Thresholds, Passing Through


Holiday Reflections
by Mary Ann Peterson, Eugene Friends Meeting



In the darkness of winter, I have many questions. I woke up wondering if snowy owl should be capitalized. It shouldn't. Mona Lisa should be capitalized. Big Dipper is capitalized. Plants and animals are less consistent.

Aside from punctuation, I wonder about how we've been trained to not speak negatively and how sometimes this is correct so that we don't unfairly criticize others, but how it also can lead to not speaking honestly.

I'm thinking about the infrastructure of life, mine, and all the life around us.

I question why the last two times I’ve walked into the library the person in front of me opened the door in the smallest amount and rushed through as the door swung closed. They moved quickly like a wild animal, like a rabbit escaping into the brush.

I can open the door myself of course but I thought about why a person has no sense anyone else might be nearby and passing over the same threshold.

I wonder about people apologizing for telling their truth when it's a bummer or a sad story and they hope to not burden anyone… and I think we'd all be better off to allow for more of these exchanges and to be less afraid of them.

I like this time before the end of a year and before the beginning of the next year. I like how it's so dark before we reach light, before light reaches us while there is much unseen and undiscovered and still in formation and also dissolving of form. This morning was dark and pouring and cold and yet it brought delight for no reason and then I went back to sleep.

I read where we might prioritize making appointments between our heart and brain, and keep them. Something will begin to happen.

While thinking about the means of change personally and for the planet, it's not just small things- it's big things. It's letting go of the convenience of denial.

I don't want to follow a model of dithering while ignoring the larger picture. When is work work, and when is it a masterful avoidance?

Why spend whatever time we have remodeling sand castles while the tide is out? 



Passing Through

To make courageous decisions I practice feeling temporary.

Pretend life is temporary and eventually none of this will matter. Imagine we are here a very short time and then disappear leaving no trace.

I practice doing now what I feel drawn to. I am not going to be remembered.

We are all hounded relentlessly by bullshit and I don’t wish to accommodate it any longer.

This includes pop music in the car where most of the song themes are about how and why someone doesn’t love us anymore. 

Listening to all the chatter is disconcerting. Listening to no one is lonely.

Imagine you are one in several billion on a planet of one in several billion.

This makes life more meaningless or more meaningful, depending how you look at it. I’m choosing meaning, but not getting all hung up about it.

Picture yourself already not here. As Rumi said, die before you die. What would you miss? Do that.

Why do so many people try to dart across the page with a paper sack on their head, unknown to themselves and to others?

Regarding creative source, Mary Oliver compared it to noticing stars – we try to measure and calculate their shape instead of absorbing and reflecting the heat.