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Posts Tagged ‘new year’

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:  79                              Consecutive Days Blogging: 80  

Today’s Mileage: 6                                              Total Trip Mileage: 667  

I don’t know what it is today but I find it difficult to do anything but simple tasks.  Ride the bike, build a fire and take a nap.  Perhaps the fact that we are only three days away from a new year, the ending of one cycle and the beginning of a new weights on me.  Perhaps like old man time I am feeling the effects of an eventful year.  Perhaps the fact that in nine days I will be sending my oldest son, a young man of eighteen, off to the military and very likely war weights on me. Perhaps the fact that I spent part of the morning speaking to a youth concerned for a friend’s life or death struggles and I could, even with all my training, offer little advice or direction.  Perhaps I need to let myself just experience, just feel, “just be” in the moment.   

As I searched on Christmas Eve for family photos I came across a piece I wrote a number of years ago.  Perhaps now is a good time to share it:  

Just Is  

The sage’s measured pace came to a halt  

He bent slowly at the waist  

Till his fingers touched the flower petals  

Softly so as to not disturb  

The blossom’s beauty  

He smiled  

And stood erect  

His eyes moved skyward  

Towards the haphazard pattern of blue sky  

Silhouetted by the dark pine branches  

Drawing a deep breath  

He moved slowly forward  

As if each step  

Was measured and noted  

Drawing of a young teen!

The young girl  

An early teen  

Stood watching the sage  

She turned towards the approaching stranger  

He bore a puzzled look and asked  

“Is that the sage I hear so much about?”  

“Yap!” The girl exclaimed with a smile.  

The stranger stared for a long moment  

As the sage’s movement stopped  

As he studied something at his feet  

Among the clutter of dried oak leaves  

Pine needles and human trash  

“What is he doing?”  

“Probably nothing!” stated the girl with a quizzical look.  

“Where is he going?”  

“Probably nowhere!” she noted.  

The sage raised his head  

As he gazed off  

At the horizon  

At the wall of trees  

And flowering azalea bushes  

“What is he like,” asked the stranger?  

The young girl looked puzzled  

And then smiled  

As if she suddenly realized  

She knew a secret  

“He just is!”  

She giggled and bolted forward  

Reaching the sage  

She circled about him with a laugh  

Took his hand and skipped  

As they continued down the path  

The stranger watched for a long moment  

Before he checked his watch  

And moved towards the parking lot  

Towards his plans, his schedules  

His responsibilities, his meaningful life!  

****  

I hope you enjoyed todays posting, a break from the usual fare.  Tomorrow we return to the journey as we near several new pilgrimage sites!

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