In Sweet Company

In Sweet Company

It’s All Good

“I have a willingness to see that even in the midst of bad times, there is something good somewhere that I can appreciate. This facility has allowed me to have quite a wonderful, productive life.” — Katherine Dunham, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE

I collect quotes, pearls of wisdom, pronouncements about what my heart finds beautiful and true. I scribble them on errant scraps of paper and crumpled gum wrappers then tape these precious little jewels on my refrigerator, my computer, my mirror — on all the flat surfaces of my life to puff them up. 

Today, I came across a quote I actually discovered several years ago, a lovely strand of words that have opened my heart like a flower on more than one occasion. Life is like that sometimes; when you least expect it, it will tell you its secrets.


This is the quote that revisited me today: “Even within the Great Openness, the limitations of the world must be loved and respected.” 

What these words mean to me is that God — the Great Openness that is unobstructed beyond all measure — is present and unconstrained, awake and ready even in the darkness and in the ties that bind.

Learning to love and respect this aspect of God is an acquired taste, one that is totally dependent on my perspective in the present moment — a process akin to what quantum physicists refer to as “wave -particle delusion,” i.e. sometimes energy appears to be a wave, sometimes it appears to be a particle, but no matter which way you look at it, it’s inherently the same energy. Or, as I often say to my self when I feel restricted by any number of the world’s limitations, “Margaret, if you really believe God is omnipresent what’s the problem here?” 


The problem, of course is always me — that I do not yet love and respect my current limitation, that I see lemons rather than lemonade, that I forget how my past limitations always always always — eventually — catapult me into the Great Openness. It takes time to develop the ability to move from static, riveted “particle awareness” and surf the liquidity of the wave. It takes practice. But, as Miriam Polster, the brilliant and beloved psychotherapist I interviewed for IN SWEET COMPANY said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” (This, too, is a quote worth collecting.)

Leadership doyenne Margaret Wheatley, another woman I talked with for IN SWEET COMPANY, added to my quote stash one fine day when we talked about what she calls “the necessary heart of chaos.” She said: “To see chaos as having a heart, as a loving process, is really foreign to our culture.  … When you’re trying to control the world as we are here in the West, trying to use life for your own ends … you end up thinking of chaos as your enemy. Chaos can release your creative power in the same way that necessity is the mother of invention. When things get extreme, when the old ways don’t work anymore, that’s when you get your most inventive.”


For me, the rub is getting to the other side of the necessity, the urgency, the chaos; waiting for the moment when the particle becomes the wave. I become impatient; I grumble. My mantra becomes, “Give me a break!” Today when I read this quote, it provides me with a new and unexpected grace: I realize I do not have to wait for hindsight or until something happens that shifts my consciousness to love and respect the limitations in my world. I can do it now. Right now. Right here. Done.

Your thoughts?

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posted September 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Hi Margaret,
Thanks for this reminder to perceive good in the midst of chaos. There is really nothing going on but good.
A friend had this quote on her page today: “Seek reasons to love. In every segment of every day look for something that brings forth within you a feeling of love.” – Abraham-Hicks
Blessings, Wendy

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posted September 20, 2010 at 11:49 am

Some years ago my wife uttered the same mantra, “Give me a break!” in response to a job and a boss, once elements of an appreciated career that had eventually come to a place which stifled her. The mantra was manifested – quite literally – when Cherie broke her ankle, the phrase “break with the past” echoing through her mind as she fell to the ground. This injury, the result of on the job wear and tear over the years, led to vocational rehabilitation through workers comp and several semesters of computer graphics classes. This prepared her for the essential task of creating all the art work for the “Folk of Yore” project which we had come to recognize as the outer culmination of both our lives’ work.
In the moments of what seems like chaos, there is always a plan, and if we listen carefully (“break with the past”) there is always a clue to what’s happening as well as guidance for what to do with the next moment(s). Of course that requires listening … and breaking the connection of ego to circumstance, filling that apparent void with a shift in focus to the inherent connection of soul with God.
It also helps to remember, there is no good or bad – outside the appearance of the moment – just the Process of our realization unfolding: the Journey.
As Master Armaton often says throughout “The Folk of Yore”, “All is well and wonderful!”

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