"Moon of Tunis"

Double-click below to start/restart video.

As an inactive, i.e. backsliding, mandolin player I've recently become inspired by the sounds of The Beymen Bros after they were featured on NPR http://tr.im/h9Qm. The lifelong bond, since childhood, that exists for two of the more senior "bros" and their many years of informal music-making and the Bros's tranquility vibe leaves me most attentive.

Wild Things

And when he came to the place where the wild things are
they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth
and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws
till Max said “BE STILL!”
and tamed them with the magic trick
of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once
and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all
and made him king of all wild things
“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”

From "Where the Wild Things Are" http://tr.im/h77E

Solitude and Company

I rise early when darkness pervades and life is unstirred. There is a dark expanse beyond the window. A momentary flash of light on the far periphery catches an eye. Perhaps it is the paperboy or a mother turning-on a porch light to check the weather. I am not alone.

Spoken Words in U.S. Presidential History

Here's a interesting tool at speechwars.com where you enter any word, for example, "challenge," "soul," etc. and you're given a graph of the number of times the word was used in various U.S. presidential speeches and the number of times each Prez (or nominee) said it. For example, since 1790 the word "love" has been used a total of 89 times in State of the Union addresses and Ronald Reagan used it the most (4 times).

Retreat Chronicle

I'm asked periodically what happens on extended Centering Prayer retreats. I usually mention their purpose, structure and fruits in the broadest of terms, realizing I cannot adequately convey what is unique and spiritually significant for each individual. Sometimes I mention Tom Ward's excellent description of his first retreat in Spirituality, Contemplation and Transformation: Writings on Centering Prayer (Lantern Books, 2008).

I've been attending these types of retreats for years and I'll attend one March 20-29, a 10-day intensive facilitated by David Frenette and Thomas Keating at the Garrison Institute on the Hudson River. See schedule below.

To offer a small window through which others might look and learn, I'll chronicle the retreat here on LifeSprings http://lifesprings.posterous.com/ starting March 19. In keeping with the contemplative value of simplicity, just a few words and/or a single visual image will be shared each day of the retreat.

You're invited to visit during or after the retreat and/or share the chronicle with someone who may have asked you, "So, what happens on those retreats?" "Do you really not talk for days?

Here is the daily schedule.

6:30 am - Rise
6:45 am - (2) 30 minute periods of Centering Prayer separated by a meditative walk
8:00 – 9:00 am - Breakfast in silence
9:15 am – Session
10:45 am - (2) 30 minute periods of Centering Prayer separated by meditative walk
12:00 – 1:00 pm - Lunch in silence
Solitude
3:30 pm – Session (Presentation & Guided Meditation)
4:45 pm - (2) 30 minute periods of Centering Prayer separated by a meditative walk
6:00 – 7:00 pm - Supper in silence
7:30 pm – Optional Session (with Questions and Answers)

Bill Moyers Journal Interviews Parker Palmer

Given the current financial and economic predicament, Parker Palmer, Quaker, educator and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal, speaks in this sobering 25 minute interview of our tendency to deny reality and live in illusion, the role of cultural "anesthetics" in the maintenance of illusion, and the importance of holding a creative tension between what is and what is possible without prematurely seeking to dissipate the tension. A word caution - this is not a feel good discussion and is one that is likely to evoke agreement and disagreement. Nontheless it does feel like an honest discussion.

via pbs.org

Lost

The following poem is based on a native American story. I turn to its lines in both darkness and light with equal effect - an inner turning to a larger field than I can think - "stand still."

Lost

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

~ David Wagoner ~