proceeded this moment; I can hear the screams of pain and agony of each victim.  I am stilling myself into this pain.  I am not masking it or covering it up or eating it down, down back inside.   I know this pain and I feel this pain, and I read this pain in the others I encounter.

I release and let go.  It is an exercise in patience and constant endeavor.   I will acknowledge that it is a part of me, and I have known pain and suffering, I have not known surrender.  Bin Laden resisted he did not learn surrender either.  We are the same.  We are one.

A list of my new “others”  wander into my attention, you know the Wall Street Angry Folks who are making up their own rules, the Rupert Murdock style folks who want to control the media, the elected officials who think they have the “right” and often “controlling” answers for other’s lives…and the list builds on and on until we arrive at our own doorstep covered in the moments when we failed to communicate with loving kindness, when we failed to be most mindful and were thoughtless and cruel.  I need to forgive myself and surrender.

I am in process and working at not forgetting.  I am not at a point of closure; I will again use Pema Chödrön’s words:

When things fall apart and we can’t get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us, when the whole thing is just not working and we don’t know what to do, this is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be uncovered, just waiting to be embraced.  This is our chance to come out of our self-protecting bubble and to realize that we are never alone.  This is our chance to finally understand that wherever we go, everyone we meet is essentially just like us.  Our own suffering, if we turn toward it, can open us to a loving relationship with the world.

We all need to share our stories and thoughts of this event and I hope that people will feel free to share here in the comments section and to share links that were important to your thinking about our actions to come.  Thank you, I appreciate all your good wisdom and sharing.

You might think that other’s should encounter what I have put into words here, I would appreciate a Stumble or a Tweet or meeting on Facebook – Please feel free to share, it would be appreciated.

Related Reading:
I do not rejoice at the death of a man
Out of Osama’s death comes a fake quote
Lessons from the Dead
Healing Change; Healing Action