A short time ago, a family member, Michel, gave me a pack of 100 cards known as Oblique Strategies. Each card has a “worthwhile dilemma” to, excuse the pun, shuffle the mind off in a different direction. He’s writing a book and uses these oblique strategies when writer’s block sets in. Here are four examples:
Gardening, not architecture
Remove the specifics and convert to ambiguities
Not building a wall, but making a brick
Humanize something free of error
Michel gave them to me thinking they could provide an occasional distraction from todays frightening political arena. Today in the space of ten minutes I heard political pundits use the expressions, “soap opera”, “circus train” and “insane asylum” in reference to the present U.S. administration. Who doesn’t need a distraction these days?!
But, distractions have little chance of putting us back on the heart journey we’ve been called to. Thankfully, in recent days a few Affiliates copied me on their responses to Rosa Beatriz, the lead person on the Guatemalan Conference Committee planning for MAC 2017, who had the inspiration to arbitrarily choose a few registrants and ask them to respond to two of three questions posed. Below are parts of three different responses to one of those questions:
In what ways would I like to see the theme “Buen Vivir” (Living in Harmony with All) become part of the commitment of the Affiliate Movement?
- So now more than ever, it is important to live in harmony with others and to challenge others to do the same. People are often fearful of individuals and groups (races, religions, cultures) that they don’t know. Once they get to know people from a “different” group, much of the fear goes away. This affiliate conference gives us the opportunity to get to know and understand other cultures. Hopefully it will strengthen our commitment to living in harmony with others, and by sharing our experiences, will inspire others to live in harmony with others as well. (Dennis Burgess)
- I am becoming increasingly aware that all people in the world are connected. We all share our humanity and we all need each other. When one of us is hurt we are all hurt. When one of us thrives and flourishes we all benefit. As our knowledge of our planet and our universe expands we become more aware of the need to promote harmony on our planet. Maryknoll Affiliates can be a powerful force for good by making LIVING IN HARMONY WITH ALL a focus of the Maryknoll Movement. (Dan Heuer)
- It is so easy to become discouraged at the enormity of need in the world – from need for social justice, to famine. I take courage and consolation from Mother Teresa who said that if she had not helped that first person in front of her, none of the many hundreds she helped would have been helped. It is my hope that by being fully present and caring to everyone I meet, I can make my difference in the world. To quote Barbara Fiand: “Encountering hate with love, rejection with acceptance, bullying with gentle strength is a daily responsibility.” (Marie Wren)
…Whole-hearted, transformative strategies that help bring us back to what can bring peace and harmony in our world. Proud to be a Maryknoll Affiliate.