Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Six Words: A Better World Begins with Me

Photo by Rita Bourland © 2010

My Six Words:
A Better World Begins with Me

In the midst of the ongoing national discussion about race, which has been galvanized by the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, comes the opportunity for each of us to speak out in the sparsest of language, using just six carefully chosen words. 
This opportunity actually came about beginning in 2010 as Michele Norris, noted commentator for NPR, began her book tour for her widely acclaimed memoir, The Grace of Silence.  In conjunction with readings and book signings, she asked audience members to write on a postcard the six words that in some way illuminated their personal views on race in America.   Ms. Norris wasn’t sure if any would be returned but they slowly began pouring into her office either by mail, e-mail or twitter. 

The aptly named Race Card Project  began before the death of Trayvon Martin, but since his case came to light, people have been drawn to it in countless numbers.

Some of the entries are healing in nature, some inflammatory and almost all are thought-provoking.  They are a very real and poignant example of how our language can be at its most powerful when we think carefully, speak carefully and write carefully.  

The fact that The Race Card Project is here at the very moment we need an outlet for our concerns seems very synergistic.   Trayvon Martin’s case may never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, but we can take this moment in human history to reach for a better, truer version of ourselves.  This may be one of those defining times when we can elevate the discussion and prove to the world that America is truly democratic in every sense of the word.  

The six words I added to the project are:  
A better world begins with me.  

What will yours be?  

To add your six words, go to The Race Card Project

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's a Great Day to Think about That

It’s a Great Day to Think about That 

I looked to my right and saw a boy dressed in blue shorts, an old t-shirt, flip flops on his feet and hair blowing in the wind. He was probably around eight years old.  I was riding west on the street; he was riding east on the sidewalk.  As we neared each other he called out to me, “It’s a great day for a bicycle ride, isn’t it?  

“It sure is,” I replied.  

It was a quick moment - a snapshot in time.

It made me remarkably happy to witness this child riding along with such joyous abandon.  He seemed impervious to other demands.  He was totally in the moment; fully experiencing the delight of a bicycle ride on a warm spring day.  

I too was enjoying my ride.  It felt good to be outside, household chores pushed off until later in the day.  But what would it take to feel total abandon; to be so present in the moment that I got lost in my happiness?
I'm not sure, but I’d like to try to capture a bit of the magic that spilled into the air this afternoon.  A little boy on a bicycle seemed to have the answer to my elusive question.

And it seems like a great day to think about that. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Poem: Despite Everything

 Photo by Rita Bourland © 2012

Despite Everything

Despite everything,
I find beauty
in the quiet
treasured spaces
stillness and truth
are found,

despite everything,
I find comfort
in the brilliant rays
that pierce the colored
glass of my soul,

despite everything
I still believe
in goodness,
and love,

despite everything.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Poem: A Good Day for Wishes

Photo by Rita Bourland © 2012

A Good Day for Wishes  

I’m not sure which wishes
To wish for today,
Yet it seems like today
Could be a good day
For making a wish
If I had one to make,

So hard to decide
What matters the most,

So here is my plan;
It’s what I propose,

My wish will
Be broad in the
Broadest of ways,
Expansive, effusive,
Deliberately vague,

I wish for good will
In the hearts of good folks,
I wish for good will
In the hearts of mean folks,
I wish for good will
That circles the earth,
The kind that brings on
A kind of rebirth,

I wish for good luck,
And lots of good cheer,
A rainbow of wishes
I wish for
This year.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An Irish Blessing

 An Irish Blessing
By Rita Bourland

May a little luck be with you
As you travel through your days,
May the shadows disappear;
May you always find your way,

May there be a hand to hold
When worries come to mind,
May there be a friend who’s near;
Someone dear and true and kind,

May you know that you are loved
Through the good times and the bad,
When loneliness draws near,
May you never feel too sad,

May you see the grace that lives
In the rocks and in the trees,
May the wonders of this world
Sometimes bring you to your knees,

May you share the gifts you have;
Let them shine like morning light,
May your heart be full of peace
As you fall asleep tonight.

Limerick: A Shamrock so Fair

A Shamrock so Fair

There once was a shamrock so fair,
Its beauty uncommonly rare,
So regal its hue,
So honest and true,
A vision beyond compare.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blarney Alert - Finding an Honest Politician

Google Image
Blarney Alert – Finding an Honest Politician

Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Olivia who happened upon a leprechaun.  She had been searching for the end of a rainbow, and never dreamed she would also find a leprechaun standing next to his pot of gold.  A rather disheveled little man was he, sporting a raggedy suit covered with smudges of dirt.  Even the gold in his pot lacked luster.      

“What do you want, lassie, out here sneaking up on an old leprechaun?  I’m tired and don’t feel like granting wishes today.”

“But isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”

“Yes, lassie, tis true, tis true, but I’m worn out.  It’s hard to sort out the blarney from the truth these days.  There are people who need jobs, people who are sick and without insurance, children who are abused.  The list goes on and on and I try to grant as many of those wishes as I can, lassie, but then there are those darned politicians asking me to grant wishes.  One of them had the gall to ask me for another Cadillac the other day.  One wants me to find a vast reserve of oil in the United States before November.  Another one wants me to turn everyone into a Christian and then that other guy wants a diamond ring for his third wife.  I tell you I’m just sick of all the blasted blarney.”
“But, Mr. Leprechaun, I think there are still good people out there.”

“I tell you what lassie; if you can find one honest, hard-working politician then I will grant your wish.”

“I accept your challenge.  We’ll worry about my wish later.  I will return to this spot tomorrow night and I will have proof of an honest politician.”

The young girl headed back home, not telling a soul about her encounter.  She did what any child would do under the circumstances; she got on Google and typed in honest and hard-working politician.  She came up empty-handed.  And then a light went on and she picked up the phone to make a call.
The next afternoon, Olivia headed to the designated spot and found the leprechaun sound asleep.  His hat was askew and one pointed shoe had fallen off in the grass.

She cleared her throat several times before he slowly blinked an eye open.

Standing before him was the young Olivia with another equally young girl.  Grouchily, he inquired about the hard-working, honest politician she had promised.

She pointed at her friend and said, “Let me introduce you to Valerie Simpson.  She is the President of Easterly Grade School Student Council.  In the last year, she has led a drive to collect pennies to help feed the homeless; she has initiated a program at school to stop cheating on tests and has taken a personal oath of integrity.  Anyone who finds fault with her can have a one on one meeting to work out their problems.  She hopes to create a school environment full of honest, hard-working students.”
The leprechaun sized her up and then asked the all important question.  “Do you believe I have the power to grant wishes?”

Valerie said, “I believe in magic, but also know it is important for humans to bring the magic to fruition through their interactions and just causes.  It is the only way things will improve.”

The leprechaun smiled, dusted off his little green suit and turned to Olivia.  “Well, lassie, what is your wish?”
Olivia paused and then said, “I would like there to be two weeks where all women are spoken of with respect.  No foul language or derogatory comments may be uttered and no one can do or say anything to denigrate the integrity of any woman.”

“That’s a tall order, lassie, but I shall grant your wish.”
The next day, a noted radio program went off the air, several politicians, pundits and religious leaders had nothing to talk about and peace reigned on the airways.  
The leprechaun washed up his suit, got a haircut, polished up his gold and vowed to keep a more positive attitude.  Olivia had brought him a rainbow of hope and a reason to keep granting wishes.   

Monday, March 12, 2012

Poem: There's Luck to be Had

Google Image

There’s Luck to be Had

St. Patrick’s Day comes once a year,
Yet there’s luck to be had all the year,

Just gather some shamrocks, some pixie dust too,
Then mix in some wishes to make a fine stew,

Now eat a large bowl after saying your prayers,
Please listen and note: don’t skimp on the prayers,

Next, turn in a circle; three times should suffice,
Then think of a foe and say something nice,

The luck that you wished for will soon come your way,
If it doesn’t come soon,

Continue to pray.

I will be doing an Irish/St. Patrick's Day post every day until March 17th!