strange places

“June” by Theodor Kittelsen
“June” by Theodor Kittelsen

When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory. Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. It is not the previously known. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.
~ Alan Alda
(Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself)

forces of life consciousness

windsofthewillow
image source: Winds of the Willow

Not too long ago thousands spent their lives as recluses to find spiritual vision in the solitude of nature. Modern man need not become a hermit to achieve this goal, for it is neither ecstasy nor world-estranged mysticism his era demands, but a balance between quantitative and qualitative reality. Modern man, with his reduced capacity for intuitive perception, is unlikely to benefit from the contemplative life of a hermit in the wilderness. But what he can do is to give undivided attention, at times, to a natural phenomenon, observing it in detail, and recalling all the scientific facts about it he may remember. Gradually, however, he must silence his thoughts and, for moments at least, forget all his personal cares and desires, until nothing remains in his soul but awe for the miracle before him. Such efforts are like journeys beyond the boundaries of narrow self-love and, although the process of intuitive awakening is laborious and slow, its rewards are noticeable from the very first. If pursued through the course of years, something will begin to stir in the human soul, a sense of kinship with the forces of life consciousness which rule the world of plants and animals, and with the powers which determine the laws of matter. While analytical intellect may well be called the most precious fruit of the Modern Age, it must not be allowed to rule supreme in matters of cognition. If science is to bring happiness and real progress to the world, it needs the warmth of man’s heart just as much as the cold inquisitiveness of his brain.
~ Franz Winkler
(Man: The Bridge Between Two Worlds)

open pathway

1.2.10 ~ Groton, Connecticut
1.2.10 ~ Avery Point

When one soul meets another kindred soul, a great surge of energy rushes through the weaving of the universe as an important connection is made. In the unexplored regions of human consciousness, another light has come on, revealing shared territory. This is the work of dedicated souls on the spiritual path: their individual light illumines the universe for everyone, brings hope, and keeps open the pathway to understanding. This sacred trust is maintained by all who have consecrated their existence to spiritual wisdom; it is a kinship that runs like a golden chain from one age to another. That golden chain comes now into our hands, a sacred trust not only to our ancestors but to our descendants and every inhabitant of the universe. It is our turn to make the next link, trusting that others in turn will complete the circle until the whole cosmos is connected in one bond.
~ Caitlín Matthews
(The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year)

Two years ago on this day, Tim and I drove down to Avery Point to see the beauty of a recent snowfall by the water. I was trying to photograph the lighthouse, framed by a tree’s branches and the blanket of snow. After snapping the shot I looked on the view screen and gasped in surprise! While I had seen orbs in the photos of others before, and was curious about the phenomena, this was the first time orbs had appeared in one of my own photos! And there were so many of them!

As a person who has in the past often gotten myself into trouble by insisting on absolute answers to all questions, this marked one of the first times I was content to accept a gift of mystery and magic from the universe without demanding an explanation, satisfied to embrace not knowing. My intuition has some ideas but I’m not clinging to any particular theory, scientific or mystical.

If you have any orb pictures you’d like to share, please let me know. Perhaps I will post them here on my blog, or link to them on your blog. I have since had a few more pictures with orbs in them, though none as spectacular as this first one!

a sacred gift

"Einstein’s Vision" supercomputer image by NASA
“Einstein’s Vision” supercomputer image by NASA

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
~ Albert Einstein
(The G.O.D. Experiments: How Science Is Discovering God in Everything)

The metaphoric mind includes rationality, linearity, and logic – for it created them. But like some children, the rational mind often seems embarrassed by the presence of its parents.
~ Bob Samples
(The Metaphoric Mind: A Celebration of Creative Consciousness)

embracing mystery

“Sewing” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
“Sewing” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Some adopt a rigid system that answers all possible questions and so you don’t have to think beyond its systems. The other response is much more seemingly fragile but much more expansive, because it doesn’t lay down a rigid framework. It allows you to move within the mystery of it. And that seems to be flowering right now. I think people are more and more interested in embracing that because they’ve been through everything else. It is a willingness to embrace mystery, a willingness to embrace not knowing, allowing that intuitive awareness to speak.
~ Paul John Roach
(The Translucent Revolution)

There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine
~ Emily Saliers
♫ (Closer to Fine) ♫

Any knowledge that doesn’t lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life.
~ Wislawa Szymborska
(Poems New & Collected)

unity in diversity

"John Burroughs" by Edward B. Greene
“John Burroughs” by Edward B. Greene

Science tends more and more to reveal to us the unity that underlies the diversity of nature. We must have diversity in our practical lives; we must seize Nature by many handles. But our intellectual lives demand unity, demand simplicity amid all this complexity. Our religious lives demand the same. Amid all the diversity of creeds and sects we are coming more and more to see that religion is one, that verbal differences and ceremonies are unimportant, and that the fundamental agreements are alone significant. Religion as a key or passport to some other world has had its day; as a mere set of statements or dogmas about the Infinite mystery it has had its day. Science makes us more and more at home in this world, and is coming more and more, to the intuitional mind, to have a religious value. Science kills credulity and superstition but to the well-balanced mind it enhances the feeling of wonder, of veneration, and of kinship which we feel in the presence of the marvelous universe. It quiets our fears and apprehensions, it pours oil upon the troubled waters of our lives, and reconciles us to the world as it is.
~ John Burroughs
(Accepting the Universe)

wars laid away in books

“Sailboats in Pourville” by Anna Bilińska-Bohdanowicz

Adrift! A little boat adrift!
And night is coming down!
Will no one guide a little boat
Unto the nearest town?

So sailors say — on yesterday —
Just as the dusk was brown
One little boat gave up its strife
And gurgled down and down

So angels say — on yesterday —
Just as the dawn was red
One little boat — o’erspent with gales —
Retrimmed its masts — redecked its sails —
And shot — exultant on!

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #6)

Now that I have a Kindle and can read for hours on end without bothering my eyes, I have delved into a huge comprehensive biography of the life of Emily Dickinson, My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson. The above poem struck a chord with me.

What I’ve been learning is that Emily grappled with an exhausting spiritual struggle during her childhood and young adulthood. One by one more and more of her family members and friends experienced evangelical conversions each time a revival made its way to her mother’s church in Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily was never moved to convert, winding up a solitary holdout, and I suspect it was the hypocrisy and inconsistencies in the dogma as presented by her teachers and ministers that never sat well with her.

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church —
I keep it, staying at Home —
With a Bobolink for a Chorister —
And an Orchard, for a Dome —
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #236)

Emily found spiritual fulfillment and ecstasy in nature. I think it can be found in the creative arts, too, and in healing. I will read on, as I just got to the “Adrift!” poem yesterday, but my feeling is that once she made peace with this realization, she was able re-trim her masts, re-deck her sails, and get on with her true vocation, her poetry, her spiritual expression, her own way of worshiping.

As a child my intuition rebelled against my father’s atheism. The first chance I got I latched on to a religion with just as much oppressive dogmatism as the scientific atheism from which I was trying to escape. But while ‘gurgling down’ in my spiritual struggle, it slowly dawned on me that religion and science are simply different ways of trying to make sense of and explain the world and the universe. The assumptions of both can be terribly flawed and misguided. Organized religion and organized science can both be dogmatic and self-righteous. People who worship science, in my opinion, give up their own experience of the divine to the men in lab coats, our modern-day priests. Ideally there is a balance between Logic and Wonder, however.

When I started reading Emerson and Dickinson I found myself home at last with the ideas of transcendentalists:

The transcendentalists felt the presence of God in their intuition, but they advised that intuition should be guided by reason, and not follow its own course unaided. They discerned that God speaks directly to the self within us. They stressed the value and importance of personal mystical experience over beliefs, doctrines, rituals, and institutions. All their insights derived from their inner life. Their movement was a reaffirmation of the inner way of introversion or interiority.
~ Wayne Teasdale
(The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions)

How I admire Emily for holding on to her inner life!

a long cold winter walk

It was 4°F when I got up this morning. A year ago in January it wasn’t this cold when we had visitors for a weekend, Tim’s youngest cousin and her three children. Allegra is 18 years younger than Tim, who is the oldest in that group of cousins. (The span between the oldest – Nate – and the youngest – Lizzie – second cousins is even greater – 30 years! But they are not part of this particular story.) I hadn’t started By the Sea yet, so I’m remembering this wonderful day here now.

So… on one day of the visit we decided that taking a long cold walk at Bluff Point would be an invigorating way to release some pent-up energy…

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Bluff Point ~ January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Bluff Point is a 1½ mile long peninsula here in Groton which juts out into Long Island Sound. It is part Connecticut State Park and part Coastal Reserve. The trails meander through the woods and open areas and finally lead to the bluff. The main trail is a four mile loop.

Winter is an etching…
~ Stanley Horowitz

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

The Poquonnock River (above) is on the west side of the peninsula, and on this day we followed the river. Cold as it was there were lots of people out and about, walking dogs, riding horses, and jogging, as well as walking like we were.

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

The winter sun is striking… Families who come outdoors find some satisfaction for the hunger to connect with nature and with each other, in any season.

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

A glimpse of a beach in the distance helps to encourage us forward, in spite of very rosy cheeks!

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We didn’t make it to the bluff because we took a detour to Bluff Point Beach, which faces the sound and stretches into a barrier between the sound and the river, Bushy Point Beach. The Great Hurricane of 1938 (aka the Great New England Hurricane) washed away more than a hundred cottages here, which were never rebuilt. (Mother Nature doesn’t have to tell the typical New Englander twice when rebuilding would be a bad idea!) The storm surge also breached Bushy Point Beach which created an island at its western end.

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We endured the wind a little while to explore the beach, and Allegra found a whelk egg case.

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We were so cold by then that we decided to retrace our steps back to the car. So in the end we walked almost four miles, according to the pedometers. We came home to a round or two of hot cocoa…

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Blake, Ariana and Clarice ~ Bluff Point State Park ~ January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Maybe our family will come see us again in a different season, and perhaps then we’ll make it to the bluff – we were so close! – and finish the loop on the other, eastern side of the peninsula!

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Each of our lives is a path. To know this requires intuition and trust. If we are true to the steps we take, the travel makes sense and the journey confirms itself.
~ Lin Jensen

intuition

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Image: Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday I made sure I was on hand to watch (on TV) the inauguration of Connecticut’s 88th governor, Dannel Malloy. Back in October Tim & I had the surprise and pleasure of meeting him when he approached our table as we were eating lunch out in Pomfret. The brief meeting made a favorable impression on me, not so much because of what he said, which I honestly don’t remember, but because of his down-to-earth demeanor, his energy, and that he was out on his own without reporters or TV cameras following and chronicling his every move. (Meeting a Politician)  I rely a lot on gut feelings, intuition.

So… Part of the ceremony yesterday was a reciting of a poem entitled Intuition, written and read by Connecticut State Poet Laureate Dick Allen. As an introduction Allen said:

A new governor, as he takes on his new tasks, will use reason and careful planning. But he will also use daring and instinct. And sometimes, he will need to call upon intuition to govern his people well. This is a small poem called just that, Intuition, an adaptation.

I found a copy of the original poem and tried to adjust the words to the adaptation by listening to a recording of the poet’s reading. Not sure where some of the new lines begin and end, but hopefully the gist of it is here:

Intuition
(An adaptation dedicated to Governor Malloy)

It’s not in your face. It says in quiet tones,
“I will help you.”
It drives an ordinary car on ordinary roads
into the flames

no one else will see for many years. It listens
like a young man in love,
so far down inside a happiness
it moves pebbles and stones.

One evening it read Wallace Stevens and gazed
on Hartford in a purple light,
then talked with the thin men of Haddam,
of the blackbird walking around them.

It wears its sleeves turned up above the elbows,
blinks in spotlights,
jogs for miles on Connecticut shorelines,
delivers messages that glow

faintly as a low-turned halogen
lamp in the corner of a poet’s bedroom. It
considers deeply as a governor
but without anxiety. It has

surveyed what it needs to know of farms and stars
and dismissed the rest. “I will help you,”
it whispers in the hallways of power,
“I will help you, I will lift you up.”

~ Dick Allen

It was as I was hearing this read it confirmed what my intuition has told me the past couple of months, that our new governor is intuitively aware, humble, and for that I am grateful and full of hope.