Convergence1 020516

convergence2 020516

Thoughts that arose while making it:
Using old ways of measuring (understanding) with new ways of being (experience). Old wine skins and new wine. Abandoning the old that no longer serves. False measurements (weights and measures) – not even allowed to have it in your house (might accidentally use it). Government enforced morality. , overt and covert. What is up and what is down? Words raining from the sky.

8.5 x 12 inch Strathmore visual journal
Bought ephemera (practice ledger paper) (Asian book page) (Hell money)
Distress ink. Matte medium, glue stick.
White gel pen. Stickers of shoe prints – two kinds.
Created 2/5/16.

The Varda

The Varda was concerned. It looked out at the scene before it, wasteland, all of it. Stones atop stones atop dry earth. The desolation stretched out as far as The Varda’s eyes could see, and The Varda could see very far – at least on the right side. The left side was nearsighted, but not just in distance.
The Varda had six eyes – two for each head. Each head had different capabilities and most certainly a different personality. The left saw the past, as far back as human history began, but no further. The center saw the present in all its glory and sadness. The right saw the future, shifting and uncertain to human eyes, but solid and sure to The Varda.
The Varda was just that, The Varda. It had no other name. How could it? With three heads and one lion-like body, it was three beings and yet one. This confounded everyone but made perfect sense to it. To name each head was to ignore the very reality of its oneness and unity within itself. It was the very example of cooperation and harmony. World leaders should have studied it, but didn’t. They might have averted this tragedy.
The Varda was always “it” – never he, or she. How could you determine gender? It did not reproduce, so it had no need for the simple distinctions of language. The Varda was simply The Varda, and nothing more.
All around The Varda were the cries of pain and confusion. The earthquake had ruined the centuries-old village with its monuments and temples. Shrines were in shambles. Homes were reduced to the clay that they had been molded from.
Enough earthquakes had happened in the past three hundred years here that the people had stopped building anything higher than a single story for their homes, or out of anything more substantial than packed earth. What was the point? It was easier to rebuild if there was less rubble in the way. Sort out the few meager belongings, set them to the side. Wet the same earth over again, pack it into simple wooden frames, let it set for an hour, pop it out and let it dry. A few days later they could rebuild the house – the same, or different this time. It was like forced redecorating. They had come to accept this as their normal.
It wasn’t normal. It wasn’t normal at all. They couldn’t see this, because of their limited sight. The Varda knew better. With time stretched out before it like a topographic map, it knew the dips and peaks of human history. It knew whether the people it watched were going to have a hard climb up the mountain of difficulty or an easy time of plenty in the valley of content.
Time was flat now, even for The Varda. It didn’t like this, not one bit. In all its eons of life, it had never felt so blind, so lost. It was missing its one way to guide its people, to keep them safe.
There was no way The Varda could let them know how lost it was. Their pain would only be magnified. It had to adapt, to learn how to see just the now, the present. Right now, all three heads saw only what was in front of them and nothing more.
It had started when the volcano erupted. Started? Perhaps stopped was more accurate. The three-part vision had turned off silently and slowly, like day fading into dusk. It was so gradual that The Varda didn’t even realize it until its sight was darkness, all flat and senseless. It could see, certainly, but not with the sharpness or meaning or surety that it had known all of its life. This was different.
Now The Varda was just like the people of this land. Time to rebuild, but this time it would be different. It would have to be.

Why wait for new?

Monday does not have to be the only day a new week starts. Any day is a good day for January 1. New weeks and New Year’s can happen every moment.

So many people think the day will go bad if the morning goes bad. They want to give up by 10 AM. Does this mean that if you have a bad childhood you have a bad life?

Every day, every moment, is a new one, independent of the others that preceded it. You can start again right then. It never is too late to reform, return, rejuvenate. It never is too late to start over.

You don’t have to wait until you find a new forest to turn over a new leaf.

It is Spring inside us.

If you are feeling out of sorts right now, you aren’t alone. We have all gone through a major shift. Some are more attuned to it. Some just feel sick and confused.

The old skin is being shed. Nothing makes sense. Old patterns don’t serve, habits don’t help.

This is a time of new growth. This new birth is not a time of throwing away all your old things and ways but it is a time of seeing them in a new way. It is a time of opening up and questioning and being like a child.

A child learns how to walk in part by watching other people. But also the child learns how to walk by just learning how to walk. The child feels things out step-by-step. She checks her balance and she examines it. She figures out if this step works or if it throws her off-balance and makes her fall. This is the same with us right now. We have to feel everything out.

Everything that we took for granted is no more. It doesn’t help us and it doesn’t serve us. This is a whole new life and a whole new way of being. Take nothing for granted. In fact take nothing at all. Nothing is probably the best thing you can have with you right now.

If you keep on doing things the old way you’re going to get the same old results, and you’ll be left behind.

You’ll be wondering what happened
and why is everybody else going so far ahead
and why am I so lost.

It is just like Abraham in the desert. He had a whole new way of doing things and he couldn’t do them the old way. It is just like the new Christians. They had a whole new way of doing things and they couldn’t do them the old way. The old ways have to be reassessed and things that have been discarded have to be looked at again.

It may be time to do an old thing in a new way.
It may be time to do a new thing in an old way.

It may be time
to Be
the Way.

It is a time of feeling things out and trusting the process. It is a time of holding on loosely. It is also a time of not letting go.

You may feel like doing something new and unexpected. Go with that feeling. Don’t worry about doing it wrong, or looking up how to do it. Feel it out, and you’ll know what to do.

We are the ones we have been waiting for. Now is a beautiful time to be alive.

Thanksgiving, the other way.

I hate the holidays. They always feel like a nasty game of musical chairs. If you end up without a chair at a table, you are the loser. So everybody tries to find a place to be, even if that place isn’t that nice. We’d rather spend the holiday with people we don’t really like and who don’t really like us than spend the holiday alone.

Thanksgiving is the first of the holidays. I dislike Thanksgiving. I love giving thanks, I just don’t like Thanksgiving. It is a trial run for Christmas. Both holidays are where you push yourself into a role that isn’t you, to please people you don’t like.

The holidays have left me cold for years. They always make me feel artificial. I’m expected to cook when I don’t cook. I’m expected to cook foods that are only cooked this time of year. I’m expected to wear nice clothes and act nice and play nice.

For twice a year we get together with people we don’t spend time with during the rest of the year because we really don’t like them. If we liked them, we’d spend more than twice a year with them.

Perhaps this is why so many people drink during the holidays. Perhaps this is why so many people go out to see movies or to the mall during the holidays. That way they don’t have to spend any time with each other that involves any semblance of having to communicate with each other. Perhaps this is why so many police get domestic disturbance calls during the holidays.

Nothing puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional” like the holidays.

I propose something different. Instead of doing the way that we’ve always done it, let’s do it differently. Let’s do it the way that we really want to do it. Let’s reinvent the holidays.

This year’s Thanksgiving could have gone really badly. I’d gotten into a huge disagreement with my sister in law. I’d realized that I’d been faking it going over to our parents in law’s anyway. Skip it. Skip it all. Why pretend anymore? I got tired of that gnawing feeling in my belly that says “something’s wrong!” I’d ignored it, suppressed it, hidden it. It was just part of dealing with the holidays. It was part of my childhood, ignoring that feeling. That sick feeling was just normal.

But this year I chose to do something different. Why spend time with people I don’t like? Why cook foods I don’t like, or that I only eat twice a year. I mean, I like sweet potatoes and all, but what about the fourth Thursday of November says I have to eat them? And why is there nothing healthy to eat on Thanksgiving? No fresh vegetables to be seen – everything is baked or broiled to within an inch of its life. It feels a little creepy to give thanks over food that is going to kill you.

It seems like the healthiest part about celebrating Thanksgiving means actually doing something to be thankful for.

This year was just my husband and I. This disagreement came just two days before Thanksgiving so there wasn’t enough time to wrangle an “Orphan’s Thanksgiving” like I’ve done in the past. We ate at the dining room table for the first time in a decade. We normally eat in the living room, while watching TV. This time, no TV. This time, candles. This time, just the two of us, facing each other, enjoying our meal, and spending time together.

It was very healing. It was exactly what I wanted. It was exactly what we needed. I caught a glimpse of what Sabbath is like.

We used special plates. We cooked what we wanted. There was turkey, sure. I don’t think it is possible for me to rewrite Thanksgiving without at least having turkey. But there was more, and it was healthy. It was all from scratch. Mashed potatoes made with purple potatoes, seasoned with cilantro and thyme. Sautéed carrots and snow peas, cooked in butter, white zinfandel, and turmeric. And crunchy bread – hoagie rolls, fresh from the bakery, heated up in the oven with a little butter. It was perfect. It was just enough, and not too much. I think we’ll do it again, and not wait a year to do it.

Maybe next week.

Today, I’m thankful for the courage to make new traditions. Today, I’m thankful for the desire to take care of myself. This was a good Thanksgiving.

Mirror People

In the “Rules for Being Human” there is this – “Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate anything about another person that you do not love or hate about yourself.”

This means in part that if you are at peace and comfortable with yourself, then you will be at peace and comfortable with everyone you meet.

Whatever you see in another person that you admire, use that as a signal to work on that quality – improve it, strengthen it, deepen it.

Conversely, whatever you see that you dislike, work on that too. Whatever annoys you about another person – whatever quality or quirk, is actually a trait in yourself that you dislike. This is a great tool for self-improvement. That quality is what you most need to work on in yourself.

And there is yet another way. Make peace with yourself, just as you are. Accept it as the way things are. Instead of fighting against your nature, accept it as it is. A lot of our stress comes from trying to change things that are just simply that way.

Marianne Williamson tells us “The way of the miracle-worker is to see all human behavior as one of two things: either love, or a call for love.” With this mirror technique, the way to self and world improvement is seen by examining your reaction to other people. However you react, it is either with love, or a call to love. It is either something that draws you in, or repulses you. If it repulses you, it is something to work on – either fix that quality in yourself, or fix your reaction to it by making peace with it.

In this way, even annoying people and situations are blessings.

Dig down deep to the roots. Why do you feel this way? Who made you feel this? Love it. Love that feeling, in all the brokenness and pain. Love it, because that brokenness is how the light of healing, the light of God can get in.

This is the day…

One of the advantages of being human is that we have memory. We can do the same thing over and over again, making tiny adjustments, until we get it perfect. We can use this time and our awareness to make something really awesome occur.

One of the disadvantages of being human is that we forget. We do the same things over and over again, and we think we are doing them the same way and we aren’t paying attention at all. Our routine becomes mindless repetition.

I was in the middle of my yoga practice this morning. Currently it includes a warrior series – warrior one, two, and peaceful warrior. They are pretty predictable, but there are a lot of little adjustments I can make to improve them. In the middle of the practice I remembered that I needed to set an intention for my practice today. An intention is kind of like a prayer, but it has a little more focus.

An intention can be to heal yourself, or for the healing of someone you love, or for the healing of the world. You set your mind on a path, like aiming a plow at a field. Aim it well and dig deep, and you’ll reap an amazing harvest.

I said “God, I dedicate this day to you.” And then I got a strong feeling back – every day is God’s day. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

All we do when we bless something is to remember. We are giving credit where credit is due. We are reminding ourselves that it came from God. We are giving back what has been given to us. We are being mindful that this amazing thing didn’t just happen out of nowhere. It wasn’t an accident. It is a gift, made for us to appreciate.

It is the same idea in giving the firstborn unblemished male offspring of the herd up for sacrifice. It isn’t the second born – you don’t have a backup. You don’t know if you are going to get another one. It is admitting that if it weren’t for God, you wouldn’t even have that one.

God’s math is different from our math.

Be thankful in all things, and in all times, for everything. The more we notice things to be thankful for, the more things we notice.

This isn’t the “prosperity gospel”. This isn’t about attracting wealth. This is about creating new eyes and a new heart. It is about creating a sense of wonder and amazement and thankfulness. When you start to look for things to be thankful for, you change. You soften, and open up. It becomes like an Easter egg hunt. You find one or two at the beginning, and then it leads you to the secret cache where you realize that everything is a gift, and everything is something to be thankful for.

That is the meaning of Easter as well – new life, new growth, new birth. There is always a chance to begin again. Why not now?

Sure, I know it isn’t Easter. It isn’t the New Year either. But the same idea holds. Every day is a good day to begin again, slate wiped clean. God offers this to us every day, and we accept this gift by being thankful.