Friday, September 12, 2008

Inner Peace

I have been attending the Unitarian Church this summer. I find it inspirational and important to my new life. One of the things I value about Unity Unitarian is the amazing music, the poetry, and other readings; they help to create context and provide focus and food for personal reflection and growth.

Two weeks ago, I attended the first in a series of three classes to explore joining the congregation. Justin, who is the church staff person leading the workshop, began our session with this poem:

The Art of Disappearing

When they say Don't I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It's not that you don't love them anymore.
You're trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven't seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don't start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

- Naomi Shihab Nye

My dear friend and mentor, M is dying with a tumor growing in his brain. He is only 64 years old and one of the more brilliant people on the planet. I spent time with him this week - sitting and talking and listening and honoring his journey - one he is approaching with curiosity, with acceptance and regret that he will leave his family and friends behind at this precious stage of our lives.

"Know you could tumble at any second - then decide what to do with your time."

Today is Friday - have a wonderful day - we choose our lives moment to moment.


  1. Finding inner peace is a journey we all need to take in order to be able to see and and enjoy all that we have -- in spite of loss, in spite of difficulties. We do have the choice to fill our lives with joy and beauty and squander it by focusing on what we feel we don't have. May joy and happiness find you, fill you, comfort you.

  2. This is a powerful post. With tears in my eyes I thank you for sharing.


  3. Beautiful thoughts. I have not been in a unitarian church since before I was married. Sounds like it has a lot going for it.

  4. i love this poem and thank you so very much for introducing me to it.

    this post was very meaningful to me. it brought to mind a similar experience i had in the past, sharing time with my college roommate who was dying of melanoma. the intimacy we shared during her journey toward death was so intense and so meaningful, the most powerful and fulfilling, in many ways, of all our experiences through 30 years of friendship. she found so much permission to be fully honest during those late days - no longer worrying about the consequences of words, just concerned with putting them out into the universe as her truth. she was free in ways she had never been. in that freedom she was able to embrace everything that mattered and let go of everything that didn't.

    i am glad you have time with your friend. you will value it always as you look back on these days.

  5. Suzann, I feel wordless. Like a tiny leaf unnoticed and anonymous among all the others. But that leaf is me. A small part of a huge whole. Without my leaf, there will something empty, something missing. But I'll fall to the ground and be a tiny part of something new. And splendid.

    thanks for sharing. Give hugs to your important friend from me

  6. I like your ‘new look’ here … though it’s been a while since I’ve dropped by. Life’s been busy but I’m doing what I can to catch up this weekend. I love the Mandela-like graphic … it’s beautiful. Did you create it yourself? I’ve been thinking about seeking out a new place of worship myself … and Unitarian is one of the denominations I’ve considered. I’m sorry about your friend … 64 seems much too young to leave the planet. Thanks for sharing the amazing poem … and the reminder to live now. You'll both be in my prayers ...
    Hugs and blessings,