Window

A window is
for looking through

silica and isinglass
give light not form

floated glass
shows many details

it can even keep
harmful rays at bay

the dirtier the window
the happier Windex® is

smog and pollution
raise their bottom line

clearer windows
are a capitalist plot

capitalizing
on R-values

to change windows
more frequently than needed

now we better see
our window on life

in looking through
we gaze upon

Catalyst

“Who was that masked catalyst?” This variant on the closing scene of Lone Ranger episodes holds a favorite mystery — the presence and effect of a catalyst.

Not being a chemist presents some difficulties in proceeding. I’m sure that my lay perspective mischaracterizes important considerations and is quite romanticized regarding the arrival, work, and parting of a transformative element.

There are dangers too great to number when taking a physical process and applying it to personal and social relationships. Foremost among them is a difficulty in imagining that the forces at work in beginning and stabilizing a change in relational or social status would remain unchanged.

While we can see the effect of money on changing the perceived status of an individual or group, we can posit that money continues to be money. Stories and studies suggest that outward changes in opportunities or their lack do not cover us, but reveal, whatever basic value system was held before money entered the scene.

The largest effect on persons or groups are perceived as individualized. History books generally go for large characters who have huge success or failure as they jump from war to war. The characteristics of such characters are etched in stone. Their nicknames are indicative of unchangeability.

These flashpoints of capital and leaders are too obvious in their presence to be catalysts for change. They are more a sign-of-a-change than the facilitator of such. Of more interest are the quiet, muffled, hinting folks who trust a different mechanism than straight-forward interference with on-going processes of change. A prophet or saint might be thought of as a living catalyst. Even then, the reports of their lives run well past what can be known, and hagiography enters on elephant feet.

Given their nature, the catalysts in my life may never be identified. Whoever they were—thanks.

Cleaner and Brighter

Everything dies, after all. 

Our interaction with this reality tends to wax and wane. The further we are from reality, the more we have invested in the denial or necessity of death. Narcissistically, it is only for others, and we can easily help them on their way. Depressively, it is the most significant possibility we can recognize through dark and blindered glasses.

In a somewhat reasonable time of awareness, we are capable of noting times and seasons of death. Mourning the loss of our own experience or the presence of another takes on the sense of a marker we can come to not only appreciate but celebrate. Noting a limit heightens the importance of relaxing into its arms. Such restrictions focus us on making the most of the opportunity at hand, bringing all we can to bear on behalf of those who may yet arrive if there are still seven generations to come—this is never guaranteed and always a statement of faith.

In the best of times and the worst of times, we are most enlivened when death is at our advisory table to lend its perspective. While it neither deserves the first or last word, it makes the conversation the richer and the decision cleaner and brighter.

Hexagonal Time

I often find myself using a formulation that plays with three stages of time — past, present, and future. Each plays their part in contrast to the others. Just as light has its wave and particle, time can be experienced in multiple fashions. Each formulation reveals another aspect ourself and our perception of the world around. Just as the Enneagram has its nine centers and internal relationship, time reveals six facets:

1. Past,
2. Transitioning past to present,
3. Present,
4. Transitioning present to future,
5. Future, and
6. Mystically, fantastically, located as once and coming.

Graphic representation of Hexagonal Time model

I find it helpful to visualize these as the sides of a hexagon (each with a spectrum of locations), rather than as six points tied to one another by lines.

It is the sixth side of non-specific appreciation of past and future, not shaped as a present, that opens this too easily self-contained model or attempted explanation of 42 (answer to the meaning of life). This open space welcomes a wild splash of the potential energy of past and future shaking loose from their moorings and tumbling unrestrained into the present, which geysers beyond its limit of comfort. This sixth location is not a place to live, but to open upon that which is beyond our current linear control of a call to a wild waving of hello.

Sometimes we imagine time as a river moving on to a next rapid or slough. It can flow from past to future in front of a bank of this present. It can also flow from future to past. Sometimes it may be a lake holding all moments (past and future) within its depths. Time can never be contained in any image and may sometimes be seen as air, now gusting, now calm, as it speeds by or drags. Or, temperature, heat becoming cold over time. Or, attitude. Or, ….

At question is how you interact with time. I’m still exploring and find this open hexagon to hold some interest for the moment and, perhaps, others to come. For now: may the past learn from the present, may the future inform the present, and the present slip between their boundaries — into joy.

As Well As

Do it
as well as
ever you can

allow others
to do as well as
ever they can

a living interface
is as difficult as
difficult can be

serving self
by serving others
is counter-intuitive

domination
comes easily
as dominion

it’s me
and everything else
a wall never broken

maybe someday
a pale blue dot
may shift walls

until great whenever
our best bet
honors others

no over-functioning
will resolve
favorably

Action

Action on behalf of life transforms both and actor and the recipient. Once any two parts of a system meet, a reciprocity is set up that also affects third and fourth parts because everything is connected even more deeply than gravity.

Such reciprocity requires a feedback loop if it is to lead to any best intention coming to pass. Without such an integrated response system, any action intended for good would be blind to actual consequences. Without feedback, there is only projection to go on. Essentially this projection says, “I intend good, therefore what I do is good.”

If an actor is serious, they engage the character they are going to enflesh. Without a coming to the table or stage to explore the beginning state of their relationship, the most facile of presentations will be declared “genius” by its portrayer. Without an on-going relationship between the actor and character, the play will have a short run. The most engaging character can’t redeem an incurious actor.

This beginning engagement is a step often skipped when the setting is not a drama about a character we empathize with and learn from. Suppose a manager or president is incurious about the health of employees or citizens because their bottom-line requires no brooking of maximum profit in the shortest amount of time. In that case, the physical, emotional, and psychological harm done to flesh-and-blood people by a distant decider will mean the company or nation will have a shorter run than might have been expected.

Sometimes all concerned are initially engaged, but over time feedback becomes irrelevant to those with the most power, even if gasped aloud, “I can’t breathe.” This is the fault of the decision-maker for thinking their knowledge, profit, and decision-making is more important than any other.

This is a good day to consider the limitation of one-sided intention and the humility of receiving feedback. Pay particular attention to the importance of negative feedback that will require energy to again modify your intention according to the reality of the life of another person and the earth—to exchange experiences, to engage basic empathy.

Fantastic

soon it’s going to rain
I can feel it
fantastic

a breeze kicks up
the front arrives
moving

a tip and a tap
on the canopy
polite

we’d like to come in
will you welcome
run

we’ll come anyway
will you stay
brave

a change in the wind
a deluge begins
flood

a moment-ago’s tension
swept aside
reperspectivized

branch bending breaking
root strengthening
both

all things considered
root and branch
yes

face up
storm
thanks

soon it’ll rain again
a soothing mist
fantastic

Let’s Go

Scene: Garden of Gethsemane.
Time: Jesus having prayed multiple times, and 11 disciples roused from sleep.
Context: Judas and arriving crowd

Jesus says to the disciples, “Rise! Let’s go. The one handing me over has arrived.”

Attentive listeners may remember back to Mark, Chapter 1. Jesus has held a healing party hosted by the unnamed mother-in-law of Peter. After the party, the disciples fall asleep and, upon rising, seek out a missing Jesus.

Jesus, found at prayer and implored to go back to Capernaum, says, “Let’s go.” He clarifies that means to travel on to next cities for his Galilean task is to mutter about and model a different authority base for human politicking.

What is less clear in the Jerusalem moment is whether “Let’s go,” is away from Judas (back to the road beyond Galilee) or toward a different destination (finding a way back to Galilee through the leadership of Judas and the decisions of Caiaphas and Pilate – the practical effect of death and resurrection).

The relatively straight-forward direction, “Let’s go,” is far more ambivalent than our tendency to have it only be a call to action—like riding off in all directions at once.

At first, it means, “Let’s go further.” In the end, it means, “Let’s go deeper.”

This distinction can also apply to our current life-stage or state-of-current-affairs.

What does it means to go further than where we’ve come to?
What does it mean to go deeper into the place we are?

Both questions are important. Even more important is which is claiming more of our attention.

Both questions have personal and larger-community/creation components. Both questions dance the other’s response. We don’t go further without first going deeper, and deeper is not open to us without being stretched further. Enjoy and commit to where you are on the dance floor, knowing you’ll soon be changing partners.

Settled Enough

never never
do we know
where meaning
is invested
where we
in turn
will be
called planted
to transform
elements to energy
energy to element
finding larger
heritage horizons
older than DNA
to track
our track
and larger
dream times
newer than new
pointing beyond
false limits
without knowing
good from evil
only within
without taking
for granted
never knowing
always called
always calling
settle enough