Un-Stuffing

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019

Woe to you who are stuffed now, you will know a gnawing hunger.
Luke 6:25

Seeker,
Is there slice left in your life for one more person, problem or possibility?

In times like these it is hard to pray,
when my head is a repository without repose
and my home a warehouse of rooms without room;

when there’s no longer an ‘away’
in which to hide
the acquisitions of each day;

when my body is stuffed,
and days are crammed
with too many comings and goings.

This sorry tale is made sadder still
by a world of needs neglected
where greed goes guised as development.

The world would become better off
If people tried to become better.
And people would become better
If they stopped trying to become better off.
Peter Maurin

But we are shaped
by what we devour;
eaten-up by what we consume.

Such gorging and busying,
discarding without considering,
has now become the norm; no longer an aberration.

When less seems evermore elusive,
and living simply just one more thing to do,
how do we uncover the path that’s taken by the few?

Can you even imagine
what might our daily lives
be like…

if less were valued over more,
thrift rewarded,
and slowness and simplicity the traits of celebrity;

if humble, quiet living were applauded,
listening prized,
and littleness lauded;

For when everyone tries to become better off,
nobody is better off.
But when everyone tries to become better
everyone is better off.
Peter Maurin

if children were raised to reverence life,
soiled hands appreciated and gardeners honored;
and our heroes were softer rather than super;

if communities centered on
the lives most vulnerable,
and worldly ways were organized for care;

Everyone would be rich
if nobody tried to become richer,
and nobody would be poor
if everyone tried to be the poorest.
Peter Maurin

if people looked with sympathy
upon poor souls burdened by over-accumulation
and life’s greatest polluters received rehabilitation;

if mending and making-do replaced discarding,
and we punctuated each day
with gracious pauses to give our thanks away.

If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things.
Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day.
And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Now imagine,
if you can,
what might happen

if you and I practiced un-stuffing,
and tried lightly-living, with slower, smaller steps
to shrink the footprint, we leave our children’s children.

What then might life really be like
for us and all our kin
with whom we share this most uncommon home?

The goodness of the sea be thine.
The goodness of the earth be thine.
The goodness of the sky be thine.
Celtic Blessing

joe

Simply Human

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019

How blessed those who are poor in spirit, the Reign of God is theirs (for the sharing). Matthew 5:3

What might a simpler life look like?

Physics teaches that with speed and pressure
comes heat and friction;
stress and tension following closely behind.

The antidote to compulsive-comparative living
lies in a wholesome embrace of our natural sanctity;
the gift of being simply (and not super) human.

Knowingly imperfect, ready and willing
to forgive and be forgiven, we are all made for mercy.
Compassionate connection is our role and link in the chain of life.

Un-possessed by possessions,
those who claim their humanness
welcome their own poverty of spirit.

For only those who know
they are incomplete
can be made whole.

And living with less (by choice or circumstance),
we are more likely, in lean times,
to lean on Providence and rely on one another.

Reverencing our limitations lets us savor and share
an abundance of simpler pleasures
and taste the humbler joys of a less-complicated, uncluttered life.

Live simply that others might simply live! Attributed to Elizabeth Ann Seton

Meanwhile, a global conspiracy consumes us;
cramming our days with stuff and activities,
promising purpose and happiness to fill the sink-hole at the heart of us.

Paradoxically, true ‘holey-ness’ widens that gaping ache within,
by reducing needs, minimizing wants,
and clearing the clutter of compulsions, to making room for others.

Though a simpler life
is intentionally uncomplicated,
simple is never easy.

It exposes the emptiness of overfilled lifestyles
as it celebrates the satisfaction
of spacious fulfillment.

Simpler also presumes slower;
moving away from purpose-driven and toward presence-drawn;
from transactional into relational living.

How we synchronize our days,
sets our patterns of rest, work and wonder,
with careful attention to well-being.

Slowing allows us to live
from that deep-within-well,
and avoid running ahead of grace.

When life becomes frenetic,
it is time for sabbath slowing,
back down to the pace of God’s good time.

Slowing… to attend to those who cross your path.
Slowing… to match the gait of frailty, the pace of infirmity.
Slowing… to meet the tottering steps of old ones and infants.
Slowing… to notice the contours of life around you.
Slowing… long enough to scent the breeze or be captivated by sunset.
Slowing… to feel the road beneath your feet.
Slowing… to be redirected, detoured into byways to learn about loss and hope.

May you follow the lead of the Timeless One,
that ageless, ever-patient lover of the lost;
so slow to anger, so simply rich in radiant mercy.

joe