Mindless Mindfulness Service

Prelude:

Instrumental Medley — Peg Espinola

Opening Words:

  1. All of us, from time to time, need a plunge into freedom and novelty, after which routine and discipline will seem delightful by contrast.
    ― Andre Maurois
  2. “We all have our routines,” he said softly.”But they must have a purpose and provide an outcome that we can see and take some comfort from, or else they have no use at all. Without that, they are like the endless pacings of a caged animal. If they are not madness itself, then they are a prelude to it.”
    ― John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things

Reading:

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

― Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

[silence]

Chalice Lighting

Today let this flame light the way as we walk in our unity and our differences down yet another street.

[silence]

Joys and Concerns

Reading:

Late last night, I decided to
stop using English.
I had been using it all day—

talking all day,
listening all day,
thinking all day,
reading all day,
remembering all day,
feeling all day,

and even driving all day,
in English—

when finally I decided to
stop.

So I pulled off the main highway
onto a dark country road
and kept on going and going
until I emerged in another nation and . . .
stopped.

There, the insects
inspected my passport, the frogs
investigated my baggage, and the trees
pointed out lights in the sky,
saying,
“Shhhlllyyymmm”—

and I, of course, replied.
After all, I was a foreigner,
and had to comply . . .

Now don’t get me wrong:
There’s nothing “wrong”
with English,

and I’m not complaining
about the language
which is my native tongue.
I make my living with the lingo;
I was even in England once.
So you might say I’m actually
addicted to it;
yes, I’m an Angloholic,
and I can’t get along without the stuff:
It controls my life.

Until last night, that is.
Yes, I had had it
with the habit.

I was exhausted,
burned out,
by the habit.
And I decided to
kick the habit,
cold turkey,
right then and there
on the spot!

And, in so doing, I kicked
open the door of a cage
and stepped out from confinement
into the greater world.

Tentatively, I uttered,

“Chemawa?     Chinook?”

and the pines said

“Clackamas, Siskiyou.”

And before long, everything else
chimed in with their two cents’ worth
and we had a fluid and fluent
conversation going,

communicating, expressing,
echoing whatever we needed to
know, know, know . . .

What was it like?
Well, just listen:

Ah, the exquisite seasonings
of syllables, the consummate consonants, the vigorous
vowels of varied vocabularies

clicking, ticking, humming,
growling, throbbing, strumming—

coming from all parts of orifices, surfaces,
in creative combinations, orchestrations,
resonating in rhythm with the atmosphere!

I could have remained there
forever—as I did, a will.
And when I resumed my way,
my stay could no longer be

“ordinary”—

as they say,
as we say, in English.

For on the road of life,
in the code of life,

there’s much more to red than “stop,”

there’s much more to green than “go,”

and there’s much, much more to yellow than “caution,”

for as the yellow sun clearly enunciated to me this morning.

— Lawson Fusao Inada Kicking the habit

Offering

Instrumental medley — Peg Espinola

Talk:

Mindless Mindfulness

Closing Words:

In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again(15).

— Barbara Kingsolver High Tide In Tucson: Essays From Now Or Never

Postlude:

After the Vigil — Peg Espinola

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