Saturday, December 31, 2011
It's about a peace worthy of and consistent with, our own immensity, the beauty we are surrounded by, and the one who dreamed us up. And it goes way beyond a promise about where we will spend the time that extends out beyond this life after we die. The most immediate part of it is.....How will we spend the time that we have here?
Late last night the word came in that the results of the test confirmed that I was not facing, at least at this time, a dance with cancer. I was alone so there is no one to confirm to you that there was no sigh of relief but instead just the hint of a smile and then a closing of my eyes to once again enter the world of sleep. This possibility of cancer arrived back towards the end of summer after I had undergone a standard physical. I am glad to be able to say that from that moment on there has not been a moment of worry. I came to understand several years ago that worry is a wastage of this amazing life we have been entrusted with. And it's not true that worry doesn't have the power to change anything. Worry has the power to change a lot. It changes our experience in the here and now, and not in a good way.
But I have also come to know that telling others to not worry is a wastage also. Not worrying is not an act of will. It's the fruit of trust. It's the ability to accept what is and to respond in a way that's worthy and consistent with the simple profound beauty it is of having been given this immense privilege of living this one short and unrepeatable human life.
All I can say is that a number of years ago fear began to be displaced from my life as a traveling companion. Does that mean I now live with zero encounters with fear? No it doesn't. I have this suspicion that as long as we live in these fragile human earth suits, fear might just pop up now and again. But I have also, first hand come to know, that if we have the courage to face our fears, even (especially) the worst of them, and if we can recapture the imagination to believe that it is possible to live a life that is defined by peace (real tangible unshakable peace) and not fear, it can radically change this human experience.
I've also come to know that the spirit works in ways that even goes beyond mysterious. (And I'm not talking about the healing of the body in this instance...I'm talking about the changing of how we experience pain, and difficulty, and change, and challenge, and ignorance, and darkness and ugliness and negativity and the like) I think it could be said that we who have been raised in Christian circles have even had the idea of God's mysterious ways malformed in us to where it has left us living in a way that keeps us working against the Spirit and actually rejecting the Spirit. I hear people say "the Spirit works in mysterious ways" all the time by rote, and then they go on living like they really don't believe it. The Spirit is committed to us and intent on setting us free....free even of the fear of death that is jerking people around in ways they aren't even aware of. And mysterious doesn't mean abracadabra kind of stuff. It usually means a slow steady unrelenting gentle working that is often going on without us even noticing it. But if our imaginations remain stumbling around in the shallows, unable to imagine that a life lived free of fear is even possible (even when we don't get delivered from the tough stuff)....we might just miss it.
I would love to live like a river flows
Carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.
~~~ John O Donohue
Friday, December 30, 2011
BEAUTY...The Invisible Embrace
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
How much time do you spend caught up in the natural healthy rhythm of the world creatures live in? You do realize that you are a creature don't you? Is your life efforts spent attending to that world? Or is your time spent more knuckled into the offerings of the out of sync rhythm that is often creating damage to the creature world we were given the task/privilege of watching over with great care?
"Outside there is great distance. When you walk out into the landscape the fields stretch away towards the horizon. At dawn, the light unveils the vast spread of nature. Gnarled stones hold nests of fossils from a time so distant we cannot even imagine it. At night, the stars reflect light from the infinite distance of the cosmos. When you experience this distance stretching away from the shore of your body, it can make you feel minuscule. Pascal said, "The eternal silence of those infinite spaces frightens me." There is a magnificent freedom in Nature; no frontier could ever frame her infinity. There is a natural wildness in the earth. You sense this particularly in wild places that have never been tamed by human domestication. There are places where the ocean praises the steady shore in a continual hymn of wave. There are fresh, cold streams pouring through mountain corners in a rhythm that never anticipates the gaze of human eye. Animals never interfere with the wildness of the earth. They attune themselves to the longing of the earth and move within it as if it were a home rhythm. Animals have no distance from the earth. They have no plan or program in relation to it. They live naturally in its landscapes, always present completely to where they are. There is an apt way in which the animal who always lives in the "now" of time can fit so perfectly into the "where" of landscape. The time and mind of the animal rest wherever it is. The poet Wendell Berry says, "I come into the peace of wild things... / ...For a time / I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." ~~~ Eternal Echoes
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Spring is here.
No, not really. It was just that I awakened to a temperature of 56 degrees this morning and along with the dampness in the air...it really feels like spring. But the garden tells a much different story. Today feels really good though with it's ever so present echo of spring.
We are constantly surrounded by important echoes that are here to assist us. Some can be heard through things that we see, others through things we feel....and others through things we've just learned so deeply that forgetting them becomes impossible even when we can't see or feel what is always present for us to hold onto. Or that is always holding onto us.
And it is too often that people miss the echo. Maybe it's because they are looking for or expecting the wrong thing.
Monday, December 05, 2011
Today when you dare talk like this you will often be looked at like you are nuts. "What are you talking about? Finding shelter in the order of the cosmos" :-/
You're probably even more likely to run into resistance and correction to such a notion if you mention such an idea in religious circles because to the religious mind of modern times it just has a sound of New Agyness to it.
But why does it sound more far fetched than crazy ideas like looking for shelter in: money, economic ideologies, power, government, control, militarism, insurance policies, consumerism etc etc etc?
What's been more consistent and stood the test of time?
If you choose to spend any time considering that seriously.....then ask yourself what sounds more silly?
THE CRY OF OUR TIMES: TO AWAKEN BEAUTY
We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender. Each morning we awaken to the light and the invitation to a new day in the world of time; each night we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more. At birth we were awakened and emerged to become visible in the world. At death we will surrender again to the dark to become invisible. Awakening and surrender: they frame each day and each life; between them the journey where anything can happen, the beauty and the frailty. When the Celtic Imagination searched for the structures of shelter and meaning, it raised its eyes to the mountains and heavens and put its trust in the faithful patterns of the sun, stars, moon and seasons. Long before them the Greeks to had raised their eye beyond the horizon and recognized the heavenly patterns of the cosmos. There they glimpsed a vision of order which was to become the heart of their understanding of beauty. All the frailty and uncertainty was seen to be ultimately sheltered by the eternal beauty which presides over all the journeys between awakening and surrender, the visible and invisible, the light and the darkness. ~~~ BEAUTY...The Invisible Embrace
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
As much as I now enjoy the maturity of this garden and the rest it now offers me, that native longing to continue to create never rests. We are natural born creators/artists...all of us. Many when they see this garden, the last thing that comes to mind is rest. All they see is hard intensive work. That though is due to the eyes they are stuck seeing things through. It's one of those bad fruits of the fragmented lives (way of being) we all inherited. Our lives have become so chopped up. We have our "work lives" and then we have our "non work lives". And most seem to despise the work part and often really don't enjoy the non work part either because most seem to despise how quickly it passes which only means they have to return to the work part. This dualistic approach to life leaves many things that belong together cut off from one another. And it goes well beyond how most people view life "the work part and the part that's not work" example. And if we remain there...we are left suffering unnecessarily.
Even though I no longer suffer internally or externally, like I used to, under the dualistic approach to a life of living here and working over there, I actually have a desire to bring my life back together in an even more tangible physical way by combining them in one locale. There's something about the idea that just feels healthier...more in rhythm. Often when I express this to people many look at me as if I am nuts. They desire to keep the two seperate. I assume that is due to the reality that they see work as more of an intrusion on their life than as an integral part of their whole being. Maybe it's just me? The more I rid myself of the mistaken notions of conventional wisdom, I find myself seeing more clearly the oppressiveness and the soul diminishing nature of what the out of sync thinking has created. Like I said, we all are natural born creators. We all are creating whether we are aware of it or not. Unfortuately, much of what's being created is the oppressive soul diminishing kind of stuff.
A few years ago when I stepped back from it all during a distrubing season that got my attention...I didn't like what I began to see in regards to what I had created while participating in that dualistic life. Even this garden took on a whole new feeling. The change began to transform the whole experience of life. It feels much less fragmented and scattered today. Gently intertwined and brought back home together is way better than the entanglements of the scrattered outwardly and driven nature of dualism.
This morning I was feeling the familiar creative stirring that I often feel inside me. And as I walked through the garden my memory took me back to earlier days lived in this space. And I certainly do enjoy what this garden and my life have matured into.....but I am always thinking about doing it again. Well, at least the creating a new garden part. There is just something so healing and restorative about participating with and creating beauty. Every human needs to experience it. Creating beauty/adding beauty to this world is what an integrated life is all about. Begin to take back your life from all the places it has been scattered out to and then just watch as your life begins to turn into a beautiful garden bursting into life.
Friday, November 04, 2011
And when humans are acting more human....this plant truly is one of the medicinal wonders of the botanical world.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
With every challenging twist and turn in the space of your life up to this point, there has been a secret life traveling along with you. This secret life's intention is transfiguration, beautification and freedom.
If you will attend to it, it will awaken you. It sets in motion a transition from a life of increasing frustration, attempts to control and making a mess of things...to a life defined by an unwinding of your troubled inner world that created the twists in the first place.
A cool part of this experience is that somehow the artist that orchestrates all of this, in collaboration with us and our soul, leaves in place the outline of all of our experiences in our visual appearance....as a beautiful reminder that somehow all along, even during all the rough spots, this work was in motion.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Life is meant to be such an adventure. But most humans get so knuckled into their domesticated lives in the machine world and completely forget that they are creatures in a larger creature world. They then fall out of touch with the thrill of just being here and being a part of it in the role they are meant to live in. We are then left believing and then living like, humans and the things we create, are the only things of real value...the only things that really matter, and the only value any other thing has is simply connected to how it is useful for the self centered trip we have become stuck on. The term is called: anthropocentric. This misdirection then forms the mistaken notion in the mind that everything besides the human is without soul. This alternate story humanity then lives in creates a destructive "cosmological elitism" and it causes us to miss the profound reality of Creation that we are a part of. Once our reference point get skewed we are then fully exiled into an existence that is completely out of rhythm. No wonder our thinking then becomes completely skewed in regard to the one who created it all, and what that one is up to in regard to it all, and its unfolding.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
"Rilke said, in turbulent times you should endeavor to stay close to one simple thing in nature. And I think everyone, no matter where they live, should have some place in nature that they go to.
One of the beauties of landscape is the sense of stillness and silence within it. When you come into a space like that you are actually entering into the prayer of landscape. All prayer and contemplation is about trying to come into presence. And I believe that landscape never leaves it.
When you are truly present in landscape you know afterwards that something has shifted within you or some burden has fallen."~~~John O'Donohue
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Saturday, October 08, 2011
Many remain fearful of the shadowed nature of new spaces. Even once we begin to recognize the voice of freedom inviting us to come, it can be unnerving to the sense of integration we have begun to appreciate about the present space we have settled into. But life at its most healthy is a pilgrimage. Even when the last space created much beauty in our lives, growth beckons us on and requires us to let go and to cross over new thresholds.
"At any time you can ask yourself: At which threshold am I now standing? At this time in my life, what am I leaving? Where am I about to enter? What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold? What gift would enable me to do it? A threshold is not simply a boundary; it's a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms, and atmospheres. Indeed, it is a lovely testimony to the fullness and integrity of an experience or a stage of life that it intensifies toward the end into a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up. At this threshold a great complexity of emotion comes alive; confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope. This is one of the reasons such vital crossings were always clothed in ritual. It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds: to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward. The time has come to cross." ~~~ John O'Donohue
Human life is made up of seasons just like nature. The human kind seem to be just a little less predicable. And nature seems to make these transitions a little more gracefully than do we humans. That's probably just due to the simple reality that nature exists in silence. We humans aren't that silent. But if you pay close attention to nature, you will notice that the move from one season to the next is not made without the presence of some tension. The crossing over is never easy. But it still remains the very thing that opens up the possibility of new growth. When the time to cross has come...let us hope to find the courage, and to know intimately the trust required, to cross
Saturday, September 24, 2011
As Rilke wisely observed, we are not and cannot be at home in our interpreted world. The creatio-ex-nihilo metaphor invites us to leave behind these worn and weary ways of seeing, and to enter into the second innocence of a fresh encounter with creation. The veils of familiarity fall away. Our tired eyes are healed and washed in the well of all origin. Creation returns to the dignity and glory of its pure otherness. ~~~ The Four Elements
Friday, September 23, 2011
A mental prison can be as bad as a physical prison. When you are trapped in a mental prison, the crippling idea or feeling robs you of all joy and freedom. You can see or feel little else. Your mind becomes a small room without light. You turn the wild mystery of your own mind into a shabby, negative little room; the windows are blocked, and there is no door. The mental prison is devastatingly lonely. It is a sorrowful place, because ultimately it is you who locks yourself up within a demented idea or feeling. ~~~ Eternal Echoes
And from John's book BEAUTY The Invisible Embrace
We turn the mystery and strangeness of this world into our private territory. We make a home out of the world. Life becomes predictable and we function within our frames: route to work, colleagues, friends, patterns of thinking and feeling, the faces of the family, etc. Without sensing it, we become lost inside the automatic traffic of functioning. It is only when something goes wrong that we are hauled back to the edge. Quite abruptly the familiar map has melted and territories that were sure ground an hour ago don't exist anymore.
And later on in BEAUTY...this.....
The mystery and magic of being an individual is to live life in response to the deep call within, the call to become who we were dreamed to be. In primal terms, it is the call to discover and realize the divine blueprint in the soul. This is where true freedom awaits us. Freedom is not simply the absence of necessity; it is the poise of soul at one with a life which honors and engages its creative possibility. There is no other presence in creation that has such potential for freedom as the human self. Yet like seagulls in the unsheltered cold and ferocity of the ocean, we often nest out on the cold ledges of famished extremity and neglect to remember the meadows where the flowers await. Naturally, there will be times when truth of heart demands that we live on the ledges. To remain there, however, resembles an addiction to misery.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
If we as individuals aren't awakened to the destructive way of thinking (Royal Consciousness) that hooks us and perpetuates the unjust society it has created, which is the direct result of people growing up in homes without love and grace and freedom and a sense of real belonging, nothing will ever change. And if we adults can't create that kind of environment in our homes because our thinking is still trapped in the destructive consciousness of the unjust society, our children will be left with a mountain of destructive thinking to overcome and will struggle as they move into their life as adults creating their own path of damage that will continue to harm them and others.
These are difficult thing to untangle. But it's work we must engage in if change is to happen in us as individuals. And if people want to think that it shouldn't be difficult work but should be more of an abracadabra kind of thing, they more than likely will never begin the journey towards freedom and health and will just continue to perpetuate their own destructive behavior and then try to ignore the reality that they aren't an island. Their damage is effecting others.
We live in troubled times as every generation has. And we need to come to understand that there are consequences to the choices we make and our choices are born out of the way we think.
I often wonder while making photo posts, if people are left trying to figure out the connection between the words and the photo :-) Maybe it's just me? But it makes perfect sense to me. If we want our thinking to be awakened and renewed we need to change our environment. If we continue to spend our time in the environments controlled by the status quo (it's important to figure out what that is) and feeding on the curriculum constantly offered there (another thing important to identify), we shouldn't be surprised if we stay stuck year after year in the same unhealthy place.
Nature is wild and free and doesn't march to the beat of the drum of the destructive Royal Consciousness. It just makes sense to begin to move into that space more and more so as to allow the mind to detox and to reboot back to health.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I wasn't suppose to be in here.
I mentioned in a previous comment while at the Botanical Garden that I had just experienced a first. I was actually standing in it before I even realized I had gone down a pathway that is closed to the public. I was aware that I had never gone down this path but was thinking that a new pathway had been created since my last visit. I hadn't even noticed the gate (it was open) as I walked along the path paying more attention to the beautifully sculpted pines. It wasn't until I came into the area in the photo above that I realized I was standing in the garden of the Sacred Tea House Island that was built for the Emperor of Japan and is closed to the public. Is it okay for me to say that it was a special moment for me? :-) And not because of this places connection to an Emperor. I've just wanted to see this garden space for many years.
Another interesting part of this trip to the garden today was that once I arrived in the parking lot there I turned my camera on to check the settings and in red lettering the words NO MEMORY CARD appeared. So I left the camera in my truck. I was okay with that reality but am glad I had something to capture this photo with. I had my iPhone.
The girls are going to freak out when they find out. And will probably say something like...."Why do things like this happen to you all the time?" :-)
The photo below gives you an indication of how much my daughters want to get over to that island. They are acting like they are storming the front gate....I quietly entered through the back gate ;-)
Monday, September 19, 2011
Grace and freedom are messy and can often feel dark to minds formerly shaped by law. But when you get to see glimpses of her beauty, there is really no human experience that compares. This morning it brings to mind those glorious moments, if you have ever experienced it, when a mountain top is illuminated by the rising or sitting sun while darkness still envelops the surrounding area. There will be more moments of darkness to walk through. But grace has found her place here in our lives and whatever may come....I know everything is perfectly in process.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
There is so much struggle going on around me in lives of people I know. I really can't remember a time when more people seem to be on the edge. And they seem like serious edges. I find my mind and heart these days so often caught up in a longing for these people. It's a longing to see them cross the thresholds that lay between the familiar way of being that seems to be coming to an end and a completely new way of being that awaits on the other side of the threshold. Crossing over is not an easy task. It's down right scary and difficult. A change in directions is necessary. And often times the crossing requires personal change of a radical nature.
While on a long walk in the rain today with Bailey, this reality of these thresholds and the people I mentioned above occupied my thoughts. John O'Donohue speaks more clearly and eloquently about these things than anyone I've read, so many of his thoughts were running through me also while walking. When we arrived back home I googled his name along with the word Threshold to see what I might find. I found these words below and they happen to be from someone other than John. They were contained within a tribute to John written for him after his untimely death. They express so poignantly the difficulty that life so often can present and the hope that rests in us finding ourselves at a threshold and finding what we need in that moment to cross over, as John says, worthily.
When the light around you lessens,
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as stone inside.
When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,
When one voice commands
Your whole heart
And it is raven dark,
Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world,
Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light
Know that you are not alone
And that this darkness has purpose
Gradually it will school your eyes
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden with this night-corner
Invoke the learning of every suffering
You have suffered
Close your eyes
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear
A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
Will learn to engage difficulty
At its most rewarding threshold.
~~~ George Mackay Brown
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Friday, September 09, 2011
Sunset is like a gentle collecting, harvesting of the colors that made up the day that was well lived by the natural world. That very rhythm that is in nature is within us. The closer we move towards it, and away from the frenetic pace of the world humans have created, the more we will find ourselves living well within the days we are privileged to take part in.
Monday, September 05, 2011
Saturday, September 03, 2011
It's such a wastage of the enormous human potential to live beautiful lives. And while in that land we forget who we are and just spend our time wandering around from one excitement to the next, or we live overwhelmed, or a combination of both. And all along, what we are missing travels along with us, but we must learn to still ourselves and listen in order to hear it.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
If your language has become impoverished and course, and is wrapped in a cold blanket of negativity, it's more than likely an indication that your eyes have lost touch with beauty and love and mystery. And then it's just a matter of time before your soul takes the hit. Now the color of life in the visible realm and invisible realm seems to have drifted away. The good news is that it hasn't. It's still there just awaiting your return.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Through a chink too wide...
We have tested and tasted too much, lover-
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room
Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child's soul, we'll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.
And the newness that was in every stale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins
Advent ~ Patrick Kavanagh
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Why is it that we will for years go on living in small and shabby, bleak and barren, anxious and haunted spaces, when right before us, beauty and peace and rest and freedom await our arrival and invite us to come in? But beauty and peace and rest and freedom will not barge in on us.
Monday, August 15, 2011
During the time of quiet stillness that begins each new day, well before anything else begins to move in this neighborhood, the voice of the natural rhythm of my soul, the longing that arrived here with me when I came to this place, is a tangible presence in all my senses. Well before the first thoughts and demands of the realm of necessity begin to compete for my attention...it is there in clarity. And even though as the day moves along and the activities and clamor seek to drown that voice out....the experience of the early morning hours reassure me that the only way that can happen is if I allow it.