Monthly Archives: December 2004

Good posting at jack * on atheism

j a c k *: My Life as Nothing…

Good post, and good expression of the progression from nothing to skeptic to atheist. I personally try to delink my own spirituality from any religious worldview, and my standard response to if there is a God would have to be “I don’t know and neither do you”. I sort of consider myself an all-theist – what if everyone is actually right, and all the stories are true? Perhaps to some minds, religion is a crutch or tool, to others it is a necessary belief to have in order to live their lives without going insane. To an atheist, it’s necessary to live without a god. To me, it’s necessary to simply enjoy my own spirituality without worrying about that of other people – to enjoy nature, my own felt connections with others, and my own feelings that somehow we are all connected if only by virtue of life itself. But read the posting and maybe you can appreciate the atheist viewpoint….

Earthquake and Tsunami

There’s so much destruction from the massive earthquake and tsunami in Southeast ASia, it’s pretty overwhelming, even though I’m sitting here across the world. How heartbreaking for the millions who have to deal with the aftermath, how horrible for the tens of thousands who have lost their lives. I’ve sent my donations, but it will never feel like enough. My thanks go out to all those rescuers, relief workers, and others who will do the heavy lifting of providing relief, digging out, and then rebuilding. The emotional damage is too great to even contemplate for those affected.

Here’s a link for the tsunami relief blog that has started:

tsunami relief

It’s amazing that the world reaction has been to spring to help, and our president still vacations on his ranch. I can’t believe it. My contempt for him is already so high, and yet I find it increasing even more today. I want a president who cares about the world and shows it. Instead, they criticize Clinton for speaking out. It was so obvious that yes, he really did feel people’s pain, and all the Bush family can do is make fun of real emotion. How heartless. These assholes will spend more on the damn inauguration party than they promise to send in relief efforts. What cads.

Update: Now it’s $350 million, almost getting reasonable. Add another zero and we’ll be somewhere. Maybe they can find some money to finally armor the Humvees in Iraq, too. Gosh, and maybe those rich folk could do with a little less of that tax cut?

Darfur rages on as well. You can donate to Darfur relief efforts here:

darfur relief

Of course the US does nothing about Darfur, either. All our troops are too busy occupying Iraq, and there’s no oil in Darfur so the president doesn’t care about it.

Sorry, I’m just feeling really disgusted by the failed leadership in this country today. And wishing there were more I could do to help those who need it.

The Joys of Simply Living….

This is what life is about when you stop trying to hard to make a living and just start having a life:

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common – this is my symphony.” William Henry Channing

Whether you know it or not

A person does not have to join a group or be a wise leader to work things out. Life’s process unfolds naturally. Conflicts resolve themselves sooner or later, whether or not a person knows how things happen.

It is true that being aware of how things happen makes one’s words more potent and one’s behavior more effective. But even without the light of conciousness, people grow and improve. Being unconcscious is not a crime; it is merely a lack of a very helpful ability.

Knowing how things work gives the leader more real power and ability than all the degrees or titles the world can offer. That is why people in every era and in every culture have honored those who know how things happen.

Tao of Leadership
________

“Being unconcscious is not a crime; it is merely a lack of a very helpful ability” … those are words I need to take to heart. Too often I am annoyed with other people for not being aware of how thigs happen or the consequences of their actions. I’ve excused it a lot in my kids, knowing they were kids and learning. I have difficulty excusing it in adults, however. I wonder how people can be so stupid, quite a lot of the time, actually. It’s probably the biggest reason I avoid a lot of people in my life.

One of my former good friends, Mike, used to say I didn’t suffer fools gladly. Very true. But I think I am a bit more forgiving now than I used to be. After all, I’ve been crazy myself, and spent a lot of time not even realizing how crazy I was becoming. So I know how that happens. But the everyday, ordinary lack of awareness of how life progresses around you, the out of touch way so many seem to live their lives – that bothers me.

I am pretty much aware of where every living thing around me is, without even thinking about it. It amazes me when my husband asks where one of the kids are. I know where almost everything in my house is and can find it in minutes, even if the house is a mess. I know dates, places, times I have to be somewhere, what the weather is like, how people are without asking, just from their expression. My husband is never aware of these things.

Ah, well, it’s just a helpful ability. Heh. To me, awareness of life and how things work is a central part of my life. I would hate to be without that helpful ability….

Mexican food and a warm bonfire

Had a great solstice evening enjoying Mexican food at Chevy’s with Kristin and Sven and the usual horde of folk that surrounds them. Afterwards we came back to our place and enjoyed a lovely Solstice bonfire, chocolate cookies and cider. It was great fun.

Greg’s friend Geoff got into a bit of a tiff with Kristin’s daughter Ayumi and her friend Marissa, years younger but way smarter than he is. Geoff just sort of has a knack for finding trouble, it seems. Other thanthat, we all enjoyed dinner and the fire and good conversation.

Today is another kick-back game playing day for the kids – still no peace for me, but that’s all right. They are enjoying their time off from school. I’m still considering what the heck I want to do with myself right now – my perpetual question. I’m enjoying the luxury of time to relax and not do much, but am feeling the need to start stretching my wings again. Perhaps school, perhaps buff up the resume and find some consulting gig again. Time to open up to new possibilities and opportunities.

Happy Solstice!

As the sun stands still before it begins to move back to the north, we celebrate new beginnings. Solstice seems to me to be a time for quiet introspections, taking stock before deciding which things need doing in the New Year soon to begin.

And a time to eat chocolate. Well, anytime is a agood time to eat chocolate.

Holidaze

So, Christmas is in five days, the boys are home, the boys friends are over, and it’s all making me very cranky. I get cranky when there are people around all the time, being the introvert I am most of the time. While there aren’t any financial difficulties this year, thank goodness, there are those other stresses of the holidays – getting letters and packages mailed, planning get-togethers, etc. I try to keep my life pretty low-impact these days, mostly because I just haven’t felt terribly social in some time.

Ah well, a few more days and we all get back to whatever it is that passes for normal life in America these days. Of course the commercial market will be exhorting us to go to those after-Christmas sales, which I plan to completely avoid this year.

I did have some fun shopping today, though, getting new tablewear for my kitchen table. A nice patchwork, snowflake patterned red and white tablecloth, runner and some red and white stiped napkins, and some towels and a oven mitt. It’s the little things that cheer me up sometimes. And having access to my blog back, which is nice. I know nobody reads it, but it is nice to have a place to write and post.

Here and Now

The wise leader knows what is happening in a group by being aware of what is happening here and now. This is more potent than wandering off into various theories or making complex interpretations of the situation at hand.

Stillness, clarity, and consciousness are more immediate than any number of expeditions into the distant lands of one’s mind. Such expeditions, however stimulating, distract both the leader and the group members from what is actually happening.

By staying present and aware of what is happening, the leader can do less yet achieve more.

Tao of Leadership

Mmm. I’m always a fan of doing less and achieving more. Or heck, just doing less… Americans are always about doing, and so little about being. There seems to be an endless quest to do more, get more, achieve more, have more. For what? Here and now is really all there is, and all there’s ever going to be. If you can’t enjoy that, you aren’t going to really ever enjoy anything else.

I tihnk a lot of people get into meditation and spirituality expecting it to take them to some “other” place, or escape from the here and now. But what it’s really about is learning to live even more deeply in the present moment, to stop trying to escape from it and experience it fully. Then you can learn to escape from it and separate yourself from it when you have to. But if you don’t know fully what is here and now, its very hard to separate what is yourself and what is surrounding you. And you also need to learn how to be in the moment to live life most fully.

It’s so great when you actually meet people who are “present” in life. You see the spark in their eyes, that amusement that comes from really being aware of what is going on around you and knowing most people are not aware, not fully present. You can see the dimness in a lot of people’s eyes, as they put in their time at work or run their errands, and know they aren’t really fully experiencing life. You feel a bit sorry for them, try to jar them back to life somehow by saying something startling or even just noticing them at all, since so many aren’t even used to being noticed. Think about parties, how alive people are, and ask yourself where does that energy and spark go the rest of the time?

And never have a meeting without cookies. They really get people into the moment, somehow. I don’t know why, but it works!