Saturday, July 31, 2010


We all live in a culture stripped of grace and we have all been shaped and malformed by the harsh experience in this harsh environment. Grace will heal us and make our work spaces...our homes...or anywhere else for that matter, more human again...the way it was intended to be.

This morning I have been revisiting the conversation I have been quoting from a lot over the past few days. As I was on my way to the new salon this morning, and was nearing the end of the podcast, Krista and John got to talking about our work places. It all just felt very timely. Whether it's our work spaces...our home...or anywhere else, we all are in desperate need of this change.

"In our culture, we are very adept at letting the intellect speak, we have opinions and we know how to express them, we've become extremely good at letting our emotions speak. We have to find ways to create a different kind of atmosphere than we normally have, to allow the soul to find it's's public voice. We have to create quiet, inviting, trustworthy spaces for that to happen." The Quaker...Parker Palmer

As hard as that is to do in our homes, it seems even more a challenge to make happen in the places we work, where the "bottom line" and productivity seem to dominate. Spaces defined by grace and understanding are the kinds of spaces that build trust that allows people to let their guard down long enough so they can experience what it feels like to be accepted once the masks of performance come off. It's quite the challenge in a culture stripped of grace that has allowed and often encouraged the valuing of the accumulation of stuff over the valuing of people.

I me a dreamer. That's okay. I would rather dream and allow the prophetic imagination to be cultivated in me that has a way of inspiring hope for change than to live with the hope stealing perspective that this is the way it is and the way it will remain. And I'm not talking about living in denial of the reality that now surrounds us. What I am talking about is something even more based in realism and honesty. And that is...being honest about the mess I am personally, in all my "un-done-ness", and to accept you as you are, in all your un-done-ness, along with accepting the reality that I cannot change your mess or that of anyone else. But I can give you a break and give myself a break so that we can all reach higher, which in and of itself has a way of changing us all. It's called GRACE.

Come next Tuesday, the doors of the new salon open for the first time for business. I'm hoping the staff (my friends) that have been together now for many years will turn more than just the page that turns simply by us moving to a new location. I hope we are able to find the inspiration, courage, and patience, that will take a team that works pretty well together already, to a team that learns what it takes to turn a work environment into a healing environment governed by grace and harmony.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Part of a conversation between Krista Tippet anf Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue

Mr. O'Donohue: I think that beauty is not a luxury, but I think that it ennobles the heart and reminds us of the infinity that is within us. I always loved what Mandela said when he came out, and I was actually in his cell in Robben Island, one time I was in South Africa. Even after 27 years in confinement for something he never — for wrong you never committed, he turned himself into a huge priest and come out with this sentence where he said, "You know that what we are afraid of is not so much our limitations but the infinite within us." And I think that is in everybody. And I suppose the question that's at the heart of all we've been discussing really, which is a beautiful question, is the question of God, you know?

And I think that one of the reasons that so many people turn away from religion in our times is that the God question has died for them, because the question has been framed in such repetitive dead language. And I think it's the exciting question, once you awaken to the presence of God.

Ms. Tippett: Well, you have said, you write, "God is Beauty."

Mr. O'Donohue: Yeah, I — I, yeah, I have, yeah.

Ms. Tippett: Did you always feel this? Is that something — is that a sense that has grown in you or something that you name now?

Mr. O'Donohue: It's a sense that has grown in me, I suppose, but I've always kind of had the intuition about it, because I feel that there are two ways that you must always keep together in approaching the God thing. One is, and this is what I like about the Christian tradition — and this is where I diverge a little from the Buddhist tradition even though I love Buddhism as a methodology to clean up the mind and get you into purity of presence. What I love is that at the heart of Christianity, you have this idea of intimacy, which is true belonging, being seen, the ultimate home of individuation, the ultimate source of it and the homecoming.

That's what I call spirituality, the art of homecoming. So it's St. Augustine's phrase, "Deus intimior intimo meo" — "God is more intimate to me than I am to myself." Then you go to Meister Eckhart, and you get the other side of it which you must always keep together with it, where in Middle High German, he says"Gott wirt und Gott entwirt." That means, "God becomes and God unbecomes," or translated it means that God is only our name for it and the closer we get to it the more it ceases to be God. So then you are on a real safari with the wildness and danger and otherness of God.

Ms. Tippett: Right.

Mr. O'Donohue: And I think when you begin to get a sense of the depth that is there then your whole heart wakens up. You know, I mean, I love Irenaeus' thing from the second century, which said, the Glory of the human being — "The glory of God is the human being fully alive."

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I think it's safe to say that I have not read nor heard anyone describe more perfectly what my journey over the past several years has felt like then John O'Donohue does in this Speaking Of Faith podcast. Listen to it here THE INNER LANDSCAPE OF BEAUTY

Mr. O'Donohue: This is a poem I wrote several years ago, and it's called, Beannacht, which is the Gaelic word for blessing.

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the curach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


"The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
that the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
descending in the dark?"
Wendell Berry

I've been reading bits and pieces from Wendell Berry for a few years now. I love his writings and his poems. I love the content as well as the artful way in which he writes. I feel a connection with him in regards to the things that move him....the joy-filled wonder of things, as well as the devastating things he sees happening to the things he and I see as valuable, and how they often lose out to things of much lesser value.

I grew up on a farm. Didn't have the appreciation for it then like I do today. Let's just say that I was a bit young and ignorant. I did love the money created by the 15 acres my dad would give to myself and my brothers for our help farming the 800 to 1000 acres we farmed, even if the work was tiring and long during the season. I also loved the bounty of fresh homegrown produce that would come from the acre garden we would always help our mom plant every spring and would help care for throughout the growing season. Today, I really have no desire to be a full-time farmer working the land and counting on the weather to cooporate in order to provide the necessities for my family, but I have felt a strong call back to the ground from which life springs, and is dependent, and a way of living more in harmony with it. And I also feel a deep pain more and more as my eyes are opened to the ravaged path of independence humans get caught up in that leaves us ignorantly trampling under foot everything that is of value. All of these things seems to now be serving a bigger purpose in me. It helps in the process of removing the lesser things that had distracted me for many years. And as I continue to leave the path (way of thinking) that had distracted me, and return to one more closely aligned with many of the things of my youth and the eternal echo of my soul...I find that my battered heart and mind and soul are being healed and I am feeling more human and creaturely again.


"When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."
Wendell Berry

Monday, July 26, 2010


This that follows doesn't bode well for us who have been raised in a culture such as ours. Unless we can recapture the imagination necessary to see a change happen in regards to how we live in it. Art and poetry have a way of capturing our heart/imagination but those have been pushed aside in our harried space with a different form of "learning".....crude instruction...assimilation of facts and the process by which efficiency is achieved.

"There is an artfulness in being human." Ellen Davis

"Poetry can't be read in distraction." Wendell Berry

"Poetry slows you down. And I think that anything that slows you down in our world now, is to be valued. And maybe is a gift and a calling from God" Ellen Davis

The poetry and artfulness of life, and the life that resides inside me that I had lost, was partially awakened in me in my garden and in the larger garden we all share. Slowing down, by stepping out of the manic pace I had been traveling at, to once again see it and enjoy it as I had as a child has all felt like grace. Grace brought me here and it is only grace that will sustain me in this world I live in and share with many other creatures of all kinds. Even as they are still caught up in the manic pace. Maybe especially?

Here's a lovely podcast to go along with this. It's where the quotes come from....LAND, LIFE, and the POETRY OF CREATURES

Saturday, July 24, 2010


This counter-cultural sounding voice from deep inside, nudges me on as I walk through the environment I environment that too often ends up sounding like wisdom and common sense. But the results of that common wisdom I see with my eyes, and the pain it creates deep inside me where that other voice emerges, has a way of continually pushing me towards that counter-culture sounding voice.

It's a voice that sounds like foolishness to the ears trained and held captive by the more common voices.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Christian training, fundamentalism, political ideologies, social engineering and the such, have a way of keeping people trapped this side of complexity and mesmerized by blind certainty and fear. To face the complexity will most definitely involve some pain, much of it created by the confusion that's awaiting any brave soul who desires to be set free from the illusion. But there is no other way into simplicity and the peace and joy and rest that awaits us on the other side of complexity.

Now if you want to talk about the complexity of nature (as seen in this natural fractal) that is a wondrous thing. It's a place full of astounding beauty waiting to be discovered. While most of the complexity humans create and remain caught up in only serves to blind and bind them in destructive illusions.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


And we end up thinking it's normal...the obvious next step...and that it is good...and it's all done with no critical thought and often no capacity to even do so

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Some things are just too easy to misconstrue due to certain words being etched in people's minds along with the meaning people have settled on. Violence being one such word. I woke up this morning with this little line running through my head. We are loved with a love that will do violence to the things that stand in the way of our freedom....but we must allow it...because this love will not violate us.

As I have thought on this some more, The Shack came to mind as a perfect example. Violence was certainly a part of that story...two fold. I'm not speaking here of the kind of violence Missy encountered or that Mack had been effected by since he was a little boy and was still trapped by as a man. The kind of violence and corresponding fear most people are trapped by. In regards to what was on my mind as I woke this morning, I was thinking of a wholly other violence....that doesn't look like the other violence at all.

Mack did encounter another form of violence while at The Shack. God's wrath. God's love. In my own life, I have come to know this Love as being faithfully dangerous. But I play a part in the encounter because this form of violence is not aggressive and intrusive. It must be invited in and given permission. And the outcome of this violence I speak is beautiful and freeing for the person...never destructive....well, only to that which is in need of being destroyed....the very things that are enslaving and destroying the object of the Creator's affection.

When invited in as one begins to trust, this love will do violence to the things that stand in the way of us being set free. It will in the process displace the fear that leaves us doing the other kind of violence to ourselves and others.

And it makes a world of difference and leaves us with something tangible and other worldly

Friday, July 16, 2010


Reachng for it's source
basking...resting in what's given
and reflecting something
more beautiful together
than can be reflected when the
stand apart

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I've found myself once again over the past couple days wanting to take my family and escape (this is my personal feeling and I'm quite certain they aren't on board with me :-) least in the sense that I mean it.

And I'm ruined myself anyway when it comes to such an idea also, actually. Because I'm always reminded of this...

"I suppose since most of our hurts come through relationships, so will our healing.............and I know grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside." The Shack

Sunday, July 11, 2010


It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive disenchanted. Japanese Proverb

"Garden of pure, clear harmony and peace."

"When stability (uniformity) is achieved, there is no more harmony." Jacques Ellul

"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind."
Thich Nhat Hanh

"Understanding and Love are not two separate things, but just one. To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you cannot help but love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people."
Thich Nhat Hanh

I truly am amazed at what begins to just happen when you stop trying so hard and just live out of the freedom you know/out of what the Spirit has accomplished in you.
The out bound ripples will leave you confounded and with nothing to boast about....just grateful.

"We don’t give ourselves time - the way that we used to
To watch it all happen, unfolding in sighs"
from the song It's Alright by Ellery

When life is simplified down to that which is necessary, and that which is necessary turns out to be much less than we used to believe it was, we will begin to notice that the days seem much longer than they use to seem. Life is not flying by anymore. The REST begins to feel real and in turn we will notice what being available means. Available for that which is valuable....people and whatever else Father has created and whatever else he is doing at this moment.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I find myself often thinking about the larger picture (which I do find helpful) but always find that the Spirit always moves to bring it back home to the personal, internal and external. On the larger scale, the scars created by the myth of scarcity and it's accompanying lies that jerk people around and keep them trapped in self sabotaging activities is so apparent. But the larger context is just a reality created by the hold the myth of scarcity has on the individual. It's just a sad painful reality in light of the truth that when it comes to what we need, the promise has always been and still is...abundance.

Friday, July 09, 2010


This is one of the photos that got a frame today. It's from a much cooler time this spring during a rather long stretch of rainy weather. Cool and rainy sound so good to me right now since we are in the midst of our Midwest summer. Every time I have seen this photo today it's brought to mind beauty and simplicity. I could use some of that right now. The beauty these days has been a bit covered up by complexity and pain...the product of human choice...of pain begetting more pain and so on until that cycle finds itself broken by love/grace/forgiveness and light.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


For several years now I have been taking photos of my garden, sunrises and sunsets, cloud formations and my daughters, and for years they just remained digital files on my computer. For Father's Day this year I made a request to have some of them turned into prints and framed. The frames just came today.


Have our minds been so assaulted and conditioned by the royal consciousness (as Walter Brueggemann calls it) to where most never even consider that there might be something so destructive about the scripts we are given to live by? The way of living on the playing field we were born and that we accept without question. Or is it just that people feel so powerless in the face of it all to even be capable of imagining that it is possible to really experience a change in the way we live in this world, as we move from moment to moment...with one another? I've come to see it, through what I have experienced in myself and engaging with others, that with most people, both are true in most people's minds. I've also come to know that both are completely untrue in the most important sense. There is a different way. But the process of getting there might just be the most difficult thing a human being ever faces. If an individual ever slows down long enough to spend time thinking about it critically, it is possible that an entirely new way would come into view. And as much of a challenge as that is...stepping out of that familiar stream takes a lot of trust and a lot of courage. Trust is where the courage we are in need of, comes from.

I challenge you to begin to try to imagine a way of seeing yourself living in this world outside of the scripts you have been shaped by? Example: Does the all too common universal script of law and control ever have the power to change the game? And you don't even need to think about the game in the larger sense. Does it have the power to change your own personal experience? You might just find out that it's actually one of those big things that is standing in the way.

And if our minds begin with, or immediately slip back into questions it realistic or politically practical or economically viable...we will remain stuck because those are questioned conditioned in us by the script. As Baxter Kruger describes it...It's like your mind being run through a meat grinder.

To find your life, you must lose it has never before made more brilliant sense to me than it does from this different space where being able to imagine for the first time a life outside the script is possible.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


It's such a rare but wonderful thing to find people who are able to understand the value (even if left frustrated) of having come out of a conversation and having been left with more questions due to the abstract/abstruse nature of the discussion. And then to find them several days later still grappling and frustrated with it all yet recognizing there remains something important to be discovered from it all

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


This is not about "how to".... What seems to be far more helpful are conversations with people who care and are caring. Conversations about the things that get in the way.

At this link you will find a very interesting 20 minute presentation about the destructive power of shame.


Monday, July 05, 2010


Without radical rule breaking forgiveness, the dawning of a new kinda day remains impossible. And we really have no ability to make that happen in the larger community or even in another individual, and thinking we do usually just serves as a distraction from what is possible. But when it comes to us as individuals, the possibility is still alive and well. And as it is with love, it is with forgiveness also...It all hinges on how forgiven we feel and how we see that forgiveness. Was it radical in the sense that it wasn't tied to anything we did? Completely free? Or was it tied to a set of hoops we were required to jump through first? How we see it and understand it will determine how we live with others. And how we live with others is a perfect indicator of what we believe about forgiveness.

Without this radical forgiveness and grace, the hurts we have caused one another will remain logged in our memory and will cause the fight to rage on and will continue to sabotage the very thing we long for.

"God's response as revealed in Jesus is not to crush us as we might expect, but to break the cycle of estrangement and rivalry with the transforming power of love. We see on the cross, in Richard Rohr's terms, "the naked God". God is made small, stripped naked, arms stretched out, so that our false image of a threatening judgmental God is taken away and God's heart of love for us is revealed. The threat is removed; we have nothing to fight against. God surrenders first so we can give up the fight too and come home. The cycle of rivalry and violence is broken through the weakness of God on the cross." Derek Flood


"You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They KNOW it's going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt." R. Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Saturday, July 03, 2010


This morning I took a break from my normal Saturday routine which always has me spending the morning, till noon, in the salon. Most of my time has been spent in the garden, cleaning up. I grabbed my hand saw and pruners and went to work on an area that had become overgrown. It's always the kind of time spent that helps set my mind to thinking.
We had a very hot and humid May and June this year but the first few days of July have been a nice break. This morning's weather was just lovely, but now that cool is giving way to some heat and humidity that will now dominate this holiday week end.

Another thing that has happened over the past few years, that has become a break-away-from-the-normal routine, happens to do with how I process the celebration this nation partakes in every year at this time. My thoughts this morning while in the garden were certainly defined by this very different way of seeing my place in this world and I know this puts me at odds with most of my neighbors. The cool thing is this new way of seeing things none the less expands the realm of neighbor for me and is the very power that can defuse the all too common unneighborly behavior the other way of thinking keeps people trapped in.

It's not the concept of independence that my mind focuses on these days. That's a ravaged path. It always has been. My mind is in need of being set free from that path and instead renewed so as to see and understand the beautiful/peaceful life of dependence.