Reading The Paper? …



Post DispatchI did something different yesterday …

For decades, since I was a young guy, reading a daily paper has been a habit in which I have delighted.

Sitting down with a new paper and a fresh cup of coffee was how I began my day.

I learned about world and local news, was challenged to think beyond my perceptions, and even enjoyed some great cartoon strips and word games over the year.

This was part of who I was and how I rolled.

Of course, eventually I entered the online world and over time, the daily paper became less of a delight and more of a distraction.

I got used to getting my news, my thinking challenges, and my entertainment from a screen, a website, or a constantly scrolling list of email messages.  We cancelled our daily paper subscription … no time and less inclination to seek out the tangible news of the day.

However, I found myself with a few minutes on my hands while waiting for my car repairs to be complete and, instead of pulling out my smart phone or powering up the iPad, I just picked up the St. Louis Post Dispatch, an old friend who I had been neglecting for some years now.

I found a blend of news from around the world and up the street, including some human interest articles which I missed with all my online news stream.  Many of my favorite comic strips were present to greet me and I found that, like old friends, catching up with the flow of events was quick, easy, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Leo HoroscopeFor whatever reasons, I choose to share my horoscope for yesterday, which waxes eloquently about my ability to wax eloquent, which may or may not be true.

I was rather disappointed when my sojourn was interrupted by the cashier who announced that I was ready to rejoin my world in progress.

… makes me wonder:

What else am I missing from times past?

Not the imagined better, simpler, and more peaceful times, because we tend to remember things as better than they were.

Not the lack of modern conveniences.  I like my slick, electronic doodads and distractions too much to go back to rotary dials and rabbit ears on the television, to say nothing of outdoor plumbing or cars that pour pollutants into the air.

I am thinking about rituals and practices that added pleasure and learning to my life on a daily basis …

What about you?   What did you used to do that brought you value and pleasure?

What stops you from doing it now?

Now what REALLY stops you from reclaiming your rituals and practices?

Having quite the time actually reading an actual paper in the Heartland ….


On Reclaiming Things …


Warning:  The following video will take about 8 minutes of your life  … not counting possibly many extra hours spent listening to all the other cuts by each of these talented groups and individuals.

Maybe it’s because I used to sing with abandon, when I was much younger and less sensitive to the criticism of others or creating very high standards for myself.  

I used to sing just because I enjoying singing …

Do you remember things you used to do that are no longer part of your life, because of other’s words or your own perfectionism?

It might be singing, or dancing, or dabbling in paint … or maybe it’s something entirely different.

May be time to reclaim something once lost …

At the very least, I hope you just sit back, listen, and enjoy some talented singing, with nary an instrument in sight, other than a number of well-trained and talented human voices.


Disclaimer:  I pay Peter Hollens (The Pirate Guy) a few bucks every time he puts out a new video, so if you really want to hurt me, just become a fan and demand more, more, more …

What the heck … taking the rest of the evening off and maybe even warbling a tune or two in the Heartland ….


Not Fitting Under the Christmas Tree …

I have had extra time to think, while unable to do my usual things this week.  One thing that I indulged myself over was thinking about Christmas presents I would like to receive that would not fit under the Christmas tree.

Yeah, I mentioned world peace, an end to exclusion, intolerance, hatred, hunger, and all the rest.  However, past those lofty desires, I am left with only one thing on the list, but I do expand on that one desire a bit:

Old HouseAn old farmhouse far enough back off the main road to feel alone, but not so far that you feel lonely …

White sides, with dark blue or dark green trim on everything.

Worn, but in a good way … like an old and familiar coat, that slips easily on, provides comfort and warmth, without sharp edges.

Two stories minimum, with three preferably … the taller, the better.

Lots of windows, in a climate that was friendly to light and did not promote leaking air.

A second floor with a patio and enough space for four or five to sit comfortably close and watch the world go by.

Sleeping space for up to 16 people at a time, for family, friends, and colleagues to visit the quietness.

Close to or overlooking a body of water, ideally salt water, with a view of rippling waves for eternal delight.

Near a large town or small city, but not so close that I am tempted to visit there every day … once a week would be suffiicent to resupply and enjoy the movement of the town.

Pipes that creak every now and then to remind you of their existence and make the house seem alive.

There would be cats …

Gables and other architectural oddities … no predominant style, just a jumble of different perspectives on solid and eye-catching architecture.

Trees … the type that look scary in winter, but lush when in bloom during the spring.

A porch … a very long porch, with ample seating for 10 to 12 people, with railings and a swing … at both ends.

Perched on a small hill or far enough up a mountain to maintain a  soul-soothing view of the previously-mentioned body of water.

A somewhat well-kept lawn, but not manicured or completely tamed, with a variety of greens, yellows, reds, and whatever other colors Nature provides.

Southern exposure, to take full advantage of all those windows and all those sitting places.

Solid and dependable Internet coverage to maintain contact with people, events, and the world (sorry, but this is like needing drinking water for me.)

Well, that’s my big wish for the Christmas season …

No chance I will actually get this one, but I did learn a few things about what is in my heart, as I engaged in this little whimsy, while recovering from several physical issues.

When you let yourself dream, you are not always just fiddling away time.  As I continued to let thoughts pour out of me, I noticed some things popping out, which I need to consider more seriously for the future.

1)  I apparently desire to “return to the land”, not as a farmer, but I bet I could write up a storm in the environment above.

2)  I like the variety of nature and the changing seasons.

3)  I do not need the hustle and bustle of the city. 

4)  I have room for visitors, which means I do not wish a solitary life.

5)  Being away from the finer things of civilization (Internet excepted) is attractive to me.

I am still pondering, so additional insights might be forthcoming.  In the meanwhile, I have a question for you to consider:

“What’s your Christmas present?  You know, the one that won’t fit under the tree.”

Letting myself dream a little more during the hurry, scurry, and blurry of the season in the Heartland ….


The Prayer In The Ritual

Here’s a link to my post over at Searching Sophia’s Pocket about the power of ritual:  The Prayer In The Ritual.

If you are not already aware of this thoughtful and thought-provoking blog by Autumn and Jenna … well, now you are, so no excuses …

Enjoying a little break from my own rituals in the Heartland ….



World Philosophy Day 2014 – UNESCO

 PhilosophyToday is World Philosophy Day … a day devoted to thinking about thinking …

Philosophy is one of those much-maligned notions … we often misunderstand or simply do not recognize the centrality of our philosophies to how we live.  Too often, we run screaming from anything that smacks of a philosophical nature, a looking at a thing or a concept from a meta-view.  Sometimes being philosophical equates to being hard to understand, even when the best philosophy is as clear as clean water.

I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.

Charles M. Schulz

For some, philosophy equates to religion or spirituality, although it is not just that.  Our religious beliefs will reflect our philosophies around ourself and others, but philosophy also addresses non-religious issues.

For others, philosophy represents a wasting of time pondering “mushy” things, and not getting on with the business of living.  I blame philosophers for this one, since sometimes the philosophic among us take guilty pleasure in being mysterious through unclear or mystic thoughts, apparent only to them. 

Philosophy is common sense with big words.

James Madison

For too many, philosophy is idle consideration of minutiae and trivialities.  Philosophy can be sidetracked by interesting, but not universal questions and we sometimes just plain take refuge in considering the philosophy of a thing, rather than living that thing.

Philosophy often seems inaccessible or confusing, or at least it did when I studied it in formal education.  However, I have found that the consideration and creation of a personal philosophy, combined with the evaluation of jointly held philosophies to be the most important elements of my life.  

Insert your own closely held belief about life here:)

Our philosophy determines our lives.  

For much more about this day, click HERE.

Feeling rather thoughtful in the Heartland ….