Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Awareness -> Understanding -> Transformation -> Liberation

Monday, September 16, 2013

The recipe for prophetic vocation

Gautama Siddhartha's mother died a few days after he ways born, but his father was powerful and wealthy and lavished him with every comfort and convenience and security.

One can only speculate about Jesus' relationship with Mary and Joseph, but I can only imagine it was difficult for everyone.

Mohamed's father died before he was born and his mother died when he was five. Mohamed's childhood was brutal.

Does missed parental nurturance predispose one to prophetic vocation?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Five Remembrances

1.    I am sure to become old; I cannot avoid aging.
2.    I am sure to become ill; I cannot avoid illness.
3.    I am sure to die; I cannot avoid death.
4.    I will differentiate and separate from all that is dear and beloved to me.
5.    I am responsible for my actions. I create my life and relate to life with my actions. Whatever I do, for good or evil, I inherit the consequences.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Our Companions in Greece

We were very fortunate to travel in Greece with a wonderful group of people connected to the Texas Exes, the UT alumni association.

An impromptu 51st anniversary celebration on an Athenian sidewalk
Our traveling companions at Philippi. Who's the guy way back by the trees? 
Mom explaining her dietary restrictions to the chef. Can you see the sheen of the olive oil in all the pots? 
 At the Athenian Acropolis
 The Texas Exes at the Parthenon

 Texas Exes at Corinth
 At Mycenae
At Nafplio 

Saturday, June 01, 2013

In the Footsteps of Pheidippides

I had the idea to run the original marathon while in Greece, so we made arrangements for hotels and a driver when we booked our trip. Our driver, an Athenian named Sotos, picked us up on Thursday in Athens and drove us to Marathon. We asked him to drive the marathon route so that I could survey the course. As we navigated downtown Athens, it became apparent that running through the city would not be practical during the day because of the traffic. The only way to run the last 10 miles of the course would be to run in the middle of the night or very early in the morning. So we modified the plan on the way to Marathon - Friday morning, I would run from Marathon to the edge of Athens and then Sunday morning I would run the last ten miles through downtown Athens.

Friday morning, near Marathon

The official race course was marked by a blue line painted on the street

To my left was the Aegean. As I ran along the asphalt road, I imagined the Athenian soldiers in their armor, running back to Athens after crushing the Persians at Marathon.

Marathon was relatively rural, but it became more urban with every step toward Athens.

This was 16 miles into the run, right on the edge of Athens, at about 8AM. You can see the blue line in the street, near the white stripes, and the traffic building. This is where I called it a day.

Friday's run
A fast runner statue on the course route, inside Athens.

Sunday morning I returned to the edge of Athens and finished the run in relatively light traffic.

The street sweepers have the same idea - operate Sunday morning before the traffic.

I finished the run with a lap around the olympic stadium in downtown Athens.

We do more before 6AM than most people do all day.

Sunday's run, ending at the olympic stadium.
Already embellishing my accomplishment with our wonderful driver Sotos. When he saw how much I sweat, he feared for the leather seats in his Mercedes and dried me off with paper towels.

Thanks to Mom and Dad for cheering me on and taking these photos.

I did the first 16 miles, all uphill, in 2 hours and 45 minutes. I did the last 10 miles in an hour and a half. It was a very comfortable run, so no deathly drama like Pheidippides.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Temple of Poseidon

Wow. Talk about an impressive location. The temple is, of course, impressive, but the location is breathtaking. Pictures cannot do it justice, so I am not even going to try.

1962. Mom and Dad are going to get married in Athens. Dad is in Izmir, Mom is in Austin. They both fly into Athens and spend the night at the Congo Palace Hotel. Now this is before the wedding, so they have separate rooms, of course. Our wonderful driver Sotos took us to the Congo Palace and the old American airbase where they were married, now mothballed and fenced off.

Time is a relative thing

Jacques Cousteau excavated an ancient Greek shipwreck and recovered amazing artifacts, now on display at the Museum of Archeology in Athens.
1962, newlywed Dad
The old man in 2013, still fit enough to waterski.
Newlywed Mom, 1962
I believe she weighs the same in 2013

Picasso's inspiration? Ancient Greek bronze smashed by Christian zealots, much like the Taliban and the Buddha statues.

Beautiful Antinous, Hadrian's beloved.

Aphrodite, hiding her shame and beating off animal-nature Pan with her shoe, with assistance from Eros. You don't have to be a Jungian analyst to see the archetypal roots of Protestant American bourgeois sensibilities in Greek statuary.

An observation: The ideal male physique of the ancient Greeks is not terribly different than our modern notion of the ideal. Daniel Craig could pose for a statue of Poseidon or Zeus. Very different though for the female archetype. Aphrodite is downright soft. All around Athens we saw advertisements for a brand of women's clothing, Mango. Check out their twiggy model.

Roaming in Athens

The story goes, Mom and Dad were walking through the national gardens in 1962 and they came upon a bronze statue of a naked man pulling a stump out of the ground. Dad pulled up his camera to take a picture, but Mom was so embarrassed by the nudity of the statue, she didn't want people, complete strangers, to see Dad taking the photograph and think, "How lascivious the Americans are!" or something to that effect. It only took 51 years, but now we have the photograph, though I think Mom was blushing.

Hepatitis rings.
A Greek general telling the Turks to get the hell out in 1962
Turkish-Greco relations are still tense in 2013

Hard to imagine these military outfits being very practical on the battlefield.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Athens to Marathon

Hadrian's Arch

The view of the Aegean from our hotel near Marathon

The government building where Mom and Dad went in 1962 to register their marriage.

Mom and Dad's marriage is recorded in one of the dark green books on the lower shelf.

City Hall where marriage records are now kept.

Scenes from the modern Athenian agora
A church near the Amalia Hotel, 1962
Temple of Olympian Zeus, 1962

Dad, Hadrian's Arch and the Acropolis, 1962

Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Acropolis

Lots of turtles in Greece

Archeology on most any sidewalk in Athens