Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Transformation -> Understanding

Monday, October 30, 2006

I eat a lot of Chinese food

Who needs LSD?

I did a 15 mile run yesterday evening. I was running south down a dirt road and I noticed everything was starting to glow in the red light of sunset. I looked to my right at the Tucson mountains and lost my breath. The sunset was phenomenal. And I thought, Oh I wish I had my camera. But then I thought I should not be so concerned with trying to possess the moment, but just to experience it. So I ran along watching the sky turn orange and pink and red. I actually got choked up. And just when I thought the experience could not be any more intense, I turned my head to the left - The Catalinas were orange in the alpenglow and a rainbow was perfectly framing them. It was amazing. LSD could not produce more intense colors.

So I didn't photograph the amazing sunset, but here is what I imagine St. Philip's would look like on LSD:

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Exploring the Shadow

Back in March, when I was living in Hawaii, I attended a lecture/discussion about the unrest in the Episcopal Church over the appointment of an openly gay Bishop. Afterwords, I sent an email to the folks who put on the presentation:

It's not the HOMO part.

It’s the SEXUAL part.

As I listened to your excellent talk last Sunday, I tried to put myself in the shoes of these people who are so frightened by the gay bishop, and I realized that the root of their anxiety is not so much that they are uncomfortable with HOMOsexuality but that they are uncomfortable with SEXUALITY. And I don’t feel anger toward them but rather pity, because I am one of them. We are heirs to the Calvinist-Puritan morality and the bourgeois sensibilities of those fundamentalist terrorists who attacked the original homeland security forces of the native Americans. And our morality tells us that sex is evil, wicked, and sinful and its only proper use is for procreation by a man and a woman bound, tied and gagged in holy matrimony and even then, one should derive no pleasure from it. And our bourgeois sensibilities tell us that we must control the chaos of life with our devotion to consistency and uniformity so that we might continue to be blessed with comfort, safety and security.

The protestants of Hawaii were confronted with a crisis in 1873 and here is what they wrote in the newspaper: “Do we consider what this means? It means the disorganization and total destruction of civilization, property values, and industry, of our churches, our contributions, … It means shame, and defeat, and disgraceful overthrow to all that is promising and fair …We are on the brink of a horrible pit, full of loathsomeness, into which our feet are rapidly sliding.” The crisis was leprosy and the protestants attributed leprosy to sexual deviancy. I suspect today’s homophobes could write the exact same sentences to describe their anxiety. They are bourgeoisie with material preoccupations.

What the homophobes need is two-fold:


Moral instruction and guidance on celebrating sexuality. The place to begin is with their own white-bread-missionary-style HETEROsexuality. The day I can have guilt-and-shame-free heterosex is the day I will be non-judgmental about HOMOsex.

They need to be beaten over their bourgeois heads with Matthew 6:19-34

Thank you for challenging me to grow and live and love with intensity.


Well, yesterday I saw a movie that had me squirming in my Calvinist seat.



The first 5 minutes were a full frontal (literally) assault. But I stuck it out and sat through the movie, and now I am really glad I did. Maybe I need to go back and watch it again. I may have missed a lot of the message because I was so uncomfortable.

I doubt this movie would have been made if the religious fundamentalists were not in political power. It was refreshing to be shocked. Uncomfortable, but refreshing.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Advocates

The voices for the voiceless.

It's amazing to watch JYC's documentaries from the 60's and 70's - he was sounding the environmental alarm half a century before environmental issues penetrated the collective consciousness.


SAS is all about social justice, as were all the great mystics.


I fell in love with Sarah Chayse when I saw this documentary.

And I really admire my friend Margot for the work she does at IHS.

Finished Logo

Sunday, October 22, 2006

More neighbors

Who is hiding under my car this evening?
Why it's my seldom seen neighbor with the forked tongue and rattle tail, Mr. Diamondback.I was on my way to the curb to put the recycling out and Mr. Diamondback was in my driveway. He put on a good show, rattling and posturing to strike, as dad and I took pictures. Dad got to see my high stepping backward sprint.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Life of Peccaries

Dad and I are working on a photo shoot for a National Geographic article - The Life of Peccaries.

Dad getting close.

Closer

There you go.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Put 'em to work!

When family visits, put 'em to work remodeling your kitchen.

The Mystics

The spiritual athletes who nurtured me.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Sacred Woody Garden

A friend told me that when he thinks of me he is reminded of this Robert Frost poem:

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


When I got home and read the poem, I was immediately reminded of another poem by W.H. Auden:

For the Time Being

For the garden is the only place there is, but you will not find it
Until you have looked for it everywhere and found nowhere that is not a desert.
The miracle is the only thing that happens, but to you it will not be apparent
Until all events have been studied and nothing happens to you that you cannot explain.
Life is the destiny you are bound to refuse until you have consented to die.

And the connection of the two poems, for me, is the woods and the garden. They are the same thing.

Frost has this civilized fellow from the village of humanity - a busy fellow with promises to keep, places to be, things to do, whose “horse” of habit doesn’t understand a stop before the destination – awe struck by the lovely, dark and deep woods that are filling up with snow, dying the winter death. This guy lives in the profane world, but has a glimpse into the sacred woods.

Auden says the sacred garden is the only place there is, but we won’t find it until we have completely explored the profane desert.

The great mystics acknowledged that we have to live in the profane world. When asked how to attain eternal enlightenment, Buddha answered, “die.” Jesus said “Give unto Cesar what is Cesar’s, give unto God what is God’s.” Still, it would be good to spend more time in the woods, more time in the garden. That is a tough balance to strike.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Yankees and Texans

I went to Rip and Jill’s wedding this weekend on the Esselstyn family farm in New York. They got married on top of “water tank hill.” The old windmill used to pump water to tanks in the house on top of the hill that then gravity fed the entire property.

The tank house.

The wedding procession climbing the hill.

The fall colors were spectacular.

And it was great to see old friends, still as competitive as ever.


Few people will understand the significance of this photo.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Storytellers

JYC's story telling captured my imagination. As The Life Aquatic pointed out, his documentaries were a bit corny and not so scientific, but they were dramatic and spiritual. Woody. Brilliant. Hysterically funny. Painfully insightful and honest.Hesse. The genius. The master. I discovered my shadow reading Steppenwolf and I discovered my light reading Narcissus and Goldmund. Paulo, the Alchemist. The most elegant things are the simplest things.

SAS, the full frontal assaulter. Her sermons set my heart on fire.

The Athletes

Dave Scott is The Man!

Vanessa, my anima incarnate. Not only does Rip carry my anima, but he is one of the most loving, beautiful people I have ever known.

The Explorers

It all started with stories of Dad's adventures - in Turkey, scuba diving, flying jets over the California desert - there are many.
Then in 5th grade I discovered The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and I knew my purpose.Whatever light of the Explorer I carried, Arjan reflected and amplified.