Monthly Archives: September 2015

Mission: Sleeping (and living) well with the Unexpected

fire deptThe second day after arriving at my new home last November a neighbor asked me to join the volunteer fire department.  Lacking training, I wouldn’t need to do any actual fire fighting, the neighbor explained.  Just traffic control for roadway accidents and other unfortunate events occurring within this stretch of the Ozarks known as Inspiration Point.

I like to lend a helping hand when asked, but this request seemed way out of my league. I didn’t know anything about using radios or directing traffic. The many county roads shooting off like twisting branches from the equally winding highway within the Fire Department’s (IPFD) territory were a mystery to me.  Furthermore I generally tend to safeguard my non-working time, and, at that point, I definitely preferred known and steady rhythms to Unexpected’s chaos.

I can’t explain why, but on that November day, with only a few moments deliberation, I stepped beyond my comfort zone and answered my neighbor with a “yes.”

Have you recently jumped beyond your usual ring-pass-not?  What has your experience been?.

In my case, suddenly the unpredictable and I were linked via radio and phone.   My car trunk was loaded with a stop/slow sign, reflective vest, light batons, and a military surplus winter jacket from the war in Afghanistan now marked with the IPFD logo.

Initially I worried while I slept.  Worried that I wouldn’t hear the tone out.  Worried that I wouldn’t correctly decipher the dispatchers fuzzy reading of the location and event.  I wondered what I had gotten myself into.   I wondered if I should get myself out, but I’ve stayed.

In doing so I’ve developed an easier alliance with the unexpected. I’ve learned to appreciate the self-confidence and agility simultaneously required and forged in chaos. I’ve come to sleep peacefully knowing full well that my phone’s most interrupting ringtone might yank me from a dream and send me rushing into the night.

I’m glad for the small community service I’ve provided via the IPFD.  I’m grateful for the many experienced volunteers who have helped me along the way and for the transferable strength I’ve gained. After all, a chosen mission — be it responding to a car accident, cultivating a business, tending a friendship, following one’s creative passion, pursuing a spiritual path or living a meaningful existence — necessitates stepping beyond the usual and becoming comfortable with the challenges and gifts of the Unexpected.

Mission: Countering Great Destruction with Small Commitments

Carroll Electric EquipmentCarroll Electric rolled into the neighborhood last week.  With mechanically-armed saw blades whirring and spinning, they summarily cleared “their” right-of-ways of offending trees. Leaving the ripe scent and shock of countless destroyed cedars in their wake.  Mission accomplished. Power supply preserved.

Frustration abounds locally at Carroll Electric’s management and operational practices.  I’m none too happy with them. Still for the many of us not yet on solar they do keep the lights on, albeit with a profit-conscious heavy hand.

Carroll Electric Destruction

As I’ve mourned the lost trees and scarred hillsides, I’ve also wondered at my own profession.  I do my best to treat my customers well, as living individuals, not numbers.  But am I any less earth-destructive than Carroll Electric in my years of selling labor and resource-laden I Phones, Galaxies, Turbos, Tablets, Modems, Routers, DVR’s?

I have a friend who once declared that she wasn’t going to take up any job that would harm people, animals or the Earth.  She was unemployed for a very long time.  Indeed today’s economy essentially demands participation in a production/consumption lockstep that damages our planetary home and cuts ever so anonymously and lethally at our biological and spiritual connection with Nature.

I don’t have an answer for this circumstance.  Except to claim and commit daily to a counter mission.  To consume lightly. To place faith in Life’s abundance.  And to direct effort, time, passion, and care each day into something that heals, inspires, and spreads hope.  Something as small as touching the Earth and singing a prayer. Something as real as holding hands with a friend.  As frugal as finding a $4 skirt at the thrift shop. As important as speaking truth that activates change. Something that calls one back into the center of the Heart.  Into Wisdom’s Energy.

Garden Snail Shell

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Balance: The Value of Standing on One Foot

shoeEver tried standing on one foot — yoga tree pose style — with your eyes closed?  We practice this in karate class to improve physical balance and psychological centering.  The very first few tries, I only lasted a few seconds.  But I’ve kept working on it, gradually linking  steady foot placement to focused outer vision, then eyes closed, drawing my attention inward, centering in the heart and the middle of the forehead.   Body, Heart, Inner and Outer Vision united in one effort.

When I face a life circumstance that is immensely important to me and to which I want to devote the best I have to give, I’ll practice this integrative balancing exercise.  It calms my doubts, lessens the pull of emotional desires and aversions and draws me into the power of my best effort.  Have you experienced something similar with another physical exercise?

Balance: Teaming up Love with Wisdom

Gallery PhotoI pass by the Sacred Earth Gallery on my drive to and from work. Its handful of artful cairns stand untroubled along the highway, seemingly magically misplaced in time and space.  These carefully balanced stones speak the silent, Heart-centering language of the earth. Even travelling in my Honda at 45 mph, I can hear and feel their centripetal pull into Understanding.  Understanding that simultaneously transcends and is applicable to human circumstances.  The challenge, of course, is to seek and reveal it.

balancing rockI’ve felt especially grateful moving through the territory of the Cairn’s the past few days.  I’m in final negotiations for the dispensation of the property of the spiritual community of which I was long apart.  However things work out, through all the inner and outer struggles, I’ve gained priceless understanding about balancing love with wisdom.

Love, as I’m using the word here, naturally embraces, cares, shares, seeks to uplift and to heal.  When this love flows, one can’t help but smile and feel good.  But seeing as our world is not one inhabited solely by unicorns and benevolent fairies, round rockwisdom is essential for safeguarding and directing that love.

 Wisdom (Knowledge gained by experience and applied with Heart) recognizes the defining resources and personality patterns involved in situations and prompts intelligent action infused with integrity.

Doubtless I have more to learn in balancing two of the Heart’s great forces, Love and Wisdom. But so far so good.

What stories do you have to share of Love and Wisdom’s interplay in everyday life?