Security or Balance?

I noticed, when going downstairs while using the handrail,

That I don’t cling to it for safety/security,

But I lean on the handrail,

For balance.

And, as always, I seek the metaphor for life, my life.

I think security/safety is important for a stable life, but

It is balance I seek for a meaningful life.

Balance is often thought of as a teeter totter between two members of a dichotomy:

Good/evil, fit/unfit, religious/atheist, etc.

But there are no dichotomies; there are three or more forces involved in each problem.

As a physics teacher, I believe in force vectors, in which the sum of each force AND their directions determines your movement.

Unattended, forces are exerted, causing movement.

And so what reaction to these forces do you perceive?

A. Nothing, I am blown by forces not of my making.

B. Resist the impinging forces by my own personal strength.

C. Seek balance, seek to balance forces with other forces that act in opposition or in replacement of forces arrayed to place stress in my life.

For me this balance comes in the form of meditation, jigsaw puzzles and bike rides.

Walks in the beach, turning off cable news, spiritual practices, walking with the dog etc. offer balance to my stressors.

Hugs, cuddling, touch, kisses, are powerful forces in this regard.

And so, instead moving according to forces I don’t control,

I sit quietly as the whirlwinds if life,

Not fighting,

Just leaning 

In a direction that

Gives me balance.

It is this balance that sustains me in the face of trauma,

Like death of a loved one, illness, surgery, motor accident, addiction, and so on and so on.

Balance, and God,

And my wife of forty five years.

Love is a great balancing agent.

I see others, people who don’t have balance,

And I can’t give them balance,

I can only be sure that I am balanced.

Can you see?

That I am balanced?

And not teetering?

Sometimes, sometimes, I teeter,

When I teeter I know what to do,

Seek balance, find equilibrium,

And go on to the next event.

– Small town boy

No clothes on

If you want to know how it feels, then take your clothes off.

Feel it? Skin’s a tingle?

Find a mirror and take a look.

What do you see?

This is the vehicle God gave you to walk around in.

Lots of special features:

Eyes that can see and transmit to the brain.

Ears likewise.

Tongue is not much different, things taste the same with or without clothes.

Nose likewise.

Feeling is greater, more exposed now.

What’s the other sense? The sixth sense?

Oh yea, it doesn’t change much either, in less new insight into being clothes free counts.

Now go do something: wash dishes or laundry, sweep or vacuum.

Feels good, yes?

The nervousness that someone might see you is cultural shame. Pretty strong, I admit, but with practice, it lessens.

Fix something or build something or, as I am doing just now, write something. Things seem to work better, with some titilation that helps the job go better.

Sitting in front of a computer or Television does note seem to be enhanced, unless you are folding clothes at the same time.

Reading is better when you’re more alert, sensitizing, feeling everywhere on your body.

Tasks are easier, go quicker, and are more fun when the clothes are off.

Social nude recreation is not the point in this discussion. If you are interested find a nudist club or nude beach.

What I’m working here is just between you and… well you.

As you feel more comfortable being clothes free, you will find opportunities to go outside.

Now your skin really feels a difference.

I recommend sandals if you are walking or hiking, having tender feet myself.

This is a good time to center yourself.

Calmness is helpful when naked.

It just feels good, sans textiles.

Eventually you will consider being naked in the company of others, it’s not only for sexual reasons that we undress.

Calmness is helpful here also.

Wow, no big deal, after some initial discomfort.

We are all naked apes.

We need to recognize that and honor our God given bodies.

Well, have fun.

Love,

-Small town boy

Healing/Greiving

I had surgery on Tuesday, and now I am in the healing process.

Healing is like grieving, you can’t hurry it.

Both are recovery processes.

Both trying to repair the body,

from trauma.

The mental body, the emotional body, the physical body, and the spiritual body.

We’ve been given the necessaries for this process,

And though we grow impatient,

they work, after a fashion.

Seeing it in others or helping them see it,

Doesn’t help much when it’s you that is healing.

Small steps, some backwards, some forwards,

Like the frog in  the well: two forward, one backward.

Oh, how we take for granted the uninjured self.

When we’re whole our minds, hearts, bodies and spirits

Are involved with other things, not suspecting

What’s around the corner.

What is the good of trauma? It shakes me up, like an earthquake,

That allows rebuilding of fundamental structures, 

Allows change to occur.

Things I thought were important, aren’t so important now.

Things I had forgotten were important, become important once again.

Grief and healing; healing and grief,

Once thought too painful,

Now seen as brief.

bless me father.

-Small town boy


My doctors, Brant and Wang.

Breath

I breathe.

Again.

I breathe,

And with each breath

My lungs extract life

In the form of oxygen 

And send it to refresh my heart.

My heart thus refreshed

Sends it on to my brain,

And the cloud on my spirit lifts

Just a little.

More breaths, more breathing,

More refreshing,

And I can go on.

Simple, slow recovery.

I just keep breathing.

Thank you Jesus,

And all those tiny angels

That I sent to my friend last year in her grief,

They have returned to me.

Their job is never ending.

Their job is to give us strength and courage

And hope.

Take a breath, take another, and another.

Recovery is slow 

But hope is eternal.

– Small town boy

 

Today is the next day

Since I decided to live out each day I have been given,

My life is much simpler and anticipatory.

After experiencing grief over the loss of my eldest grandson this weekend,

I realized this morning that today is the next day

In a series that is ongoing 

Despite death, and grief, and sadness.

The moon still shines and becomes full again;

The sun rises; the rain falls; flowers bloom again.

Even as they will when I am gone.

Even as they have since my father, my mother, and my sister have gone.

One day after the next.

So, each day holds the promise of a next day.

And this is it.

I still love you, even in your absence;

I still have those around me who love me;

I await the gifts you have for me today,

With great anticipation.

Thank you.

– Small town boy

A Barking Dog

Oh, would that I were a barking dog,

Free to woof and growl,

I’d bark at kids on the way to school,

And on their way home again.

I’d bark in the day and awaken

So I could bark at a sound in the night.

If you think my bark discordant,

And it bothers you so much,

Just remember, as a dog, I’m immune.

I bark because I have to, my ancestors barked and barked,

And now it’s compulsive, like lightening and thunder.

The UPS driver, and the FedEx guy too, understand my dilemma,

So why don’t you?

I want not to bark, but as it is uncontrollable, so I will simply

Run to your side, as if to say, “I know, I know.”

You’ll be sorry when I’m quiet and gone,

You’ll wish I were there to help you carry on.

Just remember, if you will,

I’m just a dog,

And I love you still.

– Small town boy

A little at a time

I do things a little at a time now.

I’m teaching my self piano, a little at a time, one half hour in the morning and one half hour in the afternoon.

I’m clearing grass from between the flagstones on the  patio, fifteen minutes each day.

I’m working on a jigsaw puzzle, a little at a time, fifteen minutes several times a day.

I’m meditating in  small amounts, morning and evening, praying too.

I can interact with my grandchildren at breakfast and after school in moments.

I call my wife at the beach once a day; or  I call from the beach.

I’m losing weight, a little at a time, fourteen pounds now, in a month and a half, by eating smaller portions.

I’m reading several books, a little at  a time with each, each awaiting more  time to finish them.

I’m writing these  blogs in  small doses, for both me and my readers. If they get too big, I edit them down or break  them  up.

But, I love you a lot, all the time, for ever. A little at a time doesn’t work for me. You are constantly  on my mind and in my heart. 

– Small town boy

“For precept must be on precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Isaiah 28:10

The Ocean

God is like the ocean.

Powerful, beautiful, and dangerous.

S/He ebbs and flows with lunar cycles.

One can stand at the edge and watch or enter the surf and feel the power, straining against it.

In warmer climes, one can swim in the salty waters, until one is  out of their depth, but stll able to stay afloat, because of belief in the ability to float and swim.

There are boats on the water, large and small, some fishing the depths, some transporting cargo to unknown places.

There are animals near the shore, birds, crabs, sea lions, and sand shrimp, all occupying there own niche, all a part of the oceans ecology.

Am I part of God’s ecology?

In the depths, where I can not see, live giant whales, sharks, fish, octopi and squid, and so much more: diverse in nature but adapted to life in the sea, each having its own part to play, each a part of the food cycle.

Am I part of the spiritual food cycle? Whom do I prey (pray) upon, and who preys (prays) on me?

The sea has been here before me and will be here long after I’m gone.

As I stand here naked before it, arms upraised, willing myself to resonate with its roar, I await the day.

Resistance is futile, harmful, and not in keeping with why I was made, not in keeping with my basic, fundamental nature.

Being open and working with the forces present allow me to ride the crest of the wave, to receive the power offered, and to live with a force stronger than my own and feed as my soul requires.

Thank God for the ocean and it’s abundance.

The ocean is great and reaches far away past the horizon to where others stand by it and marvel at its grace, beauty and power, my brothers and sisters on this globe,

A planet, when seen from afar, is notable because it is blue,

Blue because of the ocean.

Let me sail forth today, find the spirit of God, and fish for the sustenance offered me.

Let me be with other sailors riding the wind and the waves, going together on life’s journey today.

Amen

– Small town boy

Reception

I was unaware of the problem until it was too late.

After flunking out of the University of Colorado twice in Chemical Engineerung,

I went on to Colorado State where I didn’t get into Vet school due to poor chemistry grades.

As children began to arrive in my family, I sought a new major that would count my science background, physical science, with emphasis on physics and math, and chemistry.

When I checked at the placement office I found the only job for that major was the FBI!

So I went into education and became a great chemistry teacher.

What had made me a poor chemistry student (slow thinking) made me a great chemistry teacher,

Which leads me back to reception.

When teaching I could take all the time I wanted for chemistry instruction; no need to quickly recall chemistry names and reactions and products.

This type of slow instruction was aided by writing on the (green) blackboard.

Writing on the blackboard provided time…

Time for feedback and consideration based on perceived reception by the students of what I was trying to teach them.

As I monitored their receptivity to my teaching,  I adjusted my teaching strategies accordingly.

Occasionally I got it wrong, as when my sixth period chem class at Jefferson High in Portland, OR began throwing spit wads at the blackboard when my back was turned.
I stormed at them only to find that they just were trying to make me smile.

Sixth period became my favorite period after that.

Just so in conversation or public speaking I monitor and adjust (as my friend LuAnn taught me).

I’m thinking while you’re talking.

According to my listening coach (see Contribution) this is a no-no.

Don’t think, just listen.

This is hard for me, but necessary, I guess, to hear you, Yes?

Do you find it difficult to talk to someone on the phone? Where you can’t see their reaction? Or texting.?

I think people who text (my children) don’t want to know how you are receiving their message.

I think we are passive receptors to messages all day (MSNBC and CNN).

I go back to my previous statement:

That conversation requires at least two participants.

If we are all to listen it’s like traffic at the stoplight that comes to a standstill as two people wait to make a left turn, neither trusting the other, waiting for a clear and signal that they truly mean to turn left, sometimes requiring two or more left turners to pass before you feel you can process.

See what I mean? Are you getting this? Am I saying it right?

We’ll see how you do on the pop quiz.

– Small town boy

A Contribution

I don’t listen well.

At church for three sundays in adult class

We have been learning to listen well.

Though I have trained others to listen,

I found myself unable to follow instructions.

Don’t race ahead in your mind preparing your next comment.

Keep your mind still and don’t speak.

Get into what the other is saying in a sincere mode.

Wait for the lesson, what you will learn from the ‘other.’

Humbug, I said.

Conversation is a two way street, I said.

It’s often competitive, say I.

Needless to say this wasn’t received well by the instructor.

And so I’m left with: where did that come from?

This morning, after meditation, I found it.

When I was young, I often heard, “Well, do you have something to contribute to the conversation?”

Or, “Do you have something to add?”

Or, “Don’t speak until you have something to say.”

As a consequence, when I am listening, I am saying to myself, “Do I have something to. Contribute to this conversation?”

And I race to add an anecdote from my files of life stories,

Just what my listening coach told me not to do.

My memory is slipping now, but even before, in my anxiousness to contribute,

I often interrupted or talked over my conversation companion,

To add my contribution.

Rude huh?

So the result of this coaching to be a better listener is:

That I listen to my grandchildren;

I listen to my wife (I don’t think she would agree here);

I listen to strangers and to friends.

I sit quietly waiting for the kernel,

That kernel that I will learn from, attention is required.

And I am attentive while listening, quieting my mind,

And respectful even if I don’t agree with you.

I still have my outbreaks, like this morning at fitness over Fifty,

Where I took advantage of the person on the machine next to me (twice) to unload,

About being a good listener and my need to make a contribution

To the conversation.

What do you think?

Go ahead, I’m listening.

-Small town boy