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Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Celebrate Life out of Joy and Gratitude!

Greetings to all my family, students and friends.  Many of you have been asking “what happened to the stationarypilgrim?”  I did disappear from the blogosphere for several days but I am ready to return to our pilgrimage journey.  

I have a job/profession, as a Psychology professor, that involves a great deal of thinking, pondering and speaking.  I strive to “bring together” somewhat abstract ideas with everyday activities, observations and behaviors.  I am known as a “man of many word and stories” and a good teacher, at least that’s what the students say on their evals of me!  I am seldom without some topic to speak about, some insight to share, some observation to make!  However, there are times that I do fall silent! 

I have learned over the years as a teacher, therapist and spiritual seeker that there are times when one’s words and ideas stop flowing or become murky and chaotic.  This often signals the coming of a serious life choice and/or the arrival of a significant insight.  I have been experiencing one of these periods!  

I have also learned that the best thing for me to do is to not force the words, but to just quiet myself and listen!   I listen to the voice from within me, and those from outside (e.g., a sermon, a partner, friends and students, sacred scriptures, secular philosophy, world events) and of course all forms of the voice of nature.  

I am preparing right now to take a hike along a beautiful river on a sunny Spring day, then I will attend church and enjoy the sharing of fellowship before joining a long time friend for lunch and an always stimulating discussion.  Later this evening I will climb back on the bike and share with you more about this period of silence.  Again thank you to all my fellow pilgrims for your concern and  encouragement.  I will leave you with a poem/musing I wrote this morning as I read the paper and fed my caffeine habit at a local eatery! 

Listen: There is always something to hear!

One to Go 

  

Like a parade of classic cars 

they creep past 

wearing gray trim 

   – like me 

thin top covering 

   – like me 

they savor their coffee 

   – like me 

they ponder serious issues 

   – like me 

they seek Sunday morning wisdom 

   – like me 

they open their Bibles 

   the youngest among them 

      leads the prayer 

I close my paper 

   and my notes 

Called to worship 

    by the sun 

        the rushing river 

           the bird calls 

This classic prefers 

    a path less travelled 

        at a creeping pace 

Fifteen for coffee 

   one to go! 

**** 

A new day with promises, opportunities and joys!

Have a wonderful day… embrace, savor and share it with those you meet!

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Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding:  74                              Consecutive Days Blogging: 75

Today’s Mileage: 4                                              Total Trip Mileage: 640

We are such ritual creatures, or at least I’m speaking for myself.  I love my morning coffee, like a Zen monk cherishes his “tea ritual.”  I savor the warmth of the cup, the aromatic steam rising above the rim, and the pungent favor of the first sip. Even before the caffeine has a chance to enter my system I already feel the invigorating effects of the ritual.  What has also become a common component of my routine is for Susan to ask me: “So what are you going to blog about today?”  I sometimes feel that she is asking in the hope that I will report it is already done, “in the can” as they use to say when making movies. My most common response is: “don’t know yet!” 

Andy Goldsworthy's Maple Leaves Arrangement

Andy Goldsworthy's Ice Spiral

I would like to feel that I have joined a very prestigious circle of artists, poets and writers, who simply open themselves to the creative process and watch with amazement as the gifts- the ideas, images, words, topics- stream pass  like a smorgasbord. I am reminded of a scene from a documentary called, Rivers and Tides: Working with Time, which chronicled one day in the life of Scottish Land Artist Andy Goldsworthy.  He creates wonderful images using natural materials he finds on his walks along the Scottish countryside and streams.  In one scene he prepares to leave the house when his wife asks: “What are you working on today?”  He responds that he doesn’t know!  He never does. He lets the gifts he finds in nature such as dandelion blossoms, sticks and stones, colorful leafs and icicles guide the process of creating his artwork. You might label these as gifts from the creative muse, or from nature, or from the divine.  To me it doesn’t matter where they come from, what matters is how you honor these gifts and what you do with them!  I am blessed to benefit from this same process of receiving gifts, whether the medium I am working with is artistic images, poetic words, or blog topics.

“For me looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins. Place is found by walking, direction determined by weather and season. I take the opportunity each day offers: if it is snowing, I work in snow, at leaf-fall it will be leaves; a blown over tree becomes a source of twigs and branches.” Andy Goldsworthy

Yesterday I challenged Dr. Krauthammer, the nationally syndicated political columnist to exercise self-reflection more than once every 25 years. I have decided to hold up the mirror of self-reflection on myself today, in particular on the source of my blog topics.  After a mental review of the 75 blogs I have so far produced, I propose to place them into four groups based on the source that stimulated their creation.  You could even call this the beginnings of a Mandala of my Pilgrimage Journey.  A Mandala is a visual meditative and teaching devise used in many of the eastern faiths.  Its basic structure is a circle divided into four quadrants. But more about that in a future blog!

Andy Goldsworthy's Stone Creation

The first group would include those blogs stimulated by the images I retrieve off the internet, representing what we would see if we were actually riding our journey’s  meandering route.  We started in Key West and today we ride near Tampa Florida.  These images included wildlife, nature scenes and incredible beach sunsets.  The second group includes ideas cued from news reports of current local and world events.  Sometimes they have a clear spiritual significance, like the changes in Americans religious beliefs and practices, other times it might be a tragic event that calls for our prayers. The third group is comprised of topics stimulated by comments from friends, students, and visitors to my blog as well as well as memories of my childhood.  Several of my recent blogs including the Christmas Branch story fits into this group. The fourth group would include my reactions to the specific pilgrimage sites we visit on our journey.  I carry the images of the Holocaust Memorial of Miami with me every day.  I flash back to these  whenever I see or hear of suffering in my immediate circle of friends, or of strangers in my community, across the nation or in the world.

I am blessed to receive many gifts on a daily basis, not the least of which are these sources of inspiration.  A friend recently asked me: “Why do you do this?”  I’m not sure if they meant why do I blog, or why do I reach out to others as a therapist, teacher, parent and friend.

Andy Goldsworthy's Cracked Rock Spiral

In a simple way I desire to have an effect on the world. I hope to leave the world a better place than I found it.  I hope to add my little ripple, my passions for peace and connectedness to the fabric of life.  I desire to add my ripple to the ripples of others creating a wider circle, a larger wave, a force for positive change.  Perhaps we will ultimately dash ourselves against the impenetrable stone fortress of anger, hatred, bigotry, despair and diverseness.  None of us know what the future holds!  But at least we will have tried and I will have left a model for my sons and students of involvement in fighting the good fight and of caring enough to try.

To view more of Andy Goldsworthy’s work and read about his philosophy please visit: http://www.rwc.uc.edu/artcomm/web/w2005_2006/maria_Goldsworthy/TEST/index.html.  Have a wonderful day, stay warm!

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Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding:  70                              Consecutive Days Blogging: 71

Today’s Mileage: 8                                            Total Trip Mileage: 617

As I ride the bike today I am thinking about a routine  Susan and I shared this morning, like thousands of other couples we sipped coffee over the morning paper.  At one point as we perused the paper, Susan chuckled as she pointed to a church ad under the Holiday Services section. A local church advertised its Christmas Eve gatherings.  The 5:00 and 7:30 services were entitled: “Festival of Holy Eucharist.”  However, the 11:00 service was labeled: “Holy Eucharist with incense!”

Incense Offerings.

“That’s unusual” she exclaimed “I’ve never seen a Christmas Eve service advertised as being with incense.  We ended up deciding that this distinction was most likely made to accommodate any of the parishioners who had allergies to perfume or to smoke, or to both. “You know such a trend could get out of hand,” I stated. What’s next?  Services with or without candles?  Services with or without “off key” singing by fellow parishioners?

Amidst all the news of contentious senate debates and a blizzard descending on the east coast it was nice to find something to chuckle about!

I perused the local and state news and stopped at the headline: Felon in Prison after Family Tragedy.  The brief article painted a sad story.  A father was sentenced to 18 months in prison on a weapons charge after his 13 year old son shot and killed his 10 year old brother. The 13 year old used a 22 caliber rifle owned by the father to shoot his younger brother for “taking his spot” in front of the TV.  The teen pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter!  It is doubly tragic to see two young lives destroyed.  One has no future the other will bear a mark no amount of time will remove. 

Reaching out for a future that will never be!

What was the father thinking?  But of course he wasn’t thinking, except of himself, perhaps he was angry at the system that took away his right to protect himself.  Does it really matter what rationalization he used to make his owning a gun acceptable?  The damage has been done.  “Fruit doesn’t fall very far from the tree,” is another saying that came to mind.  The father was 36 when he took a life; his son was not even half that age before he did the same.  Even in these times of joy and celebration when much of the world sings joy and praise to the divine, poor choices and tragic outcomes still abound.

My answer to such stories: pray for all involved and keep no weapons in the house.  I would rather take my chances with an unexpected intruder, then to take the risk of an accidental shooting or a tragic youthful choice.  

Carry his spirit with you... release it to the breeze, the clouds and water. Let it be a seed in your life!

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