Monday Morning Inspiration: fully understanding our reluctance to show up


“Strangely, we are perhaps most fully incarnated as humans, when part of us does not want to be here, or doesn’t know how to be here. Presence is only fully understood and realized through fully understanding our reluctance to show up. To understand the part of us that wants nothing to do with the full necessities of work, relationship, of doing what is necessary, is to learn humility, to cultivate self-compassion and to sharpen that sense of humor essential to a merciful perspective of both a self and another.

[,,,] Rarely is it good to run, but we are wiser, more present, more mature, more understanding when we realize we can never flee from the need to run away.”


–David Whyte from Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
Photo: David Spencer

Lagoon Walk: Morning Edition


Friday morning.
A day off from work!
65 degrees.
Pollen count: 4.5
Time for a lagoon walk.

Cardigan weather.
Even though it’s late August.
Once again a season’s boundaries have collapsed.
And let cooler weather barge in.

I hope to see at least see the Great Blue Heron.
Just ducks.
And I hear the “chip” of a Cardinal.

I approach the Dream Park where kids are playing.
Where I logged many, many hours when my kids were younger.
I’ll gladly let others take their turn.
And remain by the lagoon shore where it’s quiet.

Except not.
Followed by a splash.

I look in the water.
Was it a fish?
Did a branch fall in?
A muskrat?
A drowning squirrel?*
Can’t tell.

Raindrops fall.
Should I continue to the library to return a book?
Or head home so as to not get wet?
Library it is.
And the rain stops.

Walking back home.
A father and two sons bike past me.
Dad: Did you want to stay?
Boy: No, I wish it was more fun.

He doesn’t know yet,
The real fun is at the lagoon.
Not the Dream Park.

Have to hustle now.
Clock is ticking.
If I used wearable tech
I would check:

Steps walked
Miles walked
Calories burned
But that would be a good walk spoiled.

Lunch at Cuco’s Mexican restaurant awaits with two daughters.
I slide into the car exactly on time.
Cardigan off.



*This column in the recent edition of the Herald-Independent states that a local resident takes a DIY approach to squirrel control by drowning them.

Monday Morning Inspiration: taking the path of visibility


“The path to good work is the path of making our selves visible…

How many times have we kept a hope or dream in abeyance because even thinking about the possibilities of failure were too much to contemplate? If we failed at that central, precious thing that we have always had in reserve for an alternative life, then who would we be? Would there be any one we like left at all? Far better then, not to risk at all, to choose something smaller, to undertake some logistical task we don’t mind getting wrong, something we could recover from, something where we are, in effect, still invisible, to ourselves and to the world. Better to choose a world where things don’t matter. Better not to appear fully on life’s radar screen.

But in taking the path of visibility we arrange for a different kind of disappearance – into the work, the task, the audience, the one who will receive what we have conceived, the life that opens up …making ourselves visible allows us to be found and even invited in by the world we both fear and desire….”

Photo: Freddie Phillips
Quote: David Whyte

Sunday Morning: spirituality in the dirt


“I think a sacramental life—it’s Christianity. It’s not spiritual, it’s physical. You can’t even get started without a loaf of bread and a jug of wine and a river. There is this incredible physicality to what we believe. This is spirituality in the dirt. We have a God who slipped into the vulnerability of human skin, and walked among us, and was born among straw and animals, and walked the earth, and ate with his friends, and spat in the dirt, and used mud and his own spit to heal people. This is not an ethereal, transcendent, otherworldly, escape-this-earth kind of god. Even after his resurrection, he was disturbingly physical about all of it. He was grilling fish on the beach and having people touch his actual wounds. This is why I am not a fan of the liberalism in Christianity. I actually believe in the physical, actual resurrection of Jesus. You can’t have a Gospel that’s that disturbingly physical the entire time, and then at the end, it’s just an idea. It’s just a memory. I think the actual wounded body of the resurrected Christ is of great importance to humanity, given the fact that we walk around with bodies that are also wounded in the same way. I think that that says something important to us…So I think that if people sense God in nature, then a sacramental life is definitely for them.”

–Nadia Bolz-Weber excerpt from this interview
Photo: Scott Garriott

Lagoon Walk: Cicada Memories

79 degrees.
No wind chill.
Humidity 46%.
Pollen count 11.5.
I conclude it’s high time for a Winnequah lagoon walk.

But you hardly ever go for walks!

She’s right.
I haven’t set foot by the lagoon since eldest daughter’s wedding at the gazebo there.
Back in early June.
I marinate briefly in regret and self-chastisement.
Then head out.

No Fit Bit.
Those are against my religion.
No pedometer either.
I don’t care how many steps I take.

There is no birdsong.
Unless you count the panicked quacks of the three ducks I startled.
Sorry ducks!

There are cicadas.
Of course.
It’s August.
Although these cicadas aren’t as loud,
They remind me instantly of August evenings on my grandparents’ back porch in Dwight, IL.
30 years ago and more now.
I pause for a few minutes under the tree canopy and remember.

Moving on to the more public part of the park.
A teenage neighbor boy is sitting on a park bench and reading.
A dead pulp book.
Not a screen.
He doesn’t see me.
I don’t dare interrupt him and send a silent salute instead.

Speaking of books, I bear right to head to the library where two holds are waiting for me.
The gazebo catches my eye.
There is a wedding there.
I remember again.

Library books in hand I start walking home.
Cicadas much louder now.
Almost Dwight level loudness.

Back home.
I find a Ted Kooser poem:

What cicadas leave behind is a kind of crystallized memory;
The stubborn detail of, the shape around a life turned


Thursday Therapy: seeing ourselves not as patients but as citizens


“When you were a child, if you lived in a city, your father probably went out on Tuesday night to a ward meeting with the Democrats or the Republicans, to some meeting dealing with politics. Now we go out because we’re fat; we go out on a Tuesday night to meet other fat people. On Wednesday night we go out because our parents abused us; Thursday, because we drink too much. We meet single-issue people. We meet through our symptoms.

It’s a new way of organizing the political world, the communal world: in terms of pathology. For everyone to sit around a room because they’re fat — I don’t know if that’s a way civilization can continue. I want to meet with people who are fat, and black, and green, and white, and exhibitionists, and Republicans. That’s what a democracy is about. […]

Suppose we begin seeing ourselves not as patients but as citizens. Then what would therapy be like? Suppose the man or woman coming to you as the therapist is, above all else, a citizen. Then you’re going to have to think about these people a little differently; they’re no longer just cases. […]

I am attacking the theories of psychotherapy… It makes every problem a subjective, inner problem. And that’s not where the problems come from. They come from the environment, the cities, the economy, the racism. They come from architecture, school systems, capitalism, exploitation. They come from many places that psychotherapy does not address. Psychotherapy theory turns it all on you: you are the one who is wrong. What I’m trying to say is that, if a kid is having trouble or is discouraged, the problem is not just inside the kid; it’s also in the system, the society.

We can’t change anything until we get some fresh ideas, until we begin to see things differently. My goal is to create a therapy of ideas, to try to bring in new ideas so that we can see the same old problems differently.”


–James Hillman interview excerpts from here and here.

Photo: Something Sighted

Wednesday noon beach break

Warwick Long Bay, Bermuda

Warwick Long Bay, Bermuda

It’s been a long week. I can’t go to a beach like this anytime soon, so I’ll just gaze at this picture instead. It was Bing’s wallpaper last Friday.

Spreadsheet Soundtrack: Here I am today in the third person


The past couple of weeks Andrew Bryant’s Galilee album has been my preferred soundtrack while working on spreadsheet graphs and pie charts.

As I glanced at the song list today I noticed the list of songs reads like a poem with only minimal tweaking:

Galilee means
We’re Not That Old, so you did a
Cartwheel and
He Started To Run.
Raise Your Fist, after all
Is Life Not For Living?
The Mystery is blowin’ in the
Chicago Wind.
Here I Am Today in the
Third Person.

Galilee on Spotify and LP. Andrew Bryant’s website. His new album is excellent too. Here is a video.

Sunday Morning: Into the Instant’s Bliss



Into the instant’s bliss never came one soul
Whose soul was not possessed by Christ,
Even in the eons Christ was not.

And still: some who cry the name of Christ
Live more removed from love
Than some who cry to a void they cannot name.


Poem by Christian Wiman from Once in the West: Poems
Photo by George Batistatos

Friday Fun: Goldfinch Selfie



Photo: Bob Hundt, Wisconsin Birding Facebook Group

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