pumpjack & pinwheel pulp

The llano awakens my soul.  

Pumpjacks bob up and down out of the mesquite.   I’m haunted by a spiritual insight I know they hold, attached intermittently to it’s mischevious, fleeting presence.  A realization I’ve yet to pull from the surface;  it escapes me for now.  White pinwheels spin across the plains seemingly collecting my reflections in a rhythm, pulsing in trust to what is powerful and invisible and incalculable.  [ Insert: all life here ].  And their accompanying realities. Followed thoughts:

Do frogs marvel at being the sole, buoyant heirs and heireses of the lilypads? Do ants carve out chambers in their tunnel systems strictly to give sacredness it’s own place to stretch out and breathe, a gifted emptiness:  this place to be attuned to the true, good, and beautiful enfolding and enlivening the world. A tunneled void for solemnity and stillness.

I want to smell more rainbows.

Wind blows,  pitched grasses and  whistling reeds the instrumental medium chosen by the ephemeral to serenade lyrical tones of earthen tambre.  It seems apparently foreign to her nature to perform highlighting soloistic voices, showcasing subtle ensemblic frequencies.  Unitive, collective praise. Moans and whispers of a chorus, reverie-induced and humbly excited to reply.  

Beauty lives enamored. Surprised. Not having earned or requested these psalms, but deservingly bestowed them.  We remain forever indebted in our beholding.

 

an earthen sonnet

What is the mountains were the fingertips of Love reaching up through the ground?  Her fingers must have gotten too cold before breaking through the earthen blanket.  Longing to reach us, to hold us in the hollows of embrace; she said, “Oh, I’ll trace shorelines, hugging them with seas of heaven’s tears.  We mistook “laughter for tears and tears for laughter,” afraid to do more than skim the surface, sheltered in vessels of an opening too deep.  Then I’ll greet them from the skies and trees, with colorful ensembles to sing and whistle of their loveliness.  To remind. Invite.  I’ll meet them at their bedroom window with the warmth of the rising sun.  I’ll fly around their heads, giving life to sound.  Then I’ll paint the black and blue.  Spackled lights, mists and vapors and currents, an expressive medium of impermeance, castles and charicatures, they’ll want to catch every fleeting fluffy, temporal masterpiece; so I’ll roll out blankets of grasses to lie and exclaim and dream and kiss and be silent.  Defiance to mirror their true selves, wholly beloved.  Misunderstanding justifying isolation, refusal to face the reality of their be-ing…..I’ll keep singing and painting.  I’ll keep reaching and crying.

Pensive Pedal Strokes

I don’t know if I like deciding whether or not I want to participate that day.  Deciding whether or not I want to show up, play the part of teacher, be only a placeholder or glorified babysitter, or just be something at all for anyone that day.  As a substitute teacher, there’s a lack of inward accountability I succumb to in it’s freedom.

This is a bike ride. Typical and frequent in its railings and rants and relfections.  Life.

I can allot relational investment dependent upon my mood, perceived emotional capacity, and well-being of my psychological faculties.  I can gage my cup and administer what I see fit, dispensing intermittently what I deem allowable to protect taking from myself.  I can choose whether or not to craft a skill set, embrace a deficiency, or cultivate a passion.  I can consciously retreat from opportunities of growth, moments of discord; face fallacies propping up my quasi-selves, or challenges in which to openly be offended.  

I’m not a better teacher on the days I enthusiastically clockin from when I felt most tenacious to be a world changer as a full-time teacher.  I’m not more because I can write off my fatigued and emotionally drained days.  

I’m healthier, maybe.  More insightful to self-actualization and subtle discrepancies that arise before they become full-fledged emotional dramas.  I have more episodes of self-discovery.  Reflective glimmers into my soulscape frequent more of a reprise than they did traditionally, but not because I am more obedient or disciplined with time.  I actually have more time, more than ever.  I also waste more time than ever.  There was tact, self-restraint, and foresight working out of what felt skimming sufficient or just enough.  Ample invites leisure, excess accepts and accommodates a showing of mediocrity.  

I was a better teacher and lover and mentor when I showed up on the good and the bad, the blissful and distasteful, even in straight acrimonious defiance and resistance and complacency.  

I was better at being.  Better in consistency.  I lack the drive and audacity to accept the hard days, the challenging days that call me into a better musician, educator, and lover of life.  I yearn and ache for more responsibility and meaning, but retreat from episodal encounters to walk into a better version of myself.

Withered and Dry

The sickle was long-stemmed.  Corrosively blackened by cyclical decades of rice harvest tillage, its austerity hinted at faithfulness to perform.  The countless hands who held this tool before me probably fed hundreds of families in their labor.  Now was my turn to sweat and toil for this community in rural Thailand.  The food forest tasked had given way to negligence, so we worked to copse and pollard undesired growth on the trees and the ground floor hindering growth.

There was an Aussie, a fellow volunteer, from a family who raised groves of citrus varietals.  He had a beautiful intuitive temperament capable of depth and consideration, but keen to an air of joyful blithe.  We talked about his family’s homestead, where he had just spent the greater of two weeks pruning trees out on the property, at times spending over any hour on a single tree.  I was surprised at the complexity of the approach and methodology. Every cut carried serious reprocussions.  The blooms, tiped after a harvest would increase the following seasons yield.  Cuts in the midline of stems caused more vegetative growth, while base cuts encouraged a more lateral spread of canopy.  Your intentions specied the tactics and anticipated results dictated procedure.  In sickness and cists of infestions, the call for sacrifices had to made.  Weight distribution of limbs would lead to further immolation of profitable blossoms to extend the trees life.

Calculated. Attentive. Purposeful.

My eyelids moistened softly and silently.  At least they did then.  They’re dry now.

A once anthematic call, essentially and subliminally addressing the growth of my inner being; my heart. The trimmings and allowances and proselytizing of my soulscape.  I don’t need a cutting of doubt, of branches that bear no fruit:  I need warmth to fall into the unceratinty.

An existential tinge and pantheist embrace of a reality void a directly personal deity, I hurt not to be moved by that intimate, divine touch. The tainted temples of elitists and carnivals of church-ianity proclaiming to have the community your soul craves.  Archaic imagery and hedonistic infused vernacular of this Western monotheistic religion are chokingly obtrusive to my being.  I can no longer breathe.  I struggle to even function and operate in the dogma and rhetoric of a power seeking institution where my faith is unmerited and unwarranted in its questioning.  To be a seeker, is to have a cheap faith.  To live in ambiguity and the gray of the ethereal is heretical and pitied in degradation.

I’m bound.  In the only language I know, in familiarity and inauthenticity, to desrcibe a Love found in the act ineffable, who’s presence is inexorable.  Every faculty of my being wants to stand in defiance and enmity.  Love defies reason.

When did it need to make sense?

 

like flowers

The same happens with flowers.  

They seed and candidates unsolicitedly wait.

Eagerly left to surmise at warmth’s loyalty,

debating its appearance

episodal or spring-induced,

tempting and flirting with risk to be the fullness of their beauty.  

 

Depth and density of life’s fullness comes through awareness.  Will you cultivate a consciousness that postures you to taste divinity within the throes of the day?  Will the rhythms of daily living become mundane,  even pleasing, suitable, and good? Or, will you let yourself be captured by the spectacle of love in the act? There’s a deep river of flow found buried beyond reason and definition that lets us splatter and tickle others with love from a place of abundance and excess.  Love manifests and blooms from an infinite, Cosmic Singleness.  Our acts of random compassion and benevolence cannot be wasted, isolated, uneconomic, or meaningless.  There’s not a heirarchy to scaffold the varying weights and values of Love, as if it was something to be delineated, monopolized, or consumed.  

Self-emptying and Go-gurts and Grace

True, uninhibited life is found in seeing beauty in the seemingly random flares of grace.  The more we gather empirical experience, poignantly contemplative at the ephemeral playfully at work, the higher the resolution at which we perceive the transformational spiritual reality we’re called into;  it’s availability and presence and immediacy.  There exists and permeates a reality, as Peter Rollins says, “found in the act of love.”  Knowing there’s patterns and rhythms brooding with a sacred weight, means the opposite is also true.  There’s an exchange of love that takes place in the ambiguity of chance and frills of casual daily living.  There’s small moments fermenting with rich, experiential life if attuned to in the spontaneity and unexpected.  I have two beautiful accounts.

I was substitute teaching on the southwest side of my Texas city, in school deeply within white-flight, upper-middle class area of the district.  Incredibly quick backdrop, with self-actualizations and inner angst-filled turmoil for another post, needs to be made.  I recently got back from a multi-month trip backpacking overseas in Southeast Asia.  I love primitive, minimalism mixed with cultural immersion and be external intuitively-stimulating environments of application and dissonance that teach me about humanity and my soul.  Long story short. So here I am in Texas, the community I’m humbled to serve and love and change (, bless their hearts).

His name is Naziel, at least that’s his last name which I mandated as his salutation upon its pronounceability.  He’s the one non-white.  He’s Pakistani and Muslim. And he’s such a collection of inviting, pristine awareness.  Confident and sure.  He’s chastized and pushed in the margins, both by faculty and students.  Living seen through bifocal perspectives of paralleled opposites:  my religion vs. your religion, arab vs. white, different vs. same.  His untarnished, freewheeling spirit makes him such a beautiful demonstrative force at love.  He walked in acceptance of situational circumstances,  but not defeated.  He chose self-disclosure and vulnerability in response to vocal dissent and timidity of uncertainty.  I felt Ihidaya, the Single One, through him.  His spirit marinated my heart into the clarities of his “knowing” me.  THrough his opening and opening, I saw whole and new into the divine energies of Being manifested around me.  I preempted this story with myself to illuminate the isolation and misunderstanding I sometimes feel….and its pettiness. Naziel showed me the third way, a response into a reality that transforms those around you.  He expands and opens himself in a liberalness of spirit that doesn’t carry wounds of exclusion or mistreatment.

By the end of the week, his mom who had never met me, made me a traditional Pakistani meal.  The nuances and subtleties of flavor, prepared with love, almost made me weep as I ate in the gym, alone, in a white wall washed school in West Texas.  You can guarantee I accompanied every morsel with sighs of ecstasy. I worshiped with a fork as my medium.  

Secondly, I took a position for a day working with elementary-age kids that have cerebral palsy or permanent brain damage from shaken baby syndrome.  I was struggling with lack of fulfillment, wondering whether any impact or change was being made without linear continuity in the day to day as a substitute, or oppositely concerned if I was grasping to acquire meaning through immortality projects.  Anyway, walking across the threshold of a room laden with beautiful souls, I felt invited to be faithful with the world.  Mother Teresa says “There’s no great acts, only small acts of great love.”  Teary-eyed and humbled by grace, I was entrusted to be everything in changing diapers, moving positions, cyclically, from seated to standing to lying.  The evening was spent in a sensitivity hangover as I felt my heart had been massaged by their laughter and outbursts and spit-ups and smiles all day.  I took a second day there.

I love the dependency. I love how interim and nothing I am. I love kids needing help at lunch with milks and go-gurts, taking no stock or identity in self-reliance.  I love the kenotic, fallow self-disclosure that has to take place before I can become anyone, in all my humanity and partiality.

In Scandal and Squalor

Patience seems to always make its reprise, unknowingly to itself, at a child’s laugh.  Trees kindly wave their hellos, the branches tempting, alluring invitation to see new angles into elevated freedom and wind-chilled cheeks.  The buzzing rigor and austerity accompanying a bee’s missionality, leaves wonder found in color and bloom.  

I can’t help but believe that this divine energy, underlining and infusing, exploring and stabilizing all of creation, is bound to a linear transfer or procession.  When attentive to being, you’ll find in glimpses, this Source flicks and floods and beckons and parades our participation in life.   There’s a definite systematic methodology we’re innately aware and supportive of, even yearning and hastily constructing in our own coarse, finite, and fragile means. Relationships are seen as investments, dispensing resources and energy with piecemeal utilitarian tact towards posterity. Sense of place is held to loosely and comfortably, to make available the choice to engage the next lucrative job advancement or resume padding, partitioning us from intentionality and embrace of community and setting.  

 

It’s easy to recognize and facilitate Love that procures longevity of well-being and stability.  Yes, love is found in a mutual exchange. There’s a giving that accompanies receiving.  A symbiotic nature threads through the intent of choices and actions:  it’s primal and natural and lovely. We’re keen to see and live in the apparent.  This author I adore, Cynthia Bourgeault, quoted a piece by the great Sufi mystic jalalludin Rumi that conveys a beautiful tone on self-emptying love.

 

“Love is recklessness, not reason.

Reason seeks a profit.

Loves comes on strong, consuming herself, unabashed.  

 

Yet in the midst of suffering,

Love proceeds like a millstone,

Hard-surfaced and straight forward.

 

Having died to self-interest,

She risks everything and asks for nothing.

Love gambles away every gift God bestows.”

 

How do we love first, without any desired response?  How do I give recklessly and uninhibited?  Can we have our being in a vulnerability that risks and bares it all?  As Cynthia Bourgeault refers, how do we make abundance and generosity bordering extravagance, our signature?