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Category Archives: Sabbath

If you want to write or paint,then do it !

If you want to write or paint,then do it !.

As I get ready for a Sabbath break this week, I am also shifting my focus a bit. I found this post the other day and was not sure what it meant at the time. Today, it is suggesting more focus on dissertation writing and less on blogging.

I will visit blogs and post less in the next month . I want to deliver a clean, preliminary writing of the first three chapters by January 20. I am re-organizing more than writing fresh.

Thoreau‘s quote speaks to me. The world is a canvas and I am exploring them both. My topic is the phenomenology of teaching and how becoming a particular teacher is a continuing process. Phenomenology is wondering about phenomena we encounter, including ourselves and other humans, and how we experience encounters.

Parker Palmer suggests truth, from the word troth, reveals itself through living in the world, relating to its sentient and non-sentient beings.

The Warmth of Gratitude

The Warmth of Gratitude.

When we measure happiness based on material wealth, we miss the importance it plays in living a grateful life.

Today, Kathy and I discussed how the ordinary is in the extraordinary. It is there. When we pause, it reveals itself. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote about being present and mindful when drinking tea is an act of gratitude. We are grateful for the work that created the tea, the cup, the pot, the energy, etc.

Emmanuel Levinas proposed ethics as an event preceding and succeeding this particular time and place. In this sense, space knows no  temporal and spatial boundaries. I am grateful for what preceded this moment in drinking tea, what succeeds this moment, and the gift sent from many places by others who are taking responsibility for my tea drinking without knowing me.

Behind the Thunder

Mark Nepo is well-known for spiritual prose, but he writes very good poetry.

In this wonderful poem, he reminds me I am looking in the wrong place for the teacher. The teaching is in what is in the environment at a given time and in a given context. Am I willing and able to open up to what is taught? Do I sit in silence and listen to the world as it speaks in me?

I must not be swept away by the environment and my emotions. When I am mindful and present, I am aware of both gifts and dangers. I watch for what is behind the thunder internally and externally.

I keep looking for one more teacher,
only to find that fish learn from water
and birds learn from sky.

If you want to learn about the sea,
it helps to be at sea.
If you want to learn about compassion,
it helps to be in love.
If you want to learn about healing,
it helps to know of suffering.

The strong live in the storm
without worshiping the storm.

quotation: Don’t put money before everything else -Pope Francis

quotation: Don’t put money before everything else -Pope Francis.

In the West, this is a hard concept to understand and grasp. We need money to live and perhaps even survive. What about when money becomes our raison d’etre? What happens when money takes over our lives and, for that matter, we obsess over one thing at the expense of living?

This is an open question we should live with, embrace, and explore daily. How does our living make the living of others better? There are no easy answers. In fact, there may not be an answer. Each time we explore this question, it may pose new questions.

The Other Kingdoms

It is Sabbath and winter arrived over night. It snowed and is colder. Mary Oliver`s poem speaks about the way the Inuit use many expressions describing snow. In doing so, they are mindful and aware of the world they live in. It speaks to them and shares its experiences in ways words used are meaningful. But, it happens only when we are present and attentive of extraordinary events co-mingling with the ordinary world we think we experience. We rush past the world and lose the words it speaks quickly. We lose the kingdom we live in unless we slow down and drink from its cup fully.

When we slow down, we grow wild and are in the wild world around us and in us. The wildness animates us and we live more fully. Snow today means slippery roads, drivers who have forgotten what it means to drive in the snow, and a blanket beginning to cover the ground as it slumbers. Snow means more than just one word to me. It is how I experience the snow that speaks of snow. There is nobility in the titles the world carries that we have not given names for and can not find the words for those titles.

Consider the other kingdoms.  The
trees, for example, with their mellow-sounding
titles: oak, aspen, willow.
Or the snow, for which the peoples of the north
have dozens of words to describe its
different arrivals.  Or the creatures, with their
thick fur, their shy and wordless gaze.  Their
infallible sense of what their lives
are meant to be.  Thus the world
grows rich, grows wild, and you too,
grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too
were born to be.

Home

Bruce Weigl wrote this lovely poem. When we practice, the Sabbath we find our way home. We re-discover roots we often leave behind in the busyness of our day-to-day lives.

There is a paradox in this leaving of roots. They remain attached as we can detach from them. We can ignore the roots, but the are always there. We cannot shake loose from them. They follow us and eventually we stop the shaking. We let the roots feed and nurture us the way they can.

In Sabbath practice, we listen to the music that translates the world into dirt fields that always call us. We rejoice in the dirt fields of our youth and find our spirit in those dirt fields. The roots helped make us who we are. We can never escape from those roots or plow them under.

I didn’t know I was grateful

           for such late-autumn

                       bent-up cornfields

yellow in the after-harvest

             sun before the

                       cold plow turns it all over

into never.

           I didn’t know

                        I would enter this music

that translates the world

             back into dirt fields

                         that have always called to me

as if I were a thing

             come from the dirt,

                         like a tuber,

or like a needful boy. End

             Lonely days, I believe. End the exiled

                           and unraveling strangeness.

The Light of Old October

The Light of Old October.

I have not written a poem for some time, but as I wrote this appeared. The catalyst was the wonderful imagery from the pictures and quotes at the link. Nature has a way of showing us the way. It takes a Sabbath in our climate called winter.

October fades,

The artist’s palette splashes colours about.

Autumn gives way to the winter.

It slips into rest;

Life’s weariness lifted,

Spirits uplifted.

A white blanket appears;

Covering all that sleeps in its wake.

Nature comes full circle,

It rests in its Sabbath.

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