The Polishing Zone

After a three month dry spell due to writers block, I am resurfacing. Spring is sprouting in Western New York; I am fully vaccinated; the semester’s online teaching is winding down; and I find a story in me that I wish to share.

I walk with my beloved dog Sophie nearly every day. In our new location after returning to my high-school home town, I have been mystified by an oddity I see every time we walk in our local neighborhood. There are these marble-sized, little white balls that at first seemed to line the streets but that I have also found more than twelve of in my backyard and at a nearby park. I thought at first they were salt balls for winter weather, but no, they are ceramic.

Partly as a way to meet my neighbors, I have been carrying one of these little white marbles in my pocket and I ask people I encounter if they know what it is. Most folks are surprised to learn of them and they have no idea why they are there. Finally last week while doing some yard work, I asked an elderly neighbor working in his adjacent yard behind mine. He has been in the neighborhood for over fifty years.

“They are polishing stones from a grinding mill,” said Joe, matter-of-factly.

Joe said there was a man who had worked at a grinding mill that closed down. He brought home a large bag of these ‘polishing balls’ used in the mill, and he scattered them in his front yard as a lawn decoration.

Aha! Polishing stones from a grinding mill. But then, I wondered further, why are they strewn across at least a six to eight square blocks distance from the original home (I know where that epicenter is now as just two days ago I saw a hundred or more at one corner house in the block next to mine). Joe did not know, saying only, “maybe he put them there” (in other neighbors’ yards).

My landlady Jennifer had a good suggestion:

“Maybe squirrels play with them.”

Squirrel, Animal, Cute, Rodents

That is as close to a plausible explanation as I can figure. Maybe indeed the abundant population of neighborhood squirrels have picked these up over the years from the original yard, thinking they might be edible nuts to store, then leaving them off in other yards when they realized these were nuts that could not be cracked open! Still, that does not account for why so many of them line the roadways, often very regularly spaced or so it seems, as well as peppering the local yards. So I will keep asking; maybe some longtime resident will be able to fill in more of the story.

But now I consider these little white balls as waking dream messages from Spirit, for:

“The mill of God grinds slowly,

but it grinds exceedingly well.”

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I live in a neighborhood with lawns strewn with polishing stones from a grinding mill. I live in a Polishing Zone!

This rings true for the stage of life I am in, on so many levels. I cannot speak for my neighbors (in this same zone as we are together), but polishing is a welcome metaphor for what I am to be doing here.

I have taken a long, arduous journey across the proverbial (I-Ching) Great Waters and back Home again. It is time for me to polish up with the lessons I have gained along the Way.

Rakotz bridge (Rakotzbrucke) also known as Devil's Bridge in Kromlau, Germany. Reflection of the bridge in the water create a full circle. Rakotz bridge (Rakotzbrucke) also known as Devil's Bridge in Kromlau, Germany. Reflection of the bridge in the water create a full circle. across the great waters stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

It is funny how recently, as soon as I gleaned that my purpose here is in part that of polishing up my act, that I have started writing again. I am back to earnestly editing (polishing, indeed) my manuscript sequel to my first self-help volume (Your Life Path). I also am back here, writing a blog post after three long months of wondering whether I would ever write again.

Krasnal, City, Walkway, The Market, Gray
images are gratefully from pixabay.com

Polishing, polishing; editing with a new, more determined and positive energy after over a year of private pandemic reclusiveness. Re-emerging with a hopeful sense of purpose. I was almost ready to walk away from this sort of expressive writing altogether. Writing is supposed to reach out, to connect, to communicate with readers; it is not meant for just passing time or ‘contemplating my navel’.

So I aim to focus better on writing and connecting in this Polishing Zone. Spring is sprouting in Western New York; I am vaccinated; the River of Life flows onward again, and with love and gratitude, so do I.

What’s the Point?

The other day I was driving about in my new yet familiar hometown to which I have recently returned to live, and I passed by a small stone church. The name displayed on a sign in front of the church took me by surprise. The ministry is called “What’s the Point?” I looked it up online and that is indeed the name of this local church. It focusses on doing things of service to help those in need, I presume regarding getting people together to give such good samaritan sorts of service as “the point.”

I have been mulling over the broader question of ‘what’s the point’ ever since seeing this church placard. It strikes me as a waking dream sort of riddle. For what indeed, after all is said and done, is the point of it all: of life or exeistence itself; of love, of service, of relationships or places and things; of getting up every morning or to sleep and dream at night, loved ones beside one, or alone?

I used to think I had this question squarely boxed in. What’s the point? Love. Service. Fulfilling responsibilities, or even just experiencing Beingness itself as It Just Is. But in times of a global pandemic and social unrest, the point lately has seemed to shift more to being about just doing the best we can, day after day, to stay in good health and help our loved ones or anyone we might encounter also to be as safe as possible and as sheltered from the fray as can be.

I guess there’s a bit of a Maslovian imperative at work: the basic needs of physical and social survival are taking center stage for the general collective. So for now, the point does seem to be about staying safe and helping others be safe. And maybe that is a very excellent point, even a strong spiritual focus, for now, since that’s where we are at. HOW we stay safe and help others be safe or supported is perhaps where lies the underlying opportunities of this Moment. Exercising caution, expressing concerns, being resourceful, sharing goods and services for the benefit of our families and communities is life affirming, after all. We develop and distribute the Life Force through these times of unusual requirements for fortitude and balance, self-discipline and gratitude for all good things given and received with unconditional love. We are growing, perhaps, through all of this giving, through mindful concern for the welfare of all. Is this then at least a point worth embracing?

Maybe not everyone is in the same boat but that’s okay. Many are suffering, from want or need or from contracting a potentially deadly illness from which they truly might not survive. Many are scared, others are angry and acting out from fear or loathing. That’s not where I am at or where we are at as a whole, I believe.

For there’s a little church in my home town named “What’s the Point” which shows that many are still looking to answer the fundamental riddles of life and to help their loved ones or neighbors in what ways they can. So there is something worth sharing through all of this; whatever happens to each or to all, we are in this together–and apart–in ways both old and newly emerging. Despite the divisions among us, we are One.

images are from pixabay.com

Stranger than Fiction?

Are we in a collective, shared and co-created fantasy we call Reality?  Actually there are contemporary physicists who have argued our apparent physical, three-dimensional reality is a holographic projection from the event horizon of a black (or, white) hole. I know, that is mind-stretching to the point we cannot comprehend with our pithy human brains just what that means. But as we deal with a global pandemic and racial rage and mob violence in our streets, our collective story right now does seem to have become rather fantastical.

Panicked woman wearing a face mask against covid-19, she is scared and stressed

Lately I have been watching (and am recording as I write) the film Stranger Than Fiction. I have blogged about it before. The story is about Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) as a tax auditor who comes to realize he is a character in a narrated story about his life, being narrated by an author with writer’s block (Emma Thompson) who always kills her protagonists. A literary professor (Dustin Hoffman) asks Harold to try to figure out if his life story is a comedy or tragic.

The matrix of this movie script leads me to ask what is my own life about and on a bigger canvas, yours; all our lives?

If we look at our current chapter or act or scene as scripted, what is the narrative purpose of the pandemic, the character motivations of the patients and politicians, the doctors and scientists, and people either staying home, risking all to go to work and provide care and service, activists and anarchists, and our neighbors whom we hardly get to see any more? Since not as much as a word is ever wasted in good writing, why is all this occurring, how might it end or develop as a plotline, and what lessons might we all gain if this is—as I expect that it is—composed as a transformational story?

To scale down such a wild hair set of questions born no doubt of my own self-sheltering thought formations, what am I/ are you learning through the challenges and ordeals we are facing?

I am learning to pay greater attention to my dreams and inner guidance.  In fact this ‘time out’ has brought me to a revolutionary, transformative quantum leap moment for turning a page of my own life’s tale: I intend to make yet another Big Move by December or January. Quite to the honoring of epic mythic structure, I am going Home—moving back to the one and only true hometown I have known in this life—where I attended high school and worked for early college summers. Now two hours from my current location, I am feeling inwardly, deeply called to return to my hometown community, at least for awhile.

Maybe my character is seeking an anchor in these decidedly unmoored times. Even though only one of my high school friends—my best high school friend, in fact—is still there, the place itself, a village that is generally a quiet, sleeper community until it becomes an artistic and musical resort town over the summers due to its dynamic performing arts center, is Herself a familiar friend I have always kept tethered to in my heart, a hearth-stone to all of my travels.

images are gratefully from pixabay.com

What about you?  What momentous or meaningful ideas are occurring that could help propel you in your character arc to enact transformational growth or change?  With the time you have for deep reflection—or from the stress you are facing—what fantastical leaps of faith might you be preparing to embark upon?

This is a meaningful passage, ripe for epiphanies.  As such, I am grateful for the gifts that it brings. It is not so much what happens in the world but how we respond to what happens that matters most in our own life story; in this way we are the authors and editors; rather than being merely acted upon, we are agents of self-change.

Just Love

I have had a blog post written on the monthly theme of Listening Closely to Others for over a week, but the magnitude and scope of the global pandemic we are all dealing with makes any words I have to say seem weak and vain. So I am postponing regular themes. Today I just want to write from the heart.

At night before trying to get to sleep in these trying times, I have been sending light and love to the earth and all its beings. I visualize sending love and light from the center of my consciousness that then joins with billions of other souls, both embodied and from higher planes, also sending light and love, like 360 degree waves or globes expanding, intermixing and merging to blanket the entire globe in a golden sea of light, love and purity.

It is important I feel when I participate in this global light and love not to try to direct that love in any way. It is not a prayer or petition; it is not asking for anything to occur, just sending light and love and being detached, releasing that love to the whole.  This detachment is necessary to allow the outpouring of love to be humble and pure.

images are from pixabay.com

So if you wish, Just Love.

For the Good of the Whole

 

What times we have found ourselves mucking around in these days! A global pandemic such as we have not encountered, certainly in America anyway, since the 1918-21 flu epidemic.  As this year’s theme for this blog site is about “Building Bridges,” I feel it is worth noting that underneath the terrible situation we are still trying to get a handle on collectively as well as individually for ourselves and our families, there are some potentially positive undercurrents.

When faced with a common fear or enemy, there can be a unification of otherwise factionalized groups.  We can put aside our differences and come together to share our insights and our resources, our best practices and our compassion, for the Good of the Whole.

May it be so!

I am finding my neighbors are reaching out to each other, checking in on each other to see what may be needed. Spiritual classes that cannot meet at a center or church are starting to occur by phone conference calls or by Skype or Facetime or Teams.  We have ample online resources now so that we can stay connected.  I have found I can order needed supplies and groceries via Instacart for a small fee; they will deliver to your door. Thank heaven for such services and that there are still goods and groceries available.

images are, gratefully, from pixabay.com

We are facing a common dilemma, together.  Hence we are already building bridges and sharing smiles (6 ft. apart!) as we go.  These are difficult times and many are facing peril.  Every single individual matters.  Hopefully we can lessen the dangers as far as possible, so long as we continue to serve the Good of the Whole.