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As we come to the end of the calendar year,
I believe that we (at least in the United States)
are launching into a new experience.
Values we believed we held in common
are no longer shared (if they ever were).
I find myself wanting to clutch at certainty,
to know what is coming,
to lean into rules and regulations.
By coincidence – if you believe in coincidence –
I was clearing some of my e-mail folders
and came upon the worship manifesto of the
New Kirkpatrick Church (outside Glasgow)
at which my colleague Roddy Hamilton is minister.
It reads in part:
Never do the same thing twice.
First time is radical.
Second time is a tradition.
Let the danger of not knowing what will happen
and going to places we’ve never been
be the adventure…
I am going to try to be that daring and adventurous in 2017.
I don’t think a ‘little tweak’ is going to change much
at this point in our history.
…but, is it Art?
We had the wonderful opportunity this week
to see Star Wars and the Power of Costume
at the Denver Art Museum.
I was amused to read a couple of articles that
asked (in rather loaded language) whether this exhibit
belonged at an art museum because it was a toss-up
whether costumes could be considered art.
[Now I don’t want to be making unwarranted assumptions,
but my guess is that if we were talking about the costumes
from some obscure opera, the question about whether
they were art would never have come up.] Meanwhile, I am going to observe as gently as possible
that fundamentalism is not limited to religious beliefs.
No one seems to question whether the Mona Lisa is art
and, frankly, I find it pedestrian in the extreme
(and I don’t care that it was painted by a ‘great artist.’)
And I have seen more than my share of landscapes by
Dutch ‘old masters’ that I wouldn’t store in my garage.
If the purpose of art is to transform the vision of society,
these seventy costumes are art.
If extraordinary artistic skill and technique are requirements,
these seventy costumes qualify.
The fact that they also needed to convey instantaneously
the social structure of a universe,
the evolving inter-relationship of characters,
and a constellation of competing cultural values
makes them not merely art, but brilliant art in my eyes.
If you are in the metro Denver area, let me know what you think.
Guest Post: Carrie Fisher (1956 – 2016)
Carrie Fisher was one of my earliest inspirations in her role as Princess Leia. Anyone could have delivered those lines, but no one could have delivered them like she did. She was feisty, no-nonsense, a problem solver – and she made her place in the command center of the rebellion look entirely natural, which was no mean feat in that era in Hollywood.
Later, Carrie became a spokeswoman for the treatment of mental illness. She was unflinching in her stories of her own struggles, but she wasn’t afraid to name them, or to laugh at them. Both of those, each incredibly courageous, gave me courage to tackle the demons in my own head. It was difficult to see the pictures from the set of Star Wars and recognize the too-bright smile that hides depression, but she continued to fight the sadness and fear, and I was inspired by that fight.
Read the full post HERE…
Debbie Reynolds has quietly relinquished her life
only a day after she lost her daughter.
The world feels a little darker at the moment,
but I faith in the vision of Rabindranath Tagore, who said,
Death is not extinguishing the light;
it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.
Certainly I know that nothing can take the light from us
without our consent.
It is a day for calling up the memories of singing in the rain,
and beloved faces no longer visible to physical eyes,
and words of advice or inspiration in voices no longer heard.
Samhain is the season of intentionally honoring those
who have been mentors and role models…
Who will you be honoring today?
Universal Heart Care
On this day in 1924, Edwin Hubble
announced the existence of other galactic systems
at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
(Just think about that for a minute: less than 100 years ago,
we were not sure that there was anything beyond our own.)
Ten years later, his photographs had confirmed
that there were at least as many other galaxies
as there are stars in the Milky Way.
So, why is it that, over three-quarters of a century later,
so many of us still act as if there isn’t anyone else in the universe?
Someone who might possibly be negatively impacted by, say,
our texting while we are driving at (only) 4 miles over the speed limit?
As we prepare to embark on a new year,
could we leave behind in the old one
a thoughtless or dangerous or self-centered habit or two (or ten)?
Maybe we could take some time today
to reflect on things we are doing regularly now
that we would never have considered doing a decade or two ago.
Are they an improvement for the world? Really?
[The Horsehead Nebula, copyright 2009, Nigel Sharp. (Used by permission)]
Yesterday’s post got me thinking about resolutions
(specifically New Year’s Resolutions) –
today is, after all, the last day of 2016.
I’m wondering what the world would be like
if we all took this opportunity to release
unhealthy or unproductive behaviors
rather than adding one more good intention to our daily plans.
Aren’t most of us already over-extended?
Do we really think adding an exercise regimen
or language lessons
or cultural experiences
to our calendar is going to improve our lives
(or the lives of those who have to live with us?)
About 92% of resolutions have to do with losing weight;
what if we relinquished the weight of too-full schedules?
the emotional weight of feeling guilty
because we aren’t doing enough fast enough and well enough?
the psychological weight of old grudges and unresolved anger?
What if we opened our hands and heart
and resolved to let go of more stuff, more events, and more social media,
and embraced less stress, less adrenaline, fewer goals, and less distraction?
What if enough was enough in 2017?
As you cross into 2017 through the thin space
of time’s threshold, a prayer:
God of this moment, this very now,
let me be for this time and this people
the word you need,
the heart you need,
the prayer you need,
the hands you need,
the hope you need,
the compassion you need,
the challenge you need,
the peace you need.
Let it be so.
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015, 2016 Immram Chara, LLC