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Category: Friendly Fires

projects and support groups promoting creativity, educational opportunities, other people’s creative efforts

CHOOSE YOUR OWN GOOD FIGHT

CHOOSE YOUR OWN GOOD FIGHT

Does it seem to you, as it does to me, that every human in the world has at least one thing in common:  We, all of us, struggle.  No matter who we are, struggle seems to be a fact of life.

Some of us have great obstacles to overcome and some of us have more massive ambitions than others do, but, every one of us does have some sort of difficulty making it from where we are now to where we really want to be.

Sometimes we’re struggling with other people walking through our worlds.  Their ideas or life views might not mesh with our own and there will be bumping and grappling involved when we try to get to a meeting of the minds.

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THE BIG S.L.O.W.

THE BIG S.L.O.W.

For years now, I’ve heard about the “Slow Movement.”  The ideals of keeping to a human pace, puzzling out and enjoying inherent creative processes, caring about human interactions and needs, and savoring life’s little moments one by one have always resonated with me.

But, hey…I’ve been busy!  As the consensus-world kept picking up speed and going hyper, all kinds of interesting things were popping.  The razzle-dazzle got brighter, and the pyrotechnics were grand.

Busy, busy, busy was the order of the day.  I felt like the littlest cousin again, chasing after the big kids yelling, “Hey, guys!  Wait for me!”

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MARY OLIVER: Poetry and Peace

MARY OLIVER: Poetry and Peace

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom): an understanding that every form of Making is ultimately another way of practicing being human.  [Humans make things.  It’s how we connect with one another and with the World.]

I am pleased when I can wander through poet Mary Oliver’s words and borrow her eyes and her heart to see again the beauty and the mystery of Life-Its-Own-Self.  The words remind me:  I am not alone.

That one helps me get back to peace again amid the hurly-burly bustle and the noisy push-me, pull-you tumble fades away.  AHHH….

My favorite Oliver quote does not come from a poem.  It was part of a rare interview she gave with Rachel Martin on a 2012 National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.

She said, “I said once, and I think this is true, the world did not have to be beautiful to work.  But it is.  What does that mean?”

That, I think, is a worthy big question.  It’s certainly big enough to fuel a life-long work.

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WALK LIKE A “BESTOWER”

WALK LIKE A “BESTOWER”

Nipun Mehta walks his talk. He’s been doing it for over 20 years now and his walk has been highly successful at helping other people walk theirs.

Mehta was a UC Berkeley computer nerd and a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who witnessed and participated in the peak of the DotCom madness.  By the time he was in his third year at UC Berkeley, he was at Sun Microsystems doing work that gave him what he says was more money than he needed.

There he was, well on his way to finishing a degree at Berkeley with a career in fabled Silicon Valley ahead of him, and he felt hollow somehow.  It felt like he was coming to a personal dead end and he didn’t like it.

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PINPOINT “ENOUGH”

PINPOINT “ENOUGH”

Probably we’ve all heard the teaching stories – the ones that make us all nod as if we know something, the ones that make us mutter aphorisms and wisdom-words at each other about the consequences of greed and getting more and more.

The stories are usually about some guy sitting all alone in a big old mansion on a hill somewhere.  He has everything and yet he feels like he has nothing.

(Usually the tale is about a guy, but, really, we could easily substitute a gal in there instead these days.)

Here’s a thought:  Maybe it wasn’t greed that led that lonely one down the road to Empty.  Maybe he or she just didn’t recognize when they had gotten to “Enough” and just kept on going.

prospect-hill-plantation
“The Legacy of Prospect Hill Plantation” by Michael McCarthy via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]
That does happen.

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CONNECT WITH NATURE OR NOT (Another IPS)

CONNECT WITH NATURE OR NOT (Another IPS)

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  a tendency to notice what you are noticing and to ask why you’re noticing it.  [Sometimes you notice things that call to your heart and your heart responds by dancing.  The best move then is to go do more of that dance….]

Have you noticed the latest trend (especially after the pandemic lockdown) toward hugging trees, galaxy-gazing, mooning over wilderness landscapes and generally dissing our man-made constructs and urban follies?

Going-Outside-with-the-capital-O has become the new default mode of operation.  (Mostly ‘cause it’s pretty boring being stuck inside-with-no-capital-I, even with all the latest gadgets and doo-dads.)

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DO WHAT YOU CAN

DO WHAT YOU CAN

In the spring of 2020, world paradigms changed.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared that the Novel Coronavirus Disease, Covid-19, was a pandemic.

This came after China reported in December, 2019 that there had been more than one instance of a weird life-threatening respiratory illness in Wuhan, the capital and major industrial and commercial center in Hubei province.

The health-care professionals at WHO watched how the new disease spread and the effects it had on people wherever it popped up around the world.

The media, social platforms, and assorted rumor-mills went into overdrive trying to figure out what the heck was going on.  Panic attacks and near-terminal confusion ensued.

Almost immediately after the WHO pandemic declaration the world-as-we-knew-it shut down.  The rules changed and they still keep on morphing. 

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BABY WISDOM

BABY WISDOM

As you know, I invite everybody to send in a poem of their own making that holds meaning and mana for them.  I ask that the poets share the back-story about the poem.  The poems are often a delight and the back-stories are always interesting.

The following poem came from Andy Bia, a fellow online entrepreneur whose blog, BAD INVESTMENT ADVICE (And Ways to Avoid It), covers “the basics of the modern tools and markets” in the stock market world.  His site focuses on making the esoteric world of finance more understandable for regular folks.

The blog stance is really sensible.  If you get confused by the jargon and don’t even understand what all the mavens and pros are talking about, how can you (as a wanna-be financial wiz) make sensible decisions?  Concepts come first, then action.

Andy says he is “not a financial professional.”  I say he is still a wise guy.

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SOUL QUESTION

SOUL QUESTION

Here’s another free-form poem by guest poet James Ray.  It was posted on his site, WAR INC, in July, 2019.  He says he wrote it while he was having his Semi repaired on a very quiet and clear night.

“I looked up at the stars, as I’ve been known to do, and wished (not for the first time) that I did it with someone who could answer this question for me.  All the easy questions of why and where here, but that one slips away time and time again.

 “My soul, why is it here? What now? I dream to meet someone to dream and answer it with….
Souls are eternal but not all knowing
.”


What of my soul?

For the love of a tree. For the love of a branch. For the affection of the air. For the warmth of the ocean. For the touch of Terra firma.

I live for none of these things. I live because biology fills my lungs, oxygenates my blood. The electricity of my body chemistry powers my heart. The seemingly random flashes of my synapses activate my brain.

What of my soul? What does my soul live for? Why would anyone care? I can live without it. Many do. I can run from one thing to another in a never-ending attempt of validation. Many have. I can curse my existence and snuff out those who have found their souls. Many will.

What of my soul? What purpose should it have? Who should give it to me? What do I do if I choose the wrong? How shall I heal it if injured? How shall I grow it, for it to gain strength?

Stand with me on this warm summer night, as i gaze up at the stars and sky. Leave me not alone to ponder this quest on my own. I cannot love man for man does not love me. I cannot be affectionate with Earth because Earth precedes me. I cannot be comfort to the creatures of the wild. For they are not of my kind. I can not love me for I am man.

Sit with me as I gaze of the Stars. The birthplace for which I yearn to return. Speak for me on my behalf to all the creators. Besiege on my behalf, “Hear him for he has pondered long.” Creators! Cosmic occurrence! Singularity! Give to me the answer that I watch for. Or give to me proper question to ask. For a thing as small as mercy, surely do not leave me here alone with my question.

Travel with me part ways on my Odyssey. Only the final Journey should be journeyed alone. Break bread with me, make every morsel meaningful. Witness the scent with me, enhance my senses. And in the end comfort me and be an anchor from this world to the next.

What of my soul? What is enough? What must I do. On this warm summer night gazing the stars and moon. Sing me a song of few words. Hum me a melody of few notes. Give me a friendship of love, more than I deserve.

For the love of a tree for the love of me. For as far as I can see. For as much as I can be. Sit with me on warm grass, twinkling sky, half shone Moon, on warm summer’s night. And tell me what of my soul.


Header Photo credit:  “Starry Night Scene Looking West” by Russ Seidel via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Cool, James….

And you:  thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

(And if you would like to share a poem of your making that has meaning and mana for you, please go to the “Guest Poet Portal” in the header menu and submit it.  We will all be happy you did.)

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THE BEAUTY REBELLION (Guerilla Gardening)

THE BEAUTY REBELLION (Guerilla Gardening)

It is heartening for me to see the world-wide burgeoning of another sort of rebellion against the very real effects of the post-modern aftermath of our narcissistic phase of dominion and domination over nature, where we humans felt entitled to willy-nilly pave over the world and dump our stuff all over the place to make yet another ugly.

They call it “guerilla gardening” and it continues to expand all over the globe.

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