What I aspire to…

“A person who cares nothing for praise or blame knows great inward peace….Praise does not make you holier than you are, nor blame more wicked. You are exactly what you are, and cannot ever be any better or worse than that, in the eyes of God. Attend to what is really within you, then, and you will not care what others say of you. People look at externals, but God looks at the heart. They weigh actions; God knows your intent….To feel no need of human support and assurance is a mark of inward confidence – of those who truly walk with God in their hearts.”- Thomas À Kempis

I know it is nearly impossible to imagine, however, it’s like another quote I like to refer to “It’s better to aim for the stars and land on the moon than to aim for a mud puddle and hit it.”

wild yellow
wild yellow

Wishing all a blessed day and that your’s shall be just as it should.

Gazing at the Light

The lamps are different,
But the Light is the same.
So many garish lamps in the dying brain’s lamp-show,
Forget about them.
Concentrate on the essence, concentrate on the Light.
In lucid bliss, calmly smoking off its own holy fire,
The Light streams towards you from all things,
All people, all possible permutations of good, evil, thought, passion.
The lamps are different,
but the Light is the same.
One matter, one energy, one Light, one Light-mind,
Endlessly emanating all things.
One turning and burning diamond,
One, one, one.
Ground yourself, strip yourself down,
To blind loving silence.
Stay there, until you see
You are gazing at the Light
With its own ageless eyes.

– Jalal-ud-Din Rumi

DailyOM

I will Abide

“…you see, my desire for you is relentless and consumes me much of the time.

 I know not of what fills your day and the mystery only fuels my passion. The fact is, that I refrain from pestering you constantly, as I’m sure you have a full life as any person would,  may or may not be of any interest to you. The fact remains that I torture myself for you.”
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“if God and the relationship to God are left out, then this is not love, but a mutual and enchanting illusion. For only in love for God can one love in truth. To help another human being to love God is to love another person. And to be helped by another human being to love God is to be loved.” Soren Kierkegaard Provocations
peoney wet
touched by the rain
 “…You see because of where we are and what we’re each up to and my wanting you too much, and your human inadequacies and mine I am left only to seek that which is eternal when I want badly to gain from you which you can’t possibly provide. You help me to love God and in turn am being loved by you…”
“…I know it’s deep and may not have ever occurred to you or even is remotely comfortable for you to consider…”
soren-kierkegaard-watercolor-portrait-fabrizio-cassetta
Kierkegaard Painting – Soren Kierkegaard – Watercolor Portrait by Fabrizio Cassetta
 “But the one who loves says: I abide. Put the past out of the way; drown it in the forgiveness of the eternal by abiding in Love. Then the end is the beginning and there is no Break.” Soren Kierkegaard
…In love, your love J.”

On my list

My list of things I am grateful for, living in Minnesota. The Mall of America is on there. This place is such a blast. I enjoy looking for things I might like to buy or be given should I be fortunate enough. There is also the opportunity to buy presents for those I care about. There is also a place at the center of it all, created for children of all ages. That being Nicolodeon Universe, a full-sized amusement park.

Here are just a few places I like to shop for myself and others. I’ll leave it up to you to ponder, which are for who.

I was here over the weekend and wanted to express my gratitude for being close to the wonderful place. I know that the time to be here is when most are still getting up. Of course, there are many other places of interest and utility, too many to list in my brief post. It’s just fun for me.

Bless all of you who have made it this far

Jeff

Something out of the Ordinary

Or perhaps, for you, not so much. Today or I should say. Beginning late last night I went to Christmas midnight Mass. I felt led to participate in this blessed tradition and am not sure of why. I went embracing the mystery of it all.

I am not Catholic and am still mystified by all the gestures and rituals. I have found great value, though, in ritual. It has become the foundation for improving my life, from my however flawed, perspective. I did feel a bit out of place but welcome none the less.

Inside

I attended the celebration at The Cathedral of Saint Paul. What a magnificent place! I can only imagine what it must have been like in 1915 when the first liturgy was held on Palm Sunday, March 14th of that year. This is the biggest Church I have ever been in.

Nothing out of the expected occurred. There were carrols, prayers, readings from scripture, a homily by The Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda, Arch Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. A profession of faith. The offering, and of course Communion. I did not take communion as I am not, or do not consider myself Catholic. I did, however, go up for a blessing Arms crossed over my chest.

Liturgy Guide

I am still processing the occasion and take away these

  1. All are invited
  2. I am flawed and in need of forgiveness
  3. I am forgiven in Christ’s Life, death, and Resurrection
  4. His Spirit as God Lives in me
  5. I am to give as I have been so graciously been given

Merry Christmas until then enjoy divinely inspired Rock Guitar

Under My Skin

It was a lovely late summer afternoon. The sun was shining brightly the breeze was light and constant. There couldn’t be a more perfect day for me to be working and enjoying this glorious early Autumn weather. I’m doing my thing, earbuds blasting from my playlist. When suddenly I brush up against the fence. Ouch! I have been pierced by a splinter. No time to deal with it now so I keep going.

Upon completion, I load up my equipment and get into the truck. I grab a cold water out of the ice chest and check the site of the injury. It is on my left forearm on the pinkey side. There is a trickle of blood. I attempt to find if any of it is protruding from the wound. No such luck. It’s lodged in there.

wed wose
Wed Wose

I got home and washed it off properly and used a mirror to try to get a better look. I could tell that I was going to have to leave it alone to make its own way out. You see I have some experience with first-aid. My general quarter’s assignment in the Navy was triage and firefighter. Everybody on board is a firefighter. I knew that my body would reject the foreign object and it would come out eventually.

On a side note. Do people, things situations, get under your skin? You cannot be free unless you allow others to be free to be who and what they are without your ideas about what you think is right for them.

It has emerged! 3/4″ long and a sharp little devil.

ouch
Cedar Splinter 3/4″ long

Thanks for stopping by and for that I love you ❤

 

Do you know the difference?

Allow me to introduce you to the Yellow Jacket Wasp.

Profanity Warning!

These little bastards are fucking mean! They are considered to be beneficial because they eat other insects like mosquitoes, apids and the like. I have become acquainted with them, quite painfully 6 times in the past week.

Yellowjacket.Mostly.Dorsal
Yellow Jacket

They will defend the colony very aggressively. A giant, pushing/chasing a lawnmower over the nest is to be attacked mercilessly. The sting is painful initially leaving a sharp ache the rest of the day.

MDAgroundnests
Ground-nesting insects

When the ache subsides, what you are left with is not unlike a large mosquito bite that itches for a week or more. I am amazed at the tenacity and courage of these little fuckers. Imagine giving your life trying to kill a creature several thousand times your size to defend the queen and her brood.

What I have learned.

  1. They only nest annually
  2. Only the inseminated queen survives the cold winters (not sure how I don’t care)
  3. She starts a new colony in spring
  4. Late summer the nest is at its highest density (ah now I am beginning to understand)
  5. Upon discovery stay away, let them settle down and take another pass if necessary.

The Takeaway. I have a profound curiosity for all of God’s creatures. There is something to be learned from nature that I can apply to the miracle of life and existence.

Courage, what are you willing to give your life for? Survival of a representative republic?(that’s a worthy blog post by itself) Tenacity, How adamant are you about your faith? I feel I could be better. Defense of your family. I know I can be hard on them, but I only want what’s best and will expect the same in return.

God bless all of you and thank you for reading to the end.

What is this S%#t?

I notice this on my way home this afternoon. The evidence of the Saint Paul Police Mounted Patrol is in the neighborhood. This actually brings a smile. I love horses and I enjoy seeing them on their companions patrolling events, like today’s historic homes tour.

HankPriceCowboyb
Officer Hank Price and Cowboy

In other news, I am embarking on a pilgrimage of sorts. It has become painfully apparent the I have no idea, what I want to do. I know I want to help. There is a problem though. I seem to lack passion for anything. I am just finishing No Man is an Island – Thomas Merton and next in the queue is The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho I am praying and meditating on my contribution and the fears I have that interfere with me making a bold move for my own benefit. I will be making updates along the way sharing and soliciting for suggestions and experience from all who care to contribute.

It's here
It’s here!

“You can call it fall if that’s what you please…” Barney Song

I’ll leave you all with that for now except for my musical thought for this post.

RIP Walter

Suffering

I posted this as a reflection to my Instagram a year ago. I have migrated to this delightful world called WordPress. This is an excerpt from Thomas Merton’s autobiography Seven Storey Mountain.

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“Indeed, the truth that many people never understand,
until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid
suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and
more insignificant things begin to torture you, in
proportion to your fear of being hurt.
The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the
end, the one who suffers the most: and his suffering
comes to him from things so little and so trivial that
one can say it is no longer objective at all.
It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once
the subject and the source of his pain, and his very
existence and consciousness are his greatest torture.
This is another of the great perversions by which the
devil (Ego) uses our philosophies to turn our whole nature
inside out, and eviscerate all our capacities for good,
turning them against ourselves.”

I feel blessed to have been guided by Grace to endeavor to acknowledge and embrace my discomfort and “suffering” and have emerged on the other side the better for it.

“And now for something completely different” listen and be with whatever arises

 

 

The things I see

The sun beating down brightly, as I am focused on the task at hand. Earbuds blasting from the playlist. The hum of the mower’s engine is evident through my body. And yet I remain aware of my surroundings. Yesterday I was working and an unusually large and overgrown lawn when I sensed something. I turned, and there she was scouting what I think is the location of her den.

coyote 2
Checking me out
Coyote 1
All good I’m out

She was trotting through where I had previously worked stopped looked at me then carried on. I guess I have adapted to my loss of hearing sense (earbuds) and pick up on other queues. I am glad I was able to capture the moment. The toad population is great this year.

toad
spots
green toad
light green

I don’t even want to think of what happens to these creatures if pass over them.

I observe all kinds of things and I saw the first snake I have ever witnessed in Minnesota. Scared the crap out of me at first, then I tried to take a picture but it found cover quickly. It was a gartter snake. Do you find thistles as beautiful as I do?

Thistle
Ooh Ouch!

These and so much more to fill my being with wonder at how much life there is beyond our immediate perception.

working
Busy Bee

It is simple but not easy to see