Thursday, November 24, 2011

thankful adventure

finch and friend

These days I'm dazzled by the power of gratitude. It seems like the only appropriate response to so much of my life. Every time I hear about or see all of the suffering in this world and I find myself scrambling internally to justify why it isn't happening to me, I've started just being grateful. It's crazy how lucky I am. And that includes your visiting me here. Thank you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

fire adventure

on fire

As a librarian, I've been in on the whole ebook debate for years. For a while we all just tried to pretend it wasn't happening, but then our library started offering ebooks and we had to try to help our patrons use them. I was able to keep out of the fray for a good long while. People would ask me what I thought of ereaders and I'd say that I could definitely see the appeal, especially for folks who travel a lot, but at the time I didn't feel that I needed one.

Also I oversee a fine press collection at work and hang out with book arts folks. I think other people who know this about me thought I'd be outraged by the whole ebook development. But to me all of these things are tools, really. And I will out myself here and say that I am really not attached to books as objects so much. OK, to be really honest I'm just not a fan of old books. I enjoy a beautifully designed book as much as the next guy, but I'm not a big history person. Old does not mean good in my book necessarily. It is just as likely to mean musty. I guess I'm really a better Buddhist than librarian. Let's just say I have a deep respect for impermanence. So, while I love owning some books that are like dear friends, I'm not just a print books=good kind of person.

And I'm a former Merlin owner and devotee. Oh, the hours I spent pushing those little red lights! So I totally get the appeal of shiny handheld devices.

Anyway, fast forward 30 some-odd years from my Merlin days and now I'm responsible for actually helping our patrons use these various devices to read ebooks. And in not using these myself, it has started feeling like giving directions to someone on Mars: "Do you see a crater? They mention a crater..." I'm pretty used to just blocking out mention of new gadgets in popular culture. I don't have an iPhone or an iPad. I'm really all about trying to simplify my life and these didn't seem to fit that plan. But then in a staff meeting someone described the new Kindle Fire (brace yourself for more ereader questions after the holidays) as "the poor man's iPad".

Well, that sounded pretty great to me! I'd actually been wanting to read a book by Leo Babauta that came out last month but only as an ebook. It hadn't seemed at all appealing to download it to my laptop, so in the back of my mind I'd already been thinking of getting a really scaled-down Kindle, but hearing that the new Fire could access the web made me do a little more research. It was when I heard that there was a Netflix app that I knew I had to make my move.

So I'm a proud new Fire owner and thus far I'm completely delighted. My expectations were pretty low - just wanted to be able to answer patron questions better, read books from the library, and stream movies, so everything else I discover I can do makes me dance in joy. And I've been doing a lot of dancing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

breathing adventure

free green tomatoes

Amazon did me a huge favor this week by recommending that I might enjoy Priscilla Warner's completely delightful memoir, Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life. Holy moly! Does that not sound like it was written especially for me? Memoir, year-long, breathing, and calm. And it has been as good company as I'd expected.

I may not have mentioned here how much breath is with me these days. My good buddy, Jon Bernie, has been my constant companion in my car for the past several weeks - love his podcasts. And one day I realized that I listen over and over and over to his good instruction on getting grounded in one's body. And I totally acknowledge that this is something I really need. And yet, I'm so much like the person in Pema Chodron's description of someone who gets a prescription from the doctor and shows it to everyone and puts it up on the wall and never actually takes the medicine.

So lately, when I remember (oh ignorance, why do you plague me so!) I'll take a few minutes to just feel my breath being breathed. I'll just feel my natural breath in my body, not forcing or manipulating any of it, just being with it exactly as it happens. And it's crazy how the colors around me get brighter, how calm and connected I feel, just by doing this super simple thing. And the even crazier thing is how I'll either forget or tell myself I don't have time to do it. Seriously. It takes 30 seconds.

I'm thinking setting a year-long goal like Priscilla Warner did might be a really practical support for sticking with this practice a little better. Of course, her book deal might have done something as well... And I'm exploring signing on a companion for my spiritual journey. I'm just realizing how much I drift. That or become my own personal jailer. Too loose or too tight, that's me. And so I often dissociate and kind of wake up a week later unmoored and amnesiac about what might help, with no memory of where I might have left my spiritual toolbox.

Anyway, Priscilla Warner and I have been traveling similar paths and have similar toolboxes, although hers seems to be getting more use. But that's just inspiring to me.

light and leaves

Saturday, November 5, 2011

gentle adventure


A Gentle Proposal

Go gently into the streets to protest the war.
Go gently into discussions with your neighbor
about the price of oil and human life.
Go gently into your own kitchens and living rooms.
into your schools and workplaces.
Go gently into your houses of worship.
into your hospitals and prisons.
Go gently into your opinions of world leaders.
And go gently, ever so gently, into your own mind.
Otherwise, what have you really accomplished?
If you go with aggression, you may win the battle
but you won’t stop the war—for aggression is war.
All wars are lost as soon as they’re begun.
So go gently into the very thick and heat of battle.
Go gently, and even if your cause does not prevail,
there will be more peace, in the world, than before.

~Joe Zarantonello

The planets finally aligned correctly and I was able to spend a lovely day with the delightful poet and teacher, Joe Zarantonello, as we explored the Lord's Prayer in its original Aramaic. Truly food for the soul. And this poem from his book, Green Bamboo, seemed very appropriate. Yes, there's a lot in this world to be challenged and changed, but there's also so much anger. I don't know about you, but I can certainly use this encouragement.