Tag Archives: forgiveness

Equanimity

Carol A. Hand

 

I wonder
if some think me a fool
because I refuse to respond
to disrespectful belittling banter
Perhaps some people fail to understand
silence in the face of unkindness
may actually be compassion
and equanimity

*

Note:

Recently, I have received unkind comments on a number of posts. From my perspective, there is more than enough mean-spiritedness in the world today. I made a difficult decision not to post those comments because I don’t want this blog to be used to give voice to disrespect toward others even though I have been the primary target. Witnessing the abuse of others hurts me, and I suspect many others have the same response.

Remembering Too Many Tragedies

Carol A. Hand

Listening deeply to inner silence
Here, but also present in another reality
Aware of fear,  dis-ease,  loss,  and violence
while feeling the   poignant ache   of possibility
Seeking courage moment to moment to make a choice
to allow wisdom,  compassion,  and joy  to guide my voice

***

Ava swimming in Lake Superior, Photographer – Jnana Hand

***

Reflections about Adversity and Resilience

Carol A. Hand

Four crows sitting atop the willow tree
chattering loudly while surveilling their domain
reminding an old eagle grandmother of four dark souls
determined to keep fledgling eagles from taking flight
to travel to heights where crows cannot breathe

There was a time when crows were new to her
when she listened and watched them in thoughtful silence
as they crowed loudly about how clever they were
strutting about confident in their superiority
showing off shiny things they gathered in their travels

Nevertheless she naively believed that they could be friends
not realizing then how different she was
until she discerned a disturbing pattern
watching them band together to keep fledglings grounded
reveling in the suffering they caused

She understood then that lone eagles have a different path
to attract the focus of crows’ attention elsewhere
to create a safer space for fledglings to practice flying
so they could develop the strength of their wings
and study the nature of wind and weather and gravity

Trying hard, though they did, the crows didn’t darken her vision
as she learned how to keep them at bay
without harming them even though they struck her
repeatedly with increasing ferocity
crowing in joy at their collective power to wound

Scores of fledglings launched before she needed rest
before she could take flight herself and rise
though she heard that the dark souls continue
taunting and grounding those they fear who can fly higher
and explore vistas beyond the limited realm of crows

She watched as the crows in the willow tree grew silent
and departed one by one to the four directions
their lone cries echoing in the distance

She gave silent thanks for her freedom
and for the inner strength the crows helped her find
realizing that it might not have happened otherwise

***

Golden Eagle in Flight – By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK, CC BY 2.0 (Wikipedia )

***

Reflections about Being Human

Carol A. Hand

Make the most of each moment while you are here

Observe life intently with an artist’s eye, listen deeply with a poet’s ear

Contemplate life with an empath’s heart, engage life with a compassionate mind

Live your life humbly, simply, remembering to be kind

***

Lake Superior Dreaming
Lake Superior Dreaming

***

Speak your truth when you must

urged by an inner power you’ve learned to trust

sometimes gently with the voice of a singer in a choir

and other times, boldly, with a spirit on fire

***

Forgive yourself for the moments you squander

when emotions or daydreams cause your focus to wander

It’s what often reminds you how human you are

***

Reflections about Transformation

Carol A. Hand

So much easier dreamt than spoken
So much simpler said than done
The process of transformation
never-ending once it has begun

Though you listen deeply for the next steps
the journey will test your mind and spirit
You’ll reach the breaking point again and again
The epiphany may be there but you cannot hear it

The path you’ve chosen will tempt you to abandon hope
confront you with your deepest nightmare fears
unleash powerful emotions you thought controlled
drive you to distraction and call forth your bitter tears

Forgive yourself for faltering and desiring the long journey’s final end
Find the strength within to continue, let compassionate thoughts ascend
Perhaps someday you’ll glance back and, only then, be able to comprehend
why it’s so much easier to dream than overcome suffering in order to transcend

***

Sun breaking through clouds over ocean
Sun breaking through clouds over ocean

(Photo Source: commons.wikimedia.com)

***

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Carol A. Hand

This is a story from times of old
about a catfish and a golden toad
and a partnership ill-fated
Sometimes love is not meant to be
though the realization may be belated

They met long ago in a magical place
as if by happenstance
in the wooded hills of faraway
where many came to sing and dance

Both seeking to pursue their dreams
to fill an inner longing
to find a place to free their sprits
in a community of belonging

He tall and proud
a prince among the toads
Following the edge of Sewer Brook
rather than hopping down the winding roads

toad 3

She swimming against the current
up the mighty Housatonic River
A little daughter swimming by her side
forging on with a gasp, a sigh, a shiver

He arrived years before her
filling an empty soul with passion after passion
with little concern for consequences
Caring about others and the earth had fallen out of fashion

She on the other hand
in her wound-weary watery soul
tried to bring comfort to those who suffered
and make the broken-hearted whole

Ah, what a disaster can sometimes happen
when such opposites join together
Both may lose their sense of worth
surrounded by forever stormy weather

Final goodbyes in this case
a blessing in disguise
Freeing both to pursue their dreams again
Perhaps alone, but each under sunnier skies

catfishes

Note: Inspired by life and “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame (1908).

Mr. Toad, the main character in The Wind in the Willows, is aptly described in Wikipedia as follows.

“Toad is intelligent, creative and resourceful; however, he is also narcissistic, self-centred [sic] almost to the point of sociopathy, and completely lacking in even the most basic common sense…. Ultimately, Toad has his heart in the right place. His characteristics have made him arguably the epitome of the stock character of the lovable rogue. During the course of his adventures Toad alternates between deep remorse for his arrogance and having relapses into it.”

Perhaps Mr. Toad is a “lovable rogue,” but he’s not my idea of an ideal life companion.

***

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Reflections about Unhealed Pain

Carol A. Hand

A history of unhealed hurts remains hidden
Buried, waiting patiently in memories that surface unbidden
Coloring the present to wound spirit again and again
Each new experience colored by remembered pain
Deflecting attention away from the beauty and potential
Both within and surrounding us

Dancer (2)

Drawing: Carol A. Hand

The impenetrable walls we build to protect tender hearts
Isolating us from the joy of connections that unlock the joy
Of singing together in harmony with all we are
Look within, deeper, with compassion to understand
And allow the dance of rewounding to end
With the grace of forgiving oneself and others

dancer (1)

Drawing: Carol A. Hand

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Reflections about Family

Carol A. Hand

If you can’t say something kind
Don’t say anything at all
It’s the thought that comes to mind
As I greet this grey morning in fall

The message light on my phone
Is still blinking, signaling your call
I’m sad to admit I wish to be alone
I prefer to simply be free once and for all

Free from the fiction of family ties
Free from reliving years of abuse
Free from survivors’ guilt and lies
Listening to history revised is of little use

There are so many truths I cannot share
Probably you were too drunk to recall
You set me up for beatings without a care
I still bear visible scars from it all

me age 8

I forgave you many many years ago
And although I can feel your pain
I can’t forget the violence, you know
I don’t have to tolerate it again

I hope you find internal peace
It’s not in my power to give
I suspect the only real release
Comes from choosing how we live

Honestly I wish you well
There’s nothing else I have to say
Choosing to be kind tempers my words
So I won’t call you back today

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Catfish and the Eagle

Carol A. Hand

Angeline and Valentine,
The catfish and the eagle
One lived in murky waters
And the other, born to fly

Despite mud, Angeline thrived
While crows of conformity
Kept Valentine on the ground
In a sorry state, barely alive

Sometimes Angeline would gaze
At the sky so blue up above
At eagle wings gleaming in sun’s rays
As she waited patiently for love

Valentine stood on the shore
Looking at his reflection
Feeling lost but wanting more
And wishing for affection

When their eyes met in wonder
To see another so strange
Their fate was sealed – love’s thunder
Though both sensed disastrous change

AV2

Drawing: Carol A. Hand

Angeline gave Valentine
A reason to try to fly
With talons gently holding her
They rose as fluffy clouds passed by

Suddenly she gasped for breath
She needed her water home
A reluctant Valentine
Left her and flew off alone

Ah, it would be a different tale
Had he simply stayed away
Alas they were caught in passions’ gale
Or perhaps a karmic debt to pay

Each time they flew a bit further
Valentine’s talons dug in deeper
Angeline wounded gasping for breath
Finally knew her only release would be death

Valentine tightened his grip in sorrow
Freezing his own heart for Angeline
To give her another tomorrow.
But as life would have it – call it fate
Angeline’s freedom came too late

Background:

This is a metaphoric story about my Anglo American father and my Ojibwe mother. Names do have meanings, as do Ojibwe clans.

The catfish clan is likely the one that my mother was born into – the clan of the teachers and scholars whose role is to advise leaders and help resolve disputes. The eagle was viewed as a symbol of American settlers, and the eagle clan designation was assigned to the children of mixed Ojiwe/European unions when the fathers were of European descent.

Angeline (meaning “angel” or “messenger”) was my mother’s middle name, in many ways fitting. Although forced to live outside of her culture for much of her adult life and ashamed of her heritage, she was kind, hardworking, and a truly compassionate nurse and gifted healer.  Valentine (meaning “strong, vigorous, healthy’) was my father’s middle name. Certainly these were potentials he was born with but his abusive childhood and military service left serious insecurities, bitterness, and a short fuse when dealing with frustration. He could be funny and charming, or quick to anger and violence, depending on his mercurial moods. He was also brilliant, but not acknowledged as such because of his working class roots, fractious personality, and lack of even a high school diploma.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Agony of an Untold Story – Writing 101

Carol A. Hand

WARNING. This is an honest account drawn from my unedited reactions to the 9/11 tragedy, written while at home in the “ceded territory” of the northwoods of the central USA. It’s likely to provoke strong emotions. Please don’t feel obligated to read it.

It was September 11, 2001. I was getting ready to leave my home in Lac du Flambeau Wisconsin to find a place to live near the Ojibwe community where I would be spending the next nine months. The night before, I had returned home from an extended visit to the community. It t was dark when I arrived home. Nonetheless, I dutifully recorded my hand-written reflections from my visit in my research journal.

Monday, 9/10/2001

“ … What do I feel – I love listening to stories – but the problems I’m learning about are serious & it seems I’ve been able to gain a group of elders who are willing to share their views w/o tape recorder & as a group. They do identify themselves as those out-of-power – but it seems that is both an issue of family and age/values. They rice & do crafts & care about the future of the community.”

My hand-written notes for the next day didn’t reflect my observations from the community I had left the day before. That community would be affected in profound ways by an event that riveted their attention to the larger world, as it did to mine, to a tragedy that was new and distant, but was also a symbolic reminder of our own history of losses as Ojibwe people.

I never shared the notes I recorded that day, September 11, 2001. My journal remained tucked in a locked file cabinet where my research materials are stored. It’s been there for more than a decade – move after move. I just discovered it this week when I was looking for information for another project. I had forgotten about it. When I pulled out the bound journal, I discovered an untold story. I’m not sure if the agony that was reawakened was because of an untold story. Remembering the tragic events of that day would be enough on their own, but they also touched older memories and stories still untold. The events of that day intensified the deep, deep sadness that was already part of my experiences and my DNA.

I arose early and fired-up the gasoline-powered generator so I would have electricity to shower, pack, and get ready to hit the road. I decided to check my email just before I left…

Tues., 9/11/01

“… I turned on the laptop, did dishes, & read my email & discovered a strange note from ILSTU [my university] abt. supporting students to deal w/ tragedy. I turned on the t.v. & became glued to the story unfolding of the 4 hi-jacked commercial jets: 2 crashed into towers of the world trade center in NYC, one into the Pentagon in DC, & one southeast of Pittsburgh – ordinary people traveling & working whose lives were suddenly ended or changed forever.
CNN, & the war-mongers of course blaming Arab Muslim terrorists & calling for revenge for “one of the worst tragedies in the history of the world.” I think of Native peoples & the death & loss & tragedies they have endured at the hands of the ancestors of those who now condemn this “dastardly deed.”

“The US is an oppressor, as were the European conquistador ancestors of those who now rattle their sabers. It is a tragic act – an inexcusable act of hatred & violence – & if it were my family on a plane, would I too want vengeance? I don’t know. I only know that I did not want to be “in the field” today. I need to reflect & balance so I can listen to others’ views without judgment or comment. I “feel” this even from different times – the links to European invasion, to Jewish imprisonment, to clear-cut forests, to children taken from the side of the road, to my grandson who must endure craziness, Can we, as a world, learn to see the wonder that could be?

“…. How can I use my research to work toward a positive goal – a vision of what could be not only for our families & communities but all families and communities?

“It is really only by chance (?) that I found the email before I left. I’m grateful for the chance to reflect. I am sorry for all of the families – the Boston link made me grateful that [my daughter] & [my grandson] traveled from there safely a week ago!

“It is a time for healing. Our greatest resources surround us – they are not to be found in illusions of “power” over others, or money, or things. A hug from a grandchild, a thank you from a child, a smile & laughter – let me offer tobacco – for my family, for those who died & were hurt & their families, & for those whose lives are so bleak that they can do this — & for the world.”

This isn’t something I would have chosen to write today, or really any other day. But the Twitter quotes listed for today’s Writing 101 assignment didn’t speak to me as someone who walks between cultures. Nor did the hundreds of other quotes I skimmed on Twitter. Maya Angelou’s came closest. The untold and unheard stories of our peoples continue to be an agony that must be borne until we find a way to give them voice, and until we know that others have really understood.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.