Green Leaves

This photograph was taken two years ago. The trees have grown a lot since then. Edmonton is glad to let the world know they have the largest amount of green space within the city in North America. I’ll have to check that out however that’s what I was told. There is probably a record number of trees as well. In this part of Edmonton, south of the river and near the University the streets are all tree lined as here.

The street where we lived.

Trail Companions

It’s not every day I get pebbles in the mail. This will probably be last package of substance I’ll receive at this address in Edmonton. What to do with them, that is the question? Found objects can take on a huge significance, like these stones which were picked up on a long distance coast to coast walk in Northern England last year. A significant walk I understand and now with one trail companion recently dead.

There has been a pine cone, which looks like a hedgehog, moving around the priory. Somebody brought it here and here it has lived, on top of the fridge, on the window ledge, in my pocket and now it’s moved in with the pencils and pens. How those hedgehogs get around!

A member brought a shell back from Vancouver Island, it’s sitting in the hands of Kanzeon; she who hears the crys of the world. Will it travel with Kanzeon to the groups next location, day after tomorrow? Or will it come with me to British Columbia along with the pebbles, and the hedgehog?

I’m packing, packing, packing.
With no time for blogging.

Slow moving objects trying to find their next place of rest.
One monk, one pair of hands and many more things to attend to.

I love the pebbles, there’re coming with me on retreat, they can remind me how to sit still. They are reminding me already. Thank you, I will do the right thing by them.

Listening to Silence

Ernest Hemingway is quoted as having said, “I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.”

Sitting now, late in the evening. The clock ticking, the computer chattering as it thinks, the click click of the keys, the fan whirring and stopping. What is there to learn?

Oddly, it seems, by paying attention to sound the underlying silence becomes more evident. And listening is at the heart of our practice of meditation. That’s not just listening with the ears, it’s listening with the eyes and the finger tips. Listening like the hen sitting on her eggs, listening with her whole being. One can choose to be as the hen on her eggs however more often than not we are busy pecking out a living, and that’s just fine.

Thirty more tick-tocks of the clock and it will be midsummer day. The longest day of light and my late brothers birthday. It’s really due to him that I continued to write.

We were not close and this very fact meant that he (our shared blood) inwardly called, from a distance. My first retreat at Throssel, a priory then, had him calling me to go and visit him and his family. It was clear that was the next most important thing to do. So, over the years since our childhood we visited, with long gaps in between. With little in common there was nothing of substance to talk about and yet we continued to see each other.

Blood relatives tie us together with memories and they can, and do, set us free with the silence found beneath the racket of separated lives. This was certainly true of my brother and I. It was the often painful song of Johns life which had me venture to sing my own song. A little wider, a little louder. Thanks brothers.

Onwards to Audio

I’ve been preparing to post audio files and then this afternoon Heather came for tea, and being well versed in matters to do with the internet, set up an account with Odeo for me. This is a free Podcasting service. The recording was made directly from my computer to the web site using a headset with a microphone. Magic!
Press the pink button and wait…

powered by ODEO

Tomorrow morning we will be singing the Shushogi in our first Transfer of Merit Ceremony. The audio file attached to this blog is a reading of the first paragraph of the Shushogi. This piece is often read out as part of the dedication at the start of a Memorial. I’m tempted to talk about it however time is short and I need to get on and prepare for tomorrow.

I believe the sound quality is quite a lot better than a previous audio posting using the telephone. Next will be a recording made on an MP3 player while I walk round the neighbourhood. I think they are called an ‘audio tour’.

Moving Right Along

I always had my suspicions about the pepper shaker, wondered in passing if any pepper ever came out. But I never went further than wondering, didn’t take a closer look. As I move from computer work to practical work and back again throughout the day the quality of my attention has become much greater. For example, while cleaning it, I discovered the shakers twist-top. And no it wasn’t open so no I have been shaking no-pepper for the last nine months!

This all causes me to pause and wonder how many other details I’ve missed. That’s in practical matters and in administration matters. And they are just the tip of the iceberg of matters that have need of attention, and now demand attention. And now with a date-line for resolution. Daily the line advances and gradually, through the gift of repeated experience, the realization that what needs to be done will present itself, next.

This is basic daily life training, just getting on with the next thing. All very well to say however quite another to practice when there are so many details to take care off. During these past days the practice of choosing to switch back and forth between phone/email/movinghouseadmin and packing/sorting/cleaning/filling holes-in-walls has been wonderful practice. This regular moving back and forth helps ease the way for picking up and putting down and in so doing not getting bogged down in detail. An ever beckoning pit. The other pit is becoming overwhelmed to the point of paralyses by the sheer volume of work that needs to be done.

Apart from dealing with ‘good-to-do-sometime’ kinds of things and the ‘got-to-do’ and the ‘got-to-do right-now‘ things, there is something deeper going on. Obviously.

We are moving on.
We are moving into new territory.
We are moving deeper than our fears of the future.
We are moving past what has gone.
We are MOVING and the day is a week from tomorrow.

We are moving apart.
…and that’s a hard one, for me.

Tomorrow the lease on a two roomed apartment will be signed. For those reading this in Edmonton, the schedule for the next couple of weeks is posted on our web site.

This arrangement of roses was given me a couple of days ago to express sympathy on having the car stolen. A very uplifting offering for the altar. Thank you people, such a kind thought.
Tomorrow the run away car will be collected from the Police pound. YES! happy news.