Wednesday, August 31, 2005

filling a bowl with water

Today is my day off, and waking early, I feel myself seeping full to overflowing (spilling now into this keyboard and then onto this page) thoughts and questions and things to do, filling any space opened during brief yoga and morning tea: remembering something I want to get for my husband for his birthday which is tomorrow, coordinating picking up and dropping off my sons who are getting together as often as possible with their friends in these last few days before school starts, getting together myself with friends I used to work with at the Bastyr clinic, for "high tea" at the ornate Victorian tea parlor. Planning for a practitioner meeting at my current clinic at lunchtime, and calling in supply orders and a CT scan order that I faxed last night that apparently didn't go through. Catching up on reading, evocative articles and essays , blog and listserv and forum posts, noticing I am not reading every word but skimming and buzzing through (hmm, am I even breathing while I read?). In the background, feeling live wires sizzling and waving and seeking to connect all the thoughts and questions.

And then sitting down with the newspaper and seeing New Orleans under water, a city nestled in a bowl filling with water. Sitting, then; my own small sense of over-brimming in perspective, now. Sending blessings, and money (I like the American Red Cross). More blessings.

Lots of blogging people are gathering resources and connecting and organizing information to help in a variety of ways (these links thanks to Nancy White).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

sacred advertisements and dionysian manifestos

A couple of random selections from my current favorite book, Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, by rock-star-astrologer "aspiring master of curiosity, sacred janitor and macho feminist" Rob Brezsny and the Beauty and Truth Laboratory:
"HYPOTHESES: Evil is boring. Cynicism is idiotic. Fear is a bad habit. Despair is lazy. Joy is fascinating. Love is an act of heroic genius. Pleasure is our birthright. Receptivity is a superpower."

"Dear Gorgeous Genius

While you and I are together here:
Your favorite phrase is flux gusto
The colors of your soul are sable vermilion, ivory and jade

Your magic talisman is a thousand-year-old Joshua tree whose flowers blossom
just one night each year and can only be pollinated by the yucca moth
Your holiest pain comes from your yearning to change yourself in the exact way
you'd like the world around you to change
Your soil of destiny is peat moss
Your mythic symbol is a treasure chest dislodged from its hiding place
in the earth by a flood
Your lucky number is 13 to the 13th power
Your sweet spot is in between the true believers and the scoffing skeptics
A clutch of frog eggs from an unpolluted river is your auspicious hair-care product
The anonymous celebrity with whom you have most in common is the jester
who followed Buddha around and kept him loose
The question that perks you up when your routine becomes too rote is this:
What possesses the bar-tailed godwit to migrate annually from Alaska to New Zealand
by hitching rides on gale-force winds?"

Lots more, of all kinds, here.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Saturday, August 13, 2005

global voices

From one of the originators of the very rich, illuminating, mind & heart-expanding Global Voices, which posts blog entries and photos drawn from dozens and dozens of blogs all over the world in order to "diversify the conversation taking place online by involving speakers from around the world, and developing tools, institutions and relationships to help make those voices heard":
...I come out of my day's worth of research with a sense that Global Voices is working, in a deep, profound way. Two of our major goals when we started the project this past December: create a space for global conversation, and have an influence on the existing blogosphere, ensuring that blogs aren't just about US politics and technology. That blogs from 35+ countries and almost a dozen languages are pointing to us suggests that we're starting to create a global space; that Blogpulse thinks we're one of 200 of the most cited blogs suggests that we're starting to have that influence on the blogosphere. It's not unreasonable to image that we might be one of the hundred most cited blogs by the end of 2005, a goal that would probably have a truly transformative effect on the blogosphere as a whole.

Thanks to everyone who's linked to, read or been influenced by the links Global Voices has posted over the past six months. Please keep tuning in. We really do intend to change the world of blogging to make it more global, more interconnected and more diverse... and so far, we're doing it. --Ethan Zuckerman

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

sufi rock stars

In the latest issue of What Is Enlightenment? magazine there is a short article about a hugely popular Indian-Pakistani-American rock band, Junoon, and one of their guitarists, Salman Ahmad. Ahmad was "the rock star" in a BBC documentary program called The Rock Star and The Mullahs, filmed in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, where public music has been banned and musicians harassed. A Sufi Muslim, Ahmad's question to the radically fundamentalist clerics: "Where in Islam does it say that music is forbidden?"

Here you can listen to some of Junoon's songs
(I especially like "Taara Jala" and "Ghoom Taana") and hear why they were called "the U2 of Asia" by the NY Times.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

knots of silk

This time of the summer is always teeny tiny spider time in my yard. Sometimes we find them in the house and toss them back outside.

Teeny spiders make me think of this breathtaking passage from David Abrams'
The Spell of the Sensuous, as he describes being in a lushly mossy little cave, refuge from a tropical torrential downpour in a valley in Bali:

"Soon I was looking into a solid curtain of water, thin in some places, where the canyon's image flickered unsteadily, and thickly rushing in others. My senses were all but overcome by the wild beauty of the cascade and by the roar of sound, my body trembling inwardly at the weird sense of being sealed into my hiding place.

And then, in the midst of all this tumult, I noticed a small, delicate activity. Just in front of me, and only an inch or two to my side of the torrent, a spider was climbing a thin thread stretched across the mouth of the cave. As I watched, it anchored another thread to the top of the opening, then slipped back along the first thread and joined the two at a point about midway between the roof and the floor. I lost sight of the spider then, and for a while it seemed that it had vanished, thread and all, until my focus rediscovered it...Whenever I lost the correct focus, I waited to catch sight of the spinning arachnid, and then let its dancing form gradually draw each new knot of silk as it moved, weaving my gaze into the ever-deepening pattern.

And then, abruptly, my vision snagged on a strange incongruity: another thread slanted across the web, neither radiating nor spiraling from the central juncture, violating the symmetry. As I followed it with my eyes, pondering its purpose in the overall pattern, I began to realize that it was on a different plane from the rest of the web, for the web slipped out of focus whenever this new line became clearer. I soon saw that it led to its own center, about twelve inches to the right of the first, another nexus of forces from which several threads stretched to the floor and ceiling. And then I saw that there was a different spider spinning this web...The two spiders spun independently of each other, but to my eyes they wove a single intersecting pattern. This widening of my gaze soon disclosed yet another spider spiraling in the cave's mouth, a
nd suddenly I realized that there were many overlapping webs coming into being, radiating out at different rhythms from myriad centers poised--some higher, some lower, some minutely closer to my eyes and some farther--between the stone above and the stone below.

I sat stunned and mesmerized before this ever-complexifying expanse of living patterns upon patterns..."

This is the image that came to my mind also when Dan Leahy and I chatted recently about all the professional + personal networks of conversation and practice and collaboration and collective exploration that we know about or are involved with, and how we might imagine them visually or map them. Of the several models that we have played with--geodesic dome with glowing nodes, living cells in organic or organismic relationship, a fluid territorial map where any two or more spots can be become instantly contiguous, and others--I am drawn to Abrams' powerfully-related experience of the spider world, to see it as a metaphor for all of the many kinds of world-soul restoration work that's being done everywhere I look. I love the sense of incredibly complex beauty and order that arose from the independent spinning of each individual spider, overlapping (and intersecting?), each web originating from its own center and radiating outwards. I enjoy my own anthropomorphic interpretation, as an aspiring web-spinner, that we can relax into trust, and rely on each other to come from our own centers to create an inevitably perfect and "ever-complexifying expanse of living patterns..."

Monday, August 08, 2005

good birthday poem

Another from the wonderful Panhala listserv, poetry matched with photos of nature and a music clip:

There is No Going Back

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over the grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.

Wendell Berry
A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1993, I

Sunday, August 07, 2005

angel jazz

My friend Brad took me to Dimitriou's Jazz Alley to hear the genius liquid-angel-jazz guitar playing of Stanley Jordan. Stanley uses an old and still relatively unusual technique called "touch" or "tapping," his hands on the neck of the guitar the whole time, touching the guitar strings with his fingers flat, so that his dynamics are as agile and intricate as they could be on a keyboard. His beautiful and lush arrangements incorporated separate melodic lines for right and left hands, making music that sounded like it was being created by two, or three, virtuoso guitarists. Along with his own jazz compositions, he also played pieces by Mozart, Debussy, Beethoven, as well as amazing renditions of O Holy Night, and Hava Nagila! His CD "Ragas", which includes musicians on sitar and tablas, playing Indian classical music--improvised within a form, just as jazz is--is gorgeous.