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Monday, October 31, 2005

What if....?

from : The Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989 - HH The Dalai Lama

"Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually. Peace, for example, starts within each one ofus. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us.

When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighbouring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. There are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in seriously

The content of this article is now available as a voice recording whenyou click on the link below.

What if ......……

This is a question which has been playing over and over in my mind for quite some time. I try to make sense of a world where there is so much pain and so many acts of horrific cruelty, and I ask myself what role love has to play in this? What difference can one woman or one man make in the devastation that surrounds us, and I find myself constantly drawn back to the idea of how life might be if we lived each day with loving intent.

As I drove back from my son‘s school this morning, all I could think about was the power that love has to heal , to transform, to create miracles. So how would it be if we made simple acts of love, our everyday practice? What if?

How would it be if we each dropped a tiny pebble of love into the ocean of life every day? What might be healed and transformed? What miracles might occur? Where and to whom would all these little ripples spread; whose lives would they wash over; what pain and misery and sorrow would they cleanse? What if all those tiny ripples of love, somehow connected and amplified? What if their collective energy was transformed into a mighty wave, rising higher than the earth, creating a cosmic tsunami, which swept away the sins of the world, and left it whole again. What if?

What if this morning on my school run, I had snarled instead of smiled? What if I had bellowed out protests against careless driving with my angry fist on the horn, instead of forgiving and allowing a story of understanding to fill myhead? What if I had told myself that those drivers were “out to get me”, a symbol of the sickness of our society? InsteadI made a choice; I chose to extend compassion to them; I chose to sympathise with the pressure that they felt, pushing them to make mistakes, to take chances, to risk theprecious gift of life; I told myself another story in whichI pitied them and where there is pity, there is love and the capacity for anger and resentment vanishes. I sent them aprayer instead of a curse.

What if, there had been one driver on the road this morning, filled with silent rage and despair, kicked around by life, until battered and broken, they had reached a place ofdarkness. Perhaps they were ready to die and perhaps they were ready to take the lives of others. Could one smiling face make a difference? Could the space I created for them to allow them onto the main road, when all the others drove past, make a tiny crack in the wall they had built around themselves? Could one simple loving act from a stranger shift their intent? What if all they were looking for was a sign, a sign that there is love and it practices what it preaches. What if?

Then there was the man who drove so aggressively, overtaking a long queue of backed up traffic, who then tried to push back into the line of patient waiting drivers hundreds of yards up the road. What if I had refused to let him in? What if I had looked at him with the anger and contempt I saw in other drivers’ eyes as they moved closer together to keep him out? What if he had been a father on his way to his dying child, frightened and alone in hospital? What if hehad been going to lose his job if he was late one more time? What if?

What if we chose to take a moment to smile at the hostile, yawning girl at the supermarket check out, to sympathise about the long day she has had, to make her laugh with a small humorous comment? What if you were the only person who would speak to her that day who actually seemed to care. What if she is a single mum, who made the choice to keep her child, and for whom life is now a constant mind deadening struggle? What if that touch of love meant that her little one was hugged and held close that night instead of frightened by a worn out snarl or worse? What if?

What if you told the customer service agent, what a great job he is doing, what a pleasure it is to speak to someonewho clearly knows their business and cares about his customers? What if you told him that you understand that the problem is not his fault and that you appreciate whatever he can do to help you? What if you spoke to his supervisor and complimented her on what excellent training she had obviously given this young man? What if these were the only positive words these two people had heard all week? What if they had been listening to abuse all day because they had been powerless to help? What if?

What if, we decided to look into the hearts of people instead of trying to read their minds? What if we gave them the benefit of the doubt? What if we stopped painting them as awkward or difficult or bad or even evil? What if we actually tried to understand why they act in the way they do? What if we sat down and listened to them? What if wetreated them as we long to be treated? What if?

I could have written about war , about what happens when we forget to love, when we no longer see one another as individuals, but as monstrous projections of fear. I was tempted to write about the roots of terrorism and the dark pit of anger and despair it springs from; how all such acts create a hideously fertile breeding ground for yet more darkness to pour into the world. Instead, today I lightly touched on the positive difference one small, conscious act of kindness might make in your world.

What if you chose to be more loving today?

What if you walk out your door and commit an act of random kindness?

What if you were just a little more understanding, a little more compassionate, a tiny bit more patient?
What if you made a choice to live in the light of love, always looking for ways of demonstrating that love?

What if each small act of love dropped into the ocean of life, created that immense tidal wave?

What difference might that make to our troubled world?

What if we truly loved and all our actions came from that love?

What if?

What if.........

My inspirations for today

You will find as you look back upon your life that themoments when you have really lived, are the moments when youhave done things in a spirit of love. ~ Henry Drummond

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life arealready three parts dead.
~ Bertrand Russell

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own home. Give love to your children, to a wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor.
~ Mother Teresa

"Bitterness imprisons life; love releases it. Bitterness paralyzes life; love empowers it. Bitterness sours life; love sweetens it. Bitterness sickens life; love heals it.Bitterness blinds life; love anoints its eyes."
~ HarryEmerson Fosdick

"Love cures people, the ones who receive love and the ones who give it, too."
~ Karl A Menninger

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Creative Writers Network: Whispers of the Heart -Maria Stepek Doherty
Out of the Chrysalis - The Hungry Heart

"A life filled with love must have some thorns; but a life empty of love will have no roses."- Unknown

"If we discovered that we had only five minutes left to say all that we wanted to say, every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that they loved them." - Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

It is strange, but no longer unexpected, how something as simple as a walk in my garden can lead to a whole new train of thought. My routine was a little different this morning as my son is unwell, an early morning client was a no-show and I allowed myself to let work displace my usual after the school run exploration. Then as I sat at my desk lost in researching a new client’s condition, the music of the birds seemed to enter my body. I could feel each note rippling through me and in that moment, the softness of the morning garden called to me. That song created a hunger in my heart for the peace and beauty of nature; my curiosity was ignited by the thought of what I would discover today.

I breathed in the beauty of the big showy crimson peonies, the stunning architectural shapes of the yew trees which follow the little stream, the soft pink froths of apple blossoms, the pure white clematis scrambling to the sky, an intoxication of the soul. Then I glanced down to see what was growing in my little alpine bed which mirrors the main house border but in miniature.

My rampant strawberry plants have spilled down from their containers into this bed andin the exuberance of their leaves and the lush berry promiseof their white flowers, I almost missed a little gem. Peeping out from underneath was the tiniest deep purple alpine primula.

I bent down and plucked a few leaves from the strawberry plant to give this shy gift a chance to see the sun and to be admired by the world. As I looked at it, a thought came to me. How many flowers grow unnoticed, denied the sun, radiant in a beauty that no one ever sees, no one ever appreciates, and no one ever loves.

Then I knew that I was no longer thinking about flowers; I was thinking about all the children of this world, the little ones and the ones with greying hair, for we are all still children deep inside. A wave of painpassed through me at the thought that in this world of ours, there were people who went to bed at night without anyone having loved them, cherished them, hugged or held them. It made me so sad to think of all the unnourished lives being dragged out throughout the world, because we do not need only food to live, we need to be loved. We need to have someone look at us and know that they love us, that we are so very important in their lives, that we are accepted just the way we are.

We talk of people living hollow lives and that is what happens when there is not enough love to fill them, when that hunger for belonging, for being important in someone’s life, is not filled. I was a very hungry little girl, the second oldest of a tribe of ten children. My mind knew that my parents loved me but my heart struggled to feel it.

When you are a little five year old who still wants to sit on mummy’s lap but there are already three other smaller ones with priority, then you quickly learn that there is no room for you. When you come home from school jumping up and down with excitement about what you learned that day, you want to be heard, to be acknowledged, to be praised; when there are too many voices shouting out loudly, you quickly learn to be silent about your own needs. When your father is always too busy working to watch you in your starring roles in school plays and concerts, you quickly become a sensible little girl who understands that food must be put on the table and that the hunger in your heart for something more than a full stomach is a selfish desire to be put away with all the other selfish desires and dreams.

At what point does a child start to believe that they are unlovable, not that they are not loved enough, but that there is something about them which is fundamentally undeserving? I did not love myself and I filled my hollowness with giving others the love and attention that I hungered for myself. For a very long time I could not accept that another human being would love me just for who I am. I burned to give love but did not feel that I feared that I was not worthy of receiving it, all an illusion of course but it was my perception that created my reality, a very lonely one.

When we believe that we are unlovable for whatever reason, we become adept at turning away those who try to break through those self-protective barriers. We hide our hunger and our fear of rejection by allowing no one to come close. Looking back from the perspective of a life time of experience, I understand now but it took a large part of my adult life to truly internalise that to really give love, requires that you love yourself.

When you love yourself, you send out a signal to the world that there is an abundance of love, that there is not only the possibility of being loved but that it is a reality.

When you love yourself you do not only fill your own emptiness, you become an overflowing vessel of love which spills out to feed the world's hungry hearts.

When you love yourself, you find that there is infinite healing of the wounds of the past and when you heal, you spread that healing balm to others.

When you love yourself, you allow others to love you and that is an awesome gift for you and for them.

All of this sprang from the observation of that beautiful little flower, almost invisible, hidden from the world by others more rampant, more insistent on taking their place in the sun. Be observant both of yourself and others. Are you a hidden blossom.? What will it take to claim your place in the world of light? What work needs to be done for you to love yourself enough to shine that love out into our world which needs every blessed beautiful loving soul to be fully the magnificent loving beings they were born to be?

Look around you. Who are the hidden flowers in your life? What can you do to help them find their way out into the light? What can you do to help them to love themselves? Love is always the key that unlocks the shuttered doors of the hungry heart.

So please take a little time to consider this today. Perhaps you might think about one or two little things that could create profound change in your lives and the lives of those around you.
Think about whether those you love actually feel that love rather than intellectually know that it is there.
How often do you say the words “I love you”? How often do you touch, hug, kiss or hold? Is it enough?
Ask them if you are not sure. It is never too late to start filling that hollowness with love. It is never too late to heal.
Think about whether you feel loved. What more is needed in your life to fill your hollow spaces.
Who needs to be spoken with?
What requests need to be made?
How much hugging and kissing and holding will it take to fill you up to the point where you really, really feel the love flowing through you?

How many times a day do you need to be wrapped up in those wonderful releasing words “I love you”.
Don't make the mistake of holding back. Ask for what you need and if it isn't available then look to where it is.
The price of a life without love is far too high.
Don't hide away in the shadows of life for want of a quiet request for more light. You cannot ever overfill the hungry heart. It will not explode if you give it too much.
What is guaranteed is that when you do not give it enough, it shrinks and the world has lost another rich source of joy.
Ask for what you need to fill the hunger of your heart.
There can never be a day when we do not need to be loved.
Please do not hold back in giving that love to those around us. It is unlimited in its supply; it is not rationed or restricted.
There are no rules, no laws which tell us who we should love or how much we should love them, yet we behave as though there are.Love yourself today and allow others to feel loved by you.

Teach the children of the world to love themselves by filling them with your love.

Go on, I dare you. Let me know what doors it opens.

Some Thoughts to Ponder

"Loving can cost a lot but not loving always costs more, and those who fear to love often find that want of love is an emptiness that robs the joy from life."- Merle Shan

"You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back."- Barbara De Angelis

"The greatest happiness of life it the conviction that we are loved."- Victor Hugo

Friday, October 28, 2005

Whispers of the Heart

In the silence of this room
Intent, I listen to my Heart
Speak as to a wayward child,
Demanding that I hear her now.
Softly murmuring she says,
"I will be heard and you will listen,
Feed my hunger now,
Ignore me at your peril."

In the silence of this room,
I am startled by the sound,
Of a long low growling
Coming from my heart,
A soul deep primitive rumbling
Primeval longing and desire,
To fill the hollow loveless places;
She will not be denied.

In the silence of this room,
She whispers quietly, insistent.
"The dark tight tendrils of past sorrows,
Bind and choke the life from me.
Release the bonds of ancient darkness,
Let Light's sweet energy enter here.
The time has come to let them go,
That my wild power may be set free.

In the silence of this room,
I hear the whispers of my heart.
I hear the snap of bindings breaking;
I feel my heart expand and sigh.
I listen as my heart sings softly,
"Feel the love that overflows,
To feed and fill the hollow spaces
Of this hungry waiting world"
Savage statistics and bloodied lies

We cannot grieve for numbers,
They have no faces.
We cannot mourn statistics,
They have no souls.

The number four brings no tears;
Yet name it as years lived,
And there our pain seeks us,
In the numerical deficit of a life.

We cannot scream for fifteen hundred;
Now show us bodies of the dead,
Wrapped in uniform shrouds of war,
Then our cries will shatter minds.

One hundred thousand does not sear us,
Blacken our hearts in fiery shame;
We label them collateral damage,
A coward's words, negating guilt.

We dare not call them by their names,
Husbands, mothers, children, babies.
We hide behind our shield of numbers,
Savage statistics and bloodied lies.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


A discordant jumble of thoughts twist and turn
wavering on the brink of irredeemable rebellion;
The jut of her jaw foretells her mind's direction.

Where is the generosity of heart she once knew,
encapsulated in this man she called her prince,
Now lost in the spectral haunting of his mind?

It lies buried in the scattered ashes of her world,
No dignified exit here in this bloody conflagration,
The daily practiced discipline of lives disintegrated.

Singing softly she surrenders to the flowing stream.
The fringe of pale fair hair entangles in the weed
As she sinks into the watery grave of love's last dream.

Out of focus eyes
Tremble on the brink
Of final flight.

The lights below
Beckon like wreckers
On a savage shore.

Soul's dark night,
Gapes open mouthed,
Swallowing me down.

Sliding into a chasm
Of sheer sided ebony,
And no climbing back.

A golden gate opens
Swaying in the wind
Of God's final wrath.

And I carry no coin,
For the Ferryman;
My soul will suffice.

Unshriven I fly
To eternal rest
Amongst the damned.
Some words for my mother

Where are the words when you want them?
Words that say how much you are loved,
Words that say how much you are valued,
Words that say what you mean to me.

Where are the words when you want them?
Words that thank you for my life,
Words that tell you the gratitude I feel,
Words that speak what my heart cannot say.

Where are the words when you want them?
Words that describe your soul’s shining beauty,
Words that echo the love that you give,
Words that touch on your gentle patience.

Where are the words that I want to speak?
Wrapped deep in the heart that you moulded,
Glowing from the soul that you helped to form
Unspoken in a love that will never die.
For my father

Life granted us the gift of time,
A sweet and precious Indian Summer,
Time to share these mellow days,
Time to be together.

Life granted us the gift of love,
A sacred bond between us,
One that time can never break,
A gift that is eternal.

Love granted me the gift of life.
It gifted me my father,
Each day more precious than the last,
Each day we are together.

Gifts of time and love and life,
Blessings showered upon us,
Time to live and time to love
A father and his daughter.
Sapphire Moon

A deep, dark sapphire sky,
Glitters with crystal starlight,
Pale moonlight illuminates
The curvature of his spine
Tempting hands to trace
Delicately, sensuously,
Each tingling vertebrae
Until they blaze afire.

Contained passion rises
As obtuse signals clear
Gracious, he responds
And gifts his pleasure.
Lips couple, tongues tango,
Ecstatic moaning builds
To crescendo peaks
Of bellowing climax.

An ancient magic stirs,
Celestial spells are cast.
Trusting he sleeps
Surrendered in her arms.
Her eyes shine, black as jet,
Wildness raging in her blood,
Hidden goddess laughs
Triumphant in her power.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

You are Gone - a Poem for Deborah

You are gone.
A meteor blazing your trail
Across the dark sky of my soul,
Where you journey to
Lies beyond my understanding;
My soul may know the way.

You are free.
Like an eagle’s soaring spirit,
Released from earthly bounds
You leave behind your pain,
Your sorrows and your burdens,
Help me not to take them on.

I am so weary,
Drained by the leach of sadness
Sucking on my bones until they ache
With longing and with grief,
This cavernous sense of loss.
Who is it that I cry for?

It hurts so much.
I feel like a soft toy gouged open,
Stuffing knocked out of me,
Leaving me limp and flat,
An empty body whose soul has fled;
Did it leave with you?

I want to let go.
I want to soar above the earth with you,
To lay my sorrows down and be pure spirit
Yet life calls me powerfully,
Love holds me to this earth.
This is the parting of our ways.

I have a life to live,
A designated path to keep ,
People who are depending on me
To pull rabbits from hats and walk high wire,
While simultaneously being
The still, calm centre of their universe.

It still hurts too much,
Pain graws at my thoughts;
I don’t want to play this game of grief.
Can I stop it now, curl into a foetal ball?
Seek the dark warmth of my mother's womb,
And stop the bleeding of my heart.

I don’t want to grow up.
It is much too hard.
I want to be a child again,
Playing rope, innocent of grief,
Death has not touched me yet.
I want those soft blue skys.
Please let me be a child again.

I feel tainted by this anger,
Raging at the dying of your Light.
You fought so hard to stay alive,
Live out the sweetness of your days,
For one more gentle touch,
For one more night of love.

I wish that I could cry,
Wash away the bitter thoughts,
Excise this corrosive misery;
Feel the touch of joy upon my soul,
Live the happiness you fought for,
The precious gift of life.

And this too shall pass,
As all dark nights creep into dawn,
Golden fingers stretching out
Across the blackened sky ,
Nudging us awake from our bad dreams,
To see the light of day again.