Tuesday, April 30, 2013

THE FREEING POWER OF ACCEPTANCE


I think a client of mine had a moment of clarity/light today while in the studio. She had cancelled an appointment last week due to being at the hospital with her mom who is nearing her end here in this realm of visibility and will soon be entering invisibility (at least to us who will be left behind for at least some time yet)

 She arrived exhausted and spent (her words) and then began to express how our culture doesn't prepare us for this. She actually at one point said, "I am not prepared for this."

 She is absolutely right about our culture and how it handles aging and death. And it is sad beyond words. So we talked a bit about that. And I shared a little with her of what I am learning about the subversive power of acceptance. She said some things about how that too is absolutely opposite of what we are trained/taught to do in this culture. And that is sad beyond words too.

 It was like she was being given permission to abandon the familiar gig that is so twisted, messed up, and unhelpful to us and to those who are slipping away....and consider that maybe there is a better way of experiencing these things and walking in them.

 I hope she finds her way there. It's the doorway into the possibility of real presence in both the light and dark bits of this life.

Monday, April 29, 2013

WHAT STORY DO YOU BELIEVE?


To live with a constant feeling/knowing of how strange and wonder-filled it is to be here is so good for us. It's actually vital if we are going to live well in this world. The world we inhabit is both laced with the wonderful and the tragic. What is especially sad is that it seems that most people believe more in the tragic story and allow it to shape them. "What story do you believe?" really is a poignant question to ponder. The story we believe is the story that guides us and makes us what we are. 

 And to say we believe in a particular story doesn't really mean we do. The way we live everyday is the mirror that reveals to us what it is we really believe.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

JUDGING OR STILLNESS? AND THE MINDFULNESS OF NON-DOING AS OUR GREATEST WITNESS


Non-doing has nothing to do with being indolent or passive. Quite the contrary. It takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and in activity. Nor is it easy to make a special time for non-doing and to keep at it in the face of everything in our lives which needs to be done.

 When you dwell in stillness, the judging mind can come through like a foghorn. "I don't like the pain in my knee...This is boring...I like this feeling of stillness; I had a good meditation yesterday, but today I'm having a bad meditation...It's not working for me. I'm no good at this. I'm no good, period..." This type of thinking dominates the mind and weighs it down. It's like carrying around a suitcase full of rocks on your head. It feels good to put it down. Imagine how it might feel to suspend all your judging and instead to let each moment be just as it is, without attempting to evaluate it as "good" or "bad." This would be a true stillness, a true liberation. ~~~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

 Sophia has just said to Mack...."You will be the Judge!"

 The knot in his stomach returned as he realized what she had said. Finally, he dropped his eyes to the chair that stood waiting for him, "What? Me? I'd rather not," he paused, "I don't have any ability to judge."

 "Oh, that is not true," returned the quick reply, tinged now with a hint of sarcasm. "You have already proven yourself very capable, even in our short time together. And besides, you have judged many thoughout your life. You have judged the actions and even the the motivations of others, as if you somehow knew what those were in truth. You have judged the color of skin and body language and body odor. You have judged history and relationships. You have even judged the value of a person's life by the quality of your concept of beauty. By all accounts, you are quite well practiced in the activity." ~~~ The Shack

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

LEARN TO BE STILL

I sit here in the quiet of this studio gazing out into a landscape that is being visited by a gentle rain, thinking. Some words from Pascal have been on my mind a lot this weekend. They actually are words that visit me often as I observe all the running about and all the angst and trouble that seem to travel alongside all the frenetic motion. Pascal said that most of our troubles arise out of our inability to sit still. And I believe that this sitting still he refers to also includes one being able to still the mind. It is possible for one's body to be motionless and yet not still at all.

And a still mind doesn't mean a mind vacated of thought. It just means a mind that has stilled the chaos created when one is attempting to live while the mind is either stuck in the past or always racing from the moment into some uncertain future.

Life is an experience. That only happens in one place....right here, right now. And both, the one who is learning to still themselves and the one who has not are caught up in experience. The difference it makes is what kind of experience is one having. The one way of experiencing brings a clarity to the experience....it enables us to feel it all more of how it really is. While the other is really an escape from reality. It will leave us thinking we know what is going on when in actuality it has left us misreading everything.

Monday, April 22, 2013

CAUSING DAMAGE TO OURSELVES

It is strange to be here. And if we lose touch with how wild a surprise, how wild a trip it actually is, we will also fall out of touch with the mystery. And when that happens, what flows from that space is just crazy and all out of sorts.





Sunday, April 21, 2013

ORIGINAL PARTICIPATION

The time in human history when the people plotted their days by the observance of the sun rising (beginning a day) and the sun setting (ending a day) was a human ritual in sync with a natural rhythm. I would argue that that was much healthier than living by a clock.

 And that is not a romanticizing of times past as if things weren't a challenge then too. Just suggesting that a lot of what we call progress might not be as helpful to us as we have bought into.

 I posted those thoughts a few days ago on a friends site during a conversation dealing with how nurturing rituals are really good for us. My life now, spent more in a way of living that is in concert with nature has a ritual-like quality to it. It in so many ways has saved me.

 My friend Mike later this morning, after I posted those thoughts, posted this daily meditation from Richard Rohr. It fits well with my post and with this photo of the sun that began the new day for me here in this part of the natural world I live.

 "Original Participation

 Before 800 B.C. the thinking on the whole planet, no matter the continent, was invariably tribal, cosmic, mythic, and ritualistic (according to German philosopher Karl Jaspers). Owen Barfield calls it “original participation.” Simply by watching the sky, birds, and trees, the seasons, darkness and light, people knew they belonged. Though we call these people uncivilized people, many conjecture that they might have had healthier psyches than we do because they lived in an inherently enchanted universe where everything belonged, including themselves. And they knew that simply by listening and by observing and living! (Almost too simple.) The cycles of darkness and light, of growth and death, fertility and fecundity—which were everywhere all the time—were their primary and natural teachers. 

Why do we call them uncivilized people? The very word “pagan” is a dismissive word meaning “those who live in the country.” We thought by moving into so-called civilization, into cities, we were better and smarter, and maybe we were in some ways. But they perhaps were in other ways! Native peoples learned of the divine, the sacred, God, through the natural world. They already saw the Great Spirit in everything, as Pope John Paul II said to the natives gathered in Phoenix some years ago. Religion was much more about healing and harmonizing than sin management. Salvation wasn’t a reward you got after you died for good moral behavior, but as the very root word (salus) reveals, it was a healing and harmonizing now. This had the power to make the world a much more livable place than we have made it."





Thursday, April 18, 2013

'WHEN THE FOREST IS FREE OF STRANGERS'

I made a rain cover for my camera so I could stand out in this rain shower and watch the Robin who is now this morning building a nest in the tangle of vines that grow over the arbor. You can see her in the first photo, in a blur, at the lower right side of the vine branches as she is leaving to head out to find more building material.

 While standing there, pretty well camouflaged, Mrs. Cardinal who had temporarily left her nest and eggs, almost flew into me before landing in one of the Japanese Maples close by. I'm often overwhelmed while standing in this garden. And a gentle rain just adds to it. Photos can't convey the spirit of this space. It's a presence.

 "The other, the greater beauty must come when all was ready for it 'as animals come to drink when night holds sway and the forest is free of strangers.' This can also be true for the soul. When we devote some calm time to the heart and come off the treadmill of stress and distraction, we can enter into the beauty within. Each of us can prepare for that inner arrival; where 'night holds sway' and the inner forest becomes 'free of strangers."

That is from John O'Donohue's book BEAUTY...The Invisible Embrace where he is talking about Rilke's essay on the sculptor Rodin and how he worked at creating his art.







Wednesday, April 17, 2013

BEAUTY AND PEACE AND THE RISK OF LIVING A LIFE OF TRUST

To feel at home, at peace, in spaces of silence, stillness, and solitude, strangely make you better in every other kind of space you might find yourself during your walk through this life. You might not be found seeking out those other kinds of spaces on your own, but if you have been paying attention, you surely know by now that you don't always get to choose. Necessity and love, and even hate, by there very nature, will lead us into all kinds of less peaceful...less silent...less alone spaces.

 And then this observation by John O'Donohue

 "Beauty is such an attractive and gracious force precisely because it is so close to the fractured side of experience. Beauty is the sister of all that is broken, damaged, stunted, and soiled. She will not be confined in some untouchable realm where she can enjoy a one sided perfection with no exposure to risk, doubt, and pain. Beauty dwells in the palace of broken tenderness."

Monday, April 15, 2013

NOTHING WILL CHANGE FOR US IF OUR ATTENTION DOESN'T CHANGE

I know of the events of the day. I've listened to a few minutes of the coverage. And still I chose to spend the day with the camera, the garden, and the creatures that hang out there....doing what they were created to do.

 And I personally feel the choice to hang there is more helpful than a choice to watch the 24 - 7 coverage of this event and all of what will follow. The event and most of the coverage just seems to be the product of humans forgetting what it means to be human.

 We are in need of being awakened and astonished.

 But, an awakened imagination in regards to how it could be, juxtaposed to how it really is, creates at least two dilemmas for us. One being...a lingering sadness with regards to the present reality. Two being...a choice to make. Will we allow the troubling present reality to shape us? Or will we allow the awakened imagination as to how it could be shape us?

Friday, April 12, 2013

A PRIVILEGE

We get to carry each other...in hopes of easing the pain and enhancing the beauty and the joy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

LET SILENCE AND BEAUTY SPEAK

Sometimes our clumsy words just serve as a fracture.



 

Monday, April 08, 2013

LIFE IS TO BE A FLUENT ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR

A life of trust
 and being at peace
 is like stepping into
 the lyrical flow of the cosmos









Tuesday, April 02, 2013

NO LONGER ASTONISHED

The dullness familiarity leaves us in is a form of blindness where we no longer sense the wildness, the privilege, the strangeness, the wonder of simply being here in such a magnificent place.