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Archive for July, 2011

I write to provide a steady outlet for an ever-swelling kettle of heavy thoughts

and inner suspicions

Pulling lines from a lake of wisdom that says no fishin but still fillin the shores with creatively captured acumen

Not using lures and wiggling victims but sending visions (still twitching) to a depth where pressure fades and meaning is revealed

Lines sway in streams of altered conscious undaunted by passing distractions

The hook only catches pure thoughts of boundless imagination that happens to be passing by

You have to cast a line at the exact time as it’s not a matter of having ‘em snag the bate but a factor of chancing one’s fate & capturing a great moment of inspiration

I like to hold the mental illustration of a thousand lures traded for a second of beauty that only I can see

A brief third-eye inner body experience that I hold to myself & the blessing of how well I can conjure the moments and relive the minutes presented in pristine clarity beyond Technicolor or hi-definition

In this sentence I feel the essence of my living

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Is the glass half full or is it half empty?

We all kind of “want” to say the glass is half full because it means we look at life with a certain appreciation for the simple things and an optimism that means we are typically more pleased than we are unfulfilled. I certainly think I muster those traits pretty well, though sometimes with effort, but if you had to officially register under one status, like it were an option between two open bubbles on a test form, I’d say I’m a glass is half empty person.

It’s hard to think about the answer so easily as what it means versus what you perceive the question to be. The full part is what you notice first, because it’s there. There’s something physically there to look at. But I think a hallmark of wisdom is to always consider the other side, to always remember what you don’t know, and to try to imagine what might be missing from the picture you’re being shown.

So my mind is on the empty part of the glass longer than it is on the full part of the glass.

You hear one side of a story, but what else might there be? What’s missing? What was left out?

Or, you’ve made it to a certain level of accomplishment or expertise in something, but how much further might you be capable of reaching?

The potential for the empty part of the class is like the uncarved stone.

Under this philosophy, the ‘glass is half full’ people I think might be someone who can find something new that they like and fixate specifically on that one thing, whereas others would naturally move forth thinking to themselves “If this thing that is good is out there, then what else like it might be out there?”

I can find the half-full stereotype (philosophical stereotype, I mean) to be a group who takes things more literally or at surface level. When a situation comes along they may stay centered on a focal point and reflexively fail to consider something beyond to the point that they might not change the subject of their focus until the next thing appears. There’s no right or wrong here.

I just think I’m always a half-empty glass kind of person because… the full part is obvious, and the empty part is something to consider.

That’s where your growth is.

The filled part is what is. The empty half is what could be.

The full half is the now. The empty half could be the future.

Where I am versus where I want to be.

What I am and what I could be later.

 

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Toasting Summer

This is Summer. Welcome to it.

I was talking with a friend sometime last week about how Summer is moving by. And it’s been a good one. But something was missing. Some very “Summer” was missing.

Taking in 2 soccer coaches from over seas this week turned to be a catalyzing event for not just our friends housing the fun pair, but also for most people in their common circle. The week had frequent and repeated get togethers, dinners out, ice cream socials, slip & slide fiascos, cook outs, beer pong, river swimming, tubing, sleep overs, and more smiles and hardy, hearty laughs  than can ever be counted. The impromptu week of fun, night after night for some, was what was missing. I thank our friends for bringing in Roisin and Ben the Ross.

This snapshot has a little more color.

Work is going alright. My plants are doing well. The city is having no beer shortages and everyone’s healthy as far as we know.

Thank you Summer.

 

Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment of your goodness
flow forth to awaken and heal all beings.

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Sangha Solomon

Today was a segue back to hardcore Summer. Fortunately, the uber mundane cadence of the day was enlightened with a little rhythm when I was invited to catch up with some friends for a good dinner near my house. Eight of us were at the same place for our final meal of the day and merriment was abundant. It’s funny how large a fire can start from a spark.

I also interestingly heard an interesting report on NPR this morning. Very rarely do I get in the car and feel like listening to music; this being the only time, – ever. But today was one of those rare days. So rare that I hardly ever get interested in Morning Edition again once my interest has digressed from its customary start to the day. So even more profound was it that in the time for the current minute to nearly eclipse on itself and start anew something would snag my attention and have me thoughtlessly abandon my original intention.

MBSR. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Mindfulness training and meditation really.

I’ve learned and practiced it in different ways and from difference cultures, and am inspired by the healing power of the mind in any language. It’s like slowing the idle by adjusting the engine not the pedal. Excellently interesting report, though it got my mind so wrapped up in thought that I’m not sure I remember listening to any of it. I wanted to remember to Google the subject and see what the current news might have to say about it. Something actually new for an old topic would be nice.

Top of the page: The Ekoji Temple.

Scan through the descrip… Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course. 

That’s cool. That’s the name of the temple we were at the other weekend in Fairfax.

click on that

Ekoji Buddhist Sangha. Neat.

…Grove Avenue, Richmond, VA?

Read. Read. Read. I know who might be interested in this since we were just talking about not knowing where a Buddhist temple was in Richmond.

share

– and share alike.

Over a late lunch break I called my mom who had been helping a beloved aunt of mine with getting along while my uncle was away for a few days. She was suffering from a temporary and unknown convolution of ailments they’re just going to have to revisit if it ever happens again. She seems to be doing much better now.

The day ended with the aforementioned levity where myself and 7 others went to dinner at Thai dinner. Say the last part fast as you can. Six more times.

Faster.

Think about it.

Reflect on it.

That’s all I’m really doing right now.

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Boy what a weekend.  Friday I met up with a good old bunch of fun people from my previous work at The Boathouse near Sunday Park. This one is like a lush incomparably scenic version of the more minimalist urban location they opened near Rocket’s Landing.

Saturday my girlfriend and I woke up and soon after started lounging around outside, enjoying the warm but mild run of beautiful days we’ve experienced most of this week while grilling chicken for lunch. Unexpectedly we spent the afternoon on the river with friends, trading off swimming and paddling on the boards. I brought my dog Violette and had a great time in a different way. She likes the water and I love taking her places and letting her have some real excitement. She’s been doing great off-leash for a while now and whenever I take her somewhere like this for an outing I feel I take her up a notch on how life has come to treat her. Since rescuing/adopting her I’ve thought about how rewarding it has been to take her from her cell and take care of her, letting her grow up with love and giving her the many gifts of health. So taking her out and letting her play in the real world is a treat for both of us.

We regrouped with everyone from the river later on and had another chance to just sit about and hang out as a group. Or sometimes a couple little groups. After disbandment an increasingly tinier party went to the midnight showing of the final Harry Potter at the Bow Tie. I started to fade a few times during the 2:20m-long movie, which is likely below average on length for a movie from the series. I’ve been happy with what they’ve done with all of them though. They represent the books well in a number of ways, and the excitement felt over the release of the last movie was a well-deserved continuation of all the emotions felt over the release of the final book. That was long ago now. So there’s even a little nostalgia seeded in with the excitement and resentment over the end of an era.

The World Cup also came to a conclusion today as the USA women’s soccer team failed to best the Japanese rival. I thought about it in my dreams and they seeped into my sleeping mind adjacent to the television mounted above the fire place. I know a lot of people are bummed, but there’s also pride to be gained from respectably losing a game of that magnitude. Not all of us get a chance to be named “the best”. The real value here is the journey, it’s in the rise to the top. And reaching the final bracket is victory. Good job ladies.

I had a previous post remarking and reflecting on the cooler, beautiful string of days that continued throughout most of the last 5 days, but something happened to it to make it not show up on here anymore. I’m thinking about putting up signs, Have you seen my missing blog?

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There’s a glow that permeates the world from the East
and delegates growth of the ferns and the beasts
It spreads across castles, corner stones and turrets
and warms over tassels, farmer’s homes and turnips
The night creatures scurry, belly-fed and weary
With eager eyes chirping, the virgin air merry
The field daisies moistened with evening breath
shed vapor to breezes that stream from the West
As peasants awaken with gentle alert
Woodlanders, restless, commit to their work
And places gone dark since yesterday’s passing
omit once again a colorful masking
Despite the observance of petal-side pests
A pale and round figure still hangs in the West
The country-wide energy increasingly grows
As the mother of all unceasingly glows

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Greater Indeed

are pleasures that are shared.

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Invite the resonance

Delight in the betterment of all things with this call to focus

Find your mindfulness

Let every moment of life resound and ripple throughout your being.

Honor this sentiency as the Earthly bell rings

Feel this vibration bring life to the body

Embrace oneness as energy is realigned divinely

Touch the earth

Listen as the reverberation traces an ascending spiral towards peacefulness and one’s rebirth

Make this journey

Feel not the blurring vibration but interpret every individual pulse

as a reminder for the spirit

Succumb to its beckoning with holistic adherence

Allow your soaring gaze to be grounded and your working muscles to become still

Find rest in the calling as your consciousness fills

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I had a very lazy day today. I don’t regret having spent half of today on last night because my friend Derek was in town from Bakersfield, CA and it was worth reallocating my hours in order to have a great night out being around someone who’s becoming an “old” friend. It’s been over ten years since we were students at VA Tech and I even knew him decently well before then. After a nice but kind of long day traveling up to Fairfax for the Ekoji Buddhist Temple’s Obon Festival I went out to meet up with him and whoever else he may have with him out at a bar not far from the house. I probably left around 10:30 to meet up and don’t think came home until around 3:30 or so. We played pool for a couple of hours, shared rounds of beer and appetizers, and then went to one of the little park-type spaces internal to some of the blocks around the Fan. Two of Derek’s friends brought us there and she grabbed some cans of beer from their apartment and he played his guitar for us. We talked and listened and sang and just let everything happen as it felt right to do and time flew by us without the care to draw any of our attention to the passing hours. As bars were closing down and partyers were becoming restless we were soon joined by different groups of younger kinds coming to hang out in the alley and walk around on some of the large random geometric shapes that comprised the little park. As many as 20 or 25 of them were hanging out with us under the alley lights, can-checking beers and making basic temporary companions for these last hours. A few chit-chatted here and there, but mainly those that came around us just came to sit and listen and let the music help them enjoy their likely buzzing minds that much more. It reminded me of what it was to be young like this, where you keep yourself open to situations where you just might have a chance to be around harmless strangers and feel this kind of late night city-park connection. It was a beautiful night without much humidity and an occasional fleeting breeze that stirred the lightest of alley debris and swept a few hairs on your body.

      

I love experiences involving connection because there’s something so inspiring about them. It reminds me how similar we all are. It rejuvenates my spirit to be shown how easy it is to hang out with some people. These kids show up, mingle around a random pylon or one of the shapes that looks like a sideways-turned triangle-cut slice of cheese with a hole in it, and they just inner-are with one another. Thich Nhat Hanh uses that term for the human experience where we physically just exist with one another and the very-centered spiritual souls and the harmony within our own mind and body becomes none different than all of those around you. More specific to tonight, it was fun to be around all these kids. They just showed up in different groups, intermingled with themselves and a couple of them broke to wonder around walking back and forth along the knee-high serpentine concrete barriers that provided the only kind of flow to the park considering it’s random assaults on space and function. It was one where everyone was aware of everyone and you acknowledge their presence and they do too, non-verbially from 20 feet and the the overall scent of acceptance filters the light coming out the electric poles. About 10 at a time might be sitting on the ground with Derek or along the concrete barrier with me and we were just all vibing and Matt and Derek kept mouths silent for 10 or 15 minutes while they did the best versions of old songs we all love, songs that alley I doubt had ever seen.

  One of the last dudes, just sitting. Listening.

This connection was what I tend to look for in life.

That day I had spent with Sara, another friend of ours, and 2 more friends who also form a married unit in the eyes of the government and God. We were a little hyped in the care ride up and had a great time laughing about anything that came up. We parked and quickly got settled so we could eat some of the dishes they had prepared to sell to festival goers. The day the turned to one of fun and interaction when the time to do started. In different combinations 4 of the 5 of us took turns attempting to quickly learn and perform the dances to acceptable levels. Some were simpler than other and we did better at those. Nen Daiko ramped up the group of attendants for a little while playing their various songs and triggering various fun memories for the first yearwe had attented Obon. After that was the lighting ceremony and we were led in prayer by who seemed to be one of the highest ranking leaders of the Temple. I don’t think he was Darmakirti himself, but I didn’t attempt to take the path to where my group was that would cause me to pass by him not knowing the culturally-sensitive way to approach or greet him. I was separated during all this and when I came over to the group they were all sitting or bent over aroundwhere we had previously placed out candles that morning.

The Obon is a celebration where the Buddhists remember and celebrate the loved ones and family members we have lost in our lives. You get a candle earlier during the festival and youwrite any being of previous sentience. I found our girls and Jody hovering the candles or the ground and I squatted behind Jasmine and Sara. I immediately realized our friend was having a hard time. She had lost her father and misses him dearly.

Jasmine and I found a great connected for one another one Christmas while on the way to the Christmas Eve service at Sara’s church. I posted on Facebook a status that generally expressed non-specific hopes of cheer and a great and peaceful night to those who don’t practice any religion. Jasmine happened to see that and began texting me about her appreciation for my thoughts and she began sharing her father’s struggle for health and life that had been going on for a little bit of time now. It was the year anniversary to me experiencing the most important loss a had faced in my life. We connected easily and shared a lot of concern and appreciate for the other and formed a temporarily strong bond over those late hours until the waxing new day.

Sara was consoling her as best as she could and I kneeled behind both of them sitting on the edge of the meditation garden and just rubbed her back while she kept her head down. Silent but softly exhaling the worries and pain within her. As soon as I touched her I could tell how she was feeling and decided that since Sara had taken the highest responsibility of her emotional support that the best thing I could do is just continue to rub her back all over. Some of the times when I’ve collapsed in my hands and have all my sadness pour into my head, the first thing that seems to send me to a place where I start rebuilding the strength of my soul and remembering the good things I still can be found to have often start with the soft, sympathetic, living back rub. Not the ones you give your person after a long day, but the one that where ever movement is a consoling gesture. I always feel a lot is conferred during a consoling back rub. I learn about what the person has going on inside of them and the mere allowance of you to do this is an acknowledgement of your place in their life.

Sometimes you might be brushed off because they feel it is unnecessary, or you’re not someone they can have touch them when they’re experiencing such a sad moment, whereas other times you’re just not friends who are close enough in that way, so a shrug or motion to the side lets you know they’re not interested in this physical consolement. So just the face that you’re allowed to offer your consolement is a tiny statement of you connection to this person to whom your heart is reacting to right now.

I know I tend to enjoy them as if I’m being hypnotized by the person sitting by me talking. Rubbing my back, and that physical tenderness is so much of a help sometimes that I feel I honestly get “rubbed into a better state of mind”. The verbal message may be that you have to pick yourself up and build your self back to that amazing person you have previously felt you were, but the rubbing of the back lets you feel support as if this person here feels my pain, agrees with my hurt, and is going to be happy to see me back to my normal self soon enough.

We soon enough all got ourselves us and had a more quiet drive back to Richmond. Though we still all talked and laughed quite a bit, this was still the quieter, reflective part of the road trip. The various connections in the car were a great point to reflect on as we went mile after mile down the dark interstate.

Today was overcast with these similar reflections on friends, and family, and even just people in general. I think we both here spent a lot of time thinking and feeling about what we enjoy, what we have, and what we feel we would trade anything to have. These three things apply to everyone. We just all label our feelings, fixes, and fortunes differently.

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with a weary head embedded in the sheets amidst the livin’,

and the bottled dreams that drift the spiral margins of the linens,

a body rests between the covers worn but wholehearted

from turning pages when the lesser traveled roads parted,

the pillows billow still as willows waiting for disruption, a sanctuary of the most sensational of functions,

painted to the bedpost the cover of this epic, draws connection through the mystic senses tuckered in the fabric,

seeping color sinks among the boundaries of my frame/and

I watch the dynamism known to shift the world’s arrangement,

a sparkling glaze is lowered as a curtain full of fantasy,

a land that’s rich with harmony dissolves in front the canvassing,

standing in aesthetics sheen with color like none other,

flowing water rounds the boundaries like aqueous nirvana,

Thought is compromised with nearly tangible felicity,

virginal detections born of aromatic sensory,

I journey to a tidal shore with forest in the distance,

the feeling of a million visions circle in an instance,

the scaping land that spans the cape creating heaven literally,

visualized in person with the light of vivid imagery,

awaking into slumber drawn as humble be the irony,

the dream’s derived of particles normally disguised to me,

a weary tide that rises late can still recover victory,

a gift within itself I sleep to visualize my history,

a world expands and opens hands from momentary heightening,

to cultivate the beauty that I see will bring delight to me,

a hanging candle balanced in the center leaks a thin

magic born of happiness inscribing onto sheets of wind,

I’ll serenade the centerpiece in Sun drenched Earth & be

the longest shadow demonstrating thankful feelings personally,

absorbing the abundance touching mind & body purposefully,

no wonder it’s depicted as the cyclical rebirth of me,

of course you’ll see that mind & body have a co-existing wis-dom,

obviously my almighty knows me best and then some,

now what am I but content contributing to continents,

and what am I but content to ascend above the obvious,

committed to identifying beauty in the backdrop

I shine with affirmation caught engaged within a snapshot,

(looking through the shutter moves the color through the lens cover, you’ll discover soon that others often overlook the miracle,

refracting noise & clutter as the squirming coils are striking, bending lighting to your liking has the world appearing spherical)

a tryst of pulsing rhythm sets a comfort to the scenery,

drifting clouds of memories shift into the evening,

(the sun shines the thinnest line over the land it passes

like a burning silken signature scrolling over canvas,

the beam of closest distance brings its densest gift of radiance

and changes life forever as it shifts its light away from it)

I touch the Earth with thumping hands and synchronize vibration,

so every day and night I feel the church of my creation,

a drowsy head composes sound with somnolent resound,

alas another day has fallen to the beauty of the crown,

creeping remnants of a life assort themselves through what I’m seeing,

as the portal to the mortal hues string towards my being,

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