Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The useful within

Morning Prayer

In the face of obstacle, let me be thankful.

In the face of self-doubt, let me resolved to see past the trauma. Let me inhabit a space that is kind and that is clever.

Let me seek my sense of curiosity and simple problem-solving abilities.

Let me treat those around me as previous beings who are doing their best.

Let me establish boundaries and mechanisms that support my well being.

Let me acknowledge my extreme commitment and appreciate my resolve and ability to show up, day after day, week after week, year after year.

Let me appreciate that I am a wonder and seek every opportunity to nurture the inner child and protect her from the trespass that she experiences and recreates every day.

Let me understand that I truly make my own reality and that I am whole, totally loved and substantially enough.

This I pray.  This I embody.

This garden onion had begun to decay.

I trimmed the decaying part off.

And chopped what was left.  It was perfectly good
The lesson: keep honing down, find the useful within

Monday, October 16, 2017

Morning Prayer

This morning's prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Help me, Lord to serve the mission of The River Reporter, which is facilitating dialog, and enhancing and supporting community.
Help me to instigate what needs to be done in order to rebuild this business.
Help me to manage my stress and anxiety in healthy ways.
Bolster my spirit and resolve.

May it be so.

* * *
Butternut squash, at night.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

First day back

I begin again.

Today was, in my mind, my first day back at The River Reporter, as its publisher.

My friends have been ribbing me all month when I told them that I wasn't starting work until September 5.  I had in my mind this idea that I would spend July and August preparing everything that I needed to start fresh, at a job where I will celebrate my 40th year in February.

Yeah, right!

But it's true.  Today was my first day back on the job -- after spending 11 years getting credentialed as a UU Minister.  That preparation, that ministerial formation, I did so that my work would be rooted in meaning.

It's a noble and extremely credible idea that newspapers can support a community in a way that no other entity can.

So, getting back to my friends, it isn't that I haven't been working this summer.  I know.

I have been in and out of the office. I've been observing.  I've been present at community events, giving awards for Sullivan Renaissance, participating in Workforce Development summer program explanations, talking with public health service personnel about what they need, about how a community newspaper organization can help get the word out on addiction. (How it affects everybody -- not just those that we think of -- those lazy bastards -- as addicts.  Yeah, and your grandmother is addicted because physicians have been managing pain these days with opioids. So, truly, the addict is not who you think they are.)

What I tried to do is ease in.  To get the lay of the land.  To somehow finesse how the heck I am going to navigate what I think needs to be done.  It's a  huge undertaking to attempt to turn around a fledgling and always financially struggling newspaper entity at this moment when newspapers are having very difficult times.

In one sense, my 40 years that I have worked in this business makes me a bit blase about the changing landscape.  The newspaper I manage has never had enough money for much of anything. What we have always had is a sense of drive.  A sense of knowing what we are doing and a sense of going about doing it.

We, me, the paper, have always struggled for sustainability.

And we've been fortunate.  We have always had an owner who was willing to invest.  Who was willing to look at what it is that the paper provides and understand that someone, in fact, a lot of someones, has to invest in it.

And that is what I have done.  Always.  For better or for worse, I have invested my life.

And I'm happy for it.  Really.

I went to seminary to become more articulate about why I put myself through this turmoil.

And I, perhaps, more than anyone, look forward to that articulation.

But mostly,  I look forward to somehow providing a populace with information and knowledge, in a package they appreciate and support financially.

This at the end of my first day back.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Heading out

I take a shower this morning. It is the last shower that I will take until I return on Friday afternoon.

I learn more about vision quest. It is a ceremony. It is crossing a threshold from where you are to where you will be. It is an intentional exploration and rite of passage to cleanse, to let go, to begin again.

This morning I am a bit anxious. And I welcome whatever experience comes.

Today we will establish a base camp. We will tarp the car so that it is protected from the blazing sun. We will go and find our fasting spots and establish a sone pile. Each day we will leave signs that all is well.

I wear a whistle that I will blow in three long blows if I am in trouble. Physically all seems relatively safe.

I have set my intention statement and I trust it will keep me focused.

I am thankful for all that has brought me here.

Your love bolsters me and I send you my blessings and love.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

First morning

I have arrived at M's house.  The travel was easy. There was a bit of a tight transfer in Denver and I walked briskly from Gate 21 to 93. Upon arrival at the gate the attendant asked me where I had come from. Gate 21, Newark.

"I wondered whether you folks might make it, you did well,"

I sat on the plane for about 15 minutes and at one point heard the cargo door open.  "My luggage," I thought.

And yep, there were a few anxious moments in Albuquerque, but there it was.  I was in New Mexico with all of my belongings.

It was 100 degrees there.  Arriving on the outskirts of Santa Fe, it was much cooler and there was a wind.  This morning I write from the back deck and I have my overalls and a fleece on.

I take some supplements to help with the altitude change. I'm at 7000 feet.

Today we will gather the gear together and prepare to go to the mountain tomorrow.

It has been a long time since I packed for an outdoor trip and I am remembering my days as a YMCA camp counselor.  I do feel like I am returning to my roots, which is a good thing as that is what I am after.

This morning while waking up, my mind was in a reflective space.  Am I really going to review my whole life in the week ahead?  There's a part of me that cringes with that thought.  There are truly some parts that I'm not sure that I do want to remember.

I remind myself that with this reflection there will be clarity and there will be grieving and, hopefully releasing.

In this moment I am thinking that it is enough to feel and not draw conclusions for those feelings.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Getting Ready

 It feels like I'm ready for the weather.  Rainsuit.
 Over hooded fleece.
 Rainpants are okay over overalls.
Think that long johns will be fine under the overalls.

Need to find hat and gloves.  Assemble other things.  Journals.  Paints. Notebook.  Book.

Got parking reservations, e-ticket and printed, and arrangement for shuttle on the other side.

(Went to doctor today, eyes have troubles above 16,000 feet.  Good thing I'm only going 7500.)

I found a sunhat that I really like and I bought a insect screen to go over.  (I really do dislike bugs in my face.)

Getting ready to go on a vision quest.  Crazy.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Vision Quest

This time next week, I'll be one day into a four-day vision quest.  On a mesa at 7500 feet outside of Sante Fe, I will be hanging out.  Drinking water.  Journaliing, maybe.  Drawing, maybe.  Reading, maybe.  Becoming clear, hopefully.  Affirming a path forward, absolutely.

It makes me smile.  It feels like my old camp days.  On my own, a campsite, a simple life, a divine connection.

I need to concentrate, however, on some details.  Am I driving my car to the airport?  Have I arranged the shuttle from the Albuquerque to Sante Fe?  When am I'm going to "Alice's," our amazing outdoor sports store in Greeley, PA (go ahead, take a look how far off the beaten track that is!).  I need a rain suit.

I talk with M. about the details of the quest.

"What about animals?" I ask.  "Largest you'll probably see in a chipmunk.  Everything larger is up higher, where it is cooler and there is water."

"Great," I think to myself.  "What about bugs?"


"No. no gnats either.  Maybe black flies, and maybe deer flies.  I make peace with them when I arrive, and tell them this is my space."

"Does it work?" I asked.

"Sometimes," he said.  "And sometimes you have to become aggressive and go after them.  "Die, you bug, die!"

I moved on.  Reptiles?

"Lizards mostly.  A few snakes."

I asked.

"Some rattlers although they don't like people.  In all my time there, I've never seen one."

So it's a tarp, a ground cloth, a sleeping pad, four gallons of water, four days on the mountain.

M. tells me that by the third day I will start to feel lighter, both in the mind, but also in the body as my body starts to consume its own fat for fuel.

It takes the pressure off of my constant recognition that I would like to get rid of any excess fat. Today, I pat my tummy and thank it for feeding me next week.

I'd delighted to be home -- now with my three-year 1/2 time transition ministry on Long Island has ended.  I find it unbelievable that I get to live in this gorgeous river valley and do exactly what I am going to do.

With clarity from the mountain, of course.