God's Word is in all creation, visible and invisible. -- St. Hildegard of Bingen
The Holy Secret that you seek
is like a hearty bowl of soup shared with family and friends.
With lusciously buttered bread in hand
the simpleton has no need to leave the Table!
The deep satisfaction of "enough"
is the perfection of the simple gift of "this day".
Listen to the conversation of "enough":
How are you?
How can I help you?
After dinner, would you like to go for a walk?
Can we sit around the fire and tell stories?
Why don't we plan a neighborhood party for the children?
When can we volunteer at the Soup Kitchen again?
True power is selfless service, while
the power of the "wise" always needs someone to hurt.
(From The Tao of Old Dan of Walking Green Mountain
available through www.middleislandpress.com)
So, if this morning's news blurb is correct, the six heirs to the Walmart fortune have a combined wealth equal to that of the bottom 42% of the U.S. population. I read that and thought, "Whoa! How is that possible? And they still can't pay their employees a living wage?" And because they don't pay a living wage, a significant number of those same employees require government assistance for both food and health care -- so every taxpayer is, in effect, subsidizing the Walmart business -- we help their employees so the bosses can make still more profit! These thoughts returned me once again to a theme significantly present in my chapbook "The Tao of Old Dan...": how much is enough?
It seems to me that this simple question, about as well as any other, captures the essence of our moment in time: those who tend towards an acceptance of "enough" likewise tend to support the idea of social justice, equality, living wages, environmental protections, etc. While those who opt for "one can never have enough", tend towards supporting free market capitalism, lowering the minimum wage, reducing taxes, eliminating environmental protections, and a rugged individualism. These "tendencies" are really all the difference in the world: even getting to the point as to whether or not there will even be a habitable world: the choice to follow one's "better self" and to live a life of activated compassion (in remembrance of those who will be alive seven generations from now) is the rEvolution that is so sorely needed! But what do you think?
How much is enough?
Two years ago, Michelle took off from Salinas -- heading cross country -- our joke being we'd move wherever the car broke down... without a breakdown, she landed in Decorah, Iowa. And a "sabbatical" extended into another transition: which transitions again with another move: with the additional hope of landing where there is the possibility of another intentional community...
Packing up a life is an interesting chore: but the most interesting of all is the "packing" of memories: can there be a more beautiful small town than Decorah? I doubt it! At first, I would joke that the whole town seemed to be on drugs (coming from Chinatown-Salinas what else would you expect?) because everyone was always smiling, waving, talking, and then evening concerts on the Courthouse lawn... walkers and bikers everywhere... "Magpie Coffee House"... "Dragonfly Books"... and "Tim and Jennie In the Morning on 100.5"... The boys first day riding the bus to school -- picking them up right in front of our little rental house... First grade and then Second... one mild winter, and then a wild one which continues with the wettest spring on the Decorah records... Michelle has been able to substitute teach and I've been able to write a few books, and working on others, and start a new series of abstract expressionist paintings... and most importantly, our love is thriving and our family is thriving!
Still, the spirit of adventure and expanding possibilities is calling us to once again transition... we're looking for "home", for that "place" where perhaps another intentional community and sacred practice can come into being: besides that, we need a job! In a way, this is the solidarity of the "solidarity paradigm" manifesting in our lives: much of America (and the world) is also looking for work, place, and home. Every life and all life is so incredibly fragile -- we breathe for such a very short period of time -- and the days we are given to make a difference are really so very few: yet our stories are never truer than when we pack-up and hit the road looking for the Promised Land: land which is never really promised so much as dreamed: perhaps always an impossible dream: but if we don't try to make the world a "welcome home" for everyone, we will find that we lost our time and wasted our breath: so, once again, here we go!
[These postings and coming articles might be few and a little ragged for rest of the month, but good things are planned for July and beyond!]
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.