Facing Karma

Rudolf Steiner says, in the chapter entitled “Facing Karma”, from Anthroposophy in Everyday Life (p.54):

We suffer because with every inner and outer suffering we eliminate one of our faults
and become transformed into something better.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about suffering.  I have been thinking a lot about my own challenges in life.  I get very frustrated with my situation sometimes, with the choices I make, how things work out.  I am very frustrated with my career right now, or lack thereof.  I had several recent disappointments in the employment sphere (I have now been passed over TWICE for a job at the Waldorf school), and now I am not sure what I am supposed to do.  What once seemed clear-cut, now doesn’t make sense.  Things seem to have gotten immensely difficult – and yet – things have never been easier.  My current job leaves me with perhaps too much time on my hands, and nothing with which to fill it.  But, I was not any happier when I was over-worked and stressed out because I had too much to do, and not enough time!  Steiner would most likely say that the wiser being in me led me to this situation, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how I will be transformed.  I suppose if I knew that, I wouldn’t need the wiser being!  Just some thoughts on karma . . .


When the Sufi poet whirled, was he looking
outward, to the mountains so solidly there
in a white-capped ring, or was he looking
to the center of everything: the seed, the egg, the idea . . .

—from “Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver

Bedřich Smetana created one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard, “Die Moldau.” I’d like to think that in a former life I was the melancholy brunette in this painting, enraptured by his talents, in love with his song.


What if you suddenly saw
that the silver of water was brighter than the silver
of money? What if you finally saw
that the sunflowers, turning toward the sun all day
and every day – who knows how, but they do it – were
more precious, more meaningful than gold?

~ Mary Oliver

December 2007Today is Christmas Eve. It’s been ages since I made any effort at noting notable experiences from my life. I figured while Lil was impatiently waiting for 8 o’clock to arrive (family present time), I would just jot down a few thoughts.

I am thankful for so much this year. I am thankful most of all for love. For being loved, for having love to give, for loving what I do, for loving who I know, for loving myself. The year 2007 was unlike any other in so many respects. It was certainly a searching year, a defining year, a year of dreams crushed while others were realized.  This Christmas Eve is the twinkling star of hope at the end of a long journey through a tunnel marked by darkness and fear. I am no stranger to the blackness inside, the desperation.

But, for the first time in probably twenty-six years I am standing outside myself looking at my life and thinking, “That woman is lucky.” I have everything I could possibly have hoped to have by now, and probably a lot more, too. I haven’t done things the traditional way. I seem to be incapable of following that path. But, the choices I have made, wrong or right, have led me to a beautiful place, and I am so happy to be here, with the snow, and the lights, and the gifts, on this cozy Christmas Eve.
December 2007


Damian’s grandmother, Beulah Wilson, passed away last week. Thinking about her passing made me think about my mother, and then about her mother, and about her mother, and her mother, etc.

Here’s four generations of mothers, left to right: Theresa Josephine (Owens) Nihan, Ann Mary (Nihan) Joy, Roxanne (Joy) Copeland, and me.


I have been thinking
about living
like the lilies
that blow in the fields.

~Mary Oliver

August 2007