Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Repeat Debut

Beyond what's seen - profoundly vast and deep
Soul calls out - seeded harvest reap
In ageless ancient wisdom steep
Practice trust and faith with which to leap

An open heart the door - Creator greet
Life ushered remembering of - a connection sweet
Intoxicating ambrosia - mystic union meet
Pray - release the chaff - to yield the wheat

Love of the material - courting disaster
Not able to serve - both gifts and Master
Seek divine love - light of alabaster 
For soul's alchemy-  court - the Ultimate castor

Not a righteous voice - preaching life's gone wrong
From where I sit - I invite your song
Heart beckons you - to come along
Follow it's path - to where - you, belong

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Pleased to Meet You!

Obsessed with mysteries and holy shrouds
A shift began lifting - my own sacred clouds
While some guided - agonize - upon my knees
My heart - bow and listen - to the trees

Convinced - a need - to walk alone
Heard strength echoed - in circles - of stone
When paralyzed by-  inflated pride
Humbling lessons taught - by a swirling tide

Through eyes that became trained - to reject
Nature's response - can't join - where you already connect
Instead of pushing further for "right and wrong"
Forget the lyrics - listen deeply - for Universal Song

Remember lessons sowed - in tales of seed
Truth of ancestry - upon the soul - the "books" to read
So many puzzles - where then - to start?
Life innately points - to each - their heart!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

An Act of Word Economy

"New and Improved"
  Implies what?
How grave the commission?
"Old and Inferior"

  The presence.
  Ancient Tree.
No stronger than roots.

Edifices of Antiquity
Seemingly defying.
A well conceived foundation.

Blind Progress (?) of Modernity
   Conscious Collaborative Community.


Friday, 27 May 2016

The "Delete" Key - A Beautiful Tool for Better Living!

What incredible power is visibly demonstrated with the "delete" key! A whole page of text - which comprised the "intended" post highlighted and POOF gone! It really accentuates for me the power of "changing the mind" and how quickly that can chart a new course. Never mind that, instantaneously an entirely different experience arises.

I had begun the previous post at a coffee shop this afternoon between busking sets. I knew the remainder of my day was going to be rather tight, in terms of timing points, to get to various other planned events. I wanted to uphold my daily writing so I reasoned, if I get it largely done while having a break before singing again in the new location; then later today, I can just put the finishing touches on.

Now, having just returned from my evening gathering, I'm not feeling the previous content at all. I have to say in hindsight, I was feeling it to have been rather dense when I was writing it; as though I was walking through a bog. At that time, I just seemed to see fit, to keep on slogging! I had a general sense of what it was about; (naturally, I had written it) and no desire to reread it; I just obliterated it in favour of this creation instead.

I hadn't kept track of time this afternoon, so though I finished singing and still had a couple hours before my evening gathering; I also still had two buses to get home first. As well, there was two more buses to the gathering.

I got home and I was ravenous. Except for the coffee between busking sets, I had not eaten since breakfast; which was quite early. I knew I wouldn't be able to be present and might even be down right ornery, if I went out for the evening and didn't eat. As well I'm taking another round of a different antibiotic for an infection in an ear piercing. It doesn't cause constant abdominal distress, but it seems more "busy" when my stomach is empty.

I had some food and thought perhaps I could catch a ride with someone that I had thought was going to the same gathering. As it turned out there was no response - it was a last minute attempt on my part, so rather a long shot.

There was half an hour before the "start" time and I was still two bus rides away. I began to think in terms of being resigned "I can't make it." I even sent an email to the hosts - as I had said previously I'd be there and I like to communicate if I have to change my plan. Interestingly I immediately began feeling disappointed that I was "missing" the gathering and the connecting with those that would be  there. I say "interesting," because at that point, the gathering had not even begun yet. Just the same I was already taking myself into a funk about it.

Then the notion that I could still try and get there came in a flash. "What's the worst that could happen, catch a couple buses and I miss it - at least I tried!" Where does the idea I would "miss" it come from? It may well be true I will arrive "late." "Well of course it comes from my not wanting to come in late and potentially draw negative attention to myself ."  And while I do prefer to be punctual, as much as anything, because I just like to arrived relaxed and set the tone accordingly. Depending on the sort of gathering - I don't want to disrupt things, out of respect for the proceedings and the people participating (unless it has been previously understood and agreed upon that I would arrive late). Suffice to say, there is some conditioning around "being late," that continues to cause me some stress at times.

So I left my place and walked to the first bus stop (only a very short distance from my home). As it turned out that bus got me to the transfer point in time to catch the second bus at the same time the event was supposed to start. Alright then it's a given - I'm going to be late! I didn't have the phone number for where I was going so I couldn't call and communicate what was going on. If the person I messaged about a ride looks at her phone or the host their email, both will have received messages that I won't be making it. So they wouldn't know to either hold the start a little or that I will come just after it starts.

As I'm riding out there I feel the phone on vibrate going off - it is a reply to my text message. She was already "there" and was just seeing my message. A ride was available home if I was still heading that way. Cool! Now I can get word through that I actually am on route and intending to be there. I got off the second bus and still had the relatively short walk to the house (which of course seemed longer because of "time"). As I approached and was now visually close to the house, I could see that there were others just arriving as well.

The evening was one of the most profound experiences (yes I'm apt to claim that again - so most profound - today!) it was life changing! I can't believe I was so close to missing it! I wonder how many "life changing" experiences I may have missed because of similar "trains of thought?"

I can certainly, based on this evening's experience, see truth in: "Change your thoughts - change your life!"

Thursday, 26 May 2016

May I Continue to Empty (that I May Be Refilled)

Instead of clawing at the very fabric of my mind intent on grasping only the most profound idea upon which to wax - I'll just concede, I don't know what that would be!

 After all, while I stare down the blank screen before me; all that surrounds me (including the computer), the eyes (that despite their "near-sightedness" and having been occasionally implicated with bouts of myopia) perform a miraculous feat and my relationship with all of it; (inside & out) speaks to me increasingly, of an awareness that there is infinitely more mystery, than that which I can explain.

I could just stop there, it would be the shortest blog post I've ever participated in! Though my "not knowing" may well be a natural progression of my evolution; to just sit endlessly in silence or to post blank pages might not serve anything. Of course the unfettered page would create a forum for each to write their own story. Given you the reader, are going to do that anyway; it seems that regardless of my inability to know all that is, I feel the continued call, to engage with it.

If this is held to be true, then how do I interact, without knowing? Well admitting I don't know, is a pretty good place to start. It is helpful to manage any fear I might have, that not knowing equates to danger.  I can certainly release any notion that I am going to "conquer" the unknown.

How about "befriending" the unknown? By this I don't mean ignoring what is, however it doesn't preclude one from holding a vision of what they would prefer as possible, at the same time. Am I then, presenting this a "fact?" No I am not, remember I've already said I don't know. Within that I wonder though, why so often, is only the most negative outcome; seen as being the most, "realistic?" Do people that "beat the odds," do so through the participation in something that can be assigned odds, numerical values and statistical likelihoods?

I met a fellow a couple nights ago. I had decided to go for a walk after dinner. My GPS (God Positioning System) took me in the direction of a neighbourhood ballpark. I had initially thought I might catch a game (not knowing if there actually was one) turns out, I was likely meant to meet this guy. When I got near the park I could see the fields appeared empty, as I got closer, there were five guys holding batting practice.  I stood behind the backstop and watched and ran around and retrieved the occasional foul ball. Perhaps not the most profound form of service, however it did save the participants from having to stop and track where the balls landed and then fetch them. Besides that, I probably ate too much prior and the extra exercise, would be good for me.

The fellow I'm talking about was sitting behind the backstop as well, on his motorized "scooter." I remembered him from last summer when I attended ball games down there. I began our conversation by asking him if he knew when that league played their games this season. I may have even mentioned him in a blog post from around that time. He was doing "donuts" on his scooter and flipped it. Myself and another fellow worked together to put his scooter upright and make sure he was okay. When I returned to the bleachers there was a women from one of the teams talking to her partner; she was making various derogatory comments regarding this fellow and what just happened. "Serves him right - he got what he deserved!" etc. - based on...... well, who knows what? What occurred that night to this fellow could be said to be a result of "cause and effect;" but not a matter of morality or his "deserving it."

As we talked this present night, he told me of the motor vehicle accident that resulted in his current condition (that would have been true of last year as well) he was one of five people in the car which was totalled. Two people died instantly and this fellow was in a coma for 3 1/2 months. He didn't elaborate on the injuries sustained by the other occupants, or their current status. The doctors had "wanted to pull the plug" a proposition that his mother flatly refused to engage; he is alive and resumes his reintegration, within the community.

Without wishing to malign medical science, it must be recognized, that the best the combined knowledge of whatever team of "experts" was compiled, was to "discontinue life support" - yet he revived anyway. What buoyed his mother's determination? What was going on for him while to the "outside world" he was absent? Who has the right to dictate what constitutes "quality of life" and regardless of what way this fellow chooses to participate in the world - who has the right to second guess his mothers decision?

If I had not struck up a conversation with this man, I would never have known what an inspiration his life and story hold! His life - his story, changed my life in an instant! (and I told him so!) One old adage claims "all that glitters is not gold;" perhaps it should be further stated "all that's exhibits tarnished, is of no less value!"

I work in a couple of care environments where people's ages range from "middle aged to senior." They have been subject to various life circumstances, that have temporarily or in some cases, permanently changed their life trajectory. I suppose even those that are discharged "home," can't help but be "changed" by the experience. One day to the next (when I'm there working) I see these individuals getting up each day (whether under their own steam or with assistance) putting one foot in front of the other (even when the crowning glory in the moment, is to go from sitting to standing and bear their own weight momentarily). I have the "day off" today - within which my greatest challenge might be - what will I write? Meanwhile back at the care facility progress is measured in, often the unmeasurable.

The song proclaimed "We don't need another hero......." yet so common place in our world, there are those that are thrust to the pedestal (whether they want it or not). Somehow these "titles" are reserved for a very finite segment of the human family. How is it that accolades are reserved for those that are victorious in the sports arena - that courage, poise, grace, beauty are extended only to those "stars" of stage and screen?

I'm not saying that success in any field of endeavour hasn't called heroic resolve forth from it's participants. What I am saying is there are countless unsung heroes. If one was looking for examples of "super-human" tenacity, courage, acceptance, surrender, humility, humour in the face of adversity they might re-consider their view.

Though you may well witness a warrior spirit - on a battlefield, the peaks of K2, behind the wheel of a formula 1 race car, arenas/coliseums, boardrooms and political platforms; you can just as readily bear witness and be inspired by those: brandishing canes, wheelchairs, walkers or riding onto the field of battle on a shiny steed of a scooter, to face another day of degradation, for not being the "brightest penny in the jar!"

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Please Release Me (from What or Whom?)

One day after declaring that I will write "daily," I am aware of resistance trying to get a hold. All well and good, it is not even 10:00 a.m. and I have begun to write. However, I've been up since 6:00 a.m. In fairness I never said that the writing would be completed, first thing every morning.

To give some further context, I was already awake for awhile before arising. Then just before six, my phone signalled an incoming text message. The nature of my work scheduling is "on call," utilizing a system that is largely automated; so shift notifications arrive via text and or, voice message.

I looked at the phone and saw it was a shift notice for today. The shift was an afternoon shift (3:00 - 11:00p.m.) I was at first a little annoyed, "why wake me up at 6:00 (recall I had said I was already awake) when the shift doesn't even start until 3:00 p.m.! I might add, that on other occasions, my justification for "annoyance;" is that I am receiving a shift call, with "not enough notice."

In these moments is demonstrated a lack of acceptance for the fact, that the nature of my employment is "on-call casual" and I chose it! Absent as well, is appreciation that I am being offered an opportunity to "bid" on a shift (the notification doesn't indicate the shift is "mine.") Being "awarded" the shift then means, I can be of service and generate some income.

Given I have a vision of travel to Belfast in roughly 31/2 months and in order to do so, will require significant financial resources - the opportunity to work is certainly in alignment with that vision.

So after waffling about the shift notice, I decide it's meaningless until I either bid on it or ignore it. I responded to the text with the "code" indicating I was interested in picking up the shift. Soon after I was informed via a subsequent text; indeed I am now working, later today.

At that point, I decided to get up; so that I could have some portion of the day to do with as I please, before work. I am aware of my "daily writing commitment" but it doesn't need to happen first thing. I wanted first to observe; as is my practice, some morning reading and meditation. As it happens the reading at present includes "The Bible." It may not be the only book I read from in the morning and most certainly won't be for the entire day; but currently, if I read nothing else in the morning, it will be the bible.

Whether one would suggest I have been inspired, or that I am curious, I don't suppose it matters. I have decided to take this on. I couldn't say at this point, if it is to be continued presence; only that it is my intention to read it in it's entirety. Throughout history greater men and women than me have be inspired and influenced by it; who then, I am to renounce it unexamined? Wars are fought over it - people are living and dying proclaiming to be upholding it or in defiance of it. What the hell is in there? I intend to find out. So far I have read the books of: Matthew, Mark and Luke.

I am not completely with out previous "exposure" to some of it. I attended Anglican church (& Sunday School) and attended a Catholic elementary (as an Anglican). Overall I can't say that was an effective recruitment experience for me to want to embrace "the God of Religion." Just the same, now as an adult and one that identifies as being on an active spiritual path; I can't take anyone else's interpretation of that book as Gospel, (pun intended) I feel I must read it for myself.

It occurs to me if it is "The Living Word" then I will find alive within it; that which speaks to me personally. Unquestionably I have thrown the baby with the bathwater; by not allowing my own experience with the bible. Seriously what's the worst that could happen? I've spent time reading another book! So what! I've read hundreds of books!

Now though many might exclaim "he's made a life changing decision here" in being willing to read the bible. I don't necessarily see it as being so profound; it's just what I'm doing. Of course it's possible I lean toward "minimization" as a habitual practice - as it's not without precedent that "just what I'm doing" is seen by others, as much more than I acknowledge. For all I know it could be life changing. I'm not saying it will be or that it won't be. Once it has been completed, my life subsequent to that will be different. Beforehand if asked, I would have answered; "no I have not read the bible." Afterwards, the answer to the same question would be, "yes in fact I have read the entire book."

Today it is one of the things I will do before I go to work. I also had in mind to get some exercise. These additional "to do's" begin to compress my day (and the time I might complete my daily writing). The thought goes through my mind, "I could alway do it when I get home from work." In this I smell a rat in my own thinking. Yes, true enough I could, but there is a very strong likelihood that at that hour, it won't happen. I decide that unless my day becomes filled with pressing priorities and later at night becomes the only remaining time to write; then I best write, sooner than later.

Having determined that, I complete my reading, my meditation and have breakfast. Ah... a clear slate presents, nothing to do now but write! Well.... except "do I still have that book that translates the "Lord's Prayer" from the original Aramaic?" And what of that book that has been sitting around "Writing Poetry?" - a quick glance through it and I've decided it's too much!! "Rules" "Forms" "Structures" (by the time I "learn" all that shit....... that book has gotta go! ...... into the Thrift shop bag...... oh ya what else am I going to get out of here?

Hmm... pondering the fate of a book about a form of writing, doesn't actually get the writing done!

Alright then, after weathering that shit-storm of distraction (resistance) I sit down, narrowly missing the open web browser and email program and begin to write........

Holy shit ...... there's a lot of resistance! Where does it all come from? Oh and look at that yoga mat laying there reminding me; I haven't yet done the short series of stretches and core strength exercises, that are restoring some relative flexibility and relief of pain, in my low back.

I wouldn't deny myself such a simple positive life enriching practice as this........... would I?

I believe I can accurately say: I exert at least as much energy, possibly more, avoiding what I need/want to do. In fact, when I get down to it...... it's effortless.

Cat/Cow stretches leading to Child's pose.......... (oh my God... I'm so tight...... how did this happen? It feels so good to release "that!" ............ I'm going to do this every day for sure!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Between Star Dust to Ashes (you might just eat dirt)

I fell off a rhythm that saw me writing and posting, for number of days in succession. The continuity, creativity and alignment with a personal passion, combined to generate a feeling of satisfaction. The number doesn't matter. I don't even have any assurance that the content matters.

I have a sense of what was going on when the well ran dry - I didn't feel "inspired" I doubted I had anything to say. I was distracted by a few different interactions I had with different people, whereby I wondered if in my want to be seen; hence communicating with candour and transparency, I had committed the heinous crime, of "too much information." I felt some shame and embarrassment.

To address the "inspiration" concern, I have decided to allow that which inspires me to be my word. Therefore if I say I am going to write daily (and I am) - that alone is a self-valuing catalyst. I don't know anything about what is possible with regard to receiving exhilarating directives; each and every morning, which results in my bounding to the keyboard. I can do something about honouring my word. As an inspiration source perhaps that won't produce the same heights of euphoria, but it occurs to me, that what it lacks in theatric melodrama; the fulfillment of my word, has it own associated rewards. What's not to be "inspired" by that?

So there it is - I will write daily. Whether I "feel like it" or not. Which segways nicely into the concerns regarding how my expression is "landing in the world." I cannot manage the responses of others without minimally, compromising myself; or, outright self abandonment.  In truth the response of others is not mine to control. I have a responsibility to the altar of my own heart and soul and a general vision of "doing no harm." If my concern is weighted more on how I might be received, I am apt to "massage"my expression or fall silent. Neither serves a higher good.

I hold a vision of conveying a message of inspiration. What makes me think I know what that message would contain? I believe it safe to say if I write nothing my vision cannot be realized. Before I go any further, I need to come clean and say; I no longer considerate it accurate to call it, "my vision." In this, if giving my word to myself is not great enough inspiration; then surely the grace to be used in service of that which is far more than me, would provide ample motivation.

Concern for my image management can no longer be allowed to steer the ship. I fear being seen as a charlatan. That my failure to live up to directives I espouse, makes me a hypocrite. I fear being exposed as "illegitimate" without substance or credibility (perhaps the talisman of my not entirely "healed" adoption story) therefore I will be shamed, ridiculed and ostracized.

So what?
What does any of that matter?

If in order to "win" acclaim, legitimacy, readership, relationship or community; I must present as the product of neurotic perfection - to quote the childhood card game: "GO FISH!" Go somewhere else, talk to someone else, read something else!

I have failed innumerably! I fully expect to fail some more, before I'm through. The miracle for me in that, is I define failure differently now. I don't so much identify with it. I look at the occurrence of it more like: okay that sure as hell didn't work out the way I had imagined - I either have more information for another run at it, or space to direct my energy elsewhere. Either way I'm down but I'm not out and I don't have much appetite to stay down.

If you are looking for the epitome of the man with the "Midas touch" you won't find that in my story. I mean in the bigger picture the presence is there - of course I am not without victories. I have also snatched defeat from the glory of success, with staggering prowess!

I don't believe dwelling in despair or hopelessness serves much good. But neither do I believe that a presentation that suggests I don't host those feelings at times, serves anyone either.

I know that flavour of my own blood, sweat and tears - I neither advocate that as "the path" nor am I ashamed they are part and parcel of my experience.

Naturally in order to "begin again" one must "pick themselves up and brush themselves off" (or allow the support of a trusted friend to intervene). I don't offer myself as one that hasn't "fallen." I'm sitting at the present, my next fall could be as soon as my getting up from here - I don't know.

While continuing to spin in metaphors I offer this analogy: if it is the will of my Creator to serve as a guide/mentor/coach; then I will do so, not on the basis of what I know - there will be no guaranteeing that I can outline for anyone, "how to avoid falling or being knocked down to the dirt."

My "card" might read: what ever your dream - it's worth a try.

My credentials you say: As you may have heard any endeavour might result in reoccurring "dining on dirt"

I have simply now, developed an "acquired taste" for dirt, so it no longer presents as an impediment!

Monday, 23 May 2016

About Face (book)

It's entirely possible I just spent as much time avoiding beginning this post, as it will take me to write it. I accomplished this through the cavernous maw known as "Facebook." Depending what one has "liked" into presence on their "newsfeed," there can be interesting/inspiring offerings. The same applies to the various things "friends" have posted. Undeniably I intermittently contribute to the stream of consciousness with both the "posts" of others and those I have written. To what end? I have no idea! It seems to me that Facebook now frequently regurgitates many of the same posts. In this respect, it has for me lost the appeal of "freshness." Even if that were to be addressed it still wouldn't take away from the potential time drain.

Certainly if my intention is to write and I end up "lost in face" (book) my objective can be at least compromised, at worst sabotaged. I knew of "Facebook" quite sometime before I got involved on it. I couldn't wrap my head around why I would want to use it, when I already had email. Even now, while I "actively" spend time on this "social" media, I'm of mixed feeling with regard to it's value.

I began when after having met some members of my "biological" family and they indicated to me this was how they stayed in touch. That is true to varying degrees - which I'm not attributed to anyone in particular. Over a period of five or six years my "friends" list has grown to it's modest size. I initially thought, though naively, that when some asked you to be "their friend" it was something a kin to having a "pen pal,"  - it does not!  (This idea obviously belies my age - as I don't think this type of communication much occurs at all anymore) I apparently was deluding myself. At first I felt some excitement over the prospects of this modern day, window of connection possibilities. Other times disappointment, confusion, even a little sad and hurt.

I may not be the most stellar example of a communicator in "real time" - but nonetheless, to me, the electronic form of communication pales by comparison to person to person interaction. While it does offer the convenience, ease and even economical advantage of world wide connection (except I guess where there are internet restrictions) at best it can augment, but cannot replace; the conversation format that predates the "electronic revolution." Having said that, there are certainly those that I suppose, have the right combination of time, willingness and techno-savvie, to write an old world letter, on an electronic platform.

Will I abandon Facebook altogether? Probably not, unless of course I do! I have done away with what for years, I might have believed were mainstays of modern "living;" one being a motor vehicle, the other being an "entertainment centre." This is by no means a statement of virtue on my part or a judgment of those that choose to maintain these conveniences. I may have another vehicle some day; it depends on, the direction my lifestyle takes in the future. As for movies, cable etc. I don't feel any loss in their absence. I read a blog post not long ago; written by a women that submitted that it was important "as a writer," to stay connected to the media for global events and made for T.V. programming, in order to stay current with cultural orientation. Given it would be preferable to engage the author person to person in order to get further clarification, on what she really valued about those "windows on the world;" my only way to engage with her ideas in this case, is to disagree. The news media is biased at best - out and out propaganda at worst. As for the "cultural" supposition, one only needs ongoing exposure to the world according to the corporate network programming formats; if, that is what they want to write about, or be influenced by. It certainly has nothing to do with the expression of an individual's conscious viewpoint.

 Too much time can be lost going down these avenues. I try to post things that I have found interesting/inspiring, at times provocative. Having said that, too much time spent reading the articles etc. of others, takes away from the time I could be spending engaging in my own experiences and subsequent expression of that.

I find myself of late at a cross-roads of sorts. One direction is a continued orientation to writing from a frame of reference as though I "know something." The other direction is more a feeling/experiential based presentation, that would utilize the gifts of the intellect in service. The latter is not entirely foreign, but is, a relatively unexplored landscape. As such, it presents as somewhat mysterious and an adventure. On the other hand, there is some fear that comes from the "idea" - how can I write without "knowing?" It would seem the process moving forward, is to engage the mind-generated fears; by including "it," as a valued contributing member of the "team," just not the captain of the ship.

There is very little to be gained by regurgitating the work, experiences and perspectives of others. For one thing, they have already done that. A further move toward greater authenticity on my part; which would include the fear associated vulnerability of "not knowing," would serve the creation of new pathways, instead of following in the footsteps of others. And while it doesn't ensure that makes it impeccable, at the end of the day - it is indisputably my experience. If others resonate with that - wonderful.

I find no fault in being inspired by the work of others - but only to the point of integrating there teaching into my life, with the intention to have my own experience.

Time spent living vicariously through the experiences of others or avoiding my own experiences or expressing a stand of my own; is time taken directly from my own life and any service I might have otherwise been to others. I'm not sure any cable carried "reality" is worth that price.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Rise to the Challenge

Your stark blank stare
Tantalize or terrorize?
Invitation or Intimidation?
Possibility or Prison?

Will I succeed or succumb?
Do you have a preference?

Womb of Creation
Abysmal chasm?

Pulsing cursor
Throbbing heart

Truth or Dare
Divine Inspiration
Dread of start?

My Herculean obstinance
I'd like you to meet
I'm not moving - from this seat
Sacred Covenant with the Muse won't cheat

Creative use of this page - Complete!


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

From Simple Seeds Grows the Extraordinary

I hold in my hand as I begin to write this instalment, a haggard looking pocket size piece of  parchment paper; on which is embossed, a passage entitled "A Simple Prayer." At a glance it resembles a "document" of antiquity - except for the fact that it has been laminated. Just the same it traveled with a friend on a trip abroad. I felt "inspired" to give it to her on that occasion, and after a period of absence, (at least in the case of this "physical"copy) it came back to me.  The further "aging process"came about after gratefully receiving it; I then put it through the wash, in the pocket a pair of pants. The lamination prevented its utter destruction (unless of course, unknown powers prevailed in it's preservation). Some water seeped between the plies and brought about some interesting pigmentation transformation and watermark imagery.

The "Prayer of St. Francis," in it's entirety, is preserved and completely legible.

I came to be more familiar with this prayer twenty-nine year ago through some of the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous ("The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" a.k.a. 12x12)  It was cited as an example of a prayer and in particular; referred to as an example, that could be considered for those that were less well versed, with the use of prayer. I had been coached when young, in the recitation of the "Now I lay me down to sleep......" prayer - in hindsight that did nothing to in still peace for me. Quite the opposite, the idea of "if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." Who conceived that would be a settling ritual, before bedtime? DIE! - TAKING MY SOUL?!! I had no idea what a "soul" was - but the whole thing smacked to me of "Invasion of the Body Snatcher's."

I have come to realize that "spiritual maturation" may look like many things to many people. One of the untold number of elements that I have experienced, is reckoning with beliefs and impressions about such things as "prayers" "God" etc. (that in itself is a significant kettle of fish) that were instilled in childhood. Why? Because one can discover, though an adult, these childhood influences were "powerful" and have some staying power. As it (prayer) can represent a life long journey, a person can jump in from wherever they are. From there - someone might be able to tell you what "finished" would look like, but that someone, wouldn't be me.

Prior to this reintroduction to the idea, of a life that includes prayer; I certainly had experience with "bargaining" (i.e. if you get me out of this current jackpot I will..........) if one holds true "God" knows your heart - then undoubtedly it would have been known, that there was a distinct lack of sincerity in my plea. I only really wanted to get my butt out of the sling - there was no true intention of "changing" my ways. (Until there was!)

In hindsight I realize that I sang (along) with my classmates, a version of this prayer in elementary school; where I was the only "Anglican" kid, in the Catholic class. I don't know that I got any solace from it at that time. Though come to think of it, I can't really say what contributed to my emotional/spiritual survival; so maybe it was a factor. For the most part I thought the "take-aways" from that period of my life were knowing firsthand, the impacts: of prejudice, exclusion, bullying, segregation, physical/emotional abuse. However, if it is true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - these years might have been a significant crucible.

The years that led to my walking through the doors of A.A. did begin to make me more malleable - but I surely wasn't ready to embrace a "prayer life" or "God" for that matter! (Until I was!) Prior to that, suffice to say I had some "serious bones to pick" with this God!!!

Despite that, the prayer and Francis by extension, began to work on me (or perhaps within me). Ever since then, no matter what I was doing or "going through" in my life; this prayer or "quotes" from Francis, or something connected to him or his life, would continually "appear" in my path.

This continues to hold true to this very day. If anything, what I allude and refer to here, is on the rise. I present this disclosure in absolute appreciation and the utmost humility I can muster; I attribute this "connection" in no small way, to saving my life. I also need to be very clear, I share these things to glorify the Creator. I know my fallibility only too well - there is no point in my attempting to inflate myself; truly, that would only serve to bolster my own self-delusion. That serves nothing and no one!

Every time I see someone in some stage of the ravages of addiction I am reminded "there but for the Grace of God, goes I." This compassion extends far beyond the "addict" themselves, to those in close relation to them; for these individuals there is reserved, their own unique version of hell, through which often, they don't choose the fleeting respite, of self-medication.

Why was I spared while others parish? I don't know and may never know! It's possible that it was to write this very blog post. Or the next one - or the next one. How would I know? Does it matter? I do my best to "suit up and show up," Maybe I smiled at someone, maybe I spoke with someone and prior they had decided that if someone doesn't acknowledge their humanity in the next twenty minutes - fuck it! (Bang!!) Things like that go down! God only knows what form "the difference" one might make, could look like. Every single person has the unique gifts and talents to make it so. Even in lives thought to have been "cut short," only the one/s touched, will know how that person impacted their life. Who says an impactful, life is a long life? Who get's to decide what is impactful? Who gets to say that regardless of what someone's life "looked like," that they didn't make a contribution?

I believe it could be likened to a kaleidoscope; the only thing I'm not sure of as I say that, is whether the imagery seen within the tube; changes infinitely, or if eventually the "patterns repeat?" Allowing for that, individuals are brought into relation for varying lengths of time, longevity of that relating isn't necessarily the be all to end all. There has been an "impact," and those same pieces of the mosaic will continue to form ongoing images/patterns (informed and influenced by those previous "connections") with some of the same, as well as different pieces, and on it goes. I hope the metaphor held up. There was an impression that occurred for me, that I'm not sure carried through in the articulation of it.

Back to Francis. I had decided to go overseas for the first time, five year ago. The whole time over there was a myriad of life changing experiences. A long series of events unfolded, that resulted in my having an opportunity to visit Assisi. Even before arriving there, the variety of "coincidences" that related to Francis (or Clare) of Assisi was uncanny. The first church that I explored and sought peace upon arriving in Split, Croatia (which was a few blocks from my hostel) and was chosen because once I dropped off my stuff; it was literally the first one I came across (turned out to be The Church of St. Francis).  While in Assisi, my experiences there, were profound to say the least! I had found a book store there, that had dozens of books about Francis. Even exercising "restraint," I bought some that added significantly, to the weight of my pack. It was already "over-packed" as I had originally come to Ireland in April and was told to be prepared for some cold weather. The ongoing voyage (which was not strictly speaking part of my original itinerary) through the Balkans and ultimately into Italy, took me increasingly into summer and much warmer climates. As the pack became more burdensome - I was impressed upon by the "idea" - Did you learn nothing from the time you spent in Assisi and from Francis, you will come to know more of him, by carrying less about him, and letting go of unnecessary "baggage." I left all the books in a hostel room and "winter" clothes I left at train stations.

I arrived in Spoleto, Italy where I was to attend a yoga retreat, a few days early. I had no idea where I was going to stay and having arrived in other towns and walked considerable distance, to find accommodations, this time I took a cab and asked how far to the nearest modestly price hotel. Less than five minutes away, he pulls up in front of this hotel called the Hotel Clarici (Clare) the front desk employee that was literally like an angel - helping me get settled and oriented; her name was Francesca! Another women who "rescued" me one night, after I got separated from my group; gave me a ride back to our venue that night. I stayed in town a few more days after the retreat ended, she met with me at her pizzeria one afternoon. Another evening she invited me to dinner at her place with a bunch her friends and family. Her name - Francesca!

Naysayers and detractors are in no short supply.  I realize full well, I am practically sending out embossed invitations when sharing stories such as this - but it doesn't actually matter.  I'm clear, that there exists for me, some form of benevolent connection, that is not dependant on the belief of others.

The worn copy of "his" prayer I photocopied off a small memento from Assisi - it was a small wooden replica of a book. One side was a picture of Francis, the other side the prayer. I have since given that to a friend/brother/mentor. I was guided to put less importance in the object (even though I valued greatly, the content) as the prayer and inspiration of Francis, can and does live in my heart. Passing it on as I did is symbolic of the love I have for my friend and the appreciation I have for how my life has been impacted since knowing him.

Earlier today I was meeting a friend for coffee and while waiting I was reading a section from a book called "Lessons from the Life of St. Francis." I have been reading from that book sporadically for quite sometime. As is frequently the case, I have multiple books on the go at any given time.

After our coffee meeting, I had a conference call which I took at home and then went into town to do some errands. When I sat in a coffee shop to begin what is this very post, I discovered that I no longer had in my possession, the book I had been reading earlier today. I smiled and then chuckled to myself. One of my first thoughts was "how will I know how that book "turned out?" followed by: "perhaps it is time I started living, writing about & embodying the teachings of Francis myself, rather than reading someone else's interpretation. One thing I know for sure the mystics throughout history did not have "Russell's Books." It was apparent to me that no, I need not spend time and energy or even another moments thought, about that book, it's retrieval or replacement.

I am being gently guided through the process of learning to let go. At this time, it has nothing to do with the frequently associated fear or sadness of "loss." It's about the magnificence of an expanding freedom - now there's something to get excited about!

Despite the length of time this prayer has been in my life - I have never memorized it. I don't want it to become a conditioned, know it by rote verse, like some nursery rhyme. To me reading it each time, with fresh eyes and an open heart - I experience it newly every time. It is alive, it changes organically and meets me where I'm at - it asserts varying emphasis as required. I firmly believe that for me there is a lifetime of "personal development" right there with that "Simple Prayer." My "library" could likely shrink significantly.

Do I have a "Francis complex?" I think not. Francis lived what he interpreted and embodied to be a life, inspired by Jesus of Nazareth. Through his unique gifts, talents and expression; he made a powerful impact during his time, "revolutionary" in its own right. He continues to be a source of inspiration to this very day.

He didn't set out to become a "saint" in fact his early life was quite the opposite - in this we share a bond of commonality. He lived passionately his heart song and soul-directive; I find that compelling and inspirational.

Today I had a phone conversation with my former wife. The nature of the common cause we are currently involved in, isn't important. One of her reflections to me, was that of gratitude, for being "the voice of reason and clarity," in the process we are engaged in. She knows and acknowledges that I am not the same person she knew when we went our separate ways.

I know that I do not embody all the tenets of this "Simple Prayer" in all ways, at all times.  But as Francis was inspired by the life of Jesus, I can be inspired by the life of Francis. Inch by inch I let the prayer work on me and then one day; a bona fide miracle is transmitted over the phone and is delivered to me, by an angel, in the guise of my "ex-wife."

Thank you God! Thank you Francis!

Monday, 16 May 2016

On My Road - I Have the Write of Way!

As I begin this blog article, I am aware that once it is posted, I will have reached three hundred entries. What is the significance of this? What does it mean? It might well be meaningless and of no significance, to anything or to anyone but myself.

What I can say with reasonable assurance is that I am far closer to blog post number, three hundred and one, than I was when I first started. There is also a very strong likelihood that it will occur. I started this endeavour back in the fall of 2011. At that time, I had been dabbling in written expression, I was reticent to call myself a "writer;" I was looking to get my writing "out there" and further develop, the "habit of writing." I had shared my writing with a small number of people and received enough positive reflection, that I felt encouraged to further what I had started.

What have I started? I don't know, but despite rather large gaps in continuity when I began; the habit of writing seems to be gaining momentum. Trust me when I say, one such as me, that possesses a rapier like capacity for criticism (historically, mercilessly and relentlessly directed at myself) envisions far beyond "quantity." As such, numbers won't represent the crowning glory.

What they might represent however, is a demonstration of intention, an establishing and refining of a connection and a necessary developmental unfolding. There are powers a foot, energies eager and waiting to engage. What began as a desire to express "out there" calls for a complete "about face" beckoning increasingly deeper: "in here." To drink from an infinite well-spring, writing is being employed as a form of "divining rod." In this the number of attempts, is both significant and insignificant.

Numbers can represent a linear process - this, is anything but. Having said that and keeping in mind that as subjects go, hailing back to my fledgling days in "academia," I never demonstrated a particularly profound grasp of math. From where I sit now, I know this to have had nothing to do with  a lack of intelligence. It had more to do with, nobody impressing on me, any relevance regarding the subject at hand.  When I did engage, I couldn't follow the methodology being demonstrated - I could deliver the "correct answer," but I couldn't "show my work" (how I arrived at the answer) so it was marked "incorrect," (or given partial marks at best). This scenario was further exacerbated by calling me to the front of the room and insisting that I "solve the problem" on the blackboard - I wasn't "allowed" to do it my way,  so after absorbing the mortification of what felt to me like waiting for the firing squad to finally pull the trigger, I was told to sit down. (and by the way Master Mason why are you holding the chalk in your left hand?)

I soon decided there is no point to this. Though it would be many year later that the "Eagles" penned "Hotel California" - I had my own version going on:

"Welcome to High School Mathematics" - there are integers here, fractions appear, shame's most certainly near
Once the bell tolls - plenty of seats,  for more Mathematics
Correct answers deceive - must have cheats up your sleeve
You can check out my friend - but you can never leave!!!!!!

All this to say, who am I, to be addressing anything from a numbers frame of reference? My answer, who am I, not to? (and no I can't show you my work!) There is no virtue in seeing the world through the language of numbers and equations - equally true, for those that don't. It's just a "language" - one form of symbols through which to express, communicate and understand from a certain viewpoint. It is not the only viewpoint and not everyone "speaks that language." Demeaning someone for having a different window on the world, makes about as much sense as admonishing a salmon; for its lack of tree climbing ability, by saying "Mr. Salmon you are a poor excuse for a chimpanzee!"

So to me, this number of posts I refer to might represent "time in the saddle." It is an "achievement" without being an arrival. It's possible "where it is going" might appear within the next post; or, at post number three thousand three hundred and thirty-three.

I know that it engages me like few other pursuits do. Time melts, boundaries vanish, and "worlds" merge. I cannot assure anyone else it will or will not, do the same for you.

Through the journey that has been partially described herein beginning with framing quantity - I realize that both my "gift of the gab" and propensity to write; must be balanced with and can never replace, the continued development and deepening of listening.

It's entirely possible that what I learn to hear, may be vastly more important than what I say! In this light a symbiotic relationship appears. A form of expression develops a sense of "hearing" so that in due time, it (expression) can be informed from an entirely different avenue.

The "Penguins" whom had names such as "Sister Mary ................" expressed their assessment of me stating "he's very bright - but he must learn to apply himself!" (this assumed that the only worthwhile application of myself, was determined by them). There was far more emphasis on the caliber of penmanship than what was written. (Strangely invited through the use of wooden rulers upon knuckles).

Wherever they may be now, I say to them - you were not just dressed in a "habit" you represented a vast many habits. I see you far more than you might care to imagine. You can be forgiven your lack of innovation - you merely contented yourself in the perpetuating of your various legacies; some which you venerated - others that held you in bondage.

I thank you for what may have seemed to have been "means" that were incongruent with your aims. You might be interested to know, I am now "applying myself!" (liberally and authentically).

Guess what - I'm a writer now!

Ya - my "penmanship" still sucks!

Maybe I should have been a doctor!!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

If You don't Mind Your Age it Won't Matter

I picked up a free magazine today. I have been wanting to read the "feature article" for sometime now, but until today, I had not again come across the magazine in my travels. The magazine is "Senior Living" which was not a focus that I considered applicable to me; but the cover article was on a Canadian musician by the name of "Valdy." I have enjoyed his music and performances over the years, so I was interested to see "what he was up to."

I grabbed a copy and sat to browse through it; while I was on my lunch break. It was then I noticed on the cover: "Inspiration for people over 55!"  I made the correlation - "Senior Living" + people over 55 = WTF (me).

I had already sometime ago, reckoned with becoming aware that the "music of my youth" was being played on an "Oldies station."  The further denotation "Classic Rock" then, aptly demonstrated the limitations of semantics.

Who establishes these categories anyway? More importantly, how much does this categorizing feed into how people define themselves (and I suppose each other)?

I suppose if I consider it at all, my first question is, how is it that this means of "profiling," can be so broad as to claim those in their mid-fifties are seniors, yet no "seniors benefits" are accessible for quite some years to come?

Of course when I was a teenager or young adult fifty-five seemed ancient, now that I'm considering it likely, I'll see fifty-seven later this year; I look upon the matter entirely differently.

It would seem this post is shaping up to take a peek at "agism." So then, what of it? Well, first off it is like any other "ism" which draws wide sweeping generalizations, about a particular segment of the population; severely compromising each within that group, in terms of their individuality and uniqueness.  However, because it's ill-advised, doesn't mean it isn't widely practiced.

For example, within our culture one can hear the idea expressed, "respect your elders;" then observe that collectively, our society doesn't go to great lengths to do that.

So much about what one thinks about themselves, can be influenced by the prevailing collective attitudes. There is though, mounting evidence, that what each brings to bear on themselves; through their thoughts, has the deepest impact.

Before the idea of thoughts shaping reality is dismissed as "New Age" Polly-anna - ism:

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. - Buddha

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.  Proverbs 23:7

It is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so. - William Shakespeare

The teaching of this idea by far, precedes the "Positive Thinking" movement. As I'm not a research scholar, there might well be earlier examples than the ones I've cited, and this would only account for written recording. Oral traditions and teaching, might be even older still.

Neurosciences are discovering through something being called "Neuroplasticity" that the brain is capable of reorganizing through the laying down of new neural pathways. Therefore old "mindsets" can be replaced. "Old dogs can learn new tricks" and "a leopard can change it's spots."

I used to have a "e-book" that I had down-loaded from somewhere; that had over fifty examples of people who had a wide variety of different, first time "successes."  The youngest were in their fifties and there were many examples of people in their 60's, 70's, 80's and beyond.

Many cultures revere their "elders" for their wisdom - while our culture spends and makes, billions and billions of dollars, venerating "youth." Of course agism can swing both ways, so I'm not suggesting that young people can't and don't, make a valuable contribution. It is possible though - that the passion,  enthusiasm, fresh ideas, and adventurous spirits (which can be qualities attributed to youth) can be found in those that are "chronologically older." - "Young at heart"

Conversely just because someone has had many a birthday cake, doesn't mean they have a corresponding "maturity" emotionally/spiritually.

Ideas such as "act your age" are rather limiting - to follow such dictates, could well suck the joy right out of living. To dismiss someone that has spent considerable time on the planet and has logged many a "lifetime experience" and then decides; to assess themselves for the purpose of reevaluating and redirecting themselves, as "just having a mid-life crisis," is a gross over-simplification. Such thinking assumes that choices one made when much younger less experienced, should then bind them to those choices on infinitum! ("you made your bed, now you must sleep in it.") It's simply not so!

Personally - the people that say, "if I only knew then what I know now, I would.........." and then they go out there and do just that! are very inspiring! 

Though I say this "tongue in cheek" as it doesn't at all represent my belief around "passing over" the metaphor speaks to me:

There will be enough time spent in a box once the reaper pays a call - so why go through life living in the boxes created by the minds of others?

Saturday, 14 May 2016

A Glorious Stew (is) Comprised of Many Vital Elements

Today's offering might well be best described a "stew." Maybe the only thing different about that and many of the other posts I have generated; is that I am openly stating it out front. It feels like a day that is a maelstrom of different ideas. a fray or perhaps a tapestry of assorted threads. As such, thus far,  a specific direction hasn't solidified - so then, I feel called to allow for it all, rather than prematurely seeking refinement and in doing so, leaving the ripe fruit on the tree.

For clarities sake I'm not speaking of confusion - au contraire, I'm feeling I'm in a particularly fertile space. On my computer desktop is a picture I created with the help of a willing coffee shop patron, which depicts me "on route to Belfast." I looked at this picture before beginning to write. I have this same picture printed and on my refrigerator door. These are a couple of the visual anchors that are helping me to begin to move, my dream, from the imagined to the real.

I am now in that same chair as I write this. In a way I feel this represents a conscious connection today, with my dream. Though this coffee shop is a frequent destination for me - I don't insist on sitting in "that" chair. I had actually initially sat on a sofa (one of the only remaining comfy chairs). When a gentlemen got up and vacated the arm chair - I thought, I'll move there, I don't need to be occupying an entire chair designed for two; after all I only have one butt.

It was after I relocated that I saw the picture on my laptop and made "the chair connection." I feel in a somewhat altered state. Yesterday I was "scheduled" to work an afternoon shift (3p.m. - 11:00p.m.) With only about an hour remaining in that shift, I was asked if I would "like" to extend and work the night shift (11:00pm - 7:00 a.m.). Over the past year, since I began working again in health care, I have declined any and all "night shifts;" except the one that was part of the new employee "orientation." My first response was no thanks, I actually work again tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. I had already thought of this, that's a short term around. I'd be home and in bed around midnight and then up again at around five in the morning. The nurse that had made the "offer," went away looking dejected - the shift would still need to be filled; or the staff that did show would be working short. Not specifically my problem, I'm just outlining the scenario. She came back a few minutes later and said - "if you can stay we can give your "day-shift" back to staffing to fill tomorrow, you will get the day off and be paid overtime for the entire night shift."

This would be where the "dream" began to assert itself upon my waking consciousness.

(I might add this is going on while she is standing there while I pondered her proposal).

"I've already worked 7.5 hrs. now, instead of nearly finished, I'm going to start again for another 7.5 hrs. through the middle of the night!?"


Nurse : "You could go now and come back after you get yourself some snacks etc."
Me: "Nothing is open now."


Nurse: "The Thrifty's at the mall is open until midnight, you could even come back then - I'll tell them you are coming in, once you get turned around."


Yes got it - Belfast, this action, in and of itself, will not get me there;  but this might well be the most right and perfect thing, I can do today, toward getting there.

Me: Okay sure, I'll do it.

She was most grateful, as were the "night staff" - but I'm getting ahead of myself.

True to her word, she let me go 45min. before the end of my current shift, so I could go to the grocery store. As I'm walking to the store, I'm thinking, the fresh air will be good and the opportunity to step away from the work environment to collect myself. Seriously? I'm going to stay up all night, I've been up since 7:00 a.m. (that will make 24hrs straight!) However the first two hours are "time and a half" the remaining 5.5 hrs are at double time!! Ok - I can do this, I still don't want a steady diet of Night shift, but I can see how this aligns perfectly with the greatest good for all.

Overall the shift went well, there was a window of time somewhere between 2 and 4 a.m. where I was thinking (and feeling) "this is just wrong!" but it passed. I was offered the opportunity to leave 45min. early which I gratefully accepted. I walked home - expanded in the knowing, okay I did it! I don't entirely know, what I'm capable of, I am frequently surprised, the well is far deeper than I would imagine. The "bucket" looks a like "Yes" or at least "maybe." I don't know what the dream will ask of me or what I might be called to upon the path, to realizing the dream. I'm beginning to wonder if rather than the idea of "living the dream" - is it possible, that with my willing allowance, the "dream lives me?"

The above anecdote is one "explanation" for my statement of perceived "altered-consciousness." It by no means is the only explanation. It is this "state" that I'm suggesting, might allow for exploration and discovery. So to continue with the "dream thread," it occurs to me that the dream already has existence. (maybe along with countless other "dreams") To get "to it" from here, which of course makes a linear process out of something that is non-linear; there will be a series of unknown occurrences. Let us imagine the crossing of a river (a river that is wide enough the other side cannot be seen at this point) the journey might begin: "at this point if you take off your shoes and roll up your pant cuffs you can proceed....." it's not apparent until commencement and being underway that next: from here, you will need to traverse that fallen tree (that is partially submerged and might be a little slippery)........ beyond here (and as before, unknown until the current requirement of the journey is complete): there are a series of submerged rocks, as you reach each, you will see the next..... and then finally as you stand in the middle of the river, far enough across that the bank you left can no longer be seen, but neither can you see the one your heading for........ from here you pretty much have to swim the rest of the way........ "What?" why wasn't I informed of this from the start?" "What was the point of wading, traversing and hopping, if I was only going to need to get soaked and swim anyway?"

"Would you have started if you knew you'd have to swim the entire distance?"

So then, I can't say that "I'm tired" though, I'm sure sleep will come easily tonight.

Before leaving to come into town I attended to the present moment priorities regarding my finances. On the end table beside my chair are some of the tools I utilize. Scraps of paper with "account" passwords & written reminders of what payments are due, to whom and when. I guess I'm a visual person in that respect, it helps me keep it all straight. If I try and commit all that to memory it becomes unmanageable. I love the feeling of manageability with ease and grace. I take note of the next credit card balance payment - I have not only maintained the payment, I have brought the "minimum due" down (albeit a few dollars - still, it inspires me to see the progress and not just be "floundering in it all) I can and will handle it all.

I sat and rolled coins that had been amassed through busking lately. The total more than compensates for "loss of work" while I attended the workshop last month. The amount pads my checking account and buffers the balance, so that my mortgage payment tomorrow, is easily handled. Even the cheque I thought was going to be "compromised" due to the days in workshop, was ample. Keeping track of when I've worked and creatively accepting shifts; that have a mix of evenings/weekends and now this night shift, means I can avail myself of "shift differentials." This amounts to more money, for less hours than had I done the same work "Mon. - Fri." I don't always know what day it is - but this allows freedom from the "I hate Mondays" "Thank God It's Friday!" "Oh it sucks I have to work the w/e" mindsets. It's more like "Thank God" I have a variety of income sources" With ongoing creativity, I look forward to diversifying further, the ways money flows to me." "I live fully in the present, so any day can be the w/e." "I can work as it suits me and rest when needed - there will always be more than enough" "The day/s of the week don't represent my happiness or security."

I am gaining some first hand experience of "God is in the Details." What I used to deem the "mundane" - brings me great pleasure. Attention to the "mundane details" reaps great rewards and therefore invites the sublime on a more frequent basis.

I purchased a new pair of pants a couple days ago; to replace a pair I have been wearing seasonally and where my waistline aligned, since 2011. I arrived at work the other evening and there was a tear across the thigh of the pants. It must have let go when I swung my leg over my bike to ride to work. I pondered "patching them." Then I chuckled at the legacy being represented! God bless you Mom - but no, I won't necessarily uphold the tradition of patches on patches! I remember when I was young, some of the patches she installed - on the positive side, they were probably near bullet proof. They did however, make sitting comfortably challenging, as it was like having your leg "splinted." I'm not talking about unbridled consumption here - I'm saying, even if I choose not to clad myself in imported business casual, "GQ" designer "blah blah blah (ok, I might have some further peace to make with the "dress for success" paradigms) I don't have to be the embodiment of Oliver Twist.

I had other pairs of regular length pants - but I was considering the need to replace these 3/4 length pants. They were both comfortable for current unseasonably warm Spring temperatures and the hotter  temperatures, of the approaching Summer. They are particularly comfortable working in the residential care setting. I knew an outdoor store carried a line of pants both in that style and of a material that I knew to wear well.  I was a little hung up on the price! I was guided to go ahead and get them - there was nothing "frivolous" about this purchase; spending money on quality (myself) and the merchandise, would not create some deficit elsewhere - I live in abundance. And you don't have to squeeze into the smaller waist size now, because you don't want to "spend the money again" on another pair." Enjoy and be comfortable with what "fits" now;  if your body continues to transform  and a smaller size is required - the resources will be available at that time.

Before I left my apartment today I was about to take another antibiotic tablet when I suddenly realized this bottle of pills was supposed to be taken (to completion) over a seven day period. There is not the number of pills remaining that would last for what would be another four days. Instantaneously I realized I had taken the "four" from the instruction: "Four tablets/day"and had been taking them every four hours (instead of every six). Hmm.. well I suppose the infection around my new piercing is still being "treated" - but will it still be as "effective" as the intended dosage, over the intended time frame? It was clear the increased dosage wasn't causing any adverse effect (a side from maybe a little intestinal busyness). Can't undo what has been done - I suppose the Pharmacist could help me sort this out.

I went to the drugstore and explained to someone in a white coat (could have been a Pharmacist or Tech.) "the error of my ways." She assured me that at this point, if I finished off the prescription with the intended frequency, the real question was "has the infection cleared?" If after a few days of completion, signs of infection returned, then that antibiotic was not the ideal choice and another would be selected. There was no benefit to replenishing the supply to complete the original 7 day schedule. That would just mean additional ingestion of drugs, for potentially little to no gain. In other words "more is not better." I wasn't looking for more - I just wondered if I had disrupted the ideal efficacy?

I couldn't have educated myself, availed myself of the training and skills of an expert while acquired up to the moment intervention guidance; had I not been willing to admit I had made a mistake. Here's what happened, you know more than I do, can you please help me, what do I do now?

So "a mistake" is not necessarily a call for punishment or humiliation; a step in the direction of humility, can actually get me back on course; or, redirect upon a new course toward the same end.

First I must be willing to acknowledge where I am - that I don't have all the answers that will take me closer to my goal/dream. There are those that may show up along the path, that can offer the key to the next piece of the puzzle. I might need to ask - is there a better way to get to where I'm going, than than my current path?  And then to keep letting go, of thinking I know what "my answers" are going to look like.

But nonetheless listen, pay attention: the "dream/s" are waiting to be heard -


God is In the Details!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Mine is not to Question.... No wait, Turns out it Is!

I write frequently, mentioning the idea of "expansion." I most certainly read a lot about it, so perhaps the concentration of the notion upon my consciousness; has me suppose, that it infiltrates my every breath, step and deed. What is it then that I am referring to? Why all this fuss about "stretching envelopes", embracing the unknown etc.? I certainly can have a hand; play an active part, in the pursuit of "growth producing endeavours. " Can I play a passive part? Or can I thwart these processes entirely? Does expansion seek me even, while I'm consciously or unconsciously, exercising  my best efforts, to avoid it?

If you're now expecting the answers, expect to be disappointed. Might I suggest you do what you need to with that disappointment and consider the questions for yourself?

I used to be "an answer guy." To be honest, until I realized it for myself, some part of me, thought I had to have the answer; or I was on the fast-track to annihilation.  Another misguided belief was that if I could provide the solution - I would be of "value," gain approval; which I suppose ultimately, was still about avoiding the "annihilation" of being a social outcast. Overall I'd have to say it was an ineffective strategy to achieve connection, love and approval (particularly when that which I sought was never outside myself in the first place). For one thing, for the most part, people don't want the answer (they want you to "agree" with them).

 I believe I have overcome my impulse to give unsolicited answers. But even when I am asked, and provide the answer; I've found that often, it is not received graciously. I have considered and continue to ponder my delivery. I don't have to take responsibility for the responses of others - but I don't have to hit them over the head with the answer either. It's a prospect fraught with the potential for the conversation to go off the rails. If the answer I provide is not the answer that was wanted - the fuse has just been lit.

Of course this line of discussion of mine suggests that I have been "conditioned" to massage the feelings/reactions of others by considering what "they want to hear" rather than just authentically, be "straight up." So some aspects of "expansion" for me involve at least stepping outside my conditioning and eventually overcoming it altogether.

Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones” - John Lennon

I consider this quote and to me it certainly has merit. I wonder how much "honesty" any given "friendship" can stand? I'm clear about the pitfalls of "white lies," political correctness, emotional care taking, people-pleasing etc. I suppose I'm not at all sure, that ongoing relating, can occur stripped of all this conditioning and subterfuge.

Again it comes to, concern for being "alone." There it is - I'll put that on the table,  so at least I can acknowledge that for myself, while "expanding" authenticity.

To me, there is no virtue in Solitude. Many an asset and virtue can certainly be honed in solitude. Is this conjecture? No. I have experienced, vast quantities of solitude.

 It seems to be widely held that "we" (humans) are "social" beings. It is deeply imprinted within the psyche "the need to survive" the importance of inclusion "in the tribe." I wonder if truth; the ability to  speak it and the ability to hear it, have been "socialized" into oblivion? This survival instinct while perhaps vitally important to ones humanness, matters not to that eternal part of ourselves. There can be no "annihilation" of the soul; therefore, the "social dance" of humanity, might be "seen" by the spiritual part of our being, as not weighted with the same importance? 

Is then, the continued urge to "expand" driven from the soul? Regardless of my attempts to "serve and protect" the status quo? Does the soul even care if I engage directly in it's expansion? ("in my lifetime"). Presumably "it" will carry on long after "I'm" gone? Does this then "suggest" that I might live toward "getting myself gone," sooner than later and thereby, enjoying a more direct experience that is in alignment with my soul? Maybe then "the right friends" John Lennon referred to will be  "soul aligned" as well?

For me the beautiful thing about solitude is hmm... THE SOLITUDE!

It seems to me, I'd be "better"(at least it for me)  in "relation" with those around me, when I know without a doubt - I don't "need them," to be okay. There is a great deal of expansion I can experience into what I would say, is my unique expression of what is common for all. When I am happy and content in my experience of that, and know that no one can give it to me, or take it away; nobody needs to be my answer and I don't have to be, or provide anyone else's answer. What would it be like to form relationships more from a place of choice, rather than looking to assuage and feed, the "hungry ghost?" (Yours or mine)

So for now I will play, at becoming, the "question guy."

I seems everyone (myself included) would prefer to determine their own answer. It might well be, that it must be so! Perhaps beyond "facts and figures" - "the answer" cannot be provided. What the hell is a "fact" anyway? And God bless the "figures" people, that's not my realm!

I can acknowledge for myself that I am of above average intelligence - so I certainly don't relish "playing dumb." Alternatively, perhaps I can continue to develop my capacity to formulate better questions?


Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Agony of the Feet (a.k.a.) Foot Loose and Fancy Free

Imagine if you could not walk again. Thankfully I haven't had to contend with this as a life experience. However over the last three months or so; due to some acute pain in both feet, at times my every step, was excruciatingly painful and therefore my walking significantly compromised.

I love to walk. I love the immediacy of connecting with people, places and things, that walking allows. A brisk walk enlivens me, relaxes me and at times; it is literally, a walking prayer and meditation that I am practicing.

I love the freedom and spontaneity that walking provides - no parking and no traffic jams.

So when it appeared that my beloved activity was under severe threat, I initially felt distressed. At the present not only is walking one of my favourite ways to get around, it is one of the three means that make me a transportation triathlete (walking, cycling, bus) You don't think riding the bus qualifies as a sport? Try walking the aisle to a seat (or standing for the ride) wearing a backpack, holding a guitar case or for some others wheeled carts, grocery bags etc. while some of the drivers go erratically from accelerator to brake, on/off, on......... I'm telling you it requires some serious agility!

Not only one of my transportation main stays, all the ways in which I currently generate my income, are done on my feet. What the hell? This can't be happening!

Uh... actually yes it can..... and it is.

So began the myriad of ways I began to try and address this new reality. Certainly I significantly reduced my mileage. I had no intention of this becoming a chronic or permanent situation; but it made sense to rest my feet where I could. It began in the left foot. There was no specific traumatic event. It started as intermittent dull ache and got progressively more frequent and painful. Then I sprained my right ankle - so now I'm limping and favouring that side too. It wasn't a severe sprain so the usual intervention dealt with the immediate pain. I started to go to a chiropractor that did some deep tissue release and realignment of the bones and joints. The chiropractic adjustments extended to my low back, as that started to "act up" in part, due to my compromised gait.

I was using analgesic ointments and coming home after work and icing my feet. The pain subsided in my ankle quite quickly, but the joint remained stiff. As a result, all the soft tissue in the sole of that foot, became inflamed and voila - plantar fasciitis! I would come home from work and sit for awhile and then to make it from room to room (which in my seven hundred some odd square foot apartment is not far) I was hobbling. I couldn't believe how painful feet could become.

I have been around the realm of "healing" for quite some time so I knew this to be calling for more than attention to the physical symptoms. I carried on addressing them just the same, I'm not saying to ignore the physical. In fact, I'm saying the physical is drawing attention to "causes" that go beyond the physical;  but, they have gone unnoticed and unchecked, long enough that the physical can become an effective "wake-up call." I decided to start working "with" my body. "Ok, you've got my attention!" "What is it you're trying to communicate to me?" "I know this, I need you - ideally working optimally and pain free again!" "What do "we" need to do to get there?"

"Walk Gently."


"Walk Gently"

"You mean like walk gently and carry a big stick?"

"Walk Gently" (and no, if given a "big stick" your apt to hit yourself with it, that's how we got here in the first place).

"You mean like "self love"


"Oh that again!"

"Did you think you were in jeopardy of loving yourself too much? Be assured, you are not and that for you, this will be an ongoing undertaking for the remainder of your time here." "This is not an admonishment - it simply is. Just so we're clear!"

Upon hearing this? I set out in the various ways I was guided. I purchased two new pairs of high quality foot wear (one pair of sandals and one pair of runners) I started wearing the custom orthotics I had ordered years ago, that I had discontinued wearing. I rejoined the gym. Strengthening and stretching exercises were brought to my attention. I bought a "night splint" to stretch the affected foot while I slept. I felt an impulse to go into a running store I hadn't been near in years and there I found  this apparatus for self massage and deep tissue release, for feet. As I read the notes on the packaging it sounded just like what I needed. I flipped it over $49.95 forget that! A few days later I'm back at the chiropractor for a "tune-up," the one foot had got quite sore again. In and out in fifteen minutes - cost $50.00 and for what? Some deep tissue release and the application of some liniment.

Ok.. Ok I get it - I can buy the foot massager, the initial purchase is the same price as one chiropractor visit after that it's free. I can take it with me and use it anytime, anywhere and I can apply my own liniment. The chiropractor is a good practitioner, if I need to deal strictly with the mechanics, she can certainly be an asset. Conversations with her tell me she doesn't see beyond the physical. I happen to know that the "root" causes originate beyond the physical and if the healing doesn't occur there, then the physical symptoms are apt to return in the same place or elsewhere. In this case I can replicate the physical relief and expand the application of a broader variety of "esoteric" healing.

I'm not going to rehash or try to deal comprehensively with the realms of metaphysical "medicine," but I will mention Louis Hay, who certainly was among the pioneers of this work. As well, she has provided the world with vast reference material with self-love as the focus. Her's was and is, an inspiring story and her work, a gift to all those that will avail themselves to it.

It was through this landmark work that I expanded my intervention to the current pain outbreak. It provides a window into not only healing the most prevalent of symptoms, but it can then give insight into long standing patterned behaviour; which might now be presenting as an opportunity to transform and release it.

The suggested causes can be a good way to "customize" ones prayer and affirmation work. Not having awareness of what's operating, makes it less likely it can be addressed. I can then search out "repressed anger" which can be one of the root causes of "in flame action" (chronic or acute inflammation) where are guilt and shame continuing to influence my treatment of myself? Creating a pattern of subjecting myself to punishment in the form of suffering. Where can I continue to "forgive" myself.

I will borrow from Louis Hay for the specifics re: feet.

FEET PROBLEMS: Fear of the future or not wanting to move forward.
Affirmation: I understand clearly and I am willing to change with the times. I am safe.

I did avail myself for a few days to some "anti-inflammatory" medication. For me it is important not to get into either or thinking (i.e. drugs bad!) They were of use to reduce the initial inflammation which gave the other interventions, an opportunity to take hold.

Conversely, though long term use of various medications invites all sorts of adverse side effects and alone, still doesn't address root causes; the use of prayer, affirmation and other "non-traditional" healing paths (ironic that that term itself, only holds true from the perspective of those practitioners, that are practicing medicine that is far "younger," than the healing wisdom, that is rooted in ancient "tradition") have no adverse side effects. They may not "work" the way one has in mind - there may be a journey that becomes the "means to some end." One may render them ineffective through their own disbelief/disallowing; however they are not apt to introduce further complications.

"Francis" continually reminds me "Make me an instrument of your peace...." The very next line
"Where there is hatred ..... Let me sow love"  Allow me to address myself loud and clear right now, and if it applies to you as well, by all means use it:

I cannot fully stand in the intentions of this prayer without applying its tenets to myself - first, foremost and always.

How could I possible think, that the application of Love to those beliefs (mistaken), ways of being (misguided and unconscious), that are encapsulated in the Hate; that was formed within me, directed at me and has been the root cause, of my suffering (which clearly would disallow my knowing of "peace") would not be a directive to me, for me. Not just something one considers applying outside themselves. 

Here's a little illustrative formula:

Healing = Love
 If it is held to be true that : Physician heal Thyself
Healing = Thyself x Love

I cannot eradicate that which no longer works for me through "hatred." Take a look around, the flames of hatred (look there's those "flames" again) are being sought as a resolution to the world's woes. 
"Re- Solution": The element water is a commonly known "solution," it also happens to be an effective flame retardant - if one is looking to extinguish flames - they ought not to utilize more flames.

I have lost some weight, my size eights no longer need to carry that baggage; I'm regaining some flexibility in my low back. That foot massage device is as they say, "the cat's whisker's!" It was uncomfortable in the beginning. It is a solid plastic base with half a dozen or so, steel ball-bearings mounted in it. The configuration of the balls allows it to get into places within the sole of the foot; I can't get at otherwise. There were tender spots that weren't even apparent - the use of this device brought about immediate improvement. Even when I first used it, I could be significantly feeling my feet and then sit; have a tea, massage my feet and "badda bing," I'm good to go!

In the last few days I have noticed the absence of pain while I walk! Step... ahhh...... another step... ahh....  oh my God this is wonderful...... step ..... ahh........ another step.... ahh........

I never would have thought I could appreciate so deeply pain-free feet - I sure do now!
I love my feet!!! I love my body and it's incredible capacity to heal itself. Thank you ... Thank you... Thank you....

I have untold walking to do in Ireland! Who know's maybe one day I'll hike the Camino!!!
I don't exactly know what "my work" is, but I believe I need to be able to get out and to the people. Thank you to my feet for supporting me throughout my life - even when I wasn't supportive of you. I'm hear now (no typo). 

I can and will, look after myself, I now walk into whatever my future holds for me.

As an aside - I was just at the "walk-in" clinic (thank you to my feet once again) this time it was to address an infection at the site; where I got my additional piercing. Did I "strictly" follow the post-procedure care regime? 

That would be a No.

Can I love myself anyway?


Today love looks like some antibiotics!

And to hedge my bet: "I love, that no matter what happens in my day to day life, things are always working out for me!!"

I will continue to consider the entirety of Francis' Prayer  - it's what I do.

But it's entirely possible Francis knows of my inclination to complicate things - that's why he offered the abridged:

"Walk Gently"