Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Calm in the Eye of the Storm


Like hundreds of millions of people all over the world, I am trying to practice some social distancing during the pandemic.  In order to “isolate” for several weeks, I ventured out to do some shopping for essentials to have on hand.   At 6 o-my-sweet-Moses-in-the-morning in the darkness and in a pouring rainstorm, I went to one of the local warehouse stores hoping to avoid a crowd and possible exposure to the virus.  That idea didn’t work too well.  When I arrived there were already about 50 or 60 people waiting to get into the store along with me. I knew the crowds would only get worse so I took the plunge and got in line.

Seriously, I wasn’t there to hoard. I simply wanted to get some pantry staples.   For example, I thought I would get a few rolls of paper towels.  However, all the store had were huge packs of 24 rolls. I don’t need that many rolls of paper towels and to have purchased them would have been hoarding. So I left them for somebody else.  I’ll use old fashioned fabric towels and wash them.  It’s better for the environment anyway.

A lot of shelves were empty, but in spite of what I have seen on the news — people fighting over toilet paper and other insane behaviors– everyone I engaged was polite and in some cases even jovial in the attempt to take the edge off the tension.   I quickly worked through my list:  a few canned items, hand sanitizer, cartons of shelf-safe nut milk, oatmeal, and chocolate.  (I can’t face a global crisis without chocolate).  Then I checked out and high-tailed it home.

I had originally planned to fill my day with garden work, but since the rain has made that impossible, I had to find something else to occupy the day.  I’ve made an inventory of my pantry (I’m good on food and toiletries for several weeks), I fooled around on social media, and now I am writing.  This evening I plan to read.   I cannot– CANNOT– watch one more minute of the news.   It is not that the news about the pandemic frightens me.  More to the point, it unsettles me.  I am anxious.  Not so much about my getting sick, but about things like what this is doing to the stock market, and the global economy,  how does this affect my doing my job next week, and how do I keep myself sane when I am spending so much time alone.  By the way, Alexa is not very good at holding sustained conversations.

Yesterday, a friend of mine had a digital copy sent to me of a well-known book on Zen meditation.  So tomorrow, Sunday, since my diocese has cancelled worship services, I may sit and try to meditate instead.   I have the next few weeks to worry about the state of things.   Tomorrow, though, I will take a few minutes and try to find some calm in this storm.

Stay well everyone.

ljg (c) 2020

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/03/14/rdp-saturday-calm/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/rdp-friday-isolate/

 


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A Lenten Carbon Fast

I did not create this. But since it is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Christian Church Calendar, which starts of period of spiritual introspection, I thought sharing these “Lenten fast” ideas a rather cool way to kick start the season. This comes from St. Dennis Catholic Church. I hope they don’t mind me sharing it. I will try to do as many as practically possible.


 

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/ashes/


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Morning Routine: A Collaboration with “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”

I have always been a bit of a lazy, undisciplined wretch when it comes to a morning spiritual/wellness practice.  Oh, I do just fine with the functions of the day job.  In fact, I get criticized for being a bit too rigid in my routines and processes.  But when it comes to doing those things that strengthen and motivate my interior life, well, not so much.   I’ve tried but usually backslide in a few days after “re-committing myself to my practice.”

But then I decided to collaborate with some technology I have on hand and it has made all the difference.

To make a long story short, I created a “routine” on one of those digital personal assistants.  (I don’t want to name names because she wakes up every time I say her name and won’t shut up.)  Anyway.   I programmed “she-who-must-not-be-named” to run a routine that I activate when I wake that gives me the date, time, weather, news brief, and then an in-bed yoga routine where the last asana gets me out of bed and on my feet.  From there I can manage a few sun salutations.   When I end with the savasana, I tell HER to play some appropriate music and set a timer for 10 minutes.  I know then that I can meditate and pray without falling back to sleep on the floor.

After this, I set another timer for doing devotional reading and journaling.   When that timer goes off, I proceed with getting ready for the day job, preparing breakfast, and packing lunch.  Finally, I set one more timer to tell me when to leave for work.  This usually is enough time for me to eat, watch the news, and maybe even work in my sketch book.

So far, so good.   But it’s only been one day.   So we’ll see.

The ancient sages and devotees managed their spiritual practices by watching the movement of the sun and being accountable to each other in the communities where they lived.   I guess I am a little like that too — except my abbess is some AI chick in a little round container.

ljg 2020

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/collaborate/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/rdp-tuesday-wretch/


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A Small Corner in My Realm

I sometimes feel overwhelmed at the enormity of what we must do to save this planet. As fires rage and oceans rise, as lands become barren and the path we walk along the edge of extinction crumbles away before us, I still feel hope. I am one simple woman. What can I do? I will take my one small corner of green that I am blessed to steward and plant flowers. Sounds silly and naive? Tell that to mourning doves who graze in my garden and the hummingbirds who hover about, and the bees who come looking for my lavender and rosemary. And when I plant milkweed and borage this spring, I hope the butterflies will come. That is what I am doing. Even if all I had was an apartment balcony, I would put out a pot of flowers to feed a passing pollinator. Before I start though, I need to show a little humility and perhaps, to use an old fashioned term, a little repentance for my part in damaging the planet.  Then I will put on my gardening gloves and get to work– sowing one tiny seed at a time. 

 

ljgloyd 2020

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/rdp-sunday-realm/


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I Had a Temper Tantrum this Morning

I had a temper tantrum this morning. The usual place I buy my morning cup of coffee was closed.

Of all the nerve.

I had to drive a mile out of my way to get a cup. All the while I was mentally cursing the thoughtlessness of the closed coffee house’s management.

When the caffeine finally kicked in and the fog began to lift, I realized that I was behaving like the first-world, privileged princess that I am.

My priorities began to reorganized and I had a moment of thankful clarity.

 

ljgloyd 2019

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/10/11/rdp-friday-thankful/


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Urban Garden Log #4: A New Venture

Red Pepper Bug Deterrent

A former rector of my church, many years ago, had a vision of ripping up the manicured lawn on the church campus and planting a garden to provide fresh produce for a local food pantry that serves the poor of our community.  This garden came to be and has been an on-going venture for many years.  The rector went on to other endeavors and left the garden in the hands of the congregation.

This morning I joined the group that tends the garden.  I am an amateur:   I know nothing more about gardening except that you need good light, healthy soil, the right amount of water and a lot of energy. The garden manager, who (in her own words) has “a passion for the earth”, is patient and eager to teach individuals like me.  What I learn, I plan to implement in my own garden.

So I had my first lesson today: using a natural homemade concoction made of habanero peppers to keep unwanted critters away from the baby plants.  For nearly two hours I spritzed and sprayed all manner of vegetable seedlings with red pepper pest deterrent.  Other volunteers were working on harvesting seeds for future planting while others were spreading compost, weeding and watering. It was truly a community effort. Another marvel was the diversity of the group.  Women, men, and children of all shades and hues were working together in harmony to heal the planet and help the poor.

You can’t do church any better than that in my opinion.

ljg 2019


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Plato and a Manipulated Woman

Once upon a time there was a woman, a beautiful woman, filled with life and vigor.  She sat for a sculptor who tried to copy her in marble with his chisels. Unfortunately, the sculpture was just a manipulation of her true image.   The sculptor could not capture her essence.    A few thousand years later, a photographer took a picture of the sculpture which became yet another manipulation of the true woman.  Finally, today a bored computer nerd decided she wanted to mess around with Photoshop to pixelize the photo and manipulate the poor woman once again.   And on it goes.  Who knows what someone might do with this image?

I’m sure you know what happens to a document when you copy it, and then copy the copy, and then copy the copy of the first copy.   Do that long enough and eventually you cannot see what was on the original document.  But the question is, does the original copy cease to exist?   No.

The same is true for the woman.  She still exists somewhere in time and space.   Well, maybe not the flesh-and-blood woman, but the ideal of that woman, the perfect form of Woman.

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato called this the Theory of Forms.  He postulated that  there is a spiritual realm that contains the blueprints of everything manifested in the physical realm. That vase, that music, that cat, those people, that government, that social relationship—everything— has a perfect and pure template in that realm.  The world of forms“…is a philosophical theory, concept, or world-view … that the physical world is not as real or true as timeless, absolute, unchangeable ideas. According to this theory, ideas in this sense, often capitalized and translated as ‘Ideas’ or ‘Forms’, are the non-physical essences of all things, of which objects and matter in the physical world are merely imitations.” (Wikipedia)

Do scholars and philosophers still believe this explanation of how the universe turns?  Not so much anymore.   This classical worldview was one of the underpinnings of western civilization for centuries,  at least that was what the Jesuits taught us in Philosophy 101.

So I sat down to screw around on a computer and make a pretty picture, and I ended up visiting with Plato one more time and letting him bend my mind.

If you would like to view a short, expedient explanation of this bit of Platonic philosophy and a very practical application of it, take a look here:

Image: “A Manipulated Woman” in Photoshop, LJGloyd 2019


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More Reasons to Write Every Day

I came across this TedX video about the benefits of a daily writing practice.  Since life recently threw me a curve ball, I have fallen out the of that practice.  This video has motivated me to pick it up again and make it a part of my daily spiritual routine– just like prayer, meditation and yoga.   If you are a writer — or even if you are not– I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to this writer’s entire presentation.  She really provides some practical advice for developing a daily writing routine.

 


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Living Mindfully in an Old House


It is Christmas Day, and I am now in a new home.  The house is old and has a lot of quirks, and I have had to learn how to approach those activities which I formerly performed in a mindless manner with new care and consideration. For example, I have to remember not to operate more than one appliance at a time in the kitchen or I will blow a fuse. Not flip a circuit breaker– but blow a fuse– which I don’t know how to fix. Everything I do in this old house I must approach with slowness and gentleness.

On this Christmas, I find myself approaching all areas of my life with a little more slowness, mindfulness, and gentleness.   I find myself meditating more, praying more, being more grateful for the simple things in life — like a roof over my head even when I wonder if it will leak when it rains.

I think it has something to do with the season when Grace came into this world in the form of a Child.  This time of the year always makes me reflective in this way.   Now the trick is carrying this mindful practice beyond the holiday and into the new year.   Can I do it?   I aim to try.

HMerry Christmas, everyone.  Blessings to you all.