Monday, November 18, 2013

Lessons Learned

The Rune Wunjo, The Joy of Perfection, Fulfillment and Light

I found an old journal from 2009 with a list of lessons learned. I was going through a rough patch personally. I'm not ashamed to say that I heartily sought therapy back then. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity of a witness and guide in my spirals of healing. I learned a few things on the way. I hope at least some of these ideas are helpful for you.

Lessons Learned on the Therapist’s Couch


‘Well Being’ is a phrase that trumps ‘happiness’.

Unfolding is what is occurring, not just a string of fortunate and unfortunate events.

The most correct ideal for service is when it benefits all beings, including myself.

Romanticism and drama and most forms of idealism no longer serve in the evolving life of solidity.

Compassion for myself is the basis for service and increased peace with others.

I will be disappointed or beset if I put my primary faith in a place or material lifestyle as my sanctuary.

There is something in me that’s reflected in the beautiful, dark, mean, joyful places out there.

I take refuge in The Compassionate Spirit, Community of Trusted Friends & my Work/Callings.

Contemplation and empathy are more helpful, stabilizing and healing than scrutiny.

A lot of power resides in Curiosity.

I’m grateful for All the tools I’ve used and the perseverance in which I sought healing.

There is suffering in the world, but more than that, there are joy and peace too!

I work better from places of passion & wisdom rather than from ecstasy & conniving.

Being solid is especially spiritual.

Firmness is not rigidity.

I can respect many ways of viewing the world while subscribing to my own.

Knowledge is fluid and evolving.

The ideas of Good and Bad are generally not helpful when seeking healing within my family.

Being nice is not always being kind.

Love something enough to risk doing it badly.

Vulnerability in a Safe Environment pays big dividends.

The so called 'spiritual person' can wield discernment as a powerful tool when deciding to either be open or private.

Pausing, praising, and seeking peace for only a minute changes the whole dialogue, experience within the day. In fact these can open up your eyes to see opportunities not even imagined before.


(c) Copyright, Text and Image, Richard Sievers, November 2013, All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 11, 2013

Clarity on the Way to the Wide Open Sea

Forgive me if I'm thrilled with the idea, but just now I thought that every poem I write ought to be called: "Happiness" 
By the late Raymond Carver, Found on a scrap of paper beside his typewriter.*
An excerpt from my journal while at Starbucks. These are moments of a sadness-happiness-wonder-loss all spun together, which was also bliss to me:
Just reading Raymond Carver (R.C.). Then writing whatever rises to my finger tips. An hour of not doing anything in particular, not paying much ado to the goings and comings of the cafe.  At a table in the middle of the swirl and swagger of so many people. I am an island. The people are the tides sliding past the shore.
I keep my head down, an odd bearded man, not really alone. Happy. Lonely for no one and no thing. Allowing the poems to read me. The words become sea songs. Right here, living a whole life as an Avalon for myself. A refugee called God (by some) lives on these shores, in these misty headlands. We sit together, praying to each other, heads bent, while the pearly storms make cloud faces that will disappear in the slanted rain.
I muse inwardly, wondering what my flying pen must signify to any that would care to notice. So much for a conscripted life. So much for normalcy in a reckless age of shattered reflections.
I hear you, island voice. My head tilted slightly. You whisper into my ear, a single word over and over again: "Home, Home...."
And I am, home.
You and me and R.C. Swirls of tide and storm buffet our sacred place. Across the straits, the peopled shore is so close and yet so far away.

This is my reflection to you. Forgive me if I'm being presumptuous or trite. But here is my unsolicited advice. Just be yourself. Don't allow anyone to tell you that one feeling is good and another is bad. Feel all that you can feel. Then discern what to do with it all. To me this is freedom.

What you resist, persists. If you stuff an experience down in your body, a sadness, a joy, a trauma, a revelation, it will get stuck there and fester and create all sorts of sideways havoc in life. Acknowledge what's true for you now, maybe just in a private space like a journal or on a dance floor, with a counselor or in a wood shop. Acknowledge the truth as it appears now, before it slips away and becomes something else.

One of my best teachers said that the meaning of life is just to experience stuff. Experience life events (internal and external) as fully as possible and then move on to the next experience. There's only one you in your one life. So be open to your own special experience and then let it pass through on the way to the wide open sea.


(c) Copyright Richard Sievers, November 2013, All Rights Reserved.

* From Appendix 2 in All of Us: Collected Poems by Raymond Carver and Edited by Tess Gallagher

Monday, November 4, 2013

Awe and What We Know

I just listened to a program on “The Dark Universe” via a Public Broadcasting Program called The Takeaway. The subject was dark matter and dark energy. My limited understanding is that these are real aspects of our universe(s) yet cannot currently be measured or really understood. I was intrigued with the discussion. Instead of a certainty or even smugness shown by many who profess a materialistic view of the universe the scientist involved had awe. In the program they explained that there is no accounting for what creates 85% of the gravity in the universe. There is an unseen, unexamined aspect of what we inhabit. Think about that. Isn’t that absolutely astounding?

This makes me think about certainty. How so many of us “know” what is real because we can perceive it with our senses. Or on the opposite end of the spectrum how many spiritual people “know” that this world is just an illusion. One person knows there is no God. Another knows there is a loving entity that created everything. My question is: What do we really know? I am naturally suspicious of anyone on either end of the materialist spiritualist continuum. I’m suspicious even of my own understanding.

Not too long ago science said that what we saw is what was real. Then new wavelengths of light, outside our visual abilities, were discovered.  Until recent centuries many in the know understood that only one universe exists, that which we experience. Now string theory postulates that there are potentially innumerable expressions of “universe” in existence. Many religious people, even today, believe that the world is only 6,000 years old.  I challenge them to visit the Grand Canyon and say that’s true. I'd ask those canyon explorers not to just count the eons of sediment layers but to really soak in how small and wondrous we are.

Please forgive me if this analogy is simplistic and naive. Our species has only stepped from a closed little room, out into a wide sky shining on a field of green. And we’ve never seen colors before or smelled the grasses waving in the spring breeze. We once “knew” the world was this room. The investigation into dark matter end dark energy shows that we know very little. We will know more in time.  And then we’ll have even bigger questions. That’s the wonder of science. And perhaps we’ll have even more gratitude for our place in the universe. That’s the wonder of the spiritual life.

Listening to this program  brought a deeper sense of awe. It made me think in terms of questions and curiosity instead of certainty. It made me think, too, about the intersections of spirituality and science. Perhaps both start with a profound sense of awe and a humble need to question. Question everything.

I have been left me pondering. My particular experience of this world is that is layered with spirits and spiritual powers including the vital living energies of the elements. And I feel a song that permeates Everything. I experience benevolence even in the pain. Now, this is just my experience. It’s not erroneous or irrelevant. Nor should I expect it to be another person’s experience or even universal.  

The program made me think And feel. I question, but know very little:
What if the dark matter is the physical (?) aspect of the spirit world? 
What if dark energy is the song of the Universe? 
Or Not. 
 These are questions I don’t have the physical (brain) equipment to understand. Not yet anyway. But I want to.

In our world I suspect that people want to make religions out of just about any theory that they know is correct. Science, Christianity, consumerism, atheism, liberalism, gun rights,  etc. etc.:  these all take on aspects of religiosity when folks start to argue for their particular sides. 
Hasn’t our world had enough arguing? 
Haven’t enough people been emotionally wounded in the name of truth
Haven’t enough human and animal beings been slaughtered in the smug stupidity of knowing what is right? 
What about awe and curiosity? 
What about listening to one another about each one’s experience? 
What about the glimmerings about our Wonder-Full universe, found in each person’s particular way? 

Let the knowing rest while we investigate all the matter and energies that we can. Let that curiosity and awe create kindness and compassion for one another.

Peace in the Great Mystery to You, Dear Reader.


(c) Copyright Richard Sievers, November 2013, All Rights Reserved