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Issue #1307 - Thursday, January 2, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
Rachel Naomi Remen
Talking Stick Wisdom
In the Service of Life
Rachel Naomi Remen
In recent years the question how can I help? has become meaningful to
many people. But perhaps there is a deeper question we might consider.
Perhaps the real question is not how can I help? but how can I serve?
Serving is different from helping. Helping is based on inequality; it
is not a relationship between equals. When you help you use your own
strength to help those of lesser strength. If I'm attentive to what's
going on inside of me when I'm helping, I find that I'm always helping
someone who's not as strong as I am, who is needier than I am. People
feel this inequality. When we help we may inadvertently take away from
people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their
self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity and wholeness. When I help
I am very aware of my own strength. But we don't serve with our
strength, we serve with ourselves. We draw from all of our
experiences. Our limitations serve, our wounds serve, even our darkness
can serve. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others and the
wholeness in life. The wholeness in you is the same as the wholeness in
me. Service is a relationship between equals.
Helping incurs debt. When you help someone they owe you one. But
serving, like healing, is mutual. There is no debt. I am as served as
the person I am serving. When I help I have a feeling of satisfaction.
When I serve I have a feeling of gratitude. These are very different
Serving is also different from fixing. When I fix a person I perceive
them as broken, and their brokenness requires me to act. When I fix I
do not see the wholeness in the other person or trust the integrity of
the life in them. When I serve I see and trust that wholeness. It is
what I am responding to and collaborating with.
There is distance between ourselves and whatever or whomever we are
fixing. Fixing is a form of judgment. All judgment creates distance, a
disconnection, an experience of difference. In fixing there is an
inequality of expertise that can easily become a moral distance. We
cannot serve at a distance. We can only serve that to which we are
profoundly connected, that which we are willing to touch. This is
Mother Teresa's basic message. We serve life not because it is broken
but because it is holy.
If helping is an experience of strength, fixing is an experience of
mastery and expertise. Service, on the other hand, is an experience of
mystery, surrender and awe. A fixer has the illusion of being causal.
A server knows that he or she is being used and has a willingness to be
used in the service of something greater, something essentially
unknown. Fixing and helping are very personal; they are very
particular, concrete and specific. We fix and help many different
things in our lifetimes, but when we serve we are always serving the
same thing. Everyone who has ever served through the history of time
serves the same thing. We are servers of the wholeness and mystery in
The bottom line, of course, is that we can fix without serving. And we
can help without serving. And we can serve without fixing or helping.
I think I would go so far as to say that fixing and helping may often be
the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul. They may look
similar if you're watching from the outside, but the inner experience is
different. The outcome is often different, too.
Our service serves us as well as others. That which uses us strengthens
us. Over time, fixing and helping are draining, depleting. Over time
we burn out. Service is renewing.
When we serve, our work itself will sustain us.
Service rests on the basic premise that the nature of life is sacred,
that life is a holy mystery which has an unknown purpose. When we
serve, we know that we belong to life and to that purpose.
Fundamentally, helping, fixing and service are ways of seeing life.
When you help you see life as weak, when you fix, you see life as
broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. From the perspective of
service, we are all connected: All suffering is like my suffering and
all joy is like my joy. The impulse to serve emerges naturally and
inevitably from this way of seeing.
Lastly, fixing and helping are the basis of curing, but not of healing.
In 40 years of chronic illness I have been helped by many people and
fixed by a great many others who did not recognize my wholeness. All
that fixing and helping left me wounded in some important and
fundamental ways. Only service heals.
Reprinted from Noetic Sciences Review, Spring 1996
from The Other Syntax
"All I needed was to get your undivided attention. But how could
I have done that when you had such an undisciplined spirit? You
yourself told me time and time again that you stayed with me because
you found what I said about the world fascinating. What you didn't
know how to express was that the fascination that you felt was based
on the fact that you vaguely recognized every element I was talking
about. You thought that the vagueness was, of course, shamanism, and
you went for it, meaning you stayed."
"Do you do this to everybody, don Juan?"
"Not to everybody, because not everybody comes to me, and above
all, I'm not interested in everybody. I was and I am interested in
you, you alone. My teacher, the nagual Julian, tricked me in a
similar way. He tricked me with my sensuality and greed. He
promised to get me all the beautiful women who surrounded him, and he
promised to cover me with gold. He promised me a fortune, and I fell
Commentary on The Teachings of Don Juan
THE WHEEL OF TIME
The technique of ayurvedic massage has its speciality, as it
is done according to age, constitution, season, condition of agni
and ama. Taking into consideration all these factors, proper oils
Apply warm oil on both palms and start massaging with smooth strokes from middle of chin.
Place fingers under the jaw, keeping thumb on jaw line. Slightly open your mouth and then manipulate the chin and jaw area by pressing it up and releasing gently.
Place thumbs on the jaw at the chin with index and third finger underneath the jaw line. Apply pressure to top and inner part of jawbone. Make light and clockwise circles at temples.
Place index finger between lower lip and tip of chin. Open your mouth and make clockwise circles at these points. Continue the massage from cheeks to temples.
Place the tip of the index finger between nose and upper lip. Press gently. Then stroke from this point out on both sides up to the corners of the mouth. Then under the cheek bones to the top of the ear, over the year, base of the ear and where it touches the head to the bony bump (mastoid) behind the earlobe.
Place the index finger just above the base of the nostril. With small circular movements massage from this point up to the bony prominence behind the ear lobe, but from over the ear.
Start massaging from mid way between eyes and tip of nostrils. Direction of massage should be the same as above.
Starting at the inner end of the eye brow pinch along the eye brow to the outer edge with the help of index finger and thumb.
Stroke from the tip of the nose to the area pf the third eye, which lies between the eyebrows. Massage this area with gentle circular motion.
Massage the forehead by making zigzag motions from one side of the forehead to the other. Repeat this from left to right and then right to left.
Benefits of Facial Massage
Enhances nourishment and cleansing of facial tissues, which improves complexion.
Maintains good tone and elasticity to all skin layers, keeping the skin young and healthy.
Prevents aging of skin and formation of wrinkles.
Relieves facial tension and body stress.
Redirects subtle energies.
from NDS News Service
from The Oregonian
BEST BOOKS of 2002
POETS ON THE PEAKS John Suiter Counterpoint, $40, 352 pages
Suiter went to Washington's North Cascades and retraced the steps of three of the most talented members of the Beat Generation, who wrote some of their best poetry and prose while working as fire lookouts in the early 1950s. "Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen & Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades" is a gem that combines literary scholarship, Northwest history and a dash of Zen Buddhism into a coffee-table book that is a visual stunner, thanks to Suiter's photographs.
one with home made maze
devouring what enters
expelling what remains
entering what devours
emptiness does entertain
Prior to making The Matrix, the Wachowsky brothers wrote, directed and produced a movie called Bound. It was a low budget film that never made it big, but it's a very good thriller. Several Matrix-like elements within this film will be recognized, including at least one layer of meaning of the title. Funny how he depicts cops and even one bullet scene is a very primitive version of bullet time, too primitive to compare, but the attention to the bullet is present. Larry Wachowsky, in describing the film, sounds very much like Agent Smith. Hugo Weaving, the Australian actor who played Agent Smith, admits being influenced by Larry. A leading character in Bound is also one of the leads in The Matrix. Bound is violent and involves an erotic relationship between two women. For those getting ready for the spring Matrix season, this is an entertaining, suspenseful, creative film of high quality as would be expected from the makers of The Matrix.
In a few minutes, here on the Eastern Time Zone, it will be
For international appointments use this opportunity to avoid misunderstandings. 3/3/3 3:3:3
Ironically, two months into 1998, my top three films to date (Sliding Doors, Open Your Eyes, and Dark City) all question the nature of identity and reality. Dark City is much like Open Your Eyes (which was shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and will open theatrically later this year in North America) -- both are meditations on the importance of memory to an individual, and how everyone's personality is comprised of the sum total of his or her remembrances. In the way Dark City tinkers with the boundaries of what's real and what isn't, it recalls The Game. Some viewers may also be reminded of Total Recall, although Proyas' film plunges deep into issues that the Schwarzenegger vehicle used as icing for an action-laden cake.
James Berardinelli http://movie-reviews.colossus.net/movies/d/dark_city.html
from Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0140042520/ref=lib_rd_ss_TFCV/104-0926415-9154329?v=glance&s=books&vi=reader&img=1#reader-link
"Michael is a sophisticated floral fragrance.
Top Notes: creamy florals meet exotic spices. The mix of dewy freesia and
Moroccan incense conjures up images of Hawaii, St. Bart's and Marrakech.
Heart Notes: Tuberose, blue orris, white wings peony and arum lilies carries
you to New York, London and Bevery Hills
Base Notes: cashmere woods, musk and vetiver notes which bring to life the
glamorous nightlife of Palm Beach and St. Tropez."
from Natural Perfumery
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