Greetings, Dear Ones,
It has been almost nine months since my last contribution to this newsletter and much has happened since then for all of us. I have missed being able to write to you but have been deeply immersed in a kind of spiritual service that has taken me away from this form of expression. During these months, and still, I have followed the news with less detailed attention than previously, yet even so, am still aware of the many strong currents pulling Americans in different directions and pulling the world in different directions as it has tried to respond to natural crises in Indonesia and Pakistan, and man-made crises in Iraq and elsewhere. There are many who suffer with a sense of oppression in response to the difficulties that the U.S. is presently going through, who do not see a way out of these difficulties. Some see the war in Iraq as the only alternative to terrorism; others feel that the war in Iraq embodies much of the same motivation as that of the terrorists themselves. Many are discouraged by a bleak perspective when looking at both national and international events.
In the midst of this, what is important to hold onto is the understanding that just as the darkness is strengthening in its display on the world stage, so, too, is the light strengthening - the light whose intensity is, in fact, calling forth the darkness from the places where it has lain hidden or dormant. This is the reason for the upsurge in what look like random and unrelated acts of violence and cruelty - to civilians in Iraq by Iraqis, to 'detainees' and non-combatants in Iraq by American-led forces, to prisoners in secret and not-so-secret American prisons, and within the U.S. itself where school killings have once again made headines in recent months. All of these unrelated acts are fueled by energies that live as potential within us until they explode upon the scene - the energy of aggression in service to power, the energy of hatred and of rage that fuels violence. These are less well-contained now, in some, because of the increase in spiritual light which causes them to be more available to consciousness with less inhibiting their expression. This is the nature of purification on an individual and on a global level, and it is important for us to understand it without discouragement and without fear, but with a sense of being able to hold fast to the light within us as a way of moving through this time.
Holding fast involves a determination to be part of the future rather than of the past, to be part of a new vibration of light that is more strongly available now than it has ever been before. With this in mind, I have had the opportunity within the last several months to write from the perspective of this new vibration. What has come forth are some poems for both children and adults which reflect this new energy, and also a poem about America which I will share with you here. I decided to open this new series of newsletters with "I Am America" because at a time of heightened political rhetoric and rancor, at a time of what feels like looming crisis on the horizon, it is an expression of the 'heart' of America - devoid of politics and rancor, reflecting the innocence and idealism that is at this nation's core. Upon looking at it, and not with conscious intention, I found that "I Am America" points out the difference in various arenas between ideals and practice, between innocence and the corruption of innocence. It is, I believe, a hymn to America in its pure state or essence. I offer it to you in the hope that it will help create hope, and a way of seeing through the present challenges we face toward the purity that lies at America's heart.
I AM AMERICA
I am America.
I am blueberry muffins and eggs-over-easy in silverfoil diners
with blue neon signs and newspapers out front,
Where the regulars come to fill up on warmth and
the everpresent feeling of family,
I am picnic baskets made of straw, and tall grass with milkweed,
worn blankets to sit on, and the smell of new mown hay
drifting past from a farm nearby,
I am playgrounds with rusty swings and ancient maple trees,
and water fountains with bubbly spouts
that little children gleefully reach toward
as they try to catch the moving water with their tongues,
I am fourth-of-July parades, and lawn chairs, and iced tea on the front porch, and the smell of chicken roasting in the oven,
and friends coming over for coffee and fresh-baked pie and a little talk,
I am polka festivals and Saturday-night dancing
with Hank Tomarr and the Harmonics,
and clean white shirts at Sunday church,
and innocence, not arrogance,
I am rolling hills, and dirty streets, and windswept plains,
and airless apartments in cities that are always lit,
whose elegance lies in ancient fire escapes
that are havens in the summer heat,
I am chlorine-blue city pools, and laughter of children,
and washrooms that smell of disinfectant,
and young mothers with the eyes of eagles watching their young,
I am the suffering of the lonely, of the hungry, of the dreamless
who live without hope, and who hope only to escape
from the dreamlessness,
I am the icons of the fast-food world - hamburgers and cokes,
pizza and buffalo wings, french fries and happy meals,
I am speed of life wanting more and more speed,
striving for more and more doing,
no time to sit, no time to listen, no time,
And I am lazy days of going nowhere, of wondering what it all means,
of waking up, for a moment, beyond the things I do,
into a wondering of who I am.
I am freedom. I am possibility. I am golden opportunity
knocking at the door at every moment,
And I am also the closed and silent door for the many who strive
to hear the sound of opportunity but cannot,
I am prayer and I am gratitude - to that which watches over freedom
and creates endless possibility - to the Source of life itself.
I am America.
I am strong, I am proud, I am weak, I am vain,
I am childlike, I am brash, I am plainspoken, I am noble,
I am wise, I am foolish, I am young, I am ancient,
I am the flame of endless possibility -
the golden promise of an open-ended Life.
I am America.
I am aging vinyl curtains that frame the voting booths
in tree-lined towns in Mississipi, Missouri, Delaware and New Jersey,
the curtained booths that contain the seeds of democracy
given new life with every pull to close them,
I am ten thousand newspapers with glaring headlines
and pictures of those involved in the latest scandal
that unbridled power creates,
the latest corruption, the latest unthinking act of indifference,
I am the stories of violence heaped on violence, heaped on violence,
the latest murder, the latest tragic loss of life, the latest act of despair,
I am the victims of anger, of forgetfulness, of spiritual eclipse,
and the perpetrators as well,
I am their expression, and I am their healing,
I am America.
I am the flags waving in front yards or hung in trees
beside worn clapboard houses,
Their red, white, and blue proudly displayed,
even when nothing else of the house stands out with pride,
I am tunes on the radio that come in long drinks -
the twang of strings and guitar singing the seasons of the heart,
the soulful landscape of love and loss,
of hope and betrayal, of life and death,
I am the reflection within all of the poignant and tender search
for grace and redemption,
the goal of the promised land, the land of ease, the promise of peace.
I am America.
I am the land of plenty,
I am pancakes in the morning with syrup running across warm plates,
and raspberries in winter,
and oranges and apples shipped from around the world,
and big cars, and closets full of clothing,
and stores bulging with more than anyone has a right to desire,
I am also the land of poverty,
where children go hungry amidst the plenty,
where the silent cry of despair hovers over families
that cannot make ends meet,
who suffer even more to see all that others throw away,
I am one nation but live as two, with part of me invisible to the rest,
obscured by a shroud of denial -
the denial of a heart that fears to lose what it has gained
so that others may have,
I am America.
I am rich, I am poor. I am noble, I am callous.
I am inspired, I am numb. I am generous, I am selfish.
I am, in the end, growing, as a child grows, as a tree grows,
as the world grows, out of what has been into what will be,
Becoming the light and form of my destiny.
The present series of newsletters will come to you on a less regular basis than previously, so please look for the messages in your mailbox.
I look forward to receiving your comments on this
or other newsletters at: JR@lightomega.org.
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