Embodied Life™ Newsletter Archive

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Remembering Innocence: A Christmas Wish

December 23, 2019

A Child is Born

She might have been two weeks old or even two months. Hard to tell from the tiny hand idly touching her mother's hair or the tender foot sticking out from the blanket. There, standing in the check out line at our local "Friends Market", I was mesmerized.

The young mother smiling contentedly with tired eyes held her little cherub with surprising ease, as if she had been doing this forever. Some trace the origins of motherly love to early mammals, who first embodied the capacity to care for others, even more than for themselves. Well beyond "competition for survival" and unbridled self-protection, a new possibility grew in our world - "cooperation for survival". Along with caring unconditionally for a baby, the earthshaking potential of "loving our neighbors as ourselves" was born.

Lost in my magical reverie, this little hand and foot evoked powerful feelings and images. Out of nowhere, I was imagining all the things this hand might touch over the next many years. How many grounds would that foot walk upon, carrying this particular human being through their unique, never replicated life?

Would they learn to touch things with care or violence?

Would they learn to stand up for others or only themselves?

Getting back in my car, hearing politicians on the radio spewing hatred, I was struck that we are ALL still these babes in arms. Beneath the words and aggression there is an innocent babe in each of us. We had and have this infinite potential for good and for malice. We have been shaped by the ground we walk upon, the situations we encounter and the decisions we make. Often, as people approach their death or encounter debilitating pain, this innocence becomes more visible once again. Did it ever really go away?

We are all responsible for our words and actions and, simultaneously, we are these innocent babes in arms, still trying to figure out how to live this one confusing and precious life. This thought helps me to overcome my fear and anger, especially when I hear powerful decision makers choosing greed and self-interest over care. Seeing the dormant, innocent babe, always alive within those with whom I vehemently disagree, keeps my heart from hardening. When anyone is exiled from my field of care, I suffer and Love itself suffers. How can I stand for my values without hate or exiling anyone from my field of care?

Isn't this the challenge and opportunity we face: standing up for the Good, the True and the Beautiful while seeing all life-alienating and destructive actions as faulty learning? Even the most violent are like you and me, vulnerable people trying to get their needs met in this very chaotic universe. Their tragic choices do not make them evil Beings. We can reject their actions without casting them out. This heart-opening view does not absolve people from responsibility for their actions or take away one's right to be angry. Still, can we see the innocent baby that lives in a perceived enemy

I remember briefly getting very angry with my daughter when she ran into a street chasing a ball. Of course, the anger was misplaced, layered on top of much deeper fear and the pain of imagined terrible consequences. Holding her crying, I just wanted her to be safe and our world to be safe. Listening to these politicians, something in me knows that deep down they want the same things for themselves, their children and grandchildren. They see the world so differently from me, yet actually under all that vitriol, we all want the same things. To see their innocence, their humanity is the lesson of this baby, and all babies on this reflective winter solstice, in the holiday season and for Christmas.

A babe is born in Bethlehem!

A radical reminder to stand up for Love above and beyond all else.

A babe is born in your neighborhood and mine!

A radical reminder to stand up for Love above and beyond all else.

How will our innocent hands touch things today?

What will we stand on and for?

Can the lesson of Love, as the greatest power in the world, live through each of us?

Can the lesson of Love, as the greatest power in the world, live through each of us?

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice and Happy Holydays....

Russell

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