Sunday, January 31, 2010

LOVE IS A RIGHT HERE/RIGHT NOW THANG


Love is a verb. It is only what it is when it is being what it is. And that can only happen in the present. With each and every moment being unique, once they pass they never happen again. Sometimes even with very very serious finality.

REALITY CHECK: Every moment of life is gift...yours and the person who is in front of you. And it is fragile also. Once you part ways, reality is you might not ever see that person again. None of us are in control of life and death. If something was to happen to where you would never see that person again, are you comfortable living with how you just treated them?

I hate watching people brutalize others they say they care about or even people they don't even know.

Some have told me before, in response to sharing with them what I have said above, that that is just a scary way to live thinking about it that way. To which I say...Is living in denial of that reality keeping you from living in fear of the possibility of something tragic like that happening to someone you care about? A question to which most answer..."Well, NO"

All I can say is facing this reality and accepting it for what it is has been a big part of the process of fear being displaced in my life. And another wonderful thing has happened in the process also. Living aware of this reality makes it less likely that I will take you for granted when you are standing in front of me. I might not ever see you again. Or if I have found out that I have done such a thing to you...I'm far more likely to come back to you quickly to do what I can to make it right.

At times in my life, often times, there is a pain deep inside caused by seeing something so beautiful right there in front of us...harmony...but instead, we get the pain and the ugly caused by the self sabotaging ways of fearful self centered humanity. It seems that most people assume that to survive and to get what they want, even when it is at the expense of others, is the plot. It also seems that even the ones who have come face to face with the beautiful liberating transforming counter plot are even themselves more than capable of losing it. Even if just momentarily. But even in those short departures, we can create deep pain in others. At least it is possible to seek forgiveness for those times and hopefully we find ourselves with folks that can extend it to us and others so that healing can happen. Maybe that's the best we can hope for? People learning to love and living aware of the capacity to live in harmony as long as we remain grounded in the One who is Life...but also giving ourselves and others a break in those moments when we lose the plot and always remembering that with each new moment we can Begin Again.

Grace is the power that holds us together. It has a way of healing our less that loving moments with each other and even ourselves. But even with that being the case, I never want to use that as an excuse for the lack of love. And I've come to know and accept that pain is just a part of the journey and I have no control over how others are going to act. But I am responsible for the way I interact with others and the more and more I live in the reality of how Father lives with me and loves me...I will be an agent of harmony instead of an agent of discord and pain and hurt. The movement is towards....EVERYTHING IN IT'S PLACE

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More art from the artist who created the image I used here can be found here

Saturday, January 30, 2010

THE STRANGELY BOLD...MEEK AND MILD ONES


The ones captured by love, seeing it as the only way forward, always remain the vulnerable ones.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

STUCK AND OFTEN NOT AWARE OF IT


"Ignorance does not result from what we don’t know! Ignorance results from what we think we do know—but don’t! Most ignorant people are, in fact, quite certain." Richard Rohr

"Although every human being is a universe within their very being...some hardly dare explore outside the bare house they grew up in. A few travel to the edge of their inner town, fewer still to other cities. But is rare to find one that has lifted from the ground to set sail for places undiscovered."

"If you keep doing things the same way, don't be surprised if you keep getting the same results."

It's a fairly safe bet to say that moving the furniture around isn't what most people are in need of. Something more radical/crazy is needed. Maybe something on the lines of suprarationality?

"There are times when you choose to believe something that would normally be considered absolutely irrational. It doesn't mean that it is actually irrational, but it surely is not rational. Perhaps there is suprarationality: reason beyond the normal definitions of fact or data-based logic; something that only makes sense if you can see a bigger picture of reality. Maybe that is where faith fits in." The Shack

One of the radical things to be done is abandoning the script. The very thing the quotes above make reference to. But the script has become so familiar, even when ya hate how ya feel and what is going on in your life, the script's familiarity has become at least predictable, which in turn has ended up feeling safe/er than what it seems one would feel without it.

"The royal consciousness leads people to despair about the power to move toward new life." Walter Brueggemann

"I want to have conversations that matter, with people who care".....Awhile back I heard a friend say that. He was quoting someone he had heard say it. It just struck a chord with me as something that can assist us in the process of getting unstuck and keeping us from getting stuck again.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

FAITHFULLY DANGEROUS ;-)

The last post has set in motion some wonderfully free/er thinking. Convetional thinking is way over rated and down right dangerous to your health/well being.

Life Inc. The Movie from Douglas Rushkoff on Vimeo.

You can watch the other 9 videos here all of which are a bit shorter in length than the first one.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO SAY IT

"We have made our false economy a false god, and it has made blasphemy of the truth. So I have met the economy in the road, and am expected to yield it right of way. But I will not get over. My reason is that I am a man, and have a better right to the ground than the economy."



We are in the home stretch moving towards the day when Michael Isaiah Designs For Hair will close it's doors for good. We are being displaced by the big idea of maximization. See, the landowners can expand their capital by selling out to one of the big box grocery stores in our region. To make the situation even more maddening, there now sits a big empty building across the street from us that used to be home to the other big box grocery store in our region that left it behind a couple months ago to move three blocks down the street in order to put up a bigger and better grocery store. Rest assured, that store is out of this world when it comes to grocery stores....so much so, it's obnoxious.

The competitor that will be building in our present location will more than likely have to one-up the new obnoxious one down the street with an even more obnoxious display. It just seems to be the mantra of this suicide machine (beast) we find ourselves in.

In a conversation yesterday with a client of mine who is a financial advisor, I said something to her that left her surprised and a bit dumbfounded. We had been in a discussion about the insanity of government and banks and corporations, and yes, even the average American citizen when it comes to this sick dance everyone seems to have gotten pulled into. She at one point had asked if I knew what was going to be done to the empty property across the street to which I responded by saying that it would more than likely be more shops to sell more crap that isn't needed....the same crap that is being sold by countless shops up and down the street already. I then told her that if I had the money, I would love to buy that property and level the concrete/brick/steel/glass building and return the space to green space. She said..."Now I don't think I have ever heard anyone suggest spending their money that way. Everybody is always looking to maximize the profits of their capital." She then looked at me and smiled and said....."Wow, green space, or a park for people to enjoy. I like that idea."







Well, I don't have the money, so more than likely it will eventually be more shops offering more crap. I know, I'm an odd-ball.....but if it was up to me, it would be a park or a garden.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

GRACE HELPS REMOVE THE SCAPEGOAT


In a conversation with a parent yesterday, a parent who is the midst of a power struggle with their teenager, the transforming power of grace was palpable. I don't know if they were even aware of what was happening, or at least what seemed obvious to me. Grace was providing many possibilities for a changing of the game even though the mind was coming up with arguments. And the most powerful part was, that behind it all, I saw a parent coming face to face with their own dysfunction and seeing the added mess those problems were adding to the relationship with their child who is in the midst of what is more than likely the most tumultuous season of a humans life....adolescence. Truth is, most people never get through it in a healthy way and instead become dysfunctional adults.


Yesterday I was witness to the thawing of some ice and what seemed like a moment when a frustrated parent saw a glimmer of hope. I know the teenager much better than I do the parent and to be able to tell this parent of the beautiful and alive young lady I love being around brought tears to her eyes along with telling her of my hope in seeing her be able to see and experience that also. And I am so grateful for the opportunities I am having with this parent to not only speak these things to her about her daughter, but whenever I can, to help her see the grace that changed this parent (me) into someone who is now a much safer person for his daughters...and ever her daughter to be around as they walk through this tumultuous time in their lives and beyond.


The power struggle that many parents find themselves in with their teenagers during the adolescent years, has a way of making the parent a scapegoat in the eyes of their children. It has a way of shifting all their child's attention and focus towards them when it comes to their own difficulties. And all their anger and frustration also gets steered toward their parents due to their parents attempts to control them. It is often the very thing that ends up being the distraction that keeps them from owning up to their own crap. They don't ever get a chance to see it because they are so pissed off at mom and dad all the time and their friends are struggling with the same things they are, so seeing it while with their peers is slim possibility. This conflict between parent and adolescent is also the thing that creates an environment of secrecy and lies, when grace instead, with time, creates the opposite and helps them begin to see that the parent who understands grace is not their enemy.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

JUMBLED THOUGHTS, EMOTIONS AND PEACE AND JOY


What a weird time it feels like. My emotions have been spilling over often. I'm grateful that has only been happening while I am alone. For those who know me well, they won't be surprised by my admission to being someone who cries easily. But the past several days have been such mixed up cries. The emotions behind it all have all converged at the same time. To be overwhelmed to the point of constantly breaking down at the realization of the perfect security in Father's love and embrace, along with feelings of deep longing for something more, added on top of the feeling of being pissed off by the brutality and suffering that my fellow humans can subject other human beings to, added to a deep unfathomable sense of peace and joy, can leave one feeling a bit unsettled and discombobulated while at the same time being left feeling like I am learning to remain at rest in it all. Like I said....it's been a weird time. I guess this is what Richard Rohr calls....Riding on the horns of the human dilemma.


I've been so keenly aware of everything recently and feeling it deep down in my bones. It makes me want to give more. I want to live dangerously in the Love that is setting me free and let it spill out on those around me. I want to live free of the insanity of the systems that define the space I live in and the blinding destructive ideologies that are constantly at war with the life of freedom. I want to join others there and have others join me there. I want to stay on this path of recapturing what has been taken from me....what I had willingly given away due to having bought into the lie. And I know I must continue on along this path whether I do it alone or I have others to do it with. The illusion has been exposed and the ugliness behind the illusion revealed. I spent too long as an accomplice to the ugly and it had made the grip of grace difficult to recognise. But grace has come into view in a way I had never known before, and is redeeming what the ugly had stolen from me, and that has a way of effecting the ugly out there and turning it into something beautiful also....even if for the moment the ugly seems to have more of the momentum on it's side.

Grace still makes beauty out of ugly things.

I know that in the natural it might look like and feel like a storm, but I get the sense that it's actually the kind of chaos that leads to great creativity and the kind of darkness that creates a greater desire for more light. It feels like the kind of moment that the mind breaks a little more free of the royal consciousness and instead find itself caught up in the kind of thinking that reflects a little more of the loving Creator out into the places that are full of people trying to make sense of it all....people with a deep longing for liberation even if they aren't aware that it is liberation they are in need of.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

BREAKING THE MOLD




Breaking the mold is an integral part of freedom. Modifying it is not enough. Aren't ya glad the author and the finisher is patient and doesn't force us to do anything? If force isn't a part of transformation/freedom, why is it that so many seem hell bent on forcing these things to happen? Especially when it comes to others.

I was thinking this morning about this in regards to parenting. Seeing my daughters live disciplined lives is something I believe would eliminate some chaos from their lives. But how I go about helping them along the way is of vital importance. This is where breaking the mold applies and taking force off the table is a part of the breaking that needed to happen.

It's a stunning realization when one begins this transition as a parent, as you come face to face with all the reality that everything you have done up to that point has been by force/coercion. And don't get me wrong...force and coercion on children might produce disciplined young adults and grown adults, but that is no longer what I am interested in and it's not what I am referring to when I use the term disciplined life. The disciplined life that has been achieved through force and coercion and fear is as destructive, if not more so, than an undisciplined life. Perspective is everything. I learned this first hand the hard way. I was disciplined and responsible and driven which had led to "success". And in that place this was also true. I was an enemy to the mold that produces the disciplined life that I am now interested in for myself and my daughters....and you.

The spaces are so drastically different and in turn it almost makes the old vocabulary unusable. The discipline I now see emerging in my life and seek to see in the lives of others, is the fruit of love....not the discipline that is the product of fear. That old conventional wisdom discipline, is a completely fear based activity because people have grown to loath the chaos of the undisciplined life. It usually leads such people to hate everyone else that is undisciplined or at least less disciplined than they are. If we can't see that that is a problem and a violation of love, we have yet to come face to face with love and grace.

Here is something else I have begun to see. The disciplined life born out of love often times looks completely undisciplined to the person living out of the one shaped by fear. Fear hates freedom and freedom is a scary thing to those still governed by fear and law.

My daughters are jumping for joy in regards to this ongoing unfolding transformation....even if at times they might still yell at me or their mom...."Please, just punish me" or the more common one..."She needs to be punished"

Believe it or not, love and grace are far more costly and while still on the other side of transformation....people who have yet to begin to understand love and grace....simply prefer the law and strangly enough sometimes even for themselves. Fear shame and guilt leave people in a very very strange land, especially in light of the astounding good news.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

RIGHT NOW...IT REMAINS A MYSTERY


There's a longing deep inside me for something....right now whatever it is escapes me.

THE JOURNEY OF SUBTRACTION


SOMEHOW...LESS IS JUST BETTER

Saturday, January 09, 2010

THE LIFE AND LOVE OF TREES


I opened Facebook up a few minutes ago and had a message awaiting me. I remember awhile back when this guy sent me a friend request and him saying hello to me but as far as I know we had never really talked. I more than likely looked at the list of friends we shared and realized that we at least had that in common like it is with most of my FB friends...most of whom I have never talked to. Turns out he has been reading my blog for a couple years and it also turns out that our journeys out of religious performance based living also share many similarities.

Apparently what prompted him to send the message was his desire to share with me a book he is reading. He said that every time he picks it up he has this thought..."I gotta tell Kent about this book, he'll love it". You don't have to spend much time on my blog to come to the conclusion that I love trees and am fascinated with them. Something he shared with me from this book reminded me of a story from one of the books written by my favorite garden writer, Ken Druse. It speaks to a life of hope in the future and it involves planting trees. It stands in stark contrast to a conversation I had earlier this week with a Christian who has no hope in the future for humanity at all, but only the hope that he will be saved from all the crap and whisked away to a better place in the sky someday, and they said to me that they would prefer it to be today. They just wanted their life here to end because they had nothing to live for or look forward to.


I don't know if Helen Stoddard from the book I mentioned is a Christian or not but I resonate with Helen's attitude much more than I do the tired hopeless attitude of the Christian I ran into a few days ago....and something about that just leaves me puzzled and sad. It seems a lot of the American Christian eschatological perspective has just left a lot of Christians depressed...anxious...frustrated....angry....scared...and just hanging on for the escape pod out of this world before it burns. I wonder what those types of people are thinking when, or if for that matter, they happen to take the time to plant a tree, when they are convinced that we are near the end of the world or if they are hoping that we are near the end of the world? Once again I'm left appreciating Helen's attitude and hope for tomorrow which kept this elderly lady planting little saplings up to the time she fell asleep to this world, always keeping in mind the restful comforting cooling shade it would provide to the person that would occupy in the future the piece of ground she presently was left caring for.


Eternal life means something far different to me these days and in a wonderful way it makes me want to keep planting trees in this beautiful garden the Creator has given us and invited us to join together with him in caring for and enjoying so that even those that come after us will find a beautiful garden for themselves to do the same in.


It's too cold here today to plant a tree, but on the first day of this coming Spring when that is possible...that's gonna be one of the first things I do...if I am graced with the ability to do so.


Here is a slide show connected to the book my friend gave me a heads up on. Enjoy......The Life And Love Of Trees

Monday, January 04, 2010

IF IT IS HARMONY YOU LONG FOR.....


It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive disenchanted. Japanese Proverb
...One is the sweet fruit of expectancy and trust and rest....while the other is the rotten fruit hanging from the limbs of the one whose life is defined by expectations.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

IGNORANCE IS MORE ABOUT WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW...BUT DON'T

In an attempt to reduce some back straining work, the past two winters I have taken some risk with my Japanese Maples that I grow in containers. This stretch of frigid weather will no doubt be a test. My hope is to find out that these trees are tougher than I previously thought which will mean all the back straining work I went through for years wasn't necessary, but I lived believing it was simply by the power of a mistaken notion. Wonder how many of those things we have in our lives that keep us busy/exhausted and hurting ourselves and others along with the worrying it all creates is simply due to us believing something that isn't true? Confining small boxes and fear can have that effect on us.



I have had this tree for about 8 years and it has been grown in this wooden box for most of that time. I love how the branching of this tree twists and turns and how densely packed the buds are along the branches.



















The branching disappears under a dense layer of green leaves closely stacked one on another once it leafs out. It's such a unique looking tree.



Growing trees in boxes reduces the rate of growth significantly and for a gardener with limited space and a love for trees, that works pretty well. But it is not natural and it's a highly controlled environment that then requires many more steps and procedures to keep it alive. If this tree was in the ground where it's roots could function in the way they were designed to function, this same tree would probably be 6-8 ft. tall after 8 years compared to the 3 ft. it has reached in this box.

People aren't any different. Box them in with a limited vision of what they have been created for and what is possible and the same stunted growth will occur. Allow them the same freedom their Creator has given them and you might just be surprised what happens.