Sunday, July 5, 2020

Roadmap to introspection

This 7-page booklet may help jumpstart some needed processing

Saturday, June 27, 2020

More through the Kaleidoscope

This Image of the Kaleidoscope has lingered for these few months.  Pieces getting re-ordered, and re-ordered; patterned and re-
patterned. the Meaning has to be discovered within the Change.
So I offer a few pieces from a stack of notes and clippings for your ordering pleasure:

"The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease"  Voltaire

"Life and Life Abundantly Comes Through Expression"  in an Arts & Crafts era pamphlet

Human nature loves heartily well-balanced irregularity and longs for it in life, in character, 
and in almost everything else     Calvert Vaux  

“attitude more than aptitude”       

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.               Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The Arrowhead         Mary Oliver

The arrowhead,  which I found beside the river,
was glittering and pointed.
I picked it up, and said,  “Now, it’s mine.”
I thought of showing it to friends.
I thought of putting it—such an imposing trinket—
in a little box, on my desk.
Halfway home, past the cut fields,
the old ghost  stood under the hickories.
“I would rather drink the wind,” he said,
“I would rather eat mud and die
than steal as you steal,
than lie as you lie.”

More coming

Friday, June 12, 2020

Four Horsemen

For Introverts:

what's happening: Umbra Mundi

For Extraverts:

The best long-range view of what's (been) happening that I've seen.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Eric Neumann Scapegoating; Spiritual Accompaniment

In his book “Depth Psychology and a new Ethic,” written in response to the Holocaust, Neumann argues that the “old ethic,” which pursued an illusory perfection by repressing the “shadow,” has lost its power to deal with contemporary problems. He argued that Judeo-Christian morality represses evil, leading to horrific phenomena such as Nazism. Every person has to accept the evil within him or her, not to cast it away and not to repress but to live with it, sometimes even to manifest it, and to pay the price of sorrow and guilt feelings. He was convinced that the deadliest danger now confronting humanity is the “scapegoat” psychology associated with the old ethic. We are in the grip of this psychology when we project our own dark shadow onto an individual or group identified as our “enemy,” failing to see it in ourselves. The only alternative to this shadow projection is its recognition, and integration into the totality of the self. The goal of the new ethic is wholeness, not perfection.      From Jurgen Braungardt’s website

This practice of "Spiritual Accompaniment" may be a bridge.
It's the process of contemplative listening carried out in the context of a one-to-one trusting and confidential relationship. A trained spiritual director journeys with another person by listening to that person’s life story and experiences with an ear for the movement of the spirit, the presence of the sacred, and/or the insights that come from making deep meaningful connections. By offering supportive responses as appropriate and encouraging deepening reflection, clients can open up to new understandings and paths of growth. Spiritual accompaniment is typically conducted in monthly sessions that range from 45 - 60 minutes.

Thursday, June 4, 2020


This is an excerpt of an article I wrote in 2016 for a SandPlay Journal.

Symptoms of the Shift and Emerging Needs       (2016)                                
In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray
- gone from the path Direct.                 - Dante, Canto 1

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. 
We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."   - Albert Schweitzer

It can happen in a bang, a thud or… a whisper.    The bang might be an accident, a death or illness; the thud might be a birthday, a job loss. The whisper is more insidious. You begin to notice that things are not quite the same-- indicators of  Dante’s “gloomy wood.  Schweitzer calls it the “fire going out”;  it’s been called  the dark night of the soul or a spiritual emergency or a hunger.

It happens often in our lifetimes.  These tasks or concerns are really never finished and completed, but get revisited and reworked as we grow.  This book may assist. I do say “may”  because I believe there is not A Way to do this.  You have to figure out what’s best for you now.  That “now” is always slipping around a bit. I’ve identified four moods that you might recognize. Each has their own level of dreaminess, emotion and alertness.  Then there are four basic needs, hungers or capacities were all have.  Then for there are five ways of engaging: visually, looking at images, reading poems or quotes that sharpen the sensibility, reflecting on ways your personally encounter these, moving into action as actually a way to explore and fifthly, encountering stories of others who have been similarly engaged: Finding Your Clan

What is happening as we enter these borderlands?     Is any of this familiar?

The Weave Loosens. We become more porous.
Our storyline has changed.  We are left exposed in new ways. Sometimes there are body changes which only adds to a more  fragile public image. Sometimes we get testy and righteous.  Other times we just feel wounded.  We feel softer, actually more pliant.  The challenge is to adjust, adapt.  Carl Jung elaborated the many characters that appear in our stories. Some come and go. Some come and stay. Other are waiting for their turn. He called them “archetypes”. You carry them all. 

The Guest House              translation by Coleman Barks
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.                    -- Jelaluddin Rumi                                                    
2.  SADNESS.   
We may grieve over the loss of our work, our old ways, our friends.  Sometimes that’s more a nostalgia than sadness. But before the word “sadness” came to mean “sorrowful“, it meant  “weary“, “weighty” in the sense that we have had “enough”.  That feeling surfaces often in our lives, It’s a Melancholy that can be the opening of an opportunity. There’s a fullness of experience, and yet the question: What Now?  

My brother and I stand like the fences
of abandoned farms, changed times
too loosely webbed against
deicide homicide
A really powerful blow
would bring us down like scarecrows.
Nature, knowing this, finding us mildly useful
indulging also
her backhanded love of freakishness
allows us to stand.                          Daniel Berrigan

we are more keenly aware different qualities of attention or states of consciousness:

Needing a Trance? Feel open to Chance, Accident, Magic, relinquishing control?  Undifferentiated encounter with eros, dissolution, longing ?

Are you drawn Inward? working on that archetypal profile: Who You Are?

Eager to Explore Actions, Practices, encounters with the creative unconscious.?

Are you vexed, pre-occupied today! Focus right on it!
Use it as your portal in.

As we pick or lurch our way through unexpected changes, our sense of time changes. It might elongate into memories of the past people, places, events.  It might contract into “lapses” about details of recent vacations, appointments or parties. It’s a time-shifting from the linear/diary/date book mode to a more dynamic/firing mode.  Without a schedule or regular obligations, time expands and contracts in random ways. We may be more easily distracted or pursue digressions without much consequence.  We can actually develop new eyes, new skills to be in this adjusted world. It’s not unlike dreams and it stimulates poetic and magical thinking.  Other senses and sensibilities are stirred.  But Other realities present and seep through.  They are not new.  They have been with us our whole life, waiting, on the shelf, in the corner while we worked and distracted ourselves. This is time now for them to present, not necessarily as handicaps, but often as invitations or opportunities. I found several. You probably know more or might phrase them differently:
We may start to approach imperfection and mistakes in a different way.  Perhaps we don’t get as impatient or righteous quite as quickly. Our flashpoint might dim a bit. It starts with others and then it can even loop back to the ways we treat ourselves.  Again, this is an archetypal process. The Judge, The Critic, may no longer always be center stage. We may come to see that mastery is OK, but usually overrated.   Other characters may appear.: wounded, androgynous, child-like.
We come to appreciate time for blossoming, fruiting, seeding and being dormant. It may start as simply as the curiosity at what might happen if we wait, just an extra beat or two before we jump in to fix or even express an opinion. We wait.

From   One Train May Hide Another (sign at a railroad crossing in Kenya)

At a crossing, one train may hide another train.
That is, if you are waiting to cross
The tracks, wait to do it for one moment at
Least after the first train is gone.
In a family one sister may conceal another,
So, when you are courting, it's best to have them all in view
Otherwise in coming to find one you may love another.
So always standing in front of something --  the Other
As words stand in front of objects, feelings, and ideas.
One wish may hide another.And one person's reputation may hide The reputation of another. One dog may conceal another
On a lawn, so if you escape the first one you're not necessarily safe;  One bath may hide another bath As when, after bathing, one walks out into the rain.  A vivacious mother hides a gawky daughter.   The daughter hides her own vivacious daughter in turn.  One teacher, one doctor, one ecstasy, one illness, one woman, one man May hide another. Pause to let the first one pass. You think, Now it is safe to cross,  and you are hit by the next one.
It can be important to have waited at least a moment to see what was already there.                                   Kenneth Koch

So certain changes happen. The speed and ease of technology might not be as satisfying.  Consumption of more things may not be as appealing. We may begin to suspect that the  Promethean myth of glorious progress and growth may have its darker sides. Our culture is quite quick to diagnose, to medicalize subtler ways of being into symptoms, "the spectrum" and conditions to be fixed. Just before we lurch into such action, are other opportunities are emerging, other ways to see the changes?  

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Opportunities Emerging

Meeting Your Ersions
Here's a piece that's a breezy repackaging of some of the more wordy, weighty stuff I've been working on. Maybe working though a mask for these weeks has restricted oxygen to my brain and helped make things lighter and less didactic. 

Drawing by Cora

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Thomas Merton, again

"The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of contemporary violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activity neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful."     ~ Thomas Merton