Monday, January 25, 2010

Another Bunch of Little Things and Cheese

My birthday is coming at full speed, and it's hard to believe it's been a year already. Although I am behind schedule, I remain on course and have nearly completed the oath I took this time last year. It has been very exciting and it's amazing how much you can learn by teaching. I am very happy with the fruits of these particular labors, they have yielded a far greater crop than I would have ever imagined. Stay tuned for an unofficial press release around April.

Aikido continues to be a source of discipline and peace. I had been struggling with another technique for nearly a week, again freezing up mid-way through, trying to follow the natural flow of energy. It is frustrating to be told repeatedly how to do it, shown how to do it, but remain unable to do it. Again I was observed intently and interrupted by wisdom.

"Do it with your eyes closed.."

I kept them open long enough to see the punch coming and shut them at the point of reception. It is an amazing sensation to follow your instinct, in the *right direction.* Although I didn't see it, it was reportedly the first time I performed the technique perfectly, and I admit there was something satisfying about the sound he made when he finally hit the mat. Again, it's all about the little things.

The next day, I watched as black belt students took turns performing "multiples" meaning they defended them selves against multiple attackers. It was entertaining and incredibly inspiring. I remember thinking someday I'll be able to do that, just as my sensei called me out onto the mat.
There is a strange inner calmness of confidence that is acquired through military combat. And that comes in handy when life throws you these kind of curve balls.

It wasn't as graceful or elegant as the black belts, but it was effective and after only two weeks of training I successfully performed several of the techniques I was taught and two that I had previously only seen. Not only was it a nice rush, it was a profound affirmation. A very nice little thing.

The ministry is going great, I have been cruising along for the last year and a half without any significant problems. The Prison visits are regular, consistent and without incident. I have established services in another state facility, I have been visiting regularly and have been asked to teach a few classes. Until I complete the orientation and get my credentials, they are required to supervise my religious services.

This last Friday the staff person started out next the the rear door and throughout the two hours, slowly leapfrogged her way to the front row and by the time we concluded the ritual, she had received the "communion" of cakes and ale and held hands during the dismissal. We ended with a cheerful "blessed be" and I asked her rhetorically "that wasn't so bad was it?" With a big grin she said no.

It only takes a single grain of rice to tip the scales, it was a nice day to be a piece of rice.

No victory is too small, thank you Lord and Lady for all the little things, and cheese, I love the cheese.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's a Bunch of Little Things

It is quite amazing how terribly significant an "insignificant detail" can be. This seems to be the lesson of the week. I had begun Wiccan services at a local state hospital a few months ago, and have added a second. I really had to earn my status at the prison, but the hospital welcomed me with open arms.

They have different rules there, so unlike the prison, I cannot bring "anything" in. But the hospital compensated for this by "making" me what ever I needed. They have made not one, but two, full altar sets from both pine and oak, in the wood shop. Every allowance and request has been acquiesced with out complication. When I arrived Friday, there was someone waiting to escort me inside, unlock the chapel and sacristy.

But when the Assistant-Chief, who is my supervisor, took her very much needed and deserved two week vacation, there was no one to post the notice of service. So, I had everything I needed, except the inmates, who were unaware there was a service. The little things...

My return to the temple is wisdom has been a pleasurable success. I haven't had any difficulties integrating it into my daily schedule. I was proudly surprised by how much I remember after more than fifteen years, but I make a point to empty my cup of old stale knowledge before I enter.

I have spent most of the week learning a new technique. Its very difficult, specially for a beginner, by design. It encompasses nearly everything you need to know in order to perform all the techniques that follow. So to first master the first one, is to better know the rest. I like that a lot and recognize it, because I do the same thing within my system when I initiate someone.

One of the goals is to perform the entire exercise as one fluid movement, there is an emphasis on the natural flow of universal energy. But I hit a snag. I could flow through to a mid-point, there was a obstruction as I struggled to make a needed shift, then glided gracefully to completion.

When I explained my block to Sensei, he asked my to do it again. right at the precise moment that I become hesitant he said "freeze, don't move." He said "look at your right hand, extend your index finger and point it at his chest." When I did this, the Ukes entire arm shifted, and mine right along with it, right into place.

I cannot express the amazing sensation of such minor enlightenment. A reenactment of the technique, *with an extended index finger* placed a man of equal build on his face with seemingly no effort, only proper envelopment of force. The little things.

Last weekend I got interviewed on THE ZARACON SHOW, we talked about my prison chaplaincy and I'm not sure how it came up, but I started talking about these sticky notes I keep on my desk, one of them says "When was the last time you put down your magic and played with your kids?" Sadly, I need these little reminders. But not today, this morning I skipped class and did the Dad thing with my boys. We got out the grills and made a rather large, traditional breakfast.

I do it every weekend for my clients, but I began including my boys in the process some time ago. Cameron cooks the beacon and eggs to order of one grill while I run the french toast factory on the other grill, this morning Tavo got a lesson in pancakes. From patter to platter, it was all him, and they were the bomb. The only thing I love more than a full breakfast, it cooking it with my boys.

I used this picture of the Penguins just because I love them so much. I often use the Penguins as obscure and abstract personifications of what some would call an HGA or Holy Guardian Angel. Bare in mind, I am not a ceremonial magician, but it's the closest description I can use without giving something away. I ate our awesome breakfast watching the Penguins of Madagascar cartoons with my boys. I give a heartfelt thanks to the Lord and Lady for these lessons on the little things.

Your mission, should you choose to except it, it to do some little thing for someone. Secretly. And keep it a secret. Good luck.

Blessed Be

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Hidden Temple of Wisdom

Last week I woke up in mid air, again. It may sound odd, but it has happened to me quite often and in different ways. The first is, literally. In Portland more than fifteen years ago, I was an Americorps volunteer. Its a great program, I was looking into the Peace Corps and other similar programs when I found it. Its a "domestic" peace corps, where we do all the same sort of programs, except we do for our own country. I liked that.

So every morning I would get to the metro office nearly thirty minutes early and find a nice spot to meditate in the cemetery across the street. One of my favorites was this enormous tree. I would climb up and lay across the thick, wide branches, just like my futon. Until that mystical moment when your mind lets go of the body and the body lets go of the tree.

There was another time when I lived on a ranch, green breaking horses. I had my favorite, and we would ride the trails bareback. After we returned from one of those rides, I flipped around facing the tail-end, crossed my arms, laid forward, crossing my feet behind his neck, I feel asleep for more than an hour. Until one of my "friends" found me and though it would be funny to wake me up by slapping the horse. They made it up to me later with a case of beer. I remember thinking "Why am I friends with these people?" Haha, good times.

Its amazing how subtly the Matrix can sedate your awareness, and lull you in a daze of complacency. You don't even realize your were asleep, until you wake up again. Like the dreamy summer day, riding my ten-speed through downtown, enjoying the breeze and the view, smiling at beautiful girls and they smile back. Then a car runs a light and cuts the corner, and right into you. Reality slaps hard some times. Fortunately at the time, I was the student of Aikido. The marvelous thing about this particular martial art is called Ukemi. Known as the "Art of Falling," it is a prerequisite of the Aikidoka . So I woke up in mid-air as I was turned into a forward roll and returned the reality slap, with the displacement break fall which left an impression on the hood. everyone was so amazed when I landed on my feet, most of all me.

I woke up again, in mid air. The sensation of being upside down does that to you. It was been over fifteen years since I performed that forward roll, but I started again last week. There is a small red barn located on the side of the highway, just a few miles from my house. It's old and obscure, no one even notices it for what it is. But appearances are so deceiving. behind the barn is a door handle, where there doesn't appear to be a door, and when you step inside you enter an Aikido Dojo, a temple of wisdom.

Listening to the Sensei give detailed instructions on the flow of the universal energy, and the techniques of energy movement, manipulation and displacement, forces a Wiccan to conjure images of a Jedi master instructing padawon's on using the Force. Everything he says applies to Magic, Witchcraft and my Craftwork. It's nice to be a student again.

Blessed Be.

*The picture is from an art website, click the pic to visit the site. (Thats what our barn looks like.)