Her Graciousness Touched Me


Memorial Day, 2012

Today is a holiday here in the US. It’s Memorial Day, the day we remember those who have given their lives in service to this country. Mid-day, around 2:00, I decided to walk over to the Presidio Graveyard, to sit for a moment in remembrance. I’d read a few things online about the holiday, and so many comments on these articles and posts were political in nature; thoughts about war and whether it was necessary, about which president had caused the most deaths, etc., and I wanted to just get away from all of that and go remember the men and women who have died in service.

The very odd thing is that I couldn’t find the graveyard. I must have made a wrong turn, somewhere. In doing so, I came upon the Inn at the Presidio, a new Inn on the grounds that is stunningly beautiful. I went inside and roamed around to see the Inn.

Alongside me was a woman who was also looking at the Inn. She was dressed, beautifully, mostly in black with a touch of red and yellow, and wearing a dressy hat, the kind women used to wear. She doesn’t live in San Francisco, but she has come to the city many times on Memorial Day to place flowers on the graves of three of her family members – her uncle, grandfather and grandmother. She said she’s been coming for a number of years. She had just come from the graveyard. She seemed introspective and had a gracefulness about her.

As I headed back outside to go to the graveyard, I thought about this woman. I was taken by her dedication to remembering these family members; that she flies from out of town to visit their graves and place flowers. I wondered about how our holidays and rituals can move away from the very reason they were first established and become somewhat generic in nature…about BBQs and  baseball and getting away.

For whatever reason (if any), even though I headed out to find it again, I never did find the graveyard. I felt a little lost, something I rarely am with regard to finding places. I’m usually the one that can find anything simply by my internal radar. I ended up walking for a while, but felt lost amongst all the white wood and red-tiled buildings. I’m struck by the fact I got lost; yet, what seems to have really impacted me, was this woman and her family.

Many times when I write a post, at the very end everything makes sense. I get to the end and the ribbon to wrap it all up appears out of nowhere. No ribbon, here. No sense-making.

Perhaps, my visit was more about considering what it means to remember and to witness how these deaths have touched life. I just keep remembering her graciousness and the very clear way she loved those who died serving.

She touched me. Her graciousness touched me.





“Those of us who have been given a knowing of the sacred within ourselves and within the world have a responsibility at this time. We may ask ourselves, “What can I do?” but the inner world primarily requires consciousness rather than action.” ~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Sometimes, I forget what a gift it is to be aware of the sacredness within oneself, and within the world at large.

It is a gift, and with this gift comes responsibility, because at this time what is necessary is remembrance. Remembrance of the sacredness in all of life. Remembrance of the sacredness of the earth. Remembrance of the Source.

As I wrote to a friend today:

There is something far greater than either of us, all of us, or everything that has ever been created, and it is here, right now, in every cell of existence. When I remember this, I trust once again. So, my task has been, and continues to be, remembrance. I know you know of what I speak.

I can get caught up in the beauty of the manifest world: the beautiful skies, the prolific spring flowers, the sweetness of my grandchildren’s faces. In all of these I enjoy the radiance of life, yet, the inner world is where I consciously connect with the sacredness that is at the heart of all the lives.

To allow it to be so profoundly simple, to approach life with this single focus of consciousness can be difficult for me, until I remember to remember the Source. Then, in the moments of remembering, all else falls away and all that remains is what is real and true.


Remembrance, Infused with Love


The Gifted Photographer

This morning, I’m aware of remembering; yet, this remembrance doesn’t have to take me away from now. It can infuse this moment with love. It can infuse it with possibility. It can infuse it with transformation.

Today, we remember the ninth anniversary of 9/11, those who died, and those who’ve suffered deeply from the events of that day. Nick Kristoff shares the efforts of two women, both of whom lost their husbands in 9/11, in a post titled The Healers of 9/11. These two women chose to respond to their loss with love and possibility.

“Devastated themselves, they realized that there were more than half a million widows in Afghanistan — and then, with war, there would be even more. Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley also saw that Afghan widows could be a stabilizing force in that country.

So at a time when the American government reacted to the horror of 9/11 mostly with missiles and bombs, detentions and waterboardings, Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley turned to education and poverty-alleviation projects — in the very country that had incubated a plot that had pulverized their lives.

The organization they started, Beyond the 11th, has now assisted more than 1,000 Afghan widows in starting tiny businesses. It’s an effort both to help some of the world’s neediest people and to fight back at the distrust, hatred and unemployment that sustain the Taliban.”

Susan Retik and Patti Quigley show us the power of women supporting women. They remind us of how much we are alike rather than how different we are. In the midst of their grief, they could still see just how much they have to give.

In the article, it is clear they know their actions will not end the violence. Yet, their actions underscore something we know about women. Ms. Retik shared, “If we can provide a skill for a woman so that she can provide for her family going forward, then that’s one person or five people who will have a roof over their head, food in their bellies and a chance for education.”

Remembrance infused with love, keeps us in the here and now. It brings the remembering mind down into the presence of the deep heart.

Remembrance infused with love can bring possibility into this moment, allowing grief to do its deep work, bringing fecundity to fallow ground.

This is the message that was woven through the powerful dating and relationship course I shared with women who lost their husbands in  9/11. And, this is the message they shared with me as we moved through this course together, back in those first few years after.

May we all “unleash our better angels” (as Kristoff suggests) as a response to our grief, our anger and our fears.

And, you?

What are you grieving?

How might you infuse this grief with love, bringing you deep into the heart?

What is that one small action you might take, infused by the transformative power of loving remembrance?

photo by The Gifted Photographer, licensed under Creative Commons (NoDerivs 2.0)


Rembrance: The Doorway to Giving




image Welcome New Light by alicepopkorn
cc license


Best of 2009 Blog Challenge:  Day 25 Gift. What’s a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving?


The moment you expect something in return, love dies. ~ Ryuho Okawa


I love this question, because it guides me back to that which, when remembered, is already giving and is always giving. It is the source of all giving. When we give from this place, we wish nothing in return. It is here that love can flourish.

Remembrance. My soul is always calling me back to remembrance. It is the siren song, the wake-up call of the soul. It compels me, if I’m quiet and listening with my whole body, to remember the love in my heart. It guides me back to the heart, to the innermost heart, back to remembrance of love for the Beloved.

This remembrance of life is the natural spring of gratitude, which flows ceaselessly and endlessly.

This remembrance reminds me to be kind and compassionate to myself, to do no harm to this being, and in so doing, the awareness to be kind and compassionate to others, to do no harm to others, also grows and flourishes.

This remembrance floods all things with love, even those thoughts and beliefs that feel void of love.

Today, on the day of Christmas and gift-giving, when many of us around the world remember Christ, remembrance guides me to remember Christ consciousness (or Buddha, Cosmic, Higher consciousness), the inner heart of being in all of life that radiates qualities of compassion, truthfulness, humility and forgiveness towards all.

The simplicity of remembrance cannot be overstated. It is simple. When rembrance calls you, go with it. Let it carry you back. If the desire is true to remember, remembrance will find you and usher you home.

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