May 14, 2004

Of children, hearts and hope

Pina writes:

"Here's something that gave my faith in humanity a boost... I hope it gives you joy, too."

Me too! Watching or reading the news we get few reminders of how good the world really is - and it is really good. Pina continues:.

On Tuesday, Alma's and Leo's school participated in a "physical activity day" in one of the big parks here. It was fun, we all worked up a sweat doing aerobics led by funky chicks in silver wigs ;-) But the real "pay-off" came later.

Because Alma's teacher, Brid Keaveney-Sharp from Ireland, is one of those rare birds who's actually curious about the world around her, 1st grade lingered in the park for a while after the event was over and the other classes had left. On our walk we discovered a small exhibit, set up inside a container, by Doctors without Borders. It was about what people had taken with them when they were forced, suddenly, to abandon their homes. The children were fascinated! Why had the people in the exhibit, many of them children like themselves, chosen to take these particular things?

  • A key? In the hope of returning home one day, someone suggested.
  • A piece of cloth? To wrap the baby in, one child speculated.
  • A doll? For comfort, of course.

Since our children go to an international school, we were also able to speak of connections to their own lives. There were quite a few objects from Chechnya, for instance, which inspired Zhenya, from Bella Russe, to speak at length about his own country. And when Seif from Sudan saw a picture of a boy from his native land, he told his classmates about children begging in the streets and of giving them money. And, of course, he wanted to know the boy's name. Jacob.

And the idea of "what would I take with me if I had to flee?" really sparked the children's imaginations.

Afterwards Brid reminded the children that the class had about 65 dollars left of the bake sale money that they had earned earlier in the year. She suggested that it might be a nice a idea to donate this money to Doctors without Borders, since they work to help children who do not have nearly as much as we have here. The children ALL agreed! And they donated the money there and then, with great enthusiasm. I asked the nurse in charge of the exhibit to tell the kids what could be bought with the money they had just given. They were transfixed when she explained that they would buy very simple things: soap, blankets, vaccinations... Things we take for granted.

The kids were very happy afterwards. Joyous, I'd say. And we were very proud of them.

Posted by Greg Stone at 08:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 12, 2004

Just be yourself

Pina wrote recently from Sweden:

In a sudden lull admidst the mild chaos of being home with two sick kids, I had time to read an email from a friend and found the words below. Thought I'd share them with you... Good words (regardless how you feel about Osho, if you even know who he is).

Nope - I don't know who he is and I don't think I want to know. I like what he wrote and I'm afraid if I knew who he was maybe I wouldn't, so . . . he references "humble marigolds." Well I didn't have any photos of them. But I do have this close-up of the humble flower my mother used to call a "Confederate violet." The actual flower is about the size of your thumbnail - maybe smaller. Hope it will do. ;-)

"No, the ecstasy comes from the phenomenon, the miracle of flowering, opening."

(Click on image to enlarge.)

Just be yourself, utterly yourself. And don't be bothered by what kind of flower you turn out to be.

It does not matter whether you are a rose or a lotus or a marigold. It does not matter.

What matters is flowering.

Let me repeat: the flower does not matter, what matters is flowering, and the flowering is the same whether it is a marigold... The marigold is a poor flower. I don't know about here, but in India the marigold is the poorest flower. Just to give him consolation perhaps, we call him marigold, otherwise it is a poor flower. Roses are rich people, lotuses are just super-rich!

But it does not matter.

When the marigold opens up there is the same ecstasy surrounding it as when a rose opens up.

There is no difference in the ecstasy, because the ecstasy comes neither from the color nor from the fragrance, nor from the size. No, the ecstasy comes from the phenomenon, the miracle of flowering, opening.

The marigold has become a marigold, it was its destiny. The rose has become a rose, it was its destiny. Both are fulfilled. That fulfillment is exactly equal.

The moment you become yourself you will not be me, you will not be Christ, you will not be Krishna; you will be yourself. But the ecstasy that surrounds me will sorround you.
Osho: from Personality to Individuality

Posted by Greg Stone at 09:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack