Be patient. take in the show of colour.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Be patient. take in the show of colour.
Friday, September 28, 2007
"There is no greater joy, nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone's life." Sister Mary Rose McCready
Thursday, September 27, 2007
This dance teacher projected a sense of uppity pride because she was married to a man who was a TV host of a VERY local game show called Party Game. I think the prizes were dinner for 2 at KFC or something........Granted, the guy was well known in and around my hometown, but I highly doubt he was ever a household name across the country. Nevertheless, we heard about him during EVERY class. We were even given autograph pictures of him. Despite this weirdness, I LOVED learning modern dance. I loved the music and the atmosphere..........and learning new steps. I even loved wearing the black dance tights.
One night, about halfway through the year, we were learning a new routine which was going to be a part of the end recital. Over and over the steps we went, all of us concentrating on learning the beat and the moves. All of a sudden, flowy teacher lady stops the music and in her best musical voice said. "Everyone, I want you to watch how Dana is doing this......(so I continue, with a feeling of pride.........) because she's doing it all wrong. Don't do it like Dana.....OK, everyone......."
Honest to God! How mean is that? I felt like a piece of grime on the bottom of her snazzy jazzy shoe. It was devastating...............and yet maybe it was the beginning of me realizing that my idea of dance, and my ability to do a dance is uniquely my own interpretation? Can't make a ballet dancer out of a belly dancer right? I'd much rather be a belly dancer. Much more exotic, don't you think? And you get to wear all those bangles on your wrists and multi-coloured scarves........great outfits too that show off those tasteful belly button piercings I long to acquire.
I thought of this story today while I was jotting down a few thoughts on the "dance of life" realizing that we often find ourselves at a point where we think we have the steps down pat...we know the moves and the dips and the hip movement only to realize that the music had changed and a whole new dance is needed. We just get comfortable in our cha cha only to find out it's the step dance we need to master. Or........we can't get the dances steps AT ALL because for some reason God gave us two left feet and no rhythm that fits the mainstream.
Life is a never ending dance lesson. Life also seems to have a set of rules we all are supposed to abide by. If you're at one point in your life, the dance looks like this.................... If you're at another point in your life...........you're supposed to conform and shimmy like this. Just like the work world. Within the responsibilities and structure of the organizational chart of a business, one finds the dance one is supposed to adhere to. No improvisation is welcome. Just do the monkey dance, keep your eyes within the range of your piece of the dance floor and wiggle and jiggle along. It's like there is composed hierarchical order we are to adhere to.
If you're in the hierarchy, and this analogy seems (in my weirded out mind at least) to fit with every hierarchy formed by us anal retentive structure starved human beings......within cultures, countries, churches, religions..........hierarchies abound.....you're supposed to know your place. If you're living in the land where one does the WATUSI, for goodness sake don't be doing the HULA. Heaven forbid you step on the toes of a tap dancing fool when the music CLEARY indicates the soft shoe technique.
And yet.........we are born free spirits with the opportunity to express our individuality through our movements and actions. We are free spirits, equal in the eyes of God...........equal to try any and all dance moves. God didn't form the hierarchies and the structure which gobbles up equality did He? So, why is it that we continue to evolve into a mass of hierarchies where freedom of movement is completely frowned upon by the people around us?
Mike Yaconelli, whom I bet was a rascal of a man to listen and talk to, wrote a wonderful book entitled "Messy Spirituality" which I have loved reading. It's just a little looking book......one you could spin through in a blink, but then you'd miss out on many many thought provoking gems tucked in the personal stories he has shared about his ongoing learning of the movements to his own dance of faith, and of living a spiritual life. One of the clear messages I have taken away after reading it is that we are all unfinished and unpolished dancers. And guess what? That's quite alright. That's what God intended.......we are imperfectly messy, stumbling people trying to get our act together.............together.
Maybe we are all 11 year olds.........sometimes getting it wrong, sometimes getting it right, always keen to continue learning. It's an unbalanced way of looking at life which is difficult to accept because it would be so much easier if we didn't have to think....if we could just go into auto-pilot, turn on the proper tunes and move in some acceptable robotic manner. But, that's not living is it? No it's not! That's called BARELY EXISTING.
"Balance is a dangerous, illusionary characteristic and a temptress. Disguised as normal and sensible, it is silently destructive, crushing the unbalance of giftedness, taming the extremes of passion, smothering the raging fire of a genuine relationship with Jesus. Jesus was constantly being criticized for being unbalanced. Think about it: Jesus could have healed six days a week and not upset anyone. People would have been just as healed on the second day of the week as they were on the Sabbath. Jesus could have sat down with the temple leaders and quietly discussed his theological reasoning for not allowing the place of worship to become a carnival of commerce. Instead, he crashed in like a crazy man with a whip and knocked over the tables, screaming and yelling and creating chaos. He certainly could have been more balanced."
Living is messing up every once in a while. Living is getting it right every once in a while. Living is dancing like no one is watching..........with our arms flailing, our legs moving and our hearts soaring............to our own song. Wanna try a new move? I promise I won't tell you you're doing it wrong. Theres no wrong.......... Living is accepting the dance of others, and learning some moves from them. And all the while.......as we remain unbalanced, imperfect and in flight, trying to find our dance within the hierarchical structures of our society where the dance moves are supposedly painted on the dancefloor, isn't it great to know that all of us 11 year olds are in very good company?
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Vulnerability. Expressed compassion, whether it's done verbally or with our silent actions comes from our openness to feel vulnerable ourselves. To be comfortable opening our hearts to share someone elses highs and lows, to learn another's joy and sorrows happens when we can peel our protective shields away. This is when we can step forward into the uneasiness of deep emotion knowing that the initial discomfort of peaking into the insides of someone else will lead to a bond with another person.......... a connection which will remain strong long after the shared moment.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Yes, it's harvest time at the market...and I'm taking it all in.........
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Whimsy........ an attitude and a feeling I will aspire to this week. I may have to copy this fashion style to really fulfill the essence of whimsy...........and if I do............how could anyone call me difficult or threatening in a get up like that? On the other hand, it may lead to people wondering if I jumped onto the beyond eccentric bus on my way to Oz.
I think I'll take my chances, and wear my whimsy with glee.
ps. thank you to everyone who has left me such wonderful comments and/or has sent me emails. I feel so much better.......and much stronger to face whatever it is that I will have to endure for a while.
Happy Gleefully Whimsically Eccentrically Wishes
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I dwell in the dark night of your soul where ache and yearning cuss and moan. I'm not well liked. In fact most people avoid me until they have no choice by to arrive at my doorstep. Most of my visitors begin their journey around twilight, when hope intermingles with doubt. I'm predominantly nocturnal, absorbing light and all colours to form my black cloak. But behind the cloak, I'm your naked image, vulnerable to the cold winds of reality. No, I'm not a pretty sight...with birthing stretch marks displaying the struggles I have faced. But, if you stay awhile, you will see my inner beauty. You will know that I'm on your side.
My name is Discomfort.
Dizzying Discomfort............I spring forth with fumes of light headed enlightenment, even if it's not wanted. I have the ability to burrow under your skin, or to tap, tap, tap on your conscience. I will nestle into the pit of your stomach and make you long for that zone where my nemesis comfort dwells. But who wants to go there?
If you stay hang with me, I will offer you awareness, insight............a place to make decisions. I will take away your yearning, at least for a little while. I will help you find the compass to guide your way through the transitional twilight, out of the bear growling wilderness and into a pasture where sunrises express hopeful glory.
My name is Discomfort.
I may absorb light..........stay hidden in the haunting shadows of despair and doubt, but believe it or not I also hold your dreams until you're ready to take a risk. The journey to my dwelling may be fraught with confusion, aversion and dislocation............but I will make it worth your while. Why? Because I am where all learning takes place. I am where you will find the fountain to your own personal growth. Let me give you a gift of awareness.
This is my contribution to Sunday Scribblings.........the prompt this week is "Hi, My name is....." For more interesting interpretations, check out their site.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers,
So that you may live deep within your heart
May God bless you with anger
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort
To turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor
I LOVE the foolishness part. I will take that to heart. Thank you Pip. So often I visit your blog and come away with smiling wonder which lasts all day long. It's like having a bit of you tucked into my heart.
Now......may I share something else that is equally uplifting? This song is on Springsteen's Live in Dublin CD which my loving husband gave to me last weekend. I LOVE IT! I have always loved the song and the message. However, this rendition blows me away. I dare you to sit still listening to this one. BTW? It is the best driving CD I have received in a while. Run don't walk to your nearest "tunes" site for the whole enchilada.
In the meantime...........listen to this!
Shine your light.........everyday, everyday, everyday..........and embrace your inner foolishness. It's what makes the difference in this big old goofy world.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Our friends who had offered us their cottage, which sits up on a hill overlooking Spencers Island's amazing view of beach and tides and sky and water on clear blue sky days had built us a campfire by the edge of the hill and had placed four chairs around the glowing warmth. We quickly emptied our van, grabbed our sweaters and headed down to the inviting fire.
Just the four of us. In the quiet comfort of the embracing fog.
We were there that weekend to take part in a memorial service, one in which we hadn't been involved in the planning even though it was for my husband's parents.....my children's grandparents. Trepidations, uncertainty and ill feelings amongst extended family members loomed large all summer long while we silently waited for the time to arrive. We had no idea what to expect. But, on the night we arrived to the cottage on the hill with the comforting fog and the inviting campfire? It didn't matter. It really didn't matter.
An almost completed summer packed with activities, some we all participated in together and others were enjoyed by a combination of the four of us..........some all on our own...............and now it was the last weekend before school started and we had been given the gift of unwatched time to be together as a family of four.
My husband and I listened to our children choose random stories of their individual time away at summer camp..........stories we hadn't heard yet..........stories which only seep out when the rest of our busy lives are stripped away............when there are no interuptions of phone ringing, door knocking, friend calling, life hollering events...........
In peace, starring quietly into the purring fire
Stirring thoughts and newly minted memories reflectively thrown out as kindling for the conversation.
Sitting close to the campfire
Cozy in the silent buffer
Secure in the embrace of our low lying clouds
Utterly in the moment
Present to one another like time was eternal
I listened to my children whom I realized somewhere along the line had grown up. I felt a warm wave of blessings roll over me like the tide which brings gifts from the sea and leaves them behind on the beach. Nowhere else did I want to be than with my little family cocooned, sharing the gift of togetherness.
The fog began to lift as we continued talking quietly. We werent expecting this. Normally it would encase Spencers Island for the whole night and lift mid morning. But, it was a special night and the evening sky wanted to be a part of it. We watched the clouds begin to break away leaving layered strips across the moon.
up, up, and away it lifted
Under the moon glistened the shoreline with lapping waves we could now hear, informing us that the tide had changed
And all around the moon were a million stars......so many that it lit up the sky as they seem to collide into one another.
The stories stopped as we gazed upward and outward
I gave thanks to the unpredicted, unplanned gift of love and belonging.
All trepidations..........all uncertainly disappeared with the fog. What it was replaced with was the gift of grace. Grace from an embracing fog. We were going to be just fine.
This is my first offering for a new writing website called Writers Island. The prompt this week is "the gift." Thank you Rob for creating the site. For more gift offerings, visit here....
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Maybe that's the key to what Rumi is saying........maybe dancing when we are feeling broken allows us the avenue to seek freedom.......freedom as a state of mind. If we continue to dance, we will resolve our brokenness and move towards feeling perfectly free. For it is in the mindfulness of freedom when we feel the sense of empowerment and confidence to be able to surrender the need to be in control of our every move.