Monday, September 27, 2010

THE FREE SHOW IN THE SKY IS MEANT FOR YOU

This whole event began on the rather unimpressive side. A beautiful sky but nothing unlike many other times I've watched the daylight come to an end. Most of the time the sky was like the first two photos. And then towards the end (the last 10 minutes of sunset) it all began to take on a feeling of being a very blessed moment of astounding beauty.
















NO POSSIBILITY OF FORGETTING


While out doing some necessary things this morning, one of those cool moments happened. Out in front of me in the distance, a flock of snow geese broke out of several different V-formations and formed into one whole. A beautiful and wild choreographed grey-to-white-flowing-back-and-forth-dance played out as I was driving towards them. And just moments before they would have been right above me, they broke out of that dance, and with such ease and grace formed several different groups once again and headed off in a more efficient formation.

What made it even more interesting was Over The Rhine's beautiful/haunting song Fireflies had just begun to play. From the first time I heard this song the line that is repeated over and over...My memory will not fail me now...has stuck with me. I was emerging out of a very raw season at the time. I later heard Linford explain the idea that gave birth to the song. It speaks of learning something so deeply that forgetting it is no longer a possibility. I love that.

The song playing along with the dance of the snow geese was beyond cool. The snow geese have learned something sooooo deeply that makes the migratory process such a natural rhythm for them. And yet they have the freedom to improvise. How beautiful is that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh that living as we were meant to live, in such a freedom, would become so natural to us to where we too would come into concert with that wild primal rhythm. Now that would be beautiful.

You can listen to the song here


Friday, September 24, 2010

NOT AFRAID OF MYSTERY


I went out just a bit ago wandering around while listening to an interview on my iPod and the near-full-moon slipping through the branches of the trees just looked more mysterious than usual. When I got back home I googled Harvest Moon to browse through some images and this is the first one that caught my attention. I know this is a hawk in this photo but it reminded me of three nights earlier this week when my sleep was interrupted by the call of an owl outside my open window in a nearby tree. And as tonight, those three nights I laid in bed totally lost in the beauty of this mystery we all are caught up in.

Tonight the interview I was listening to added another dimension to the feeling created by the moon....the mystery of how death has been a traveling companion with me up to this time in my life and has been from the time I was born. At 42, the fear of losing someone I care more about than I ever fathomed possible, brought this reality of death being something I had no control over up in such a way in my life that turned out to be the beginning of living within another mystery. How is it possible that the act of embracing this reality about death would end up freeing me of the fear of death...my own and that of others close to me? I've shared the details of this new space dealing with the reality of death in conversations and have even written about it, but the way John describes it all and how he leaves such a beautiful mystery to eternal life (a new birthing) in place instead of trying to define it in rigid religious terms that would just muck the beautiful mystery all up was just perfect background music for me as I walked tonight under a night sky of the kind I hope always retains the ability to leave me caught up in the wonder of it all........

Here are downloads of the podcast I mentioned. Programme #4 & #5 are the ones on aging and death. What a beautiful perspective on a reality none of us can cheat.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

TO SET THE MIND AT EASE AND HEAL THE SORE HEART


It was much needed time away tonight...I have a hillside/field close by that in the evening does me well on days like this day has been.

"When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of mountains, or fields, or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves. The slowness and the stillness gradually take us over. Our breathing deepens and our hearts calm and our hungers relent. When serenity is restored, new perspectives open to us and difficulty can begin to seem like an invitation to new growth." John O'Donohue

Saturday, September 18, 2010

THE BEAUTY OF THE FLAW


The ease and beauty of a fresh spring landscape soon gives way to the reality that nature exists under pressure, in an environment that is far from a perfect environment. But if we humans walk lightly and take serious caring for it, the struggle can be eased and the stress can be minimized and as the season progresses the landscape even with all it's flaws can still shine. In a way the same is true with us humans if we walk lightly among one another caring for one another, a beauty will begin to emerge from the flaw we all carry within the inner landscape. A little limp can even add to the beauty of it all.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A BEAUTIFUL REDEMPTION


It's such a creative process. To take the whole of a life and somehow in secrecy (unnoticed in the moment)weave together a tapestry of dark and light...failure and triumph...pain and joy, the things that are the core of our experience, and come out with something beautiful and free. It's a creativity so indescribable it can only be seen as mystical. What's so sad though is we all have been handed a script that often keeps us fighting it all instead of embracing it, which ends up just postponing this life of awe. Maybe that's just an unavoidable part of the mystery also? Human choice seems to make timing a complicated thing.


The pain we all have experienced, those created by the acts of others and those that have come upon us through the choices and acts of our own, differ in degree from person to person. And so, the creative journey out of the damage caused by it all will most certainly look different for each of us also. One of the most important ways we can collaborate in helping one another is allowing the uniqueness to just be what it is. We must allow the experiences of others to speak to them what they are in need of hearing and it be heard in the context of the One who is orchestrating this redemption. We as unique individuals are being invited into the unique creative process that actually birthed the entire cosmos.


"When we decide to explore our lives through creative expression, it is often surprising to discover that the things that almost destroyed us are the very things that want to talk to us. It could be years later; time makes no difference in the inner sanctum of this encounter. The wound has left its imprint. And yet after all this time the dark providence of the suffering wants to somehow illuminate our lives so that we can now discover the unseen gift that it bequeathed. The labour and discipline of creativity refines our blemished seeing, and gradually an unexpected gift comes to light."~~~John O'Donohue

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

THE MINDFUL PRACTICE OF LIVING WITH OTHERS



Teaching has nothing to do with power-over and manipulation of the other. It's about showing the way, in a way, that helps the other see that they and their freedom and health and well being are more important than anything else. The way we lead tells us much about what we value.







A Blessing For One Who Holds Power


May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a
vocation,
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to serve.

As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its
wings,
May your perspective be larger than the view from
the foothills.

When the way is flat and dull in times of gray
endurance,
May your imagination continue to evoke horizon.

When thirst burns in times of drought,
May you be blessed to find the wells.

May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seeds of change will flourish.

In your heart may there be a sanctuary
For the stillness where clarity is born.

May your work be infused with passion and creativity
And have the wisdom to balance compassion and
challenge.

May your soul find the graciousness
To rise above the fester of small mediocrities.
May your power never become a shell
Wherein your heart would silently atrophy.
May you welcome your own vulnerability
As the ground where healing and truth join.

May integrity of soul be your first ideal,
The source that will guide and bless your work.

John O'Donohue, from To Bless This Space Between Us

Monday, September 13, 2010

THE HARSHNESS OF MODERN CULTURE


The culture in which we live knows not what grace is and has become severe and harsh, and that is largely due to fear and it being uncomfortable with mystery, so instead, sets us out on a course to find certitude...or as John O'Donohue says it; "it wants to unriddle and control the unknown."



Religion is equally a troubling partner in this adventure in missing the point. It sets people up to head out on a path (usually a program) to learn how to be what they must be in order to be in God's good graces...'safe inside his will'...and the malforming effects of it all leaves people completely incapable of spontaneity, something that is vital when it comes to following the Spirit and simply being.


Religion and culture are all about achievement so they never allow the necessary space for us to find what we are in need of doing....letting go. Forcing oneself to go at it harder is the loudest prevailing ridiculous voice we all face and as long as we follow that voice we will never come to find what it means to simply belong...to be. The ego hates this and will never accept it. The ego is actually what is receiving the eviction notion when we make the decision to let go.


Only when we take the risk in stepping out of it all will we come to rest and find out that what we have been chasing all along wasn't what we were in need of. And what we were in need of has been right here with us all along...just waiting for us to return home.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

ALLOWING TIME TO BE WHAT IT IS


The pace and focus of modern culture turns time into an enemy. When it's actually the pace that is the enemy of the natural rhythms that can assist us in coming home to where we belong.

LANDSCAPES


It seems the environment of modern culture from home to work and everywhere in between has taken on a dangerous toxicity due to a dullness having set in. It's a landscape void of wonder.

To the ones able to recognize what it is and are able to pull back the thick fog created by the dullness...there is a landscape that extends from home to work and everywhere in between that is nothing short of astounding and astonishing. And that landscape is as much a term for the internal space as it is the landscape we can see with the eye. The dullness keeps us missing both of them. But by their nature, those landscapes will displace the dullness if we have the courage to allow it to happen.

Friday, September 10, 2010

THE BEAUTY OF THE MESS IN PROCESS


It's been a pretty typical week around here even though no one moment ever repeats itself. Things are always in motion...in flux. Most people hate it and in turn work hard trying to keep things predictable. It's the tyranny caused by expectations. The outcome of such effort is never good and without a doubt produces copious amounts of stress and anxiety and most often leaves those caught up in the storm unable to see clearly. And even when the present conflict comes to an end, nothing is resolved and the pain lingers on, unhealed...festering.

What I'm loving about the process my family find ourselves caught up in as participants is how the time that follows a storm has changed. Yes we run into conflict. No one avoids it. No one. If humans are involved there is from time to time going to be conflict. That's a given. What makes a huge difference is the environment in which the conflicts happen. Turns out that with most people, the conflicts happen within an environment shaped by law. It leaves everyone involved damaged.

But an environment of grace creates something wholly other. Conflict still arises amongst people who are being transformed by grace. But what's different with them is that grace transforms the conflict by slipping in and bringing a clarity in regards to what's most important. At some point it seems to always bring a healing calm that allows those involved to get a glimpse of the way forward...together, while law leaves people seperated and in the fog created by the clashing of wills defined by the who's right and who's wrong paradigm.

And forget about trying to mix the two realms. They just don't mix and it just leaves people confused.

Grace takes the tangled knot created by our dysfunction and begins to untangle it without creating more damage in each of us and without pulling us as individuals apart from one another. It joins us together in a way the power and conformity paradigm can never accomplish.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

THE NATURAL RHYTHMS OF GRACE


It was a few years ago now that I first heard someone use the term earth school. It happened to be Anne Lamott. I remember really liking her little reference to it but she didn't expand upon it and I never spent any time specifically thinking about it. Well, somehow without me really even being aware of what was happening I began to awaken to what I see as earth school and the profound lessons to be learned there every moment of everyday. The learning is of a completely different nature than what we have all become so familiar with in regards to the realm of academics and instruction created by Man. What we have learned there in that unnatural environment is really of very little help to us at all in Earth School. Most often it is one of the things standing in the way.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

THE GIFT AND THE JOURNEY


I've have spoken of the story in so many different ways here on this blog from the day I began to attempt to put it down in words. This blog is actually nothing more than a collection of posts where the story has played out. Even the title of the blog is a product of the story/journey. And even though the title is not original, but borrowed from the title of a song, it fits perfectly in reference to the gift all of this has turned out to be and the process. And as with all the other posts shared here and elsewhere on the net I do it openly so that maybe it will be an encouragement to someone else. Each of our journeys are very unique and at the same time the process so often feels very universal.


All of this came to mind tonight as I was doing some more reading from John O'Donohue's book BEAUTY The Invisible Embrace. In all the interviews I have heard with him and the things I have read that have been written by him, he so perfectly describes what my past several years have been like but does it with an eloquence I do not possess.


The beauty of the gift is the secret way it awakens us to growth. Without alerting our anxiety or forcing confrontation, the gift has placed us on the path of change almost before we realize it. And much of the change in our lives happen through struggle and pain. We are confronted with an unattractive direction that we have to take. For weeks or months we have to travel through limbo; the comfort and security of our familiar belonging lies far behind us. Where we will belong next has not yet become clear. The days become a struggle of endurance. Yet when the light and the ease return, we recognize the change that has been achieved. The gift bequeaths change in a completely different way. Quickly it undoes the knots of false netting that had us entangled and before we have time to realize what has happened, we find ourselves released into a new fluency. Like a parent to the soul, the gift carries us carefully over torn ground until our feet stand free in a serene place where we can recognize that we have been blessed.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

THE AGE OF ANXIETY AND THE HOPE THAT REMAINS


As I dropped my youngest off at highschool this morning, in the long line of cars dropping all the other kids off, I couldn't help but think about how I wish my daughters were going everyday to Earth School instead of this completely unnatural environment. Or at least that at this time in their lives they could understand that this activity two of them are caught up in is at best just a necessity that helps them live in this mad world, the realm of necessity they find themselves in, and that Earth School is an important salve that is so needed to heal the scars left by the other. We've been sold a lie that all this makes us more civil when instead it squeezes us into a confining mold that perpetuates dehumanizing behavior and then tells us it's civil.

So I am left standing here as a sign post in the midst of them, to live my life as free of it as possible, in hopes that someday when the weight of it all and the grime it has left on them begins to be seen for what it is so that their journey of unplugging from it will begin.

You love this town
Even if that doesn't ring true
You've been all over
And it's been all over you

It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day

Touch me
Take me to that other place
Teach me
I know I'm not a hopeless case

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

CHECK YOUR PERCEPTIONS

"If you tarnish your perceptions by holding on to suffering that isn't really there, you create even greater misunderstanding. One-sided perceptions like these create our world of suffering. We are like an artist who is frightened by his own drawing of a ghost. Our creations become real to us and even haunt us." Thich Nhat Hanh