Creating an Enchanted Oasis in a World Where Violence Too Often Occurs

Enchanted 1955

I had planned to share a post on symbols of enchantment today, but with the latest tragic gun violence in Colorado last night, it seemed appropriate to talk about the challenges of daring to live an enchanting life when we live in a world that is filled with injustice, tragedy, and senseless actions of the few that affect the many.

Whether we see senseless violence in the world or ongoing injustices, we can feel that creating peace and beauty for ourselves is frivolous or a way of burying our heads in the sand.

I felt a tinge of guilt for my own prosperity when I was reading Behind the beautiful forevers Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity  a book by the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Katherine Boo, about life in the slums of India.  She spent four years observing Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport.  As I read the book, I couldn’t help but be struck by the injustice of so much wealth juxtaposed next to such dire poverty.  For most of us, the way forward is not to all become impoverished but bring balance to our abundance and prosperity.

Yesterday, I heard a riveting radio program that talked about research that has shown that countries where income inequality is high experience increases in a large number of undesirable effects including mental illness, while countries with greater income balance experience more of the good things we all want. In my other blog, I wrote about the increasing amounts of data pointing to the societal problems caused from income inequality in America and other countries around the world.   You might be surprised to find how poorly America shows up on the income inequality scale, or maybe you wouldn’t if you have been paying attention to what has been happening in this country during the last 30 years.

We are living in a time when the questions for all of us include:

  1. How do we keep our heart and mind open to the injustices and tragedies in the world, at the same time that we allow ourselves to experience and create enchantment in our own lives?
  2. Can we use positive thinking and prayers to change the inequities in the world around us?
  3. Is there a change we feel called to make in our own lifestyle?
  4. How can we improve lives for ourselves and help others when we live in less than ideal cultures and social systems?
  5. Can we do something to change the inequalities in our own world?

When I hear or read about a tragic event like the shooting in Colorado, I choose to focus not only on the causes of the senseless violence, but on the outpouring of the kindness of strangers to those who have been hurt.  There is so much goodness in the world, and we need to remember that too.

The enchanted symbols that I’ll return to discussing tomorrow can help us realize that our questions are the same ones that humans have struggled to answer for millennia.  Perhaps seeking a more enchanting life individually can lead to new understandings of how to create a better world for all of us.

The Vulnerability of the Enchanted Heart

English: Ilustration of "The Emperor's Ne...

English: Ilustration of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Español: Ilustración del cuento El traje nuevo del emperador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the great paradoxes of living a life aligned with the enchanted part of our human nature is that we must be vulnerable to create enchantment.

How many fairy tales involve the vulnerable one — whether a young child, a princess or simple thinker — who drinks the poison, takes the road no wise person would take, or dares to say the Emperor has no clothes? It is almost universally the vulnerable heroes and heroines who save the day and return enchantment to the land.

We live in a time, like all others in human history, where we can create an enchanted world as long as there are those of us who are willing to be vulnerable in service of love, truth, beauty or whatever ideal(s) calls to us.

This is a good time to contemplate what vulnerability means to you in both your life and writing.  Where has your vulnerability been the key to the enchantment moments of your life? How might your vulnerability be your strength now?

Today, dare to ask for help, express your feelings, admit that you don’t know how to proceed and release your need to be in control.

See if you can create some new small or large moment of enchantment in your world by opening up to your vulnerability.  The world is depending upon you to listen to the vulnerability of your enchanted heart.

The Beauty of Sad Times

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.
Charles Dickens
Sometimes change is gentle, sometimes it is not.  Seasons of loss can come upon us at any time.

The last week and a half have been one of those times when my family felt the highs and lows of life with a beloved pet.  As I mentioned in a post last week our beloved Lhasa Apso, Ginger has been ill.  We’ve been on a roller coaster of seeing her get better and then take a turn for the worse, over and over. Ginger has been on every medication imaginable to address a wide host of diseases, and the truth is the totality of her symptoms don’t match up to any normal disease.  She’s young to be experiencing disease the ways she is now.

Yesterday Ginger embodied many symptoms of a dog that was dying.  She wouldn’t eat, she couldn’t stand up, she was trembling, and had a sad vacant look in her eyes.  The veterinarian had warned me that she was in bad shape, and let me make the call to take her home.  I basically expected that we would be watching her die.  Both of my boys kept asking me if a miracle could happen, and I’d say yes.  Then, they would ask if I thought she was going to die soon, and I’d also say yes.

We all ended up keeping a watch on her until 4 am.  We spent hours crying, and in some ways became closer than we have been in a long time with each other. At one point, my youngest son asked if we could do anything to more to help her.  So, I suggested that we pick a healing angel card and ask the oracle what could we do for Ginger.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, I picked the Enchantment card.  I’m not making this up for those of you have been reading my recent posts on the Enchanted Oasis.   I took the card as an indication that I better walk my talk about what I’m recommending to others.

The advice on this Enchantment card was:

Recapture your childlike sense of wonder and awe.   View the world as a magical place. Ask God and the angels to help you with anything — small or large.

Certainly, I was already praying, but I prayed some more last night after seeing this card and decided to believe that anything was possible.  I also decided that as difficult as it is to do when a beloved is sick, there are still ways to create enchantment and magic for those we love.

And today Ginger provided her own enchantment for us.

This morning,  I went in another room to get a glass of water and returned to find Ginger perked up, with her eyes clear and wagging her tail.   She is so used to following me all over the house,  she was trying to do that. She looked like her normal self, except she was still to weak to walk.  Yet, I was able to carry her outside to do her business and she did this morning, something she couldn’t do yesterday.  To me, all of this was a kind of magic.

Since Ginger looked much better, I woke up the boys around 8:30 so they could see her in a lucid condition at least once more.  We decided she was well enough to create perhaps one last bit of enchantment in Ginger’s life and placed her in a Radio Flyer wagon and took her on a walk around the block so that she could feel the summer breeze on her face and see the places she loved to walk so much.  She was clearly happy to do this, even though it also exhausted her.

Ginger still looks better now, but it’s hard to know if she is recovering in some way or just having a good moment.

All of this reminds me of when my father was sick with Alzheimer’s Disease, and what it was like to spend his last hours on earth with him.  Moments of deep sadness rarely feel like enchanting ones.  But there was so much around my being present for my father’s death that now looks enchanting to me.

If we look for it, and make some effort to create it, there is an enchanting beauty even in our most sorrowful times.

And thank you.  I truly believe that all of your prayers and kind wishes have made a difference for Ginger whatever her outcome. My family thanks you from the bottom of our heart for the magic of your kindness.