Category Archives: life

Release

via Daily Prompt: Release

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Some years ago when we were part of a group that decided to start a community garden, and someone donated these six chickens, which adopted our youngest son as guardian. This was the day they were released into the plot where their home was to be. They were immediately and completely at home, scratching away looking for worms, insects and seeds. They produced loads of eggs which were shared out. This was one of those fun days.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Brave

via Daily Prompt: Brave

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Roman Catholic (Franciscan) priest Maximillian Kolbe, born in Poland in 1894, and following taking his final vows in 1918, was ordained a priest, and in the 1930s he served in both China, and then Japan where he helped establish a Franciscan monastry. He returned to Poland in 1936. In 1939, Germany invaded Poland and occupied it. Kolbe refused to sign papers that would have granted him immunity as he was of German origin. He was, as were many Polish people, arrested. He was later released and allowed to return to work at the monastery where he managed large numbers of refugees, hiding and helping relocate many Jewish people, and writing anti-nazi propaganda. Eventually he came to the attention of the Gestapo and was arrested and imprisoned, eventually ending up in Auschwitz. He was regularly beaten and treated appalingly by the camp guards. In this he was no different to many inmates of Auschwitz. Where I think Kolbe defines what it is to be brave is where he one day stood in another person’s shoes.

At some point there was an escape from the camp, and the commandant ordered reprisals from among the prisoners. Ten were to be chosen at random. One young man cried out that he had a wife and children. Kolbe asked to stand in his place, and the commandant accepted his offer. The commandant ordered that the ten prisoners be starved to death in a cell, and as eye witnesses testified later, Kolbe was the last to die, and with dignity and calm.

I don’t know how you stand in the place of death for another, but Kolbe did. I have stood inside his cell at Auschwitz, an eerie place, and felt that a light had shone briefly here, that one person had been a beacon of hope for humanity in the midst of evil. For me Kolbe personifies what it is to be brave. He was powerless, yet he used his gift of life powerfully.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Loyalty

via Daily Prompt: Loyal

I support several local coffee shops and businesses, all of which provide a loyalty card, like, buy nine and get one free. Works well for me as well as for them. I guess I’m loyal for tenth cup, or the tenth treatment, or the tenth product, whatever it is, I’m going the distance. In this I’m simply buying loyalty. My loyalty is predicated on that tenth gain. So what does that say about being loyal? Not much! I’m only as loyal as the promise of the tenth free item or coffee. I’m depending on their honesty, if you like, their loyalty to me. It can’t be one way. And loyalty is only ever between parties, often two, but sometimes more, but never just oneself.

Trouble is, loyalty sounds like the standard behavour of the family dog, a sort of committed fondness come what may, unthinking, based only on the simple gains or loving care in a platonic sort of way. But I seek more. I demand integrity. Loyalty seems more surface, more about transaction. Integrity goes to your very core, it doesn’t seek fidelity because there might be something in the relationship, integrity is about being true to who you really are rather than wearing a mask, or being surface, or being in it for the gain, the promise of the tenth thing free. I like my tenth cofee free, but from you I need more than bait, I need you and all of you.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Cloaked by Smoke

via Daily Prompt: Cloaked

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Last year we were on the road, the Boyup – Frankland road, and we were cloaked in smoke. There was a bush fire burning about 60 kms away, a big one, and the smoke had been pushed by wind across several shires. This section of road is straight and normally you’d see well into the distance, but on this day we had about 80 mtrs vision, and we couldn’t travel at the normal 110 kms either, we were down to 90 at best. No visibility and the possibility of wildlife on the road was too great a risk, so slowly, slowly, till we got through. Even darkness is a better cloak, because the headlights work really well in darkness, but not in smoke, no light penetration at all. When you’re cloaked in smoke, it’s actually worse than darkness.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Believe

via Daily Prompt: Believe

Socrates comes to mind, naturally, when he says: “I am wiser than anyone else because I know I don’t know.” Belief is a strong, determined word. In the hilarious movie ‘Dogma’ (1999) the character Rufus, the thirteenth apostle (played by Chris Rock), asks “Do you believe, or do you have an idea?” The film was a criticism of the institution of the Church, which tends to foster sound doctrine, black and white beliefs, and in some corners of the Church, fanaticism (albeit, fundamentalism).

The issue of religious belief is always objectivity trying to defeat and ridicule subjectivity.

It might be that faith is a better word, but even that is a loaded word. But as author Ann Lamott says: “Faith begins with experience, and our faith is our reaction to that experience. Science begins with intuition and not logic.” And she also adds: “You have to experience something before you can know something.” And, “The opposite of faith is certainty.” and so, back to Socrates.

I prefer to speak carefully of the experience of soul work, the contemplative life, and my experiences of Other. Do I believe? Well, I don’t disbelieve, but I prefer to say, I have an experience, which is something more than an idea.

 

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The Journey

I’ve been pondering this quote for some time.

“To take shape a journey must have fixed bearings, as a basket has ribs and a book its themes. The clearest way to understand … our journey … is to look at a single woven basket’s basic design … First, two splits or reeds are centered, like the cardinal points of a compass. Then, two more splits of equal size and length are added. These are the ribs of teh basket. Weaving begins at the center … over … under … over … under … until it is finished. From the simplest basket to the most complex … this principle is the same. The ribs must be centered and held in balance. In a sense, they are the fixed bearings that guide the rythm of weaving.” (from: Marilou Awiakta Seiu, ‘Seeking the Corn Mothers Wisdom”)

And therefore, the bearings that guide our journey. In short, we need to have a guiding principle, we need a frame, a community, a place in the world. And we need to be held by that community, held by those principles. When we have these things in our lives, when we are held, when we are centered,  we weave a journey that is rich, under, over, under, over, until we are finished.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Superficial

via Daily Prompt: Superficial

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We enjoyed our breakfast, the staff were wonderful, attentive, good humoured, friendly. But every time I go out I wonder how much of this is put on, superficial behaviour, and how much is genuine (and I have met some genuine ones). After all, it is just a job. I well remember as a child of eleven, the insurance guy coming to visit and make sure we were “happy” with our payments etc. He had been attentive, friendly, supportive, as dad kept the premiums going even when we were struggling under a load of debt. But the moment dad wavered one year and looked to cut back, this guy, this “friend” turned ugly. As soon as dad relented and caved in to the higher payment, this guy was sweetness and light! I’ve had teachers, employers, clergy, politicians, even people I thought were friends (ha) who were this superficial too. To be superficial is to be fake, plastic, veneer, a user (and abuser), an empty shell.

For me the key word in life is integrity, if you don’t have it – then don’t come near, I don’t want your fake friendship, your fake values, or your pretend life, I want the real you, but most of all I want for you to be real. Integrity, not superficiality.

Paul,

#pvcann.com

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