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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

The High Road

This morning I was reflecting on the notion of “the high road.” I have always loved this line from poet Edwin Markham:

“He drew a circle that shut me out-

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him in.”

Though I don’t totally resonate with the “wit to win” part, the sense of how love can always draw a larger circle to take the other in is a profound pointing for me.

A few weeks ago, Erin wrote of this inquiry of “what would love do?” Love takes the high road. Love doesn’t talk shit about other people.

It is certainly not easy. Recently, an old friend sent me an email that was a clear circle that shut me out. It hurt intensely to feel someone judging me, criticizing me, putting me into a box. My reflex response was to want to defend, to draw a better, more intelligent circle that that shut him out.

But it is like the Native American story about the two wolves that live inside us: One that embodies our values, our sense of wholeness and connection, and one that embodies our reactivity, our isolation and separation. The one that grows is the one I feed. My old friend’s judgment still hurts and is raw and tender, but still, that old friend is well inside my circle of caring.

Can there be a circle that includes those with whom I disagree?

Those with different values?

Those who have caused harm?

another gem from Hafiz:

Elegance

Is not easy
To stop thinking ill
Of others.

Usually one must enter into a friendship
With a person

Who has accomplished that great feat himself.
Then

Something
Might start to rub off on you
Of that

True
Elegance

I have so much gratitude for those friends and teachers in my life who embody that True Elegance, who don’t spend the precious resource of attention thinking and speaking ill of others.

May that elegance rub off on us, and from us to others…

Best,
Carl

p.s. We had a wonderful time at our “Good Foundation” workshop last weekend. For those of you who were not able to be there, we have recordings of that class, and two other recent workshops that are available for you to download below.

A Good Foundation: Lessons for the Feet, Ankles, Knees and Hips.
4 lessons, $30 click  here to download

Free The Pelvis
4 lessons $30 click here to download

Your Ribs Are Not a Cage
4 lessons $30 click here to download

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