June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
As much as I’ve tried to deny it to myself at times, New Orleans will always be home. I moved to Colorado over 7 years ago, but my heart remains in the Crescent City, sitting on the bank of the Mississippi River, the smell of roasting coffee permeating the humid morning air.
I moved out of the city the year before Hurricane Katrina hit. In a way, yes, I was lucky to not be there during such a terrible chapter in the city’s history. And yet it has continued to haunt me.
Here’s a video of John Boutte and some of his musician friends, performing the song Louisiana 1927. It’s about the great flood of 1927, but could easily be a recounting of 2005.
June 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
French poet Saint-Pol Roux used to hang the inscription “The poet is working” from his door at night while he slept.
June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
“An Aztec deity, which normally takes the form of a butterfly. In this form, she is seen as a representative of the soul which all life forms share. She sometimes takes the form of a deer and is associated with agriculture. Her male counterpart is Itzlacoliohqui (‘Carved Obsidian Knife’) who represents matter in its lifeless state. With Tezcatlipoca who is responsible for the spark of life, these Aztec divinities form a trinity who guard the different states of life.”
~from The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures
(John & Caitlin Matthews)
June 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
Sometimes saying “Good bye” to someone is a joy. We’ve all met individuals to whom we were glad to say “adios.” There are others with whom the parting is not so welcomed. Yet coming and going, meeting and departing, they are aspects of our lives on an almost daily basis.
Sometimes when we say “Good bye” we swear we will keep in touch. We promise to call, email, FaceBook, text one another, or maybe even actually write a letter. We mean well. We have the best of intentions. But do we actually keep in touch?
As I left my job last night for the final time, I said good bye to a number of people who had become close co-workers. No promises were made. Someone said she’d text me, and I responded that she shouldn’t take it personally if I didn’t respond quickly. I’m not great at keeping in touch with people. Just being honest.
Another chapter of life concludes, maybe even the ending of a book, making way for the first chapter of yet a new volume to be composed. Life doesn’t suffer from writer’s block. It moves forward from moment to moment without asking for permission or direction for plot development.
Every life has its own history. Each moment has its own story. They pass before us, maybe lingering for a moment, and then they’re gone. Sometimes we make false promises, with good intentions, to hold onto the past. Sometimes we’re honest enough to admit that life moves forward and that sometimes we have to let go of people that used to hold important positions in our lives. Sometimes we just have to let go.
Truly there is no coming, no going. It’s all just a dream, a projection, an illusion. We’ve never moved from our true nature. Only we’ve forgotten we’re already home.
June 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’ve been ordained for about four years now. I’m usually in medical scrubs as a nurse, but every so often I make a public appearance somewhere in religious robes. Still fumbling with pretty much all of the above. Due to the hair cut, odd attire, and a string of prayer beads, sometimes I get asked if I’m acutally local, what center I’m associated with, what and when I teach on Buddhism, etc.
Well, a blast of awakening wasn’t included with the vows. I don’t teach, anything. I have far too much to learn to even think about instructing someone in the finer points of philosophy of any nature. I might know more than some, but clearly I know much less than most.
Buddhism presents with a vast array of teachings, ranging from Four Truths of the Noble Ones, to advanced pith instructions of Dzogchen. I steer clear of attempting to elucidate such profound concepts in order to prevent confusing others due to my limited personal understanding.
Yet, beyond all the complex paradigms, there is something very simple and yet extremely life changing: Compassion. It changes everything. It challenges us to move beyond our finite world, to step outside our comfort zone, and to become present and aware in the moment so that we might touch and impact the life of the person perhaps sitting next to us.
I think the way we live our lives, the choices we make, the words we choose to use, have an impact on the world around us. At our present stage of development we may not be able to spout advanced theories on the nature of ultimate reality, but we can choose to live mindfully and strive to inspire mindfulness in others. Such small steps are possible for me, for everyone.
Enlightenment might not have been included in a package deal with a guide book, but that doesn’t mean it’s that far from where we are right now. Awakening to the present moment, this beautiful moment, is a step in that direction.