Protected: Winter is Coming

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Protected: Comforting

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All Blue

I’m feeling sad and a bit lonely. Not sorry for myself. Not depressed. But introspective, emotionally painfully open, and a little rudderless. A friend is gone. My housemate has moved out. My friends-who-were-neighbors moved away. Another friendship that was fairly central in my life has origanically just entered a phase of increased distance. My thesis is still not written. And I’m feeling like I don’t belong at my job anymore.

In the last few days, I’ve spontaneously started playing and listening to the piano a lot: Chopin, Debussy, Nyman. Dissonant, melancholy stuff. Like my mood. It reminds me why I keep this 6’1″ grand in my house even though I hardly play it anymore. Piano was always how I comforted myself when I was lonely as a kid. I could put my fingers to the wood and out would come this sound that said, “Yes, I know exactly how you feel.”

Love, Actually.

A week or so ago, got me inspired to go back and watch the movie “Love Actually” again. I remember really liking it the first time but I couldn’t quite remember why. But the first scene laid it right out there for me. In the scene, people–complete strangers to me–are eagerly waiting the arrival of loved ones at the airport. Lots of smiles, embracing, some tears, lots of kisses, and of course less dramatic but equally heart-warming sorts of reunions. It got me crying right there. Moments of love that are so simple, so uncomplicated, and so genuine.

This got me thinking … what is it that I miss (if anything) about being in a primary relationship? Continue reading

A Sufi Manual for Individuation and Beyond

“Your personal nature seeks its paradise.” – (Ibn ‘Arabi, 1981, p. 29)

Ever wish you had a manual for life and how to live it to its fullest? Well, I just found one in a book by Ibn ‘Arabi (12th century philosopher and Sufi shaykh) called “Journey to the Lord of Power: A Sufi Manual on Retreat” and I’m really digging it. It brings things I’ve heard in bits and pieces over and over again in spiritual and mental health circles through the last years together into one cohesive framework. I love that. Of all of the spiritual texts I’ve read, Ibn ‘Arabi’s is refreshingly practical in its teachings. However, he still says all this stuff in a language that might have been sufficient for a 12th century conversation with other mystics but would be frustratingly enigmatic for most folks today. So, what I write here is the interpretation that my Western, 21st century psyche gets out of his words. (BTW, if you aren’t familiar with the Sufi or Islamic use of the word “power”, try not to get bogged down here by the title. It doesn’t imply anyone getting oppressed or “lorded over”. So, just skip that part for now and let’s look at what all is inside the book ….)

Stages of Personal Development

Splinters (Age Eight)

Today I’m wearing my favorite pants: store bought, Holly Hobby, with “Love makes the world go ‘round,” written around the ankles. I proudly dressed myself this morning. Now, teased and shamed, I sit alone and straddle a log on the playground, counting the moments until recess is over. I scoot forward and the log embeds splinters into the crotch of my pants. I try not to move. Please, please, please, I hope recess is over soon.

[Other images in this scrapbook can be found here.]