Olives for Hope

If the world is ever going to come to peace,
humanity can no longer be recognized 
on a case by case basis.


That which is hidden

Posted on August 20, 2011 at 12:15 AM

 Each one of us has something to do here that can be done by no one else. If someone else could fulfill your destiny, then they would be in your place, and you would not be here. It is in the depths of your life that you will discover the invisible necessity that has brought you here. When you begin to decipher this, your gift and giftedness come alive. Your heart quickens and the urgency of living rekindles your creativity. ~ Anam Cara, John O'Donahue

I have spoken and written many times about my belief that each one of us has a special concern laid on our hearts. Recently I had the honor of speaking to several young people about that belief and how I am following my path. I encouraged them to find that thing that calls them forward into joy. It was good to be reminded of that as my preparations to leave in September feel very scattered amongst everything else I have to do before then.

Several friends have read and loved Ekhart Tolle's books. I have both "A New Earth" and "The Power of Now". The problem is I have never been able to read very far in either book. (I have also never gotten past the first chapter in the first book of Harry Potter  (another series of books I feel that I am supposed to like). Tolle comes across to me as completely arrogant and detached from his own humanity. The tag line for his official (for fee) website is "Experience his teachings and find inner peace". I could be wrong, like I said I have not read much of either book. John O'Donahue, on the other hand writes with a warmth and generosity of spirit that draws me in and on to the next page. I am rereading his book Anam Cara which I actually recommended last week to the professor teaching my spirituality in counseling section of residency.

I often think the inner world is like a landscape. Here in our limestone landscape there are endless surprises. It is lovely to be on top of a mountain and to discover a spring well gushing from beneath the heavy rocks. Such a well has a long biography of darkness and silence. - J.O'D.

This week I am camping in northern Michigan finishing up my end of quarter projects. I understand why writers choose special places to write. The opportunity to embrace solitude and to concentrate on just one or two things is wonderful. Even though all of the other shoulds are waiting to ambush me when I get home, and the fact that leaving for Palestine is just over a month away has me near panic (sooo much to do!), sitting here watching the ripples on the lake helps to navigate that inner landscape that O'Donahue describes.

It reminds me of the village lights in Galilee that I am so fond of. If you focus on each light it seems individual and separate, but if you widen your view you can see a beautiful puddle of light. And then if you widen your view even farther you can see how each light puddle is connected to the next with a river of light. In life it is not so different. We can choose to see the events of our lives as unconnected bits of our history, or we can widen our view to see the connectedness that creates the landscape of our soul.

There is such an intimate connection between the way we look at things and what we actually discover. If you can learn to look at yourself and your life in a gentle, creative and adventurous way, you will be eternally surprised at what you find. - J.O'D.

There have been a couple of comments made to me recently that knocked me back a little. Some people seem supportive at first and then something else starts to leak out. I could choose to look at my involvement with Israel/Palestine through their eyes, as a "one of event", disconnected from the rest of my life experiences. But, by standing on the shore of solitude, I can see how everything is coming together and preparing me for the next chapter.

I started out in my twenties thinking my life would unfold a certain way. Those expectations led me down one path which divided into another and yet another again. Somewhere along the way those experiences (and some wonderful friends) prepared me to say yes to Palestine. In figuring out how to move that passion to the next phase I find myself back in school. Now I am starting to see how these seemingly separate threads are coming together.

We are earthen vessels that hold the treasure. Yet, aspects of the treasure are darker and more dangerous than we allow ourselves to imagine.- J.O'D.

Of course, I have hopes for this trip and I know some of them will come to disappointment, and some things may take me to those dangerous inner spaces, however the light continues to get brighter and I am excited to see where it leads me.

Now, back to the practical - finishing a term paper and oh yeah, fundraising!

"life unfolds itself in mysteries ways." - Khalil Gibran


Categories: Random Thoughts, Olive Harvest 2011