Themes of recognition & rescue, wisdom & self-awareness: Epiphany.

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;  mastering yourself is true power.”
― Lao Tzu

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
― Albert Einstein

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them. ― Paulo Coelho


Questions to consider for Epiphany (from Matthew 2: 1-12):

  • What gifts would you offer to symbolize the value and meaning of someone’s life? What gifts would symbolize your life?
  • What gifts have you put to the service of others? What gifts have you held in reserve? Used cautiously? Or completely expended?
  • When have you been surprised by evil or someone’s dangerous intentions? Or injustice and oppression on a systemic level? What was at stake?
  • When have you seen people in power and authority misuse their positions to harm others? How did you respond?
  • When have you acted in hope, despite darkness or despair?
  • When have you had to change directions and ‘go home another way’?
  • When you’ve had a powerful, transformative experience, what’s it like to return home?
  • Have you ever protected, rescued or saved someone? Have you ever been saved or rescued?
  • Have you ever been a refugee yourself, or helped a refugee?

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;  mastering yourself is true power.”
― Lao Tzu

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
― Albert Einstein

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them. ― Paulo Coelho


The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. ― William Shakespeare
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. ― Aristotle
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.― Socrates
The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. ― Isaac Asimov
There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. … “Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.”  ― Alexandre Dumas
Think before you speak. Read before you think. ― Fran Lebowitz
Turn your wounds into wisdom. ― Oprah Winfrey
There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man. ― Patrick Rothfuss
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. ― Confucious
God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars. ― Elbert Hubbard
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. ― Rumi
It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer. ― Albert Einstein
Don’t Gain The World & Lose Your Soul, Wisdom Is Better Than Silver Or Gold. ― Bob Marley
Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. ― Jimi Hendrix
We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ― Joseph Campbell
The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark. ― Thomas Paine
The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise. ― Maya Angelou
He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions. ― Confucius
Music is … A higher revelation than all Wisdom & Philosophy. ― Ludwig van Beethoven

On the Mystery of the Incarnation
Denise Levertov

It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother, the Word.

The Journey Of The Magi — T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter.’ And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted, The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins. But there was no information, and so we continued, And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down, This set down.
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly. We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

On Refugees

To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult; it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory. — Tennessee Office for Refugees

Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me. ― Carlos Fuentes

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. — Emma Lazarus

Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us—except that a twist of fate has bound their lives to a global refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale. — Khaled Hosseini

No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land. — Warsan Shire

We have a legal and moral obligation to protect people fleeing bombs, bullets and tyrants, and throughout history those people have enriched our society. — Juliet Stevenson

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. — Martin Luther King Jr.

A refugee is someone who survived and who can create the future. – Amela Koluder

Refugees are not terrorists. They are often the first victims of terrorism. — António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres

Refugees didn’t just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance between them and their misery to wake to a better day. — Nadia Hashimi

It is the obligation of every person born in a safer room to open the door when someone in danger knocks. — Dina Nayeri

When Europeans arrived on this continent, they blew it with the Native Americans. They plowed over them, taking as much as they could of their land and valuables, and respecting almost nothing about the native cultures. They lost the wisdom of the indigenous peoples-wisdom about the land and connectedness to the great web of life…We have another chance with all these refugees. People come here penniless but not cultureless. They bring us gifts. We can synthesize the best of our traditions with the best of theirs. We can teach and learn from each other to produce a better America… ― Mary Pipher

HOME — Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

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