Silence Breakers – May Willows Surround

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WILLOWS OF WADI SURROUND – A poem by Ama Danesi

My mouth kisses my palm

and holds back welling tears

I remember I was a stranger there

his hands groping, seizing,

searching for certainty here.

As long as wicked is in the room

may willows of the wadi

surround and mark me safe.

This pain is not measured

by the scale of years

but unraveled by melodies

and as shadows reflect mysteries.

My river once turbulent

is no longer frightened for

tree of harps are singing out

names and redemption songs.

Once hushed and gray as a moth

my whole soul sings too, loud.

Me who moved further from shore,

now, rushes home in an exquisite

finery of light, sculpted in palace style.

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Time Magazine deservedly honored the “Silence Breakers” as Person of the Year 2017. These women and men challenged the status quo of sexual aggression and I stand with every girl, boy, woman, and man who has suffered the injustice and humiliation of sexual assault and abuse. We will not keep silent concerning our bodies and limbs.

We celebrate its splendid frame and the brave hearts rising across the world to confront small, weeny “gods.” We celebrate the power of each voice and the collective refrain. Hear our souls sing out loud. The sound barrier is broken and people will be silent no more!

In Service,

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Image Credit: Pixabay and Time Magazine 2017: The Silence Breakers

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Giving to Live

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“They throw caution to the winds,

Giving…in reckless abandon.

Their right-living, right-giving ways,

never run out, never wear out.”*

There are primarily two ways of administering our gifts to the world, as a matter of enthusiastic generosity or as a grudging obligation. Which defines your posture? Honestly, that’s about all we can control. I often find myself holding back when I prejudge or speculate about the reward as if I am entirely responsible for that. I find we can trust the blueprint and fearless design encoded in our being that gives rise to our natural abilities, to also amaze us with its commitment to reward our service and offerings beyond our expectations. A stingy farmer gets it stingy harvest but since many of us have sown love, laughter, care or blood, sweat, and tears; then as nature does, we must go through the process of seed, time, and harvest.

When we perceive the world as an inherited land, we can see ourselves as both the seed bearers and sowers. Imagine that every obstacle is an opportunity to learn from those who have gone before or time to color outside the lines. There’s a good reason why there are no easy, cookie-cutter answers to specific problems. Notably, those particular issues that test our enduring human spirit. University of Houston’s research professor and empathy advocate, Brené Brown encourages us to “Dare greatly.”

The best-selling author of Without Rival (2016) Lisa Bevere at the recent Confident Woman conference said, “Sometimes you have to stop looking around and look within because you’re supposed to do something that’s never been done before.” She asserts that we are not only unique, we are without rival. Therefore, in our authentic spaces, we bring an essence that can only be imitated but never duplicated.

We are all given something we can give away. Right-living demands we believe that. Right-giving requires a full commitment. Excuses are for wimps. I know that because I’ve held that office for some considerable time, but the ache of floundering snarls and nags at you like an addiction that will not quit till you either leaving as dead or show up as your authentic self. The lyric from the band, United Pursuit’s Let it Happen (2015) says, “You’re full of life now. And full of passion. That’s how he made you. Just let it happen.” Every seed planted in truth will grow, and every tree that shows up will have enough headroom to flourish.

On a practical level, I believe that today’s superheroes are entrepreneurs and visionaries. People with the drive to create, develop, refine, and nurture a crazy idea till it becomes an empire or offering that enriches the lives of others. Risks and profits considered, these are “doing” people. The scary part of the equation is actually doing something, putting something out there. Talk is not only cheap, but it’s also mediocre. It’s like putting your hand to the plow and looking back to the safe zone or the cozy couch –  the place without judgment and expectation – warm as an eagle’s nest to an oversized eaglet.

Let it happen. Verbs are the most potent expressions. They transform any passive line into an active and engaging one involving an action, the responsible party, and a reaction. My verb and doing word is “write, ” and because it comes easy, I often think it’s not valuable to anyone else. Now that’s a partial lie, applicable only to my journaling. Don’t buy into partial lies or let them stunt transformation. Greatness is not handed down, it is cultivated. If I want extraordinary results and life, then I have to work at writing, show up on the field and generously plant words as seeds. To others, the seed may be a new business, a new app, a sketch, a song, or another dance audition.

Final word to me and the wise – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”** And that is so you never run or wear out. Find your verb and do it every day you are blessed to see the sunrise.

In service,

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Credits:

Image – Pixabay

2 Corth. 9:8 (MSG)

Luke 6:38 (NIV)

The Only Truth Worth Telling.

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“Truth is such a rare thing; it is delightful to tell it.” Emily Dickinson.

This week the San Bernardino shooting made us pause and hunch over for just a moment to dig beneath the shiny objects shoved in our faces. Here in LA, the fame monster has subtly terrorized our psyche and lulled us into a false sense of security. After all, this is the city of Angels and the Kardashians, the Housewives, the Über falsetto, the Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 tearing down PCH by a guy with prepubescent tendencies flashing a business card promoting ‘Robotic Entertainment.’

Darn it! This is supposed to be the place of dreams, of stars paved into Hollywood Boulevard, a sanctuary city, or as James Frey writes, the city of the “Bright Shiny Morning.” So when something as primal as a couple with a voracious appetite for human blood, fueled by misguided ideologies and armed with automatic rifles and pipe bombs go hunting in an office building, our glamorous sensibilities are jolted.

It reads like a bad commercial on Hulu, an unwelcome interruption. Only this is real. People died. People were wounded. Communities and families are devastated, and a six-month-old boy was left behind before being adequately weaned off his mother’s milk. Now we seek the information like it’s air, and news channels are pumping us full of every detail and nuance. We want to know everything we can about this same couple that we would have ignored if they were shopping in our local Ralphs, probably put off by her hijab or burka.

The solid foundation of God stands, “The Lord knows those who are His.” And we are known for the love we accept and then extend. The truth of love has strayed away from many religions. Profane babbling and messages of hatred spread like rabid cancer, and we have no clue who has been infected. We, as vessels all look the same.

Vessels are made, some for honor and some for dishonor, and we get to chose which we want to be. My prayer is for those who have been deceived to imbibe a religion of death, that “they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having being taken captive to do his will.”*

The Truth: God is love. A powerful God will not condone or inspire the slaughter of innocent people. A true God is not edified by the heartbreak and suffering inflicted by senseless violence and terror. He does not need anyone to kill, nor maim nor hurt us, people He lovingly created in His own image.

God wants us to live and not die. When these perpetrators of violence say, God willing, it is obvious they have confused their hatred with God’s will that “we prosper, be in health even as our souls prosper.” Jesus the Son, the Prince of peace, was crucified to put an end to every form of sacrifice, humans or animals alike. Proverbs 29 reminds us that “The bloodthirsty hate the blameless; the upright seeks another’s wellbeing.”

Anyone who hates his brother or sister in his heart has disobeyed the highest calling of humanity because strife and hatred are twin petri-dishes for every other evil. Love is a commandment, a living truth that’s so beautiful, it should be told and reflected in all we do.
May the God of all comfort, console those who mourn. May those left behind reject any root of bitterness and may we respond to this assault on our city with grace and love.

Image Credit – Pixabay, *2 Timothy 2:26.