Swing dance at our Reception

Swing dance at our Reception
Dancing to Come on Come on: by Mary-Chapin Carpenter:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Anniversary

The plaque pictured here was seen during our 15th wedding anniversary celebration. My wife, swingdancer Donna, asked in advance if I would mind an entire day itinerary that she planned for our celebration. Of course I agreed. After our usually paced morning of personally blended coffee for me and oolong tea for she, fruit and of course watching Ellen (Degeneres), we ventured out on our anniversary adventure.

The first stop was Pamela's Diner in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The restaurant is known for candidate as well as President Obama visiting when in Pittsburgh. Our meals demonstrate the extremes of our mixed marriage. My wife blessed with a perfectly functioning insulin system had the strawberry crapes. She's know for being able to eat plenty of pasta at one sitting and stay thin as a rail. I on the other hand, managing a malfunctioning insulin system had the spinach and feta omelette. Of course we exchanged morsels in order to experience the other's meal.

Of course any celebration worthy of the name has to include a visit to a bookstore. Today's visit was to the Journeys of Life bookstore there in Shadyside. Here is where we saw the plaque pictured here. Posting this picture continues a practice I started several years ago where I take pictures of 'stuff' that I would like to possess. More often than not the image alone satisfies and no 'stuff' needs to be accumulated. Try it you might like it.

Then we proceeded to our hike for the day at Frick Park on the eastern boundary of the City of Pittsburgh.  We spent an hour walking the trails and sharing the paths with fellow walkers many with their dogs. We made a wrong turn on the way back to our vehicle that proceeded deeper into a valley than we had started, so, when we began to recognize we had not seen this before had to do a return climb before we could return to where we started. It really tired these too aspiring sages, so when we got home we decided to cancel the evening plans that she had. Thank goodness!

My wife doesn't call this kind of day 'soulful.' It's just living. This is why I love this woman. Get out of her way and get ready for the ride of your life: always exciting, always challenging, always surprising.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart. I love you.

Blurred Lines

Robin Thicke and Pharrell Perform 'Blurred Lines' 

I really love this song performed on The Ellen Show.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Source of Real Strength

"In every situation you need your deep, non-ego strength. Not force, but a strong strategic warrior's power."

~~ Thomas Moore's Twitter Feed.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ordinary Activities can Feed the Soul

...to the soul, the most minute details and
the most ordinary activities, carried out
with mindfulness and art, have an effect
far beyond their apparent insignificance."

Thomas Moore
, Care of the Soul: A Guide for 

Knowledge better than Opinion

Monday, April 29, 2013

Our Dogwood Tree

Two views of our dogwood tree, one of the reasons that we are moving back to our old neighborhood.  As you can see, the one on the right is through the screen on our porch.

On Life's Complexities

Thomas Moore (@thomasmooreSoul) tweeted at 7:56am - 27 Apr 13:

Blame is always an avoidance of life's complexity, a way of protecting oneself from facing the difficult realities.


On Honoring the Soul of Your Other

Thomas Moore tweeted at 8:47am - 28 Apr 13:

The person we love has his or her own destiny and underworld of emotions and memories. Allow for the differences. (https://twitter.com/undefined/status/328490535801196545)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Do I Live Life as a Sacrament?

“To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.”

― Wendell BerryThe Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

On Finding a Life's Purpose

All my life I've looked for a signpost, a hint of my Life's Purpose. Yesterday, I was able to glimpse one very viscerally.

Imaging sitting in an open field of a local park with the bright warm sun illuminating everything. A trellis is set up with white, yellow and orange flowers decorating  the structure and two young lovers getting reading to take their wedding vows. A timid close friend is singing 'Morning has broken' and I become aware that everyone is watching for the beautiful bride in her white dress to be revealed as she walks down a non existent path in the grass to the minister who will marry them. No one seems to be aware of the singer. I set my intention to seek the vocalist out at the reception and to let her know that I was listening and was touched by her heartfelt rendition. As the minister set himself to performing the ceremony that will join the couple as husband and wife, I am happily surprised to hear touches of humor in both the minister's admonitions as well as the couple's personally handwritten vows. 

I imagine myself walking up to the vocalist and recognizing her and in a sense giving her my blessing. I picture myself doing the same with both the minister and the newlyweds. For this moment, at least, I have found my purpose: to reach out to these individuals, co-inhabitants of this thing called life and giving them all that I have to give: my blessing, an appreciation of what they have contributed to the lives of those who were fortunate enough to attend the activities this day. 

From where did this generous spirit come from? I've given compliments and shown appreciation over my over 70 years but this seems different, coming from a vision of what my aging could become, a blessing to others. There was probably a confluence of several causes, but, I sense one that was most responsible. I had been listening to a couple different audio programs that I downloaded from the internet. Both were programs by Mark Burch, author of 'Stepping Lightly: Simplicity for People and the Planet: ' One was an interview in which Mark recommended daily mindfulness meditations  to slow down our thought process and become more aware of what we want out of life and to consciously choose those things that contribute to the purposes that float to the surface. The other was a talk  in which he added the idea that our habitual need for consumption can be overcome by becoming deliberate, again through mindfulness. During this a very chaotically stressful time in my life, I decided to try these periods of mindful meditation. 

Mark says that he is on no social media. No wonder I had a hard time finding resources by him, but, it was worth the effort and beneficial for this one person, and those who have to put up with me and my crankiness during these challenging times. I hope you get a chance to listen to these programs yourself because I can't promise to review them in detail for you, but, as I disconnect from the distractions of social media we'll see what happens.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Help Wanted: Must Have Compassion and Grace

While trying to change some formatting on this site, I discovered that I had this saved and archived but not published. It was from Jan of 2012 and, in some ways, it's a challenge that I have yet to really realize.

"... I am facing the most important role of my life as I attempt to harvest my experience, gather my courage, access my wisdom, and prepare to live and serve with the compassion and grace that is so greatly needed in my life and the world."
~~ William Martin from 'The Sage's Tao Te Ching

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Melancholy of Aging

"The melancholy that often characterizes aging may have to remain a tonality in everything you do. But, melancholy is not the same as depression. It is a mood and a coloring that doesn't necessarily compete with happiness and vitality. It is more a quality than an affliction, and it has many gifts to offer you.

The melancholy of aging can make you reflective and even occasionally wise, as you advance in years. It can keep you quiet and allow you to slow down in appropriate ways. It can give weight to your thoughts and pronouncements and can allow you to be the advisor or youth, a significant way of offsetting feelings of irrelevance that may come with the breakdown of your physical powers."

~~ Thomas Moore, p. 295, Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals

While listening to my iPod while walking on a treadmill, I thought that I was listening to 'on the go' music, so I was surprised when Thomas Moore began speaking about 'The Dark Night' brought about by aging. Unwittingly, I had started playing 'all the songs' and it randomly began playing one of the chapters of his book in audio format. When I got home, I began reading the chapter that 'the universe' had chosen for me and was surprised by how much it related to some recent feelings.

His encouragement that melancholy doesn't have to negate happiness and vitality was what I needed to hear. He writes about the difference between regret and remorse, how to avoid irrelevancy, and how aging can be an initiation into 'deeper' living. I'm intending to extract some of this for you in the days to come. I'd sure be interested in hearing from any of you in the same stage of living.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Blank Silence

Sitting in relative silence poised to capture sensations

Noticing the many sources of noise including thoughts

My mind suddenly goes silent at the blank page.

Jan 1, 2013

New year
New start filled with great expectation of new hope
Same old stuff
Deflated expectations
It is what it is.