Show Yourself

Some people on the Disney Plus discussion page are saying they’ve seen Frozen 2 one hundred times.  Gosh, I’d sure be tired of anything by then.  It’s tempting to say no to something so outrageously popular … without really looking inside.  So I looked.

Elsa sings a stunning song called Show Yourself.  My mouth dropped open as hers soared, so I had to watch it again … and again.  Happily it was three times not a hundred.

Elsa is searching:

Show yourself
I’m dying to meet you
Show yourself
It’s your turn
Are you the one I’ve been looking for
All of my life?
Show yourself
I’m ready to learn

Ah yes, the search for that special someone – a human being who will join with me and make my life complete.  It could be a lover, or one’s child, or a famous person I’m enthralled with.  It could be a community of like-souled people, in whose company I feel at home.

Show yourself
I’m no longer trembling
Here I am
I’ve come so far
You are the answer I’ve waited for
All of my life
Oh, show yourself
Let me see who you are

You are the answer to my question, the solution to my problem, the happiness that has so often eluded me.  I’ve been searching so long for you.

Come to me now
Open your door
Don’t make me wait
One moment more

It has to be now.  No more delayed gratification, which might only bear fruit when I’m 75.  I need love now.  I need to be held.  I need to hold.

***

And then there is the “Ah hah!”  The realization that I’ve been looking in the wrong direction.  My savior has been abiding within … all this time.  Would someone please give me a mirror?

Show yourself
Step into your power
Grow yourself
Into something new
You are the one you’ve been waiting for
All of your life
Oh, show yourself

Shall I?
Shall you?
What shall we show the world?

Injury

At times I have a rigid view of who Bruce is.  It’s healthy for me to have that jolted once in awhile.

I can’t go to the gym anymore so a few weeks ago my thought was to walk.  I live on the edge of a village and there are plenty of roads for my inspection.  I tell people I see that I’m going for a walk “around the block”, chuckling inside that the navigation I’m talking about is nine kilometres (six miles).

So … Bruce is now a walker, a long walker – two-and-a-half hours.  And Bruce does this every day because he wants to retain some fitness and simply be out in the open air, greeting folks from six feet away.  Bruce does not take a break from his routine.

Most recently, twelve days in a row I ventured forth and ventured back.  Slow and steady.  Halfway through the twelth time, however, my left knee started complaining:  “What are you doing, old man?  It’s not like you’re 25 anymore.  I’m getting tired of all this, and it’s time to let you know!”

So I hobbled through the last hour.  I was out in the country.  A few cars came by.  I realized that no one was going to drive me home.  There wouldn’t be enough physical distancing.  So I grunted and hobbled.

That was Sunday.  Yesterday the knee was puffed up and it was hard to move around the house.  It’s some better today.  Both times I haven’t set a foot outside the door.  I can feel the twinge of “should”, focused on outdoor travel.  But if I let that word into my consciousness, it needs to be about “rest”.  And so I do.

Will I “trip the light fantastic” tomorrow?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  Right now, there’s a blessed looseness about me, certainly not in the physical realm, but in the spiritual.  Who I am is a pathway, not a destination.  And there are many twists and turns along the way – for my body and for my mind.

Days, Weeks, Months, Years

I remember March 12, and the school secretary telling me that her family had to make a decision about going south to Florida for the March Break.  I suggested that they go, especially because all the kids were looking forward to the sun and sand, but I also mentioned that they should stay away from Disney World.  Seems like ancient advice now.  I was thinking “It’s only nine days.  Not a problem.”

Over time, any thought of “days” has become irrelevant in this time of coronavirus.  The discussion soon blended into “weeks”.  The Ontario Premier announced that after March Break, the kids would be away from school for a further two weeks.  “That’s okay.  I’ll have lots of time for meditating, and reading books, and watching cool movies.  Plus I’ll see the kids again on April 6” … which happens to be today.  School now won’t return until at least May 4.  “Hey, that’s only four more weeks.  We’ll keep our physical distancing going for that time, and then I’ll be able to go out to Boston Pizza for a beer again.”

Or not.

There’s a newer word that’s crept into the conversations of politicians and health officials – “months”.  Perhaps the school year is over.  I volunteer in a Grade 5/6 class in a school where the 6’s graduate.  So maybe I’ll never see them as a group again.  Perhaps there won’t be any US Open tennis tournament for me to go to at the beginning of September.  I’ve been so looking forward to being in New York City and watching the best players in the world hit the ball back and forth!

A few days ago, Doug Ford, the Ontario Premier, gave us dire projections of coronavirus death in our province.  Hidden amid the 3,000 to 15,000 figures (if we maintain physical distancing and good hand-washing) was a smaller number – “2”.  Ontario health officials  think that the pandemic could be with us for another 18 months to 2 years.  Oh my.

So it could be that not only I won’t see the Grade 6 kids again, but also the Grade 5’s.  Oh … immense sadness at the prospect.

Will it be two years before I can go to a party again?
Before I can have breakie with other local folks at the Belmont Diner?
Before I can hug my friends?

The future draws us forward with its unseen arms

Skye and Dad

Sometimes CNN pulls my heart out and leaves it lying on the floor.

Conrad Buchanan was a 39-year-old DJ in Florida.  He died from the coronavirus last week.  On March 14, he woke up unwell.  Soon his wife Nicole tried to get him tested but her request was turned down. Conrad was too young and didn’t have any underlying medical conditions.

Days later Conrad was having trouble breathing.  “The 22nd was when I brought him to the hospital.  I never saw him again.”  Staff intubated him (inserted a breathing tube into his airway so a ventilator could push air into his lungs).  Since the hospital was on lockdown, Nicole wasn’t allowed to enter the building.  “I never got to say ‘I love you.'”

Skye is Nicole and Conrad’s daughter.  She loves ballet.  She loves her dad.  “He would do dances with me.”  Conrad even showed up for a “daddy-daughter thing” at the ballet school.  “It was funny because he could perform in front of like millions of people when he DJ’d, but when he danced … it wasn’t the best.”

“We just overall shared everything.  He brought me to school.  He brought me to ballet.  He was my everything.”

Interviewer:  “Skye, give us one last thought on how you want us all to think of your father.”

“I thought he was pretty cool.  I think even if people don’t know him, he brightened up everyone’s day.  Just think of him dearly, you know.  Find your rhythm in life.  Listen to the beat.  Dance and express yourself in order to connect with people from all walks of life.”

Thank you, Skye.

 

 

 

Meditating

I often ask myself how I can contribute to people during this time of coronavirus.  The physical basics are clear: Keep myself well so I don’t infect anyone.  Wash my hands a lot … for twenty seconds.  Stay at least six feet away from other human beings.

In the emotional and spiritual arena, I’ve been on the phone with local friends and on Zoom with friends from far away.  On my daily walks, I really say hi to those who come my way.

All of this is good.

This morning I decided to meditate for a long time.  I sensed that this was another way to impact the world.  You may be asking “How can sitting in a chair for an hour and emptying your mind do any good in this crisis?”  And I don’t have a rational answer for you.  As I reflect on this right now, with my laptop on my lap, I simply know, at some mysterious level, that my time in meditation makes a difference.

Just so you know, there’s no emptying the mind of thoughts.  Trying to get rid of them doesn’t work.  By grace, over time, the thoughts lessen in intensity, duration and frequency.  And so it was this morning.  The space within was clear and quiet.  The bouncing ball at one point just stopped bouncing.  Later on, a few bounces returned, but they faded away again.

I didn’t feel like I was sending love to all of us swimming through the pandemic.  For a long time the word “give” was with me as I sat in the chair, but it was like I was in the middle of giving and being given to, rather than an active doer.  Then even “give” disappeared.  The awareness of love disappeared.  All was quiet.  There was radiation outward for awhile … then that too went “Poof!”

I sat for nearly two hours.  Near the beginning, thoughts of setting a new time record came, and thankfully went.  For the rest of the time, there was no feeling of achievement, no feeling of Bruce.  But something was cooking.   Once again, I know this is true.

Am I deluded?  No
Am I strange?  Yes
Am I contributing?  For sure

Many Together

This afternoon I was one of 240 people showing up to experience the work of the Evolutionary Collective, as facilitated by Patricia Albere, the organization’s founder.  We showed up virtually – on Zoom.  The technology allows us to view 25 people at a time on our computer screens.  Amazing … all in real time.  Some of the folks online today chose not to turn their video on, so their little rectangles were blank, save for their name.  I’m guessing that 200 of us were visible to all of us.

Clicking on an arrow, again and again, allowed me to see 200 human beings.  It took my breath away.  Young folks, old ones and in-betweens.  Men and women.  All the way from sitting erect to almost lying down.  An infinity of clothing choices, and of living rooms.

I had never experienced such a volume of intimacy.

There’s a love that doesn’t require time, history, shared events.  I felt that love today.  And I decided to express it.  I would look at each face and say “I love you.”

I started.  Zoom sets it up with five rows of five people.  In the top row is the person who logged in on this computer (in my case – me!) and four more folks.  I was second from the left.  I looked at the woman in the top left corner and said “I love you.”  Then I skipped me and addressed the third, fourth and fifth person in order.

Then it hit me “I left out Bruce.”  Hmm … such a common mistake in the world of humanity.

So I began again.  In the back of my head was the thought “How am I going to say “I love you” to 240 people and still listen to Patricia and folks who are sharing?  I better speed up.”

Hit again.  “I’m not even seeing these people.  It’s “Hi-Bye” and on to the next.  There was no noticing the beauty of each, no sense of lingering there.

So I began again.  I decided to take five seconds for each of us, and to look inside every one.  A voice intruded: “But you won’t get around to everybody!”  I paused, and realized the voice was correct.  Perhaps, though, the ones not gazed upon will somehow be included.

I reached 59 souls before the call ended, including me
It was enough
We connected
I smiled

Overreacting

This morning, I was watching “The Sunday Scrum” on CBC News Network.  There was a moderator and four panelists, all grappling with the coronavirus.  At one point, a woman said “Let’s bring in the army.”  Two of her colleagues reacted with stunned faces, and then said that this reaction would be “over the top”.  It seems to me that the other two folks danced around the issue.

The army?  Sounds like a doomsday movie where looters are shot on sight.  But that wasn’t at all what the woman was proposing.

We’re in the middle of  “There’s a big problem.  What do we do?”  Since early March, the Canadian Government has slowly ratcheted up its solutions:

1. We recommend that …
2. It is strongly advised that …
3. You are ordered to … (no consequences mentioned)
4. You are ordered to … (mild consequences mentioned)
5. You are ordered to … (hefty fines and possibly jail terms mentioned)
6. You are ordered to … (police active in fining and arresting people)

According to the Canada Census, about 37,500,000 Canadians were alive in 2019, and about 30,400,000 of them were adults.  If 95% of us adults are abiding by the directives for physical distancing, staying away from groups and washing our hands, that would leave about 1,520,000 who aren’t.

In 2018, the estimated number of police officers in Canada was 68,562. Divide one by the other and you get 22.  That’s the number of coronavirus offenders that each officer would have to keep track of, as well as doing their other duties.  And really, are 95% of us following the rules?  Plus left out of this guesswork are young people up to the age of 17.

I say invoke the Emergencies Act.  This would allow the deployment of the Armed Forces across our country.  It’s not a restriction of our civil liberties.  For we are not at liberty to infect others and increase the spread of this disease.

If this is overreacting in the usual way of thinking, I’m okay with it.  We need to save ourselves.

Where Is Everybody?

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that my task today was to search through the 156 episodes of the original Twilight Zone TV series to find some guidance in this time of coronavirus.

I started at the very beginning.  Episode One of Season One was telecast on October 2, 1959.  The fold-out card that came with the DVDs described “Where Is Everybody?” this way:

Earl Holliman stars as a man on the edge of hysteria in an oddly deserted town.  Despite the emptiness, he has the strangest feeling that he’s being watched.

Was this promising for my mission?  I didn’t know.  Perhaps Wikipedia could help.  A minute later, the plot of Episode One lay before me.  And it was indeed promising.

***

On my walks in and near Belmont, there haven’t been many people to say “Hi” to.  Even the cars seem to be hunkered down in their driveways and garages.  But at least the birds are still in full song.  Overall, it’s eerie.  Out in the country, I scan the horizon for walking human beings, hoping that they won’t turn off before reaching me.

***

On my TV, a young man is alone on a country road, approaching a town.  Our host, Rod Serling, sets the stage:

The place is here.  The time is now.  And the journey into the shadows that we’re about to watch could be our journey.

It certainly is.

Main Street is empty.  “Anybody here?  Hey!  Hey!”

There’s a woman sitting in a car across the street.  “I don’t seem to remember who I am,” he calls out.  But she’s a mannequin.

The phone is ringing in a telephone booth.  He sprints, longing for a voice to be with.  There is one at the other end of the line … a recording.

A church bell tones through the silence, echoing.

There’s a diner kitty corner, and the man finds ice cream, but no people.  He watches himself in a mirror as the delicious flavour goes down.  No joy.

“I’d like to find somebody to talk to!”

The man bursts into a movie theatre … row upon row of empty seats.  A film is showing but the projection room is empty.

It turns out that this was a military experiment to assess the ability of prospective astronauts to cope with the emptiness of space.  The assessors are blunt:  “He cracked … It’s a kind of nightmare that your mind manufactured for you.”

As the credits rolled, so did Rod’s words:

The barrier of loneliness: the palpable, desperate need of the human animal to be with his fellow man.  Up there, up there in the vastness of space, in the void that is sky, up there is an enemy known as isolation.  It sits there in the stars waiting, waiting with the patience of eons, forever waiting … in The Twilight Zone.

***

My friends, we have resources beyond the physical …

Telephoning
Texting
E-mailing
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Skype
Zoom

Let’s use them

Source

I just spent an hour looking through web pages about the coronavirus, seeking some insight, some perspective, that I could share with you. Nothing tickled my brain.

Isn’t there some cutting edge scientist out there, like Dr. Fauci, who has a pearl of wisdom that I could pass on? Or perhaps the Dalai Lama, basically the leader of Buddhists around the world. He’s written so many books about the spiritual life. Surely he has an enlightening comment or two. But I didn’t find anything that sang to me. Maybe the Internet is getting proficient at hiding inspiration.

So who does that leave us with? How about you and me? Likely we don’t have the years of scientific study or a deeply meditative life. Each of us, though, has a history of life experiences that’s taught us a thing or two. It’s not our first rodeo, even though we’ve never ridden a bucking bronco like this.

Who am I to have an original idea, something that no one’s thought of? It seems outrageous … but really why not? It’s worth a try.

Hmm. Nothing’s coming. I’ll wait a bit longer …

Still waiting.

***

As my mind relaxes, a thought emerges:

Bruce, downstairs you have a collection of episodes from the 1960s TV series “The Twilight Zone”. There are probably sixty of them. There’s an answer in there somewhere.

But that wouldn’t be my original idea.

Bruce … the originality will be in how you apply the writer’s idea to the coronavirus.

Okay. I guess you’re right. I’ll head downstairs.

***

I’m back. It’s a box set of 28 DVDs … 156 episodes … about 75 hours of playing time. (Sigh)

Somewhere within all those stories is guidance for us
I will find it

Shifting Perspective

In these days of the coronavirus, our TVs still show us messages that purport to make our lives better.  Some commercials have me pause.  Just how important is the suggested improvement?

1.  A grizzly bear has a fish in its mouth.  Suddenly, his eyes go wide and the fish plummets to the ground.  He has seen a shiny new truck go by.

2.  A woman smiles radiantly through a shining face.  She is the happy user of a “rapid wrinkle repair” cream.

3.  A riding mower zips along.  Who knew that I have the power to be a “guardian of the grass”, a “keeper of the green”?  I can “ride faster”, be a “time cruncher”.  Happiness follows.

4.  My hair can be rescued from the ravages of time.  “Rich, radiant colour” is mine for the taking because, after all, “no colour covers greys better.”

5.  All will be well.  This drug will give me clear skin.  Unfortunately, “serious allergic reactions may occur.”

6.  To be a real man, a full head of hair is required.  Thank God that I can “defy hair loss by regrowing more hair” and that “[my] satisfaction is guaranteed.”

***

From whence does my satisfaction arise?
Is there a person, thing or action that will rescue me from the doldrums of life?
Or should I take another look at the values I choose?