Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding:  80                              Consecutive Days Blogging: 81

Today’s Mileage: 4                                              Total Trip Mileage: 671

Do you ever have one of those mornings when you wake early and feel the need to take a walk to help clear you mind, still the swirl of voices, the struggle of feelings?  I had one of those this morning. 

I got up, threw on my jacket and gloves and retrieved my Dictaphone from the car.  As I walked up the street I found the swirling struggle of thoughts and feelings did not diminish!  The Dictaphone would not record and produced only a loud whine.  I pocketed it, deciding that perhaps I was meant to walk and just “be with” nature.  While the stars twinkled overhead, a biting north wind chilled me to the bone.  I chastised myself, as someone who had survived delivering papers in Dakota winters, the howling Alaskan winds and Antarctic storms, I could certainly put up with a chilly breeze. This idea of a walk, was just not working!  I turned around, picked up my pace and a short time later I had returned to the warmth of my studio.

Nine Eleven Taoist Walking Stick

As I ride the bike this morning I have no clear idea of what to blog about.  Yesterday I spoke about the need to sometimes just “be” in the moment.  I can do “just being” quite well when I’m surrounded by nature, standing in front of a fire, or walking in the woods.  I have heard the call of nature as it is the source of much of my creativity (e.g. my nature poems, wall hangings, and artwork) and provides a calming and peaceful respite.  It is a pull that can become so strong it leads people to becoming hermits and mountain men to retreat from human contact.

The Webfooted Taoist Walking Stick

I have heard the call and pull toward relationships with other people.  I have found great joy and pride as a parent watching their child explore, grow and become their own person.  I have felt the intense passion shared by lovers, felt the intense need to seek out friends for conversation during both moments of great joy and deep despair.  I have felt the joy and satisfaction of guiding and mentoring others through “rough times.”  I have also seen and felt the costs of relationships with others.  I have experienced the heart wrenching pain of a parent watching a child “crash and burn.”  I felt frustration as I watched friends and patients make poor choices that destroyed and damaged their lives, their health, and the lives of their loved ones. I have looked into pained and pleading eyes with little to offer.

I have heard the call of the divine, experienced its presence in the world around me, in the people I meet and deep within my being. I have met people who live their faith in positive life affirming ways and act as models for the rest of us.  I have met people who appear to have no relationship with the divine but find meaning in their possessions and accomplishments. I have known people whose relationship with the divine fed their sense of importance and self-righteousness but acted as a wedge between them and others. 

"Bare to the Bones" Taoist Walking Stick

I truly believe for me, the best route is the middle way, a balance between the moment-to-moment gifts of nature and the sometimes joyful dance and often frustrating struggle with human relationships. I have come to realize that relationships should never be easy or at least not all the time.  Good relationships (e.g. child, parent, teacher, lover, and friend) should challenge us to grow.  Growth should be the underlying process, such that good parents should grow with their parenting, good teachers should grow with their teaching, good bloggers should grow with their blogging.

The "Waterstick" Taoist Walking Stick

As we approach the New Year, it is customary to take stock of the outgoing year, to congratulate ourselves for our accomplishments, and resolve to work on our short comings. It is a good time to think about growth!  I will in the coming week steer my bike back onto our virtual path across Florida. I will be unveiling a “retooled” pilgrimage site page and map for my blog.  I look forward to our continuing journey into 2010 and the growth it offers!

The Taoist Walking Sticks are wall hangings I construct out of material and items I find on my nature hikes.  The examples shown included: stick, roots, feathers, deer bones, turtle bones and shell fragments, and remenants of a tattered flag.

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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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