It’s All Easy Sailing From Here

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. – Albert Camus

In the bleak midwinter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, Long ago. – Christina G. Rossetti

But see, Orion sheds unwholesome dews; Arise, the pines a noxious shade diffuse; Sharp Boreas blows, and nature feels decay, Time conquers all, and we must time obey. – Alexander Pope

Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. – Victor Hugo

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. – Anne Bradstreet

Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me. – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Alas the clutches of winter have set in, and a pall has descended upon us. When I get home at 4:30, I feel so encumbered by sleep it’s difficult to keep my eyes open. A lethargy of body, mind, and heart seems to enshroud me. Ah but the winter solstice has passed, and now we are on the slow and gradual climb of daylight. Each day is a wee bit longer than the last. One day I would love to go to one of the celestial sites (like Stonehenge, but hopefully less crowded) and observe the sunrise/sunset on the Winter Solstice. Then of course go to a big party just like our ancestors did, and celebrate the climb out of the wintry well of darkness! I can only imagine that in the day of candles, or hell even before that, the knowledge that the sunlight was gonna stick around just a little longer was definitely something to celebrate. So while in our current situation the solstice may not be life-threatening I, like so many others, am feeling my heartstrings be plucked a little louder. I am looking forward to the beautiful spring, and all that that brings. Of course if the economy doesn’t start improving, who knows. Say will you pass the gruel please?

 

As you were.

When the waters are muddied, everyone gets dirty.

The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about.

The constitutional freedom of religion [is] the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights. – Thomas Jefferson

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. –  Derek Bok

Religion, as well as reason, confirms the soundness of those principles on which our government has been founded and its rights asserted. – Thomas Jefferson

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. – Albert Einstein

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. – Thomas Jefferson

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. –  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I purposefully intermixed quotes concerning freedom of religion with quotes of ignorance. While I agree that our constitution’s freedom of religion is of paramount importance. What we see with some is a proof in point that reason trumps spiritual thinking in government every time. This story from MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40587353/ns/us_news-life/

A church that pickets funerals to protest what it calls American immorality says its members will be picketing the service this Saturday for Elizabeth Edwards, who died of breast cancer on Tuesday.

Based in Topeka, Kan., the Westboro Baptist Church said it would be outside the Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C., during the funeral for the former wife of one-time vice presidential candidate John Edwards.

I personally condemn the ignorant blathering of this church’s congregation, and vapid leadership they have in Fred Phelps. In their deluded in-bred minds, they have somehow felt God has told them to disgrace the memory of the departed and to hurl flaming brands of hurt and injustice at the grieving. I deplore this, and I do not believe the god they worship is a god of love, but a god of spite, hate, and vitriol.

Ok now stepping down off my soapbox, I want to say that though I wish these deplorable people weren’t doing this, I believe that they are doing the world a great service. I jokingly say that “Momma alwasy said if you can’t be good for anything else, you can be good for a bad example!” I usually do it just to get a chuckle, but really now this does apply! The denizens of the Westboro Baptist Church are letting everyone know, quite vividly and clearly, just how ignorant … well how ignorant the ignorant can be! And to be willfully ignorant is intolerable. But thank you Westborians, you have and are continuing to show us just how terrible, just how dangerous ignorance can be. I say dangerous because they are influencing some young people. Fortunately I’ve met enough “recovering Catholics” to know that theycan get over this. But as a side note, I commend the students at Gunn high school:

Hundreds at Gunn, Stanford counter picketers from Fred Phelps’ Kansas church

by Lisa M. Krieger, San Jose Mercury News
January 29, 2010

The small cadre of Kansas picketers who came to Gunn High School Friday morning were drowned out by a raucous and celebratory counter-protest of students, teachers, parents and their supporters.

United against outsiders who targeted the school because of its recent suicides, the Bay Area counter-protesters fought Westboro Church’s brimstone with their own fire, by singing songs, waving American flags and holding banners proclaiming love and tolerance.

Joined by students from Menlo Park, Fremont and other nearby schools, Gunn responded to the Bible-thumpers with their own messages: “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself,” “1 Corinthians: “There is nothing love cannot face,” and “Gay? Fine With Me.”

The traveling members of Westboro Baptist Church stood on Arastradero Road to flay the most unlikely victims: school children already traumatized by the five recent suicides of Gunn-associated students.

Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_14295198 

 This heartens me. I do know that our country, and our society will survive when I see things like this. Our youth standing up for human compassion, and really for the love that I feel the real God stands for. I believe the quote goes “There is no greater love than that a man will lay down his life for his brother.” Not that he would picket his brother’s funeral because of antiquated ideals.

I suppose if I wanted to start getting political I could start ranting about intolerance and all that, but I choose not to. Instead I merely say.

Westboro Baptist Church members…. Shame. On. You!!!!!

Eyes turned to the heavens

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless falls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor eer eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God. – John Gillespie Magee

All civilizations become either spacefaring or extinct. – Carl Sagan

To venture into space we must be strong-willed and determined. We must be fully committed to its exploration and discovery; space permits no half measures and is unforgiving of mistakes. – Henry Joy Mccracken

A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged. One can’t put the difference into words. When the man is a friend it may become painful: the old footing is not easy to recover. – C.S. Lewis

For how many centuries have mankind’s eyes turned skyward? Looking deep into the unknown, even unfathomable, and searching for something. This something often turned into a god, or gods, something to help our species understand what was so keenly foreign. I am continually amazed when I read of ancient civilizations getting glimpses into the understanding of the universe. But sadly usually they were overrun by ignorant warlords. I suppose in some ways that still happens, but I’m digressing. In a “because it’s there” quest, mankind is continuing to turn eyes to the heavens, but now we have been there. And although it has looked a bit bleak recently, things are starting to look up! (No pun intended.) Today marks a milestone, SpaceX’s Dragon ship was launched, orbited, broke orbit and reentered the atmosphere, and successfully splashed down! I know that doesn’t sound like much, but this is a private company we are talking about here. Sure they were assisted by NASA, and funded by NASA, but it was all a SpaceX operation. Mission Control et al was ran by SpaceX. I am very proud of our species today. If there is a hereafter, and our situation could be know by those in it… Carl Sagan surely is smiling! I just hope my children will have the opportunity to take a trip to space!

As you were.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. – Carl Reiner

And finally Winter, with its bitin’, whinin’ wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow. – Roy Bean

As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words. – William Shakespeare

I played a heap of snow in a school play. I was under a sheet, and crawled out when spring came. I often say I’ll never reach the same artistic level again. – Stellan Skarsgard

Ahhh winter comes to Franklin. Yes our first little snow of the season. And it couldn’t come at a better time. True those north of the Mason Dixon line would laugh at what I am calling snow, but boy it sure felt good to me. After my trip to New York City for Thanksgiving, I made a decision to start walking to work… hell if I can walk all over Manhattan, and walk to the subway to get around why can’t I walk a measly one mile to work? So I’ve done quite well so far. And this morning was a great treat. A nice walk in to work in the snow. Sadly, I am having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year. So many things have changed in my life, and it seems that all that I’ve known as the “holidays” are gone. But all is not lost, this simple little snow has helped me quite a bit to reason with the season. If there’s one thing I can do, it’s adapt. And adapt I will. I appreciate all my friends and family that are there for me, even when I’m not.

Now as an interesting side note… Our office is located right next to a Catholic church, and it’s sort of a hassle because all the church goers park in our parking lot, and the parking lot of the building across the street. Even though one block over, and the church spans the block, is a city parking garage. Four levels of free parking! So my boss who also comes in to work most every weekend started a few years ago putting the orange “cones of death” up to try to keep us a few parking spaces. Evidently a lot of Catholics can’t read. Recently though the building across the way was bought by rather wealthy real estate fellow who also likes to work on the weekends. Last Sunday he came in to work, but there was only one parking space open in his parking lot, sadly it was a handicapped parking space, and wouldn’t you know it… he got a ticket because he parked there! I’m thinking this sort of pissed him off because now there are signs up at the entrances to the parking lot that it’s private parking and all cars will be towed. I can say this… he is true to his word! This morning I personally witnessed five cars being towed! I’m thinking there are some Catholics that are really gonna need to go to confession for dirty language! Quite an interesting development. But life goes on.

Thanks for listening.

As you were.

My 21st Century Zen Moment

“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.” – Alan Watts

“The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring there.” – Robert M. Pirsig

“That Was Zen; This Is Tao!” 

What an impact technology has made on our lives, and I have finally experienced that profound moment when it all comes together and hits you in the gut. My 21st century zen moment.

I recently traveled to Brooklyn to celebrate Thanksgiving with some of my great family. While there I was able to enjoy their ummm “facilities”. Now like everyone else, there was a small library for casual reading during your “down” time. I happened across a book that really intrigued me:

An appropiate book for my revelation.

 As I sat there pondering these deep questions, and perhaps learning a little zen, I was overcome with a desire to own this particular book. Well, I thought I could probably just make a mental note of the title, but knowing me I’d forget all about it once my movement was over. Aha! I had it… I’d use my iPhone to create a voice memo. Whipping out my iPhone and opening it up I saw my Amazon shopping app. Hmmm thought I… So I started the Amazon app, selected barcode scan, turned the book over and scanned the barcode. Thus began my journey to realization! The Amazon app not only found the book in question, but found many copies. Most of the results were used, so running through the list I found one that was used and in good condition, and was also eligable for Amazon Prime! One click, a confirmation, and six dollars later my book was ordered. Today I received my book via UPS. All of this while sitting on the john! What a wonderful world we live in today!

Ok maybe not technically a zen moment, but a technically zen moment!

As you were.

Rule Breaker, or Rule Maker?

“Sign Sign everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign”
– Five Man Electrical Band

“A few strong instincts and a few plain rules suffice us.”
 – Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
“Jesus was all virtue, and acted from impulse, not from rules.”
 – William Blake

“Be prepared, be sharp, be careful, and use the King’s English well. And you can forget all the [other rules] unless you remember one more: Get paid.”
 – Robert N. C. Nix

“You measure a democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.”
 – Abbie Hoffman

I have often thought of this. In general people are either rule followers or rule breakers. Oh of course there are the gray areas, but I am speaking in general. I know for my part, I tend to be a rule follower, but with a subtle streak of rebellion. When I was in the Navy, I would keep my hair as long as I could, just because I thought the rule was silly. I also tend to be the troublesome employee who always questions the rules. But I also usually follow them. Even now, on Sundays when I come into work I drive in the exit lane. (for reasons I won’t go into) And I actually have that twinge of guilt, and hope that no one saw me!

So are rules, or laws a good thing? Well, I think obviously so. Rule of Law is a notion that was pondered in ancient Greece, and though the Roman emperors were not subject to the law often they voluntarily submitted to it. Rule of Law is that the law applies to all equally. Good in theory, but in practice? Hmmm. Well back to Rule of law, this from Wikipedia:

In 1776, the notion that no one is above the law was popular during the founding of the United States, for example Thomas Paine wrote in his pamphlet Common Sense that “in America, the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”[14] In 1780, John Adams enshrined this principle in the Massachusetts Constitution by seeking to establish “a government of laws and not of men.”

Yes it’s obvious that if we have a set of laws, or a standard by which we are all held accountable, how can this be a bad thing? Well, it’s not a bad thing. I like that we have a set of laws, written by representatives who are duly elected by the populace. This is, in my opinion, much better than all of the alternatives. Sharia law, the laws of Moses, laws of whim and warlords are all of a nature that I feel is abhorrent to a modern society or culture. Too much wiggle room for my taste. So yeah our system of laws and rules in this country are, again in my opinion, the best possible natural option.

So where is the problem? Well, it’s often in the application of the laws. It’s so true that the ruling class in any given era or locale has the privilege of applying the law or not. How many times have you seen a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) speeding past you, only to later see him or her sitting by the roadside radar gun in hand. Now that’s a benign misapplication, and certainly one that you can’t use as a defense of a speeding ticket. Me: “Your honor, I was only going with the traffic flow. I wasn’t going faster than anyone else!” Judge: “Son, when you go fishin’ you can’t catch ’em all!”. No, for years the law was used as a club to keep certain people down. Race, religion, sex, all these were categories that have been used and abused by the law at one time or another. Bad rulers… no doughnut for you.

But I’m really digressing now, let’s get back to following or breaking rules. You know, there are certain rules that are just plain good. Like rules against murder, now that’s a good rule. But we can break that rule, wars, police chases, home invasions, all valid reasons to negate that rule. Hmmm. Well, still a good rule. But it’s the little rules that are often times mind numbingly stupid. And these are the rules we sometimes MUST break. Because then it calls attention to the dumb rule, and maybe we can get it stricken from the books. Like for instance: indecency rules. Why is it that women can’t go topless, but men can? Not fair. Break that rule!!!! I say we have a little civil disobedience ladies! And to go along with the “save the Ta-Ta’s” month it would be even more appropriate for a nationwide rule breaking event! Hey I’m behind you 100%! But seriously folks, rules/laws are good, they give us a basis for our society, but remember it’s “we the people” that are the deciding factor! Let’s let our representatives know we are aware and attentive.

As you were.

Sailing the treacherous waters of the grieving process.

 Mourning is not linear.
It cycles around again and again,
sometimes when you least expect it.
— Unknown

You incorporate the loss into the inner landscape of who you are.
— Unknown

Mind’s eye seeing you,
Heart’s ache missing your presence;
Life’s river running
— Marvin L. C. Hoffman

If you have followed my posts on this blog, or on facebook you will know that I have suffered the loss of my Mother. I have tried to take this all in stride, it’s part of life’s cycle. Actually this has been the desired scenerio, I would not have wanted my Mother to have suffered the death of one of her children. And this is a terrible suffering that has occurred very close to us, and very devastating. So yes, this is the way life should play out. Pragmatically that is. But I have always been a creature emotion. In most everything I have done in my life, most every decision, and emotion has been the decisive factor. I don’t always show my emotion, but that was learned trait. When I was seventeen, my Father committed suicide. Not something that one should expect in life, and was definitely a life-changing event. This left my Mother and me. During the aftermath of this calamity she and I became much closer. Interestingly, if she and I had a tiff, or even a minor disagreement, I could not leave it unfinished. I would have to seek her out and apologize or do whatever I could to make it “alright.” The fleeting vapor of life had hit me hard, and I could not imagine the thought of losing her without her knowing how much I loved her. I could not fathom another loss of a loved one, without closure, like I had with my Father. But my Mom and I shared a common bond of dealing with my Father’s death; we would ignore and not talk about it. But you can’t really do that, now can you? I graduated high school with middling grades, and got a scholarship to the University of Tennessee – Martin, this turned out to be a very feeble attempt at college, as most of what I learned to do was drink hang out with friends and sleep through my class periods. But I made some friends; one in particular was a guy who was in about the same boat as me. We had spent many a night in the dorm drinking and talking about our lives. I had told him some of the Navy stories that my Dad had told me of World War II. He and I both were failing out of school, and so we decided to join the Navy. On the day appointed to go sign up, I chickened out; Cary did not.  So he left for adventure, and I left school. Back home to east Tennessee, and back home to my Mom. I got a job in a factory which was hard but somewhat fulfilling work. However it didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted more from life than a factory could provide. One morning my Mom woke me and told me that I had a long distance phone call. It was my friend Cary. “Hey Marv, How’s it going?” He said. I replied a mumbling response of nothing much. “Guess where I’m calling you from?” He asked. Hardly waiting for a response he added: “Scotland! I’m on a submarine! And guess what?! I’m a Torpedoman’s mate. Just like your Dad was!” A lump the size of Gibraltar rose in my throat. I was working second shift at the factory, so that day I left a little early and saw a Navy recruiter. One week later I was on my way to boot camp! There you go, even my decision to join the Navy was mostly based on emotion.

All my life I have gone from thing to thing. Accomplishing much, but somehow not feeling that I was on a path at all. The Navy taught me that I was smart enough to accomplish whatever I set my mind to, just work hard. I am ashamed to say that at times I would quit a thing just because I had lost interest, but I suppose that is somehow part of the emotional aspect. But no matter, through all my life’s ups and downs. Through all my adventures, I have always known that my Mom was the central and pivotal thing in my life. I always knew that even if the shit hit the fan, I could go home to Mom. I didn’t need to, but I could. It was an awesome safety net. Now, my safety net is gone. I now feel as if I am on my own in life for the first time. I have raised two wonderful sons, and have been a good influence in my daughter’s life. I am a successful fellow in my company, we have worked hard and grown this startup company to more than four times its starting size. But I am still alone now. I honestly sometimes feel a little lost. Like I’m navigating treacherous waters and the light in the lighthouse has been extinguished. Not a pleasant feeling at all.

But I do believe that this is yet another piece of the grieving process, and I will make it through this just like I made it through all the ORSEs we had on the boat, just like every other difficult and uncomfortable thing I’ve been through. Don’t cry for me Argentina, I am still smiling. I am surrounded by wonderful friends and family who are very supportive and loving. I have my work to keep me occupied, and all my varied interests to continue to pique my brain. It is hard to not shake my fist at the heavens and shout, “Why!” To ask why my Dad did what he did, to question the face of God and say why did you let my Mom suffer.  But I do continue to smile, and now in my fiftieth year on this planet, I am writing, which is providing me a way to address these facets of my life. And I am happy. An odd dichotomy of happy and sad really, but I am happy.

Alright that is all. Thank you everyone.

On Wingnuts and Boots

“…without a Respectable Navy, Alas America!” – Captain John Paul Jones

“A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace.” – President Theodore Roosevelt

“I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.'” – President John F. Kennedy

Though at times, many time, I hated being in the Navy, I fear that I have fallen prey to that disease of most old men; Looking back. But look back I do, and with great pride at what I was a part of. I was about as dumb as they come, but being there; and being there with all the great people that I was surrounded with, now gives me a great and awesome feeling of honor. An outsider looking in would have thought that we all hated each other with all the pseudo-derision we plied to one another. It seems that every little group was “dissin'” the others. Electricians calling ELTs “smooth crotches”, Machinist Mates “knuckle draggers”. Then it was the “f’ing nukes” vs. the “forward pukes”. But all bubbleheads banded together against the “target” sailors. Yeah, I guess it was just part of the culture. And God help you if you showed any sort of weakness! Any weakness would be acted on quickly! Whew! But man, when it hit the fan, we were all part of the same crew. Sure you’d get aggravated at this person, or that person, but we were… well we were all in the same boat! And we knew it too.

Since I’ve been a civilian, I’ve missed the camaraderie we had on the boat. People out here hold grudges. I’m the same person I’ve always been. I tend to tell it like it is, and I rarely hold my tongue. But I will praise you, and I will apologize if I’m wrong. It’s not about me, it’s about us. That’s the way I feel at our company. But out here in the civilian world, “they” really do eat each other! Sad. Gossip mongers and such. Well, yeah the radio shack was “rumor control central” but hell that was different. Wasn’t it?

I just have to say that I would work with any of my old shipmates again. No matter what. I do think we were changed by that time, and, in my opinion, changed for the better.

I know you guys have all gone on to succeed in all that you’ve done. I just hope that we have all shown those around us a bit of what was good about that time.

Ok. Back to work.

Living the digital dream

“Foolproof systems don’t take into account the ingenuity of fools.” – Gene Brown.

“Morons. These people who live in my apartment complex are connected to my wireless. They must think they’re super-cool hackers by breaking into my completely unsecure network. Unfortunatly, the connection works both ways. Long story short, they now have loads of horse porn on their computer.” – Mootar from bash.org.

“You know you’re a geek when… You try to shoo a fly away from the monitor with your cursor. That just happened to me. It was scary.” – Juuso Heimonen.

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“I rigged my cellular to send a message to my PDA, which is online with my PC, to get it to activate the voicemail, which sends the message to the inbox of my email, which routes it to the PDA, which beams it back to the cellular. Then I realized my gadgets have a better social life than I do !” – Tom Ostad.

Well, here we are again. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Or whatever. Me, I’m just an old man trying to keep up with the continually changing world. Working for a software company does make it a bit easier, but it’s all still just a tad foreign to me. Sort of like a language learned in adulthood, sure you can pretty damned fluent in it, but the nuances and intricacies, mostly societal of course, will kill you.

The gist of this post is semi-rhetorical, in that I’m trying to create my digital environment to be something flexible, simple, and as omnipresent as possible. I use MS Outlook for work email, primary calendar, and for my main contact repository. This calendar and contact repository is synced with my apple iPhone, and iPad via MobileMe. But my personal email is handled through hotmail via Live Mail Desktop (beta). So I’d like to come up with some scheme whereby I can use each of these tools, yet allow them to interconnect/interact so that I can have one consolidated calendar “view”, and one pool of contacts.This is my goal.

I have been experimenting with different tools and such to try to achieve this ultimate goal, but currently it’s about like the grand unification theory. The tools I use were chosen because of expediency (e.g. Outlook at work for scheduled meetings, and all other employees use Outlook), and for features. I like the junk mail tools of Live Mail Desktop, but they are crappy in Outlook. I did try to start using Google mail, but I just don’t like the interface. I know a lot of it is what I am used to, and I am willing to try new things to make things “more better”.

So if any friends, or web stumblers would like to make suggestions, feel free. But please note that if you just start bashing a certain company, read Microsoft, or try to proselytize me into the church of open source I will probably not approve your comment. That being said, I won’t just disapprove a comment because it disagrees with me, but I want constructive, not destructive comments.

As you were.

Labyrinthine Dreams

I have designed my style pantomimes as white ink drawings on black backgrounds, so that man’s destiny appears as a thread lost in an endless labyrinth. I have tried to shed some gleams of light on the shadow of man startled by his anguish.
Marcel Marceau

Labyrinths have a bad reputation, only because they are so often confused with a maze. While they are very similar, with twists and turns, but the difference boils down to this: Mazes have dead-ends, labyrinths do not! So really, a labyrinth is just a circuitous path to one and only one end. A maze can have one or more successful paths either to the intended location, or through the maze. According to Wikipedia, a labyrinth has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not designed to be difficult to navigate.

I have been intrigued by labyrinths for years, and will one day lay one out somewhere. A labyrinth is a great tool to be used for meditation, and thought. I like that it’s difficult to have a pre-conceived notion of what you will think of while navigating a labyrinth, as the walk may take you longer than a rote memorization of something will take. So you are left to think. Also, the navigation is simple, you just follow the path. Typically the end is always in sight, although I assume there may be a labyrinth somewhere that has hedges high enough to disallow seeing the ending, but really this isn’t the point. The point is to ponder one’s journey. So again, since you can see the end, it’s not about the destination but the journey. A direct correlation to life in my opinion. We are all destined for the same end, and there is but one path to get there: live! But the things that occur to us during the journey are what make it special. The smells of flowers along the way. The feeling of the leaves brushing across your shoulder as you duck under a low hanging branch. The feeling of the sun on your shoulders. And even the smell of the paint the maintenance man is using to pretty up the church. The paint smell certainly isn’t something I planned on as I walked the labyrinth at Glendale Methodist Church in Nashville last Saturday, and could have counted as a distraction, but was just another facet of the journey. Not everything in life is expected, or wanted, but life goes on; and my labyrinthine journey went on as well. Of course unlike life, I was able to turn around and walk back out. I’m actually kinda glad.

If you get a chance, walk a labyrinth. Clear your mind. There is a Zen principle “Walk while walking.” Use this when you walk your labyrinth. You can find them at a lot of churches, I think Methodist churches tend to have them.

As you were.