A tapestry woven and each thread interconnects

Bird Droppings November 26, 2011
A tapestry woven as each thread interconnects

“For certain fortunate people there is something that transcends all classifications of behavior, and that is awareness, something which rises from the programming of the past, and that is spontaneity; and something that is more rewarding than games and that is intimacy. But all of these may be frightening and even perilous to the unprepared. Perhaps they are better off as they are, seeking their solutions in popular techniques of social action, such as ‘togetherness.’ This may mean that there is no hope for the human race, but there is hope for individual members of it.” Dr. Eric Berne, Games People Play, 1964

The title intrigued me as I was sitting here 6:00 AM wondering which direction to go in this morning’s writing I was thinking about students, parents and teachers and how so often the intertwining of personalities produce the fabric of the day. I recall in a graduate class a professor friend used the term or representation of weaving. Our lives are a tapestry being woven each day as we go.

“Each person designs his own life, freedom gives him the power to carry out his own designs, and power gives the freedom to interfere with the designs of others.“ Dr. Eric Berne

For many years I was directly involved in the sheep industry with raising, breeding, and of course shearing the sheep and selling the wool. I traveled nationwide photographing and talking to producers and writing about the sheep and wool industry. I met many hand spinners and weavers as I traveled. Some were artisans spinning yarn as fine as silk and weaving literally pieces of art work. Back in the day we had a ewe a Hampshire cross ewe that was “black” and when she was shorn, her fleece was chinchilla gray. For a number of years a dear friend would get that fleece each year for her spinning and weaving. Somewhere in a box is a small ball of yarn my oldest son spun one afternoon when he was six with that fleece with my friend showing and helping him.
Life as Dr. Andrews, professor and chairperson of Special education department at Piedmont College commented in class is a weaving it is an intertwining of events and people.

“A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, nothing else. “ Mahatma Gandhi

One of Gandhi’s methodologies of protest was to spin and weave his own cloth rather than rely on industrial produced material. Many other intricate thoughts were woven in as well; spinning is for many a form of meditation. The process of weaving, creating and designing a piece is literally a painting of a picture with thread and yarn.

“A man’s action is only a picture book of his creed.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

So as we weave our cloth in life we are seen by the fabric, the pattern, and the methods we use to make that piece of cloth.

“When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. “ John F. Kennedy

With each progress report we call students parents or guardians to discuss issues and grades. I spoke with several over the phone back a week or so ago. I walked through my room after school that day reading a poster that has been hanging around now on my wall where ever I take up for 30 years, Children Learn what they live. While one weaves silk while another weaves burlap. Silk has many great attributes as does burlap and the applications and uses vary. To spin hemp into twine and weave the burlap is as much a skill as the artisans who weave the silk threads into cloth. The weaving and material made is not the issue but it is that weaving that is occurring. For it is that effort that is being made to produce a life that is so important.

“Understand clearly that when a great need appears a great use appears also; when there is small need there is small use; it is obvious, then, that full use is made of all things at all times according to the necessity thereof.” Dogen Kenji, Zen master

Recently I used the word direction and drew criticism from a teacher trying to explain that choosing a direction in a journey and not truly having a destination is sometimes a meaningless effort. For some just going is the norm. I always speak of the journey being more important versus the destination but there is a point to head towards. When building a house first you build walls you determine where doors and windows are needed and add them as you go. A really good builder knows ahead and plans for doors and windows and designed properly a house can have huge windows and great doors and movement in and out occurs continually.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle, 1854

Many years ago I was sitting alongside a fence in a field far away from houses and people and I watched a spider spin a web. We see webs all around I was told there are thousands of spiders per acre in any field. Many of the spiders are minute and nearly microscopic. Anyhow the spider climbed to a point and dropped leaving a strand of silk climbed and dropped and so forth building a base for her web. Next came the cross lines and soon a web was built over an hour or so in the process. We see webs and easily sweep them away but the design and care in making is engrained in the spider. Life is a weaving a spinning a web of sorts and yes so often is simply swept away. Occasionally someone will stand back in awe of the artistry if only we would take note every time. Please as we have already partaken of a day of thanksgiving continue giving thanks and keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Looking for the passion

Bird Droppings August 18, 2011
Looking for the passion
“All games have an important and probably decisive influence on the destinies of the players under ordinary social conditions; but some offer more opportunities than others for life long careers and are more likely to involve innocent bystanders.” Dr. Eric Berne, The games people play
In a recent note I had written down a thought. Why are you passionate about your job? I started thinking and yes perhaps as I think I obsess too much. I may ponder as I call it over trivial thoughts for some meaningless dribble, little shadows that many simple never see. Can you be passionate about something any other way? Yesterday I filled in a form for a young man who was very obsessive in so much of his life, obsessive to a point of distraction from reality many times.
If you mention Jeff Gordon’s number and his eyes would light up and statistics would flow about this NASCAR race or that and this sponsor or that and soon you would wish you never mentioned Jeff Gordon. It is funny since you used that to get from another subject that he had been obsessed on. Technically it is called Obsessive compulsive Disorder or OCD. Could I see passion in that obsession or is there obsession in passion.

“All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.” Chief Seattle, recorded by Dr. Henry Smith, 1854

So often in life we do or say things that seemingly are independent thoughts sort of random utterances that mean only a bit to us as we pass in that moment. Yet the ripples the effects and flow of direction from that utterance can carry and evolve far beyond that moment. As in a game where one person manipulates a piece and often the other parties involved are unaware of strategy and plan and soon there is nothing left. I think back to that obsession and what may be said in meaningless thought pursuing a thought an idea that is driven from some physiological mechanism we do not control. Could it be that passion is mistaken for that an errant whisper and dream an obsession on a simple concept that is mistaken as true passion.

“Passion and prejudice govern the world, only under the name of reason.” John Wesley

“Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune, when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

It was perhaps John Wesley’s obsession that leads to his passion; the founder of the United Methodist Church, Wesley was an Anglican Priest who was methodical in his thinking. He often would have communion 30 times in a single day. He was often on his knees in prayer for hours on end or composing hymns and music as did his brother Charles. The web of life has so many strands all woven in and about. Was John Wesley a man obsessed or was he passionate about his calling. Hawthorne sees a different picture of man. He sees one of seemingly change, of personality differences and varying capabilities. Emerson’s thinks as I do that there is a close kinship between obsession and passion, a powerful spring but difficult to regulate.

“Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.” Amiel, Journal, 17 December 1856

“Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.” Honoré de Balzac

“Every civilization is, among other things, an arrangement for domesticating the passions and setting them to do useful work.” Aldous Huxley

I look at how we see passion and conversely obsession and wonder if often the two are not synonymous sharing attributes of each other. Perhaps it is offering similarities within differences. It is easier to say you are passionate about your job than obsessed with it. It is far easier to except a passionate person than an obsessive one. Religion needed obsession to succeed as I look at Wesley and so many of the Saints yet passion for their beliefs is a more powerful and believable offering. In art I see Vincent Van Gogh who without his obsession would have never painted with the feverish pitch and effort that he did and his paintings today would not be selling for tens of millions of dollars, when in his life time they barely kept him alive. We see passion now when the poor girl he sent an ear to, saw obsession. Huxley seems to so easily change the tune with the atmosphere, we domesticate the passions. We turn that obsession into useful and meaningful work. Often in the game as I started passion is turned not against the passionate but for the person holding the hand.

“Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.” Elbert Hubbard

I have known many who even take medication for OCD and you can tell when and how much they took based on their interactions. I wonder how we deal with passion do we manipulate and propagate as needed. Or do we simply medicate when not needed and push under the rug when the deed is completed and game won. It is such a difficult chore to ponder on passion. Do we have it or is it simply obsession? Please keep all in harm’s way in your heart and on your mind.
namaste
bird