Meditation: 21 January 2018

[I have a backlog of these to post- going in reverse chronological order…! Audio & pics up soon.]

In a time where visions were rare, a young boy is ministering to an elder. Twenty-two years ago, when my vision was gone, an elder is ministering to me. In the night, the boy hears a voice calling to him- not his elder, but the voice of the Holy. In those days, I felt a stirring, a pulling- I didn’t know what it was. When the voice came again, the boy was instructed to answer “Speak, for your servant is listening.” The elder in my life, when I was just awakening from a great fog, taught me, too, a way to answer to this pulling; it saved my life. “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Say it with me, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” I think we’ve all, at some point, been a Samuel- receiving some mysterious calling- and an Eli- smiling on while another for the first time is being drawn to the Holy. When else does the Holy draw us in, when suddenly we’ve nothing to say but “Sign me up?” Perhaps when we’re slack-jawed in wonder: shooting stars, catching a peek of a blue heron, gazing into the eyes of a newborn… “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Perhaps when we’re driving back to sweet Carolina, and we see those mountains first rise on the horizon, and know that we’re home? From anthropologist and Zen teacher Joan Halifax: “Some of us are drawn to mountains the way the moon draws the tide. Both the great forests and mountains are in my bones. They have taught me, humbled me, purified me and changed me.”

Well, Jay that’s all warm and fuzzy- all this calling and answering, now what? What are we getting into? Does the Holy occasionally make prank calls? You bet. Sometimes- the call is a wrong number, a false start, a time you think “I’m really feeling drawn toward this” then, eh- not so much. On the contrary, the calling can be a constant drumbeat, and we can’t do it all. I used to answer almost every call, “Speak, for your servant is listening- please hold.” “Speak, for your servant is listening- please hold.” Before long, I’m a burned-out husk collapsed on the couch, and a booming voice says “Stop answering! How can you serve anybody when you’re so fried that you’re not even serving yourself?” “You mean I should… delegate?” “Yup, that.”  Lesson learned… Responding like you’re the only operator at the Cosmic switchboard will eventually turn any help you give into cold and untouched word salad at the potluck of life. We also might not hear every ringy-dingy, and the Holy doesn’t always leave a message. But the Holy keeps calling until we push through our reluctance, choosing to answer. That choice may appear insignificant- yet little choices, like acorns, can become mighty oaks. Today, you’re on the branches of a tree you planted long ago, a single choice you made that evolved into all this. And it’s not just you doing all the answering- the Universe has seen fit to have you in it; what if Holy is also saying “Speak, for your servant is listening.” What if? Breathe deeply.

Some of us are social media people. I like hanging out on Twitter- it’s pure chaos- like life- but much shorter. Some of my favorite Tweets lately:

“Do people who jog know that humans aren’t food anymore?”
“I once dated an apostrophe, but he was too possessive.”
“‘This isn’t my first rodeo,’ said the guy at his second rodeo.”

Then, this: “Go home 2018, you’re drunk.” This tweeter’s already fed up three weeks in, I get it, each day gets weirder. What if frustration is a bridge to empowerment? What’s empowerment without first being powerless? That’s how one call started that has since changed our culture, if not a generation. The call was one that left many feeling disillusioned, so they summoned a new power from which there is no turning back. In that spirit’ let’s remind ourselves of Margaret Meade’s wisdom from this banner, day it with me: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” One year ago today was the first Women’s March, but yesterday- WOW! Originally planned as a march on Washington, the movement has spread around the US, and the world. If correct, 5.2 million or 1.6% of Americans marched in 2017, an amazing number. Our motivations are different, but together they become prophetic.
Trickles of justice become waterfalls. Ideas to reform become legacies. Taking individual stands stir spellbound societies into new awakenings. A one-day protest has birthed countless better angels mothering the future. You’ve heard this coming! What’s a good anthem for a hopeful future? Written by Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, this song automatically releases “Hopamine” into your brain and fires you up for better days, let’s sing:

If you wake up and don’t want to smile,
If it takes just a little while,
Open your eyes and look at the day,
You’ll see things in a different way.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

Nathaniel says to Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip says, “Come and see.” Can anything good come out of 2018? “Come and see.” Can anything good come out of the endless dehumanizing news cycle? “Come and see.” It’s up to you. Take that walk. When you come and see, what do you get? “You will see greater things than these.” That’s what Jesus says to Nathaniel… “You will see greater things than these.” “You will see greater things than these.” Who in our community is calling for greater things? Our neighbors are calling. Our children are calling. Disparities between rich and poor in Buncombe County are calling. Our immigrant community- to which we are all connected- won’t report crimes fearing deportation- they’re calling.
We hear the cry of the nation but right here in Western North Carolina you’re a part of greater things through your support of our work at Jubilee, by pledging and feeding the hungry. It’s the everyday things too- remembering to smile. Letting go of the phone for a while. Any way you can be a helper is one step forward, and when together… you go arm in arm with more helpers and those struggling in the trenches… you become a rolling wave that will  wash over racism, wash over nationalism, wash over classism, wash over inequality of gender, wash over inequality of orientation and ability… you’re fulfilling an age-old call to truly see things greater than these!

Why not think about times to come,
And not about the things that you’ve done,
If your life was bad to you,
Just think what tomorrow will do.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

This isn’t about putting a happy face band-aid over our boo-boos and daydreaming of winning a Bahamas cruise. This is hard work- how we choose to make use of our precious time, and why we say yes to the seemingly impossible, and yes… to mending old wounds. Many folks don’t get that cruelty mocks the miracle of the time we’re given, so we make the best use of ours by setting an example of seeing and being greater things than these. But, if you’ve been hurt, there’s good reason to doubt people rushing at you. How to repair that broken trust? While fear stays in fashion, what’s the next big thing that heals? While there’s no single correct answer, each of us has a part of it if we just listen- just listen- there’s 7 billion answers out there- if we just listen.

All I want is to see you smile,
If it takes just a little while,
I know you don’t believe that it’s true,
I never meant any harm to you.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

Twenty-two years ago, this week, I answered a very painful call. It came in the form of a dear friend who had overdosed and died, and it shocked me into a brutal reality; the way I’d been barely living could’ve taken me with him. In one day, a lifetime of reckoning fell like scaffolding around me. Not knowing what else to do, I sought to reclaim long-lost spiritual connection, and I was almost immediately taken under the wing of a mentor who recognized my brokenness. An elder- an interim minister of a Unitarian church in Delaware- ministered to me- he answered the weak and unsure call of a spiritually dead young man, he awakened my soul and taught that good people and communities do exist in the world. It’s because of him that my best friend and I began a journey, moving to Asheville, then I became a grateful Jubilant. Jubilee- you’ve restored my soul, but how many thousands more…? How many thousands more? You better believe that you, Jubilee, have an amazing healing power, an amazing redemption power, an amazing justice power, for the joy of human love you’re a force to be reckoned with in this world. When you step out that door today- trust that Creation will speak- because you are listening- and trust that together- we will ALL see things greater than these- together! Come and see!

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

 Ooh, don’t you look back,
Ooh, don’t you look back,
Ooh, don’t you look back,
Ooh, don’t you look back.

[w/m (c) 1977 Christine McVie]

 

Our Lady of the Highways

Hurling in inattentive abandon towards ye
At speeds in disregard of physics-
Are your sweet arms always
open to scattershot spirits?

We dodge limits, everyday improbabilities
As if protected by a storyline-
What will your myth take if I
crash in an accident divine?

Always a light at the end of my tunnel vision
Because you’re always there-
A man asks how he can be like
you, and you reply “but where?”

All the world has hallowed mothers watching
The children are always in a hurry-
Successive generations here, there
cover not thy face in realized worry.

Our Lady of the Highways, Cecil County Emm Dee
Homeland tugs the northbound lane-
Whip the curves, then back in history
One more border to cross, mystery’s gain.

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A Shit-ton Pending, Please Wait…

It has been a busy fucking* year and stuff.

*Ecumenical term

I am about to upload the shit out of transcendent ephemera in the coming weeks, because it’s therapeutic, not because anyone really reads this.

Thank myself for bearing with me.

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Insomniacs

We are the tentpoles that hold the night up
like the clerk says at the store under the
flickering lights, “Someone’s gotta do it.”
We scribble and scramble under the 12AM
clarion call, a division between dream’s
heroes and a dumb clock’s limitless zeroes.

We are the janitors of glittery whimsy,
circling the edge of horizons for all
tomorrow’s parties, all yesterday’s
shipwrecks, we sift through thoughts so
you can press one thank you for
optioning to possibly stay awake with us.

We are the scratch and dent products
who still manage to show up on time,
we know well the cadence of crickets
while your snoring just patented a
lifestyle product- we dutifully take
placebos as ZZZs do-si-do around the planet.

We are the sleepless but not without
rest, we have whimsy and carefree
colors that could give a wink about
another minute unaware of our teetering
trepid feet, there is thrill and thrall
in not sleeping at all, damned if I miss a beat.

Septembers

A sucker for your long golden light
somewhere about 7pm, interrupts my
thinking about chopsticks, how to
hold the rice better, or do my
hands just tremble slightly
with age? The year doesn’t.
Look at this light. How it
stills the clouds, and people
seem to walk slower as if we are
bathing in it. Why not? Two weeks
ago, I drove to a small town, French
and historic, in Missouri. It was the
Journey really, but it was all about
two minutes forty seconds of solar
bewilderment, a moondance, such
light as that- we just stopped
being adjectives, eclipsed.
Linger longer, you golden
kiss, do you know how
your protons make me
giddy? I get to
experience you
in a life, in
time, for
now I’m
suspended
in your amber
and for some reason
I always remember Septembers.

Just this

Theatres, when empty, do not create drama in its absence. Leave it to humans. Strive- as much as you can- for whatever gradients of emptiness you find fulfilling.

Sighting in the Wild

I’ve been seen in the urban landscape, making mouth sounds. Clicky, what the hell:

  1. Issues
  2. Hermit Kingdom
  3. Feels (edited version of 39 Feels, previously published)
  4. Man Enough

Let It Be That Kind Of Rain

Let it be that kind of rain
enough arrhythmic percussion to
make any of us that want our own
music to be heard to shut up and
listen to an expression older
than any feeling, any sound.
 
Let it be that kind of rain
that washes the window of the
hesitant dirt of amassed waiting
loosed for tonight the firm grit
of quivering endurance giving a
blue dawn effortless clarity.
 
Let it be that kind of rain
cedes from one water to another
tiny islets of dreams gone from maps
little floods will sometimes divulge
magic geographies just as closing
the umbrella soaks you, do this
just one more time if only in a
sweet slumber of unknowing
let it be that kind of rain.

Fer Crahn Awt Laud!

Goodness gracious, pipe down! Let’s address the facts as we know them:

  • I’ve not gone anywhere, just creating community, moving an entire residential program, an’ all that ye squabs!
  • #AVLWordfest begins this week! Certain entertainments I’ve offered here will be offered there, and you better pay up, it’s all for charity! Really!
  • Mean people still suck.
  • Yes, this is the language of the street. Anyone arriving here for the purposes of #HeavyVetting ought not to read posts made after 2am EDT (ahem, not speaking to an audience), rather they should contact either my coterie, subconscious, or cotillion for all the dish.

Regardless, the world as we know it ends on April 19th or 20th, as it does every year. Please carry on.

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Cosmic Lab Rat

Every now and then, another physicist comes up with a cosmological model that either insinuates or plainly states that we’re living in some kind of simulation. Not some wingnuttery, but solid peer reviewed, Ivy League stuff. While it’s not my inclination, it makes me wonder- it’s so bizarre right now, our cultural climate and how we made choices, what lights up our brains, that I feel at times like some kind of cosmic lab rat. Throw a variation here, dial novelty up to 11 there. See what the rat does, those in his sphere, his other interconnected bubbles. It’d be fascinating to observe all of this madness from that vantage point. If I am indeed in the exceedingly rare chance a cosmic lab rat, I’d love to tell the experimenters to sod off.

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