Sunday, March 24, 2019

Simply Springtime

Ahhh spring...fertile time for observers of creation.

Among other dogs I’ve encountered over these last several days of longer walks under skies of broad blue, I have met Lupin, the greyhound, who loved being loved on and leaned right in for as much as she could get.  I also met a dog that absolutely galumphed across a park and away from her owner, looking at me the whole while....and, believe me or not, the dog was smiling.  She threw on the brakes in front of me and the woman following her huffed up behind her.  Does wonders for the self-esteem, I said.  The other human laughed knowingly and caught her breath while Lolly and I became enthusiastically acquainted. She held a dance-party for one; I was able to reach in and offer scratchy-ruffles that delighted and brought her four-paw boogie to a momentary simmer.

Two crows were building a nest together high up in an old tree on a corner near where a friend lives.  Each one was breaking off twigs and winging around to add them to the foundation already in place a bit further up the tree.  Their harmony together and the mutuality of the act both touched me.  Build it strong, I prayed...Keep your family safe...

Doors along the streets were propped open to catch a still-cool breeze as I went walking today.  Doors that included one storefront with a sign advertising its offerings:  Waxing! Piercing! Tattoos and Massage!  I laughed at myself because my first thought was...I'm not sure all of that should happen at the same place. Yet, clearly they have enough business to sustain themselves.

Some of that business, I am sure, comes from the students who are back from break in gaggles, clutches, and droves.  The buzz they bring with them is sometimes part of the background noise that helps me concentrate in the public places where I sometimes choose to write.  Rather than edgeless quiet, it provides a boundary against which I can settle my mind, much like a wing-back chair for the body as opposed to a stool.

The students were not to be found in Victoria park on my way home, however.  What was there instead...

was a wakeful peace that hummed just below the snow-melt soaked earth.  Ahh...Spring.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

World Poetry Day, 2019

World Poetry Day, 2019

A poem is outline and indication,
possibility and shadow;
Companion to the eye, the ear, and soul;
enamoured of 
the comma and ellipsis…because,
within a reflective breath
there is acreage enough
for the loom 
that weaves language
into the whole cloth
upon which this,
the banquet of being laid out,
becomes a universal meal
that sustains us.

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sometimes a warning, mostly a grace

I was reading through tweets this morning and stopped for a longer while at the feed of a favourite:  @BrainPicker.  She, Maria Popova, had posted this delight:

I shook my head knowingly.  Indeed, in so many ways, that level of clarity would be helpful—especially to someone who has regularly bumbled her way through social interactions for decades.

This was followed immediately by two companion thoughts—

One.  Life is absolutely not that clear the vast majority of the time.  And by and large, that is a good thing.  It leaves room for art, adaptation, creativity, perspective, difference, growth, learning, dialogue…and a host of other valuable insights/experiences.  Perceived clarity also leaves room for other possibilities—some bring hurt or danger, some illuminate truth:  Signs can be ignored. Signs can be wrong.

Two.  If everything did have a sign, what would the single word clear label be for me?

After a day like I’ve had today, it seems fitting that what comes to me with all implications is simply:


A good reminder…and an exercise in honest self-knowledge.

Human.  Sometimes a warning, mostly a grace.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A flashlight and a wrench: Living a life of Love

Let me begin by asking you to bear with me. This should all eventually connect…
A long while ago I had decided that the students who would receive my fictional millions as scholarships would be those students who sometimes receive instead a sigh and a look to the distance, as if wondering how to characterize them or where to put them, categorically. In my mind, this was going to be dubbed The Good Egg Scholarship.  Not that my decision would not have criteria—it did indeed. She would have a solid B to B+ (US grading system) average; demonstrate academic interest and passionate curiosity, critical and creative thinking; He would hold down a part-time job and have a savings account only he contributed to and be in financial need if college was going to be possible; She would have friends who could spontaneously and voluntarily vouch for her character and a life that included interests beyond the scope of school; He would be able to articulate hopes and achievable dreams for the good he would offer to the universe. 
Alas, the millions have remained illusory and so no GES has ever been awarded.
Last weekend, there was a program at Barat Spirituality Centre during which the speaker said, Perhaps briefly, there might be a flare but really, most of us lead quite ordinary lives.  Not quite so long ago, say one decade instead of three, I’d have felt a bit prickly about that. Living an ordinary life felt like something I was relegated to living. Somewhere within, there remained this secret desire to hold a flare. Even though also within me, there was the pragmatic realist who said—you, Kim, are far more about carrying around, offering, and knowing how to use, a wrench and flashlight should the need arise.
I have thought a lot about that as I engage in conversations about the future, about the mission of the Society, about how we are changing, how we want to organize, etc. There will be those people who will walk by the light of the sparks in this world. Who see the signals raised and go to the source, are right there with them, offering the incredible good of who they are at the service of enormous, pressing need; Those who see further, who are visionaries with a seemingly endless supply of flares. There always are. And thank goodness.
And then, as I said yesterday on a video conference, there are those who wake up and have their tea and oatmeal and think about the next eight hours, maybe the next week or month or occasional year. There are those who are not ignoring the cries of the world but rather addressing the manifestation of those cries as they are made known via those we encounter in the daily whatnot of life that follows putting one’s feet upon the ground in the morning: The cry from others to be seen, to be recognized. The cry to be heard, to be understood. The clamour for hope; the wail for justice; The ache for beauty; the desperation for Love.
What I have seen over time and absolutely need to believe for things to make any real sense at all, is that an ordinary life provides extraordinary opportunity to ease the burden of some of those cries however they are manifest in the people I happen to encounter in a given day. And to do so just by using the metaphorical wrench and flashlight I happen to carry anyway…. No flare needed.
This was all freshly dancing within me as I checked my social media feeds this morning…and noticed this photo from the Mindful Christianity Facebook page, as shared/posted on the provincial vocations page, We Are Sacred Heart:

Live a life that matters. Live a life of love.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

For and Of, This and These

The other morning, I looked out from where I usually sit to have a mugfull of something comforting and wakening, and had an insight. Nothing outlandish, nothing any more existential or deep than the amber of my Assam that was steeping beside me...yet somehow still pleasantly buzzy within me because it had never come to me this way: Nature harmonizes with itself.

The color of the sky within that glance was the most beautiful milky periwinkle; a winter sky colour that is the perfect backdrop for the bare branches that lift up their boughs and dance their prayers of patience and waiting. With the change of seasons will come a change of palette and the greening of the earth will take place against a unique and celebratory blue that honours the splendour of its becoming.

The sky and the earth, each a part of the other...with the water and the creatures who wing, who walk, who slither, inch, waggle, wander, and abide in any way.

This led me to John of the Cross...
Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me.What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul? Yours is all of this, and all is for you. Do not engage yourself in something less, nor pay heed to the crumbs which fall from your Father’s table. Go forth and exult in your Glory! Hide yourself in It and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart. —from the Prayer of a Soul Taken up in Love
And to Carl Sagan...
"We are a way for the universe to know itself. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star stuff.”
—Carl Sagan—
And I looked out into the rising new day and thought...I am for and of this and all of these and this and these are of and for me...may I too harmonize well to bring out what is best, what is beautiful, what is authentic, what is true. May the trees and the heavens, the stones and the tides, teach me. May the birds, my neighbor, and the dog who sat on my feet at the crosswalk yesterday...May the universe and may God... 

And may I be open to it all...

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end. Amen.