Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monkey Law

I ran across the idea of monkey law the other day. When certain monkeys go from tree to tree, they have a firm hand or tail on the next branch before they let the old one go. How many of us live by monkey law? Sometimes, its important to know that you have a firm grasp on the future before you release your past. And every so often it is important to take the leap of faith, reaching out to the future while letting go of the past especially if that past has been painful. Letting go in order to reach for a new hope may be just the kind of faith we need.

with grace and grit, John

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Other Economies

As I ponder the rapid rise of the stock market juxtaposed as it is to the even more rapid rise in unemployment, I have to ask myself, which economy are we measuring? The GDP has started growing but our DHH (Domestic Human Happiness) is falling. When are we going to learn that more "stuff" is not more fulfillment?

As we approach thanksgiving, that most American of holidays, I would ask you to consider not only giving thanks for what makes you happy (and I would guess its not more things) but also to consider dedicating a portion of your energy to growing our other economies; the barter of kindness we show those we love, the exchange of time to help those in need, and the giving of your talent and money to change the world for future generations.

What we don't need is another gadget, what we do need is a longer view: to see the world as finite and our responsibility to is to pay it forward for the generations to come.

With grace and grit, John

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lights Out

She died last week, All Saints day, just before church.  Into her eighties, hers was a life well lived.  I am still humbled by death.  Two days earlier I had sat by her side and we talked about final things.  Two days hence she had left her shell for other climes.  At her side I asked her what she thinks happens after she dies.  Its always a little scary asking that question.  She took off the breathing mask and said "I believe this is the only life I have to live.  Lights out."  She had no regrets, after a long life, six children, twelve grandchildren, she knew she would live on through them.  We said our good-byes. 

Preparing for her Memorial Service I pondered her brave appraisal of the great beyond; "light out", seemed so, well, final.  That was her faith and she went bravely forth into the unknown.  Regardless of what I believe, the grace of that moment was that her light did go out, at least as far as her body was concerned.  But, at the very least, since energy is neither created or destroyed, her light went out only to flicker on somewhere else in the cosmos.  We may not ever know heaven, but we can rest in the assurance that the grace of the cosmos returns us to the star stuff from which we came.

With grace and grit,  John

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's in a name?

Welcome to my new blog! I chose to name this "Facing Grace" because I believe we need to boldly come face to face with the grace of the Cosmos. Grace is a word too lightly used in our time but has tremendous depth of meaning. There is, of course, a certain elegance to the very sound of grace but in its deeper meaning, grace are those unearned gifts of life that both comfort and afflict us. We often think of grace as a positive but we can just as easily find ourselves the recipients of a harsher, brighter, even more painful gift. We lose our jobs and find our very souls torn asunder until we see the opening that lose has provided. Even the great "C", cancer, can open us to seeing the world more clearly than ever before, or bring family together in new ways. In facing grace we might have to first face the possibility that what befalls us may not be about us at all....

One more thought: when naming this blog, Denise Shiozawa of Ume Works, my colleague and designer, told me the "facinggrace" had already been taken so she added a hyphen between the two. That little hyphen is even better! It represents all that keeps us separate from knowing grace in our lives. It reminds me that grace is always surrounded by some grit, in the words of Ken Wilber, it takes both "Grace and Grit", to know the beautiful truth of being alive.

Welcome! John Morehouse