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Beside Restful Waters

by Gregory Hermann

The following is from Lama Rod Owens, Love and Rage:

The Path Of Liberation through Anger, 2020


A practice to honor our own personal “circle of care”.

- Begin contemplating the first homecoming of the guide. Reflect on any being who has been a guide, a teacher, a mentor, an adviser, or an elder for you. Reflect on the beings in your life whom you’ve gone to for guidance and support… Invite them to gather around you in a circle and say welcome. Relax. Inhale. Exhale and come home to being held by your guides.

This first Homecoming could easily occupy my contemplative opportunities for years to come. How do I choose any one as being of greater significance than another? I cannot. I will not. Day by day, the guides of my life present in greater numbers with different and challenging impact.

For the sake of choice, I will begin with my bride of nearly 50 years. Well, I’ll begin with advice from my mother following her first meeting of Ann: “If you don’t marry that girl, I will have your head examined!”

My mom did not mince words. As only a mother can, she recognized Ann as Creator’s gift to me. Mom challenged me almost every day to care for Ann as a divine gift. Me??? I didn’t pay too much attention to mom. Today, upon taking this challenge to reflect on teachers, mentors and guides, I tip my hat and open a very grateful heart to my mom, her love and her wisdom.

I’ll follow with another matriarch, my friend Maryellen. She and I had some different perspectives on Spiritual priorities when we first met. She challenged my priorities when I chose Ann and family over certain commitments to our Native ceremonies. Then she met Ann. I am not sure what occurred during that first encounter of 3 - 4 hours. A few hours following, Maryellen reached for my hand, gained my attention, and said: “I know why you love Ann so much.”

Both mom and Maryellen shared a maternal insight that continues to amaze and bless me. As evidence, I’ll share one story about Ann:

We were finalizing preparations for a family funeral. One of the Funeral Home staff had met Ann once before, but this was the first time we had all met. She stated that she was sad that following the funeral she was not likely that she would ever see us again given the physical distance between us. She explained that she would like to get to know us better. Hmmm? I was puzzled.

The next morning, after the funeral, she approached our vehicle as we were leaving. I opened my window and she made that same statement again. She walked away from the car before she noticed Ann leaning toward her to respond, so we left. At the next intersection, Ann explained to me that she wanted to tell this woman “This is what recovery looks like.”

This is what recovery looks like.

This statement continues to leave me in awe. It is a statement that I contemplate often. Living a good life takes work. Ann has been willing to do the work so she and I can live a good and sober life. Sobriety is the result of working toward goodness and fullness of life.

A good life is the result of good work.

Ann frequently states: “Love is action.” Love is work.

I am now at a loss for words so I will leave you in my wordless void and wish for you a life of good work, good love.


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