Archive | Essays

Become The Friend

DSC_2948When the burlap arrived I began to  learn how to work with the fabric.   My first attempts were successful because they were the tried and true ones that I used with ordinary fabric.   This wall quilt was the first attempt to write directly on the burlap.   It became a quilt that built itself as I went along.   The more I thought of the phrase it became apparent how it applied to every age.

Whenever the question is asked as to how this pilgrim journey should start I want to say become the kind of friend you want in your life.   To me this tells me how serious and willing the person is in seeking for themselves what is necessary in their lives.  This particular exercise will not  be devastating to the psyche but it will convince the individual if the effort is worthwhile.  It is not the easiest junket to be sure.  And to the young one whose family perhaps is relocating and parents are met with ‘but I won’t have any friends!’ it will be a start in a definite direction.

For the novice it will be a study of what their own needs are.  Or their preferences are.  It may mean a centering down or a reaching out.   Whatever the need will be the beginning.   For the younger one, it may be a matter of wants.   What it is they would like in their lives.    The parent     can say  become the friend you want in your life;  become that kind of friend as the example.   Beginning the inward journey is seldom a frivolous matter.   It generally begins when one recognizes the fact that systems are crashing and there is nowhere to go but in.

That first step is the hardest one.  No matter the age.

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The Road Hardly Ever Chosen

IMG_0210-224x300A Teacher Spoke. . . . you spend time patching up the grill work only to find that the holes are supposed to be there for that is the way it was designed.   That is where it is you are.   That is where we have come and there is no turning back but straight on  through.  You wondered whether there would be confirmation at all that the church has taught and you would be reborn.  You did not stop at reborn.   People do.   That is a way station.  But you clambered aboard the train and got off at the next stop and the next and the next.   And at every stop there was a something else; another something.  But we did not stop you.   We saw the integration taking place and we did not stop you.   We saw the pain involved and we did not stop you.   We did not call a halt.  You did not say, enough already.   Well,  here we are now,  not at the end of the road but at another way station.   What have you found?  Another place of unrest.  You  think but what is there that recommends life to me?   And we have to answer,  only you.   You have to see within yourself your reason for coming,  have to care enough to burden yourself and have to see the broader picture carrying down the road  a host of generations.
(May, 1986)

The Road Hardly Ever Chosen

Philosophies are born to work
but only after the heart
decides that what has been
the dailyness is no longer tolerable.

The war begins somewhere
for the man in the street.
A rock is thrown
and mayhem results.

For one like me,
darkness was never preferable
but the Comforter was alerted
and chaos was averted,
allowing a life’s drama to unfold.

Wretched, gulping gasps
spilled life’s dogmas
over enameled surfaces
to display the rot
of the untenable, unable.
The mind’s search for the acceptable,
the palatable, began.

One does not assume
another man’s efforts
and be able to claim them.
Like a stretched out garment,
the fit is always questionable

It is not to be.
The garment one wears comfortably
as a final one must be
constructed in confrontation
of life’s ironies and indignities.

To insult the psyche no more,
it is not by error
is it called the hero’s journey.
Fortuitous it is when one chooses

the road hardly ever chosen.

June 14, 2014
art by Claudia Hallissey

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Today Is Eternity

002-1 final edit  (in memory of Diane Rybacki)

The Universe is a benign place.   Our planet, in this best of all learning places,  needs our actions,  individual as they may be,  to survive.   And it needs us to learn from these actions.  Then we find that the Universe becomes caring also because it needs our actions to survive.   To Be becomes a critical imperative for all.

We see that our actions,  some of which we are not proud,  are indelibly written in our genetic history.   We wish that we could unsubscribe to them.   We are not always at our best and hamper our progress at times.   We can rewrite our history by cumulative actions giving our best to those situations serving the greatest good.   I ascribe to the divine in man,  yet  he takes too much rest in the cliche saying he is ‘only human.’  What needs be done is to strike a balance.

I was told to ask my questions from that place where angels know the weight of the feet and the heavens watch that we do not place them on the minds of those about us.  I have kept this thought during the long stretch of making a road where I could rest easy but have not found it yet.  In my memory with a putting place is a mushroom cloud rising and spreading its death on even the innocent.   And the innocent were routinely drilled on how to hide beneath  schoolroom desks.

I have learned that those intent on sealing their immortality play with stakes that are bigger than their mini minds and lay to waste a world to sodden ash.   The world as they know it will disappear and in its stead will be the sulky ash that they will trudge in hip boots to protect them from contamination.

Some do not know that today is eternity.

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The Magic Never Ends

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Sometimes it seems we do a thing and wonder afterwards why.   Well,  to me it is still a puzzlement as to why I ordered a bolt, of all things,  a bolt of burlap on the eve of my 83rd birthday.   In a few days there is a birthday and with a body balking,  I am wondering the purpose of my purchase.   Well,  the burlap is here and it was a good price with my 50 percent coupon off attached and I am well pleased.   In fact,  the magic never ends.

I worked on a wall quilt,  in fact finished one and almost done with the other and a great rightness was in the working.   In the process of doing it,  there is a smooth transition from my head to my hands and I am all of a piece.   And a peace.  When it was done,  I marveled at the marriage of the wedding silks and army boots.   It was a wonderful feeling as if the trek through the bulrushes was worth the long journey.

I wanted to share this part of what I do with the constant process of enabling my breathing and keeping on.   It is a journey of wonder and should I be able to leave anything to my progeny or those who have shared my life,  it is that it is not only a wonder but a privilege we are given.   We  must guard it carefully and to work to  the utmost,  to  do our highest and best effort and vision.  And should we choose to chase it,  we will find truly that the magic never ends.

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To Think. . . A Sacred Obligation

IMG_0252_2Many times we say some things simply because we have heard them forever and never have thought them through sufficiently to change our thinking.   The dastardly job of thinking is given away like some vile disease.   Yet the remarkable process of thinking,  the gift of thought,  the joy of thinking is what man is all about.   It is a birthright of greatest value and is scorned as an odious work.   It is man’s liberation from a life of drudgery.   Thought will take one from the humdrum of every day and lift one to the heavens where imagination originates and dreams are spun.   It will be the wings upon which man will fly.

At the end of life we will say what we accomplished but when we are asked what did we think,  what will be our answer?  To resolve issues which plague the heart is the work of humankind.  We find alternatives to those issues bringing discomfort.  But thought,  that marvelous process which will allow the mind to form an elasticity,  to allow effort to bring matters to logical conclusions,  when man disparages this very active tool which is his gift,  then we all suffer,  mankind as well as the heavens.  It is our sacred obligation to honor this extraordinary gift.

Let us treat it as such.

painting by Claudia Hallissey

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Not A Pipe Dream

IMG_20140116_102110_841(2)When we yearn for something and are sure it is going to come true and it doesn’t, we are crushed.  How could we be so sure and then not have it happen?  The actuality of it has already happened elsewhere; transpired in another place.  That is hard for humans to absorb.  That actuality is a bleed through that has physical effects.   Most of us are already comfortable with the idea of other worlds.  It is not a tale of fantasy.   We already have scientific evidence for other worlds that support life in these universes.  That life may not be familiar but we need to move our frame of reference outward.   This is what visualization is about.

What is worked on here is already accomplished elsewhere.   When my healer friend put her hands on her ailing husband and felt the God  Power or Force move through her hands,  he was healed in another place.   Our thinking must include other selves than just this human one.  One may say this is a pipe dream.   It is the oldest philosophical argument of what reality is and fits my original premise in building a philosophy in that everything is ultimately good.   Or we would not Be.

What is dreamed here is carried out elsewhere in a world as real as this one.  We are working with manifestations of the mind’s conceptions.   What we have dreamed here, if not coming to fruition, is already carried out in another place.   All  we have to do is watch our  grandchildren’s   disappointments in a wish not coming true when they were so sure!  They are closer to other worlds , see and are part of what they know is happening.   Simple as that.

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Will It Be A Memory?

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It is about time,  is it not, that man stands to be counted as responsible,  not only for himself but for the place he inhabits by grace?   There is that connection,  that divine connection,  that cosmic connection that unites us all.   It is time that something be done and this desecration of the Earth stopped.    Man has decorated  it beautifully during specific times,  but for too long the chars of his violence are seen and there is no time between for Earth’s healing.

How many more times will the Earth be hospitable?  How much longer will it allow itself to be manhandled and dishonored?  The rights of the unborn are not to be violated.   The planet Earth is a teaching station and ‘way’ stop along the way.    It is long past the time that the warring must be stopped and our stewardship begin again or our green Earth will be a memory.

photo by John Holmes

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Really Different Worlds

Toward A DestinyReally Different Worlds

It is least understood but perspective is the most  important thing in the human and animal spectrum.  It means that if we are to have space for all we must give thought to how differently humans and animals perceive life.   Much has  been written about animal behavior but to say our perceptions are similar when they might be mutually exclusive, is more true.  We each have our own perceptions and view life differently.   People might see a chair to sit on but to a shy pet it is an obstacle.  We must simply assume that an other does not perceive life as we do.   Before an argument starts over words spoken,  understanding the words is mandatory.   Words are loaded with meaning.  Cultures approach the meaning of words differently.   We all have different frames of reference within which we operate.   Humans use linear measurement.  We stop at red lights and we go on green.  Laws govern us.

Animal senses are peculiarly their own and coupled with language challenge us to understand them.   When watching migratory birds in flight we assume their flight habits are measured like ours.   That the world they function in is like ours.  We see them in our world but what do they see?   Insert the thought that perhaps their measurements differ.  Perhaps their miles are not in feet or kilometers when they breed in the Arctic and fly to the southern hemisphere.   When our pets become pseudo children, are we surprised that they wish to be fed at the table?   They wish to sleep in our beds?   If we wish for them to continue in our lives,   we must remember what species they are;  unless we prepare for another species to enter physical  life.

Before we enter the private space of an other, either with warrior words or fists, we must first understand what we wish from one another.   That we are on the same page in what we mean to say.  Because we are not unless we make ourselves clear.  Perspective is personal.  Our perspective is wholly ours.  Different we are even in the same family.  I try to introduce you to my perspective.    Grant me the same courtesy.   We must honor and listen with hearts opened to the Other.  It is the only way to achieve a peaceful existence.   Otherwise we will measure the days of our lives in terms of wars fought and children who are forever scarred.

photo by John Hallissey

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Coin Of The Day

DSC_2915Coin Of The Day

Learn while you can.   There is always something to learn and do.   Those are the things you will take with you when you transit.   And transit you will.   Either early by accident or illness or later for whatever reasons.  If a daffodil and mushroom die to live again,  are you not as important or as able?   You must learn in this best of all places.   There will come a time when the ideas will not manifest as quickly and it will be difficult.  What you learn to do or learn to be or learn for knowledge’s sake. .  these are things that moth and rust do not destroy.   Whatever you  learn that makes living or life less difficult or more feasible are what will be the tools for a world less gifted.   What it is that is your talent, your knowledge,  is what will be the coin of the day.

Art by Claudia Hallissey

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Time To Bend At The Knees

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It is time now to take cognizance of what we have done to our Earth planet.  She is still here to give us breath, polluted though it may be in some areas.  She challenges us with sparse watering.   She allows us to live as best as our livelihood does.  She continues to love us with passion.  But what we have done to her is abominable.  We take advantage of our good resources and give nothing back most of the time.  A few steps to the recycle bin oftentimes seems too far to walk.  But she keeps on teaching in spite, despite our obliqueness.

Yet we are asked once a year to honor her.  And hopefully this once a year will be enough to embarrass us, make us feel guilty, so guilty that we will change our ways and give honor to her who has been our grounding, our bed of rest and the best classroom in the universe.  How else to honor this lady,  this teacher,  this mother?  We must find new ways if we are to continue in this classroom where to have an idea is to make it manifest as fast as we can collect the materials.   There is no other place so conducive to easy learning as this classroom.   No other place that accommodates us to the degree that our Earth Mother does.   We will chance it every time we decide that next time we will do better.  The next time the neighborhood may not be quite as nice.

We are in a crucial junction.   We are where we are because we have neglected our stewardship when we contracted to care for this place we inherited.  What to do?  How much do we treasure the early morning with the dawn rising clearly and with punctuality?  How much do we treasure our love of evenings when the sky darkens and the moon sources our light?  As we reach for our Other and hope that what we wish for ourselves is also wished for Others.   How much would  we treasure rainfalls on cracked ground;  foodstuffs now rising in price so that milk for our youngsters is too steep for good health?  We treasure our way of life.   We treasure what is ours and we hope that our progeny will be able to be inspired by the same sun and moon and waters of this green planet.

We must begin.   Our environmentalists have told us time and again what we must do.   Somehow we cannot wrap ourselves around the idea  that this Earth cannot sustain life as we know it.   We already see Nature’s harsh lessons.   If we are ugly when the weather does not suit us,  let us be aware that Nature too reviles our habits when we do not honor her.   It is long past the time to change.  The bill is overdue and time now to bend at the knees to this Great Mother.

photo by John Holmes

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