We Are We

I look back on the last week and an image comes to mind. It feels like a recurring dream but part of my mind says that it really happened in this physical life.

There’s a huge white sheet of paper and in the middle are typed some words … unknown words. Then the mad typist in charge of things writes more words up and to the right of the first group, overlapping them. Then the process continues, overlap after overlap, until the whole page is full. And I still didn’t have a clue about the message.

Okay, clearly this is a dream. So why does my brain keep saying “This is real”? Ah, the mysteries of life.

There was another wake up call this morning (definitely a good thing!). And the voice: “The first words are ‘I am me.'” Oh. Thanks for sharing. “One step out from the centre, in all directions, is ‘You are you.'” I just lay there, waiting for the next revelation. “After that, the words are ‘We are we.’ Then the pattern repeats … endlessly.”

More lying there feeling stunned. The personal story isn’t about Bruce Kerr. A lot of it is to do with all the “you’s” who come my way. But the real message is that I am through the we. I only know Bruce through the relationships he has. I’m no island. I’m an archipelago, with flowery bridges joining us all.

I can’t wait to go to sleep tonight. I hope we all show up.

Being Written

I’ve been doing this blog for more than four years, and 750 posts later I’ve discovered a few things:

1.  Whenever I sit down at my laptop to write, a post is revealed.  Maybe I have a clear picture of the future words, or maybe nothing has come to me.  Either way, I trust deeply that my inner me will express itself in some manner.

2.  I write about what moves me, whether it’s silly or serious.  If the topic doesn’t “sing” to me, why bother?  Sometimes I feel a narrowing of my forehead skin and a pursing of the lips … signs that I’m engaged.   A quickening of the heart.

3.  Increasingly, I don’t care what you folks in cyberland think of my thoughts.  First of all, I have no idea how many of you there are.  “Likes” are nice but that’s just small ego stuff.  Even if you don’t enjoy what I have to say, I figure I’m planting seeds that will somehow enhance life on Earth.  “That sounds egotistical, Bruce.”  Oh well.  I don’t think it is but if I’m perceived that way by some, that’s okay.  I deeply want to contribute but even if you’re all sitting there shaking your heads, I’ll keep writing.

4.  I’ve read a lot in my life, and my posts often reflect what someone else has said.  Works for me.  But beyond that, what brand new things can I bring to this existence?  Yes, brand new.  I think it’s in me, and in you, to bring new flowers to blossom.

All right, how about a quote, from one of my faves – Teilhard de Chardin:

I would like to speak as I think, without concern for what is accepted, with the sole idea of translating as faithfully as possible what I hear murmuring in me like a voice or song, which are not of me, but of the World in me.  I would like to express the thoughts of a man who, having finally penetrated the partitions and ceilings of little countries, little coteries [groups that are exclusive of others], little sects, rises above all these categories and finds himself a child and citizen of the Earth.

Often, such as tonight, the words flow from my fingers without much thought.  It feels like I am being written.  It feels like I’m a conduit for something big.

Okay, Bruce, that’s enough musing.  Just publish the darn thing.

History Now

My new condo neighbour “Brad” is a very cool fellow.  He’s well into his 70’s and brimming with appreciation for Belmont, his new home.  Both of us have a cornfield out back that we love.

Brad and I went out for breakfast today at the Belmont Diner.  I wanted to introduce him to the regulars and he enjoyed meeting them, engaging in several conversations.  He’s an easy guy to know.

Brad is a historian.  He’s done lots of research on the Black Donnellys, an Irish family who emigrated to Lucan in Canada in the 1800’s.  The Donnelly clan got involved in some violent disputes with the locals, and many members of the family were killed at their homestead one night in 1880.

I watched Brad’s face as he talked about the Donnellys, about standing by the foundation of their home, about the feelings of the Lucan residents he’s met.  He was living right now in the events of the past, totally engaged in the story.

Brad lived for a time in Fort Erie, Ontario, and I learned of him gathering artifacts from the War of 1812, between the United States and the precursor of Canada.  He talked about the heavy cannonballs that the Americans fired at the British from their ships in the Niagara River, and then told me that he has one of them in his home.  Brad also has a collection of buttons from the tunics of American soldiers.  His eyes were wide as he transported himself back 200 years.

Then there was the native princess who lived by herself in a tent near Minnedosa, Manitoba – Brad’s hometown.  As a young boy, he watched the woman as she sat on a large rock in her native dress, gazing out over Lake Minnedosa.  He would encircle the  rock, trying to draw her into conversation.  But she was in her own world.  In the years since, Brad has tried to figure out who she was, and has collected many arrowheads from a local battleground once shared by two tribes.

Throughout all of this, there was Brad’s face … animated with the stories of the past.  Clearly he is enriched by the journeys of those who have gone before.  History is alive in his soul.

My eyes were opened over bacon and eggs.  The aliveness of Brad merged with my own and I realized that people who lived decades and centuries ago have lessons to teach me.  May I absorb these lessons in order to become a more empathetic person, and may that empathy touch lives in 2018.

 

Energy In … Energy Out

Last Wednesday I was sitting in my bike shop, talking to my good friend and mechanic Sygnan.  He’s done so much marvelous work for me over the years and our conversations are rich.

What are you going to do tonight, Sygnan?

I’ll watch a movie at home.

DVD?

No, I have a box.

And so we began chatting about the wonders of an android box, through which just about every film in existence, including those still in theatres, is available  for home viewing.  Plus it’s legal.

My heart quickened.  I admit I was zeroed in on Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, but any movie?  What an orgy of delight!  I love love stories … bet I’ll be able to find a hundred great ones.  I love history stories … the whole past of the world will soon be laid out before me.  Night after night of watching the best in cinema.  Heaven.

Sygnan told me where to buy the android box and I headed there forthwith.  The salesman was knowledgeable and friendly and soon I was heading home with my treasure.  I plunked the valuable little device on my washer and knew that tomorrow I’d hook everything up.

Thursday was a busy day and that evening I just didn’t feel like figuring things out, so the box continued its sojourn with the washer.

Friday I had places to go and people to meet.  No time for reading long instruction sheets.

Saturday I glanced at the washer as I was heading out and thought “That’s odd.  I haven’t done a darn thing to make this happen.  Oh well.”

And then there’s today.  As I allowed my eyelids to part in the early hours, and as my brain started to put two and two together, it came to me:

I don’t want to watch endless movies

I lay there and thought deep about the person I’ve become.  My excitement as I drove from the bike shop to the computer store was an unconscious variety.  An old version of Bruce was gung ho for an old version of what was fun … prolonged sessions of absorbing the best in cinema.  Apart from my aberrant interest in the latest Mamma Mia, I don’t want to sit on my couch letting the energy flow into me.  I want energy to flow out of me … to my fellow human beings.  I want to participate with other voyageurs in the Evolutionary Collective Global Community.  I want to sit down and have heart-to-hearts with local folks.  I want to write these blog posts, every day if I’m up to it.

(Speaking of “Bruce’s Blog”, you’ll be happy to know that, on average, I’ve posted every day for the last 69.  Occasionally I’d miss a day, but in the spirit of anality perhaps, I’d double up the next day.)

So, for the remaining 38 years of my life (good luck on that), I intend to put things out there far more than drawing in movies, books, newspapers and TV sports.  And if I’m reading a book or watching some remarkable recently released musical, I’ll do so in the spirit of being nourished so that I may nourish others.

Who I was yesterday is not who I am today
Who I am today is not who I will be tomorrow
I wonder who that person will be

Companionship

The joy of finding a mind extremely sympathetic to my own

The spiritual excitement of making contact with a soul
full of enthusiasm for the world

The satisfaction of realizing that the questions I’m concerned with
are indeed those that have animated the deep-rooted life of humanity

Teilhard de Chardin

So I search for a life companion, and for friends who are moved to their core by the majesty of living.  I search for people who are willing to open their heart as we talk.  I search for men and women who feel poised on the edge of the future, wondering with all their wonder about what human beings can become.

I know some folks like this, but for one reason or another they are not deeply present in my life.  The ones whom I see week in and week out no doubt have the stirrings of possibility inside them, but they don’t often speak it.  Or maybe they never speak it.  And that’s fine.  I’ll take any conversation and usually bring forth a silent blessing for both of us.  Still, I yearn for the dialogue.

Someday, within my red and yellow condo walls, a fellow imbiber of the spirit will sit with me in meditation and communion and emergence.  Friends of the journey will gather for food and drink and sacred dialogue.  Just not yet.

What astonishments can we create together?
This to be determined in the fullness of time

I Say Tomato … You Say Tomawto

If you’ve been reading my latest blog posts, you know that I’m obsessed with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.  Yesterday I read some viewer reviews of the film.  It’s not that Person A is right and Person B is wrong.  It’s just that human beings can be so different from each other.  And I figure that’s part of what makes the world go round.

***

What an incredible experience this movie was.  I had goosebumps during every song, which I sang along whispering, tapping my feet.

A degradation of all humanity.  I had a dozen humorous quips as to why this rates as the worst musical – in order to make light of the painful reality.

If you enjoyed the first, get ready to be thrilled by this!  From the tear-jerking moments to “I want to be the dancing Queen” moments, from start to finish, I can happily say I’ve never enjoyed a film more in my life.  I’ve been to see it twice and would happily watch it every day.

What a terrible let down.  Really wanted to enjoy this movie but just didn’t.  Both myself and my wife watched it until the end and both felt the same RUBBISH.

What this movie will bring you are true emotions.  Through acting, singing and dancing, this young and talented cast will take you through an emotional rollercoaster.

The biggest problem for me with this movie is that it doesn’t convey any emotions.  When a character in the movie supposedly goes through a hard time, I just don’t feel anything.  They are not even trying to make you feel something.

The story line really grabs you and keeps you in until the very end!!  There are twists and turns that make you feel for the characters.  One moment you’re laughing and the next you’re almost in tears!!

The script is blunt, naïve, cheesy and immature at times.  It follows an indefinite structure that collapses before it even builds itself up.

The singing was bliss.

Singing – can’t say who is worst.  Like someone made a bet how many eardrums they can rupture.  If that is the actual singing voice of Lily James, then she should never ever try again.

I went to watch this with my daughter, niece and their friends and they had tears rolling down their faces at one of the later scenes.

These films are just so cheesy and clichéd.  They’re totally uninvolving as well; I couldn’t care less about any of the characters in either film, or any of their drama.

Mamma Mia 2 made the whole cinema laugh and clap.

No one in our movie theater laughed except one time and it was the line by Colin Firth that was already in the trailer.

When Streep appears in the film’s final moments, it transcends us into a state of touching reality and completes its beautiful message about the legacies of love and the importance of time and family.

Our only disappointment was the appearance of Meryl Streep.  As a seasoned actress, who has been given some high profile parts over the years, she is no longer an enjoyable character on screen … or off!  Her abilities in acting have diminished greatly and she does not command the respect she once had.

Was not expecting to leave the place with a wet face from all those tears … not from sadness but from the very, very touching ending!  WOW!!!

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is all about beautiful people, their artificially created problems, fake tears, sadness and meaningless joy.

I’ve seen this movie 3 times and I am planning a 4th, no regrets.  This movie and its predecessor changed my life and I’m proud to call them my favourite films.

Actually, a defibrillator would have helped this comatose snoozer.  I was as enthused as the rest of the audience when we took our seats, hoping for some fun dance videos paper-clipped together by a ridiculous plot.  But alas, the magic is gone.

One of the best movies I’ve ever seen, definitely.

I had to apologize to my friends for making them go to this movie.  Cher was not essential.  There was no plot to speak of.  It was just a train wreck.

At the end of the film, the audience in the cinema gave a round of applause, including me.

The whole thing is so bad that it was almost embarrassing to stay in the theater till the end …

***

Go see it

 

At the Counter

I eat breakfast at the Belmont Diner about three times a week.  I love walking there.  And I love the horseshoe-shaped lunch counter.  Today “Bob” was across the way and “Ralph” was a few seats to my right.  I wondered what I’d learn from these guys.

As the three of us talked, the dishwasher was going full speed.  I know that my hearing has declined over the past few years but this morning was an extra challenge.  Ralph has just moved to Belmont and he was talking about his hometown of Windsor, Ontario.  But I was missing a word or two from every sentence.  I so much wanted to understand what he was telling me but the gaps were too big for me to fill in.  So I sat there and sighed.  It came through so vividly how deeply I want to be in communion with other human beings.  The pull was intense.  And then I realized that I could just “be with” Ralph and meet him in a place that didn’t require a complete story.  I knew that beside me sat a man who was grappling with the meaning of the word “home” … such a human thing to do.

On the other side of the counter, Bob was reminiscing about his days as a hockey referee.  I love hockey and I wanted to immerse myself in the life of an on-ice official.  Alas, his story was also hit-and-miss to my ears.  And again, once I saw how contracted I was, how tensed up, I let go into the sweet memories that are such a part of his life.

There seem to be different levels of listening and the limitations of my ears need not stop me from “getting” the people who come my way.  I’ll keep exploring new ways of sensing into the souls around me.

***

Here are two stories, as best as I can figure:

1.  Bob refereed for years, usually games with teenaged players and rabid fans.  In one particular rowdy arena, a bunch of well-lubricated fellows sat in the front row.  They delighted in blasting the “bad” calls uttered by said referee.  Bob noticed that their beers were propped on a narrow shelf on the other side of the protective glass.  He’d had enough of their bombast and casually smashed his arm on the glass, causing a vibration that toppled the cups onto their owners’ laps.  The reaction he got?  Howls of laughter.  Bob reffed many other games at that arena and each time those guys were sitting there, cups against the glass.  And each time Bob smashed, beers descended and howls commenced.  What a great story!

2.  Ralph knows Windsor like the back of his hand.  A new bridge is being built to link the city with Detroit across the river, and many of the approaching roads are done.  Recently Ralph got on one of those routes … and had no idea where he was.  Windsor was unrecognizable and Ralph was supremely disoriented.  I saw it in his face.  How strange to have the comfort of “home” jolted away.

***

Not hearing everything
Getting the truth of everything
Smiling

Letting Go

I stood in my bicycle shop today, ready to take ta-pocketa home.  My road bike has served me well for twenty years, but there have been issues.  First the practical stuff:  My bike is too big for me.  I wasn’t fitted correctly in 1997.  And then there’s the skinny road tires.  Ever since the tendon transfer surgery in 2003, my balance has been off and the tires allow precious little room for error.  Second the emotional stuff:  My few days in the Tour du Canada zapped me.  I didn’t have the bike skills for downtown Vancouver and the semitrailers whizzing by on the highway terrified me.

Ta-pocketa has been part of me for so long.  But so had the home I shared with Jody in Union, Ontario.  A year after she died, I knew that I had to leave.  It was too heartrending to sit in the family room and imagine her cooking in the kitchen.  The chapter was over, and so I moved to Belmont.  I stared at ta-pocketa this afternoon and realized that this chapter was done too.  I need to be more stable on the bicycle.  I need to diminish my fear on the bicycle.  I need Betty.

Betty is the hybrid bike I bought a few months ago, fully capable of carrying me over the gravel roads near Belmont, plus the many paved ones.  I’ve never ridden her.

“Goodbye, ta-pocketa.  Thank you for the journey.”  I told Sygnan to sell my dear friend – $1000 firm.  I placed my hand on her top tube and remembered the good times.  But those times aren’t now.  I’m older and not as able as I once was.

The future is pulling me.  I sense that it will include cycling, but a slower version, on country roads.  No hurry to get anywhere.  Just enjoying the rhythm of Betty and me.

We must let go of the life we have planned
So as to accept the one that is waiting for us
(Joseph Campbell)

Transom

This afternoon I sat in my meditation chair looking out the bedroom window, just as I’m doing now.  The window is composed of four five-foot-long panes of glass, three vertical and a horizontal one at the top.  I learned two years ago, as my condo was being built, that the top one was called a transom.

After an hour or so of meditation today, I opened my eyes.  A puffy cumulus cloud was drifting slowly across the transom window, left to right.  A bit of blue was on the left edge.  I decided to stare.  Mr. Cumulus was sure taking his time and I could feel its peace within me.  How about that?  No hurry at all.  “I hope you’re listening, Bruce.”

As I gazed at the sky, I thought of my life.  A couple of minutes later, the left edge of the cloud passed above the middle pane, and I reflected on my 30’s and 40’s.  They were good years.  Jody and I enjoyed each other.  I enjoyed my teaching.  I enjoyed the kids.  And the cloud keeps drifting.

Now it’s over the right panel and other kids paint my life, as I volunteer at the elementary school nearby.  I have a new home.  I’m in a worldwide community of folks who are exploring consciousness.  Life is good.  But now the transom is mostly blue, and the white travels on.  I try to hold onto it but it continues to float eastward, on a mission I guess.  “Don’t go.  Stay with me.”

And then … poof!  The cloud is gone and my world is brilliantly blue.  How peaceful are the endings.

I hope to live for many more years but “the future’s not ours to see.  Que sera, sera.”

What will be, will be

Five!

Okay, I admit it.  Tonight I went to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again for the fifth time.  This afternoon, I could feel the pull of the theatre, and as the Borg said in Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Resistance is futile.”  Now that shouldn’t be true.  I should be strong enough to chart another course, away from the magnificent love story, and towards reading a good book at home.  Shouldn’t I?

The movie is a magnet to me … such a vivid display of love – romantic, parent-child and friends.  I wrote about the film before so tonight will be a different direction.

Point number one > Who cares if I see a movie five times?  It cost me $50 plus popcorn.  And the joy it gave me was far beyond that.  What brought forth the joy was moments of communion between two people.  Time stood still as each gazed into the other’s eyes.  Just what I need to create in my real life.

Point number two > The difference between being pulled toward ecstasy and being pulled toward regression is immense.  Five beers would do me in and likely lead to a night over the toilet.  Life diminishing.  Five mother-daughter reunions leave me singing, in my voice and in my heart.  Life enhancing.

Point number three > Being drawn toward aliveness completely overwhelms being drawn to nothing.  Imagine waking up every day with nothing animating your spirit, nothing to look forward to, other than perhaps another day of consuming this or that.  Receiving the products of the world but not putting much out there to benefit fellow humans.  Compare that to anticipating the next conversation, and what two beings can create together.

So … is there a sixth viewing in me?  I’m not ruling it out.  Plus the Blu-ray comes out on December 31.  Happy New Year to me.