Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Birthdays and Remembrance

Out of the large group sitting around the campfire a little over a week ago, 3 of us had the same birth date. September 11th. It used to be an obscure little day, but nevermore. We talked about how strange it is to be celebrating our birthdays on a day when the rest of the world is in remembrance, and how people react when you tell them that your big day happens to land on the infamous 9-11. They get all quiet and serious..........kind of how one responds when one hears you're suffering from something.

"Oh.....really? Gee.........."

But the flip side of it? No one forgets. I love that part!

Last year on this day, I wrote about the fact that change, including changing our world, begins by looking within. So many events occur outside of our control. What we do have control over is how we react to the event. Sadly, we are not as far along as we would like to be. Change is happening in Afghanistan for women and children, though it is and must continue slowly in order to somehow take root. However, 6 years post 9-11, the world still searches for Bin Laden. The threats to our safety loom large. There is still an empty space where the World Trade Centre once graced the skyline. We have much to do. We have a long way to go.

Last year, I read a book entitled Praying Naked by Francis Stroud. It contains teachings originally written by Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest whose work continues to resonate 20 years after his death. I've written about it in the past, but I returned to it because of the messages it had on meditative prayer. I'm a firm believer that "life is 10% things that happen to you and 90% how you react to the 10%" it seemed like a good idea to remind myself that what I can control is my way of responding.

Events happen outside of yourself. Change happens from within. If we want change, if we want to alter our understanding of the world around us, we must focus on developing enlightenment from within. It's what we can control.....our awareness. Though we can learn from our past, our history, we can't change it. We need to focus on today, the present....a gift from God.Take the time today to be still for a couple of moments..........to clear your head of all cluttering thoughts. Focus on the sounds around you.....and on your breathing...........be aware of the fact that if you are focused on your own breathing and the various sounds around you.........you will begin to calm those ongoing thoughts and feelings related to all the external stress you may be absorbing.

These first few steps are the beginning of meditative prayer. How simple is that?And to think all these years, I thought prayer was such a complicated ritual only performed before meals and in church, when in fact it is simply a way of silencing and calming all the "noises" at anytime..........a method of stripping away everything one can't change in order to become more awake to who we are.

I wish I had the ability to stop all wars.........to rid the world of evil................. but it ain't gonna happen. What I can do, however is control how I respond and react to these events. I will take the time to day to remember the tragic events of 9-11 and all the events before and after it.

And then, I will meet my husband for lunch to celebrate life and my birthday.

I borrowed this quote last year from Paul, who had posted it on his blog then. It captivated me than as it does today. It was written by a friend. I'm sorry Paul, I can't remember who is was........

"A way of coming back to the harbour of ourselves is to ask who we are. It takes a whole lifetime to take your place in your own life. Solitude is given to you to receive yourself. Maybe dear friends it's time to illuminate God in the mirror of our souls?"


Matthew said...

Happy birthday Awareness! Perfect that you invite us to look within on a day clouded with the memories of the outside. I also wrote about meditation today, though I tended towards the humorous.

Have a blessed day!

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

no worries.....'tis Father O'Donohue, that wicked irish mystic.....

happy celebrations....

Tori said...

Happy Birthday to you, my dear special blogger soul friend. I am so glad that you came into this world years ago and my world months ago. You are an inspiration to me.

Awareness said...

Thanks Matthew....I like your humourous take because it is so true. As much as I try to do the focus thing, my mind wanders.

Paul...wicked Irish mystics are very good to know....and to listen to I think. Celebrations have been fun today. Thank you.

Tori. Thank you. I don't even know what to say. My thoughts often seem so darn convoluted when I'm writing them out that it surprises the heck out of me when I somehow find some sense. It warms my heart to feel like my writing in a small way makes a difference or at least offers up a teeny tiny paradigm shift.

Anonymous Boxer said...

First, happiest of birthdays to you.

Second, this quote;

"life is 10% things that happen to you and 90% how you react to the 10%",
is going to be with me for a long time.

Thank you.

Rainbow dreams said...

Happy Birthday for yesterday Dana, am pleased your celebrations were good.

Awareness said...

Hey Anon....glad you liked it. Can't for the life of me remember where I picked it up. It's been with me for a while.

Katie...thanks. The evening ended in making a speech at the school, which I'm hoping will encourage one of the parents to come forward to take over the HOme and School Committee. I'm VERY willing and ready to pass on the baton!!

BreadBox said...

I hope that the speech to the H&SC went well, and they got your point, that for the sake of continuity, after your children leave the school, they need chairs of the committees with experience, and so they should have new chairs this year, while you are around to help them!
You did tell them that, didn't you?

Michele sent me this time, though as you know I can find my own way here sometimes:-)

Awareness said...

Hey N....yes i did. and more. I spoke of the sense of belonging and community felt at the school and how the Home and School Committee is the heart of it. I also made a point of inviting the DADS to step up to the plate.....for some reason, they don't get involved at this level. I find that very weird in this day and age.
The first email I received today showing interest was from a Dad. :) Love it!!