Sunday, January 1, 2017


Fifteen Things I Knew for Sure as a Child

    1.     Everyone leaves me; people disappear; loss is normal.
2.     Nothing and nowhere is safe
3.     but somehow kind people exist and I cherish them forever.
4.     Approval of me by those with power is essential to my sense of self-worth.
5.     Love is real but I have trouble figuring out what it looks like or how to hold onto it or why it hurts so much.
6.     I must be doing something wrong; I am wrong,
7.     but I know the taste of compassion and can share it with others.
8.     I cannot protect myself except by isolation; it is not safe to let people into my world; I do not want to depend on anyone, but I do,
9.     so then my pain must be buried alive.
10. Injustice is wrong and I resist giving in to it, silently rooting for underdogs.
11. Scars are shameful reminders of my failure.
12. Never ask for help.  It reveals weakness and vulnerability.
13. God is real and I pray to Him a lot but he never answers. 
14. Anger is bad.  Bad to receive, bad to express.  Avoid anger.
15. Beauty exists; I can recognize it in many forms.  This is a gift.

Fifteen Things I Think I Know for Sure Now

    1.     First, try not to hurt anyone. 
2.     Hold each life in the light of reverence.  Including my own.
3.     When in doubt, apply compassion in the six sacred directions.  And the seventh (inward).
4.     I can’t help anyone unless I put on my own mask first.  Exceptions: actual emergencies involving my beloved, children or grandchildren.
5.     Corollary: Sacrifice mindfully.
6.     It’s important to search for what brings me joy, and practice it;
7.     this includes letting in people who bring me joy.
8.     I often operate out of fear.  Before engaging in any major action, I need to run a fear diagnostic.  Am I doing this out of love, or fear of loss?
9.     Anger is different from violence: “Anger is full of information and energy.” Thank you, Audre Lorde.
10. It’s okay to ask for help.  Choose mentors carefully, though.
11. Scars are beautiful witnesses that testify to my strength and ability to heal, if I let them.
12. Non-negotiable human responsibilities: call out injustice and violence.  Loudly, and repeatedly. Remember,
13. just because I love someone doesn’t mean they get to hurt me. 
14. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “My actions are my only true belongings.”  Change happens;
15. the Universe is a mysterious place.  I can’t know or control much of anything. Sometimes surprise is a good thing.