Jun 29, 2016

Sanctuary, often

Sanctuary, wherever you can find it

That seems to be my number one impulse.

It only dawned on me just now that I seek solitary space every day. And often throughout the day. 

There might be some who can't benefit from reflective time, but I haven't met them.

It's more than just about renewal -- which of course, is critical. It's about reconnection. Connecting back to what matters most. 

Who do I want to be in the world?

What am I creating through my attention and action?

What do I want to create most?

Sanctuary, wherever I can find it, gets me there.

Every single time I emerge from private communion I feel myself lightened. I feel the light in me suffusing my vision. I feel lighthearted . . . and a lightness of being . . . You could call it blissed out or connected or amped up or in tune . . . and you wouldn't be wrong.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

The above photos are from a surprise glass shrine we encountered on our travels. In seemingly nowhere Nebraska this structure appeared -- when you see a glass sanctuary built for reverence amidst the fields of Nebraska, you have to stop!

We pulled off at the next exit and wound our way back to this place. Called the Holy Family Shrine it coalesced because several individuals -- unbeknownst to each other -- had a similar dream. 

Though it is meant for Catholics, the space is welcoming to all. The entirety of its purpose is so one can enter into a personal spiritual space.

How beautiful is that?

And how beautiful is this -- my wife Ann coming out from her own meditation in the Shrine.


Jun 28, 2016

An invitation to purge

Today I created a big effing mess. 

We're in Indiana on the last leg of our monthlong workcation. After dropping off my wife and son at the senior care home for her parents, I drove over to a gas station for some diesel fuel for the van and ice for the cooler.

While angling the cooler to drain the water in it, everything shifted. The veggie tray with dip burst out of its container spewing itself all over the contents in the cooler.

I reacted with the usual epithets.

Colorful as they were, they didn't get me anywhere. 

Then I picked out a gobbed-up bottle of something. Then another. The dip and cut-up veggies slimed every single thing. Drink bottles, lunch meat, cheese, peanut butter, grapes, blueberries  . . . surprisingly the only unscathed item was a small bottle of mayo. 

Surprising because everything looked like slathered mayo except the mayo.

Fifteen minutes into the cleanup I realized: This is an opportunity to purge

Here we were, 3.5 weeks into our monthlong jaunt and the cooler contents hadn't been thoroughly cleaned.

So item by item I wiped each one clean, set it aside and dove back in for another. Till the only thing remaining was gooey, sloshy, viscous ooze clinging to the insides of the cooler. 

Dozens of paper towels later, it was all cleaned up. Purged of the unnecessary, organized better than since we'd set off. Lickety spickety clean too.

Every crisis is an invitation to purge. It's an opportunity to reorient. To pare back. To simplify. And finally, to reinvent.

When cancer struck my wife, it was an invitation to healthier living.

When the crash nearly took our business asunder, it was an opportunity to rethink our business model.

Yes, these situations were under extreme duress, but the purge and reorganization that followed set us onto better paths. With better outcomes.

Franklin, Indiana

Jun 27, 2016

When love starts a thing: Park City, Utah

This is a close-up shot of a tree in Park City, Utah. It's festooned with shoes of all kinds. Boots, sneakers, hiking shoes, trail shoes, water clogs, even sandals. Footgear of all stripes. 

The entirety of this small stand of trees is similarly outfitted. An uncountable number of shoes dangle from the branches. Some of them at impossible heights. Who has that kind of hurling prowess?

Most commonly a pair of shoes are tied at the laces and flung into the tree canopy, coming to full stop when they snag on a limb.

I came across this spectacle along a pathway adjacent to our hotel. When I asked the woman at the check-in counter about the shoes, she countered:

"Do you want the myth or the truth?"

Me: "Both, of course!"

The myth is that a couple hikers almost lost their lives on an expedition . . . and were so jubilant upon reaching civilization that they flung their hiking boots up into the trees to celebrate. Over time, others followed suit and it became a trend.

The truth worked better for me. A newly-wedded couple flung their tied-together shoes into the trees, symbolic of their now-joined life adventure. Very quickly it became a thing. People tossed their footwear up into the trees by the dozens.

Now, once a year, volunteers ascend into the trees to dislodge the shoes. They donate hundreds of shoes to a local charity each year. 

How freaking cool is that?!

Exuberant love made an impulsive gesture. Others picked up on the act. Now it continues year upon year, awing those like me who happen to pass by, benefitting scores of people who can put those shoes to use.

Who knows if those original lovers even know what followed in their wake?

When love starts a thing, watch out

Park City, Utah

Jun 24, 2016

The difference between the mundane and the vividly imagined

This observatory tower overlooking the Bonneville Salt Flats could have been a yawn. It could have been the standard rectangle with a viewing platform, with a perfectly perfunctory stairs attached. Maybe an elevator.

Instead, the state of Utah opted for something curvy, something lyrical.

The ramp curves lightly upward like a treble cleft untangling in three-dimensional space. The awning over the viewing area evokes a sail . . . or the helm of a modern-day yacht.

The structure is surprisingly fluid for one anchored in a hard and dry Western desert.

The difference between the mundane and the imaginative is profound. It's the difference between humdrum and hell yes.


Jun 21, 2016

Wonder bringers

christo floating piers

I've been a fan of Christo and Jeanne Claude ever since their Central Park project. I lived in New York City at the time . . . To gaze at these saffron-colored sheets billowing in the wind as they were being installed was to gaze at transcendence made manifest. In the heart of the heart of the Western world . . . 

Here's a link to their current project, floating piers connecting two islands on an Italian lake.

They are not the only ones . . . 

Many are wonder bringers. You, me, others, when we're at our best. When we're infusing our work with greatness. When we're channeling the superlative into our interactions. When we air kiss the celestial spirit in the sky with our shimmering minds . . . 

Lake Tahoe, California
(with appreciation for Gil Vega, who alerted me to the latest from Chisto and Jeanne Claude)