June 28, 2013
As noted in the past, at Cornerstone we get to take our birthday off. Last year at this time I wrote about my trip to Mackworth Island and how good it was to go solo, to walk and sit by the sea, to slow down for a short period and simply just be. I decided this may be a good annual event and was undeterred when heading back this June despite the gray and gusty rain-sprinkled day. A person can sit and think in all types of weather!
I reflected on the sermon our minister had recently preached the title of which was Anger. My own general stasis is that of happy; I smile a lot which makes strangers on the street respond in kind. I have practiced forgiveness over the years such that in human relations I am quick to step in another’s shoes in order to understand their perspective which in turn most generally mitigates any opportunity to feel anger. On this day, with the vast expanse of Casco Bay my theatre and seagulls and songbirds my symphony – not to mention playing hooky in the middle of the week! – it occurred to me how truly this is a charmed life I live, replete with love, health, joy and free-dom.
The next morning Vinnie read a Wall Street Journal article aloud while I made our breakfast; it explored the shenanigans insurance companies employ to improve their risk ratings, hence misleading unwitting consumers who might buy their products. The strategy, which is not new, involves creating “re-insurance” companies who absorb some of an insurer’s risk in exchange for a benefit, but in this case it appears the primary company is retaining the benefit but ridding itself of the risk – impossible! When an insurer fails to meet its obligations, there is government (i.e. taxpayer) support for a portion of any claims. This is reminiscent of the not-too-distant mortgage debacle/bank failure, some of the cause of which relates to the inappropriate transfer of risk and also involved taxpayer bailout. While not prone to the use of profanity, I madly shouted “those Bleepity-bleep bastards!” Hmmmm, I guess I can get angry.
The root of this sort of anger is about control and how little we have of it when it comes to entities huge as corporations. Our tiny voices are barely audible as we rage against the unfairness – a mouse squeak silenced by the stampede of creative accounting. We can boycott companies and send vile statements viral via Facebook or some other internet communication, but in most cases we’re so entangled in the web of consumption that total escape is unrealistic (think heat for our homes vs. environmental damage from oil spills and fracking, iPads vs. questionable labor practices, food on the table vs. inhumane treatment of animals). So we do the best we can and then must simply let go—or face despair!
As some of you know, every year I head to Cape Cod to spend time with several women friends. We usually create a structure around our visit that encourages personal and/or spiritual growth through conversation or written exercises. We got lazy this time around and agreed to have a “structure-less theme” (!) of “letting go.” So we arrived with no plan and no expectations and left having experienced deep respite.
Summer is the perfect time to minimize plans and expectations, to let spontaneity and surprises rule. We encourage you to eschew calendar commitments and embrace the season. Oh happy, happy summer! ~Susan