Monday, January 26, 2009

The Camera Within

January 27, 2007
It is astounding to step outside and encounter the ever-changing beauty of the ocean and her rocky shores here. In just these first few months, I have many pictures in my heart.
Just yesterday, as I flew by in my indigo blue car, I snapped a memory of a tall snowy egret in a field of brown backed horses. Then at dusk I walked down to the sea terrace. The sun had set and color was changing on every plant and rock. I realized I had come down without jacket or camera.

As I climbed back up the stairs to the cottage, I knew no color, no light or shadow I had seen would remain on my soon return. But what is a camera but a closed chamber with an aperture to receive light? We are each a lens and given to seek the light. While there is no whir of shutters clicking, the impressions of the light, dawn to dusk can be developed cell by cell in the tissues of a life.

How important it is that beauty is allowed to children...all over this world. The beauty is, we just need to not obscure it.

Political language speaks of developing nations, but really it is only people...developing people. Are they developing pictures of horror and despair or is beauty speaking hope?

I live here on a gentle coast and yet I know that there is a Nigeria, a Darfur, Myanmar,or even Salinas just east of here, a small town on the highway 101 corridor that fills the local paper with sorrowful stabbing shooting stories, a town whose leaders visit Oakland to study gang control.

So this little camera will take what pictures she can and develop and share as able...

Busy Being Born

January 26th, 2009
The cycle of interruption continues. If ripples on the water can alter one’s course, how do individuals in Israel and Gaza, and Darfur (add other trouble spots on the globe your heart and mind are currently alarmed about) ever even catch their breath? It is all struggle. And too much perspective dwarfs the particulars to such a degree as to be immobilizing. Balance takes motion and breath.

Perhaps Bob Dylan said it in one mouthful, " He not busy being born is busy dying."

Really there is much mystery in the phrase, for not only can we not let the death we owe dwarf the life we have, but we are daily called to die to self so that we can be born anew. Second birth, already having embraced death, is free, free from the shadow that mimics and taunts and often drives nubile souls into proclaiming in anguish that all is for naught. Why live and give to your greatest capacity if it can all be snatched from you in an instant? And then under that thrall many are driven to immerse themselves in as much instant gratification as can be born.

Oh this is just a little snapshot, it’s not a full picture or a thorough exploration, but there is a glimpse here of a downward spiral, that can, like Jacob's ladder, also be ascended. Circumstances of suffering do not undo some, while pleasures and plenty take many down. It's the wrestling that is significant. Be busy, busy, busy being born.


Does this ever happen to you?

January 22, 2009 Thoughts in the night, like singing in the shower, often sound better than they do in other locales. Having strung pearls of thought in the last hours before dawn I believed them to be memorable enough that upon second awakening I could shine them up. I was all but ready to set the clasp. But like clouds on the wind, they had all blown away. My mind is left, if not clear, empty. One inking could perhaps lead me to the trail. But as early as it still is, I see I can't even stick to one metaphor to describe my lost cloudy pearls.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Non-zero Compliance

The news headlines economic disasters, yesterday's, today's and tomorrow's. Trouble is real but what a thief worry is. I totter inwardly on the divide between actively doing what I can to ward off troubles and the mental casting about in the waters of time not yet mine. The dread of a thing can take on more power than the thing itself.

In the early morning my little cat is looking for a responsive object. Her ability to sleep and toy is notable, she has no anxiety to rob her of rest or play. I listen to the refrigerator humming and the gas hissing as I heat water on the stove. These are ordinary seemingly inconsequential sounds and yet awareness of these simple privileges brings me gratitude.

The bigger the trouble, the further from home, the more powerless I feel. There are starving people, warring factions world wide, violence on foot, on wheels, on wing.

Having done all else, scripture says, stand. Where to stand? The concept of circles of influence is helpful. Take starving children for example. I am fat. If I feed myself properly, feed my family, then in widening concentric circles I may have more to give in this realm to others. The excess can go to those who need rather than hang around and hamper my frame.

I know it is only a non-zero drop in the pot of gruel, the bowl of soup, the cup of milk that's daily needed in the famine stricken realms.

And war, it brings up primal questions right away. In moments of stretching for grand compassion I want to see everyone as truly believing they are right; they must believe they assert out of peril for life. But then another awareness, the foul smell of evil asserts itself. There is evil hunger for power, there is insanity, there is fear that leads to hatred. What can I do?

Seek justice, love mercy, the book I read says.

So back to those little concentric circles of influence, in relationships at hand, and in any circle of influence available to me, seek justice, love mercy. There really is nothing new under the sun, but there is so much I have been told and shown that needs entering into.

Where to start, where to start? Postive non-zero compliance, it's a beginning.