gift

'You're far happier giving than getting..even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it...'

There a few times in every year that we deliberately practice the art of particularised gift giving, where we take the time to bless others on a number of very specific occasions, for a number of very specific reasons.

Birthdays, special events, romantic advances or just random acts of kindness, just a few of the primal reasons that undergird our intrinsic philanthropic consciousness.

The value we place on the recipient goes to the core of how we ask our imagination to explore the possibility of what we can do to honour and invest in their well being. Sometimes we get caught up in the competitive peer pressure of monetary value and our need to impress the receiver with the perceived value we place on the relationship. The altruistic adage that it is the thought that counts seems to pale in comparison to the consumeristic narcissism that drives western thinking.

Revitalising the art of gift giving is about moving beyond the shallow act of mutual exchange that is based on some kind reciprocity or value equivalent, and reengaging with the spirit of charity that hums to the sound of the universal mantra .."it is more blessed to give than receive".

'God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well'. - Voltaire

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We practice giving as a reminder that we have been given the greatest gift of all - LIFE, and the real gift we have to offer others is a living testament of hopeful fulfilment. They often say that when choosing a gift for someone you often get them what you would get yourself, as if to suggest that the deeper meaning of giving is the thing-behind-the-thing.

You are thing-behind-the-thing, the life that animates any material offering you might bring to another. It is often surprising to see that as the recipient of a gift we often respond more graciously and gratefully based on the depth of relationship we have. Which goes to prove that the real gift is the person who hands are opening towards us with benefaction, offering themselves in the metaphor of the subsequent endowment.

'They err who think Santa Claus enters through the chimney. He enters through the heart'. - Charles W. Howard

Around this time of the year we enter into the spirit of Christmas by considering our love ones, or ones who we would like to love us, to somehow embrace the overarching narrative of the Santa or Jesus story who compete for our attention and affection. The over zealous religious types amongst us tend to get flustered and try to reinforce the true meaning of the season, somewhat afraid that Santa (an anagram of SATAN) is going to get the upper hand and deprive our children of the true meaning of Christmas. And while I am a bigger fan of the seemingly less popular story of the baby Jesus gift that has been given to humankind, I am not worried that he will be trumped (this word will never be the some) by a red suited guy in a flying sled who delivers presents on Christmas. The reason I am not panicking is because 'gift giving' has a certain transcendent quality to it that will always point a way back to God, the original giver of life who always finds a way into the human heart.

‘So, put a little bit of extra thought into every gift you give this Christmas and watch how it shapes deeper meaning in the relationships that you consider valuable'.

Peace and good will to all….




joy

‘Joy to the world the... [fill in the blank]….'

Around this time of the year we are subjected to the monotonous sound of Christmas carols gently caressing (or bombarding) our ears in shops, cafes, malls, waiting rooms and the like, the subtle seasonal anthems of consumerisms agenda.

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While we scurry around trying to finalise our plans for what is generally considered to be ‘family time’, the last thing we often feel is JOY….the delight, jubilation, exhilaration, elation and euphoria that is supposed to be aligned with Christmas. Maybe we need to pause momentarily and consider the lyrics of the muzak that sits in the background subliminally influencing our consciousness. What if this season is about Joy, even when it can be surrounded by the sorrow that is forever embedded in life. How do we find a modicum of joy amidst all this pressure and anxiety that this season can throw at us?

“Joy to the world…” is a famous hymn that speaks about the birth of a baby that breaks into our earthly narrative to offer hope to those of us who are in need of a new perspective of life. Sometimes it only takes a little bit of new life to remind us that dread and the dreary reality of existence is not a true reflection of all that is going on.

“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” ― Mark Twain

Joy is more than an emotional moment. It is a meal eaten in the company of others, a shared experience that opens your heart and imagination to the possibility of something different. While I can find joy in my personal moments of delight it is always enhanced in the presence of those who offer me an alternate reality.

When joy shows up she invariably lifts my spirits and transports me to a place that I could never fully get to on my own, those intense feelings of well-being and happiness that occur when the pleasure centres of the brain are functionally linked. Maybe Christmas is about looking for the links (people, moments) that stimulate these centres, unlocking euphoria which etymologically means to find ‘wellness’ or the ability ‘to bear’ under adverse circumstances.

Actually, joy is the all-round panacea for every season of life that offers us an elixir that has profoundly magical qualities. We don’t need to try and manufacture it in some kind of contrived fashion but simply let her muse like qualities engage with our hearts and awaken the elation we need. JOY hides in the fabric of all pain and pleasure a constant reminder that it has always been ‘coming to us’ showing up in the world of our existence when we least expected it, in order to garner our attention and enable us to live fully alive.

The [fill in the blank] song lyric is ‘the Saviour has come’, the rescuer, liberator, champion that breaks into our consciousness to take centre stage and recalibrate our lives.

Joy is a saviour that needs to be constantly animating our lives, an ongoing liberating force that carries us to places of euphoric wellness in order that we might know the pleasure of all that life should/could bring.

JOY: Mick Jagger & Bono

Oh joy, love you bring. Oh joy, make my heart sing

And I drove across the desert. I was in my four wheel drive

I was looking for the Buddha. And I saw Jesus Christ

He smiled and shrugged his shoulders

And lit a cigarette

Said, "Jump for joy, make some noise

Remember what I said." Oh yeah

My soul is a like a ruby

And I threw it in the earth

But now my hands are bleeding

From scrabbling in the dirt

And I looked up to the heavens

And a light is on my face

I never never never

Thought I'd find a state of grace

Hey joy, love you bring

Oh joy, make my heart sing

Oh joy, joy in everything

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0THvuiPNIIU


compassion

The rigorous nature of life is such that it is does not seem to be content with just placating our need for comfort and favour but somehow arranges for a modicum of difficulty and suffering to balance the ledger of our becoming.

Suffering is an uncomfortable concept, one laced with anxiety and uncertainty, an awkward suitor who courts our maturation as if to suggest we need its intimacy in order to experience transformation and fulfilment.

compassion is the new wine

compassion is the new wine

Compassion is the salve that softens the blow of suffering, tenderly caring for our wounded-ness by providing a support network of sympathy and empathy that underpins our condition. Compassion incarnates in our fellow humans when they have noticed our plight and have come rushing to aid as if to mirror their own need for help, in a act of mutual respect and dignification.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

― Mother Teresa

When we forget that we belong to a greater collective of existential need it diminishes the mutual solicitude that is on offer. The compassion that I need is hiding in the fabric of another waiting for its opportunity to action and to contribute to my health necessity, and the compassion that others need is an occasion for my kindness to make its mark. Conversely we need to remember that belonging to the people business can come with its own challenges, one being ‘compassion fatigue’, where an imbalance between giving and receiving can often occur. Even the great divine humanitarian JC had to find space to recover from the overbearing needs that constantly requested his attention. Compassion needs breathing room. A sacred restorative well of refreshment that reinstates balance and sleep is the magical potion that provides us with the respite we need from our over-responsible selves.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

― Plato

The battles I find myself entrenched in, while mostly self-inflicted, can be really overwhelming and all consuming often exaggerating the moment to the point where I end up drowning in self pity and self-absorbed unhappiness. Why is nobody noticing my need, why is nobody rushing to my aid and delivering me from my dilemma, as if my predicament is way more serious and significant than others? Truth be told it is important and weighty and does need the balm of loving concern which will eventually find its way to me, but in the meantime I need to momentarily break free of my myopic self absorption and find a broader spectrum of reference that brings a new balance of internal equilibrium. I am not the centre of the universe, much to my chagrin, which goes to the core of my insecurity and morality.

“Compassion is the basis of morality.”

― Arthur Schopenhauer

Compassion is more than the proactive engagement towards meeting another's need, it also has a mysterious transformational agenda that works in the human psyche to profoundly shape our morality. When we give our deepest empathetic self away virtue emerges exposing our true potentiality to those around us.

When you feel the angst of the human condition or the state of the world in general, take a breath and know that the universe is working for your betterment.

You covered up that place I could not master

It wasn't dark enough to shut my eyes

So I was with you, O sweet compassion

Yes I was with you, O sweet compassion

-Leornard Cohen

incarnation

'Incarnation is the revealing of true purpose, a divine intelligence at work in the human condition’

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The season of advent is the beginning of the annual christian calendar, the genesis of the divine-human narrative of recalibration as seen in the life of Jesus.

Everything about the story confounds our sensibilities, angels, divine conception and an unsuspecting virgin teenager are just a few of the big challenges to our rational minds, that invite us into the mystery of how the divine finds residence in the human condition.

Incarnation as the embodiment of a deity is the BIG idea behind this advent appearance, exposing us to the salvific intention of the divine agenda.

We do not need to be saved from an angry God who seems to be offended by our SINFULNESS but conversely, saved from our ignorance of the true nature of our own divinity. The Jesus story asks us to consider our true nature, take responsibility for our actions and own the purpose for which we were created.

Incarnation as an invitation is the opportunity to rediscover true purpose, to be healed from our internal bifurcations and embrace the divine nature that is seeking to enflesh in our lives.

Jesus is the revealing of God who anthropomorphises in order to remind us that the divine presence as it pertains to that which resides within our personhood is a journey of discovery and self-awareness.

The mysterious and somewhat unbelievable proposal of a holy conception goes to the idea that we need some kind of dramatic effect in order to reconstitute our imagination and ignite interest in what it means to be seen as a worthy participant in this holy drama.

‘The glory of God is man fully alive’ - St Irenaeus of Lyons

My purpose is to live fully alive, to welcome all that comes to me, to listen to the hum of reverence that resides within and allow it to rhythm my existence. Purpose is my reason for being, the underlying motivation for why my life has something significant to contribute to the greater good.

Jesus is my super-hero, not just because he did amazing miracles or waxed lyrical with profound wisdom, but because he offered to vicariously enter into my human experience, not to rescue me from an after-life punishment but to remind me of the this-life purpose that is wanting to unfold in me.

Incarnation is an everyday awakening and evolving that prepares me for the death and resurrection that will eventually come my way, the journey of mortality that moves me towards my immortal eternity.

The story of Jesus starts in human form and ends in human form, a reminder that we are divine beings who have underestimated our worth and value, and that maybe it is time to see ourselves differently. The role of religion has always been to remind us of this reality and yet unfortunately it has become an institutional monster of doctrinal definition that often excludes and divides rather than include and embrace.

The incarnation of Jesus was Gods way of retelling the story of original intent, our lives as 'imago dei’ and the ongoing work of divinisation (deification), the transforming effect of divine grace.

In this season of advent let's re-read the script, and hopefully re-discover our sense of true purpose.



identity

'If we don't act now to safeguard our privacy, we could all become victims of identity theft'. - Bill Nelson

Every 2 seconds someone is the victim of identity theft, our security being under threat as a result of the technological advancement and progress that drives our societal evolution. Our lives have become public property to the point where we have exposed our private parts (our true self) to the boot of our developmental curse. In the midst of our need to transcend and advance we have become accustomed to our lives being uncovered and subject to the scrutiny of those who have nothing better to do than take advantage of our vulnerability. Being vulnerable is considered a sign of humility, an authentic expression of honesty that endears you to others, but unfortunately we need safeguards to protect ourselves from those who try to abuse our soft underbelly.

Our technological vulnerability has exposed us to an ironic existential crisis of identity confusion that has reached epidemic proportions. We are running around like headless chickens lost for words trying to cope with the cultural expectations of success and failure that have exacerbated our anxiety and numbed our understanding of what it truely means to be ourselves.

'Often we lose our identity trying to please or placate others'. -Mary Manin Morrissey

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It does seem like I am constantly having to address the comparisons that are reflected back to me by the social media madness that hovers above my life like a ghostly cloud that competes for my attention, shaping my view of the world through the lens of over inflated self adulation.

The age old question of 'who am I’ seems to be under scrutiny, seriously ravaged by the mass media opinions of those who are uncomfortable in their own skin, projecting wave upon wave of discontent on to my dissatisfied self.

'When you have a lot of people telling you what you are and perceiving you in a certain way, it's difficult to find your own identity'. -Sia

If I am to truely be me then I will need to find a way to get off the comparison train long enough to take a breath and regain a sense of momentary sanity. Comparisons in life are an unavoidable a reminder that we need each other in order to consider the similarities or dissimilarities that exist between us. The contrasting differences that juxtapose our relationships are not a bad thing, until they begin to divide us and drive us into competitive mode where we try to wrangle a new identity from the arms of another.

‘If you keep trying to be someone else who is going to be you’ - Hungarian proverb

When my doppelganger dissatisfaction forces me to take on another’s identity I lose myself in the process and die a slow death of fakery, and become the brunt of a long running public joke.

Maybe its time to do some honest self talk of acceptance, reminding myself that I am more than enough, and that unless I accept who I am warts and all I will end up striving for something that in the end will destroy my sense of self worth. Don’t let the so-called holiness warriors or success merchants displace your identity and rob you of the peace of mind that is mostly content with your imperfections and maladies.

My identity is so easily influenced by the myriad of comparisons that surround my life. May I be granted the wisdom and discernment to know how to weed out the deceptive invasions of projected expectation that warp my evolving self.



miracles

‘Someone once said that maybe they call them miracles because they don't happen that often’

The dictionary defines a miracle as an extraordinary event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.

Down through the ages the mystery of supernatural phenomena has fascinated humanity, enlightening our consciousness and fuelling the accreditation of saints as an archetype for miraculous engagement. Even when our rational minds defend their cynicism and agnosticism the irrational side of our imagination considers the possibility of magical moments that break into our lives to propose other-worldly likelihood. We are all intrigued by the magical and mystical elements of life that animate our inquisition of all things natural, as if to consider that they are somehow secretly hiding the seeds of the supernatural.

We all have subjective inclinations that support the ways in which we define the reality and importance of miraculous moments, so much so that we often pray for some kind of divine intervention. Whether that has evolved out of a religious construct or spiritual worldview it goes to the core of our intrinsic need to believe in the paranormal. For many of us the mythologies that peppered our upbringing have nurtured a creativity and imagination that has been responsible for a romantic interest in wonder and beauty, the twin muses of the miraculous, that are constantly seeking to re-enchant our world.

Maybe the miraculous is more than a sporadic event that infrequently occurs to jolt us from our benign boredom and callous disregard for our spiritual selves? What if the miraculous is resident in the fabric of all matter, the core ingredient of life itself, that primarily goes constantly unnoticed because of our addictive need for a quick thrill of self indulgence or our adrenaline junky pursuit of narcissistic mis-adventure? Or maybe the subterfuge of the miraculous has a hidden agenda that is leading humanity unwittingly towards a glorious transcendent climax…watch this space.

‘Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it’

- Confucious

‘If we could see the miracle of a single fl’er clearly our whole life would change’

‘If we could see the miracle of a single fl’er clearly our whole life would change’

If the primary role of the miraculous in life is the promotion of beauty and wonder as a confirmation of the divine signature imprinted on everything, then our imaginations need an awakening of epic proportions, especially if we are to stay hopeful in the light of a growing trend towards nihilism and atheism. Watching a garden flourish or a babies birth, the sun rise and set, or participating in the inventiveness of human endeavour are all wondrous expressions of the miraculous that heighten our awareness, enabling us to entertain the prospect of even more elaborate permutations of the inexplicable.

So dream out loud

You know that your time is coming 'round

So don't let the bastards grind you down

-U2: Acrobat

When the bastards of disappointment and disillusionment show up at my door they divert my attention away from the hopeful possibility of miraculous engagement, causing me to lose sight of the beauty and wonder that resides in myself and my fellow humans. Beauty can so easily be smothered by ugliness and wonder can become dominated by dread and then suddenly everything begins to spiral out of control. This is when creation does her best work as an ambassador of hopefulness, refusing to get caught up in the distraction of momentary setback intent on rolling out a new day, or a new season in defiance of all other difficulty and resistance. As each new moment appears the dreams in us miraculously fight for their right to promote our lives as conduits of the supernormal.

Your life is miracle that will continue to survive long enough to prove its worth and value…be patient and trust that you are in great hands.

weakness

‘The mystery of weakness is that strength finds it highly attractive’

Strength and weakness have always been seen as opposites, incompatible states of being that seem to despise the existence of each other, often encouraged by the dominant culture of dualism that thrives on comparison and competition.

Weakness sees strength as an overbearing dominant that is always striving for success in order to support its overinflated egocentric narcissism. On the other hand strength sees weakness as an annoying encumbrance that limits and restricts the flourishing and thriving of our existence, something to overcome and potentially eliminate as an everyday possibility.

Learning to live in harmony with these duelling realities is a more honest and integrous way of doing life, the ongoing process of accepting the fragility of our humanity as it grapples with situations that are often outside of its jurisdiction.

‘Your power (strength) is made perfect in weakness…'

True power is realised when we embrace our weakness and let strength do its work of pathos in our lives. The essence of strength is not seen in its fixing of the situation but in its coming alongside to undergird and offer support throughout the ordeal. Real strength finds weakness really attractive, its pheromone a calling card that opens the door to greater intimacy. In any intimate relationship partnership is a mutual cooperation and collaboration that is constantly seeking to understand the sacred other.

The rich and powerful of this world are often recognised by the extreme wealth and influence they have rather than by the philanthropic endeavours that they participate in. Fortunately we are seeing a shift in the culture of greed and abuse that has been done in the name of strength and are allowing the poverty of weakness to capture our imagination and enable us to re-enchant the world.

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’

Through us the divine is committed to finding ways to bless others and introduce them to a way of life that is other worldly. Heaven is not so much a geographical location as it is a state of consciousness that breaks into our fixed mindset in order to bring relief, and hopefully restoration.

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I am weak because I am human and I am strong because I am more than the sum of my parts, reliant on the greater goodness of all that is outside of my own ability to cope with in this world. When we are exposed to someones weakness we are offered an opportunity to consider whether there is a flicker of strength that we can share with another in order to provide momentary respite on their journey towards wholeness.

When we deny our weakness we often do so because of our fear of vulnerability and the possibility of being taken advantage of. Mistrust seems to find great comfort in believing that the world is out to get us, which causes us to put on a front and act like we have it all together, trapped in the lonely world of our false self.

Strength and weakness are compatriots, allies that must learn to enjoy each others company lest we stay deceived by the illusion that life is solely about victory and triumph, this upwardly mobile western mindset of success.

Life is a rollercoaster that is intent on keeping us humble, by helping us engage our dualities with hopeful resistance. We are a beautiful mix of inconsistency and incongruous dissonance that finds it way by embracing the paradox of these seemingly contradictory forces in every sphere of life.

Sometimes your greatest strength can emerge as a weakness if the context changes. - Harsha Bhogle

grounded

“When the Bible is read from the perspective of divine nearness, it becomes clear that most prophets, poets, and preachers are particularly worried about religious institutions and practices that perpetuate the gap between God and humanity, making the divine unapproachable or cordoned off behind cadres of priestly mediators, whose interest is in exercising their own power as brokers of salvation. The biblical narrative is that of a God who comes close, compelled by a burning desire to make heaven on earth and occupy human hearts.”

― Diana Butler Bass; Grounded: Finding God in the World

I am particularly suspicious of those who claim that God remains at a distance because of an intrinsic depravity that has somehow made us incompatible at a deep relational level. While I am aware of my human dysfunction and frailty I cannot but marvel at how the world constantly includes me in the mystical conversation of otherness. Every day nature continues to invite me to participate in the rhythms of its sacred life, as if it needs me as a co-partner of sorts, a fellow species that also emerged from the same ground of all being.

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There has always been a deep connection with the sacred soil that sits beneath our feet, the foundation that fuels the growth of our life. Our agrarian ancestors learnt how to cultivate the ground in order to sustain their existence and learn of its hidden secrets. There are more microorganisms in one teaspoon of soil than there are people on the planet, billions of nutrients working daily to strengthen and support the intricate networks and systems that underpin evolutions agenda. The subterranean floor of terrafirma pushes life to the surface like a birthing mother intent on growth, expansion, and augmentation.

To be ‘grounded' simply means that I am taking responsibility for the place I find myself in by listening for the divine hum that emanates from beneath my feet, letting it rhythm my everyday life.

‘I listen to the voice that speaks to me from the ground’ - James K. Baxter

The more that I listen and discern the more I begin to feel at home in my own skin, available to play my role in serving the planet rather than contributing to its destruction and demise. When we take advantage of or abuse someone who is trying to care for us we lose a part of our soul, often leaving a pathway of destruction in our wake. This is not just about using less plastic bags, recycling our rubbish or composting waste, which is all good, but remembering that nature is a living entity that is eternal in its essence and somehow needs our respectful guardianship.

In our ongoing search for contentment we have forgotten about our earthly mother and run roughshod over the delicate balance that maintains order. Our consumerism is out of control and it seems nothing will stand in the way of humans bettering themselves at the expense of the planet. Rather than caring for the earth we are exploiting her at a fast rate of knots, much to the chagrin of those whose have some kind of ecological and environmental conscience.

Consumerism has shifted the goal posts when it comes to how we process contentment. Our want for more has created a kind of lopsided society where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, distorting our ability to share and use the resources better.

'Wisdom is always content'… Anon

Wisdom is one of primary metaphors for God, an internal reminder of the divine that is waiting and watching for the moment to expose itself to the world through your life, the God who has never been far away, hiding in the fabric of your being. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and have always known it, it just takes time to find your place in the world and make a meaningful contribution to its flourishing.

Just like the ancient song says, ‘He formed you in the secret place’... wisdom secretly moulds you out of dust and spirit in order to help you understand the inseparable nature of heaven and earth as co-conspirators in our lives.

The closeness of God is without question….just open your eyes and take a look around.

alien

I don't take coffee, I take tea, my dear

I like my toast done on one side

And you can hear it in my accent when I talk

I'm an Englishman in New York. - Sting

Aliens are commonly understood as extra terrestrial life forms that reside in outer space, highly advanced beings that have roamed the galaxy's since the beginning of time. Science fiction has touted this possibility by romancing our minds with the plausibility of these intergalactic beings and the possibility of our inevitable meeting. ‘We are not alone’ is the catch phrase of those who need to dream and religiously hold to a hopefulness of other-worldly proportions. As the human race has evolved and populated our globe we are more and more concerned for the earths ability to cope, prompting the discoverers and innovators amongst us to stretch our imaginations toward inter-planetary life, a placebo that will hopefully sooth our fear of terminality as a human race. The bottom line is though, we are not sure whether to paint aliens as friendly like E.T or foe like the Ellen Ripley horror franchise of ‘Alien’ that saw humans as hosts for their reproduction…now they were scary!

‘Rather than worry about the extra-terrestrial possibilities we should be more concerned with the terrestrial alienation that occurs at the hands of the power mongers who continue to wage class warfare on those who are less fortunate’

Alienation: Wedad Alnasser

Alienation: Wedad Alnasser

We have all fallen prey to the the dreaded curse of feeling left out, isolated or rejected by those who hold the power of privilege and position at their disposal. At some point in life the feeling of being alienated because of race, gender, popularity, cultural identity or economic status will come to us all, seeking to minimise our importance or place in society. Some of us feel this estrangement in our own families, wondering if we were dropped by a stalk at the door, into a home and family that doesn't even make sense sometimes.

The pursuit of genuine belonging is the breaking down of the mystical separation barriers that exist in us all, redefining the sameness that hides in our commonality. After-all, surely we must all be related and have similar DNA if we believe in the ancient evolutionary cycle of emergence?

When I find myself uncomfortable in foreign spaces or new scenarios my primitive alien self can sometimes become antagonistic towards the obvious variance and default to a primordial resistance of sorts. Or, I can conversely try to make the effort to figure out how to connect and communicate in this new paradigm. Learning a new language doesn't come easy but it can ease the pressure of this interactive discomfort. Just like the thought of other species in the multi-verse plays with our imagination, our hearts must also consider other ways of living with each other in deep and meaningful ways…unless of course you have given up and are happy to stay stuck with your head in the proverbial sand.

“The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there aren't any space aliens. We can't be the best that creation has to offer. I pray we're not all there is. If so, we're in big trouble.” ― Ellen DeGeneres

When we feel the awkwardness of our primitive primate selves we need to corral our fear and attempt to believe that we can advance our societal consciousness by accepting the seemingly strange in one-another. Acceptance goes a long way towards understanding our differences. On the grand scale of things humans are relatively young on the evolutionary journey so let's be patient with each other and offer clear directions, especially if you have found a good path.

I'm a stranger in these parts; give me clear directions. - Psalm 119

seasons

Four seasons in one day

Lying in the depths of your imagination

Worlds above and worlds below

The sun shines on the black clouds hanging over the Domain

Even when you're feeling warm

The temperature could drop away

Like four seasons in one day. -Songwriters: Neil Finn / Tim Finn

The four divisions of our year are natures way of balancing the earths atmosphere as it negotiates its relationship with the universe. The corresponding weather patterns and daylight hours all contribute to the health and welfare of our planet and biosphere. Their affect on our humanity defines the relationship we have with the world around us and nuances the relationship we have with one another.

As metaphorical time markers they also take on a mystical role in how we gauge our emotional or psychological state. The seasons have become tropes that represent states of being that we assign to the mood swings of our temporary state of mind or feeling. As Lana del Ray retorts..“I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer."

Mother Earth nurtures our well-being by using this quadratos of weather patterns to remind us that there are greater powers in play that influence the ambience of our lives. The weather takes on this providential role of guiding our lives in collaboration with the cosmos. The seasons become our teachers who help us to navigate each year and stay in sync with nature and its sub-atomic affect on our health and well being.

Psychologists say that we are so affected by the seasonal rotation of the calendar year that we develop a sensate memory that begins to automatically prepare us for each approaching new season. We often find ourselves saying that we can’t wait for one season to finish, especially if has been inclement or overly hot and humid. Maybe this is linked to a sub-conscious self soothing response to the anticipatory hopefulness of new beginnings?

Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi

Moving effectively from one season to another in our lives requires that we pay attention to the markers that signify impending change, the intuitive and instinctive indicators that are moving us towards the possibility of personal metamorphosis. Liminality is the technical term that describes this cross-over, the transition point where we are experiencing an imminent shift, a type of trans-rational overpass that cannot be always fully explained or completely understood. Navigating this in-between space of liminality is a delicate process, requiring us to trust the process that takes patience and faith in the power of fate. Mystics refer to liminality as the ‘doorway' from one dimension or state to another, the mystical bridge that momentarily suspends our minds from all reasoning in order that we might be led by mystery itself.

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors.” ― William Blake

Seasons are the cycles of life that remind us of immortality, the life and death of change as it negotiates with our destiny. The complete impermanence of all that exists testifies to our need of holding to everything lightly in order that we might embrace the approaching new with enthusiasm.

The season I often find myself in is not always consistent with the natural calendar and cannot be addressed with some formulaic prescription, a one-size-fits-all remedy. Travelling from one part of the world to another is a testament to this fact. We can can literally go from the extremes of winter to the extremes of summer in a very short space of time. When our bodies have become acclimatised to the atmosphere we are currently in the subtlest of changes can upset our biological clock and throw us for a loop.

My favourite season is the ONE I am in right now, the one that has been provided for me by Father time, the one who understands what I need, the one who holds me in the moment so I don’t try to prematurely exit from his guardianship and tutelage. This moment in time is the season of my becoming.

Smiling as the shit comes down

You can tell a man from what he has to say

Everything gets turned around

And I will risk my neck again, again

You can take me where you will

Up the creek and through the mill

Like all the things you can't explain

Four seasons in one day - Songwriters: Neil Finn / Tim Finn

When the season you are in is a little inclement or painful, just remember that its not about you trying to change the circumstances, but allowing yourself to trust in the divine nature of providence itself. Let her be the dominant dance partner, and learn to hold on tight especially when things are seemingly going backwards. The rhythms of life are a little ambiguous at best, maybe thats why we need to ‘risk our neck again’ and say "take me where you will”…FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY.