Monday, December 31, 2012

No Space, No Time; Just Here, Just Now

One of my recent discoveries on the Jazz front is a British group of artists who call themselves United Vibrations. The title of the cut that I featured on a recent Jazz Gumbo podcast is paraphrased in this blog’s title ( ). I wonder, as I listen to this fast-paced groove, whether the young masters know the wisdom of their mantra, or whether they’re just passing on some learned philosophy. I can’t help but to suppose the latter, though in the interview segment in which I caught some of their thoughts about music and politics and life, they sounded remarkably mature and thoughtful. It’s just that, well, I’ve always thought of myself as mature and thoughtful, and yet this knowledge is proving so difficult for me to absorb.
You see, I no longer doubt the truth of Nowness, which to my own ears has been most helpfully expressed by Eckhart Tolle. But getting past the intellectual blocks doesn’t in itself make a truth liveable.

And so, my struggle with time continues. Maybe not so much a struggle anymore (I’ve progressed that far – I’m more accepting of my inability to have the dimensions and capacities of time accommodate themselves to me). But I still experience, what shall I call it ... disappointment? ... at what I can fit into the sweeping of the clock’s hand, and what I cannot.
Oh well. I’ve gotten much better at pulling myself back into the moment, into now, and feeling the relief, the peace, the gratitude that descends, as I realize again that “ doubt, the universe is unfolding as it should”, and that “this” – whatever “this” is in its moment – is immanently embraceable.

I’ll still take the time, however, to make my occasional resolutions about my engagement with time. And there’s no better time than now. The beginning of the New Year, Solstice just passed, the days already creeping long, coming out of this odd, suspended moment that is the week between Christmas and New Year.
What are my resolutions? It doesn’t really matter, does it? A resolution is, at best, a small piece of that ongoing conversation between self and self, which is also a conversation between self and existence, between what I am and what I dream, between the elemental and the possible, in all things.

Love to you. All the brightest hopes for your New Year. And may you walk in perfect harmony with time.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


I can't recall a time when Solstice perfectly coincided with the start of winter. Certainly it's never happened as dramatically as it did last Friday.

Ponczka and I were together at Cloud, our getaway in the hills of the Finger Lakes region.What better place to spend the end of the world together!

We awoke there Solstice morning to this Winter Wonderland. There was a good 2-3 inches of heavy, moist snow covering everything. Through that day and the following night, we got another 3-4 inches.

Sooo beautiful.


and After

and, my favorite

Photos courtesy of Ponczka!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An “End” and a “Beginning”

Greetings and appreciation to all my Readers!

This idea of “The End of the World” is intriguing. I won’t like it if it turns out to be literally true, but as a metaphor of things to come – not bad. It works for me because it so mirrors what’s going on for me personally. I’ve hit a wall. I’m stuck, overwhelmed, depressed.

My doctor, when I spoke with him about it, immediately suggested I take time off from work. (Bless him for that!) He said that my symptoms suggest depression, and that he encounters is regularly among teachers, who otherwise love their work as I do. He agrees with me that I need to reground myself, and that key parts of that are to get physically active again (I’ve put on about 30 pounds in the last year) and to resume regular meditation. One of the key issues has been an inability to maintain any kind of focus or regularity, with anything!
So I’m taking time off to get healthy. It wasn’t easy to take off the time, despite how much I wanted it. I’m a government worker, and I sometimes run into attitudes about how little government workers actually work, and how we’re overpaid and live in some sort of fantasy world that’s detached from reality. Another part of the myth is that even when we’re working, we’re only coddling others who themselves don’t work or accept the harsh realities of life. The other attitude at play is that those of us in the “helping” professions typically tend to be uncomfortable seeking or accepting “help” for ourselves. We don’t practice very good self care, because we feel that we’re supposed to be caring for others. And because our clients are rarely in good shape (I work with homeless youth), even going home at the end of the day can carry a sense of incompletion.
I’ve managed to face the fact that I am not well, and that I can’t get better until I address some of the sources of my unwellness. I won’t go into all the details here, but suffice it to say that one thing that’s been missing is balance. I’m using my time off to get my balance back. One thing that means is to cut things out – both things I do for others, and indulgences I allow myself. And part of that involves having a different relationship with time. Lately it seems my main relationship with time has been to keep it crammed full of stuff, or to feel guilty because I’m not. It’s a frame of mind that makes it difficult to be emotionally still, in peace, or in flow.
So part of what’s gone just lately is “keeping up” with this blog, which I dearly love. I haven’t made any determination about changing anything here; I’ve just stepped away from the expectation (self-imposed) that I post at least six times a month (something I haven’t been managing anyway).
But back to the Mayans and this business about 21 December. One thing I love about it is that never before in my memory has Solstice received this degree of attention. But it’s a day I’ve been mindful of for most of my adult life, as the day the Earth makes its shift in relation to the sun, so that the days in the Northern Hemisphere begin to lengthen.
Solstice is a great time for beginnings, for fresh starts. This “coming of the light” is the best time imaginable for births of all kinds, particularly holy ones. And personally, I’m hoping that this Solstice will be my perfect time for a shift in perspective. May the day bring you what you need as well!