Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ahh, Halloween

This is my favorite time of the year, the time of creating and remembering memories, of the good and not so good times. Fall always has been to me a time of change, a time of preparation, a time to clear the clutter of accumulated things. To sort and not only prepare for winter but see the world preparing for the spring and the coming year. While trees loose their foliage, they also set the buds for the coming year, out with the old while the new awaits to burst forth. Life is like that, but sometimes we would rather hold onto the old patterns. Sometimes we find ourselves being propelled forward, not yet ready for what awaits us.

It was a long cold night, the horse were hitched to the wagon, with hay covering every inch and bales placed for sitting, leaning, or nestling into. 2 old kerosene lanterns lit the front of the wagon, the steady clip-clop of the team on the trail, the creaking of the harnesses, along with the flickering lights dancing with the shadows of the trees created a black and white portrait in the mind. The trail followed the river and rounding a bend, we could hear the thundering accolades of the rapids below us as the owl hooted off in the shadows.

Many years later, I found myself a single father to my 3 sons, having just been told that a marriage, being a mother, wife, and helpmate was now ending. It was time to move on. She needed a life of her own, and that meant she no longer desired a family, kids or a marriage. She needed a change, to see what she was missing, and so she left. The boys were 7, 5 and 1 year old. One life ended and another life arose from those ashes, much like the legendary Phoenix. It was a learning curve that taught me patience, and anything is possible, just take one step at a time. I wondered then how we would make it thru those days, but looking back over the years, one can see how the little moments were what kept us going; It was the neighbor that helped, the friend that listened, and the learning how to be a dad and mom without any prior experience of being a main provider, and nurturing of little children. Of successfully pinning a diaper without pinning myself or my son. The boys softened me, taught me to love, give, and give some more. They taught me to listen and be in the moment. They were great teachers, and I like to think I left a mark on the next generation also.

Now, the next generation is raising their children and families, and at times they feel the struggle of being parents, just like every generation of parents do. But one thing I have noticed, my 3 sons really know how to be involved in their children’s lives. They do not take back seats, but are right in their with mom, doing what it takes to ready the next generation for their roles. I am proud of each of them.

Funny, I remember being listener then, and now find myself spouting opinions, advice to anyone who will or may not have a choice in listening, and every once in a while being closed minded in my open mindedness. I need to remember the past, and listen more, more to the subtle sounds of life, the dancing water at the falls, and the voice of the distance trees and sounds of the silence long past saying shhhhhh – listen and you will hear.

Happy Halloween


Sunday, October 29, 2006

What's your Hobby?

Most people have hobbies on one type or another. Remodeling my homes, blogging, and reading are several of mine. Remodeling, or building new ones has been a hobby of mine for 25 years and in that time I have built for myself 1 new home, remodeled 4, and built hundreds for customers of companies I have worked for. The new one for me only took 6 months from start to finish. It is an expensive hobby, and very time consuming, and several times, I have been told that I need to get a life! My current home has been in progress since 1994. That was the year it officially started with replacing an old furnace with an energy efficient model. As long as I was at it, I increased its size to add another 60 percent of living space to the home.

The main project was to add a great room, main floor laundry room, rear entrance, and space for a screen porch. The 1st part of the remodel started with a flurry of activity and using some vacation time for getting the foundation in, and the frame up.

After the foundation was installed, the 1st step was laying the joists. At this point, we had been worrying about aligning the new joists with the old joists. We'd been having a fairly intense debate about some dubious floor joists and apparently “joist” sounds a lot like “Joyce,” and the Joyce we were referring to had some real issues. We'd called her “dirty Joyce,” “rotten Joyce,” “twisted Joyce” and “saggy Joyce.”

To the Joyce’s of the world, I apologize. I wasn't trying to insinuate anything. Thou in high school I did have a girlfriend by the name of Joyce who was from the big city, I was from a little town called Harmony.

The house is older; it was built in 1932 and was a duplex. The new great room would require a portion of the roof being tied in (called a lay on) and the existing roof joists and rafters were again sagging and surmised that they would be unable to carry any new added framework. The decision was made to remove all of the old roof structure and replace it with a new roof truss system.

We gathered together a large group of friends that were also carpenters, and set the date for tearing off the old and installing the new roof. It would be in early December, and if any precipitation did fall, it would be in the form of snow. Snow is easier to deal with than rain, when it involves roofs and trying to leave the rest of the structure livable.

By late summer of the following year, the addition was complete; the old had been opened up to the new, the Great room was in use and it was onto phase 2 of this project.

Phase 2 would involve changing the bathroom and enlarging it with a large Jacuzzi and glass shower. It also involved moving the exiting stairway to the basement to a new location. Once that was done, the next project to do would be the kitchen. That would require a complete gut of everything down to studs, rewiring, etc.

But it got delayed, for a while. Like 4 years, while I volunteered to be a project manager for a million dollar church remodel. The church remodel took 1-1/2 years, but then a friend working with me on that remodel asked if I would help him on his. After we were almost done with his, I moved onto another friend that wanted a timber porch added to her house. I thought it would only take a few weeks, but she also had a secret list that I did not know about. Since she was 75, and being my mentor and good friend, I chose not to walk away from the new list, but instead stayed to finish her work. She joked afterward, that if she had told me the whole list, I would have never started. She probably was right.

Time does fly, and I finally made it back to my place 2 years ago this fall. In that time, my hobby became an urgency to complete. The 1st project undertaken was giving the kitchen a new look, then a bedroom was expanded to a larger floor plan that opened out onto a screen porch, the screen porch was built, and the final major project started last year was a timber porch on the front to the home.

However, there were some roadblocks that had to be fixed first. The new porch would encroach onto the mandated setbacks, and a survey had to be done for variances. While doing the survey, it was discovered that the county surveyor made an error 50 years ago and it had to be fixed to build the porch. That took the winter, and finally late spring, the porch was started.

The plan was to have it completed by mid summer, but it did not happen. Today, I am happy to announce, it is 95 percent complete now as the new sidewalk was installed 2 days ago! This afternoon, I was painting decorative timbers, hooked up the lights to the porch, and pulled of the forms for the sidewalk and steps. I also pulled up my list on the computer this evening and started crossing off tasks that had been completed this year.

There is still some painting to do, and if it gets done this fall yet, then that is great, if not, then next spring will be okay. The painting is not going anyplace, but I have been delaying kayak trips into Northern Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands, the Peshtigo River, and other places for 4 years. This winter will be the time for planning those trips and setting those plans into motion.

In between the kayak trips, I will most likely be starting over at the great room, as it does need a fresh coat of paint. A fireplace would be nice also.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Bridge Crossing

Mackinaw River Bridge
Originally uploaded by wyoming_1.

I had been working long hours as a volunteer for a building project, plus doing my regular job as a cost estimator for several months. The evening was cold and the bed would feel great to collapse in. Just before retiring, I opened the window for some fresh air to move through the room. It would be a sound night of sleep. I did not have a clue that tonight would be a night of significance with a life changing moment for me.

I have been told that I snore, but not as loud as my sons. We once stayed at my oldest sons house in western Minnesota, and his wife and friends complained they did not sleep at all that night. Something about the house vibrating, shaking, and loud chainsaws being used in our room. The guys had decided to bunk all together, as it was a 2-bedroom house with 4 couples. The men had one room and the ladies had the other. But the closed doors were not any protection or dampening device of loud snoring. I will admit, I awoke once, and had trouble going back to sleep.

However, on this particular night, after the long day of physical activity, I was totally exhausted. As I was lying down, I was instantly asleep before my head hit the fluffy down pillow. I was oblivious to the world.

I am plodding towards a bridge; my arms are full of suitcases, pulling the one behind me adds to the struggle of making headway. With this entire luggage I am carrying, I wonder where am I headed? Upon reaching a crest of a hill, I eye the black iron bridge I would have to cross. It is cold out, as it is the middle of the winter, and the bridge is crossing a frozen river. As I approached the bridge, I sit on one suitcase to rest for just a minute. Feeling refreshed, I get up and start across the bridge to the other side. On reaching the other side, I walk down to the riverbank, thinking that the frozen river would be easier walking. As I glance up, there on the other side of the river and bridge is the suitcase I had been sitting on. Grumbling, I decide to climb the pilings and make a quick trip of this. As I reach the top of the pilings, I reach out for a handhold to grab onto for pulling myself up and over to the top.

Thinking, I have a firm grip, I pull and release my other had, only to realize I have lost my grip. Falling backwards, my thoughts are of slight panic. As I hit the ice, I feel the ice giving way, and the cold flowing water enveloping me. Thinking fast, I look up to keep my eyes focused on the hole in the ice, as I have to escape through that hole! As the current grabs my body, I see the hole fade into the distance, and my lungs start to burn. Flaying my arms, I struggle to swim, to do any stroke at all, but the heavy winter clothes and boots pull me deeper into the dark cold depths. My mind flashes a thought of letting go and allowing what is happening to happen.

In an instant, I am looking down on the body floating with outreached arms, as if clawing in desperation, and the mouth opening as if trying to grab a gulp of air. The eyes are wide opened as if calling for help. Like an observer, I sense the desperation, and yet it does not seem to concern me as the body sinks slowly into the depths.

Instantly, all is black, and I am now floating in a formless void. It is an odd sensation, and yet, with the feeling of "being at peace", there is a sensation of flying, as if with an unseen power and I wonder, "is this what is next?"

Then off in the distance, is just a pinpoint of white intense light, high energy, and the inner feeling that everything is okay. I feel myself being pulled as if with a giant magnet or force towards the intense light source.

Gasping, I awake, as a silent cry leaves my mouth; I notice my heart is racing, and yet I was at peace. What happened? Then I remember the dream, parts at 1st, and slowly recognition starts to dawn on me.

At 1st, It was all foggy, but I still remembered the dream, as if being I was an observer in my dream of what was transpiring to me. Then the suitcase came into my mind, as it was still on the other side of the bridge. Feelings tell me it was something important, but not needed anymore. What had been in that suitcase? What baggage had I been carrying? Would I need it? Lots of questions went through my mind, and rolling over, I went back to sleep, knowing an inner peace to a question unasked. But, the dream seems to be pulling at my subconsciousness.

Six months later, in the doctor office, I am complaining about being overly tired. We discuss it, and he said it may be sleep apnea, and to consider loosing a few pounds, and going to bed earlier. It also may be stress related. Otherwise, I am in perfect health, and to come back in a year. Then I remember the dream, and in casual conversation mention that night in details. He looks at me, his face has gone white, and he is scribbling on his notepad and order forms. He orders a sleep study to be done within a week, as he is highly concerned the airways had collapsed, and the drowning, and floating away from the body was a sign of something far more serious than thought just minutes earlier.

But, I still wonder, what was in that suitcase? And yet, it does not matter. The remembrance of the glowing white light in the void of darkness brings a calm reassurance that all is as it is intended to be. All is well and everything will be okay.

Epilogue; It is now 5+ years later and for me, this night has impacted my life like no other single event has. For me it is a very personal story and powerful totem about “letting go” and that everything is going to be “okay.” At the time of the dream, my inner spirit was at “war” over spirituality and Christian dogma; what to believe, who is right, and how to reconcile my life to my beliefs.

Some have said that I am a “walk in,” as it seems my personality or path changed a lot. For me, that night was a catalyst that solidified the direction my heart was saying to take.

So often in my life, I resorted to logic, “mind logic” and would disregard the heart “logos”. Mind logic and the thinker ruled! Heart “logos” on the other hand is Greek and refers to the logic of the heart, or love logic. The mind can justify anything with reasoning and what is best. Heart “logos’ is a path that some say humanity is on, and only when we judge or perceive with the “logos” of the heart, will we come to realize peace in our time. Heart “logos” by some scholars is thought to be what Jesus was secretly teaching the disciples; how to use judgment/”logos” of the heart in all their doings. I prefer the Greek word of “logos” for logic as it is carries a different meaning for me.

Where will I be in 5 years from now is hard to say, and this I do know, I will be ok – no matter what I find along my path.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Real Trooper

My grand daughter, Grace, today gave all of us a lesson in seeing things differently. Today, at school she was playing on the monkey bars. She lost her grip and came crashing down on her butt. Those words are her explanation. She had to explain it upteen times to school teachers, the school nurse, the emergency room staff, many Drs and to anyone who visited her at the hospital this evening. When she hit the ground on her butt, she put her arms out to catch herself, and shattered her left elbow. Her explanation never varied. She is going into surgery in the AM for setting, screws, and a start of many colorful casts.

During the whole afternoon, she never cried once, or complained. The Drs came and went, poking, prodding, and inserting needles and finally a stint in her arm in for antibiotics and pain meds so she would rest comfortably tonight. She insisted on watching each step and having it explained to her. I was alone with her for a bit this evening, and we discussed her career plans. She wants to be a killer whale trainer. I commented so that you can teach them tricks? She shot back quickly, "grandpa, you don't teach them tricks, you allow then to teach you what they already know, and they will teach you the tricks."

She is a very bright little girl and the nurses said they had men in their twenties that would be screaming in pain after what has been thru. Her age is 7. I wonder if she is part of the phenomenon called Indigo Kids.

Here is some info on Indigo Children:

According to Tappe,
The Indigo phenomenon has been recognized as one of the most exciting changes in human nature ever documented in society. The Indigo label describes the energy pattern of human behavior which exists in over 95% of the children born in the last 10 years … This phenomena is happening globally and eventually the Indigos will replace all other colors. As small children, Indigo’s are easy to recognize by their unusually large, clear eyes. Extremely bright, precocious children with an amazing memory and a strong desire to live instinctively, these children of the next millennium are sensitive, gifted souls with an evolved consciousness who have come here to help change the vibrations of our lives and create one land, one globe and one species. They are our bridge to the future.

Some characteristics are:

They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it)
· They have a feeling of "deserving to be here," and are surprised when others don't share that.
· Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell the parents "who they are."
· They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).
· They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.
· They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don't require creative thought.
· They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like "system busters" (nonconforming to any system).
· They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.
· They will not respond to "guilt" discipline ("Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did").
· They are not shy in letting you know what they need.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Taking a Shower

The other day, I was asked what I thought of the ads running almost nonstop for the elections in 2 weeks. I choose not to watch much TV, even in the middle of a 40 below cold snap in Minnesota. I do not get the daily newspaper; limit my viewing of TV programming, or watch many newscasts. I will watch the history channel, Discovery Channel, HGTV, and I do read a lot of books. I generally have 7-8 books open at one time, in all various states of being read. I belong to a study group that meets on Sunday evening, and every 3 months we read a new book and discuss it. I know the more I read, the more I will learn and advance in my career, but I really like to read, so any advancement is incidental. I have traveled the globe, been in the southwest with the Sacketts, traveled with Rand in “Wheel of Time,” traveled to far off galaxies with Luke and other star travelers, and sought enlightenment from the world foremost authorities, past and present. I have traveled back 2000 years ago and found that spin-doctors were very much alive and well and making changes in sacred texts and rewriting history. Some things do not change much at times. The winners get to rewrite history.

I do my best to try to keep my focus on positive thoughts, and stay away from the negative thoughts that sells fear and advertising.

If you wish to use this lifetime in a constructive fashion, in the only life focus of real value to your path, you will turn your attention away from the garbage of remote events reported by the media to inform you, but which really only divert your attention away from your life. Your life consists of the events you encounter first hand and the relationships you maintain in the ongoing days, is your prime concern. If problems are encountered there, those problems are indicative of real elements of you that need attention. The problems of the extended world are not you.

Understand, those problems, out there in the famines and disasters of the world, will always be there—at least until major portions of humanity outgrow their restricted vision of the workings of reality. Certainly you cannot solve them, cannot divert their problematic energies by your focus on their details. Only the problems you encounter in the daily course of your life can you deal with—and those, in that they reflect your inner state, you must delve into within yourself. The only part of the world that you can impact is you world and your thoughts. By changing your thoughts, your reality, your life, you will then change your view of the world.

As you delve inward to clean your mind of its limiting values, if you focus your attention on the crud and debris of the world’s disasters, you will be effectively taking a shower while standing deep in the mud. It’s impossible to take a good shower while standing in that mud. You might get the top part of you clean, but a lot of you—including some rather significant parts—will still be mighty dirty when you are finished.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Perfect Day

What is up, must come down. Look at all those leaves to play, romp, and run thru. Today is time to play, work will keep, and always be there, children are only little for a moment. Let's play!

There is Grace beside the pumpkin bags. 5 boys and 1 girl. How about them odds. Too bad they are all cousins! And they all are kissin cousins.

There is Nate, father of Grace, and the raker today. He is piling leaves up as tall as he is for hide and seek. What a great big pile.
Noah and Nash are over for a visit as mom and dad went to dinner for the evening. The key instruction from mom, " Don't let Nash have too many marshmellows."
I wonder where Nate went?

I am in a hurry, me thinks there is something in this pile of leaves besides me.
It is the Uncle Nate!

Let's get them feet moving -- I am outa here!

The fire is lit, the hot dogs and beans devoured, boxes of smores eaten, and now the wait is for the entertainment for the evening. I wonder when they will show up. I hear they are a Harley group. Did I say they ate lots of marshmellows? hehehheheheh

It appears that Grace and Noah are stepping in with air guitars and their voices at the ready. They are lip syncing?
How many marshmellows did they eat? A whole bag? This is going to be a long night, good thing I can send them home to mom and dad. Payback? Hmmmmmmmmmm

Ah, peace and quiet. The dancing flames to lull one to their magnetic hypnotic dreamland. A perfect way to end the perfect day in the northwoods of Minnesota. Who would want to live anyplace else? The tall trees, the brightly covered maples, the crisp clear nights, the deer in the back yard, those pesky weeping willows, and lots of leaves to rake.. I have an abundance of "tractor" time ahead for the next several weeks raking and sweeping leaves before snow flies Maybe their is a business opportunity here. Anyone want to purchase some leaves? Price is right. Life is good!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Poetry Thursday

"What if you slept, and what if in your
sleep you dreamed,
and what if in your dream you went to
and there picked a strange and wonderful
and what if when you woke, you held that
flower in your hand,
ah, what then?"
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Man Overboard

Great religions are the
poets the life boats.
Every sane person I know has jumped
That is good for business
Isn’t it?
- Hafiz, Sufi Master

Some of the great ships of the world’s religions are Christianity, Islam, Jew, Hindu, and Buddhism. I was aboard the great ship Christianity for many years, with its sails hoisted, the cross on the main mask, the statue on the bow and plowing thru the high turbulent seas. Some of the symbols of Christianity are the cup, butterfly, footprints in the sand, the candle and of course the ship with all sails deployed and a skipper at the wheel. Yes, it is probably pretty similar to my blog photo. I was a member of the crew for a while, being a carpenter, I found myself in demand for repairs and refurbishing the fleet.

Many years ago, I signed on helping to refurbish a ship in port. In the process of refurbishing this ship I made a choice to sail with her, and have been sailing the seas for many years. But lately, I have started questioning some of the ideas, decisions, and found myself being disgruntled with what the teachers said were the facts. We would hear rumors, and tales, myths from far off lands or other passing ships, and I would ask questions. One of my 1st questions was, "Why am I here?" And with each successive question answered, I would find I had new question that I would ponder. I realized that I was seeking what made sense to me, what I felt was true in my being and asking some of my questions are not what ones asks or seeks aboard this ship.

If I performed a miracle as St. Benedict did, or as Jesus did, then the teachers would entertain my question, but until then, I was to do as I was instructed and know that my best interests were being watched out for. I was a novice, and as such, I did not know how to interpret the sacred text. The answers were all in the ships books and centuries of the great ships traditions proved what worked. To seek answers to my questions would jeopardize my beliefs, my eternity in heaven, and risk being alone at sea. It would be foolhardy and I must be possessed by demons, or else a heretic, and espousing heresy’s of the greatest magnitude. "I knew better," was advice given freely to me, and reprimanded for thinking such thoughts.

I kept quiet, and strolled the deck of the great ship, all the time feeling the urge to find out for myself what my truth is. On some early morning strolls, I would catch a glimpse of land thru the midst, and wonder where that strange land was, why did I feel a yearning to reach out for it, why when I looked upon it did it seem peaceful and loving. But, the great ship would not slow down, and in the bright glare of the day, the mists would lift and the land disappeared from view.

One morning, on my stroll around the ship, I again saw the land thru the mist, and this time it seemed closer, a lot closer. In the back of my mind, had been an idea that maybe I could swim for it, but that was nonsense – I knew I could not swim. But today, the land seeming so close, the fear of not trying was becoming more than the fear of trying. In an instant, my hand was on the handrail as I vaulted over the side. Was I nuts! I was falling towards the water, and as I hit, I heard the familiar cry “MAN OVERBOARD!”

And then the waves blanketed out any sounds as the water enveloped me. I knew what they were doing on the great ship, they were throwing life buoys, trying to launch a lifeboat, and trying to turn or stop the great ship. But, it all is futility; great ships at sea do not maneuver well, cannot turn, and cannot stop on a dime. The crew knows this, as I have known that an attempt to rescue at sea is more for the sake of the passengers, and it really is an effort in futility. Finding or sighting a bobbing head in the swells of the sea are near impossible, I was soon to become a number “lost at sea.”

My head broke the surface, and the swells seemed larger than I anticipated. At the top of the swell, I again glimpsed the land, and thought to myself – I had better learn to swim, and I reached out and realized I was swimming, oh quite clumsily, but I was swimming after a fashion. My mind kept saying, I can do this, and with each stroke my confidence grew and my desire to reach that land became stronger.

But what was I hearing, it was voices shouting, “I see him, over there – throw him the buoy!”

Then I saw it, it was a smaller boat, it was built for speed and the ability to turn quickly. The crew was frantically working the oarlocks to spin the small boat around, and as it drew near, I felt arms reaching out and pulling me aboard. I was informed quickly that they were from that land I had sighted, and they would see me safely to it.

As I collasped on the deck, I said, "You must think I am nuts for jumping off the great ship."
The 1st mate replied, “Quite the contrary, every sane person I know has jumped overboard seeking his truth – we've been waiting for you.
And that is good for business, isn’t it?”

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ultimate Bridge Walk

Would you walk on this?
The Glass Bridge Construction of the Skywalk began March of 2004 and is estimated to be completed by 4th quarter of 2006.

When I was in Sedona, I visited the Grand Canyon, which is 2 hrs away. The Glass Bridge would have entailed a trip out of the park, which is about 30 miles, go west 50 miles, and back to the Canyon about 30 miles. As the crow flies, the Glass Bridge was maybe 20 minutes from the park. From what I have heard the bridge is built, and the Casinos, hotels are next to be built.

Glass Bridge will be suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River on the very edge of the Grand Canyon. On May 2005, the final test was conducted and the structure passed engineering requirements by 400 percent, enabling it to withstand the weight of 71 fully loaded Boeing 747 airplanes (more that 71 million pounds).

The bridge will be able to sustain winds in excess of 100 miles per hour from 8 different directions, as well as an 8.0 magnitude earthquake within 50 miles. More than one million pounds of steel will go into the construction of the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sedona Javelinas

Like most cities that try to differentiate themselves from other places, such as Chicago and it cows of several years ago, St. Paul of its Peanuts and Charlie Brown Statues, Sedona has adopted the Javelina as its statue. Some might just say a pig, but this pig is the Javelina. They created a mold, then cast 50 replicas and broke the casting mold. The local artists then were given a Javelina to create one of a kind statue to be displayed around Sedona. They will be auctioned off later this year. I have posted 2 pictures; the pipe smoking Javelina is at Sky Ranch Lodge Click on the picture to enlarge it and you should be able to read the writing on the base.
Since this is a vortex site, a lot of artists have been drawn to the area as a place to feel the spirit and create their inner visions to share with everyone. The Javelina’s, are scattered all over town, and statues, paintings, writings are on exhibit in a multitude of shops for browsing and purchasing. Sedona is one of my favorite places to visit, hike, and explore the areas. Make sure you allow time, and catch the sunsets from the rock at Sky Ranch Lodge.The Sky Ranch Lodge is an excellent place to stay, and it comes with awesome views, or Garden Pond Rooms, and friendly people. The Lodge is within walking distance from the male vortex site in Sedona. I have no idea how anyone determined it as "male" site, but some say they have experienced a masculine presence while meditating there.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Poetry Thursday

Give all To Love

Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good fame,
Plans, credit, and the muse;
Nothing refuse.
'Tis a brave master,
Let it have scope,
Follow it utterly,
Hope beyond hope;
High and more high,
It dives into noon,
With wing unspent,
Untold intent;
But 'tis a god,
Knows its own path,
And the outlets of the sky.
'Tis not for the mean,
It requireth courage stout,
Souls above doubt,
Valor unbending;
Such 'twill reward,
They shall return
More than they were,
And ever ascending.
Leave all for love;—
Yet, hear me, yet,
One word more thy heart behoved,
One pulse more of firm endeavor,
Keep thee to-day,
To-morrow, for ever,
Free as an Arab
Of thy beloved.
Cling with life to the maid;
But when the surprise,
Vague shadow of surmise,
Flits across her bosom young
Of a joy apart from thee,
Free be she, fancy-free,
Do not thou detain a hem,
Nor the palest rose she flung
From her summer diadem.
Though thou loved her as thyself,
As a self of purer clay,
Tho' her parting dims the day,
Stealing grace from all alive,
Heartily know,
When half-gods go,
The gods arrive.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lessons in Living

Recently the land of Lancaster, PA was shattered with gunshots meant to wreak havoc and exact some kind of retaliation on innocence people. The girls that were murdered just happened to be there. Some may say at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, in looking at the lesson more fully, they were in the right place at the right and at the perfect time.

30 days ago, the nation remembered and mourned the loss of life at another senseless barbaric murder of 911. Innocent people were murdered to make a statement and to exact some kind of retaliation on other innocent people that just happened to be there. The reaction of the two events is very interesting. For the 911 event, this country decided to exact an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth and to hunt down and rid this planet of the people involved. We even threatened other countries with bombing them to the stone age, if they did not do what we wanted. The attitude is: either you are for us or you are against us!

Now flash forward 5 years, and another senseless event happens, and this time the Amish show how it really is to be done, not in word - but in deed. They see 5 girls murdered from their community. Instead of wanting vengeance, they give love, they embrace the family of the killer, they go to his funeral, they collect money and gifts for the man’s wife and family, they even open their doors to the man's family and extend the love and forgiveness to everyone involved. The families of the children that were injured are expected to have humongous hospital bills, but the Amish know they will be provided for as the needs arise. Without so much as a word, the other families of Amish worldwide start making and selling quilts at a record pace. Within days, millions of dollars are flooding their way to solve any medical issues that may occur. The Amish opened their hearts with love to the families and shown everyone what forgiveness is about. In turn the Universe is providing blessings beyond measure to the afflicted community.

This is a profound lesson of universal truth and magnitude that many governments, including this country could heed. The Amish destroyed the sword and have chosen to live by the plowshare; giving unconditional love to everyone they meet. Yet this government uses the sword to exact its vengeance. I wonder what would have happened if we had practiced the Amish principle of unconditional love and forgiveness at 911. And then I think, I already know what the result would have been. The Amish of Lancaster proved beyond any shadow of doubt what the result would have been.

See Article at: http://wjimmyjames.blogspot.com/2006/10/science-of-mind.html


Feel like taking a nap? Do you have any projects left to do, does the grass need mowing, how about washing the windows, are the tools all sorted out and put away, and the list keeps on going……is everything done……forever. But, I still feel like a nap. A quick “power nap!” But…….

Why do we choose not to nap? Many places in the world take naps, a siesta, a brief time out, but Americans as a rule do not. Even south of the border they take naps! In Japan, they have cots set up for afternoon naps at work. But in a lot of work places, and at home - naps are to be avoided. A waste of time, and since it feels good it cannot be respectable. Is this a Puritan value that came over on the Mayflower? Napping is too luxurious, to sybaritic, too unproductive, and its free; pleasures for which we don’t pay make us anxious. Our society has progressed thru wars, depressions, landing a man on the moon, and other countless achievements, and all without naps! Just think what we could have accomplished with a good nap!

Consider the cat. A perfectly healthy cat can nap thru the entire month of February and wake feeling the better for it. The lowly mouse may have taken over the house, but not a twitch of guilt or a whisker will move on a napping cat. In summer the cat will stretch out in a doorway, and in winter the window sills in bright sunlight will attract the napping cat. The world continues as the cat naps, and as he awakes, he stretches and becomes frisky, playful and does what a cat does.

Napping is not a shameful, shiftless activity, where only when we are experiencing 104 degree temperatures, flu, colds, pulled muscles are when we decide to lay down and rejuvenate and heal. That those are the only times we should experience a good cleansing nap.

The reclining and effortless body and quiet bedroom, couch, chair, park bench can free the mind of mundane tasks and allow it the freedom of roaming thru complex problems, thoughts. At times like these creative solutions can tip toe into our minds ready for us upon rising. After a good nap I may awake and see the road paved clearly in front of me to a perplexing haunting problem.

Just because I nap, does not make me unproductive. I may write a novel, or find a new solution to an old problem. After all Milton wrote "Paradise Lost" in bed. Winston Churchill wrote all of his large important histories from his bed, with a brandy beside him. So he would take nip and then nap. I shall nap on this and see what answers my dreams produce.

Happy Napping

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Contemplative Life

The Sunday evening group that I belong to is currently reading "A Contemplative Life," by Joel Goldsmith and the question was posed, does anyone live a contemplative life? A contemplative life defined by Goldsmith is, I am consciously one with God, I am instantaneously one within the good necessary for my experience. The unfoldment of scriptural truth is, “I and my Father are one.” The initial answer from several was no, it cannot be achieved. The initial look at the question may lure you into thinking no one does, as we may think it refers to all of the time. The question posed does not state all of the time, and so in reply, the answer is "yes" we do for brief instances, fleeting moments. And as we mature into our spiritual growth, we start having longer fleeting instances.

One of the real issues is that in the American culture, we think or expect it to happen at the moment we invision it or desire it. We have Wendy's, McDonalds, drive thru coffee shops, and just by slowing down to go thru a drive thru, we do get whatever super sized we want at that instant. And off we zoom, with an eye on the time.

We have not learned patience, and not really let go, as we still have an expectation tied to those brief instances. We WANT a spiritual life and a contemplative life now! We want that fleeting moment all of the time, now, not years from now. This culture has a focus on time, and possibly one of the reasons is that this country is a young country. The other part may be our Puritan ancestors coming over on the Mayflower and engraining into all of us not to waste time. We do not see buildings, or history beyond maybe three to four hundred years old. In other parts of the world, buildings, monuments, and generations of tombstones of family members are within walking distance, and are thousands of years old. Those cultures also seem to be not as wired into "what time is it" as we are.

So we keep running, and running as the poem, “Now I become Myself” by May Sarton speaks. We do not take the time to understand, to reclaim our lost self, and see the sun stand still. Have you noticed that when we have stopped running, we then notice that time is irrelevant, and the only relevancy is seeing and being love? It is this moment that counts, as this is the only moment we really have. We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us day and night. I have noticed that for me, when the sun stops, I am being of service in some way to someone. I am living my life thru love.

As Jack Kornfield writes in “A Path with Heart”
“Each state we encounter will succumb to the next. There is no way to avoid the transitions of our life. The chief means of entering them gracefully is to practice them mindfully over and over again. It is like learning to ride a horse: over and over again walking, trotting, cantering, over smooth and rough terrain, mounting and dismounting, starting and stopping, until it becomes possible for us to move through life in a graceful conscious way. In moving through the difficult stages of our lives, we can learn to trust our heart to these cycles and their unfolding as surely as we can trust roots to go down and leaves to push up through the earth in our garden We can trust each petal of a flower will open in the right order from outside to inside. We can trust that whatever calls our attention to practice – our body, our personal history, the community around us – in or out or retreat, it will bring to us what we need to live fully and genuinely in the timeless here and now.”

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Poetry Thursday

Now I Become Myself by May Sarton
Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"Hurry, you will be dead before--"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!