Pilgrims progress…

EDC76494-D573-44FD-A019-9BA637921461

Progress is a noun, describing forward movement achieved. It’s also a verb, when the accent is on the second syllable, meaning the act of moving as it is occurring. Like sharks swimming in the sea, we have to keep moving or we die. And pilgrims are simply people who are doing the moving with awareness. Unlike vagabonds, pilgrims have a purpose, if not a specific destination. And it is all about the journey and the mindfulness we can bring to it.

Travelling full time in our motorhome is a singular experience. Our lives have been stripped of many non-essentials, possessions, obligations, expectations. Our knapsacks get lighter every day. Yet the experiences of simply living, the exquisite preciousness of the ordinary and mundane wash over us like waves filled with awe and gratitude. To have heat, light and water are wonderful things. And oh! the sheer joy of being level! Food in the fridge and clean clothes! Rain on the roof while we’re sleeping. The brilliant colors of sunrise and sunset framing each day like a jewel.

We know we’re blessed. We’re paying attention. It seems the least we can do.

Advertisements

It’s been a long day…

6EF4CB5C-C72C-4C78-867A-4B50F2BE5C48

…and it isn’t even seven o’clock. I woke up this morning at 4:30 to the sound of a big thud…and then nothing. I called out Gil’s name and he didn’t answer at first, so I struggled to free myself of the down comforter on our bed in the loft of the motorhome and hurried down the ladder. It was out of place and wobbled alarmingly. Now I knew what had happened. I told him I was coming to him and he finally responded weakly. I found him partially under the table, lying on his side. I could hear something dripping into a puddle on the carpet and wondered where it was coming from. In the predawn darkness I couldn’t see it, but the stickiness soon told me it was blood. A lot of blood. It was squirting out of his left temple with every heartbeat. He was ashen and trembling. And I was scared. I managed somehow to pick him up off the floor and put him in his recliner. Even with pressure on the gash in his head it wouldn’t stop bleeding, spurting if I let up for a second. I called 9-1-1 and a voice who said her name was Brianna summoned help for us. The two EMTs who arrived shortly (without lights or siren at my request – no need to terrify the neighbors!) confirmed we were going to the hospital and helped me put pants on him for the trip. We rode in the ambulance, me up front with Jeff driving and his partner in back with Gil. I checked him into the Emergency Room at Western Arizona Regional Medical (WARM) Center here in Bullhead City while nurses Theresa and Rachel, medical technician Matt and Dr. Mike all cared for my beloved: checking vitals, trying to stop the arterial spray, taking his medical history, tidily suturing the four centimeters long wound, mopping up the mess to see if anywhere else was bleeding. (It’s difficult to get blood out of a beard.) There were some random abrasions including one on his lip where the horn goes when he plays. He was taken for a head X-ray by Bart, all clear. Dr Mike came back in and said it would be a week before he could get the stitches out. Theresa called us a cab. Hector took us back to Silver View RV Resort and didn’t accept credit cards, but wouldn’t take any money either and helped Gil get into the RV. We were back home in just over two hours. He’s been resting quietly since then, except that it really hurts if he coughs and he’s weak as a kitten. We’re watching  the Houston funeral for HW and I’m making him some scrambled eggs and toast. It looks like it may rain today and I don’t feel up to doing laundry even though I should…I’m ready for a nap.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Swashbuckling!

11f37fac-1da4-40b5-afb0-57701d1a6304

“Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late. The cannons don’t thunder, there’s nothing to plunder. I’m an over forty victim of fate, arriving too late, arriving too late…” A Pirate Looks at Forty

Gil and I just finished reading Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini. We started our custom of reading aloud to one another back in 1974. Since we were studying the same lessons at the School of Ministry and spending all our time together it seemed a natural choice and one we have enjoyed ever since. We’ve read all manner of things over the years, but we seem to enjoy rollicking good stories the most. This was most definitely that! I was introduced to Peter Blood by my junior high school French teacher and guidance counselor Janet Roberts. She knew intuitively that my adolescent heart needed a romantic adventure and Sabatini’s classic story set in the seventeenth century Caribbean Sea certainly satisfied. Captain Blood was an honorable man, a surgeon by training, and fell into the disrepute of piracy through an unfortunate series of misadventures. Trying to remain a man of integrity in those circumstances was a real challenge for him, yet he prevailed, even thrived.

So, Johnny Depp wasn’t my first pirate hero. Neither was Errol Flynn who played in the 1935 movie version of “Captain Blood”. Actually, it was Geena Davis in “Cutthroat Island” who became my heroine when I realized that girls could be buccaneers too! Amid her swashbuckling escapades and some seriously questionable personal habits, she too had a code of honor that informed and circumscribed her choices. I like that in a person.

Jimmy Buffet wrote about his longing for a life at sea, free from the constraints of polite society in his song that I quoted above, but I’m not forty, I’m sixty-six and it’s becoming less and less likely I will ever run away to sea. The closest I came to it was the 25 years I spent as the boat minister aboard Woodwind and Woodwind II on Lake Tahoe. Every Saturday during the summer months I got to go sailing on those two beautiful vessels for the modest price of officiating a wedding each time. After my clerical duties were completed I was free to enjoy the wind and spray in my face to my heart’s delight! I never tired of feeling the deck move beneath my feet with the rhythm of the waves, hearing the sails flap wildly then snap to as we came about, knowing that I belonged to the elements in a way I could scarcely fathom. I learned the rolling sailor’s walk so well that I looked odd coming back down the pier after a day’s adventure. There were many nights when I’d go to bed ashore and could still feel the gentle rocking as I fell asleep. 

When my Mom was 17 she ran away and joined the circus. It was one of those things she said with pride her whole life long. Somehow, before I grow up, I’m going to run away to sea! 

“Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard your call! I’ve wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall. You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all…”

 

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Embracing Opposites

91D71225-06A1-4C90-9F00-8D3044CE7AF4Enya sings a song that, from my first hearing, even before I discerned all the lyrics, captured my attention and my heart. “Anywhere Is” was written by Nicky Ryan, Roma Ryan and Eithne Ni Bhraonain. The photo above is Henry Harvey’s “Moon Waves.”
I walk the maze of moments
But everywhere I turn to
Begins a new beginning
But never finds a finish
I walk to the horizon
And there I find another
It all seems so surprising
And then I find that I know
You go there you’re gone forever

I go there I’ll lose my way
If we stay here we’re not together
Anywhere is

The moon upon the ocean
Is swept around in motion
But without ever knowing
The reason for its flowing
In motion on the ocean
The moon still keeps on moving
The waves still keep on waving
And I still keep on going

You go there you’re gone forever
I go there I’ll lose my way
If we stay here we’re not together
Anywhere is

I wonder if the stars sign
The life that is to be mine
And would they let their light shine
Enough for me to follow
I look up to the heavens
But night has clouded over
No spark of constellation
No Vela no Orion

The shells upon the warm sands
Have taken from their own lands
The echo of their story
But all I hear are low sounds
As pillow words are weaving
And willow waves are leaving
But should I be believing
That I am only dreaming

You go there you’re gone forever
I go there I’ll lose my way
If we stay here we’re not together
Anywhere is

To leave the tread of all time
And let it make a dark line
In hopes that I can still find
The way back to the moment
I took the turn and turned to
Begin a new beginning
Still looking for the answer
I cannot find the finish
It’s either this or that way
It’s one way or the other
It should be one direction
It could be on reflection
The turn I have just taken
The turn that I was making
I might be just beginning
I might be near the end.

Here’s a link to the YouTube version:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Tell me again …

CEBA1762-3F09-4639-87D2-ABA084AD09E3

… because, for a minute there, I forgot …

“There is no difficulty that enough love

will not conquer; No disease that enough love

will not heal; No door that enough love 

will not open; No gulf that enough love

will not bridge; No wall that enough love

will not throw down; No sin that enough love

will not redeem.

It makes no difference how deeply

seated may be the trouble, How

hopeless the outlook, How muddled the

tangle, How great the mistake; A

sufficient realization of love will dissolve

it all. If only you could love enough

you would be the happiest and most

powerful being in the world.”

Emmett Fox

 

 

Natural Selection

E8BCB3D8-5D7E-4F8A-AB1E-FA4A82526BA4

As a life long long student of New Thought, I am especially excited when I actually encounter one. Today’s new thought was this: “our body isn’t random, it is chosen by our soul.” For someone who has had a tumultuous relationship (!) with her physical expression, this came as a stunning revelation. My first reaction was: why ever would I choose this? followed very quickly by a upswelling surge of tender compassion for my beleaguered body. Both are worthy of attention.

Why, indeed? What are the inherent attributes of my body, its strengths and challenges? What experiences is it uniquely equipped to provide me? What have I learned so far that was only possible because I chose this particular body? How has this body mirrored my preferences and shaped my choices over the years? Have I proven a loyal and appreciative partner to my body in this lifetime? Is there anything I would like to do differently?

Yup! And that brings me to my second knee-jerk response, for I actually feel very kindly toward my physical self and very grateful to her for her faithfulness. The judgments I’ve passed, criticisms I’ve raised, condemnations I’ve made, punishments I’ve meted out, disciplines I’ve imposed, all were harsh, disproportionate and oblivious to my own complicity. Also not helpful. Enough!

New thought, in the best of all possible worlds, is quickly followed by manifested new actions, new behaviors and new awarenesses. So I am willing, today, to see and do my relationship with my dear body differently. She knows me best! And I know her! This could be really fun!

Never on Sunday

4EBD597A-1EE7-464B-8AA8-175B3156A351

Today we went to the pool area of our current resort and got into the hot tub with a young man I’d never seen before. He was thirty-something with long hair and a full, if somewhat scraggly beard, slender, with his arms and face tanned while the rest of him was startlingly white. He spoke of his children in the big pool, his home four miles up the road and told us that the warm water felt good on his back which the doctors had said needed surgery. When the young man got out of the hot tub a little later, Gil shared with me that he had seen this same man on the TV network news this morning, reporting on the efforts being made to rescue the young soccer players from the flooded cave in Thailand. Gil said this chap was a cameraman and recalled how impressive his photographic gear was, big lenses and all. He then explained to me how he edited his own work as well! He could shift from the seashore to butterflies back to the cave and the music was uninterrupted as the scenes changed. Gil was quite impressed!

My grasp of reality was stunned for a moment as I considered the wisdom of pointing out the unlikely, if not impossible nature of what he’d just said when I remembered a movie I’d seen as a child, which I probably shouldn’t have been watching then anyway. The movie was the 1960 Academy Award winner “Never on Sunday” with Melina Mercouri playing a good-hearted prostitute and Jules Dassin as a conservative American fellow who tries to reform her. He discovers that while she loves the classical Greek theater, she has no understanding at all of the complex and tragic themes playing out before her. In fact, she is convinced that everything ends happily and that they all get ice cream and go to the seashore afterwards! Unfortunately he prevails. He convinces her that the people in her stories are all either dead or horribly unhappy. This awareness, understandably, depresses the dear girl so that she can’t even do her job anymore, much to the dismay of the village gents who relied on her good humor and gentle ways to ease their simple, brutish lives.

I told Gil that story and asked him: should he have told her the truth when it ultimately made her so miserable? He said: No! He should have let her be!

So I dropped it. Maybe next time I’ll remember to ask him to tell me more…