The Four Points…

# 05-04-2020 North, South, East & West.

Yesterday was big; really, really big… Just saying. The culmination of four years. The gathered and collective conferring. The great and grand celebration. Friends gathered; those who have completed the tasks laid before… now to begin the new journey. Suddenly one is completed… Ah, that word… it is not a moment of completion. It is a moment of … How to even begin to integrate the sudden end and new beginning. The 947FA514-DE38-464C-997E-ABA2A3B5A648conferring, which now give a license to learn… The crossing of one finish line, only to see the long and wondrous trek that now calls… The trek that calls… On, come on… this path, this trail, this … high and winding pass… all calling. All calling and the echos of the call… splashing, as the rising sun… The rising sun, as it kisses the tides of the bay.

Looking at numbers. All in a sheet. The numbers telling a story of greater and greater activity… And then… it stopped. Not slowed down… in a matter of days, comes to a complete and total … stop. A full and complete stop. The complete landing… the complete … full stop. Silence. Only the beating heart of the beast… at complete stop. As when the boiler goes completely cold. The creaks and groans are just the stresses of the sun kissing the surface and then the dance between that portion in shade and that portion in sun. The flexing of the external… for 6D2A2192-7AB2-49D4-8A0F-EC2D1CA4CA85the internal is gone cold.

The organs of bureaucracy grind on. The budget cycle is in full swing. Planning and framing for the new budget year. Putting together spread sheets and a plan for all aspects of operations… making the numbers work… Planning for how to spend the dollars that now … wait … what dollars? The whole of the planning scheme is tossed on its head. The house of cards is show to be built on shifting sand. The programs, the solid foundations of the local… is shaken to core… that core, driven by a complicated organism that, for the moment… has shut down. The rushing of cars outside… rushing to harvest … fresh food to the table. The hyper local nature of … one day at a time… the links of the supply chains tighten… or go completely slack. A single description denies so many of the links and tangles of this organism moment… This and that proposal… this and that ‘critical’ decision… this and that… suddenly, the assessment of critical and blather are exposed in a new set of ways.

What is critical in one set of universe… may have not value in another. The idea of this universe or that universe… the great and grand joke that it is all one universe. There are E92F035E-A2E7-4E13-BB53-FC1C19921957links between each and every aspect of… the ardent regulatory scheme… The grasping regulatory scheme. The reactive regulatory scheme. The imposed regulatory scheme… the scheme which seeks equity… the scheme which imposes view or frames outcome… unconnected to a fact pattern that is underlying… From where do these come? Someone died… someone might die. Someone didn’t get paid. So, there is an urgency… a great and grand urgency… for someone, a very special someone…

Rushing to craft a budget. Rushing to make the time frame. Rushing… and in that rushing… the sun rises and lights a newly crafted path. One not seen in recent times. That of … the very foundations of… shown to be sitting on shifting sandC6529D6A-F898-4C8F-B946-62FF4336C90E.

The caging in of that shifting sand… or, as the storm blows that sand… exposing and covering… revealing and hiding… all in the same storm… Clarity in the storm. The day is breaking, without a cloud in the sky. The earth tide is solid in its moving… Yet, everything is changed. As with the graduation… it is an invitation to a new integration. It is not a completion… a closure… it is a new step in integration. On this moment the sun rises.

On this moment, in gratitude, the sun rises.

Of a dawning…

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Those days when… the isms of my own mind invite some to put away all of their sharp objects. … Others, those of communion, know that the path of thought and thinking … may be curious. And, also know that a conversation or breaking the bread…

The twisted narrative of a tangle… deep winding over this or that… a spider tangle… wrapping all about … that narrative is one of limit and or… perhaps not. The … narrative of tied up in knots. The… narrative of a collapse. The… narrative of … something that is beyond understanding; and yet is also … just over there, in linked, connected moment… just over there.IMG_8095

The blended moment as the light of a candle… lit in dark cave… now, as lent comes to an end… the invitation to move, as light, out into the world. The retreat is … made and now the movement is …

A candle, lit in deep darkness… As the darkest hour before dawn… This is lenten retreat. Image speaks. The tangle … seen from a distance as a capture… yet, from the inner place of linkage… it is a great weaving of all creation.

All creation. A blessing.IMG_8102

 

Lent 37

“…’‘He has a demon and is out of his mind. Why listen to him?’Others were saying, ‘These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?’…” John 10:19-42

Invitation; the altar in the world

IMG_8064“… ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again?…” John 9:18-41

Perhaps in the severing … there is a moment of creating linking.

Perhaps … in the severing, there is the raising up … of the altar in the wide world.

Listening through a reading that my eyes say to my ears… A rationalization through reporting of an application of rules across the entire span of the world. Though the fact patterns of understanding and belief are different across the whole, still, the rule is applied. A set of rigid ‘knowing’ that, when applied … leads to formation of so many levels of shift.

In some places, it just means that those who would not or could not, follow the dictum… will disappear from the ranks of those in company. And so, now outside, will continue a relationship with all creation. The dictum, meant to keep pure, creates another linkage or path… one that creates a new set of relationships. The severing by dictum… creation of yet another set of faith links.IMG_8058

At the same time, reading about the faithful unchurched. A fine writing that talks about the mourning of the passing of a place that was formative… and now … coming to terms in that place of expectant projection that the ‘church’ need not be perfect. It just needs faithful servants. The deep and troubling sense that in a dying community, the plaintive desire to have faithful servants is a teaching of servitude… On is not the other.

Last night, enjoying the monthly men’s club. A throw back of a gathering that has some taint of misogyny… and yet, in the breaking of bread, the sharing of story, the gathering together in a jumble of community… sharing pictures of children, now grown… sharing stories… some are old saws… told so often that there is not a sentence that can be a surprise to most of the listeners… all of this in a gathering of men. The club; growing with added generations. It may not survive another ten years… yet, it is a gift in this moment.

When a narrative is demanded in explanation … sometimes there is something in the demand, the demand that a story become a description of … of a world that makes the listener more comfortable … yet, the narrative … our story, it is of our stones, our partners, our hits, our misses. It is that moment of … just being in a story that is of comfort in the face of … at times, great discomfort.IMG_8061

Walking through the doors of a church that was once home… and is home no more… even when that place is in this, the home town… it is something that appears to be a demand of faith. Yet, the greater altar in the world is a church that invites attendance in every moment.

I neighbor who performed a great service was at dinner last night. I asked if he was going to send me a bill for the service… “Are you kidding,” he replied? “It took me all of 20 minutes.” His gift of twenty minutes saved me hours of anguish. I great and faithful gift of community. A gift of neighbor. A gift of friend. That is my church. Imperfect. Full of mission in community. It is the sunrise. It is the sun set. It is the workplace. It is the mail carrier. It is a political machine working to a greater good. It is the arc of an ending of career, seeking legacy. It is the old order, holding on and making the rules more and more to preserve… It is the dancing of the dogs in the morning and the smile of a small child dancing in the hall outside my office cube. It is the altar of a friend’s son, watching a movie and laughing … twinkling of the eye. It is the sadness at an old friend’s passing. It is the lifting up of a college classmate as a grandchild comes into the world. It is the celebration of parents health and healing in the arc of aging. It is the passing of a year in the life of each child… it is all of these and so, so much more.

I miss the rubric of the service. I miss the comfort of the hymn and the wonder of a reading; read well. I miss the gathering of choir … the preparation of the anthem, the sharing of humor in the loft, the long discussion of a service… planning for a celebration… the wonder of a mass, concluded in silence and reverence… the gathering of children… the crying of a child where the entire congregation breathes comfort to partner parents… raising up this song of living… In the houses that are declared sacred, there seems little room for this lifting up. The easing away of a generation… in sacred sense… there is something … easing away.IMG_8047

This altar in the world is something of a mystery. The altar, constrained in a building is equally so. The dictum of each is the chasm of living both on the mountain top and in the canyon. The valley between is home. As too are the mountain tops. That tithe that is all of what I am, it is given in places of wonder. It is given in small and large … and returned in the same coin. The gift of all creation speaks in the most unusual moments… That place is … a moment of just so. Just so indeed.

And so, in narrative, that story made up… the gift of this dawning day is to muse in a story told and the demand to tell it again. This time, each element of the telling is honored and owned. The best in the moment. In that owning, there is also a sense of permission to celebrate at the altar in the world.

The church… the altar in the world. Amen, and amen.IMG_8032

What do you mean?

03-29-19 What do you mean?IMG_7941

Lent 24

“What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?” John 8:33-47

IMG_7759A friend sent me a business strategy for the census to get a complete count which he calls “cage and engage” … it is the basic principle of the dislocation of the American Japanese right after Perl Harbor. It also has echos of the Reservation movement/genocide, the Armenian genocide and the Nazi’s solution to the jewish problem. It speaks to every solution model of environmental or ecological preservation. It assumes the limits of the problem and describes a deployment that fits a certain set of criteria. Instead of engaging the elements of community that havea dynamic place. It assumes that the identification of a supernumerary goal… to count every countable person with accuracy, allows the dislocation or assumptive caging… The means to get to the end. The power over… the very reason that the count is a challenge to begin with. “We” in order to help the most of “Us” … invite “all of us” to use these tools to get to the complete count. Implicit in this is the “They”. The entrance to Auschwitz… work makes you free… “you will be made free…”

The pervasive feeling of wonder… to be invited to be of the elect to make this perfect complete count happen… The wonder of delivering so much value for so many… all through the idea of cage and engage. Each of the carefully cared for engagements… the very best of engagement… and the outcome… a ‘perfect’ complete count…

That moment of mistake when … this idea, rationalizes the idea of cage. To entrap in order to identify… We laugh at the long lines of entrapment at say… Disneyland. The fun of beginning to moo… or of the slow lines to get in to a sporting event… mooing again. The concerned security people gazing… or the wending path, carefully designed by Temple Grandin to ease the anxiety as a cow or pig walks to slaughter… All carefully managed for reduction of cost and enhancement of product. The value add…

IMG_7793I understand the thinking of my friend. It is the cost benefit analysis that is evident in every behavior that is undertaken by institutional thinking of late. The cost and benefit to get to the wonderful ‘better world’… the magic of … “And then a miracle occurs” that creates all of this value. The miracle is the vesting of authority or system to get the caging done. Once caged, a population is easy to count accurately. The value proposition is straight forward. The act of caging can be a benign act… the incarceration to get to the better place… We, the people… in order to form a more perfect union… require of each of us… to coming to be counted… The hooking together of a set of ideas to engage a set of behaviors which, in this benign … and … the information, the data, gathered will ‘serve’ the greater good. Giving up … to get latter … the sacred deal with the higher power.

The challenge is that there are the cagers and the caged. If we all are engaged in all of us… then there is not an inside and outside the cage. This inside/outside is the tension, the problem. My friend is always outside. The problem is always inside. There is a separation of the elect and the counted… mostly because his counting is at a different level than those who must be caged and engaged. The subtle art of giving authority to the intercessor. And then, having that leadership have a different set of rules… rules of engagement. The subtlety of an equality play that makes the count equal and the access to count a binary. Those who engage the count and those who need to be caged so that the count can be imposed upon them. They who engage and those who must needs entrapped engagement.

IMG_7772Missing the mark by imposition of … the sin. The Mistake.

The work of the lenten moment of this morning. Humbling to see both and all. To see the both and… In seeing, to also see the subtly of and difficulty of … community in equity. Community in equity, informedwith equitable engagement. To allow equitable engagement through a path… a path … many paths. That many paths challenge. To engage complete count through many paths. So, that each may find a count place. The invasive model … leveraging community to make sure that a hearth is open for each and all.

That moment when each is a friend to … for then there is no stranger. At the well, the water of living … it is a dream inwholeness. It is a moment … an arc, a prayer, a blessing.

That hierarchy … to engage the whole of the hierarchy … there is the invitation. That each person… held in hierarchy, may come and see, may come and be, may, in communion, be counted in the whole of the host. Raised up and counted in the whole of the host. That the least and greatest … the lion and lamb are each among the “All of These.” That is the blessing prayer of this day.

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… The Swirl of the Deep Dive

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03-27-19 Data and … the swirl of the deep dive.

Lent 22

“… but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.”

  • John 8:12-20 –

This makes me think of tea parties. That amazing set of moments when one of the kids invites me to sit and share ‘tea’… We have little cups and saucers. It used to be my own kids… now it is the children of the Godmother or even a child at the office who has a few moments to sit for tea. … this phrase of arrest because an hour is not come… Arrest is an amazing thing. A heart in arrest. A fall in arrest. An idea in arrest. To see it in a moment of … not yet come.IMG_7880

As a life arc… that moment when the rising comes to a point of arrest and a fall to earth begins. Or, at the deepest arc of a dive… and then the arrest of the decent and the rising back to surface.

In the midst of rise or dive… we arc and get to that arrest point… and as we arc, we arc to path… as is set before … as our arrest hour is not come.

In this time of reflection, the dark which is not dark and the light which is coming into darkness… it is an arc. The cycle of arc. The darkest before the dawn. Not arrested for the hour is not come.

So what is the hour? To be in communion with this moment. The arc of this moment. For … that sharing is the light of all creation. And in that light, even in this dark… that light shines forth so deeply. The deep light of care, of linkage, of connection. In this tapping… the light of connection.

There is a swirl of data and granularity in the air this day. That data, gathering slowly over the past year. The activities now described in that data… It has been with some anguish that, as the delver into the pool of this granularity and data swirl… I admit to worry that the pool will not fill… now, that tap, turned full, has filled the pool. And, in the deep waters of information… a new arc of engagement begins. The filling has come to arrest. The dive is now begun. The darkness before dawn is now the warm pool of wonder.IMG_7910

What is the hour? The hour that is here. Awaiting an hour that… has not come; invites missing the hour that is the tea party. And, in the moment of a tea party… may we raise our cups in toast. Toast to the light in darkness. For that hour is come. And come again and again.

Turning from … into living

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The resources that have shaped this ‘all of creation’ are from everywhere and include everything. To have the law makers declare that not a thing of that … can come from there… it is a declaration that it is come. In that emergence, there is only the quiet sunrise. The birth of the day. It is the same with the going down of the sun. The dying of the day… All in the spinning of the earth. For a long time it was that the earth, as center, caused the sun to spin around… as center. Then, all at once, a vision, a seeing of far beyond the ‘standard.’

The voices of a meeting yesterday… actually, of several conversations… seeing suddenly, the binary of trying to hold the sun … first from rising up, then from setting. Thinking that the earth as center… seeing the system with earth as center… yet, in the new seen, not center place… the spinning earth is spinning …

And so we turn back to living. The new seen … now cannot be unseen. And, the old lawgivers… impotent in this new sunrise, may either engage the new vision or continue to defend, with loud and eloquent speech… not this thing can come from that place.

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Yet still, the spinning, the rising, the setting… and in that time… also the passing away and into the new place of the tide, the stream, the river, the knowing. A gift of turning to living… as with each morning. In a humbled sense… knowing when I have lived as the yelling old one and as the exploring and new seeing… for we all live in both places… it is the wonder of living in all creation. A gift. Turning to living… in this wonder of lenten moment.

Comfort In…

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03-20-19 Comfort in…

Lent 15

“… saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?” John 5:1-18

It is comforting to have the dogs wake up and start asking to go out at a certain time. It doesn’t matter that they were keeping me safe from some ‘heard’ thing … just three hours ago. The wagging and smiles… the wonder at seeing, as if for the first time, yet again, what is out there in the world… the excitement of ‘come and see.’

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It is comforting to wake and walk out the door to get the papers. That short walk from front door, out the gate and to stoop down to pick them up. In the walk, to take the pulse of the morning. To breathe in that air of the new day. Checking the tank for water. Having a conversation with the dogs… security. A new moment.

It is comforting to breathe in and breathe out. It is comforting to see the clouds in the sky and to hear the harvest all around. It is comforting to be wakened in the night with security … saying that they need to go and see… later… saying that they are ready to come in.

In this comfort is also the still small voice. That voice of wellness in each breath. The answer is yes. For the question is … the comfort in… Do you want to be made well? In gladness and deep lenten preparation, yes.

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There is comfort in the question. There is comfort in the reflection. There is comfort in the conviction… the invitation to conviction. And the renewal in breathing in creation. All of a moment. All of a morning. All of each morning. In humbling seeing. The laugh at the wonder of the joke. And in that … comfort in all of this wonder. Comfort in…

Lenten Musing and… All Creation

Cleaning up the stables…

Sometimes the flowery words of scripture are like the duff on the stable floor. So overlaid with blather that the beautiful invitation to relationship and conversation are covered over in layer after layer of rococo …

What do you wish in your life? What are you looking for? What are you seeking?

Where are you going? Who is going with you?

The teaching of Augustine: … our hearts are restless until they rest in God…”

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Sometimes the flowery words of scripture are like the duff on the stable floor. So overlaid with blather that the beautiful invitation to relationship and conversation are covered over in layer after layer of rococo …

What do you wish in your life? What are you looking for? What are you seeking?

Where are you going? Who is going with you?

The teaching of Augustine: “… our hearts are restless until they rest in God…”

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It is now a moment… where am I going? Who is going with me… resting in the heart of creation. In my world, the heart of God. The heart of all creation.

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All from cleaning the stables. A gift.

Renewing

Renewing a system…

The process of renewing. We speak of progressive maintaining. We speak of lifecycle cost. We speak of differed Maintenance.  Each has a point of emphasis. Each has a series of underlying narrative that sets the foundation for the analysis that creates a cost benefit.

Description…

The elements of linked system are described. The assumptions of each system… described. In that description; the links, foundations, stresses, all of the connected tissue, come to awareness. A series of observations and tests are conducted to assess the connected nature … In planning it would be called nexsus.

Now phases…

Perhaps an element is discovered to have multiple layers of links to a greater and lesser element. Even, in a surprise discovery or enlightened awareness, a connection, thought in one way… emerges in another… This phase of description and discovery give so much granularity and context to the scope and scale of the queries to this complex connection of elements.

There is the from what…

Removing the ‘should of’ –  ‘could of’ – ‘would of’… And the result… the What.

Planning a to what…

Now comes the so what to get in the way or disrupt the jouney or deployment planning… Laughter ensues.

So for the moment… there we leave it… festering in a dance of redux. Gaining energy to burst into next steps…

Bursting into renewing… or finishing the degrade to make room for the renew.

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Appreciating — a reflection on the writing that challenges each day.

Chris Alexander
Brene’ Brown
Viktor E. Frankl
Murray Bowen
Lisa Feldman Barrett
Richard Feynman
T.H. White
Atul Gawande
William F. Buckley
Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza
Gabor Mate’
Barbara Brown Taylor
Ernest Becker
Daniel Botkin
Temple Grandin
Steven Pinker
John Sarno
Peter Wholleben
Richard Rohr
Parker Palmer
Anne Lamott
Christopher Cowan and Don Beck
Clare W. Graves
Seth Godin
Michael Gungor
Peter Block
Daniel Tammet
Edwin H. Friedman
Donald Miller
Harry G. Frankfurt
Jay Harman
Janine M. Benyus
Adam Kahane
Jackson Katz
Rebecca Solnit
David Graeber

It is a partial list of authors who have demanded attention this past year. Even as I tap this sentence, asking forgiveness for those forgotten, more raise pages to be included. Ah, such a rich place of learning to tap. In that demand is also a grand invitation to look at the foundations of much of my thinking. An invitation to evaluation, discarding, even wholesale remodeling. Along with this list of amazing thinkers, a larger context of the universe in which we all dance has also emerged. The simple question of, “Around what do you organize?” This simple question turns much of the narrative of the past several years on its head. The deeply shaken set of held belief, life narrative, story arc… all dumped upside down. The grand humor of seeing some of the foundation stones… turned over to reveal so much richer a vision. …

In song, in writing, in listening to the hopes and dreams of many clients… in the growing that happens each day in the fields around the house. In the deep seeds of thinking, observation and listening that the fun and challenging partnerships around and surrounding demand…

All of this, a tradition of taking stock. A tradition of pausing to give thanks for so many teachers. A gift of this huge classroom. And so many partners in that learning.

It all started with a review of the current list. The list that shifts and grows each year. For, there is so much to learn. In each new learning, the reminder of … the more I learn, the less I know.