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Recently I read a fascinating op ed from a New York Times employee.  He talked about how he noticed that he always had his phone nearby. When he was at work.  When he was with his family.  On the commute.

Then he made a decision.  He no longer reads news online.  It doesn’t matter now if it is something from White House, a protest, or a lockdown.  He reads it in print but not on the paper’s web site.  Not on Facebook.

What has he noticed – he no longer gets caught up in false reports, fake news, or unsubstantiated rumors.  He has time to read.  He has taken up a hobby.  There’s game night with this kids.

I can’t solve every problem, but I can say enough. So what did I do this morning.  I worked a Bunny Breakfast for a group of preschoolers.  I got most of the shy ones so I coaxed smiles while I painted whiskers on faces and butterflies on hands.  Did I solve anything big?  Maybe not but while they were with me, those kids had an adult paying attention to them.

Small steps.  Quiet times.  Focus.



When I was a kid, time passed slowly. A single day at school — a single math class! — could drag on into eternity. Sure, some things went too quickly — Christmas, summer. But for the most part, time was inexorable: When would I finally be done with school? When would I be a grownup? For Pete’s sake, what is taking so long?

Nowadays, time flies by me in panic-inducing rushes. How is it Thursday already? What happened to October? Wait — what do you mean your little boy is a college graduate? Wasn’t he a baby last week? If I could just reach out and stop time for a minute, just a minute…!

It’s enough to give a girl vertigo. (Or, in this case, a middle-aged woman. But wasn’t I a girl just yesterday?)

A strange old woman
haunts my mirror. I do not know her.
A thief has stolen thirty years of my life.
His crime goes unpunished.
God gave me a bag of time;
I just now noticed it has been leaking.
What to do to stanch the hemorrhage?
Make a mindful moment. And another.
String them like beads. Feel them
with your fingers. Then let go.
God will catch the train as it leaps from the trestle.
On that day, there will finally be enough time.

What I want to talk about is (a) special quality of my people.

I believe it is the most important.
It is our most unique gift. It is perhaps the greatest gift we can give.
In our language this quality is called dadirri.

It is inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness …

When I experience dadirri,
I am made whole again.
I can sit on the river bank or walk through the trees;
even if someone close to me has passed away,
I can find my peace in this silent awareness.
There is no need of words …

It is just being aware …

Our Aboriginal culture has taught us to be still and to wait.
We do not try to hurry things up.
We let them follow their natural course—like the seasons.
We watch the moon in each of its phases.
We wait for the rain to fill our rivers and water the thirsty earth …

We wait on God, too.
His time is the right time.
We wait for him to make his Word clear to us.
We don’t worry.
We know that in time and in the spirit of dadirri
(that deep listening and quiet stillness)
his way will be clear.

Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann – Aboriginal Elder


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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