Welcome

Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thanks Dad


“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
                                              Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum
_________________________________________________

Thank you dad, for the little pieces of wisdom
Dropped along the way

Thank you for teaching me
That laughter is infectious
That it is OK to be silly (Corn and Pop Corn)
That it is important to care
That you need to pay attention to how you are impacting others
That you respect women, for they are equal to men (at the very least)
The importance of faith
The need for accountability
The value of faithfulness
The importance of loving your children, and doing things with them

Thank you for teaching me
How to attach a fly to a lead
How to appreciate the desert
About the beauty of a sunrise
The right way to take care of a yard
How to thread pipe
All the odd, but practical things that go with owning a house

Thank you for showing me
How to offer compassion
How to forgive
How to relax into joy

Thank you for pushing me
Expecting much of me
Guiding me
Supporting me

But most of all
Thank you
For
Loving me!


Saturday, June 16, 2018

make it personal


“If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal!”
― BrenĂ© Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
_______________________________________

Where does cruelty come from?
Why do we feel a need to diminish and minimize others?

What is it that makes is pretend the immigrant child is a threat?
And the poor person is lazy?
And the addicted person is a moral misfit?
And the mentally ill person is weak?

Can we not see that each child is our child?
That the person struggling to feed his or her children is our neighbor?
That the person wandering in the realm of hungry ghosts (Mate) is our friend?
That the person whose mind is bullying them is our brother, our sister?

We are all children of God
Bound together
No matter what our color
Our creed
Our nation
Our status

We are bound together
Inextricably
Like it, or not
We are all part of the fabric that is the Sacred

How can we stand by, and rationalize in our heads
How can we stand by and without passion or empathy and calmly discuss
Laws, and politics, and economic theories
While people starve, and live in boxes
While children lie on tarps on concrete floors, separated from their parents?

What happens to those children in those warehouse is personal!
What happens to that person struggling with addiction, is personal!
There is no place for dispassionate logic,
No place for disengagement.

That is our parent,
Our brother or sister,
Our child.

The cruelty we see should shred the fabric of our being
Until we cry out in pain
Until we respond
With compassion,
With caring
With outrage
With words
With actions

We should take what is happening personally
Because it is
personal

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bad Priorities


" Go running through the streets
... creating Divine chaos,
Go running through the world
...giving LOVE, giving LOVE. "
                               Hafiz
_____________________________

What a time
So much hate (me too)
So much anger (me too)
So much graft and greed
So much lust for power
So much abuse of power
So many people sitting back watching it happen

The environment destroyed
Minorities oppressed
Civil rights erode
Protections for workers erode
Protections for consumers removed.
The poor shame
The elderly abandoned
The mentally ill untreated
The addicted thrown away

All for what?
Money?
Power?
Really?

And we are OK with this?

Ah for some divine chaos
To confuse the smug
To afflict the comfortable
(and comfort the afflicted)

As some divine chaos to bring down
Those who in their pride and greed use and abuse

But here is the point
The sticking point

Divine chaos looks like love
Now let’s wrap our minds and hearts
Around that

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Judging, Accepting


Until we can received with an open heart,
We are never really giving with an open heart
When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly
Or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help
                                                            Brene Brown
________________________________________________

What is wrong with us?
Why is there so little compassion and generosity?
Why are we so eager to judge and condemn

We seem to have a terminal condition
We seem so eager to shame

We shame people of color (those lazy blacks)
We shame the poor (lazy moochers)
We shame addicts (they choose to use)
We are experts in shame

And we make generosity conditional
Insisting on merit
We create a whole world of throw away people

Where does this come from?

I remember growing up, being taught that one should always be the strong one
The one with the answers
The one who is in a position of giving help
The one who is OK

Or perhaps FINE

But we all know what FINE means don’t we
Fucked up, Insecure, Needy and Emotional (or Egotistical)

Yep
Perhaps this need to be OK in the eyes of the world
The care taker, the answer person, the one who has it together
Is really nothing more than a way of hiding what we know
To be painfully true

That we are just as messed up and needy as everyone else
Perhaps, it is a form of denial

The reality is
That we all need help
We all need compassion, love, forgiveness

And the degree to which we can accept it for ourselves
May determine the degree to which we can offer such things
To others

Jung and Nouwen talk in their work
About the “wounded healer”

They suggest that we address the brokenness of the world
And of those around us

Most effectively through our own brokenness
Through our own hurt and failure

What this suggests to me is that he answer to the pain of the world
Comes from people who are willing to receive and give
And give and receive

That living this life is always a matter of being healed
And being a healer
Being generous, and learning to accept generosity
Being kind, and accepting kinds

Give and receive, receive and give

I regret at times, the difficulty I have receiving, for it closes me off to so much goodness
And it makes it harder for me to let my own goodness out

I hurt for those people in power
Who grasp wealth and power and shame the poor
For I know how powerless and poor they really are

You can see it in their faces
As they stand behind the microphones
You can see it in the masks they wear
And the tweets they send

Perhaps it is time to change the way we think
Perhaps this Oh so America need to be in power, to be right
To be “on top” to be “number one”
Is not healthy

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Go with God


It was a beautiful day
The mountains soared snow capped
The grass, luxurious after furious rains
Lilacs bloomed
And perfumed the air
The sun warmed us, the wind cooled us

Friends gathered
And talked of those things friends talk about
Families, and crops
Class reunions and graduations

We gathered on the side of a hill
An urn of ashes before us
Death in the midst of life

But no

For this moment was not about death but about life
Yes
A dear friend was gone
Her question mark of a body stilled
Her mind, confused with dementia, calm

But  she was a child of God
Child of God
Child of God

As we are reminded by John in his first letter
“Behold what love God has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God, and we are!!”

We are children of God.  And to me that means some very important things
It means that we come from God
It means that as we walk through life, we walk with God
And it means that when we depart this life, we return to God

So death was not present in that moment
On the hill
In the cemetery

Nor was it present a hour later
When a frail body struggled to breathe
And failure

We lay him on the ground
Friends and strangers, and urged him to live
We pounded his chest, and sought to give him air

But his heart did not beat, and his chest did not rise

I held his head gently, staring into open eyes
Fixed and sightless
I held his head to establish an airway, that would not come
I held his head so he would know he was not alone
And whispered the only words I could think of

You are loved
You are loved
You are loved

Child of God
Child of God
Child of God

Go with God
And be not afraid

Monday, June 11, 2018

what is now


“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin….
And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin….
But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.”
                                                                            Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines
__________________________________________

What are you waiting for?
Trump to implement his vision of America
Trump to collapse, to fall?
The Stock market to soar
The Stock market to collapse

What are you waiting for?
Power
Fame
Wealth

Or perhaps more altruistic things
Justice?
Equity?
The Kingdom of God?

The thing is, waiting is a way of denying
Denying the moment
Denying the person, the gift, the beauty
Right in front of you

We get so busy looking we do not see
So busy straining into the future that we are alienated from “now”

We keep chasing the person we think we want to be
And never accept or affirm the person that is
The beautiful disaster
That we are in this moment

I will never be perfect!
I know, it is a shock to me too

I will not do every class well
I will not be liked by everyone who knows me
I will not be deemed handsome or sexy by all
There will be days I alienate people
When I fail
Miserably

I cannot wait to become
Because I already am
This is me
This is what you get

Yes I can work to grow, to improve
I can work to be the best I can be

But I can only work out that salvation in this moment

The challenge for this day
Is to be, in the moment
To rejoice, in the moment
To see, in the moment, the beauty around me

There is a sun out there
A mountain out there
There are trees, and birds
And cows and calves

The world is stuffed with God
Stuffed with beauty
I tis time to quite waiting for what is next
And to grab hold of
And savor
What
Is
Now



Sunday, June 10, 2018

we are all humans


“We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us.”
                                                                            Pravinee Hurbungs
___________________________________

He’s a human
She’s a human
Wouldn’t you like to be a human too?

It is amazing how often we dehumanize each other
How often we make each other ciphers, zeros,
And how often we rob people of their basic humanity

As we smother them with adjectives and invectives

We allow so many things to marginalize and minimize others
Color
Creed
Ideology
Status
Education

We can make anything an occasion for denigration
I’m in, you’re out
I’m good, you’re bad
I’m blessed, you’re curse

On and on it goes

But in the end there is only this
We are spiritual beings
All bound to the same Spiritual reality
All therefor bound to each other

We may wear different skins
Different clothes
We may use different words
And thing about things in different ways
We may be have’s and have not’s

There may be many things that push as apart
One from the other

But in that separation we deny our essential nature
Which is to be bound together
As the parts of a body

Which is to be connected, all to the same branch

The connecting tissue is spirit/spiritual
The connecting tissue is love

It is what is sacred that makes us human
Homo divinus  (Eckhart Tolle and others)

It what is sacred that draws us back together
Homo Novus  (Osho, Zorba the Buddha Discourses)

It is my intention
(we will see how it goes)
To remember my own humanity
And to remember yours

Thursday, June 7, 2018

There is love to be done


“Run my dear, from anything that may not strengthen your precious budding wings.
Run like hell my dear, from anyone likely to put a sharp knife into the sacred,
tender vision of your beautiful heart.”
                                             Hafiz
____________________________________________

There are many thing that can destroy us
Many things that do not support life

We sink our roots deeply
Into what does not nourish

16 years ago I planted three sets of clump birches
One set was planted in imported top soil
The other in one of the few spots with some soil
And the other, into the sandy gravel that covers the space I call home

One set is intact, three beautiful trees, clumped together, soaring 30 feet into the air
Of one set only one remains, finally beginning to flourish, but still small
And one set is dead

It took those trees 12 years to die, a slow death
No amount of nourishment, no number of fertilizer spikes could save them

For their roots were sunk in poverty

Let’s hear it for good soil!
For those people who make us flourish
For those thoughts that expand our soul
For those activities that exercise our physical and spiritual hearts

Let’s hear it for generosity, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, and love

And let us be aware of that soil that does not feed us
But instead, robs us of nutriments
Slowly, secretly erodes our soul

Sometimes looking, at first
As if it will support life

Watch out for those who would promise us that which is not food
And slowly starve us to death morally and spiritually

Watch out for the gravelly soil of lies, and hate
Prejudice and greed
Misused power
Underused love

It is almost invisible
This wasting away
But the signs are there
When we are angrier than we should be
When we can listen to lies, and justify them
When we can look upon in justice, and rationalize it
When we can see that people are being left behind,
Without food, clothing, shelter, healthcare

And because we ourselves are not affected , just walk away

The signs are there

Help us, O Sacred One
To sink our roots deep into the good soil
Help us to find the wellspring of living water

Help us to flourish
Blessing our little hearts
And make them less small

There is love to be done
There are people who need to rest
In the shade of our compassion and caring



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

winning and sinning


“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.
[Verse 223]” ― Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada

Do not over come evil with evil, but overcome evil with good.
Paul the Apostle

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.  If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Jesus
_____________________________________________________

It is not as though I can do it
But there is a higher path for us to take

We tend to repay in kind

Anger for anger
Hate for hate
Cruel act with cruel act

Whatever it is that causes us dis-ease
We believe the solution is to jump in with both feet
Right into the middle of the swamp

If I am surrounded by greed the only solution is for me to become greedy myself
To hug to myself all the resources I can
After all, if I don’t, those who will
Will win

Win
Ah, there is that word
Sounds a lot like Sin

And there is probably a reason

Logic tells us this is indeed how it should work
We should respond to power with more power
We should overcome
Overwhelm

And if people get hurt?
Well, they should have thought about that in the first place

But then along comes Jesus, and (I suspect) his friends Buddha and Paul
(there’s a joke in there someplace, Jesus and Buddha and Paul walk into a bar)

And tell us we have it all wrong
They tell us that answers which involve placing ourselves “over
Are really not what it takes

To change the world
To make it safe
That such responses do not the “Kingdom of God” make

What kinds of strategies work in the Kingdom (in the place where Sacred “rules”)?

Generosity
Genuine sorrow for the wounds of others
A willingness to stand alongside the poor, and hungry, and homeless
An ability to include those others would reject
And the strength to be excluded oneself, for the sake of love

It is time, my friends to stop winning
It is time to say “no” to cruel people in high places
No matter what they promise us
No matter, at some level, what benefits the create
(for those benefits will come at a terrible cost to our souls, as individuals and as a nation)

It is time to stop winning
Because it looks way to much like sinning



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

self-absorption kills


“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.”
                Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence
_____________________________________________________

We all want safety
Its OK
We all want comfort, even affluence
We all want influence and power
Not a problem

Unless

Unless what we want causes our world to contract
To narrow down until we cannot see past ourselves
And cannot see past this moment, this place

And then our natural desires become unnatural

There comes a point
Where we become willing to do all manner of evil
Just to get what we want

Our desire for wealth becomes so strong,
And our focus so narrow
That we forget

We forget the earth
We forget other people
We forget the poor, the ill, the elderly

The stock market soars!
Trump is God!

But in our selfishness
The cost exacted for that success is terrible.
The poor are neglected
The earth is abused

We have sold our souls for short term gain
And we have created long term pain
We have pushed out way down the path to
Whatever sordid goal we have created

But have pushed some aside,
Used others
And simply trodden on others

How long will we accept this essential selfishness
Sold to us by those for whom money is more important than people

How long?
How long>
How long?

O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the stranger, they murder the orphan,
and they say, “The Lord does not see  (Psalm 94)

Since the beginning
It has been clear, that we must all get where we are going
Together

The way of the Sacred is not a way where the strong enjoy their strength
And neglect “the little ones” (children) and “the least of these”  (the vulnerable)

Privilege is an opportunity for service
Not an opportunity for abuse

“You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien,
for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
You shall not abuse any widow or orphan...
If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry” (Ex 22:21-23).

Women
Children, especially immigrant children
The poor
Minorities
The LGBTQI community
Those suffering from mental illness
The elderly
The addicted

These little ones have a special place in the heart of God
And if we succeed
In becoming rich
In creating radical safety
In becoming the most powerful nation on the earth

But narrow our focus down
And kill our empathy
And erode our compassion
And abandon them…..

We lose

Monday, June 4, 2018

What money can't buy


“Top 15 Things Money Can’t Buy
Time. Happiness. Inner Peace. Integrity. Love. Character. Manners. Health. Respect. Morals. Trust. Patience. Class. Common sense. Dignity.”
                              Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
__________________________________

For the love of God!
My old Irish foreman on the JJ ranch use to say

For the love of God slow down
For the love of God speed up
For the love of God check the oil in the tractor
For the love of God

Not bad advice actually
To do what we do for the love of God
In order to live in harmony with Sacred

We have a lot of other options
We can do what we do for love of power

What could go wrong!?

Other than abuse and misuse
Bullying and coercion

We can do what we do for the love of money
Ah yes,
The American way

Nothing is more important than wealth!!!

If the stock market is doing well
Who cares if war looms, the President lies and lies and lies
Who cares if the poor are abandoned,
and minorities are treated with injustice?

The reality money is at the root of most of our dis-ease
Aided by our love of power, which has synergistic relationship with money
Put them together
And it’s a perfect storm

And everything in the storms past is destroyed
The losses are profound
Happiness.
Inner Peace.
Integrity.
Love.
Character.
Manners.
Health.
Respect.
Morals.
Trust.
Patience.
Class.
Common sense.
Dignity.

Money can’t buy love or anything else
But love can bring us into the realm of the Sacred
Love can bind us together
Love can help restore all we have lost

That is why Jesus said two things are important
Love of God
And love of other

Oh, and maybe a third love too!
A healthy (not narcissistic) love of self

So live lives of compassion, joy and hope
Lives of kindness and generosity
Lives of forgiveness

For God’s sake

Sunday, June 3, 2018

see God

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When a Dog Runs Up (by Hafiz)

Start seeing everything as God, but keep
it a secret.

Become like the man and woman who are
awestruck and nourished

listening to a golden nightingale sing
in a beautiful foreign language while God,
invisible to most, nests upon its tongue.

Hafiz, who can tell in this world that
when a dog runs up to you wagging its
ecstatic tail, you lean over and whisper in
its ear,

“Beloved, I am so glad you are happy to
see me! Beloved, I am so glad, so very glad
you have come!”
__________________________________________

Start seeing God in everything
In everything

See God in the obvious places
In the mountains that soar
In sunrise an sunset

In flowers breaking through the ground
And reaching gloriously to the sky

In the grace of horses
And the lavish love of dogs
In the beautiful arrogance of cats

See it in the deer bounding over the fence
And in the grass, luxuriant after the rain

See it in beautiful babies
And homely babies
All babies are God
Incarnation now

See God in the saints
In the loving and the kind
In the volunteers
In the rescuers

See God in the generous and
The forgiving

But see the Sacred too in the places where it darkly hides
In humans, for example
Who are not saints, but perhaps, sinners

The addicted
Angry
Greedy
Dishonest
Abusive ones

See God in the bullies
In the corrupt
In the man lying in the ally, wet with his own urine
In the woman emaciated by meth

See God in the hurricane and the tornado
In the flood and
In the parched earth of the drought

Much of the time we will gently whisper the news in the quiet of our hearts
God is here, God is here

And there are times we will
Catch a saint or sinner unawares
And whisper

I am so very glad you are here
I am so very glad you are you
I am so very glad




Friday, June 1, 2018

Scars

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“Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as a secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.”
                                                             Leonard Cohen, The Favorite Game
________________________________________________________

We all have scars
A quick glance in the mirror reveals 10 surgeries
From an Achilles tendon, to a neck fusion
(and plenty of things in between)

Each scar tells a story
If not of a moment gone bad
Of wear and tear
Of genes gone wild

But there are scars that can’t be seen
The scars of rejection and failure
The scars of wounds that run deep into the depths of my soul

Scars I carry because I was foolish
Or because I fell in love (and it wasn’t returned)
Scars that came because I was lonely, angry
Scared, greedy, needy

Mostly the wounds are healed, but not all

And then there are the scars that have come when the word became flesh
When the sacred became real
So real I could no longer avoid its reality
No longer avoid the intrusive presence
Of the Spirit

Scars that came when Sacred sliced through my defenses
And left nothing untouched
Radical surgery
Rearranging the very stuff of which I am made

When the “word made flesh”
Involved my flesh

Incarnation now

I walk with these scars
Feel these scars
Sometimes suffer from these scars

They remind me
They inform me
They humble me

They make me sad
And they give me joy

And this scarred visage
Cannot help but look at your scarred visage

And reach out