Winter Sun

Sometimes

in the depths

of a breached

life–

a bridge appears.

She

proceeds on ice,

frozen in layers,

mesmerized

by the distant

yet penetrating sun.

Holding

hands with fear,

she continues forward;

arriving.

January 3, 2015
January 3, 2015

 

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What’s Working

. . . in my life right now.

  1. Evening out with Ethan on Thursday. We attended an Edward Hopper exhibit that showed many of the drawings that Hopper used to work up his oil paintings. About 5-6 paintings were also included in the exhibit. It was really interesting to see the first sketches for Nighthawks (one of my top ten favorite art works of all time) and to learn of it’s relation to the Flatiron building (one of my top ten architectural works). It helped me as I contemplate my own creative process.
  2. Ethan picked up Jack White’s Lazaretto on vinyl on Thursday night as well. Used his download to burn me a copy. Oh yeah. I could keep track 5 on continuous repeat.
  3. Reading Thomas Merton’s The Silent Life, which inspired #4.
  4. Deactivated my Facebook account for at least a month Face-cation. Ahhh. Peace. (bye-bye thirst for recognition) Image

It is the need to have everyone else bow to our judgment and accept our declarations as law. It is the insatiable thirst for recognition of the excellence which we so desperately need to find in ourselves to avoid despair. This claim to omnipotence, our deepest secret and our inmost shame, is in fact the source of all our sorrows, all our unhappiness, all our dissatisfactions, all our mistakes and deceptions. It is a radical falsity which rots our moral life at its very roots because it makes everything we do more or less a lie. Only the thoughts and actions which are free from the contamination of this secret claim have any truth or nobility or value in them.

Thomas Merton, The Silent Life

Photos From My Last Personal Retreat

 

10% of the world's fresh water in the distance
Pussy willows

 

Bear track?
Bear track?

 

Unexpected miracles abound
Unexpected miracles abound
Life changes us and sometimes all there is to do is adapt
Life changes us and sometimes all there is to do is adapt
Selfie to document myself before the bear got me (if that were to have happened, which it didn't)
Selfie to document myself before the bear got me (if that were to have happened, which it didn’t)
The creek filled with snow melt, rushing  passed my window at night
The creek filled with snow melt, rushing passed my window at night

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[t]he essence of compassion lies in recognizing how hard it is to be good. To forgive someone is to let him be free, even if he abuses that freedom beyond expression.
Deepak Chopra, M.D., Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine

I read the above quote while reading the Deepak Chopra book for my own health issues. I was surprised to see this offhand quote about addiction (he used to treat advanced-staged alcoholics at the VA who he’d then watch run across the street to the bar after getting their liver or pancreatic function revived). In the past, I would have just read right over that sentence because I somehow felt that my own addicts wrongs were personal; directed against me. That if they loved me enough, they wouldn’t do hurtful things. At the very least, they wouldn’t continue to drink.

When I first attended Al-Anon, I expected to (and tried to) share all of my war stories from the trenches of my life with alcoholics; recounting all the many ways these alcoholics had disappointed and hurt me. I imagined that the Al-Anon members would join my pity party and agree that, yes, I’d been wronged. Yes, I was a victim. But that’s not what is happening at all. The other members have compassion for my alcoholics as they have compassion for all who are affected by this disease–including me. They gently (subtly) help me to stop focusing on my alcoholics, and instead start to focus on me. And maybe all I needed was permission to treat myself with compassion. When I do so, it’s a whole lot easier to treat my addicts with compassion.

I think the key is that I finally accepted that alcoholism is a disease and thus, I can finally see how powerless I am over it. I am beginning to release my clenched fists and open my palms to the sky, allowing God to take control; allowing peace to enter.

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Wish You Were Here . . .

For the first time this spring, I can hear the beautiful evening song of the birds outside the window. Quite suddenly, it seems, they’ve all returned. Just heard thunder breaking open the sky. Rain pattering down on the roof now. Oh, how I miss these sounds all winter long. Soon the insects will start up again too. You’d be loving all of this rebirth. Wish you were here.

People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time.

I have been reading the Narnia books once again with J. And I still am struck by how much wisdom C.S. Lewis skillfully wove throughout these stories. There are indeed a great many things that can be both good and terrible at the same time. For this reasons, our own such labels are not very helpful. Acceptance is so much better. In the space where we can allow things to “just be” without any label, that is where love can be found.