A Fireside Chat

Yesterday afternoon my friend and I sat by the fire and talked about what we have learned over the course of many years. We discovered  we have both come to realize each person is born into a lifetime woven from  the lives of many other  beings. We have come to realize  we literally owe our lives, and the world we inhabit, to the ancestors. We have learned each person does the best they are able.

These learnings are filled with paradoxes. For instance, although we each do our best, we seem to have a spiritual need to attempt to do better than we are able. When we fail, as we almost inevitably do, traditional teachings encourage us to forgive ourselves, and move on. Another paradox: although we know each person is doing his or her best in the world, when they create suffering for many people, we are obligate to resist them.

As healers, all this comes into focus as we call forth the best in those who ask for our aid. We seek to see the person as they are at heart. We try to understand the ways the woven strands of history have distorted this vision, and reweave the structure of the present moment, offering the person a moment of connection, joy, and clear sightedness. We hold the possibility of healing for persons and the world.

Last night, another friend and I went to hear the Vermont Symphony Orchestra perform works by Rossini, Mozart, and Beethoven. Listening to Anna Polonsky and the Orchestra play the Mozart 27th Concerto, I was taken back to that earlier, fireside, conversation. The players obviously enjoyed the music, clearly entering into the world Mozart had created, and allowing themselves to be born along on the ephemeral notes, so transient in the moment, yet concrete on the page.

This afternoon I returned to the Flynn to see the film, “The Monk and the Mermaid”. The film functions as an extended interview with the jazz great, Charles Lloyd, and his wife, Dorthy Darr. Both are deeply aware of the movement of Spirit, and speak to the complex world making that accompanies artistic creation. Their lives have touched, and been touched, by many of the great jazz, blues, and rock musicians and groups of our time. From some forty years of art making, they spoke to life, and the nature of reality, in words and metaphors easily understood by shamans and mystics everywhere. I was sad to discover I had missed  two public conversations, one which included music making, earlier in the day.

Once again I find myself sitting by the fire. The temperature outside is -10 Fahrenheit, and I am grateful for the warmth.  This weekend, these strands of appreciation for the ancestors, for warming fires, and All That Is, seem to be in the air. I am glad, and feel deeply blessed.

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