Stand In The Narrow Place [on Merely A Thought Monday]

“Western civilization has been a 2,000 year long exercise in robbing people of the present. People are now learning the joys that hide in the narrow place of the hour glass, the eternal moment.” ~ George Leonard, Mastery

The observation has become something of a yearly ritual. Every 9/11, I hear or participate in this conversation: one day, people got out of bed, drank their coffee, brushed their teeth and went to work or boarded an airplane. And then, they never came home.

We are fairly smothered in sentiments about appreciating life, seizing-the-day, living in the present moment, take nothing for granted… “You never know.”

Quinn gave me his copy of Mastery. As was his practice, he underlined significant passages in red pen – and the book was a festival of underlined passages. For years I kept the book on my desk or beside my bed. I’d flip it open and read the red sections. They served as a daily meditation. They gave my busy mind something generative and hopeful to occupy.

George Leonard called presence, “the plateau.” Eckhart Tolle calls it “the now.” In one of the gospels NOT included in the bible, Jesus is reported to have said, “The kingdom of heaven is on earth but men do not see it.” The Way of the Buddha leads to the present moment.

What do we see if we stop thinking long enough to experience the present moment?

2996 people died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11. These people could do nothing about what happened to them on that day. They brushed their teeth. They left for work or got on an airplane.

“You never know.”

This year, there was a new river-of-thought that ran through the annual ritual observation: the daily COVID death toll last week in these un-united states was above 1,000 a day. On January 7th, 2021, 4,147 people died of COVID. In the divided-united states, more than 660,000 people have died of COVID. World-wide 4,550,000 people have perished.

It’s impossible not to look at the numbers and wonder why-and-how we became our own terrorists.

In the past year, with the availability of a vaccine, with the proven effectiveness of masking and social distancing, these people, had they united with the help of their friends and neighbors, had choices. They – we – could have done everything to save their lives. We did not. We divided. 1000 yesterday. 1000 today. 1000 tomorrow. And growing.

Sometimes we know.

Appreciating life is – and always will be, at the narrow place of the hour glass – a community affair. In presence, on the plateau, the line between me and you blurs. It is the reason why all of those firefighters and first-responders ran into the towers that day. My life cannot be precious if I cannot see that yours is also precious. Why – on earth – on any given day – would I not do everything possible – anything possible – to protect your life? Why would you not do the same for me?

read Kerri’s blog post about BLESSINGS ABOVE GROUND

DR Thursday

a slice of heaven for your DR Thursday melange

a slice of heaven FRAMED PRINT copy

This weeks morsel: A Slice Of Heaven

Hans the realtor led me through the house, through small narrow channels that cut a path through the collected debris. Years of old newspapers were bundled and stacked high. In one room, thousands of text books were piled to the ceiling. “You will have to use your imagination to see the space,” Hans said. Windows closed, curtained against the light, I had a hard time breathing as we squeezed our way through the makeshift passageways.

Finally, emerging from the suffocating rooms, we stood on the front lawn. I gasped, “How can anyone live like that?”  Hans the realtor, unruffled by our stroll through the hoarder’s house, said, “Everyone has their heaven. This is what their heaven looks like.”

It was a lesson in suspending judgment. Hans the realtor had seen many houses and had glimpses into many lives. Each unique. Some recognizable. Some not. He knew that all we ever get is a glimpse into the world of another person, the smallest keyhole view into their life, and an even smaller peak into their heaven. And, a peak is never the whole picture.

they draw sunsets copy 2

A Slice Of Heaven comes from this original painting titled, They Draw Sunsets In The Sand, 35.5 x 47.5 IN

society 6 info jpeg copy

A SLICE OF HEAVEN merchandise [gift cards, wall art, apparel, and more…]

a slice of heaven FRAMED PRINT copy

This weeks morsel: A Slice Of Heaven

a slice of heaven cards copy

gift cards

a slice of heaven BLUE copy

a “just words” framed wall art

a slice of heaven METAL TRAVEL MUG copy   a slice of heaven SQUARE PILLOW copy

 

read Kerri’s thoughts on A Slice Of Heaven

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

a slice of heaven/they draw sunsets in the sand ©️ 2018, 2017 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Everyone Has Their Heaven

TODAY’S FEATURED PRINT FOR HUMANS

everyone has their heaven

FOR TODAY’S FEATURED PRINT FOR HUMANS, GO HERE.

Wake Up To Your Dream

a detail of my latest painting

a detail of my latest painting

Oscar said, “I’m way too busy. I have too much to do.” He’s a junk guy, a scrapper and we’d just pulled a piano out of the back of his old truck.

“”That’s better than the reverse problem,” I said. “Too much time and nothing to do.”

Oscar smiled. “My grandfather always told me that sleepers wind up with nothing but dreams.” He added, “I’m trying to teach that to my son.” His son, a strapping young man, rolled his eyes.

It was a nice sentiment, a worthy lesson, and like all sticky-note wisdom, the flip side is usually also relevant. Sleepers wind up with nothing but dreams. People without dreams wind up walking through life asleep.

Once long ago I walked through a house with a realtor named Hans. The place was crammed with piles of stuff, stacks of books and mountains of magazines. I felt claustrophobic and couldn’t wait to get outside. Standing in front yard, having escaped, I said, “I don’t know how people live like that.” Hans replied, “Everyone has their heaven. What looks like hell to you is heaven to them.”

Everyone has their heaven. Everyone has their hell. Isn’t it a good bit of sticky-note wisdom to remember that heaven does not look the same to all people? And, to some people, depending upon how present they are, heaven is here and now. The same sticky-note applies to hell in the here-and-now.

Flipping to the weather channel I found, instead of the weather, an episode of Why Planes Crash (answer: the weather!). A flight attendant who’d survived a crash said, “When the plane is going down, people get religion really fast.” I thought, I bet the opposite sticky-note is also true. Religion is rule bound and usually comes with an in-crowd, a right way, or a chosen people. When the plane is going down I’ll bet all the rules go out the window (so to speak), the divisions become meaningless, and what people get is how precious, unique, and vast is their life – and all of life, for that matter. They don’t get religion, they “get” life. Ric Elias was in the plane that landed on the Hudson River. For him, going down in the plane served as instant clarity. He left the plane knowing without doubt what mattered. He no longer needed to be right. He no longer had time for negative energy. He no longer had time to be too busy. He woke up to his dream.

 

 

Face The Sun

Lake Michigan frozen

Lake Michigan frozen

Standing on the sea wall, the sun on our faces, the frozen Lake Michigan looked like a vast field of broken glass, shards akimbo, glistening in the morning light. The shards popped and crackled, moaned and snapped; it was the first warm day in months. The birds frolicked. It was a small taste of spring, a gift before winter’s return tomorrow. I closed my eyes, faced the sun, and drank it in.

Kerri and I had just walked across the harbor. We watched the ice fishermen drill holes in the ice. The bit dropped more than two feet before breaking through. The fishermen assured us that the ice was very thick. “I’ve lived my whole life here and never seen the ice this deep,” the man said, sipping his coffee and looking at the lines he’d dropped in the water. We stepped out onto the ice, making a pact to rescue the other – and walked across the harbor.

The sea wall is on the far side of the harbor and usually requires a boat to reach. It is constructed of enormous boulders, some still encased in ice and looking like something the artist Christo might have created. On our water walk to the sea wall we snapped photographs, splashed in newly formed puddles, and left footprints in the snowy spots.  We laughed. We waltzed around an old fishing hole. We looked at each other and said over and over, “I can’t believe it!”

On the wall, listening to the ice chorus, my eyes closed and soaking up the sun, I photo-1remembered a conversation that I had years ago with Father Lauren when I was a student at The College of Santa Fe. We had great conversations because he knew I was not a believer in his faith. In many ways we saw the world from diametrically opposed points of view but rather than wrestle with winning the other to our perspective, we asked questions to try and understand. Father Lauren saw the earth as corrupt. I saw (and see) it as magnificent. We were talking about reincarnation and he’d just asked, “What kind of god would punish people by bringing them back to this place?” I responded with a phrase I’d recently heard in a lecture Joseph Campbell delivered about the gnostic gospels, “The kingdom of heaven is on earth and men just do not see it.”

Father Lauren closed his eyes and tried to spin his paradigm around. He asked, “So, we are already in heaven and simply need to open our eyes to the beauty of it all?”

“Yes,” I said. “That’s what I believe.”

He smiled, “I just can’t believe it.”

Standing on the sea wall, Kerri took my hand. The ice sang. She whispered, “I just can’t believe it.”  I wanted to reach back in time and tell Father Lauren, “Yes. That’s the thing! When you open your eyes and see heaven on earth, what you see is impossible to believe.” Heaven has nothing to do with belief and everything to do with what you choose to see.

“Me, too,” I whispered, the sun on my face. “It is unbelievable.”

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Go here for hard copies (Amazon)