MUTED WITNESS

best known for our anti-war witness we could do much more individually and together to summon others to transcendental worship *   *   * if we hesitate to strip naked or don sackcloth to march brazenly into parking lots and through malls or the courthouse or legislature to proclaim Truth to those who reach for a […]

IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN?

Being mindful of what’s right in front of us can always be a challenge. Here are 10 new items from my end.

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  1. Hard to think Christmas is so near. It’s just not in the air, at least for me, despite the bell ringers and carols around the stores. But then I’m often off on another planet.
  2. I always intend to put up our outdoor Christmas lights while it’s still warm. Rather than freezing my fingers.
  3. I’ve long said if she would only dance, she’d be perfect. OK, there are few other details I’d add, all these years later. Learning to read music, for one.
  4. Another old fear? If you get to know me, you won’t like me. Or maybe: You won’t like what you find. (That muscular reaction when someone gets too physically close in a conversation.
  5. I seldom I feel myself fitting in – in a crowd, an audience, a group, a family.
  6. NOT THE USUAL … one of my strictures in my desire not to repeat myself in blogging. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Not that I usually remember.
  7. I miss being able to get the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on local radio. These days I have to listen on my laptop or cell phone. Just ain’t the same.
  8. In a depression.: Do I really LIKE anyone? Being with them? Am I having ANY fun?
  9. Well, I am drinking Virgin Marys during Advent. (Cheers in the morning!)
  10. You were supposed to save me.

~*~

Yes, light snow counts.
Yes, light snow counts. We know what just might be really ahead.

AS SHE REMINDS HIM

he’s not a bird eating fish or worms see how frantically he spades without weeding how voraciously he climbs out on the seeded maple twigs *   *   * incisor domestica rodentia in residence *   *   * a squirrel with a martini too much     too often fog in treetops     before the wind blows how     do sparrows […]

YET, I’VE NEVER RETURNED

Another factor is that I’ve never even returned to Washington State

Or other situations I’ve loved too much

It’s not that I haven’t had familiar places of return, but rather that they are now rooted in my heart, more than my eye. In how many intense experiences, maybe she, too, confesses of some desire to return to familiar spaces — especially those we shared before parting? Whoever she is anymore. My quest for the spirit or soul leads, indeed, to somewhere in the mud or dust.

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I, who am usually quite restless, now admit, somewhat reluctantly, to having entered a settling. What happened to the desire to travel and explore? Now, come the weekend or a vacation, I prefer to stay close to home. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to the long daily commute, or even to those two years spent largely on the road covering fourteen states as a sales representative. Perhaps some of this also reflects the fact that I’ve had twenty-four addresses in eight states over the course of my life. Once, in the span of a single year, there were four addresses in three states. Maybe I simply want to feel rooted.

Even if I had the time and the money to travel, I feel a greater need to write or to work on projects around the house. Being a homeowner, after so many years of renting, also shifts my focus: a tour around the garden, observing its detailed changes, rather than a trek up a mountain.

I think of places I’ve dwelled in and experienced intensely, though it’s now unlikely I’ll ever return, except in memory. From satellite photos, I finds that many, including the ashram, no longer exist.

Other places I’ve visited intensely, if only once or twice, like the Olympics or cross-country spurts in a rented truck, may be savored a lifetime.

I live in a rich environment, one many consider a travel destination. I reside within a half hour of Maine beaches, sparkling lakes or forest trails, and slightly more than an hour from Boston. Even in my own small city, I sometimes catch a glimpse of the fantasy — a movie on a screen or a postcard. What am I doing driving or even singing in a chorus along the Charles River or the Public Garden of Boston? What am I doing beside a waterfall in the mountains? How is it that I am worshipping in a Colonial-era meetinghouse? To be in places of dreams, then, or the pages of a travel magazine. How seldom do I find a moment to enjoy this or to explore a bit more? Obligations press. Even so, maybe I’ve arrived in my destination.

Time, then, becomes part of the journey. And who can reenter time once it’s passed?

For more insights from the American Far West and Kokopelli, click here.

WAITING BEYOND PASSIVITY

Another aspect of myself that’s just coming to light is a kind of passiveness that the Asian practice has encouraged – indeed, Yoga and Zen direct the practitioner to become invisible or transparent, egoless, etc. Put that together with my experience in employment, relationships, and so on, and it can become – as it has in my life – a reactive, rather than active, series of events: me as a passive victim rather than standing up on my own. Or when I’d stand up for something, it was to get cut down – again, becoming the victim. At least, that’s a quick overview of the openings at the moment. It’s not quite that severe: I’ve been a lot of places, done a lot of things. But there has been a kind of short-circuit that’s depleted too much energy and maybe even been self-destructive. A passive outlook leading to a victim mentality. Fun stuff. At least – and at last – I’m coming face to face with it. In seeing this, though, some interesting things are beginning to happen.

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For more Seasons of the Spirit, click here.

WHAT’S IN THE WIND

Just a taste of what’s popping up. In case you were looking for a prompt.

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  1. My wife can’t resist an opportunity to make a holiday feast, and that means planning ahead. (Somehow the menu keeps growing, enough to feed twice as many guests as we have.) I’m impressed by the checklists she makes, too, to keep herself on track. Three days ahead – or more – the work actually begins. And then there’s the last-minute shopping for anything she wants to be fresh.
  2. Juncos and jays. Rituals and routines. Manners and mores.
  3. No matter my affinity, I never would have been comfortable in the Society of Friends in any of the earlier eras. I always would have chafed at the limitations and discipline. Nor, for that matter, do I see anywhere I would have fit in neatly. (We could start with my interior “fort” surrounding my emotions, despite my public interactions. Or my Aquarian/contrarian nature.) Well, the Mavericks have roots in Boston Harbor. Look ’em up. Doubt I’d fit in there, either.
  4. Opening my car door at the Nubble Lighthouse, I’m nearly knocked over by cold wind. Sustained, more than gusting. Barely a mile inland, only a mild breeze. This strange sensation of having my nostrils blown shut (or at least constrained): to breathe, I have to turn my back to the wind, a first in my experience. Make you wonder about sailors at sea?
  5. In Eastern Orthodox tradition, Mary is a temple of God that surpasses the one in Jerusalem. Within her, the Light or Logos becomes incarnate. The nuances are quite different from what I’ve heard in Western Christian teaching. How much else have I missed? I’m certainly invigorated by the sharp contrast to our austere Quaker aesthetic. I love the extremes.
  6. Launching this blog, as the horoscope said, came in my year to come out of hiding.
  7. In contrast to any sense of guilt or some shame or impoverishment: LOOK AT ALL THESE RICHES! Even the matters of what’s unfinished or undone, now turned to opportunity.
  8. A sense of progress, too.
  9. What do I really want? To be accepted and loved, without feeling pain? Certainly there’s more.
  10. What holds your life together?

~*~

I really should bring our bay trees and pots of rosemary indoors any day now. Yes, they can stand light snow or frost, but deep cold's another matter altogether. And we do like having fresh herbs at hand all winter.
I really should bring our bay trees and pots of rosemary indoors any day now. Yes, they can stand light snow or frost, but deep cold’s another matter altogether. And we do like having fresh herbs at hand all winter.