Archive for March 3rd, 2020

03
Mar
20

3.3.20 … “I cannot tell you how the light comes…”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2020 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (7/40 & 8/40), 2020 Labyrinth Walks, Myers Park United Methodist Church Francis Chapel – Charlotte NC, Hobart Park @ Davidson College – Davidson NC,

2020 Lenten Lists, kith/kin, poetry, Davidson College Women’s Basketball, A-10 Sports:

Today was a two-fer .

I drove to MPUPC in heavy rain and I forgot my umbrella. But that is precisely why we chose this indoor labyrinth.

My first labyrinth walk was with Mary in 2011 and I always like to include a walk with her during Lent. I arrived first, and I walked around the chapel by myself. I noticed the offering plates on the table in the front of the chapel with broken pieces of a white porcelain sculpture and was confused.

Mary walked in and we discussed that she had not realized that there was a permanent installation in the chapel. She handed me a poem that she had given to friends at luncheon recently.. We discussed poetry in general, but more on that later.

Mary had not walked the permanent installation in the Francis Chapel, so we walked around together. She too noted the arrangement on the table startled us. it was very intentional. There were three silver offering bowls with broken pieces of a sculpture. We decided to ask the receptionist. And she said they were a sculpture, but as of yet there was not any information about it. Mary and I returned to the chapel and looked again and realized that the pieces were a sculpture of Jesus. As Mary described them, “an offering of our brokenness.”

I also noted that the Chapel Bible was open to psalm 22-24:5

We began our walk, but I quickly realized that my patent leather flats were extremely noisy, so I went to the side and took off my shoes, and then I noticed my bare feet were slightly cold on the marble. But it made for a more peaceful walk.

The center is correct, 6 petals. I prayed the Lord’s Prayer today.

I have noticed this before, but this chapel is lit with primarily blue stained glass. I have to wonder why… Another project for me to research. And why is this chapel called the Francis chapel? Another research project.

This Labyrinth is a modified 7-circuit Chartres labyrinth. The only thing unusual is that there is one outer circuit that is a three-quarter circuit. I am always interested to see how a designer modifies the Chartres labyrinth from 11 circuits to six or seven. I am not sure I have seen one with a three-quarter circuit before.

At the end of my walk, I close my kairos time by circling the outside clockwise and re-entering chronos time.

We again look at the sculpture. It is very intentional. Jesus’ face in one and a hand in each of the others.

As we exit we noticed the brochure on the table … brokenness.

Afterwards, we spent an hour over coffee discussing life and difficult people. Mary it’s always good for my soul.

And I ended my day with the drive up to Davidson to spend the evening with my college roommate RuthAnn a.k.a. Rüfüs. She is one of my few friends who gets and enjoys labyrinths. We met at the one in Hobart Park at Davidson College. She is visiting the Durham area to officiate college swim meets. She actually drove 2 1/2 hours each way to visit with me and watch the women’s basketball game. She is a good friend and a good Davidson alum.

We walked and talked about this labyrinth as the sun went down. It was a very nice way to celebrate the end of the day. As we walked we discussed friends and family and books.

We continued our discussion over dinner and then we watched the Davidson College women’s basketball team beat LaSalle in the first round of the A10 basketball championship. Go Cats!

As I drove back from Davidson at 10 PM, I thought about what began my day. Poetry. Mary and I discussed this briefly and I made the comment that poetry really doesn’t speak to me, but that I was trying to learn to appreciate poetry. I remembered when Krista Tippit spoke at FPC she mentioned poetry. And I found this on her on being website: “ Poetry rises up in human societies when official words fail us and we lose sight of how to find our way back to one another. It has moved to the heart of what we offer on the radio and in podcasts, in digital spaces, and in gatherings.” Source: Poetry & Writing – The On Being Project, https://onbeing.org/poetry-and-writing/

So where am I experiencing poetry?

1. Mary handed me the poem “How the Light Comes” by Jan Richardson today when we met.

2. My friend Marty sent me a blog post about her parish priest.

As I enter this holy season of Lent, season of hunger, thirst, longing and hope, I have been rereading Lorca and finding some new meaning in the unsolvable problems of language. To be thinking anew of the “enduring metaphor” of yearning—an “arrow without target,” “evening without morning”—is to live aware of that space between what we can say and what we cannot, what we know and what we trust, what we desire and what we grieve. There is the instrument, the body, we can hold and there is the music—the love—we cannot quite. We’ll never fully get it, will we? But oh, that exquisite try, that artful essay, that poetry by which we live.

Source: Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church: Wellspring: Poetry for the Journey, https://www.ststephensrva.org/reflect-learn/poetry-at-st-stephen-s/wellspring-poetry-for-the-journey/

3. Lynn McClintock, another fellow Davidsonian posted (but I could not find the online site.) I’ve copied the post below.

4. A new friend at Christmas upon receiving my gift of paper whites gave me a poem about paper whites. What a wonderful response to a gift.

5. Another college classmate shares poems with her close friends celebrating them on their 60th.

6. Memories of my dad reciting poems he had memorized as a child. I can’t drive through the north Georgia mountains without thinking of Sidney Lanier’s poem The Song Of The Chattahoochee:

Out of the hills of Habersham,

Down the valleys of Hall,

I hurry amain to reach the plain,

Run the rapid and leap the fall,

Split at the rock and together again,

Accept my bed, or narrow or wide,

And flee from folly on every side

With a lover’s pain to attain the plain

Far from the hills of Habersham,

Far from the valleys of Hall.

7. Certain passages in the Bible … and of course the Psalms.

8. And Rumi …

9. I regularly follow Maren Tirabassi, Parker Palmer and before her death Mary Oliver.

So I say I don’t hear poetry, but it certainly touches me. Thank you kith and kin who share with me the beauty of poetry.

3.3.20

From Lynn:

Beautiful reflection below by Richmond mindfulness teacher, Kay Davidson:

(It was long for a post, so I pasted it below as a comment.)

A POEM IS WORTH 1,000 WORDS

I have on my computer a collection of some 500 poems. Each was chosen for a reason. Sometimes a line may have captured my attention, like Mary Oliver’s “You do not have to be good” or sometimes I come across a phrase that deserves contemplation like Stanley Kunitz’s “Live in the layers, not on the litter.” Maybe I sensed a truth that I needed to hear (Patience with small detail makes perfect a large work, like the universe. Rumi Kapur) or was given a caution for a day that was to include unpleasant circumstances (There’s no use hiding it / What’s inside always leaks outside. Yunus Emre)

Then, there are those occasions when I need prompting to practice gratitude instead of complaining (Be glad your nose is on your face / not pasted on some other place / for if it were where it is not,/ you might dislike your nose a lot./ Imagine if your precious nose/were sandwiched in between your toes,/ that clearly would not be a treat / or you’d be forced to smell your feet. Jack Prelutsky)

When discouraged by my personal shortcomings, I can find empathy (Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart. Bapuji), humor (You are a divine elephant with amnesia/ trying to live in an ant hole. Hafiz), solace in my common humanity (Remember that you are all people and that all people are you. Joy Harjo), or a reality check (In this short Life that only lasts an hour/ How much – how little – is within our power. Emily Dickinson)

This collection began to grow when I came to know how useful poetry can be when talking about mindfulness. Several of my meditation teachers quoted verse when giving dharma talks, and to me, the message of the talk was often deepened and made more memorable by the poem. There is something about the careful languaging of a poem — its brevity or its realness — that partners well with the principles of mindfulness. So, whether about the importance of slowing down enough to be present (Efficiency is not God’s highest goal for your life/neither is busyness. Rob Bell), being with the difficult aspects of life (Don’t turn your head. / Keep looking at the bandaged place. Rumi Kapur), or acknowledging how our minds are constantly buzzing and grasping (Everyone is overridden by thoughts;/ that’s why they have so much heartache and sorrow. Rumi Kapur) — poetry has a way to say it.

Of course, there is much more to poetry than a single line or a moving phrase. There is the sound and the rhythm of the words, the patterns and shape of the lines, the unfolding in successive phrases “…of necessary human information that cannot be communicated in any other way.” (Edward Hirsch, How to Read a Poem)

Consider these stanzas:

later that night

i held an atlas in my lap

ran my fingers across the whole world

and whispered

where does it hurt?

it answered

everywhere

everywhere

everywhere

— Warsan Shire.

Can’t you see it? A person, sitting by lamplight, large volume in her lap, tracing a map of the world, whispering to the world as a living thing. And as we engage with these words, we experience the rhythm of the repetition, the insistence of the italics, and maybe, as I do when reading this — especially out loud — feel a welling of compassion for all of those wounded places. Human information, indeed.

As in Warsan Shire’s stanzas, poetry often inspires me to practice what is most important in this life.

stop asking: Am I good enough?

Ask only:

Am I showing up

with love?

— Julia Fehrenbacher

And, in this category of remembering what’s important, I have to include Toyohiko Kagawa’s singular “Prayer”: May I never Yawn at Life.

With 500 poems to choose from, I could go on and on citing beautiful, meaningful, funny treasures from my collection. Those I’ve offered here are samples of words that have somehow spoken to me. I want to say they are words that have entered me. That’s how I know they are meant to be guidance on my path. And of course, what is meaningful can change over time. So I’ll include one last selection that has relevance to me at this stage of my life:

I pause in this moment at the beginning of my old age

and I say a prayer of gratitude for getting to this evening

a prayer for being here today, now, alive

in this life, in this evening, under this sky.

–David Budbill

Source: Lynn McClintock’s Facebook post.




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