Monday, December 31, 2007
Shunryu Suzuki-roshi (1905 - 1971)
hat tip here
Sunday, December 30, 2007
enough, silly enough. Enough is there, ready. Look and see--when I
look in the mirror, I see enough. See me.
A friend described themselves as a lotus flower. They may not believe
me, but I feel the same way--able to grow in the worst water. Almost
like, looking at a mirror. A mirror I've supported, nourished, better
than anyone has before.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I feel like a river. Full of power and ever flowing. Ready to give life.
Giving, water, heart, spirit. This is the core of me, the core of who I am. Whenever I feel broken, or sapped of spirit, these things kick in and boost me. I'm never down for long. I want these to give someone else.
I hate being angry and sad. They are unnatural and awful states for me to be in. They feel dark, unwelcoming. They try to sap my strength, wear me down, make me surrender. They want to keep me bottled up. Maybe sometimes I should stay bottled up, to save myself the grief. But the sadness and anger that can sometimes come with opening the bottle is better than keeping the bottle closed. The anger and the sadness come, I work through it, and keep moving, never shackled by it.
It's like a couple of Nike commercials I've seen this football season. You see one star, on offense, running through, over and around defenders, in all kinds of weather, determined to stop him, but they can't. Then you see a defender, running through over and around offenses, in all kinds of weather. They can't stop him, as much as they try. The runners keep moving. I have to stay on the path toward my treasure.
I want someone to share on the path to the treasure. To understand that while I'm flawed, I still have enough strength to carry them past the bears and the briars. A lover, a friend, a partner, a confidante on the path. That's what I want.
The storehouses and reservoirs of strength and determination I have amaze (there's that damn word again) me. They channel my--well, extreme distress; anger is a harsh word--into something constructive and positive.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
In the meantime, chew on this poem, from Donald C. Babcock...
Now we are ready to look at something pretty special.
It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf,
and he cuddles in the swells.
There is a big heaving in the Atlantic.
And he is part of it.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic.
Probably he doesn't know how large the ocean is.
And neither do you.
But he realises it.
And what does he do, I ask you.
He sits down in it.
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity – which it is.
That is religion, and the duck has it.
I like the little duck.
He doesn't know much.
But he has religion.
Mr. Romo, in the future, when the Cowboys play the Philadelphia Eagles, could you kindly refrain from bringing your girlfriend to the game? I understand you want to show her off, see her pretty face on national television.
But I want a Super Bowl.
I want to to see you hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy over your head. I want to see Jerry Jones take his fourth world title. I want to see Terrell Owens cry tears of joy over finally winning a title.
That's not too much for a fan to ask, is it?
(Well, I'd like a suite in the new stadium, but one thing at a time.)
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
If you've never heard Johnny Hartman, you'll missing one of the great voices. You have to listen to him.
Nevermind. Ten minutes later, the snow didn't seem bad, and I pushed on. As I got past Plattsburgh, the landscape became rather bleak--flat, featureless, desert-like. The view didn't change much over the border, except for all the Cuban cigars shops just inside Quebec. Electrical transmission towers marched relentlessly alongside the highway. Winters here must be hard, I thought. Am I ever going to reach Montreal? Chugging along, I'm mindful of my speed (I don't want to be stopped by the police--my French is awful). Then, off in the distance, I see a black hump poking up into the gray sky. What is that? Am I seeing things? I get closer, then I realize--it's Mont Royal.
A new city is about to be discovered.
The show came to mind yesterday afternoon as I was on the road yesterday. I was maneuvering through traffic, and came upon an RV, with a small car in tow. The car was absolutely caked in snow and salt from its travels. The license plate, with a familiar tagline--"Je me souviens"--told me where the pair began its journey. Where could these people--you hardly ever travel alone with an RV--be going?
A little further down the road, the picture became a little clearer. Up ahead, there was an identical RV, towing a shed on wheels, also from Quebec. The plot thickens. Here's my guess--the pair probably left from there yesterday morning (from around Montreal, maybe?), slogging through snow, down the Northway and eventually onto the Garden State Parkway. The last I saw of them, they were heading for the New Jersey Turnpike. That would put their trip to that point at about seven hours or so.
Where next? Hmm. They might have stopped in Maryland overnight (a shopping center parking lot would suffice). This morning, a good stick-to-your-ribs breakfast early, then back down I-95 for a day's drive. My bet? They are snowbirds heading for Florida for Christmas and New Years. By now, they ought to be in South Carolina or Georgia, in search of another parking lot or truck stop to bed down for the night. The RVs probably have satellite TV, so they'll fire up the kitchen and cook a nice meal, and relax. Tomorrow, the final push to the holiday destination. And, in a couple of weeks, reverse the process back home.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I ask my words to do a lot.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I have an issue with point 6. Moderation is fine--gluttony sucks--but I don't want to sacrifice living well. That's the key--sorry, a key--to life. Everything you do, do it well.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Here's something--what if life handed you a mulligan? You drove one square into the sand, and you're presented with a chance to tee it up again. Do you take it? And if so, what do you do with it?
(This was inspired by a sports-radio host who talks a lot about life, and is one of the best radio people out there.)
Now, I'm listening to Madonna's "Live to Tell" (I think, the best song she's ever done), and I go back to a band competition I went to 22 years ago. It's a famous festival, and I remember being on the bus, coming back to the hotel late at night, climbing over the hills, and seeing, twinkling in the dark, little dots of light, civilization, nestled in the hillside.
Some songs float you back in time, along a lazy river.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
But, if snow made a sound, what would it sound like? I submit track 9 of this CD. Close your eyes, listen to the beginning, and tell me if you can't see snowflakes floating from the sky.
In other news, the Cowboys posted another comeback, this time against the Lions. The best thing that happened to Tony Romo was losing the way he did in Seattle last season. Adversity, losing, tests who you are, and makes you stronger. He's recovered well. He hasn't stopped believing.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
My commute takes me by a big airport, one I've flown out of often. I love coming down the hill from the north, where I catch a fleeting glimpse of the field, stretched out and ready to give and receive. Today, on my way home, I caught this strong, really strong urge to hop on a plane and go somewhere, anywhere. To see what else is going on in the world. If only, to be on a plane above the clouds again.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Passions and desires well up in me. In one arena, I struggle with this, to contain them. They remain, as strong as ever. I let them be as they are, wondering if they will subside, if the fires will become embers. At the same time, I swim willingly, freely in them, knowing I may get burned. To be scared, and free, at the same time, is liberating.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Much of life is improvisation. It's not just wildly making stuff up as you go along. Perfect example: Kind of Blue. Miles Davis gave his band a framework in which to play, and allowed them to use their skills and creativity to paint sounds. The result? A masterpiece, and one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time (and a great CD for a jazz newbie).
I picked off some good points from this...
- Flow--is about finding the rhythm and moving with it.
- You can't improvise alone. Your songs, words, movements actions are all responses to others around you and the environment around you. You are never truly alone, even if physically you are.
- What's the old saying--rules are made to be broken?
- Trust your instincts.
- Limits force creativity. What can I do in this defined space?
- Take the mundane and mold it and shape it into something magical. Breath new life into the routine.
- Another old saw--in jazz, there are no mistakes, only opportunity.
As a bonus, here's the first track from Kind of Blue, "So What"
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
But what I'm afraid of is a creeping correctness that will stifle simple adventure and exploration and coming together. Case in point--The U.N. is holding a meeting in Bali to discuss climate change. Problem is, the participants had to fly in, adding to carbon emissions in the atmosphere. And yes, people are complaining about it.
My worst fear is that one day, plane travel will strictly limited. Much to the detriment of us all. It's a tradeoff--the emissions that spew out of the plane on its way someplace, and our insatiable need to explore, see the world for ourselves. Humans are a curious lot--we need to know what is in our surroundings to make sense of the world. The internet is a great tool for finding the recipe for creme brulee, but it's another thing entirely to eat a creme brulee on the Boul. St. Germain in Paris. You have to feel life.
I did something very dangerous at work today. I meditated. For one minute, at my desk, I sat still. Let the noise of the place turn into a buzz in the background. Observed myself breathing in, breathing out. Felt my heart pumping. A minute's respite can do wonders for the soul.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
It's about a sage turkey sausage omelet with American cheese and spinach. Every bite a dance, a ballet for the sense of taste. A mimosa (or two) to chase it down heightens the feeling of reverie.
It's about a drink at a most luxurious bar. The martini, one of those specialty drinks, was a tad sweet, but the luxe surroundings wash over you and tame the sweetness.
It's a bison steak, which was fine. But the small piece of bread, unadorned by any butter, melted in the mouth smoothly, decadently. The eyes close, luxuriating in the sensation of goodness.
To savor the nice, small, fine moments of food, of life.
That said, I have three fashion bones to pick...
The low-rider jeans thing with women has to end. Now. Being a guy, an atypical one, I want a sense of discovery, mystery with a woman. I prefer not seeing everything hanging out. And a little more material accentuates what a woman has.
When I see a couple out, invariably, the woman is dressed well, beautifully. And the guy is dressed like a slob. I exaggerate on the guy's side, but men need to make the effort to look good for their lady. Is it too much to ask for?
I like tartans. I love the patterns, all of which carry a story. I have no problem at all with kilts having tartans, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around pants with tartans. I can't do it. Somebody can, though.
The Warrior of the Light always manages to balance Rigor and Mercy.
To attain his dream, he needs a strong will and an enormous capacity for acceptance. Although he may have an objective, the path that leads to that objective is not always as he imagined it would be.
That is why the Warrior uses a mixture of discipline and compassion. God never abandons His children, but His purposes are unfathomable, and He builds the road with our own steps.
The Warrior uses that combination of discipline and acceptance to fuel his enthusiasm. Routine was never the leader of any important new movement.
And this, too...
When somebody wants something, the entire Universe conspires in their favor. The Warrior of the Light knows this.
For this reason, he takes great care with his thoughts. Hidden beneath a whole series of good intentions lie feelings that no one dares confess to himself: vengeance, self-destruction, guilt, fear of winning, a macabre joy at other people's tragedies.
The Universe does not judge; it conspires in favor of what we want. That is why the Warrior has the courage to look into the dark places of his soul in order to ensure that he is not asking for the wrong things.
And he is always very careful about of what he thinks.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
The flight is always good, despite the food and the lack of sleep. I'm not the best flier. Takeoff--that moment when the plane, finally gaining enough speed, slips the surly bonds of the earth and reaches into the air--leaves me jumpy. Then I look out the window. There, below me, is a carpet of light that stretches far and wide. And soon, darkness, save for the light of the moon, helping to guide our way. Then, as the morning light edges over the horizon, sights once thought to be only a memory--terra cotta roofs, canals, an atom of iron--welcome you back.
My doors are open. Even if they don't appear so. Push through. I'm on the other side.