The Dash

BY LINDA ELLIS

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before. 

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?

~ Linda Ellis
http://www.linda-ellis.com/the-dash-the-dash-poem-by-linda-ellis-.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsY6UrFIsNs

 

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the-dash-poem

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The Peace Of Wild Things

BY WENDELL BERRY

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~ Wendell Berry

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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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Go for It

I would tell people, not just in music… I would just say to anybody… If you want to do something, go for it. Try. Don’t tell yourself you can’t make it. Don’t let your parents tell you you can’t make it. Let the world tell you you can’t make it after having tried. Or, maybe, let the world discover you. But don’t fail to try because if you don’t try you can’t succeed… I had hopeless times in my life about different things. You just have to persevere, because one day that door does open, but if you don’t persevere, you won’t be there when it does.

~ Carole King

You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes, you will
That you’re beautiful as you feel

~ Carole King, Beautiful

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Take a look at my books at the Peaceful Ways online store

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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

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We Are Here to Learn

I like to say that Planet Earth is a learning campus and that we are here to learn.

I keep thinking that if life is a course we are taking, it really doesn’t matter what happens to us, be it good or bad. Since every occurrence is a new lesson, we should welcome all of them as opportunities to learn. What happens to us matters less than how we respond. What really matters is our ability to learn from all experiences, so we may be able to choose better responses to whatever may happen next.

We are here to learn many things, among them to love and to let go.

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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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Creating a Safe and Welcoming Space

When you are interiorly free you call others to freedom, whether you know it or not. Freedom attracts wherever it appears. A free man or a free woman creates a space where others feel safe and want to dwell. Our world is so full of conditions, demands, requirements, and obligations that we often wonder what is expected of us. But when we meet a truly free person, there are no expectations, only an invitation to reach into ourselves and discover there our own freedom.

Where true inner freedom is, there is God. And where God is, there we want to be.

~ Henri Nowen

How do we create this space?
I believe that we create a space where others feel safe and comfortable to dwell by curbing our cravings and aversions, by accepting everything and demanding nothing, by diminishing our self-importance, and by just showing up as who we really are. By doing so, we allow others to relax, feel safe, and be who they are.
When we tame the ego, we create space for God.
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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

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I Think I Know What’s in Those Suitcases

By Jonathan Kaplan

I think I know what’s in those suitcases.  
You know, the ones with the statues of people with missing pieces
Each person traveling…gazing in the distance…
And each holds a suitcase.
Its contents folded.  Hidden.  Locked away.

Bruno Catalano sculpture

I think that I know what’s in those suitcases because I know what’s in mine:
Tears, chills, spasms.
Heart-shaking cries of terror.  Loneliness.  Love.
All that I had wanted to leave behind is what I’ve been carrying all along.
It’s time for me to stop walking–I’m tired anyway.
It’s time to sit.  And unpack.
And lovingly allow all of my belongings to return to where they belong.
I’m already home.
Welcome home.
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Jonathan crafted this poem during the “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine” 7-day retreat at the Omega Institute, in Rhinebeck, NY, that we both attended, and which ran from June 10 to June 17, 2016. Saki Santorelli, one of the instructors, showed pictures of Bruno Catalano’s sculptures during his presentation, and those images inspired Jonathan to write this beautiful poem that I post here with his permission.
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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

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This is the best season of your life

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,

 a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,

this is the best season of your life.

~ Wumen Huikai

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Wumen Huikai (Japanese: Mumon Ekai) (1183–1260) is a Song period Chán (Japanese: Zen) master most famous as the compiler of and commentator on the 48-koan collection The Gateless Gate (Japanese: Mumonkan). Wumen was at that time the head monk of Longxiang (Japanese: Ryusho) monastery in China.

There are two primary collections of koans in Zen/Chán Buddhism: The Blue Cliff Records and The Gateless Gate. The Gateless Gate was first published in 1228 and consists of 48 koans compiled by WuMen Huikai with his commentary and poetic verse.

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The Great Way has no gate

The Great Way has no gate,
A thousand roads enter it.
When one passes through this gateless gate,
He freely walks between heaven and earth.

~ Wumen Huikai

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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

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One instant is eternity

One instant is eternity;
eternity is the now.
When you see through this one instant,
you see through the one who sees.

~ Wumen Huikai

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Buy my books at the Peaceful Ways online store

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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

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Who Am I When I Am Not?

1st Room – Karuna – Compassion

Who am I when I am not playing the character I have created?

Who am I when I am not imitating, impersonating, pretending? 

Who am I when I am not trying to please or impress?

Who am I when I am not obsessing with what to say and the right words to use? 

Who am I when I not striving to be perfect, wanting to be someone I am not?

2nd Room – Shanti – Calmness

Who am I when I am not thinking about what I like and dislike, what I approve and disapprove, what I want and don’t want?

Who am I when I am not wanting life to match my expectations, wishing the world and people in it to be as I would like them to be?

Who am I when I am not daydreaming pleasant fantasies, or daymaring scary dramas? 

Who am I when I am not plotting how to satisfy my cravings?

3rd Room – Bhodi – Awakening

Who am I when I am neither the one who is being observed, nor the one who observes?

Who am I when I am not who I think I am?

Who am I and who am I not? Who am I and who am I not, really?

Who am I beyond all the ideas I have about myself?

What remains after all that I think I am is gone?

~ Piero Falci

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6/15/2016 – Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY.

The genesis of this poem:

Today, Saki Santorelli, one of the instructors of the mindfulness retreat I am attending recited David Whyte’s “Enough,” a poem that I love very much, and that has been a companion in my life for many years now. He said, “David wrote this poem during a silent retreat when he was instructed, just as you were, not to write.” After a pause, Saki added, “Well, I guess that, actually, he was not writing; he was listening.” Well, I, too, listened to the words of this poem in the middle of the silence. What emerged and became evident during these days of silence was not so much my true self but my many false selves; not so much who I am, but much more who I am not. So, it made me ponder: “Who am I when I am not who I think I am?” At the end of the retreat, Saki mentioned that he was pondering on that question, and it made me think how we affect each other’s lives in unexpected ways. I am very grateful for the entire retreat experience, and deeply touched by the generosity of the instructors and participants.

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1/15/2017 – IMS – Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA.

This poem came to me, again, during a silent retreat at the Insight Meditation Society on January of 2017. Originally, I divided it in three free-form strophes and simply gave a number to each (1, 2, 3). More recently, I have been reflecting that although the use of the term would not be rigorously correct, I could refer to each part as a stanza (the word means room, in Italian. See the definition of the term below). And since every morning during this last week I walked through the corridors that give access to the bedrooms of Karuna (Compassion), Shanti (Calmness) and Bhodi (Awakening), the three dormitories at IMS, sounding the bell in the early hours of the day to wake up the retreatants, I felt called to include those names in this poem as a way of reminding me to honor this journey we are in.

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Stanza – In poetry, a stanza (from Italian stanza, “room”) is a grouped set of lines within a poem. Stanzas can have regular rhyme and metrical schemes, though stanzas are not strictly required to have either. The term stanza is similar to strophe, though strophe is sometimes used to refer to irregular set of lines, as opposed to regular, rhymed stanzas.

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Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

I Tried to Know Myself

For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

~ Rumi

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Let’s stay in touch.

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Buy my books at the Peaceful Ways online store

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Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.peacefulways.org

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