Marvin Repinski: Creating an atmosphere we can all live in

Published 6:15 pm Friday, August 19, 2022

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“Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better than that a person should rejoice in his work; for that is his portion …” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)

Poet Denise Leverton has a few lines that speak to the air we may breathe: “Peace like a poem, is not there ahead of itself, can’t be imagined before it is made, can’t be known except in its making, grammar of justice, syntax of mutual aid.”

Making a push to embrace her thought; thinking that involves a mental journey — I call this journey a special atmosphere! By organizing, controlling and mastering our mental constellations, we actually manufacture stable, winsome thoughts that become our friends.

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The death this past week of a very talented actor, Anne Heche, is an example of a person, who in many years performing on stage, TV, and in movies, made pronouncements. She became the “atmosphere” of the characters she embodied.

My example of the mental states that we can create, may be realized as we think of that strange sometimes evasive word: Hope

Please read carefully a statement by Krista Tippett from her book “Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery of the Art of Living:”

“In a century of staggering open questions, hope becomes a calling for those of us who can hold it, for the sake of the world.

Hope is distinct, in my mind, from optimism or idealism. It has nothing to do with wishing. It references reality at every turn and reveres truth. It lives open-eyed and wholehearted with the darkness that is woven ineluctably into the light of life and sometimes seems to overcome it. Hope, like every virtue, is a choice that becomes a practice that becomes spiritual muscle memory. Hope, that renewable resource for moving through life as it, not as we wish it to be.”

When in high school, a cross-country coach I appreciated — when I could do some running — shouted to our tired limbs: “Practice makes perfect.” We believed him! — still panting. Several kinds of practice form an atmosphere, a kind of positive circle that shuts out the chaos that assails us.

OPENING OF DAYLIGHT: In the movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” Andy said to Red, his friend and fellow prisoner, “You need it so you don’t forget there are things in this world not carved out of gray stone. There is something inside that they can’t get to — they can’t touch — it’s yours.” Red asks, “What are you talking about?” Andy replies, “Hope.”

DON’T GIVE UP: A song by Michael Franti reads: “Hey world, what you say? Should I stick around for another day or two? Don’t give up on me; I won’t give up on you. Just believe in me like I believe in you.”

LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE: Andrea Johnson, when on the staff of the Unitarian Church in St. Paul, wrote of joy. We can have moments that can be expanded into surrounding halos. Ms. Johnson’s conviction: “The soothing message comes to us as a gift. During dark days we get tired. The fruits of our efforts are hard to see. We feel alone. The promise that things will change offers us relief. We are released from the burden of believing that ‘it is all up to me’ or that it all must be solved now.”

TO DREAM AND DISCOVER: To dream and discover, are ways to maintain the calming atmosphere you desire. Two voices to lean on: Morris West wrote, “The future is what we dream.” Emily Dickinson’s reflection is, “We don’t get older with the years, just newer — newer because we mirror the original, which we truly are, but which we need time, devotion, and detachment to discover.”