Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Fading of Friendship

Luna and Terra, A Friendship Ever More Distant (+4 cm/yr and counting)
Even the best of friendships can become distant...slowly, sadly, silently...and in many cases incompletely.

A topic doesn't get more melancholy than the slipping away of a once wonderful friendship. Alas, part of living life fully is taking a soulful look at the sorrowful transitions in life including the erosion of our most joyful of connections.

The gaining of a friend itself is a most mysterious thing that calls for a separate contemplation. Nevertheless, once you have a true friend in your life, it glows with a unique goodness. Imbued with a blend of mutual respect, conversation, and adventure, nothing is quite as life-affirming as two people who earnestly want to hang out with each other.

And yet lives change, priorities shift, and occasionally mortality steps in. On the surface the friendship may end abruptly, but minds can be much more subtle in getting to closure. Few things are as subtly painful as remembered joy that is no longer there. It is in these moments of loneliness that resilience of self can pay off, whether we find joy in doing things by ourselves or reaching out to others in our friendship circle.

The fading of a friendship can feel terrible, but it can also be the sign of new beginnings. A short melancholy period can allow the soil of the mind to refresh itself and become receptive to new seedling friendships. It can also serve as reminder that there are other, perhaps neglected, blooms in ones garden of friendships, among family members, colleagues, and even old friends who may have incompletely faded.

In the end it pays to delight in the friends that orbit your sphere today! Open your heart and mind to the variety of connections out there, for a crescent moon setting tonight is so very often followed by a rising sun.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Observation Thine

Sitting at my window I watch the background of trees, their leaves glistening. The maple tree to the northwest catches my attention. Each leaf is a dark green paw reaching out for sunlight to convert solar energy into food. In a mysterious sequence a dozen leaves among hundreds signal me. In rapid succession one by one each star-shaped form droops a couple inches, turns a darker shade of green, and then quickly returns to its starting position.

For a minute I imagine what message Gaia, spirit of the Earth, is sending me. Perhaps, a story of ancient natural forces forging the landscape over eons or a warning of environmental disaster coming my way that will permit me to save hundreds of lives. Ah, 'tis a magical moment to be sure.

Then I take a step back from my speculative fantasy and chuckle. The drops of rain that give all the greenery a glisten are of course being pulled by gravity earthward. Along its path the water's weight presses the leaves down momentarily. Gradually, the translucent liquid finds its way to the ground pooling on the grass and adjacent concrete patio. And then a fresh flourish of rain begins the pattern anew.

Our interaction with the world begins with our senses. How naturally we build stories to explain those observations. Tales of childhood magic compete with more practical science lessons. Fiction and fact, pure and simple? Arguably, both views bring insight yet both are incomplete.

Perhaps there is no need to discard either interpretation entirely, so long as we recognize where fantasy transitions to a more factual beginning. Indeed, the fiction might inspire the writing of a nature poem, or the misguided outcry that the world is ending. The factual might encourage one to plan a wild meadow or to grimly recall doldrums in an uninspiringly taught Biology 101.

Of course there are many reactions one might take after most any observation. Sadly, the observation act itself is an active experience we too often shrug off before moving on to something else more pressing or previously scheduled.

For a change, pause and consider closely your next glimpse, sniff, sensation x, y and z both together and separate. Meditate and contemplate, muse and synthesize, and without reservation, enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Defying the Certainty Principle

We are living in an era of global instability. Humanity is causing tremendous detrimental change to the planet we live on and yet as individuals and tribes we continue to pursue lives that feel positive to us in surprisingly isolated human communities, mostly in disregard to their greater effects to others.

Taking a step back to examine outcomes can be hard. Each of us as a nascent, global activist is involved in a constant onslaught of local experiences that can have impressive personal impact. To insulate ourselves from the complexity of these experiences we often turn to black and white principles aligned with faith and tradition rather than compassionate and critical examination of the moment.

Uncertainty is the zombie-mammoth bumbling about the room. And she's been around since humans developed knowledge sharing technology, or more simply described: language.

Uncertainty can scare our subconsciouses back into a cave where we seek guidance from outdated tales that seek to allay our fears with primitive conclusions of misplaced certainty. Often these tales are comprised of mythical magic and holy how-we-used-to-do's. Their intent is psychological, to help us forget the fears of uncertainty, or to confront them with wild abandon.

Alas, in modern times more than ever, we have a choice to deny gut responses and reactions from traditions. By taking the time to contemplate any impasse that allows it we, as individuals and communities, can leverage compassion and reason to change the world for the better.