Friday, 29 March 2013

Would forever make a difference?

Someone recently put forth the idea that given the destruction we do to the world and things around us, it may be a good thing that we're only here for a little while. But would we invest more in our surroundings if we knew this was all we got, forever?

Love Free or Die: The Movie

Forgive the deviation from the title subjects of literature, science or the environment.

Tonight I attended a screening of Love Free or Die hosted by the Center for American Progress. The film tells the inspiring story of Bishop Gene Robinson's struggle to be openly gay man in a committed relationship within the Episcopalian church. It's a story about the harmful and negative role a religious institution can play in an individual's life by fostering fear and hatred.

Those were a big part of the reason I lost interest in the church. I thought if the people I was seeing who put themselves forth as good Christians were just that and that God was happy with them . . . well, that wasn't a god I wanted to believe in.

There was a Q&A following the film with the director Macky Alston and Bishop Gene. One audience member asked how it could be that a church that was started because someone didn't like the head of another church telling him who he could and couldn't marry now telling people who they can and can't marry. Another asked about the current hot topic of mandated coverage of contraception by insurance companies. This lead to Bishop Gene making a point that I thought was interesting on the separation of church and state. He said it is typically used to protect the church from interference by the state (I had thought it was the other way around), but with instances like marriage and this insurance/contraception issue. In these cases, he says the church wants to interfere in state issues. For marriage, he says one solution is for clergy to suggest that some members of the church become justices of the peace who have the power to marry and when couples come in asking to be married in a church, he says yes, we can marry you at the back of the church where the civil meets the religious in a civil ceremony and then you can come into the church with a complete service and I will bless your marriage. An interesting solution. 

His point was you can't have it both ways -- you can't insist on separation and religious freedom and then insist your religion influence state matters. It is in place to protect both sides. I still can't figure out how having the option of paid contraceptive is a violation of religious beliefs. If you believe it's against god's will or whatever to take a birth control pill, don't. But, if you don't believe that, isn't it great to have that as an option?

Anyway, the purpose for the blog is to spread the word about this inspiring film. They're making it easy for folks to host screenings in their Family & Friends program

Reflections on Spring: Daffodils

I love daffodils. I don't remember the first time I saw one, but I can recall the most impressive showing I've seen of them.

Easter time. Castle Hill in Edinburgh. The whole hillside was covered in daffodils. A similar thing happens in DC in the spring where Rock Creek Park lets out into Georgetown -- a hill side, covered with daffodils.

My favorite are the super petit little daffodils with cups the size of a pinky finger.

Petals or Leaves? "A ring of floral leaves surrounds the corona." Floral leaves sounds like a rather imprecise term but I like poetic definitions.

So tired & Staring

Ever get to the point of exhaustion where you have a lot of things to do and needs to satisfy but you can't decide which to do first so you just don't do anything? I got there today. I needed to pee, I was very hungry, I had work to do, I was thirsty, I was tired, I wanted to sing and dance and play guitar and read and go for a run. And I just sat there. Overwhelmed by the competing needs and desires, I did nothing. I should have gone to sleep.

But I didn't and now it's many hours later and I sorted out a lot of those needs. (Pee, eat and drink, sing, play, read.) Now I'm trying to sleep and I find that I am wide awake and it's 2:17 and I feel deceptively alert and energetic. I still have competing urges (run, sing, dance, write, read, work), though, all inappropriate given the time, and only one thing I need to be doing, sleeping.

So in the absence of sleep, I am trying to be productive, trying to get to some of those things I haven't gotten to that I've been meaning to get to. And I guess that means blogging.

Why I am awake? Could be the combination of being overtired or the weird sleeping patterns I seem to be developing. I find I'm waking up around 3 AM and again at 6 but not getting up until 7:30. I'm tired at 8 but not at 10. I'm staring at a laptop instead of going outside or reading a book. I took an allergy pill. Today was a busy day. Maybe it's the busy-ness that has me buzzing still.

My eye is twitching. Earlier the upper left lip was twitching.

Right now I'm glad to have a light on and a laptop working, but I've been thinking it might be great to not use lights at night or anything that plugs in. To sleep when it gets dark and to wake when the sky gets light, to be on a natural rhythm. Maybe I'd wake with the birds around 3. Maybe I am waking with the birds around 3. Maybe I need to move to another time zone.

We're funny creatures.

Be in the moment, I find myself thinking. If I feel energetic, take advantage, get some things done. Good advice. Here I go to take it.

Freedom in each moment

A friend of mine just got back from three weeks traveling in Thailand. His favorite part about the trip wasn't the sites or the food but the feeling of waking up each morning with nothing planned and being able to fill the day with the activities that he chose.

That is one of my favorite parts about vacations and one of the reasons I think they should be taken somewhat regularly. This is an important thing to remember. It's revitalizing.

It can be easy to lose sight of that freedom with the distractions of routines and obligations, busy calendars, the trappings of modern full-time employed stationary life. The freedom to do what we choose does not get left behind in the places we visit. It is with us in each moment. It is important to me that I remember this and act like it is the truth, at least from time to time.

It's takes effort for me to think past the list of things I need to do while I'm at work and the other appointments or chores to what I want to do. I find days can disappear in this routine and it's exhausting. Wake up, go to work, come home, and if the work isn't stimulating but draining, I don't feel inspired to do anything else--especially in winter when there's so much darkness.

To remedy this, I find myself trying to think of my day in 10 or 60 minute intervals. What are the things I want to do and how long do I want to spend doing them? How many can I fit into my day? Things I'd like to do that I could easily devote ten minutes to: hula hooping, hand stands, stretching, playing a song, reading an article or responding to an e-mail or writing a letter. Things I could easily spend an hour on: walking, playing guitar, singing, reading, cooking, eating, visiting with friends, breakfast, dancing, taking a bath. Then the trick is to fit as many of these things that I feel like doing into my day. Not to be overwhelmed by what's next or what might be or wasting time staring at my inbox but hula hooping instead. I find that I also try to break up the monotony by taking detours or different methods of transportation.

No time like the present to do things you want to do. No reason to put off doing the things you want to and can do. Now is the right time to start doing the things you want to do. I'm off to hula hoop.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Are we bad children?

This post by Surfrider Japan has got me thinking about our conflicting attitudes towards the environment. It asks "Why do we treat the ocean as a dump?" And focuses on the dumping of radioactive materials into the ocean. 

It has me thinking beyond the ocean. Substitute "planet" for "ocean" in that question.

Do we treat our planet like bad children treat their parents? Do we expect them to provide for us endlessly, whatever we want when we want it and then expect them to put up with all of our reckless and selfish behavior, absorb our toxicity? Do we love it when we get our way, take without thinking and get angry when we don't get what we want out of it?

Well, folks, let's grow up and adopt a new attitude. I think we'd be better off borrowing attitudes from other cultures where elders are respected and children look after their parents not because we have to but because it is a privilege and a sign of our deep respect for those who come before and provide for us.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Reflections on Spring: Crocus

As a southern Californian, I grew up knowing Spring to be that couple of weeks when the mountains and fields were green. It wasn't until I lived in England and experienced Winter that I experienced the stereotypical Spring.

That was also the first time I saw a crocus. Crocuses were the little bit of color in the still brown and barren winter ground. Purples, oranges, yellows and whites, they'd bud in dirt on the side of the road. Not as delicate as a snow drop or flashy as a daffodil, they humbly poked their heads out of the dirt, singly or in patches, and opened their petals, revealing a hint of orange or yellow, paying homage to the sun. Crocuses were a sign of better things to come.