Reflections – Sunday, August 21, 2016

Carol A. Hand

Know the Tao
Without leaving your doorstep
See its face
Reflected in the window
To seek it outside
Is to leave it behind.”
(Dreyer, 1990, The Tao of Inner Peace, p. 49)

I’m grateful for the almost five year respite I’ve had to simply observe life from the safety of my little home on the outskirts of a city. Living simply, alone, has given me an opportunity to contemplate many things, including the meaning of praxis. It’s not enough to acquire wisdom and knowledge without action. It is truly unwise to act without knowledge. And it’s hubris to assume that one has the answers for others. One needs to engage with others in dialogue to uncover meaning and possibilities and play a role in building authentic collaborative transformative actions.

“It is not enough for people to come together in dialogue in order to gain knowledge of their social reality. They must act together upon their environment in order critically to reflect upon their reality and so transform it through further action and critical reflection.” (Paulo Freire)

Blogging has helped me begin the processes of contemplation and re-engagement with the world. It’s helped me remember another time when I set off with little more than the clothes on my back and an infant daughter to begin the journey.

commune

Commune Life: 1973

Ultimately, that journey taught me many things. It helped me realize how important it is to share what we’ve learned with others, simple though that knowledge may be. I don’t need to travel far. I just need to be willing to reach out to others. To share knowledge, wisdom and skills honed by overcoming challenges and surviving suffering by offering what I’ve learned to others in whatever ways I can while respecting their perspectives and learning from them.

I’m grateful for the technology that makes it possible for us to join together to understand and resolve the divisions that keep us apart so all people, everywhere, can join in joyful song to call into existence the life of peace and community we are all meant to share.

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Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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31 Responses to Reflections – Sunday, August 21, 2016

  1. sojourner says:

    I needed to hear your message today, Carol. I have been, once again, considering quitting blogging.

    I often times look for a sign of some kind, some inkling from someone or somewhere, when I cannot reason out what I should do. And your post, here, feels like one of these signs. So I will press on, even though, at the moment, it seems futile to continue.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for your thoughtful words, Dave. I wondered if I should post this, but I felt like I needed to explain my new “gravatar.”

      I know I don’t visit your blog as often as I would like, but I always learn something important when I do. I’m glad to know you’ve decided to continue ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Carol, through your blog I was exposed to the experience of Native American life. Your knowledge and reflections have enriched my life. I can say the same for several other blogging friends here in the US and across the world.

    In sharing our personal stories, we bridge the divide between us. We build hope and love.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Hi, Carol, I’ve missed many of your blogs, due to my old pappy having to do a short stint in our local hospital. The old sock was diagnosed with what the nurses cheerfully call, “A. Fib.” When old pap’s old co-workers heard about this situation, they were very sympathetic, saying, “why you old rascal, what do you mean a fib? You used to tell at least a dozen of them a week!!” Old pap is back home with me now, though, and, though a bit reluctantly, typing up my blogs again. BTW, thank you for your kind words to our mutual friend, JC, over in Sveden, who seems depressed by the unhappy times we are experiencing. Please keep your messages of hope and love coming for all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. smilecalm says:

    wonderful to accept
    joyful wisdom
    cultivated
    during your
    contemplation, Carol 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. isabellaesthermariarose says:

    Very profound reflections, Carol. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights. ♥

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sha'Tara says:

    Thank you for this, Carol. A truthful article. Quote: ” I don’t need to travel far. I just need to be willing to reach out to others. ” This expresses a turning against the basis of social interaction which is oppressive, suppressive, controlling and selfish. It is the basis for compassion. They would have you believe that you need to go half-way around the world to alleviate some kind of social dysfunction – because they don’t want you to see it next door, and they need you to spend your money on travel and re-location, and they need to feed your ego – the basis of all missionary and so-called charitable activity. Compassion has no ego because it has no need. It gives, it never asks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such important insights, Sha’Tara. It made me think about the often-judgmental advice I read frequently these days. “Take to the streets to protest a broken system,” with an underlying implicit message – “if you don’t do what I say, you are part of the problem.” Action that is uninformed by knowledge may sometimes work – just as stopped clocks are right twice a day. But I much prefer Ojibwe wisdom – “Be moderate in all things. Watch, listen, and consider – your deeds will be prudent.”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. wolfegeo says:

    Hugs. After reading this post and the comments from others around the world that’s all I can think of to say. Hugs to you Carol and to all the friends you’ve made around the world.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. hsampson says:

    Carol! This was beautiful. All I can say is :Thank YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are one of those people, Carol, gifted with profound insights and great compassion. Your voice is important to me and others for so many reasons. I know how busy you are, but I’m so grateful for you and hope you continue to share yourself and your thoughts with a needing, hurting world. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sha'Tara says:

    I really like your example of the stopped clocks being “right” twice a day. But as you say, it’s uninformed “rightness” that can do much more harm than good. And, for the clock, there is no effort, no “thought” in the being right moment. Great analogy for the process of street demonstrations. Tomgram had an article yesterday mentioning to complete disappearance of the “great” global anti-war movement of 2003… That’s a perfect example of your stopped clock analogy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Sha’Tara. I like your phrase – “uninformed ‘rightness.'” (I also want to take this opportunity to let you know that I love the short stories you write. Your characters are so “real” and the stories so genuinely poignant and beautiful. They evoke a deep sense of compassion.)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Kathy says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Carol. Although I was not familiar with the term, ” praxis”, I am pretty familiar with the state it describes ( as it applies to myself). There’s a lot to ponder here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Kathy. It’s one of those words that sounds elitist and intimidating, but most people already know what it means from their own experiences and observations. Sadly, it’s something “experts” don’t seem to understand…

      Liked by 1 person

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