Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Remembering A Rumi Poem

Reading the Rumi poem "Begin" reminded me of the time in my life when I often read his poems when I lead workshops for men in the 1990's. My favorite poem to recite was:

These spiritual window-shoppers,
who idly ask, 'How much is that?' Oh, I'm just looking.
They handle a hundred items and put them down,
shadows with no capital.

What is spent is love and two eyes wet with weeping.
But these walk into a shop,
and their whole lives pass suddenly in that moment,
in that shop.

Where did you go? "Nowhere."
What did you have to eat? "Nothing much."

Even if you don't know what you want,
buy something, to be part of the exchanging flow.

Start a huge, foolish project,
like Noah.

It makes absolutely no difference
what people think of you.

Those last lines aways surprised people and blew me away when I first read them. Of course, they were counter to everything my Minnesota Lutheran "nice boy" upbringing had taught me. It has been a longtime challenge to get to a place even close to living Rumi's words ... "It makes absolutely no difference what people think of you."

As far as starting "a huge foolish project, like Noah," I haven't identified a metaphorical "ark" to build yet (or the water hasn't risen high enough -- or gotten deep enough -- for me to get the message!).

Have you created "a huge foolish project" during your lifetime? No matter how it turned out, I encourage you to write about it in your ethical will. And, if you have such a project in mind, get it started ... and make it part of your life legacy!

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Some Rumi Wisdom

In the hospice volunteer newsletter I received today was a little Rumi poem with "life legacy" wisdom:


This is now. Now is,
all there is. Don't wait for Then;
strike the spark, light the fire.

Sit at the Beloved's table,
feast with gusto, drink your fill

then dance
the way branches
of jasmine and cypress
dance in a spring wind.

The green earth
is your cloth;
tailor your robe
with dignity and grace.

~ Rumi ~

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Best Advice You Actually Followed

I read an interview with author Chang-rae Lee last month in which the interviewer asked him a great question:

The best piece of advice you actually followed?

His answer:

"Honor what you love, whether it's a person or vocation or idea."

Lee's mentor and good friend, poet Garrett Hongo, gave him that advice.

Knowing and doing "what I love" is the best guide I've found for living a contented life. Seems like it took me way too many years to realize that truth. But I'm grateful that I learned that life lesson before I'm on my deathbed ... and that I've had more years to "practice" than I ever expected.

What's the best advice you received that you actually followed?

Photo Credit: Denise Applewhite

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Time for a "New Look"

Since starting this blog four years ago, I haven't changed the "look" of the layout and color schemes. It's time for a more expansive layout that uses the whole screen page (which I find easier to read as my eyes age) plus allows larger photos and video screens.

I expect to begin writing more often about life legacy issues as my other work projects slow down in June for the summer.

Let me know what you're thinking about in regard to your life legacy or for creating your ethical will.

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