Friday, May 30, 2008

All will, in time be revealed ...

Today I felt like Obi Wan Kenobi in the FIRST Star Wars film when he grips himself and says with a gasp - "I just felt a disturbance in the Force ..."

All day I felt uneasy and troubled ... it is hard to describe other than having a sense of foreboding about something ... it wasn't work - things were great ... it wasn't family stuff- there's a calm on that front ... there was just something not feeling right ...

Over the last year I've mused about my Animal Totem (the Vulture) and my Animal Energy (the Tiger) and pondered how they influence me and my way in the world ... It is said the Vulture Totem brings with it a view of the world that includes the gift of seeing the auras around people - sensing on a visceral level, what is happening within the other person ...

A few weeks ago a friend seemed distant and troubled when we spent time with each other ... something didn't seem right - I had a sense there was something unspoken ... SO ... I tried in a foolish way to find out what was going on, to act on my "spidey senses" ...

It turned out badly ... accusations were tossed around ... unkind words were lobbed my way ... and statements were made to me that made absolutely no sense what so ever ... I retreated ... licked my wounds ... and entered a period of profound introspection that helped me refocus and finally really grapple with the teachings of Eckhart Tolle ...

The bad became, in the outcome a relatively neutral thing ... but I have still been troubled by the apparent disconnect that this brutal gut-wrenching exchange brought into being ... None of the things said made any sense, and the ferocity by which they were said left me reeling ... to say I felt like ALL OF IT CAME OUT OF THE BLUE, is an understatement ... Yet, things were and are what they are ... and a seeming gaping hole developed in a friendship I had come to value and even cherish ... and I could make no sense of it ...

Tonight though ... my unease grew deeper and deeper and my sense of foreboding grew deeper ... a phone call just as the work day ended brought me news that saddened me greatly and caused me to feel profound sadness for a life that has so much potential that continues to be unrealized and simply tossed away ... and still my unease persisted ...

Then I had the moment of realization that not only caused the unease to suddenly disperse ... like the all seeing Vulture circling overhead on the thermals, or the tiger lurking in the dense undergrowth - EVERYTHING that had transpired and that had been said made 100% sense ... the nagging "why?" was answered ... and the accusations and the harsh insistences that had been tossed about so casually made complete sense ...

In that moment I learned two things ... the first is I need to start trusting my gut when it comes to feeling things that are intangible ... AND the second realizations was that the PROBLEM is NOT me ... I'm doing okay ... I'm being open, honest, caring and loving ... I'm not the one who has anything to hid, nor have I ... The introspection I've been doing has been immensely helpful - but the motivation was because of rejection and accusations by someone I still care about, but who was being less than fully open about things ... the problem is clearly NOT MINE.

I grieve the demise of a friendship that I had come to value ... but as Tolle would say - "this thing has happened because it has happened ..." and the rest is outside of this moment ... and I remain open to whatever the cosmos will offer ...

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The Curtain Falls on a Great ...

I was having lunch today and reading a news paper at the restaurant when I noticed a small article about the passing of Harvey Korman at the age of 81 ...

Anyone who has been around here for awhile will KNOW I have a definite affinity for the breath-takingly brilliant comedy bits that Harvey Korman and Tim Conway created for The Carol Burnett show back in the day ...

The Dentist Sketch looms larger than life as one of the best amongst the best ... watching Korman try desperately NOT to crack up as Conway did what Conway does best, is a wonderful way to pass a few minutes and cheer yourself up ...

There are others ... so many moments of hilarity and fun ... Korman and Conway made an amazing comedic duo, and thanks to places like Youtube, we can revisit them again and again and again ...

We've lost a great one today ... his comic genius will be missed ... but thank goodness some of his finest work was captured on film, and will continue to linger for a very long time ...

Check out my previous posting of The Dentist Sketch by 'clicking here'

Stay tuned ... I'll dig out more Korman-Conway bits and post them ...

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The soundtrack for THIS moment ...

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Playing softly in the background,
it sets the mood for a day of work.
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Wise man that Jesus guy ...


I remember my first undergraduate classes at McMaster University when we began to study - and I mean REALLY study the words of Jesus as they are found in the Gospel materials ... I was blown away at the radical tone and blistering content of his words when they are understood in the context of his time.
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His words were at times harsh and comforting.
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He was unapologetic and unabashed in his condemnation and criticism of the authorities of his day.
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He challenged everyone from priest to pauper to revision the world around them and live their faith in a more open common senseical way.
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In short, Jesus was a wise and wonderful radical voice calling on those around him to envision the way things COULD be rather than simply shrugging their shoulders and accepting the way things ARE ...
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This week as I've drawn into a quiet reflective place in my journey, and spent time intentionally focusing on THIS MOMENT, I've come to appreciate the power that lurks behind Jesus' words.
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Over and over his teachings offer a short and pithy reminder of what we should be focusing our energy and time on, and HOW we can fill our life with the abundance that Tolle speaks 0f (see my previous posting here) when he notes Jesus offering the gift of life in ABUNDANCE.
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This week as I've come to acknowledge my pain body and begun breaking free of its power over my reality, I've come to appreciate what Jesus really meant when he said - "How can you pick the speck from your brother's eye when you have a LOG in your own?"
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It is a concept I've struggled with for a number of months ... but this week I've come to appreciate how debiliating AND common a phenomena that really is ...
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I can see in the lives of people around me the places where they need to focus their attention and do work to heal themselves and move to a place of wholeness ... I could inventory with names and dates the places where their respective pain bodies have lead them to lash out in fear and anger, rather than enter a refelctive place of healing and wholeness ... I could cite example after example of how and where THEIR pain bodies are active and brutish ...
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But to what end?
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To do so, would be to point out the speck in THEIR eye, while the log in mine remains lodged and untended ...
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Instead, I need to focus on the log in my own eye, and find ways of lessening its control over me and my journey ... I need to quiet the voices that continue the cycle that serves only to feed the negativity that the pain-body needs to survive and grow ... I need to be present to THIS moment and release myself from the power and control my ego and my negative story have over me ...
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I wonder if the related quotation from Jesus in this moment is his counsel to "turn the other cheek" ... instead of dwelling on the nasty things that have been done to US, we instead need to be present to the moment and draw from those incidents the lessons and learnings that have brought us to THIS moment and recognize that there is no positive or negative in those actions by others ... they simply are what they are, and it is what we decide that makes them positive or negative or neutral ...
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To point at the speck in my brother's eye serves only to feed my pain-body and provide an "a-ha" moment that boosts my ego (negatively) and feeds a desperate pain-body ...
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Today I won't consciously chose NOT to feed my pain-body, but instead I will chose to live present in THIS MOMENT and let the other - the past - the present - the stories - simply go ...
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There are those who WILL continue to point to the specks in my eyes, and pick fault with me, and take offense to the things I've said or done ... I can't change that ... I can only entrust them into the keeping of God and the Cosmos and know that one day they will have a transformative experience where they not only acknowledge the presence of their pain-body, but they may begin to experience the space around their pain-body that will allow them to fully expereince the need to begin embrace their own journey of healing and wholeness which will bring them to a place of being present to THIS MOMENT!
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As for me - Today I'm alive ... and this moment is pretty good ...
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In this moment, nothing else matters ...
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Wise guy that Jesus character ... he knew ALL of this 2000 years ago ... maybe someday we'll finally start to listen ...
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Half and Half ...

I have described what I am experiencing as a journey from the bottom of a deep dark valley upwards towards the bright sunshine bathed mountain top ... The first steps on this journey were finding the trail head, and beginning to trip one step at a time ...

I have no illusions that there is a quick and easy was of moving from the bottom of the valley to the top of the mountain ... I've likened the whole experience to hikes I've taken on the West Coast while resident in a remote coastal community.

There were points along the way that the trail seemed to be heading DOWNWARDS rather than up, and there were times when it seemed to be heading in entirely the WRONG direction ... but with each step you drew closer to the destination ... rather than focusing only on the destination, it is important to concentrate on the journey and the lessons it offers as well ...

To that end, I've come to realize the importance and the value that friends have in one's life as these kinds of journeys are undertaken ...

There have been moments in time when I've wondered if I have any friends left. I've dwelled on the glass being HALF EMPTY rather than seeing the "liquid" that remains and celebrating that the glass is actually half FULL!! (I will refrain from digressing into a whole OTHER conversation about the ramifications of WHAT is in the glass ... some liquids need NOT be half full NOR half empty, but should be enjoyed in moderate amounts instead ...)

Lately, I've come to appreciate the place friends play in our lives, particularly in times of transition and change ... the email from a friend that is harsh and sharp in its query about what we're doing or thinking, may at the moment be resented, but with time and reflection the truth of those words spoken in care and concern serve to HELP rather than HINDER. The outcome rests in the reciever ...

There have been moments when I've been in reflection with friends and found their words too sharp and too pointed ... but as I moved forward from that moment, I have been struck at how timely their counsel has been, and how profoundly on the mark they have often been. What may be regarded as sharp and blunt, is at time exactly what is needed to continue the journey ...

"What were you thinking ?"

"Are you out of your mind?"

"This may sound harsh, but ..."

Such are the examples of words spoken by the circle of friends I have around me who continue to help me in this journey ... I'm still heading for the mountain top, and I've had a couple of places where the trail got slippery and dark, and the trail was wending its way along a cliff from which it seemed possible that I could plummet at any moment ...

But in those moments, the words of my friends, words that on the surface seemed harsh and cutting ... we the very words needed to get me through that time and place ... they are like a hand offered to someone clinging to the rock face filled with fear and terrified of falling off ... the hand is a pull to a place of security, strength and safety, though in the moment it may not seem that way ...

Looking back as I've found myself in a quiet clearing along the way, I can honestly say that the glass that for too long I've viewed as being half empty, is truly HALF FULL ... I am blessed with wise and wonderful friends who have continued to speak the words that need to be spoken, and who have continued to challenge and counsel me to move out of the "woe is me" pity party that is too easy to fall into ... I am grateful for them ... and I am grateful for their words ... and my journey has been made far safer knowing they are there to help through the rough spots ...

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Inconceivable ...

I have a half dozen favourite films ... this is one of them ...

There is so much to love about this film ... the cast and their characters they play ... the hysterically bizarre lines they utter ... and the story line itself ... it all combines in a cinematic treat that has since the first time I saw it, been an absolute favourite of mine ...

Tonight I vegged out watching it yet again ...

One of my favourite exchanges comes whe Vizzini and Westley are preparing for a battle of wits:

V: I can't compete with you physically, and you're no match for my brains.
W: You're that smart?
V: Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates?
W: Yes.
V: Morons.

And the frivolity continues ...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Starving the psychic parasite - Part Two ...

Who ARE YOU??

"Unconscious people - and many who remain unconscious, trapped in their egos throughout their lives - will quickly tell you who they are: their name, their occupation, their personal history, the shape or state of their body, and whatever else they identify with. Others may appear to be more evolved because they think of themselves as an immortal soul or a divine spirit. But do they really know themselves, or have they just added some spiritual sounding concepts to the content of their minds? Knowing your self goes far deeper than the adoption of a set of ideas or beliefs ..." (Eckert Tolle - A New Earth pg. 186)

"Who are you??"

Yet, another ubiquitous question.

I "KNEW" the answer to that question, or so I thought ...

I could provide my name, my educational background, my role as husband, my role as father, my role as minister, highlights of my career and my volunteering, my place as friend, and my orientation as a rabble-rouser, a feather ruffler, a rule-bender and an iconoclast in the fullest sense of that term ... I knew myself ... or so I thought ... I could answer the question - "Who are you?" with a full and prolonged response ...

BUT ...

I've come to realize that ALL of those things that once defined my self understanding were transient and were the creation of an ego trapped in and fed by a story motivated by an enormous pain-body ... ALL of these things I understood myself to be, were not reflective of ME, but were the projection of my ego attempting to define me ...

Over the last three years, I have watched as each of these masks have been wrenched from my hands and I have been forced by their loss to look more deeply into myself and learn more about who I really am ...

Previously I used the roles I played and the positions I occupied to shield myself and allowed the negativity of my pain-body to feed a story that helped to define myself in a "safe" and "secure" place even if it was profoundly negative ...

Tolle observes a similar process in those who are defined by an illness or a chronic condition:
"You may think and speak of yourself as a "sufferer" of this or that chronic illness or disability. You receive a great deal of attention from doctors and others who constantly confirm to you your conceptual identity as a sufferer or a patient. You then unconsciously cling to the illness because it has become the most important part of who you perceive yourself to be." (pg 51)

My "illness" that defined me and justified a "pity party" approach to life that became self-justifying, and in itself a self-fulfilling prophecy was lived and expressed as a negative story that was expressed outwardly in negative energy ... I lived the negativity and the pain ... and as it flowed back upon itself, the story experienced a perverse "A-Ha!" moment where the story was justified by the outcome, which was first motivated by the negativity ... it was a catch-22 of negativity, pain and anger ... and it had to stop ...

"Who are you??"

Today, I can honestly answer - "I don't know ..."

I am alive ... I am a father and a friend ... I exist ... I have a job ... I have hobbies ... I have interests ... and I am still in ministry in some form ... But, beyond THIS MOMENT, I can't say more than: I'm a human being, and I'M ALIVE!!! (and maybe that is MORE than enough!?)

The challenge is to free oneself from the labels and the understandings that are transient and that serve only to feed the fragility of the ego ... Instead one needs to be fully present to the moment that says - "I exist. I'm alive. I AM." and silences the "woe is me" mantra that has been part of the story - the inner voice - the patterns - that have defined one's self ...

The challenge is to break free from these limiting things, and to fully embrace the present moment and all that it brings:

"You are never fully here because you are always busy trying to get elsewhere." (pg 202)

"Who AM I?"

In this moment - I am simply ME.
I am alive.
I am intelligent.
I am well read.
I am enthusiastic.
I am passionate.
I am a father.
I am a friend.
I am a son.
I am a brother.
I am simply - ME.

In this moment, the ONLY thing I can say for certain is that I am ALIVE,
and I am in the midst of a life of great abundance.

Everything else - every label, every role, every understanding - that can be applied to me limits the ability to be fully present to THIS MOMENT, and to fully embrace the journey of life that I continue with each step, each breath, each moment ...

I am alive in this moment ... I am me.

That is the answer to WHO ARE YOU ... the rest I have to let go ...

As Tolle says - "the fullness of life is at every step ..."

May it be so ...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Towards an Abundant Life ...


Driving lately, I've been listening to Eckert Tolle's "Living a Life of Inner Peace," on CD.

Among many pearls of wisdom he notes that "Life is NOW ... " and acknowledges the inter-connectedness of the entire universe with life ...

But one startling piece was when he was speaking of finding gratefulness in the face of an abundant life - a life we already have.

He notes that we don't have to be grateful, but appreciate in gratitude what is around us as it is ... Tolle observes that in that place of mindfulness we recognize that we have ABUNDANT LIFE ... he then delves into Christian Theology when he says:

"The expression Jesus used, 'I want you to have life, and I want you to have it abundantly,' Jesus said 'abundant life,' he said, 'The DEPTHS of life, the depths of ALIVENESS.' He was not talking about MORE things, not that kind of abundance. he did not say 'I promise you consumer goods and shopping malls." Because when we speak of abundance we think of more things - NO DEEPER. So the abundance, even if you only have ONE object or two objects in your life, you give them attention - you look - you touch, and when you give attention DON'T use them as a means to end or some kind of self story around it, and say - 'look at me' ... pure, give something attention without self, just attention. Acknowledge its being. Look at it, touch it, pick it up, see it ... Immediately when you give something attention a gratefulness comes with that - an aliveness. That's ABUNDANCE, and then because it's the depths of abundance that's ABUNDANT LIFE. Ultimately you're getting in touch with that which is without form in you ... "

In THIS moment life is abundant and life simply is ...
Acceptance of this is what it is about ... acceptance of what is, is living in The NOW, and that's where I am ...

Dayenu !!

Starting Fresh ...

The number 40 has some significance in the Judeo-Christian traditon:
Noah and his crew endured 40 days and 40 nights of rain,
the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years,
the spies explored the promised land for 40 days,
Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights,
and Jesus' moved among us for 40 days after the resurrection.
40 is an important and perhaps Holy number.
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40 years ago I began my life's journey,
40 years ago my father turned 40,
40 years ago my father died,
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This year, my 40th,
we mark the 40th Anniversary of my father's death.
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Last week thanks to the help of a friend's challenge,
I realized the need to break free of the story that has defined me.
"Create a new story ..." they said.
And so I will ...
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This year, as I note the presence of many 40s,
I'm turning the page and starting a new story
on a fresh page ...
... things will not suddenly get "ALL BETTER"
nor will I be able to wave a magic wand
and make all of the hurt and pain of the past just go away,
but in recognizing and accepting the presence
of this story ... I diminish it's power over me.
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This year, a year marked with the HOLY Number of 40,
I start fresh - I focus my attention,
not on the past,
not on what has been,
not on the story that has been,
but on THIS MOMENT.
I focus on the NOW,
and become present to my life in THIS moment,
and no longer let my 40 year old story define me.

Monday, May 26, 2008

In THIS moment ...

Um ...
... thanks !!!
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To whoever sent the beautiful flowers:
you brightened my day considerably.
Your good deed is much appreciated.
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THANK YOU!!





Sunday, May 25, 2008

Starting to STARVE the psychic parasite ...

"... emotion from the pain-body quickly gains control of your thinking, and once your mind has been taken over by the pain-body, your thinking becomes negative. The voice in your head will be telling sad, anxious, or angry stories about yourself, or your life, about other people, about past, future, or imaginary events. The voice will be blaming, accusing, complaining, imagining. And you are totally identified with whatever the voice says, believe all its distorted thoughts. At that point the addiction to unhappiness has set in.
It is not so much that you cannot stop your train of negative thoughts, but that you don't want to. This is because the pain-body at that time is living through you, pretending to be you. And to the pain-body, pain is pleasure. It eagerly devours every negative thought. In fact, the usual voice in your head has now become the voice of the pain-body. It has taken over the internal dialogue. A vicious circle becomes established between the pain body and your thinking. EVERY THOUGHT FEEDS THE PAIN-BODY, and in turn the pain-body generates more thoughts ... "
(Page 147 - A New Earth by Eckert Tolle)
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HOW ARE YOU?
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A simple question. A mundane question that is asked a thousand times a day in one form or another ... a ubiquitous question to which our usual answer is "Fine."
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How are you?
Fine, how are you?
Okay ...
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But are we?
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Are we really fine and okay ... or is that simply the easiest answer to offer to avoid looking more deeply into ourselves and confronting the reality that lurks within?
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When I'm asked - "how are you?" - my usual answer has been "Fine," but I've come to realize who misguided that answer has been ... seldom have I really been fine ...
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"For someone possessed by a heavy pain-body, it is often impossible to step outside his or her distorted interpretation, the heavily emotional "story." The more negative emotion there is in a story, the heavier and more impenetrable it becomes. And so the story is not recognized as such, but is taken to be reality. When you are completely trapped in the movement of thought and the accompanying emotion, stepping outside is not possible because you don't even know that there is an outside. You are trapped in your own movie or dream, trapped in your own hell. To you it is reality and no other reality is possible. And as far as you are concerned, your reaction is the only possible reaction." (pg 173-74)
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With a heavy pain-body, the answer to the question - "how are you?" is a simple "Fine," because there is no comprehension of the vicious circle of reality in which you yourself trapped ... the voice in your head, a voice of pain and unhappiness is the only voice you hear ... and so the answer is - "Fine" ... and the answer is wrong ...
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"At this moment, this is what you feel ..." (pg 165)
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I've come to realize the presence in my life of that voice that tells and retells the story of my pain-body ... a story that is feeding itself with the negativity of thought and action that are in turn created by the story itself ... the vicious circle is fully engaged ... and as painful as it may be to realize this, in this description, Tolle is right:
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"The pain-body is an addiction to unhappiness. It may be shocking when you realize for the first time that there is something within you that periodically seeks emotional negativity, seeks unhappiness. You need even more awareness to see it in yourself than to recognize it in another person. Once the unhappiness has taken you over, not only do you not want an end to it, but you want to make others JUST AS MISERABLE as you are in order to feed on their negative emotional reaction." (pg 145)
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This week I've come to realize that my pain-body has NOT been dormant, but has been active as it has been feeding the ego the story of unhappiness I have come to believe is the ONLY story of my life journey ... a story that folds over on itself and feeds the pain-body, which in turn continues to create that story by making it happen in order to continue to feed and grown ...
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I have been unhappy ...
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I have defined myself by that story ...
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I have fed that unhappiness by telling and living that story over and over ...
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"HOW ARE YOU?"
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In this moment, I am unhappy ...
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To a woman who came to him and shared her story of unhappiness Tolle asked:
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"'At this moment, this is what you feel,' I said. 'There is nothing you can do about the fact that AT THIS MOMENT this is what you feel. Now, instead of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is, which adds more pain to the pain that is already there, is it possible for you to completely accept the fact that this is what you feel right now?'"(pg 165)
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When the woman accepted the FACT that she IS unhappy - IN THAT MOMENT, she feels a space forming around her unhappiness ... being unhappy begins to matter less and less, and its control over her begins to diminish.
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Tolle observes that you can not be unhappy without an unhappy story.
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Unhappiness is fed and justified and perpetuated by telling and retelling the story, and with each telling living the supposed "truth" of that story by saying - "there, this proves my unhappiness ..."
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Tolle notes that;
"that moment she (the woman) stopped identifying with the feeling, the old painful emotion that lived in her, the moment she put her attention on it directly without trying to resist it, it could no longer control her thinking and so become mixed up with a mentally constructed story called "The Unhappy Me."" (pg 166)
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In that moment, as Tolle notes the pain-body begins to diminish not only its control, but it's self. It is a diminishing that comes not by fighting it and denying its presence in our lives, but rather by drawing it into the light of our consciousness and admitting that it exists, and that it HAS had control over us ...
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The Zen Buddhists call us to "SATORI" - literally stepping out of the voice in your head by finding a moment of presence where the inner clutter of thought and emotion is silenced, and the voice is muted, and we stand present to the moment and NOTHING ELSE.
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In this moment, I am not trying to be happy ... I'm not trying to NOT be unhappy ... I'm not trying to do anything, but to be present to THIS moment ... I want to live in this moment fully, as I am, without my pity party story being told and re-told ...
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"When you feel the pain-body, don't fall into the error of thinking there is something wrong with you. Making yourself into a problem - the ego loves that. The knowing needs to be followed by accepting. Anything else will obscure it again. Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the is-ness of the NOW. You can't argue with WHAT IS. Well you can, but if you do, you suffer. Through allowing, you become what you are: vast, spacious. You become whole. You are not a fragment anymore, which is how the ego perceives itself. Your true nature emerges, which is one with the nature of God ..." (pg 184)
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"How are you?"
In this moment ... I'm okay ... I can feel the space around my unhappiness ... I am ALIVE !!
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... the journey continues ...

Dammit ...

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I hate it when I read something that hit TOO close to home ... but with measured reflection, I know that I've been guided to it for a reason, and the challenge before me is to wrestle with my feelings and my response and to get to a better place ...

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This week I read a passage (one I had read previously and marked with the word 'ouch!! this hits a little too close to home!!') and realized that I had read the words and recognized the truth in the words, but I never took the next step ... Yesterday acknowledging the reality of a very active, very dense pain body that I have been feeding through my thoughts and actions made me realize the profound truth in Tolle's words:

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Sometimes people with such dense pain-bodies become activists fighting for a cause. The cause may indeed be worthy ad they are sometimes successful at first in getting things done; however, the negative energy that flows into what they say and do and their unconscious need to enemies and conflict tend to generate increasing opposition to their cause. Usually they end up creating enemies within their own organization, because wherever they go, they find reasons for feeling bad, ad so their pain-body continues to find exactly what it is looking for. (A New Earth, pg 152)

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Yup ... a little too close to home ...

No where is the dreamer or the misfit so alone ...


SO ... I went to the RUSH Concert in Winnipeg ... it was alright ... an almost full house ... the music was TOO DAMNED LOUD ... you felt Peart's drumming at times more than hearing it - and I LOVE his drumming ... his 9 minute solo in the second act was AMAZING ... he ended with a Jazz riff that was completely AWESOME ... I'm glad I went ... but I went with a troubled heart ...

The last RUSH concert I went to was in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens back in 1986 during their Subdivisions tour ... this concert compared pretty well to it ... but like the Concert in 86, this one was one I went to with a mixed bag of emotions ... I had been looking forward to going, but like Lennon said - "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans ..."

I can't say I went for any other reason than not letting the tickets go to waste ...

A friend emailed me today saying: "Try and put a bit of your heart into the show, let it take you back to a time and place that was good and happy for you, that's what music should do.... Unfortunately sometimes it takes us to a not so good time or place, but that doesn't sound like the case for your and RUSH" I realized at the concert that for me RUSH doesn't take me to a place that is good and happy ... in truth there are only three moments in my life when I can say I was in a place that was good and happy ... May 21st 1994 ...September 23rd 1997 ... and May 20th 1999 ... ( author's note: the correct date IS, as Ms H reminded me in the comments today, September 23rd 1996, not 1997 as I erroneously wrote above ... I remember the day of her arrival in the world very well ... and for the error in dates, I apologize profusely! )

What RUSH brings me and has always brought me is - ESCAPE ... complete escape from everything else ...

Today on the drive into Winnipeg and home again, I listened (really listened) to Eckert Tolle's CD of A New Earth ... the piece I listened to was chapter 7 - "Letting Go" where he talks about letting go of our pain body ...

Over the last couple of weeks I've come to realize that my pain body is perhaps stronger than ever ... and has adversely affected many aspects of my life lately ... I've thought I was getting better ... in the last 72 hours I've come to realize how wrong an assumption that was ...

Reading the email from my friend and realizing that the music of RUSH has always been an escape for me made me realize that almost ALL of the music I listen to has a negative association to it ... I'm feeding my pain body ...

Tolle offers that the first step in diminishing and ultimately dealing with your pain body is by accepting its presence and owning the reality that it exists at all ... by naming and accepting the presence of the Pain Body, you are diminishing it's control of yourself ...

Today as I considered the extent to which I have allowed my life to be defined and determined by my pain body I realized how deep and dark it is ... and how powerful it has become within my life ... I realized that I am not in the "good" place I thought I was ...

The first step in dealing with a pain body is admitted it exists ... I know mine does ... my pain body exists and is manifest in a profound unhappiness in my person ...

There, I said it - "I'm UNHAPPY !!" and THIS isn't new ...

Tomorrow we begin the journey of living independent of my pain body ...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chalk ONE up for Common Sense ...

I'll admit to being a news junkie ... I check the online news sites of about a half a dozen networks and newspapers regularly ... but this morning when I read the headlines about the Supreme Court of Canada hearing the case of a guy suing a water distribution company because he and his wife found a dead fly in their bottle of water and he suffered EXTREME psychological distress and suffering because of it ... I was beyond shocked ...

BUT ... this morning the headlines across the board tout the Supreme Court's UNANIMOUS (9-0) rejection of this case, and not only toss the settlement of in excess of 300 000 dollars, but order the guy to PAY the court costs for the company he sued !!!

Every once in a while the stars line up and common sense seems to prevail ... this is ONE of those moments ...

Just because buddy spotted a fly (SPOTTED A FLY BEFORE HE OPENED THE BOTTLE) he claims he was traumatized and developed a phobia of water among other things ... sorry, but he has issues that clearly extend beyond the erstwhile insect floating in an UNOPENED bottle of water ...

I'm glad the Supreme Court slammed the door on this frivolous law suit by saying: a "person of normal fortitude, a more reasonable person, would have had a more reasonable reaction."

Thanks to the Highest Court in our land for letting common sense prevail and having the courage to say that lovely little word: "NO!!!!!"

Okay, I'll admit it ...

I drove in this morning with the van stereo
BLARING
and
it
was
playing
RUSH
.
.
and
.
.
I
WAS
singing along!!
.
.
The opening bars of
Limelight
take me back to 1982
when I popped an 8-Track I had JUST bought at K-Mart,
into the stereo of my mom's 79 Chrysler Cordoba
and hit 'PLAY'
It was the first time I heard "Limelight"
and I was in awe ...
... my love of RUSH began in that moment,
and it has never abated.
.
.
Saturday night - I'll be at the MTS Centre,
.

To Boldly Go ...

Every once in a while I read something in the headlines that just makes me feel good about the direction our world is heading ... The usual diet of bad news stories of violence, conflict and suffering gets pushed aside by something that can only be described as GOOD NEWS.

Yesterday I stumbled across just such a story ...

The headline was: "Mr Sulu of Star Trek to wed manager"

The story explained that because of the recent court ruling legalizing same sex marriages in the state of California, Geroge Takei and his partner of 21 years Brad Altman are intending to marry.

My only response was (and remains) - COOL !!!!

This is the kind of world I want to live in ... one of acceptance, understanding and ENLIGHTENMENT !!

I'm no Pollyanna - I know there's work to be done, but step by step, day by day, decision by decision - our world is getting better and better, in spite of itself !!!

Congratulations of George and Brad, and may you have 21 PLUS years of wedded bliss!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Week of Milestones continues ...

There are days when I wonder how the last 14 years of my life have slipped away ...

I still remember walking down the dark hallway of the Bella Coola Hospital in the early morning hours of May 21st 1994 cradling my new born son in my arms ... M was being tending to by the nurses following his delivery, and with the slight scare of him arriving a little blue and flaccid, I took him in my arms and walked the hall with him to give mom a break, and to admire the beautiful little boy we had been blessed with ...

As I walked the hall I heard a voice from one of the darkened rooms call out - "So?? A little boy or a little girl ..."

Our organist was in the hospital battling the first stages of the cancer than would soon claim her life ... she would be the first person to meet our son ...

I remember it like it was yesterday ...

Later that day I remember leaning in the garage door where Sam's now God Mother was building her cedar and canvas kayak, and saying - "I'm going to see my SON !!"

.

Then I after a visit with Noahkila and his mom, I headed off to join in the fun of Sports Day with the Nuxalk people and to share the good news that our baby boy had arrived safe and sound, and he and mom were doing fine ...

.

Today so many memories flood back ... cradling a wee boy, (who NOW looks me in the eye when he stands in front of me), in my arms and singing him to sleep ... roller blading behind his training wheeled bike as we tore around the sea wall at Stanley Park ... building his first tree fort ... visits to Tyrell Museum ... so many moments ... so many memories ...

.

Where to start ... where to finish ... 14 years creates many, many memories ... each one building on the last, and intertwined with so many more ...

.

I can't help but wonder though - how has the last 14 years passed by so quickly, and when did my little baby become such a fine young man ???

.

He and I may not always get along, and lately too many of the words that pass between us are marked by anger, frustration and other less than positive emotions ... but as his dad, I am incredibly proud of him ... I simply adore him, and the young man he is ... there is much I stand in awe of, and so much more about him that just leaves me smiling with pride ... I may not say it enough, but today is a good day to pause and say the simple words:

I LOVE YOU !!

and

I'm proud to be your dad!!

(this picture is an OLD one, but is one of my favs of him)

Happy Birthday Noahkila,

May you continue to brave the world with confidence

chutzpah, humour, and pride!!

Go and slay the dragons that stand in your way,

and KNOW that I still have your back !!

And that my son, WILL NEVER CHANGE !!!!

Okay ... I'll admit it ...

.
... I drove in this morning with
The Best of ELO (Electric Light Orchestra)
BLARING on the van stereo ...
,
... sometimes you just need some cheezy disco rock
to start your day ...
.
BUT
.
I won't verify whether I was singing along or NOT though!!??
Maybe I'll pop in ABBA for the drive home !!!
.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One of My Favourite Pictures ...

This was taken in the summer of 2006,
we took a whale watching tour out of Telegraph Cove BC
just before we loaded the van
and started heading back to Manitoba ...
little did I know then where the road would lead us ...
... Looking back, it's been an interesting journey ...
There was something poignant about this picture
then and now.
Things were changing ... events were unfolding ...
and our lives were about to take
some very unexpected twists and turns.
BUT this picture reminds us (and them)
of the most important thing you have through it all:
The Gift of Family.
Others may abandon you,
but your family in spite of challenges and difficulties,
will always be there loving you unconditionally.
Today Beetle turns 9
Tomorrow Noahkila turns 14,
(Ms H's September B-Day should not be forgotten either)
and not a day goes by when I don't think
how lucky and blessed I am to have them in my life.
They've made it ALL worthwhile.
It's been an intersting journey,
but I'm glad I have these three travelling companions!!
Love ya guys !!

A week of milestones ...

Today one of my favourite people turns
the ripe old age of 9!!!!

9 is a good number,

and a GOOD age.

I remember the day she arrived in our lives.

M woke up in the pre-dawn hours and went into the ensuite bathroom

in our house in Langley, I was awoken to her calls for help.

Her water had broken ALL OVER the BATHROOM.

We called the mid-wife, M got in the shower,

and her mom cleaned the bathroom while we waited for the Mid-wife.

Later after the Mid-wife came and checked her and said

"everything was fine", M went down stairs and we waited

with CBC overnight playing on the radio while contractions came and went.

By 7:00 the contractions were closer together,

the mid-wife was called as M went back into the shower ...

... later, at around 7:50 the Mid-wife quietly came down the stairs and said:

"Get the van ready and as close to the door as you can ..."

WE RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL AS FAST AS WE

LEGALLY COULD ... we whipped M out and into a wheelchair

and into the hospital.

Aside from an argument with a self-appointed traffic cop

about where I could and couldn't park ...

HE IGNORED MY VERY PREGNANT WIFE GETTING OUT OF THE VAN

AS HE WARNED ME THAT I WAS IN A 'NO PARKING' SPOT !!!

Eventually I got parked in a proper spot, and made it in to the labour room,

had I been five minutes later, I would have missed

the arrival of my second daughter:


Who came into the world on May 20th 1999!!!

Happy Birthday my Darling!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why Canada is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet ...

A 50 minutes bike ride from ANY road,
scenes like this remind us of why
The Group of Seven,
Grey Owl,
and countless others
were inexoribly and irresistably drawn
into the vast wilderness regions of this nation.
The sounds of frogs croaking, and a loon calling
simply add to the beauty of the vista,
and remind us of how beautiful our country really is.
.

One LAST look before it's gone ...

... with a coat of bluish white paint, the "delightful"
wall paper in the downstairs bathroom disappears
as we continue to prepare our house for sale ...
... it is NOT a wall paper I'll miss !!

Searching for my Axis Mundi ...

Today I tossed my bike in the trunk of the car and headed off to Riding Mountain for a wilderness bike ride ... something I have not done in a very very long time, and something I realized as I pedalled down the trail to Cowan Lake how much I needed ...

Being on my bike and pedalling along a trail, a road or a wilderness path is in a very real way my Axis Mundi ... on my bike is where I can pray ... think ... and with each kilometre marked - wrestle my way through the challenges I've been facing ...

I rode the almost seven kilometres in to the campsite at Cowan Lake, then continued on for another 15 minutes until I stood and gazed at the beaver pond below:

Then after a couple of pictures and a long drink of water ... I turned my bike around and headed back "down"the trail for the 50 minutes ... when I got back to the parking lot it was like I had left an enormous burden behind along the trail ... I felt lighter and more at peace than I have felt since my last snowy bike ride in the fall ...


It was an amazing and healing way to spend an afternoon ... one that was long, long, long overdue ... being out today on my bike helped me reconnect with myself and with that re-acquaintance, to reconnect with my axis mundi, something that has been there all along:



Scenes from Thursday Night ...

Ms H as one of the dancers in their school's production of
The Charleston ...
... the work to make her hair curly was
UNBELIEVABLE!!!
(but worth it - she was delighted and delightful!)

Noahkila played the Con Man trying to bilk an old lady

out of her fortune.

He cut a dashing figure in the top hat and tux,

and his ad lib was equally memorable as well.


Trying to find an Axis Mundi ...

I remember studying Mircea Eliade in my undergrad work at McMaster University way back in another Century. In addition to his work - "The Myth of the Eternal Return" (which incidentally made me critically think about the entirety of Christian Theology from a different point of view) we studied a number of his other works including "The Sacred and the Profane."

But what I remember most of all was Eliade's description of the Axis Mundi in human history. He likened it to the central axis around which we secure our meaning and understanding of the world and our place therein.

He cited the Totem Poles of the NorthWest Coast First Nations people as the most graphic example of this axis mundi. For in the totem pole is not only a physical axis around which the life of the family, the clan or the community revolve. The axis itself tells the history of the people for whom this axis has meaning. The figures are intricately connected to the people - the story told on the totem pole is the story of the people who raised it, maintain it, and live around it.

It is not coincidence therefore, that some of the Totem Poles were created as doorways into the communal long houses that they stood in front of. The act of stepping through the Gaping Maw of the Totem, or one of its creatures became a symbolic stepping IN TO the story of the people itself. By walking through the arch, you entered the very centre of the Universe for this group of people.

In First Nations culture the connectedness to PLACE is very strong. This past week I listened to a Native Leader speak of the importance of Community for First Nations people. As she spoke of the need to BE IN COMMUNITY, I thought of the axis mundi that community - PLACE - represents.

Most startling of all was her contention that First Nations people will stay in a dysfunctional toxic unhealthy community BECAUSE it is STILL a form of community. She noted that the community under the bridge in an urban centre may be a nightmare, but it remains a community, and for a First Nations' person, that community is life itself. To take them away from that dysfunctional community and offer nothing in return would mean death ... such is the NEED for community.

Community becomes the Axis Mundi ... and without the Axis Mundi in our lives we are not only lost ... we begin to die ...



This week I also started reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat, Pray, Love" about her journey of transition and transformation from the end of a marriage through to finding herself ... Her journey is ultimately about the loss of the Axis Mundi in her life ... her self-understandings, her roles, her place and her world is thrown into upheavel and she struggles to find her way forward ...

.

As I read her words I found too many of them ringing true for me and the journey I have found myself on in recent years ... One of my struggles has been in grappling with the mounting list of losses that I've experienced ... I've had wise friends tell me to stop tallying the losses, and instead take stock of what gains I've achieved and what I still have ... AND while I've tried to do that, it has been easy to slide towards the "woe is me" pity party that can only see the half-empty glass, rather than a glass half-full ...

.

Last night I read Gilbert's book and she shared her struggle with understanding herself and the place she found herself in as her marriage dissolved and everything she understood about herself began to melt away - I had an a-ha moment.

.

She had, in her life, become so focused on those around her that she allowed herself to be defined by their presence in HER life, rather than by her self and what she was. It was when a friend noted that there had been a significant change in her since she left the marriage that she realized how she had become a mirror to the person she was with. She observed in herself how much she had become like the new man in her life rather than being like her former husband ... the struggle she suddenly found herself confronting, was how to be HER OWN PERSON.

.

She then went on to describe the challenges of finding, and perhaps even creating that person who has been lost for a very long time ... the importance of find oneself independent of merging oneself with another ... the merging it would appear, could be an attempt to find an Axis Mundi in an unbalanced and ever-shifting world ... There is security and comfort in being "with" someone ... the is discomfort and insecurity being "with" only ourselves ... We are perhaps ALL hardwired for community, and community becomes our Axis Mundi, and when disaster strikes we begin to search out community (sometimes dysfunctional) to make us feel valued, loved and cared for ...

Glibert's struggle, and perhaps mine as well, is to find ourselves and to find within ourselves the axis mundi around which our cosmos turns ...

As I laid in bed last night I realized that the things I've always regarded as my axis mundi(s) have systematically disappeared ... individually they are not necessarily significant losses, but as they pile up, they become a dizzying array of items:

- the death of my Maternal Grandmother ...

- my mom's bout with cancer ...

- the presence in our life of two toxic couples posing as friends who had only thier selfish self-interest at heart...

- the loss of the Church in Minnedosa to fire...

- the vicious, petty nastiness that comes in the wake of such trauma...

- the betrayal of a co-worker I had foolishly called friend ...

- the political machinations of a group of fear-filled and hypocritical church leaders ...

- the failure of colleagues and associates to act much less speak ...

- the failure of onlookers to DO ANYTHING to stop the nastiness they could see ...

- the failure of the Church to simply LIVE its faith and stop being grossly political ...

- the outright lies spread through community and Church ...

- the implosion of our marriage...

- the closing of my home Congregation ...

- the loss of friends who found it expedient and easier to simply run away ...

- the loss of my job and role of Minister ...

- the loss of my reputation to lies, untruths and vicious gossip ...

- the evaporation of my career within the confines of the United Church ...

- the failure of the Greater Church to take of its blinders and open its eyes to the reality ...

- the lack of transparency and justice through the disciplinary process ...

- the shunning by a community that claims to be "warm and friendly" ...

- the failure of others to open their eyes to what was unfolding

- the petty political machinations of small minded bitter hearted folks who desperately had to be "right" and impose their will upon everyone else

- the hypocrisy of Church "Leaders" who will bad mouth me privately, but smile and wish me well to my face ...

- the acts of violence, physical, threatened, and verbal against me and my person ...

- the betrayal of people I had cared deeply for and loved as friends ...

- the feeling of being utterly, utterly alone ...

.

As I read Gilbert's struggles I understood what ALL of these things were in my life ... it was not so much the losses that were the issue, it was the loss of what I had held to as my Axis Mundi ... my understanding of the world and my place in it, my story, my sanctuary, my safe harbour in any storm has been slowly stripped away ... There is no longer a Totem Pole that I can look to as my safe place ...

This morning at worship the presider began by acknowledging what a joy it was to be returning to the place where she had been Christened, Confirmed, and Married, and now was honoured to be preaching ... she described the building where we sat as "Home" ... a place she could always return to and feel comforted ... I realized in that moment, that I no longer had such a home ...

.

For me, there are no Sanctuaries to return to ... I can drive my the houses of my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents, all of them places that hold special meaning in my heart and life, but none of them are HOMES any more - they are just buildings ... I have lost the physical reality of two Church Sanctuaries that were "Home" to me ... one a few blocks away that remains a vacant lot ... and another half a country away that now serves another non-UCC community of faith ... Even my spiritual home on the North End of Vancouver Island has become tenuous to my life because it is M's home church - NOT mine ... along the way, the people I had called friends have ebbed away through time and distance, and in some painful experiences through betrayal and abandonment ... my marriage has dissolved ... my role as minister was stripped from me ... and even my familial home back in Southern Ontario is just a place to visit ... and in the coming weeks the house that for 8 years has been HOME to us, will be sold and we will finish packing everything up and starting fresh in two households somewhere else ...

.

With no Axis Mundi to hold us in place we drift ...

.

And last night as I watched Reign Over Me, with Adam Sandler I had another A-Ha moment about why I feeling overwhelmed by things ...
.


near the end of the movie, as the Courts consider whether to place Sandler's character under psychiatric care in a hospital he confronts his In-Laws about the loss of his wife/their daughter, and his daughters/ their granddaughters in 9/11 - the seminal background event in the film ...

.

He asks them how they can assume that he doesn't feel anything ... then makes the quiet observation - "At least you have EACH OTHER !!" as he walks away.

.

"At least you have EACH other ..."

.

In that moment a light went off ... my NEEDINESS, my feelings of being LOST, and my sense of being ALONE arise out of that simple statement ...

Of ALL the losses I've experienced in the last five years ... the loss of community has been the greatest ... Those I called friends have all abandoned me ... (I AM very fortunate to STILL have a circle of caring, understanding, patient, and when necessary critical friends who have stood with me through it all) ... the betrayal of those I had cared about has been deep ... and when the storms formed and the crises began to unfold, like Sandler's character I couldn't see beyond the grief and the hurt ...

.

Being engulfed in the loss of your Axis Mundi is a hard place to be ... but having no community to be intimate with beyond the casual "hey, how's it going?" level of conversation is debilitating ... and that is the place where I have found myself again and again and again ...

.

"At least you have each other ..." is a stark reminder of the NEED for community ... not just buddies and pals, but people who care about us ... The last three years, the community I had called home has turned its back on me and has shunned me at every turn, reminding me that I have in their eyes become a failure and an embarassment ...

.

This weekend, thanks to a book, a movie, a sermon, and prayer ... I've been reminded that even with the losses of my supposed axis mundi, there remains one axis mundi that has never failed me - MY FAITH ... and from that comes the gift of family ... and the blessing of friends ... and certainty that even in the darkest moments, when all seems lost ... the promise of Resurrection never falters nor fails ... God will see us through ... and one day we will no longer be alone, nor feeling overwhelmed by the losses ...

..

Today may not be THAT day ... but I know in this moment I'm one step closer to that destination ... and that's a good thing ...

.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sometimes we JUST need to say - NO!!

Today over at Laughing Pastor, I read a piece that caused me to say - "AMEN!!" ... he was reflecting on the verbal stumbling blocks we toss around so easily in our faith journey ...
.

The words: Can't ... Don't ... Not ... and BUT!!! are cited in this posting as examples of how our best of intentions run hard aground against a very different reality - particularly in the life and ministry of The Church.

.
I couldn't help but think though, that the one word he missed is the word - NO.

.
In the Church we generally don't like the word "NO" any more. We've come to associate it with what we can't do and what we are being told NOT to do, rather than seeing it as a healthy boundary that limits our actions for OUR OWN GOOD.

.
Looking back as both a minister and a parent, I can't imagine living without uttering the word "NO" from time to time.

.
For our children the word "No" is a limit for safety, patience, and growth. They may NOT like it in the short term, but in the long term sometimes it is our wisdom and experience coming into play for THEIR LONG term good ... I think all of us are secretly grateful to our parents for those moments when they said "No" to us as teens ... in the moment we hated them, but too often they were right (not that we'll EVER ADMIT TO IT, especially if it meant missing that big party, or some special happening !!??).

.
In the church though we've developed an ethos that is pretty much a free for all with nary a "no" in sight ... we don't want to offend by saying "no" ... we don't want to thwart some one by saying "no" ... we don't want to be seen as an aggressive authoritarian presence by saying "no" ... but in the process we've become wishy-washy and wimpy ...

.
We no longer really stand for anything, because we've forgotten what we're about in our blithe quest for niceness ...

.
Somewhere in my files I have a brilliant piece by BC writer Doug Todd called "How niceness bedevils the United Church ..." He wrote that piece over 12 years ago, and it should have been a warning for ALL of us ... but we failed to heed his caution ...

.
And so today we "trust in the Spirit" when confronted with bad behaviour ... we turn away when our colleagues and friends step up with the tatters of their lives, reputations and careers in their hands seeking our help ... we do nothing when toxic and incompetent leadership are guided by their egos rather than their faith ... we never dare utter the word - "NO" for fear of offending someone ...

.
... And as a result the grounding principles of justice, honesty, integrity, fairness, equality and FAITH on which our Church was build are slowly eroded away ...

.
Every time a lie is uttered ... a rumour is spread ... a secret is held ... a back is stabbed ... every time silence is kept ... in those moments when the simple word - "NO" needs to be spoken and people of faith say NOTHING ... we stumble.

.
To some it may not be a big deal ... but to our lives of faith such a stumble is a betrayal of what we value as a Church and it serves to make us hypocritical and unfaithful ...

.
I may be too polly-anna-ish in my outlook, but I agree with Blake - we need to expunge the words DON'T, CAN'T, NOT, and BUT, from our vocabulary of faith AND we need to start using the word - "NO!!" a little more often.

.
I would dare to say Minnedosa United Church would already be in its new building by now, if there was some courage to tell a few people in positions of power and "authority" - "NO, you won't act this way ...", "NO!! you don't say one thing and do something else ..." and "NO!! You don't treat people this way ..."

.
Looking back it is fascinating to note that over and over, the 90 something year old elders of the community kept saying this very thing - but no one wanted nor dared to listen to them either ... and so the community remains divided and homeless ... but the official story is - "it's ALL alright now, because Shawn is gone ..."

.
Oh the tales we spin ...

.
Too bad we've forgotten that sometimes the kindest word of all is a simple - "NO!!"

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One word could have saved us a lot of money, time and resources if someone had the courage to say it long ago to more than just me ...
..
One day maybe we'll learn.
.
.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stupidity Knows No Limits ...


I can't help but wonder - what is wrong with people ???

Checking today's news I found a story about graffiti being sprayed on the Memorial to Fallen Firefighters in Ontario ... (click here to read it) ... There is no spin that can be put on this to justify such an action.

I know how I would feel to learn that something similar was done to the Memorial in Toronto or Ottawa to fallen Police Officers ... this is just senseless ...

But then, after the events of February 12th 2006, I suppose senseless acts of destruction shouldn't suprise me any more should they ...

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Wall of Honour in Orillia Ontario

In the OPP Headquarters in Orillia Ontario,
my father and 101 other Heroes,
are remembered for their sacrifice,
and more importantly,
for the example of their lives.
.

For if we fail to remember them,
who will be left to remember but their families,
and we are ALL family.
They are Heroes in Life not Death.
.

Music to Drive to for Today ...

Much needed rain arrived through the night, so the drive in was a bit grey and damp ... AND I'M NOT complaining in the least - WE NEED the rain ... OUR farmers NEED the rain ... the WHOLE region NEEDS the rain ...

So, as I pulled out on to the highway, I popped in a new cd I had picked up on Friday while roaming around Winnipeg ... it was the PERFECT CHOICE for the drive in today ...

The rich, melodious voice of Van Morrison combined with the slow paced music and the grey day made the drive in an enjoyable experience ... mind you, you can never really go wrong with Van Morrison in ANY weather !!!

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