Connection

I’ve been attending a Bible study group in Camarillo for a few months. Bishop Sammie, the facilitator – hearing that I have been working on a video series on Revelation – asked me to lead the study one night. I told him that I wanted to teach Genesis 1:1-3, sharing the scientist’s perspective that causes me to be so awed by God’s commitment to us.

So I did that last night, pulling in John 1:1 and Luke 10:27 and Genesis 2:7 to make the point that God yearned so much to see love expressed that He put three billion years into evolution until a creature arose that He could breath His love into.

That’s how important we are to him.

The group was really appreciative. At the close, Bishop Sammie asked us to each tell what we were going to take away from the study tonight, and I got to say:

I don’t know how long I’ve been study things in science that I thought no way no how would I ever be able to explain them to people. But tonight I was able to share that knowledge in a way that really spoke to people. I am so grateful.

A World, A Part

I’ve been combing my hair with a part on the left side since I was a little boy. Maybe I was just doing what my mother did.

I do perspire profusely, and in hot yoga my rug gets soaked. It’s particularly pronounced in the inverted postures, with all the sweat on my back running down my neck onto my pate. Lest it run down into my eyes, upon standing my habit is to squeegee it off my crown from left to right.

I realized last week that when I did, I was losing mental focus – becoming more emotional. That makes sense, in a way: the left side of the brain is analytical, the right intuitive. But with the realization came an image: the movement of energy from a male bastion to a female cluster, weakening the former.

So I decided to start parting my hair on the right side, just to be sure that I’m not favoring one side over another.

I wonder what consequences I’ll confront?

Abominable Candy Box

I don’t have very many dreams any more – by which I mean stream-of-consciousness random-association imagery. My dreams are normally “visions” – conversations with other personalities that have a purpose and coherent outcome.

So this one took me by surprise.

It’s the end of the world. You know – disasters happening everywhere, people cowering in fear, bizarre monsters running amok. I am floating over the world, trying to figure out how to help. A distant harbor beckons, and when I reach the shore, I see a huge Valentine’s candy box float up out of the ocean. Yes: it’s heart-shaped and says “I Love You” on top.

I hesitate a little, not quite sure what to expect. I mean, it could be Pandora’s box, right? But a little nudge compels me to take off the lid. Yup. It’s full of abominations: slime-covered worms and twisted millipedes and gaping jaws grasping eagerly for sustenance.

The voices of the crowd scream: “Kill them! Kill them all!” But my face twists in befuddlement.

No. No, these too are God’s creatures. We have to learn out how to love them.

B-duh, b-duh, b-duh, b-duh. Dat’s all Folks!

Again?!?

Jesus once said:

Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest.

I go many places, seeking to find a community that will recognize the opportunity that I represent. I’ve been in church meditating on the cross with my eyes closed, and when I open them the pastor said: “Every now and then the elders have to ask someone to stop coming to church, because they sexually harass everyone in the place.” At dance celebrations in five venues, people’s hearts have cried out for healing, and when I clear a space in which they can receive the love that is their right, organizers voice a similar complaint.

I try with the t-shirts. The one I dance in says “Danger: Angel gateways. Please play nicely. They just want to be friends.”

I used to put it this way: our society’s experience of masculine love is so impoverished that when people receive it, they go completely haywire. They have expectations, and project them onto the intentions of the lover. To me, it’s like being raped.

It is convention now to complain that the problems we face are due to “patriarchy,” but few recognize that the divine masculine is no more present in our culture than is the Divine Mother. That female spirituality has been driven out of the cultural limelight is actually an advantage in that regard: they practice their arts quietly in the background. But a man that dares to do the same is rejected and hounded.

Simpler forms of life have a certain clarity in that regard. Knowing that I seek nothing for myself, they flock around me. When a community gets it right, they press inwards, and then ask me to project the pattern outwards into the world. They want every fish, bird, animal, flower and tree to know what it feels like when people surrender their self-seeking and instead offer love. They want to know where it is safe to invest their strength, strength far beyond human strength, strength established from investiture in the earth over billions of years.

That is what I meant by “opportunity”: I am an amplifier pickup. Through that connection, people have the opportunity to make a serious dent in the problems we face. What most choose instead is to say “Go away.”

Little Creatures

As I progress through the video series at Love Returns, I’m having more and more trouble keeping myself anchored. Time and space, life and death, nature and design: it all winds together more thickly around my mind.

At Dance Tribe on Sunday, I felt disconnected, as though some part of me was missing from the experience – or something else was in control. Half-way through, I focused intently, and found myself thinking about the phytoplankton whose shells are dissolving. While higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide warm the air, causing the most immediate threat to human civilization, they also increase carbolic acid in the oceans. This is bleaching coral reefs and impeding the maturation of phytoplankton.

Phytoplankton are the base of the oceanic food chain, and the greatest source of the oxygen gas that we breathe to fuel our metabolism.

Their message was simple: “We can’t do it any more.”

I fell into a deep-rooted grief that built until I was concerned that it would disrupt the celebration. Taking down my gear from the shelves, I headed for the exit, only to be stopped by these lyrics:

Black lives matter.
Children lives matter.
Police lives matter.
Judge lives matter.

The grief spilled over, then, and I started sobbing, face turned to the heavens. After a time, another man leaned his head into my shoulder. I finally pulled myself together, set my gear down, and went back out on the floor.

It was different. My muscle cells seemed to float as though on an ocean swell. Bones forgotten, it was all about the tissue rising and falling, until I tumbled over onto the floor.

And then the second phase: protective tissues. Lower extremities anchored firmly as though to the ocean floor, my arms and head swayed in the air, fluid, the currents of the air rolling along and around them.

The then the final phase: shells, the calcium accretions that became our bones. Joints and alignments came into focus.

In Psalms, this echo rolls back from the Messiah:

I am less than a worm.

Not less, in that moment, but of and from. They are still inside us, those simple things.

And they are dying.

In the closing circle, we were asked to state our names and offer a word that summarized our experience in the dance. I blurted out my name, but concealed that word that was presented to me.

Destruction.

Things Beloved

ThingsBelovedI went out to Ventura yesterday afternoon for my Bikram Yoga class, and discovered that the Saturday afternoon class had been cancelled for the holiday. A picture in the window of a new second-hand store had caught my eye on the way up Oak Street, so I decided to check out the shops.

At “B on Main” I found two things. The first was a little silly – a ceramic glaze rendering of two mermaids. It’s hanging on the wall right now beside my other feminine objects. The others are objects of power, and they needed some lightening up.

And I found this. The store has a number of these messages, many of them about parenting. It reads like a child’s braggadocio. But my response wasn’t that of a parent. It wasn’t remembrance of my sons’ innocent declarations of affection that caused the lump in my throat or the flash of warmth on my skin.

I don’t buy things until I figure out where I’m going to hang them. Walking up and down Main Street, it occurred to me that this should go on the wall by my pillow. That’s kind of prominent, so it’s been working on me overnight. At first I thought that it was a declaration of my love for the world, and then I realized that it was a list of things that I loved. From there, it was only a short step to realizing that the qualities were not a description of my love, but descriptions of the things.

So now I read it:

I love the sky because it is blue enough to protect us from space, but not so blue that the light doesn’t get through..
I love the moon because it is just far enough away to move the ocean tides.
I love the sun for it is just warm enough for life to survive.
I love kites because they are the size for a child to fly.
I love the ocean because sometimes it is shallow enough to swim in, but other times deep enough to keep secrets.
I love trees because they are tall enough to give us shade.

And that is how I love all of you, dear readers. I love you for what you are.