We’re facing a week at Full Moon Cottage that invites consciously traveling with stories that settle and unsettle; this is how life flows. We find our way through; we choose our responses and live into them, looking for grace and open to blessing. We ask for help; we offer help to others; we celebrate and grieve in community, even in isolation. We are here to lift each other up and when we can’t, we stay with those who are broken and we help each other mend. And all the while, we sit beside the fire in our hearts and we tell ourselves stories; we carry the stories of our ancestors, the blessings and burdens; we rewrite stories from different perspectives; we begin and never finish stories; we play many roles; we are characters in other stories, many unknown and never shared. We are short stories and epics; we are every genre, flowing in and out, intersecting, accommodating our stories to Mystery’s co-authorship, seeking satisfactory denouements. And here is our power: we are able, continually, to decide if the stories we’re writing are the ones we came to write. If not, we can begin a new story, make better choices, adhere more faithfully to themes we honor, become the heroines and heroes of our lives.
Here is a story from my life: Phillip and I adopted two sibling puppies, Riley and Clancy, who sparked the light in our hearts, as had our darling Idgi pup and the cats Sally and Tess before them, as have all our 4-leggeds.
Riley and Clancy were crazy and fun, half Border Collie and half Black Lab. For more than 13 years, we shared our days and breaths and energies, and then their sweet holy bodies failed, and within months of each other, they changed worlds, leaving our hearts as heavily empty and dark as such losses do.
One day, I saw a little puppy’s photo in a Humane Society ad and immediately drove to Madison to meet him. When the volunteer pushed him through the door of the room where I waited, and he bounced across the floor and into my arms, in that puppy-clumsy dance of exuberance, my heart began to lighten. I knew Riley and Clancy had chosen and sent Larky, all the way from Mississippi to my heart. And he healed it. The first night he nestled between us, I cried, holding his little clinging body and knowing we’d survived and been given a chance to love once more; we’d been mended enough to say yes to being torn again, because love is always worth it. We saved Malarky’s life and he saved ours, which means we all set out on the road again together, which is what families do: they travel together and keep each other’s hearts alive.
And as we’ve traveled, like the Bremen Town Musicians, we’ve gathered more members into our most lively-hearted family. We’ve survived more partings, grieved, and traveled on, sharing love that accrues deeper colors and blesses our family story with layers of memory and meaning.
Last Thursday, we discovered a small tumor on Malarky’s inner eye. Our vet diagnosed a “usually” benign form of skin cancer, and we were able to schedule an appointment with an oncologist early–very early–this Wednesday morning. It’s been hard to focus, with the excitement of the book coming out tomorrow, the rising Coronavirus cases in our state and the world, and the continued political challenges, but now we have a very clear focus, and that is our darling boy, the safety of his vision and health, and the need to travel with him through whatever news we receive on Wednesday. I ask for your prayers and healing energy, and thank you in advance for being part of our story, too.
Tomorrow, the picture book, And the People Stayed Home, will be sent out into the world, culminating an adventure for our family and circle of friends that has been a great comfort and creative happiness through long months of pandemic lockdown. The creative people of Tra Publishing, led by the stunning spirit of Ilona Oppenheim, have been a complete joy for me. They and their partners offer us enlightenment, deepening, and wonder through the art they co-create and set free in the world. I’m over-the-moon happy with this book and deeply grateful for the ways I have been invited to participate in its creation.
Stories change us, and so, change the world; our past, present, and future hinge on our stories. Who are we? What do we believe? What are our gifts for the world, and how are we sharing them? How have we been hurt and can we forgive and heal? Can we find our way to the deepest doors of the heart, those rusted and closed by long-ago tears…and open to love again?
And, maybe most importantly, how can our stories serve others?
Through friends, I’ve also learned about CARAVAN, a nonprofit that’s perfectly matched to the challenges faced by our world. They describe their mission and identity this way: “…an international peacebuilding non-profit / NGO, CARAVAN is recognized as a global leader in using the arts to build sustainable peace around the world.”
Here’s a link to a film festival honoring short films (5 minutes and less) that explore ways we can globally create a world that embraces gift and variety, addresses need, and serves all. Two friends of mine from Ireland entered their film, “Loving Distance,” and it was selected as one of 30 finalists out of 3,031 submissions.
I love everything about this: so many artists focusing on the ways our humanity, our talents, and our stories can bless each other and the world; identifying people and places that need our energy and help; and using art to illuminate our hearts and call us to action…I also applaud CARAVAN’S generosity in sharing their top 30 short films here: https://www.oncaravan.org/anewfuture
I hope you’ll be able to spare some time to engage with these films and all the ways they feed our spirits and invite us to do better as a species and to move forward in hope, co-creating the world we envision, writing the story we are here to write.
© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.