Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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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.


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Viriditas: An Earth Day Reflection

It seems appropriate on this Earth Day weekend that I spent a little time working in my small container garden. In the past, I have not been overly successful with gardening, but this time I approached it in a different manner. In the past, I would determine that I would plant a garden, and then spend large amounts of time sweating and toiling, ultimately not seeing much of a return for all the effort.

This time I am letting the plants grow themselves. What do I mean by this? All I need to do is four things: plant when the temperature is warm enough, and provide them with proper light, nutritious soil, and the right amount of water. I only spend about an hour once a week checking on them, giving them a good long drink of water, and keeping an eye out for insects and anything else that might be an obstacle to their well-being. Other than doing these simple activities, I get out of the way and leave them alone to grow. Plants, it seems, have the power within themselves to grow.  I don’t need to fuss over them

The medieval abbess, Hildegard of Bingen, who was a theologian, musician, writer, scientist, medical practitioner, mystic and visionary, had a word for this inner force: viriditas, or “greening” power. This power pulses with vitality and fruitfulness.  It resides in every living organism.  It is life in abundance.

What if we applied the same basic gardening principles to our own lives, both physically and spiritually? What if we got out of our offices, away from our computers and devices and exercised in the fresh air, feeling sunlight on our faces, eating nutritious food, and drinking lots of water? The greening power within us would heal our bodies.

Similarly, what if we disengaged from social media and all the other obstacles to our peace of mind? What if we were to take time to pray and meditate, fellowship face-to-face with others, feed our souls with things that are pure and wholesome and not negative or hateful? What if we partook of the divine Spirit that “greens” this world?

Then true healing would take place. Of this, I am certain.

Ljgloyd 2018


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Stop Worrying and Love Someone

You may have realized by now that I’m a bit of a planner. I brain dump everything into a journal, tease out actionable items, and then move these tasks to a separate calendar book to be done on certain days and at certain times. And this is just my personal and creative life. My work tasks are planned and organized on my computer at work.

One of my life mottos is “make a plan, work the plan.” By adhering to this, I am productive and I get things done.

I have been on vacation for the last three weeks and had planned to write, create some drumming compositions, do some art, go to museums, exercise and do yoga.

I did none of those things. Instead, I got sick, and between that and making preparations for holiday activities, I did none of the things I had planned to do. I was just too tired. My body was calling for rest, and because I ignored it, it knocked me down hard.

Yesterday, someone told me to slow down and listen to the voice of Spirit. I was admonished to stop worrying about plans for the future, live in the present and “love someone now.” This little bit of advice is so profoundly simple that it knocked me back on my heels. Upon reflection I have come to the conclusion that if I were to have a New Year’s resolution it would be to slow down, to engage in more self-care and to seek out people who need to be shown love, kindness and compassion.

No small order in this messed up world.

Ljgloyd 2018

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I’d Prefer to Be…

Like most people, I have preferences. I prefer a regular over decaf, I prefer air-conditioning over sitting in the sweltering room, and I would definitely prefer to have more money.

But here’s the problem: the desire for things or situations slowly takes over my thinking. That continual “wanting” and not getting eventually makes me one miserable person.

On the other hand, let’s say I did acquire everything I want, I know that I would either be ungrateful for it, or would realize that it doesn’t really make me happy, or would become disinterested in it and decide that I prefer something else. Then I’m back to my first point and the cycle begins all over again.

It is called “lack of contentment.”

I’ve heard that the Buddha said that the greatest wealth was contentment. I know that Paul told the Christians at Philippi “… for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”

When wise people like this make such comments, it stands to reason that perhaps I might take heed.

So let me just say that I:

Prefer to be wise,
so that I may be content
so that I may be happy.

Ljg. 2017

Prefer