Recipe Cards (Part One)

I’ve just spent over two hours searching the nooks and crannies of my house for … paper.  It’s the first time I’ve really noticed what a “cranny” is.

I started perhaps in 1985, making notes about something.  Essentially, I’ve never stopped.  First it was random bits of paper, then sheets from a tiny notepad, then Day-Timer pages.  Eventually I graduated to recipe cards.

I’ve just counted them all: 900 recipe cards and 927 assorted pages, most filled with handwriting front and back.

There’s a journey here.  I’ll tell you more tomorrow.

Outskirts

I was watching a TV show this morning. A new scene appeared, with a sign in the bottom left corner: “Outskirts of Atlantic City”. I’m a fairly old fellow. I’ve come across the word “outskirts” many times … and never paid attention. This morning I did.

On the edge of things, where the inside blends into the outside. Far from downtown, where most everyone goes for entertainment. That’s the centre of things, and it’s usually predictable. Cool clothing stores, funky restaurants, quiet bars, and those that rock with big screen sports.

But on the periphery, who knows what you’ll find? How about a taxidermy shop, a tire store, or a mom and pop place on the corner for necessities?

The focus is sharp downtown – lots of neon, skyhigh buildings, and buses lined up at the intersection of routes.

They say that most folks live in the suburbs but I wonder if that’s true. If you’re out there – way out there – it’s pretty disorienting at times. It’s easy to feel wobbly, lost, tilting at the junction of flying and falling. It’s not comfy on the outskirts. You may find yourself at the corner of Mystery and Innocence … and who really knows where that is?

No landmarks. No tried and true. No way home? Or every way home?

Seems like there’s no bus service out here.

Movie! (Sigh)

I’m sitting in an actual movie theatre, ready to watch an actual movie.  It’s been a long time.

I’m nestled close to … my first bag of movie popcorn since probably the 1800’s.  I feel so normal!  I’m in a really big room with this rectangle of white looming ahead. And – wonder of wonders – I’m hunkered down in a black leather reclining chair.  I feel so special!

My thoughts wander to Marvel’s “Black Widow” film.  I’m pretty sure in another place and time, I would stand beside Scarlett Johansson as we superheroes dispatch the bad guys with derring do.

My fantasy life is running wild as I wait for the really big screen to light up with action.  Let’s see.  What kind of costume would I create for myself?  It would have to be red, with touches of purple, and skin tight. That way I could show off my developing u-shaped body.  Oh, and I’d definitely need a cape … a long flowing brilliantly red jobbie that would catch the wind just so.

Oh!  The screen is now alive.  Here come assorted previews and features.  Immersion, I’m ready for you!  See you after the movie.

***

Stupid film!  Shooting and exploding.  I hereby relinquish any previous superhero ambitions.

I had trouble following the action, especially since blurred car chases greeted me from the second row.  I could figure out who’s good and who’s bad, but the intricacies of the story blew by me.  Vials of a mind control drug.  A family of Russian spies secreted away in Ohio.  Scarlet swinging on a rope from a helicopter.  Daring rescues.  A mystery woman in a metal suit.

Boring

I’ve changed … into what?  Give me a good story that shows the perfections and imperfections of us all.  I’m sitting here in reaction to all this action.  And my stomach hurts from too much buttered popcorn and chocolate covered peanuts!  Time for bed.

Results

I’m in a yearlong teacher training program with the Evolutionary Collective.  On August 3, I teach the first of four weekly sessions comprising the Mutual Awakening Practice Course.

I’ve approached 102 people, inviting them to take the course.  As of now, two folks have registered.  Most of my contact has been by e-mail – three of them spaced out over four months or so.  I suggested that people check out the EC Facebook page.  I told them about a free e-course which discusses some of the principles of mutual awakening.  I posted a video of Patricia Albere, the founder of the Evolutionary Collective, telling guests about the course.  And finally I sent a fancy e-mail, complete with cool graphics (and even a video of me!), asking recipients to consider joining me on August 3.  I was on the phone with some, and face-to-face with a few.

I wonder what it means that only two souls have said yes.  By the way, thank you, dear souls!

For months, this quote by Thomas Merton, an American theologian, has roamed around in my head.  It’s time for it to be shared:

Do not depend on the hope of results.  You may have to face the fact that your work will apparently be worthless and achieve no result at all, if not perhaps bring about its opposite.  As you get used to this, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness and the truth of the work itself.

Having two folks sign up for my course is certainly not worthless, but yes, I had hoped for more.  And … I think Thomas is right.  The work of the Evolutionary Collective in having participants experience the world away from separation, a world we call shared unity, is immense.  It has the potential to impact far and wide in the world.  Whatever the number of registrations, I need to stay true to this work.

A year ago, I asked myself what do you do if you’ve discovered something with vast power to liberate.  My answer was to tell family, friends and neighbours about a possibility that they most likely don’t know is there.  Not to shove it down their throat.  That’s neither humane nor likely to produce interest.  Just let them know it exists.  They’ll choose to respond or not.  Which brings to mind another quote, this one from Marianne Williamson:

Your playing small does not serve the world
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you

I have no interest in being enlightened
I have every interest in serving
I choose to be large

Shampoo

It’s a simple thing … I need to have clean hair. Otherwise my scalp is burning up and I look like hell.

I’ve used Herbal Essences shampoo for years. The choice of brand has become automatic for me in the grocery store. I venture down that aisle every six weeks of so, in search of a new colour. My recent choices have been blue, green and a purply red.

Up until a few days ago, I was saying hi to “Hello Hydration” every morning. Thick, bluey goop that my hair has enjoyed. But the dregs appeared, and then there was none. Happily I’d planned ahead and “Color Me Happy” was residing in my bathroom cupboard.

A dollop on the palm, the palm raised to the head, and my locks were squishy with novel goodness. The red was bright and the scent was fruity. My eyes opened wide. New! Brand spanking new! My nostrils palpitated with the excitement of it all.

Today is three days later. The scent filling my exterior head is still fresh, but I’m tempted to add the word “muted”. The thrill is gone. The “O my God!” moment is no more.

You might be curious about why I’ve waxed poetic about shampoo. Do I have stock in Herbal Essences? Do I believe the social media axiom “Just say anything about your day – boring or not”? No to both.

There must be some method to my madness …

Perhaps:

How come we don’t see our loved ones freshly every day?
How come we say “Oh yeah, I know what (Joe, Mary, Sayid …) is like”?
How come we’re asleep?

Lost in TV?

Well, there’s my history … and then there’s my future.  I imagine grand unknowns up ahead.  Should they be entirely fresh or should I welcome glimpses of the past?

My dear wife Jody and I loved the TV series “Lost” – the story of plane crash survivors finding their way on an uncharted island.  We cuddled on the couch for six years (2004 – 2010), living and dying with the trials of Kate, Jack, Sawyer, Hurley, Sayid and Locke.

In recent times, long after Jody died, I’ve occasionally thought of my island friends with a wee smile.  And then it was on to the events of the day.

Two days ago, I was enjoying “Elena of Avalor” on Disney Plus.  What an amazing, good-hearted teenager Elena is!  I decided to snort around the Disney menu to see what they’d added recently. After a pleasant meandering, I clicked one more time … and there it was – all six seasons of “Lost”!

In the spirit of yielding to temptation, last night I entered the world of Season 1, Episode 1.  Oh my God!  “Hello, dear ones.”

Memories flooded, and there were moments when I knew what a character would say next.  I was cozy on the couch again.

So, Bruce, now what?  As of this moment, I’ve devoured the first three episodes.   The hooking is happening.  Trouble is, there are 117 more chapters beckoning to me.  Will the mature, forward-thinking youngish man prevail, on his way to new TV-less adventures?  Or will I succumb to the revisiting of a darned good story?

Stay tuned.

Lightening Up

Ajahn Chah, a Buddhist teacher, was walking one day near the monastery with some monks.  There was this great big stone.  He said:

“See that boulder there.  Is it heavy?”

 And the monks said “Yes!”

And he said “Not if you don’t pick it up.”

***

A stone is one thing … a word is another.  Here are some words that, when put together, are very heavy indeed:

1. I can’t remember names
2. It’s going to be another one of those days
3. It’s just no use
4. I just know it won’t work
5. Nothing ever goes right for me
6. That’s just my luck
7. I’m so clumsy
8. I don’t have the talent
9. I’m just not creative
10. Everything I eat goes right to my waist
11. I can’t seem to get organized
12. Today just isn’t my day
13. I can never afford the things I want
14. I already know I won’t like it
15. No matter what I do I can’t seem to lose weight
16. I never have enough time
17. I just don’t have the patience for that
18. That really makes me mad
19. Another blue Monday
20. When will I ever learn?

***

Don’t you get tired when you read this stuff?

There’s another way … leave the stupid rock on the ground!

 

Perpendicular

The core members of the Evolutionary Collective had a seminar today.  One of the practices we did involved one person speaking (B), one person in front (A), and two people to the sides (C and D).

When I was talking, I could feel the geometry of it all.  I was being held.  And there was a sense of precision: I experienced the angle as exactly 90°.  There was something about the up-and-down-ness and the left-and-right-ness that felt like home.

Usually I prefer the curves of nature to the straight lines of mankind:

But there’s also a beauty in the vertical.  It reminds me of uprightness, of perfect integrity, clear in the giving to others.  This integrity doesn’t wobble to the left or right.  It doesn’t choose “right action” when it’s convenient or beneficial.  It acts True North … again and again.

Also consider the horizontal.  “Equal in the eyes of God”, and may it be as true in the eyes of women and men.  All to be honoured, all to be loved.

So let us together praise the quiet geometry of life, and embrace the lines that join us.

Listening to the Breezes Beyond Time

I’ve done nothing.  I’ve simply written down what I heard from the Gods

Giacomo Puccini (classical music composer)

Sometimes I structure things, I lay out plans, I have a clear view of the road ahead.  That’s okay.  There’s a certain meek satisfaction there.  But it often feels dull.  Yes, I have to put the work in to accomplish things, and indeed they do get done, but there’s another realm … of juice.

Mr. Puccini wrote twelve operas.  He needed a broad musical knowledge to accomplish that, but there was a beyond.  He listened.  Unknown guides were whispering in his ear, and he allowed himself to fall forward into the mist, to trust that a vaster mind was placing gifts in his hands.  Please, let me be so orchestrated.

I’ve learned not to censor the words that tumble from my mouth.  Oh, I still hear the ancient tones of “Be Careful” but they don’t hold sway.  I respect such acquaintances but I don’t wrap my arms around them.  It’s more like nodding as I acknowledge their presence.

Today was a hug.  As I was doing the Mutual Awakening Practice with a partner, the world was flowing free.  I was being carried by a lilt in the voice, a spring in the step.  And then the revelation landed from the nether regions:

I have happy fingers!

Yes, it was true.  “They get to hang out together, and bobble and wobble together.  The fingies touch and then bounce away.  And you know what’s the best?  They’re all part of this … hand!  They’re part of a whole, one that can wave, and hold things, and rest on my lap.  My happy fingers never get lost out there in the sky.  They have a home – always connected, always a part of something big.”

Perhaps Giacomo Puccini is proud of me today.  I wasn’t measured or effective.  I was dancing to the whims and whispers from other lands.