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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hell in a Handbasket

 If you follow the news, it should be obvious (if you know anything about history) you may have noticed that we are experiencing our past. Holy wars. Empire building. Empires in decline. Nationalism. Fascism. The collapse of civilization.. .

... or maybe  just the  growing pains of an expanding universe.

It's a nice day. Somewhere else humans are killing each other because of their differences. In my here and now, I sit alone and try to re-imagine them, as any reasonable god should do. Not too long from now, intelligent machines may be doing the killing. It would be nice if they learn from their mistakes and use it to save all sentient beings.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

And Now, May

I  lied about the hiking boots in April. I stayed sick for about three weeks. Since May's been here, I've put some miles on. The weather's been great and I've started building for a couple of good, long treks. Fifteen to twenty k a day is the goal. No mountain climbing or fording rivers, just good old walking with a full pack. The maps are out and the winter fat is starting to burn off,

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Ahh April

The third, beautiful day of April. Warm and bright, and for me, unusable. I have been patmy back with a cold, or something. Friday and Saturday were a string of one hour maps with two minute bathroom breaks. Today, I've managed to stay awake, eat a little and spend some time on the balcony breathing!

Another day (or two) and I'll be putting on the hiking boots, strapping on the Nikon and enjoying myself.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Death in Lahore

To the "Martyr"who took so much life:
These were children of the book. Their deaths ensure you a place in your very own hell.

To the families of the dead:
Take refuge in your faith. Don't stop loving.

To the rest of the world:
Stop your hatred. Let go of your fears and learn compassion.

Friday, March 18, 2016

you wonder at the flux

Space and Time are always moving. Except for time. Time is an odd bit of human thinking. We use it to track the movement of space, but we take it personally. "oh, he's gotten old!" or "it seems like only yesterday." In the big picture, time is Now and space is Here. That's it. Here and Now, Anything more, and you're guessing. Anything less, and you're living in a memory which is,  most probably, not very accurate. As my Pop used to say: "stop guessing!"

It's really important to sit quietly and establish here and now. The only way to effect "then" is by being mindful in the here and now.  See things as they are,  think in a way that supports a positive outcome and  speak in a way that explains and describes your thinking, with no intention of gain or loss to speaker or listener. 

If I can get through one day without trying to be cool or "the smartest guy in the room" I am closer to being happy.

l see my life as continuous process improvement. I have Dr. W. Edwards Deming to thank for that.  When asked by someone how long they would have to accomplish what Deming called "The Aim", he answered: "As long as you live, young man. No longer."

That's the way of Zen, supported by the mental discipline of mindfulness and concentration, we pursue to take the right actions in the right livelihood, using the right effort.  In the same way that Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle goes on and on, the Great Wheel turns forever, driven by the steps we take on the path.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I Wonder Where I've Been

I just took a look at this place after posting earlier today and the first thing I noticed was the timing of my last two posts-Easter 2016 and Thanksgiving 2015.  I guess I missed Christmas and New Years.  I think my lack or productivity in this arena has to do with my zen practice.  I've been back at it for the last six years and I'm pretty content with my life.

Earlier in my life, writing and other forms of art which I casually practice were done in spurts of compulsiveness. For months at a time, I would makes thousands of photos, write hundreds of poems, and blog about it.

The only compulsion I've got these days is afternoon coffee and pastry.  I rarely miss them.  In the language of Zen, I'm attached and should probably cool it, but man, German cakes and pastries should not be ignored.  Sorry, Roshi, but I think you understand  :-)

Hey remember, this is a tongue in cheek look at the universe with only an occasional attempt at being serious, so like the parking problems and the rerouted traffic, I'm having fun, just like the thousands of kids who are going to enjoy the Easter Kirmis, regardless of where my friends with cars have to park.  As for me, I travel by foot and bus and train.....

Be happy. Given the approaching Spring, the will be hiking and photography, so stay tuned (if you find me amusing) and stay balanced.

Rabbits and Eggs, Mice, Men, Cabbages, and Kings

Stone Street is getting ready for Easter. The annual Kirmis (rides, food, and beer stands) begins on the 26th. The biggest complaint is traffic. The major street in our neighborhood, Auf der Freiheit, shuts down for two blocks, sending traffic on a detour. The second is parking. Cars start landing in private spots, illegal spots, and create roadblocks, frustration, confusion. All in the name of making a couple of thousand kids happy. I like it.

I've always loved Easter. The preparation of making pysanky (eggs decorated with wax designs, then dyed in mutt-colors), the making of bread, cooking of ham and sausage was always wonderful to the senses.  The stories of resurrection and the ceremonies accompanying them were all pomp and circumstance with processions and incense followed by the magnificent family breakfast.

The Rites of spring and the renewal of the human spirit, whether celebrated with Solemn High Mass, a box fire,  or a ride on a Ferris wheel, is a thing of beauty.

Happy Easter! Happy spring!

 May all Sentient Beings be Happy.