I had a wonderful visit with grey_lady on Saturday. She was in the US for business, and had a rental car and was actually happy and willing to come up here from Englewood and see the house, the Jet, the JF, the garden, and the Array. She brought tea and Hob Nobs to exchange for a painting! We were both very happy with the trade, and it makes for good stories for her back at home.
The funniest thing was realizing that since she knew me back in alt.callahans days, with Usenet, Archie, Veronica, and even Gopher protocols. It was fun reminiscing about ! addresses, and how we had to route our own email through machines that we knew the schedules of, and how email used to take up to a day if we routed it wrongly and only two hours if we did it right. *giggles* Now I sit on gchat and gmail going, "I sent it a whole minute ago, why hasn't it shown up?"
We've known each other for more than twenty years, and didn't meet until this weekend.
That was kind of cool to realize. *laughs* It was a lovely visit.
Oh! Another cool thing was that the director of the art exhibit gave me an application to be a part of the Longmont Artist's Registry! She said it wasn't optional for me to fill it in. *laughs* And they sponsor TEN rotating exhibits throughout the city and pick folks from the registry! So it's highly likely my paintings will get shown again. It's amazing what resources come out of the wall when I try something.
The morning class we had was a study of Thich Nhat Hanh and his take on Buddhism and how he teaches The Way. There were excerpts of an interview with one of the NPR ladies, and his voice was wonderful to hear. One of our congregation lived in Plum Village (a monastery in France) for years, and she came to speak to us about what she'd learned from him and from her stay there.
There were a lot of tidbits that I wanted to remember and think about some more. He said that living in the suffering world is the ways and means to compassion and understanding of others. The lotus cannot grow on perfect cold marble, only mud can sustain it. And that a flower is always on the way to being garbage and garbage is on its way to being a flower.
Mindfulness is a way to step back and be aware, to just breathe when anything rings, the phone, the door bell, the chimes, a clock. Or one can use a stop light, a police siren, or a Denny's restaurant sign as a reminder to breathe and be aware of where you are for three breathes. *grins* Taking the everyday things to make a meditation real and immediate, not just some practice to be perfected by the too-serious.
I loved that he said that love and compassion are organic things. They cannot be without living.
I liked that his student said that much of her problem with Christianity had to do with what she found as an underlying assumption that "If you're suffering something is wrong with you." And that the concept she found with Thay was that suffering is just a part of life, and by embracing it, it can be transformed into something wonderful and transcendent. That truly allowing oneself to feel it and then going deeper to see the causes is a method to find compassion for oneself and, through that, for others.
It was interesting to realize that I really missed my journal. Missed just writing through some of my feelings and where things are and what I'm doing and what's excellent about life. So I'm here again. *laughs* They talked about supportive communities and were shocked to say that mine was online. *shrug* It's been since... (squints at grey_lady)... twenty some odd years that I've found all kinds of lovely support online for all kinds of reasons.
But it was a reminder of what I used to do, and what I'd found useful before and tools I can use again.
Was liturgist today, and was reading from Matthew from The Message. I love the Message and the language of it.
When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
In a word, what I'm saying is: Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
Everyone died at the "in a word" and "Grow up!" *laughs*
There was another interpretation or the pastor's sermon who said, "It's easy to love someone who is a reflection of you." And it's true, but more rewarding to love someone that is very different.
It's not easy. *laughs* God knows, none of it is, but it's an interesting thing for me to aim for.