Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘Life’

Home

Is it this house?
Is it these walls?
Is it these old familiar rooms and airy halls?

The Sparrow nigh?
This Mourning Dove?
Each day some new treasure here to love?

No. It’s not of timber.
No. It’s not of stone.
It’s a warm and whole belonging.
I’m Home.

Did I choose?
Has it been known
By all the stars forever I’d call this my own?

How can it be
These ancient trees
And fragrant lawns could be all the world to me?

Here, this simple man,
In this humble glen I can
Feel Home.

Snow will fall.
Winds will blow.
I don’t claim it’s always Paradise, y’know.

Through chilling cold,
Each tempest thrown,
Through everything that cuts me to the bone,

Here, the storms may test me.
Here, no ill can best me.
The surest place I’ve ever known
Is Home.

If you’re adrift
Out on the sea
Amidst the raging storms of this mortality,

Or slashed and burned,
Or beat to hell,
Or lost to us at the bottom of your well,

If you need a rescue,
A place where you can run to,
I have a place for you,
There’s always room
At Home.

Pray for peace.

Paz

Roads – #1

You can do all the planning and decision-making in the best interests.

You can be raised well, educated properly; you can pursue your career and lay foundations, maximizing opportunities, weathering storms and holding course.

Each day you wake, however,
each decision you make
takes you down the road to your destination.

There are, mind you, tens of thousands of possible routes you may take.
Bear in mind, too, that the destination itself may not exist by the time you get there.

Sometimes, along the way, if fortunate, we find our destinations changing.

Newfound clarities, shifting sands, the grace of years to digest or dispel.

We may end up bound for places we never would have dreamed of,
and our destinations have become
our destiny.

Paz

This Christmas

This post first appeared in 2013. Since that time, my dad has passed. My wife, too. The baby in the photo is now an effervescent 9-year-old with a 7-year-old brother. The son is living with me while the parties of the wedding in the photo sort out their divorce. Last year, Christmas came just 11 days after my wife died.

This Christmas, I am supremely grateful for every day I live, and every day I have lived prior. I feel I’ve had an easy time of it, these 62 years, and have been blessed with something of a charmed life. Perhaps it’s just an average one, or maybe below average.
It is the only life I have ever known.
Simply knowing a life puts me ahead of some people already.

“When you wake in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.”

  • Chief Tecumseh

Joy to the world. Joy to you, my friends.
-Paz

Four Generations

Four Generations

I had in mind to write a post called “Last Christmas”, and (not unlike some previous posts) talk about how we’d feel if we found that this had been our last Christmas.  If we got the news in January or February or May, that we would not be likely to see another Christmas. Would we be pleased at the way we spent our days?

The post, however, is about This Christmas. Really, this philosophy is always about “this”. This day, this month, this anniversary, this birthday, this autumn, this season. It’s not so much the old “living-in-the-now” as much as it’s carpe diem, seize the day, make your life, in this moment and the next, the life you imagined for yourself.

This Christmas bears the most special and wonderful gifts for me. More than I deserve, I am humbled.

The photo above is taken at my son’s wedding in October. That’s Ryan at the left. Next is me, beside my Dad, and this year’s Christmas gift, my new granddaughter Ellie.

It’s a rare fortune for families to be able to gather four generations together. Turning 83 in January, every Christmas with my Dad is precious, invaluable.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So, about this “Last Christmas” thing.

I’m not trying to be particularly Dickensian or dramatic, but must reveal something I usually keep to myself.

Whenever I am recounting joys and fortunes, sadnesses and hardships, there is a bar, a benchmark, that is never out of my consciousness.

For me, no matter what occurs I compare the situation. We don’t like to talk about it, but we are patrons, “Partners In Hope” they’re called, of St.Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Here, children stricken with life-threatening cancers are cared for, and research is ongoing to combat this deadly foe. Families of these children are never asked for a penny in payment. Don’t we think they have enough to deal with without monstrous medical bills?

My heart and spirit are tied with strings of tears to these children, and their families. Some of them are just babies.

I can’t single-handedly save the whole world so I searched for a place I could do my best work. What could be more important than helping to save the lives of children?

I will listen to your troubles and woes. I will console, cajole and support anyone that comes to me. I will offer opinions colored as advice if you ask.

I will feed you, I will offer you a bed in my home. I will sit silently and hold your hand.

When it comes to an assessment of our troubles—yours, mine, the next guy’s—you will be given perspective.

You see, in Memphis, I have a lot of kids. We’re not hoping they get “what they want” for Christmas.

Every day, throughout this rolling year, our hope for them is simple.

We hope they live to see This Christmas.

May the peace of the season reign in hearts everywhere, and last throughout the year.

Paz

Roads – #8

In A Christmas Story, Randy’s mom does not make him come out of the cupboard beneath the sink.

She brings him a glass of milk, pats his head, and closes the curtain on his hiding place.

Loved and fed and in his safe place.

The essence of Mother.

Slainte,

Paz

Roads – #26

Choose something, consciously and early on, to be notoriously incapable of.

Something, despite your great agility and impressive strength and massive brainpower, your positive outlook and can-do attitude, that you are just bad at. Just cannot get the hang of. Inexplicable.

If you get that out of the way then you can excel at everything else.

Slainte,

Paz

Shapes

From every hawk I watch
I learn.

With every scent I savor on the wind
I grow.

Every person I meet
Shapes me.

From every star I watch
I learn.

With every snowflake I count
I grow.

Every day I greet
Shapes me.

From every life into which I am born
I learn.

With each skin of life I shed
I grow.

Every day I live
Shapes me.

Slainte,

Paz

p.s.: A special note to some special friends:
I’ve been out of touch with a lot of things for a while, the blog community among them. I’d often wondered about the fleeting acquaintances one might encounter in such places. I’ve wondered at other blogs whose authors were absent for months. These boiling pot days spent forging the New Me brought scrutiny to this activity. Is it simply self-promotion? Is it conceit raised to new heights? Are all the brightly backlit names anonymous and as good as none? How could true bonds be formed within?

Then the notes trickled in. First from one and then another and then another. Sincere thoughts and well-wishing. Thank you Michele, Ellen, Justine, Leah, and a few other folks.

Not “readers” or “followers”.
But friends.

Hope to be “seeing” much more of you!

Warm regards,

Scott

Moving Water

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Mazbo’t

In the past I had likened life and time, a lifespan, my journey, to a trail.
Many are the poets and songsmiths that have called it The Road.
The Path it’s called in real Zen (i.e. not Armchair zen).
So too, a voyage on a ship, charting one’s course, to set sail, all have found there proper places in the prosaic. These things rang true to me for my first few lives.

Similes to ships seem fitting in so many ways. One is the captain of one’s own ship, and one needs to set one’s heading and plan a destination. The boat can represent a physical body or a spiritual vessel in or on which you transit cradle to grave. It can be used to illustrate tremendous responsibility, and demonstrate what it means to let it run aground or to be asleep at the wheel. It can exemplify perspective, delineating the perimeters which should never be surrendered, simultaneously reminding us that a great wide world exists just on the other side of that thin hull. A world considerably larger and more powerful than you and your little boat. One does not sail through a hurricane. One prays through the tempest, and lives or dies at the mercy of Mother Earth and the ancient oceans from which we emerged.
The sea is so large, and my boat is so small.”
There are a few other useful lessons available under the boat-driving brand of philosophy, not the least of which is (depending on what kind of boat) that under some circumstances, it is difficult or impossible to run the boat alone.
(And under almost all circumstances, sailing is better with a mate or two.)

Most of the boat-speak still suits my taste. Particularly the part about the sea being several million or billion or trillion times your size. A tiny iceberg sank the infamous Titanic. I mean, it was as big as the Empire State Building, but for icebergs it was a bantamweight, and if you calculated its size as a percentage of all the glacial masses on Earth it would be a hundred zeroes followed by a one.

Now here’s where my divergence lies within these philosophical premises. The ideas about being the captain and responsible for your boat and your crew and setting your course and all that. Well, the Titanic had aboard a well-trained and skilled crew, and a seasoned captain. No knock on them. It was an accident, and that’s why we have the word. But even a full and skilled crew cannot ensure protection against every threat the world might send your way. And sailing a ship on the high seas or the great lakes or the reservoir is a deliberate act within your control. You can set a course, turn the tiller, raise the sails. You can monitor the compass and the wind. There are forces like Trade Winds and ocean currents with which you must deal, but pretty much you sail across the pond, large or small.

As my philosophies aged like cheeses and fermented like wines, I began to understand that life is much more a river than a sea. (I did sneak in a couple of good similes there.) And we don’t so much pilot a powerboat on this river, but rather sort of raft down it. Personally, I prefer to think of myself as something of a Tom Sawyer, poling my way to adventure. There are, of course, responsible adult ways to ply the river in canoes and kayaks. The point is: the river is always moving.

Yes, you can argue that there are currents in the oceans, or that there are tidal rivers which flow back and forth in opposite directions following the tides. But if you go around with that kind of attitude I bet you won’t get invited to a lot of parties at my house.

My metaphoric river carries me. If I stop paddling, I keep moving. I can zig-zag across the river. I can paddle with the current and move at twice the speed of the water’s flow. I can fall asleep, or daydream, or faint or even die I suppose and that river is just going to keep on flowing isn’t it?
Now you’re not ever going to get that from a path, road, trail or anything else that you are required to follow and physically pursue.

I can rest. I can heal. I can be sick for days or go on a drunken binge and that river is going to keep right on carrying me. And whether I paddle with zeal or sprawl in a stupor, I will be brought to the places where the river chooses to flow.
Brought to the places the river needs to bring me.
Buoyed and wrapped in her caress, the moving water will bring me to where I need to be.

Captain’s Log

Since clearing the ice pack, we’ve had fairly good sailing to the south. Inspections revealed some considerable damage caused by being iced in, but nothing that will sink us. Moored several months for repairs, the crew was eager to be underway and have benefitted greatly from the warmer air and sunshine. Still encountering a lot of fog this far north, but currents bear us for now toward more favorable climes.
It is in the hearts of the crew the greatest changes have occurred.
Frozen in, there was nothing to do but pass the time, and soon they fell into their own doldrums, making the motions of the living, but with the eyes of zombies.
For a considerable time after we were first underway, they were compelled to keep looking back at the sheet as if it were stalking them. It was out of sight more than a full day before the light returned to their eyes and they could finally believe that one of the longest and most arduous times of our sojourn was truly over.
The following day they lingered in the galley and drank too much, and sang.
It is the first in many, many months that I have heard voices lifted in song, merriment and celebration. I was moved to tears to hear their joy.
What were they celebrating?”, you may ask.
Life.

Take care and keep in touch,

Paz

Levee

Exhausted from a harrowing run down the cataracts, I sought respite in the deep sleep of the woe-worn, thankful for this broad and smooth, if swift, stretch of the river.

I woke to the sound of voices. Concern and caring from the close and the newly acquainted, inquiring as to need for rescue.

I have awakened in the levee.
Sound and dry, I look to the sun and stars to determine my location. To determine how far I am along the river. Or perhaps I turn to these immortal and perpetual landmarks in space to recalibrate my sense of direction. A ponderous irony, these distant celestial objects make me feel grounded, secure. They triangulate my position on this tiny Earth with pinpoint accuracy. These life-long and eternal companions usher me along my journey, unaffected by tide or time.

Back here on Earth, however, there is some commotion ashore, and I am compelled to investigate. It is a band of those tireless workers. The nameless faces and friends joined in the communal act of shoring the levee.

A view abaft reveals the great length of river behind me, crashing in the slowest-motion imaginable, into the sharp bend. Volume and inertia and guileless will to have its way conspire against those man-made earthworks, and the water line rises with frightening rapidity. A man that reminds me of my Grampa Pete, whom I never got to know, calls out through a bright, toothy smile, sensing my anxiety at the loss of my bearings, and sudden immersion in the present circumstance.

“Don’t you worry about that levee.” his voice was deep and bellowed forth from a barrel chest hanging from broad shoulders, topped with a head dusted with the thinnest layer of white hair. “It’ll hold. I guarantee it.”
He looked over my shoulder upriver and went on, as if I had ambled along, inviting idle conversation.
“Lot of storms recently, that’s why it looks like a flood coming. Don’t you fret. They were not the first, and they won’t be the last. But from here you have one long stretch, and then you’re in the delta.” He returned his attention to this wayward but familiar wanderer, and looked me in the eye as he finished, “That’ll carry you to the sea.”

The tone of his baritone voice, the certainty ringing in his statements, and that sunny smile washed over me like a tonic, wrapped around my shoulders like an arm, and left me with a renewed sense of surety and harmony with this place and time.

Without another word he turned and strode down the embankment. The human hodgepodge of crew could be seen to be making routine repairs. It seemed the gathering and fellowship, laughter, and a sort of lingering were as much a goal of the operation as any physical productivity. As if they were selected as an ad hoc committee representing humankind. Front-line, first-person perspectives with feet on the ground and eyes on the road. Purposed to feel, on behalf of us all, the confidence in the levee, born of the many generations that have stood such watch, as it were, through fair weather and foul. They buoyed my spirit, and I was chagrinned to leave them behind.

Their voices filled the air like song. The smell of peony and phlox wafted like perfumes, and my ever-present friends the sparrows darted about as I rounded the turn and beheld the great flat of the river. It is massive, in an overwhelming, humbling, shoulder-shaking reality-check way.
Immense and unimaginable forces moving at a speed incomprehensible for something so gargantuan. I float idyllically on the surface, as the kinetic energy is carried and dissipated over the broadening course.

How far along to the delta Grampa Pete didn’t say.

I reached for my compass, only to stop and realize it is a worthless bauble, merely a decoration, on a river.

Slainte,

Paz

Sharing Nin’s Joy

I think it started at the coffee maker.

“Joy in the task of coffee…” Nin’s words rushed into my morning mind.

 

A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun.
A bird settled on the fire escape.

Joy in the task of coffee; joy accompanied me as I walked.
– Anais Nin

 

I recalled the last line, before referring to the written quote, as “joy followed me as I walked.”

Joy followed me through my morning ritual. The soap brought a lovely fragrance.

The cat loves me even if I’m not giving her snacks. Joy found me again.

Sassy June is a beautiful and happy animal. She looks me in the eye, wags her tail.
I am warmed within by these simple things. Joy in the love of a dog.

 

Joyful Wood

 

The commute today was through a perfect example of a September 25th morning.
Joy shined on me as the sun rose.
Colorful trees and wispy remnants of silvery clouds cast with the slightest pinks and yellows.

Joy sat on my shoulder and reminded me to look out the window. To not stare at the roads or the cars ahead.
To drop the UV-tinted glass and see the real glory of Mother Nature. Joy in color.

At work, my sparrows gathered around the Fun Bus, and starlings joined us for the morning breaking-of-bread.
Joy in the lives of delicate creatures. Joy in sharing.

Small V’s of geese transit the sky. On the road, we can smell the ripe corn standing tall and golden and tanned.
Joy in the honking birds, joy in the smells of autumn.

Sweeping the floor. Looks so good when it is done.
I kid you not, the simple task of cleaning the toilet brought joy.
How shiny and clean the bathroom is. The porcelain sink, the antique mirror.
The soap is red and smells of apples.
Joy in the simplest tasks. Doing.

Once I found joy in writing a little thing titled “Three Q’s”.

Can I really be this happy?
Or am I crazy?
Does it matter?

 

As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is joy in the heart of the joyful.
We can choose to be joyful. We can choose to see the beauty and the joy.
It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s free.

Joy brought me to my journal. Joy in expression.

“…joy accompanied me as I walked.”

 

Slainte,

Paz

 

The Speed Of Zen

Frost’s Road

 

I have no problem moving over,
And letting the
Younginahurry people race past me.

Let them dash off to their
Younginahurry lives.

Despite their velocity,
They will never catch up to me.

I’m not in the slow lane or the fast lane,
But the now lane.
Traveling at the speed of zen.

Let them speed past me in the 
Younginahurry lane.

And I’m not talking about the highway.

Slainte,

Paz

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