Saturday, March 31, 2012

Genius - Albert Einstein

Friday, March 30, 2012

Earl - Susannah Azzaro

I check the
Open Culture blog
this morning it’s a video of
Earl Scruggs and Steve Martin and others
playing on David Letterman about 10 years ago
I watch the video and follow the link to Martin’s
New Yorker article about Scruggs
his hero
I haven’t finished it yet
I’ll go back later
It’s the paragraph about
Earl, 10, following his fingers
in the backyard of his Flint Hill, NC home
after a fight with his brother
he makes a mistake and begins
picking with his third finger
that moment
he discovers his voice
what makes Earl Earl
I’ve never followed Scruggs or his music
although I love Bluegrass
I start crying
for that precious moment
Earl made that mistake.

“I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” he said
no turning back after that

for my own children
who will never pick a banjo in
our backyard

for me
if I will ever yell,
“I’ve got it! I’ve got it!”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dragons - by Susannah Azzaro

Joey calls to me as I begin to drift off to sleep.
“Mom! Comear!”
I wake myself up and go to his room where he’s reading
a book called Awesome Things to Draw.
“Mom, I don’t know why, but I’m just confused and I just don’t know why.”
He said that yesterday too.
He’s eight.
My body softens - I had no idea I was even gripping.
I tell him how proud I am that he can express that, and then I
say something like, “We all pick up all sorts of energy from everywhere,
and when
you’re young you...”
...he interrupts:
“Hey, Mom...listen to this...
he picks up his book,
“It says,
‘Some psychologists say that if a person dreams of a dragon,
it symbolizes that they are gaining self-confidence and wholeness in their life.’ 
Mom...what does wholeness mean?”
I start to explain even though what I'm 
saying doesn't make sense to me,
but he doesn’t really want
an answer. And then,
“Mom, have you ever dreamed about a dragon?”
“I don’t think I have.”
He’s reading about drawing dragons again, and
I head back to bed.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Shining Like the Sun! - Tom Shadyac

Everyday, we are assaulted with messages, images, slogans, and sound bites, that tell us of our inadequacies, the sad state of affairs that is you and me: “With this product, you can lose weight, with this one, you can gain muscle; if your breasts sag, our bra lifts them up; if you have wrinkles, this cream irons them out; if you’re sad, we have a pill that will make you happy; if you’re too happy, we have a pill that will bring you down; if you’re not as much of a man as you used to be, this pill will straighten you out (literally!). And everyone who’s anyone has itunes, the iphone, and the ipad, am iclear?

And we participate in this maddening chatter unaware, telling our kids that in order to succeed they have to get the best grades, get into the right school, and get the right job. We tell them that one day they must stop all this horsing around and get serious with their lives; we ask them who they are going to be when they grow up, warning them that life is all down hill after 22, declaring college the best four years of their lives; and finally, if they are lucky, they just might make something of themselves in this dog eat dog world. It’s enough to stress you out completely – but of course there’s a pill that can fix that, too.

Is this how life really is? Is our identity simply conditional and fragile? Is who we are really defined by the things we own, our job status, and the social circles we run in?

The mystics, those saints and sages who saw through to the inner workings of reality, proclaimed something very different. A little background here: The word “mystic” comes from the Latin word, “mysterium”, from which we also get the word, mystery. Thus, a mystic is one who sees into the mystery. So what exactly did the mystics see? And what does their vision of reality reveal about who and what we are?

Here’s what Thomas Merton said, after decades of meditation and contemplation: “As if the sorrows and stupidities of the world could overwhelm me now that I realize what we all are. I wish everyone could realize this, but there is no way of telling people they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

Shining like the sun. That’s you. He didn’t say, shining like the sun after you can afford the new electric Chevy Volt. He didn’t say, shining like the sun after your bust gets lifted. What he said was, right now, in this moment, with all of your imperfections, with all of your challenges in the temporal, with all of your worldly failures and successes, you are walking around shining like the sun!

Merton goes one step further with this concluding insight: “I am finally coming to the realization that my greatest ambition is to be what I already am.” Wait a minute. What about worldly status and success and power? Merton saw through all of that, and invites us to do the same. Can you imagine? What a lesson to embrace, to embody and even, to teach; to declare to our kids they don’t have to be someone, they already are someone. Now the cynic will undoubtedly rise up and warn that this will poison our youth; they will be so inflated with their own identity, they will surely sit back and do nothing. Quite the opposite is true. This knowledge compels those it touches, Jesus, Gandhi, St. Francis, Mother Theresa, Rumi, and Hafiz, to walk with power, to use their talents for the good of all, without the drag of invented pressure to measure up to some arbitrary social standard.

You see, (and it is a matter of sight!), what we are telling ourselves, the command to succeed and be someone, is just a story; it’s a story based on expectations. It’s temporal and finite. It is not who you really are. The Sufi mystic, Meera, wisely said: “You cannot play your role in time, until you know who you are in eternity.” And who you are is a drop in the ocean of divinity. Inside you is starlight. Inside you is the same infinite energy that created the universe. As the modern mystic, Irwin Kula, knew, “Everything is god in drag.”

So the next time you’re told you need to be somebody, rest in the knowledge that you already are. Hafiz implores us to wake up to this truth when he says: “I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” Now what iphone or ipad, what present day pill or product can deliver that?

~Tom Shadyac

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Roll the Dice - Bono Reads Bukowski

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shame - Brene Brown's 2nd TED Talk

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rapture of Being Alive - Joseph Campbell

People say that what we're all seeking is meaning in life... I think that what we're really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive.

~ Joseph Campbell

Monday, March 05, 2012

Thrive: What On Earth Will It Take? (Official Trailer)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

John Steinbeck's Six Tips for the Aspiring Writer

I couldn't help but think how these tips...tweaked just a little...could serve me in all sorts of life experiences:

(Taken from this Open Culture post.)

  1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
  2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.
  3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person–a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.
  4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it–bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.
  5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.
  6. If you are using dialogue–say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

Cutting a Path - Mark Nepo

No matter where we dig or climb,
we come upon the fire we left untended.
Carl Jung had a dream that he was cutting a path in the woods, unsure where it was leading, but working hard at it nonetheless.  Tired and sweating, he came upon a cabin in a clearing.  He dropped his tools and approached the cabin.  Through the window he saw a being in prayer at a simple altar.  The door was open and Jung went in.  As he drew closer, he realized that the being in prayer was himself and that his life of cutting a path was the being's dream.

What Jung brings to us is the never-ending task of deciding to whom we entrust our life: our True or False Self.  For all the seriousness with which we run about in the world - fixing, denying, projecting, sacrificing - for all the schemes and strategies and alliances and positioning for reward, it is all an unreal dream to the center of our being that waits for us far inside while we hack our way through.

Without knowing it, we, like Jung, work hard at cutting a path to our deeper self that waits patiently for us to arrive, all tired, aching, and out of breath.  Once that path is cleared and once the being at our center is discovered, we can return to the world in relationship with our soul.  We can discover a deeper, more peaceful sense of home.

  • Be still and close your eyes, and as you meditate, journey inwardly to the cabin where you soul awaits.
  • Drop all you are carrying at the door.  Drop all that waits to be done. Or redone.
  • As you breathe, enter the cabin and wait with open arms for the center of your being to realize you are there.
  • As you breathe, feel your soul embrace you.  Embrace back.  Savor that moment.