Friday, 29 April 2016

Believing then Seeing (I get it ...... at least in this Now)

My journey whether it is deemed spiritual or not, leaves me to conclude that my life and therefore writing that reflects the view I live with, must now come from outside the closet. What closet would I be referring to? Well - not the one that phrase is usually associated with. While I like the idea of being able to play with language conventions; I suppose I can't take a what is an idiom with a widely accepted definition, drop it into a sentence and expect that my varied usage will be understood as I intend it.

So then, the "closet" I refer to, is one that would keep me from living and expression an unabashed love for creation and it's creator. I will say up front, that I don't lay claim to be able to explain or to "prove" the existence of : The Creator; Great Spirit; God; The Divine. Nor do I deem it necessary for this budding love affair to begin and flourish. I resign from the debating society - the relationship is outside (or maybe better said inside) the bounds of intellectual abstraction; so time spent on trying to gain "understanding" of that which I might never understand, or to try and convince someone else to "see things my way," is just energy lost that could be directed to a deeper knowing of this love.

I will listen to the viewpoint of others both as a means of understanding what is important to them and as these finite discussions are attempting to describe the infinite; each further description I hear illuminates for me, another facet. The entire jewel if not unknowable, certainly won't be revealed at a Sunday afternoon tea.

I book that I "found" over one month ago (entitled "The Purpose Driven Life") which despite it's Christian orientation, is offering me a fresh perspective on a wide variety of matters. It has daily readings that span forty days (a number that has potent transformational power, which I have experienced in previous "practices"). I am within a week of finishing the first time through. I don't believe in coincidence, so my stumbling across the book was no mistake. I decided to read it with an open mind, not to get hung up on the theology and just see what unfolds. The book is packed full of a wide variety of biblical references, scriptures etc. most that I have never seen before on many facets of life. I have not seen them as being contained within the bible, despite some having familiarity from a wide variety of "personal development books," because of long standing prejudice on my part toward the bible. I find I am still able to hold what I am reading with spaciousness. I see that there are available through the authors website, reading guides for varying lengths of time, to read the entire bible. I am convinced I am going to experience this. Whether I ever look at the bible again afterward, I have decided I can't go through the rest of my life relating or not relating to the bible, without ever having read it. And so it shall be - I will read it.

The book outlines the "essentials" of "purpose" as being one of serving (specifically serving God). I am familiar with the practice of service from a wide variety of environments (some rooted in Christianity some not). My familiarity doesn't exclude the potential for growing and expanding my living these principals.

The book also delves into the existence for everyone of "God given talents/passions," ways to discover them, and the "purpose" found in offering them to the world in service. Again not a new idea to me - nor I imagine to many that might read this. It just so happens I'm "hearing" it differently now - perhaps the "student is ready!"

I decided to offer what I've got right now in service and for the soul purpose of glorifying God. The arena I could "field test" this in, was my busking. If I lay aside any criticism I might have toward my singing/playing and keep in mind my love of doing it first, and second, the number of positive reflection I continually receive; then here is something I can claim as a known talent (never mind what talents remain undiscovered). Who am I to shirk God's gift? Whatever talents I "possess" are not mine to (as I believe it says in the bible "hide under a bushel") they are meant to be shared with the world otherwise my withholding cheats the world and denies my purpose.

So I hit the streets over the last couple days (with nothing different in the way of repertoire) however I most certainly held an entirely different presence. I prayed on the way to the locations I intended to play at - I prayed before I started. I asked to be used in service - in love for creation and the Creator.

The first thing that happened was I fellow dropped a dollar in my case while I was still setting up. I thanked him and said "I haven't even sang the first song yet!" he thanked me and went on his way.

Next, while I was playing, a young women sat down on the grass behind me and was eating a mango. Then she got up and came over and put a five dollar bill in my case. I stopped and expressed my appreciation and she said "hey from one busker to another you got talent man - you earned it!" "Beside that - if I put five in, others will see that it's ok and do the same!" I said "I hope that comes back to you ten fold!" "Oh it will she said - Guaranteed!"

She was an angel from God, her energy was playful and fun; we chatted in between songs and she added some beautiful harmonies to some of the songs I sang. Then just as she said someone else matched her tip with another five dollar bill. I'm not saying that financial remuneration is all what this is about, however, if folks want to fill my case to overflowing, I will gladly carry it home! While I played music she offered on two occasions to get me coffee and another store patron gave me a gluten free danish.

After she had gone, I finished my set and then sat on a street bench enjoying my danish and coffee marvelling in the wonder of being "in the flow" (again not just monetarily but there's no question, if I'm going to spend more time doing and sharing my gifts" I need to be able to support myself doing it) so "Let it Be Done - If it is Your Will!"

I decided to try a new spot (for me) and set up to play at the entrance to a town square right beside a pub with outside tables. (Oh I should add that I had a "lady bug" on my sleeve which moved at times down to my hand, onto the neck of the guitar all the time I was playing - at the second spot I discovered "my lady" was still with me even after walking a dozen or so blocks to get there) I determined through the toss of a coin (which had been blessed with a prayer to be used as a tool of divination for casting decisions - as an aside my practice with this coin has been to allow the "decision" to be binding and trust the outcome will benefit me without a need to second guess the alternative choice) -  I would play here for an hour. Inside of an hour I had over twenty five dollars. People were still giving me money after I was finished and packing up. One guy called me out into the street while he sat in the car at a red light and dumped a handful of coins in my hand. Earlier in the "performance" while I was sorting through my song sheets a women ran down from the patio tables and handed me a five dollar bill and said, "I thought you were packing up so I wanted to make sure you got this, we were really enjoying your singing while we ate lunch."

While I was singing "Let it Be" another gentlemen waited until I was finished and then placing a two dollar coin in my case and said, "that is one of my favourite songs ever since I converted to Catholicism." I thanked him for sharing his beautiful story - in part because "Mother Mary" is very significant to me." It get's better, when I got to a coffee shop after playing, I looked up lady bugs (as is my practice when i have a visitation by beings from the natural world) it turns out this variety of beetle is said to have been given it's name after "Our Lady" The story goes, that crops in a particular area of Europe were infested with insects that were decimating them - prayers were sent out to Mary and the beetles with their voracious appetite for these "pests" saved the crops and the beetles were named accordingly.

Today's busking was fraught with wonder as well. After a successful session at the library courtyard (one of my favourite spots as the sound is so good - and it's quiet ambiance allows a more relaxed singing voice) - I went to another spot I haven't been to for awhile (determined by a sacred toss of the coin) almost immediately I had two American dollar bills). A little later a women stopped with her baby carriage, I played peek-a-boo with the baby while I was singing and "mom" gave me a five dollar bill. I stopped to talk to her long enough to find out she was visiting from Vancouver - she then suggested to me, I "get back to singing" you're very good and people won't pay if you're not singing."

A while later two young men walked past - I suppose my back ground in various nursing care/companion scenarios revealed to me this was one young man (with very unique gifts) being accompanied by another (with his own skill set) the one gentlemen dropped a dollar in my case, I thanked them - they thanked me (I happened to notice the one fellow had a guitar pick in his hand) they stopped a few paces past me and I stopped playing and asked "do you collect guitar picks?" his face lit up and he answered "Yes I do!!" "would you like this one?" I indicated the one I was currently using. He excitedly said "oh yes." When I saw the one he had was purple, as was the one I was using I said "would you like a different colour?" (knowing I had a few others in my pocket). He asked what other colours I had and when I told him he said, "can I have the purple one anyway?" I said "of course, enjoy it." He thanked me, his companion was noticeably touched and thanked me and then gave me more money.  All this was made possible by a flash observation of a guitar pick in the young man's hand as he walked by (and then following my guidance to ask him about it) - most of my life I have been of the opinion that I see "useless" details in life - I see things nobody seems to notice or care about was my assessment (so what's the use of seeing them? - blah.. blah.. blah) I was shown today, that a seeming insignificant "seeing" can be very meaningful to someone.

I later wound up singing in front of one of the liquor stores - the sun was still shining I was enjoying myself and after finishing a song I bent over to get another song sheet and when I stood up my guitar caught under my music stand and tipped it over. Just then I fellow came out of the store and asked me, "have you had a drink yet today?" I responded no - he said, maybe you ought to!" smiled and handed me a mini bottle of "Captain Morgan's rum" (I haven't drank for over twenty nine years) but I didn't want to be ungracious so I took it, thanked him and slipped it in my pocket.  A short while later a fellow who had come by on his bike came out of the liquor store and was unlocking his bike to depart. ( I see him around town regularly - he generally has bags full of "returns", which maybe he emptied himself, maybe the hard-earned gains of binning) anyway I stopped playing and said "brother, would you enjoy this?" reached into my pocket and fished out the rum. I further stated, someone gave me that as a tip and I don't drink, so I thought you might like it?" He said, buddy you just made my day!" "You sound really good, I'm sorry I can't give you anything!" "That's quite alright I said, this has nothing to do with you giving me anything - "I received this as a "gift" and I just wanted to pass it forward to you."

After completing my singing there - I treated myself to a couple slices of delicious pizza and caught a bus into town. I was sitting in a coffee shop writing this story and even though I knew, from the hours posted on the door, there was one hour until closing, I asked one of the servers for "confirmation" she indicated that they were closing "early" tonight (not very busy). I finished what I was currently writing so as not to lose my train of thought, packed up my stuff and left. I went in the direction of another coffee shop to see if it was open, the same direction would take me to my bus stop alternatively. There was a gentlemen in the middle of the side walk having a smoke, I walked around him. After I passed him I heard, "would you like to make a few dollars?" I turned to see it had been this same guy that posed the question. "What do you have in mind?"  I asked. "Do you play?' with a head gesture toward my guitar. "In fact I do." "I'm sitting on the patio with my lady friend, could you sing her a song?" "Would you get in trouble?" "I can't see why I would, only one way to find out, let's do it!"  He pointed out the table he was sitting at and laid out "the plan" do you have a song that would be appropriate?" he asked "Well of course it's quite a personal choice, I replied, but would she be familiar with "John Denver?" He said "I am" "Well then, how about "Annie's Song" "You fill up my senses.......... etc.) "Ya that's perfect!" he said.  He slipped back into the restaurant and I set up outside where his girl friend was sitting. When she finally noticed me, I indicated that I had a song to sing for her. She looked surprised at her boyfriend and when I began to sing they embraced and kissed and kissed some more. It was just like a scene from a movie - except I was in the movie instead of watching it. It was so beautiful to be "used" for such a tender loving moment. I finished, people in the adjacent patio enclosure were applauding; the couple were very grateful and I was touched beyond description. While he went into the restaurant to get some cash to tip me, I learned that they were together tonight "a reunion" after a twelve year absence. I was awe struck at being orchestrated into this scenario. He returned thanked me profusely and slipped me twenty dollars. I quickly packed up and left so as not to impinge further on their space and the amorous exchange that was ensuing.

All in all, an extraordinary sequence of events (for me at any rate) giving full credence to the adage "God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform." (incidentally I'm not stuck on God being "him" - I don't however feel I can take poetic license with the scriptures even if I'm still exploring what I hold to be true).

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