i awake from deep slumber with thoughts of yesterday’s sadness still raw in my heart and mind. the song break it down again comes to me here in the red light of a cold morning. the weight of what it means to be an aging artist invisible after years of work and where-what now to put my energy towards leaves me curled up in a ball. i have no answers. and yet there is something i think in not becoming overwhelmed by giant thoughts. break it down again. the big picture sometimes just gets bigger and bigger until it floods the senses and leaves me paralyzed by the unknown. break it down again. what are the bits and pieces of a satisfied life. what do i act on. no more sleepy dreaming. break it down again. this is more than success, ego, or legacy. i do not seek the spotlight, but i also am tired of toiling in the shadows. what is my forum. is it time for me to dim, or to burn bright with compassion, to fade into love for the other and leave my dying dreams behind. where can i find in me the beauty of decay.
Resistance is the latest buzz word it seems, though it is not a new thing.
“Your modern ways don’t inspire me. Jah Jah guides.”
So is resistance futile, as so stated by the hive mind collective Borg in Star Trek? I don’t know, but I have found a nagging discomfort within regarding fully participating in the current manifestation of the so-called Resistance.
Perhaps it is because I have seen this all before. A new public figure demonized. The masses crying out for justice. A few bread crumbs of change thrown to mollify them until they return to their normal sleep walking existence while real change remains elusive.
So pardon me for my insistence at putting some distance between me and this instance of the Resistance.
Perhaps it is because I suspect that while our attention is on what seems obvious, the movement is subverted by the subtle, not-so-easily-discernable lies that keep us chained within.
So as I have pondered my resistance to the Resistance, a word has risen to the surface of my inner tumultuous ocean.
That word is persistence.
Another word for this (at least in theological circles) is faithfulness.
As I have reflected on what these words mean, some thoughts have begun to percolate in my brain.
Persistence is about taking the long view, vision, and/or second sight, by overlooking petty differences, and refusing to be short sighted.
Persistence is about humbly acknowledging that in the present we see through a glass darkly, that the revelation of truth is a gradual thing, that it best revealed in radically diverse company, and that no one person or group has a corner on the truth no matter how loud he/she/they may shout.
Persistence is a marathon, not a sprint.
Persistence is about learning to breathe and taking the time to do so. It is about both inhalation and exhalation. It is about being mindful of what we breathe in and what we breathe out. It is about what words we say and when silence can be a shout.
Persistence is an acknowledgement of the great cloud of witnesses, saints and sinners, who have walked this road before, and who are watching how we walk this road now. It is the knowledge that we break no new ground, that we walk in their footsteps, that this river at least, when we step into it, is the same river, is constant, and has been rushing since the beginning of time towards the inevitable thundering fall of justice.
Persistence is the trust in Alpha and the Omega, in the beginning and the end. It is the faith that we know the end to the story, and that this end is good news.
Persistence is never surrendering to despair, never giving up on hope, always believing that love conquers all, that love never fails.
It is remaining faithful to the bitter, and not so bitter, end.
So on this day, with this faith, I am joining the Persistence.
Join us, won’t you?
Search engines are not omnipotent.
Gazing over this past year’s stats, I cannot help but wonder which posts were actually visited on purpose and which were a matter of mistaken identity, their stickiness catching the unwary flies on the web.
There are endless discussions and ideas about how to drive traffic to your site, what tags to use, how to create a fetching title, and so on. I’ve tried most if not all of them. I have been blogging for over 10 years. The number of followers has remained around the same. Readership and views has increased somewhat based on how much I write, maybe 25-30 views a day for a post.
The only thing viral about my blog is when I post about being sick.
It can be disheartening, especially when I see others much younger than I suddenly discovering and writing about topics I have been exploring for years unnoticed while they garner much glory, laud, and honor.
But comparison is a dead end street.
Who or what defines success, or for that matter, a meaningful post? I love sharing and want it to be just as meaningful to you, the reader. But if it isn’t, does it make it any less precious? Does what I write give me joy, and is that enough?
I am learning that with all of the forums available, there are so many options to share, so many voices seeking an ear, with really no rhyme or reason as to which voice suddenly grows louder at any given moment.
And here I am, one more voice clamoring to be heard.
I am not sure if I should go completely silent. That is always an option. Call it a day. Go back to filling loose leaf notebooks with scribblings. Gather them back into myself like precious friends. (Do I feel so disjointed and scattered because I have cast so much of myself out upon the web?)
Or is it just a matter of letting go of the ego and writing simply for the words’ sake, because I love to, and if it resonates with you then that is even more wonderful, right?
Honesty causes me to look deeply inside and wonder if I truly wish for more followers or if I am pointing others to the One to follow.
All very good things to ponder I think. So for now, I will write, and let the words fall where they may . . . midst weeds, thorns, or soil, hard or soft.
I prefer the older definitions. They seem less negative, more nuanced.
This then is an ode to the languishing. It is a place where one has arrived to find broken dreams, unfinished projects, hoped for successes all for naught.
Mr. Hughes spoke of holding fast to dreams, and mine remain close. Yet, I still feel like a broken winged bird that cannot fly, confused, shot from the sky by the unrealized.
Perhaps the time for holding fast is done.
I wonder if languishing is simply another word for letting go.
I do not like this place.
I am afraid.
I do not want to be labeled lazy.
And yet action for action sake is “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
The tendency is to move! move, damnit!
Who or what determines a life’s success?
Do I still have a good heart, as she told me long ago? Perhaps I will ask her that today.
As my tongue lies thick in my mouth, while I try to learn this new language of languish.
after i dropped him off
and made sure he was
comfortable in his room
through the fog
a mass of white
bit by bit
by going slow
i missed my turn off
confused by the changes
wrought by the mist
places once familiar
the lights adding
to my blindness
i found my
i know not what
the new year holds
the next stop
on the journey
the fog of
the not yet
faith keeps me
on the road
in my love for an
in a small
Recently I had the privilege of attending a pre-showing of the movie “A Hidden Life.” To say that I was profoundly affected would be an understatement. I sense that there will be other changes occurring in my life as I continue to reflect on the quiet faith and conviction of an Austrian farmer, yet there is one that I feel I must make in the new year.
That change is to leave Facebook, at least the public, manually posting part. (My PeaceGrooves and Lyndaker Inlay pages will update automatically when I post to my blogs for now I think, but I will not be maintaining them or overally obsessing about visits, comments, etc).
I have appreciated connecting and re-connecting with many folks I have known over the years. I have been encouraged by comments and likes for various posts or endeavors I have shared.
Yet I have also been frustrated by the tendency for folks to engage in online discussions that are really not very productive or to present opinions that they otherwise would not dare to do so face to face. In other words, there seems to be a greater appreciation of the relationship, lack of ego as it were, when one does not have the distance the internet provides. There is also an illusion of it being a safe place to share anything when the reality is, it is anything but.
There is a moment near the end of the first Highlander movie when the main character states that with his new powers, if he is quiet, he can hear the thoughts of everyone in the world. As much as I would love to, I can’t, nor can I keep up with the lives of my friends on Facebook. I’m not the Highlander. Nor am I God. I cannot nor should I strive to be omnipresent. And it can be overwhelming at times looking into the rather strange window that persons choose to present on FB. As much as I feel I have something to share too, there is quite a cacophony out there, with a plethora of voices competing to be heard, and so, as difficult as it may be, I am going to remove one voice, my own, from the noise.
I began by limiting the notifications I received, even at the cost of missing birthdays. Still I found myself succumbing to the temptation to visit FB. I continue to be in the process of limiting all of my notifications, because I am realizing that my everyday life is constantly being interrupted and my ability to remain attentive is subverted by the distractions. I have yet to find a notification, however important, that fits the definition of “the one necessary thing.” I must ask myself if I am growing more receptive to the still small voice that calls me from my cave (internet cafe?) or less so as a result.
The older I get, the more I realize that I am on borrowed time, and there is no substitute for real rather than virtual interactions with people. If I am honest with myself I have fallen into the illusion of connection that FB presents. I must also confess that I have sought out validation based on responses or lack thereof to my posts. And I must ask myself if my online presence is truly Christlike or is it quite frankly about feeding my ego?
I must admit that I spend way too much time online. Am I happier as a result? I don’t think so. I also wonder if some of my discontentment is fostered by my scrolling through FB posts. I did see a survey awhile back that stated that folks who left FB were less informed, but happier. Am I the only one obsessed with information, suffering within the paradox of sensory overload yet never getting enough? And do I really want to keep giving away pieces of myself and my loved ones to the internet giants?
Part of this is about taking my life back. Like Pavlov’s dog, I have been well trained. And similarily, no matter how much I salivate, the bell, however loud, is no substitute for real food.
I’m not withdrawing from the world. Rather I hope to be more fully engaged in the world….the real one. I seek less face-time or Face-book, and more face to face. I invite anyone to visit or give me a call. My line and door will always be open.
Or feel free to comment here or zip me an email. I do intend to continue to explore contemplative writing as long as it does not feed the ego and remains prayer, which requires much practice. To that end, I have found blogging quite helpful. Again I welcome your responses and reflections here now and for future posts.
I hope to do more longer length writing. Perhaps on paper like I used to and not so much on the screen. I’ll keep working with my hands. I’ll still have an online presence I think but I want to be fully open to the possibility that perhaps I should have none.
Other changes are in the wind I think as I continue to reflect on what it means to live A (more) Hidden Life.
I am wondering if it is time to be silent;
To remove myself from the noise, to be one less voice clamoring to be heard.
I am still so full.
I have so much to share.
Yet who am I to say my voice is more important than any other’s? There are so many….singing, crying, shouting, falling silent.
I am overwhelmed by information, by the incredible cacophony of sound, of the millions living and dying around me.
This is not simply a moment of stepping away, a few days spent in quiet. There seems to be a greater pull, another voice calling me away into the dark depths of my soul.
There is a dying here, a fear that I will become forever mute and unheard, that I will forgo my responsibility to creation and others by withdrawing,
Though there seems to be a difference now, as if the crashing outside the cave is only that and that if I wait with intention I will be called out into the light of purpose in a timing not my own by the quiet voice of God.
my inner child
has an old soul
wide eyed in wonder
with a weighty load
my old soul cares
for an inner child
and hopes to still see
wonder with wiser eyes
I rarely pay attention to what I inhale and exhale.
My breathing is automatic.
I take in the air around me and rarely notice its movement in my lungs, the taste of it in my mouth.
I used to long for the mountaintop experience and now I wonder if there is such a thing, if the thin air found at the apex distorts one’s view.
The idea that one should go to the mountaintop to find the answers now seems somehow suspect to me. Such experiences far too often seem to fade rather quickly when one re-enters the everyday of middle earth.
There is a sickness that comes with remaining in places devoid of oxygen, where the air is thin and the mind can wander and cease to be clear.
One can see far but perhaps the sight is a distraction.
Sometimes I wonder if the answers are found simply by going underground into the inner caves that reside within my soul.
O, for the patience to remain on the ground and learn to breathe again.
I leave my house and the wet snow strikes my face.