-Ralph Waldo Emerson
With the increasing terror, violence, ugliness and insanity in this world every day, I kind of feel like one of those people in the movie, Titanic, one of the ones who hadn’t been able to get a lifeboat and was holding on to floating boards, hoping just to survive
Not knowing what else to do, I’m trying to focus on the smallest things that bring happiness..
The big things are collapsing: the banks, the economy, there are threats of another World War, extreme weather disasters…..and though the majority of people don’t want to believe it, there’s more and more talk about the grid going down. Ted Koppel talked about it in his interview on CBS a few weeks ago: When the Lights Go Out…it’s unimaginable, even to me and I live off the grid and around people who have lived off the land for centuries.
About a week ago, I sent out an email to quite a few friends and people I had worked with over the years. The email was a plea/request for help. I almost never ask for help- I don’t like to and I’m not good at it … but the money which funded our non profit for 26 years has disappeared almost over night and there is nothing left….nothing to keep things going, nothing to keep me going….absolutely nothing.
When I wrote the email,I hoped that perhaps some people*, remembering all of our contributions, would contribute something to RITES OF PASSAGE, or buy one of our DVDS, art pieces, posters, t-shirts etc. I was really hoping someone would tell me they knew how I felt-the waves of panic, the fear of losing everything. Or at least, maybe offer to pass on the blog to others. But except for a very few faithful friends, my son and daughter-in-law and one wonderful man who contributed $100, no one said anything.
*There were a few people who had contributed in the past and everyone on the list, we had contributed to in big or small ways, but what I’m really talking about now is caring…about when someone is falling, you help pick them up…that’s what Rites of Passage has done since 1988..
Our work has always been about helping the forgotten people-people with AIDS, dying people, old people, people in prison and how I wonder, after so much work, did I get to be one of them?
And I thought about something that happened several years ago
THE BOSTON TERRIER STORY
I was staying with some people one Thanksgiving. These people were all quite wealthy and the house we were staying in was warm and cozy with fires burning in the fire places and a huge Thanksgiving feast on the table. It was like a scene from A Christmas Carol.
One of the women was taking her very well bred dogs for a walk and asked if I wanted to go..I did..it was a cold, very misty night. This woman walked ahead of me with a friend and they were talking about how compassionate they were and I was walking behind them. Suddenly a tiny Boston Terrier came out from behind a dumpster and started to follow us.It was crippled and shaking badly in the cold and it kept following and I kept telling the women in front of me, that this little dog was following us. But they never looked back or acknowledged me or the dog.I picked the little dog up and carried it the rest of the way..back to the house..the women never turned around, just walked into the warm and cozy house with the 2 big dogs.
I knew the little dog wouldn’t be allowed inside the house but outside, there was a screened in breezeway and I tried to make a shelter for the little dog.I found a box and some towels and I put the dog in the shelter then I opened the door to get something outside and the little dog ran out into the night and disappeared completely.
I actually came to feel that the dog was a spirit and that in a way represented that tale about the man who was waiting for a visit from GOD: the man cooked a huge feast for GOD and he waited…3 times someone came to his door–a beggar, a stray dog and an orphaned child..but the man was waiting for GOD and turned them all away…later very disappointed, he said to GOD, I waited for you but you never came…GOD said I did come, 3 times but you turned me away every time
So I don’t know…I am certainly used to challenges, my life experience from the time I was 7 years old, has been filled and made up of one challenge after another and I’ve learned from them and even though I was completely flattened, I have always been able to pick myself up. But this time, I really don’t know.
I f you have suggestions [but please not advice-I listen to Eckhart Tolle every night and I know that crisis is meant to be an opportunity] you can email me at : firstname.lastname@example.org
OR buy one of our DVDs
PS There’s a beautiful song written by Bob Dylan ..related to all of this and to all of us. My favorite version is by the Pines
It’s called WHAT GOOD AM I
What good am I, if I’m like all the rest?
If I just turned away, when I see how you’re dressed
If I shut myself off so I can’t hear you cry
What good am I?
What good am I, if I know and don’t do?
If I see and don’t say, if I look right through you
If I turn a deaf ear to the thundering sky
What good am I?
What good am I, while you softly weep?
And I hear in my head what you say in your sleep
And I freeze in the moment like the rest who don’t try
What good am I?
What good am I, then to others and me?
If I’ve had every chance and yet still fail to see
If my hands tied must I not wonder within
Who tied them and why and where must I have been
What good am I, if I say foolish things?
And I laugh in the face of what sorrow brings
And I just turn my back while you silently die
What good am I?