Circle Of Life: Peggie and Maria
My work at the Mansion has been transformative.
I am coming to see that we are all part of this circle, around loving and caring we have formed enduring connections with one another.Our paths are crossing in the most poignant of ways.
I call this feeling the Light, it is the feeling of doing good and giving and empathy, of encouragement and support, these things feel good, sometimes joyous. This work is not about the big things but the small things – a hug, wool hats, some books or socks, a ride on a boat, trip to a farm.
The big things don't matter, the small acts of great kindness, things we can all do and make possible.
At the Mansion, the residents read me cards from people whose names I know.
A woman from California has become a beloved pen pal of Sylvie, another resident writes to people in Florida, she was deeply concerned about their surviving the hurricanes. A friend of mine drives hours to sit with the Mansion residents, talk to them, bring them gifts.
An architect I knew in a former life sends books and sketches to Bob, a former builder, who pores over them like sacred texts. The work spawns all kinds of connections, a Circle that spans thousands of miles, even pulling in different countries. Gay men and women wrote to Bill, and then to me, we trade ideas for getting Bill to read, we have become friends in the Circle. I call it the Army Of Good, it is a movement, spawned in response to hatred, argument and division.
A social worker in Ohio sent Connie yarn and patterns and the two exchanged letters and notes no one else saw or knew about.
This circle idea is powerful, a knitter who sent the residents yarn loves Maria's potholders and buys them every Christmas. A friend who visits sometimes has begun volunteering at the Mansion, and loves doing there, and is a very natural in her work.
This work connects us, bring us together. A blog reader who funded the refugee children's day at the Great Escape is also an animal communicator and regularly confers with Red. We are all connected now, one thing, a whole coming together in the light.
I cannot imagine where it will go, I hope it never ends.
I don't really believe that a human being can change who he or she is, I don't think our souls are that fungible or transferable or fickle.
People often tell me these days that I have changed, they say I have become a different person. Many attribute this to Maria, others to my determination to change and live a different life.
I smile when I hear that I am a different person, in part because i don't believe it is possible, or even worthwhile. I suppose it's meant to be a compliment, but to me, it really isn't. I was never that bad, I am not nearly that good. The soul is eternal, it can not be erased or cancelled, or painted over, or replaced or given away. It is one of the very few things no one can ever take from us.
I don't think people can eradicate who they are, they can only work hard to understand themselves and listen to their better angels, and grow. My life was shocked by setbacks and storms, and I was awakened, like a long dormant volcano.
I believe I can change, be but not that I can become someone or something else. For better or worse, the core will always be me. I hope I never am someone else, I have to make do with me, and more than anything, I have learned that if I don't love myself, I can't love anyone else, including Maria.
You cannot throw yourself away.
All around me, my life has changed.
But I am still me, living in my idea of God, the Light. Throughout the ages, the infinite force of life and energy has been called God in many different ways. It seems that we are, all of us, often seeking the same thing.
The Quakers call God force the Light and I guess I do as well.
The Kabbalah, another part of my faith, uses the "Light" as a kind of symbol or code word, a metaphor, says the scholar and author Yehuda Berg, to convey the broad spectrum for the meaning and fulfillment human beings like me long for.
In the Kabbalah, every conceivable form of fulfillment and pleasure that a soul can yearn for is contained within the idea and rubric of the Light. This includes the joy of sex and love – a significant element in the Kabbalah. It also includes healing, security and the bliss of loving and passionate relationships.
Light also consists fo the force we call tuition.
The magic that attracts the right people to one another, the right paths and opportunities for our lives. Light includes the inner spirit that sparks creativity and arouses hope and optimism within us each morning of our lives. It refers to the drive that motivates us to seek more out of life than making money or living in slavery doing work we hate.
For me, the Light is the force that creates the circle that is forming around work with the elderly and the refugees. I am seeing that it is all connected, all part of the Circle, the Light. I don't with this to be a passing or temporary part of my life.
I want these ambitions and this fulfillment to be constantly fulfilled and renewed. This continuous, nonstop flow of connection and meaning is precisely what the Kabbalah defines as light.
So the Circle deepens, and the Circle grows. And the work goes on and on.