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Niki Collins-Queen

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Member Since: Before 2003

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A compelling argument for 'less is more”
12/20/2010 9:18:36 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Wayne Muller mixes the writing of great spiritual leaders with stories from his own life inviting us to embrace the wealth of everyday life. He illustrates in “A life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough” how planning some harvest of ease and sufficiency later in life can keep us from attending to what's happening right now. When we are grounded in all that we know and have become we simply do what we know to be enough.
As a Hospice Chaplain Muller witnessed the concerns of the dying. The concerns were quite simple. “Have I loved well? Have I lived deeply and fully? Have I left a legacy of kindness?”
Muller's illness taught him to do less and more slowly and follow the invisible thread of grace by listening every hour of every day. To his surprise it brought him more spaciousness and delight.
Mother Teresa concurred. “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Martin Luther King put it another way, “Don't focus on the far-off destination...you don't have to see the whole staircase just take the first step.”
One of Muller's lessons from the wisdom of a dying friend with breast cancer was particularly powerful. Because she appeared a beacon of clarity, strength and hope he was stunned to learn that she was dying. Feeling bone-weary, distracted and discouraged he asked how she managed to be so luminous, vital, alive and optimistic. She said she stopped doing two things – she no longer held any resentments and she surrounded herself with life-giving people. She also said she learned to say no and set clear boundaries.
The very practice of seeking can sometimes presume we are not where we need to be that this minute cannot possibly be enough. The Buddha taught we would experience ten thousand joys and ten thousand sorrows in a human life. The trick is first to see our glass is always half full and half empty. The whole world is neither broken nor whole.
Happiness is an inside job. Sufficiency and contentment are grown in the soil of moments.
Muller says we all have a compelling thirst to be seen, known and loved just as we are. When people are heard with love and mercy a miraculous change erupts in them and others. While working with prisoners Muller says he had to fall a little bit in love with them so he could see clearly the light that shone within them, regardless of their choices or circumstance.
Muller says scientists say Americans suffer more stress from overwork, lack of sleep and pushing and striving without knowing what is enough. We are a fear and crisis-driven society. When our immune systems are perpetually “lit up” our ability to fend off diseases is weakened. The United States health care system is no longer a safety net for illness. Of the top nineteen wealthiest, most industrialized, modern Western countries in the world, the US ranks last in curing preventable diseases. We are behind France, Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Loving what is does not mean we stop growing, changing or working to improve. It is a softening of the eyes, a quieting of the mind, a deepening love and appreciation for all life. Life is not a problem to be solved but a gift to be opened. “The color of the sky, the song of a bird, a word of kindness...” This is why many spiritual teachers focus on a single day. What is our pace? What is the tempo of our heart? Are we listening to our inner voice? Often, like Jesus, we do the most good wandering around without a specific agenda.
Before we can accept things as they are we must first learn to see things as they are. Acceptance often becomes gratitude.


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More Blogs by Niki Collins-Queen
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Half Bath in Your Basement by al squitieri,sr

Want to add a toilet to your basement but the sewer line is above the toilet connection, or grade level...  
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