The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Saturday, September 29, 2012

And as we come to claim our promised place,
Aim only to repay the good you gave,
And warm with human love the chill of space.

— Prof. Thomas G. Bergin, Yale University, 'Space Prober.' This was the first poem to be launched into orbit about the Earth. It was inscribed on the instrument panel of a satellite called Traac launched from Cape Kennedy on November 15, 1961

photo attributed to Ian  Powell

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I would like to see something like this ... the picture.  I would like to see butterflies at one of their migration stops. On the trail, some kind of fungus (?) grew on some of the trees and looked a lot like this ... pretty neat.

Today I am painting upstairs.  It is an attic room with a 1/2 bath and a huge storage closet ( toys are stored there ... I think my kids will like seeing their old toys again some day ... maybe ... if they don't that's fine too.)  The room upstairs, large, light filled, airy, was one of my favorite things about this house when we bought it ... uh, 20 years ago (I've lost count of how many times I have painted these walls). Yesterday I very gently began to pull the drop cloth up the stairs ... and a bucket of paint tumped over and spilt out on the stairs ... pretty much all over three stairs.  Frustrating. I'll come back and do all the touch up at once ... just a little re-staining and re do on the chevrons. At least now I know that the contact paper will accept a coat of paint.  Plan on putting poly on the steps and risers once I'm truly done with the whole project.
All three of my girls are asking for an upholstered head board.  I am looking forward to those projects to tell the truth ... painting is so tedious!

Yesterday when I hopped over to the love language site I saw some thoughts there that I hadn't heard before.  There were notes on the converse of love "feeling" which can develop around the same five preferred ways of receiving love.  I don't think hate is the opposite of love as I use the word here ... I'm going to say these five "portals" for love may just as readily be "portals" for pain.  For example, if I am fluent in physical touch as a love language (and I tend to be a touch-er ... I've just gotten to be someone who doesn't like to be touched over the years ... I think I am just a bit hypersensitive to being touched intentionally by strangers ... touch isn't casual to me ... wow, I sound a little weirder then I really am.  Let's just say I have a bubble that I routinely reach out from, but I don't like people reaching in to.  Yeah, that's it.) ... fluent in physical touch as a love language then I may be more vulnerable to being hurt with unwanted physical contact.  Words of affirmation ... personally I am almost not bothered at all by unkind, mean, even harsh words.  I tend to hear those as though the talker is having a bad day rather then some reflection on myself ... at the same time kind words, are nice, but ... I really care mostly about what I really think of my performance.  I don't really need to hear "good job"  I know when it's a good job, and when it's not quite there. So ... words don't penetrate to my soul like touch does.  When I take these love language profiles physical touch and quality time always tie and always score high.  To me time is the most valuable gift a person may give to another ... and the idea of working together because you actually want to is really important.  I've noticed that I would rather be alone then coerce company or help. I don't like a lot of fussing when I'm trying to concentrate on a good job.  Kids like to fuss about being asked to do chores.  I would say that is where I have let my own children down the most.  I think so ... all they have to do is fuss a little and I will say ... okay, I will do it myself.  It's easy to get out of working with me ... suddenly, today as I thought about this love/pain language thing I realized that.  If I am "teaching" them how to do it, I can easily tolerate the grouching ... if I think we are "working/being" together and they "don't want to" ... I'll cut 'em loose.  I think after just about raising five kids my telomeres are fried.  Grouching is words, and attitude, but for me I think I experience it as rejecting time together.  Interesting.  My kid, Three, was my hug buddy boy.  Not seeing much of him has been a double whammy for me.  It helps me to see that ... it "feels" unloving ... and it's not that at all.  It's just a kid trying to grow up.  That ... I can deal with.
Well, just rambling some here ...

I'm thinking about this stuff as I think about characters for a book, but it has been pretty eye-opening to see this.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lists ... love stuff lists

(found photo)
His Needs Her Needs List: Men's Needs
1. Sexual Fulfilment
2. Recreational Companionship
3. An Attractive Spouse
4. Domestic Support
5. Admiration

His Needs Her Needs List: Women's Needs
1. Affection
2. Conversation
3. Honesty and Openness
4. Financial Commitment
5. Family Commitment

Dr. Willard Harley in his His Needs, Her Needs Book
It's been a long time since I read this book, but I think I remember the author coining the phrase "love bank" with these list items being the currency of deposit.  The premise was if one has as a healthy love bank the marriage will be affair -proof.  Also, as I recall, a partner may be "good" at offering support in probably only three of these five item ... so ... if you totally rock one and two on their list maybe short comings in area four can be no big deal.

I've seen similar lists in a seminar on the Five Love Languages ~ Gary Chapman 

  • physical touch (sexual and otherwise)
  • quality time ("being there" for them/with them ... teamwork)
  • words of affirmation (unsolicited compliments ... supportive-ness)
  • acts of service ("let me do that for you")
  • receiving gifts (love, thoughtfulness, effort behind the gift rather then simply materialism)
Lewis has an entirely different spin of "love" ... These two guys have a similar take.  If I were writing a "love story" I guess these lists are the markers we understand as "loving".

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This is cool ... something good.  Two invited me to a lecture on the work of Maya Angelou ... and it rocked.  When that question of "Who do you admire ... living or dead ... " comes up, she is always the first woman I think of.  I am so proud to be on the planet with her at the same time ... she seems ... just good ... not saintly good, just good people good ... and I like how well she lives in her own skin.  I like how she says what she says and I like that she says it ... I like that her voice is big enough to speak for those who have no voice ... or perhaps only a very, almost silent one.  I like that she is.  She just is.  I like that about her.  And I like her actual voice ... the part that touches my ears.  And ... I'm not someone who likes to hug strangers ... but I feel hugged by Maya Angelou when I read her words or see her on some recorded something.   Okay ... so the lecture was good ... interesting and that would have been enough joy for one day, or maybe even a week if I had to stretch it out.  But/And ... we were given tickets to attend Ms. Angelou's upcoming speaking engagement.  I will enjoy hearing her and seeing her in real life.  Very cool.  In November.

There is something I am wondering about which is related to the wound that "slavery"legacy ... I get that there is what I'm thinking of as "the overcoming victim"  the ... traveler of higher ground so to speak ... I see how a shared history provides cohesiveness.  I think I understand the dynamics of what "slavery" is and does to a people and a person ... I think I get it.  What I don't get is this:  Why not take all that somewhat impotent angst and direct it towards the explosive sex slave industry?  I mean ... slavery is "among us" ... it is a current issue ... currently ravaging the society that we people ... people of what ever chosen distinction (even those distinctions which were evilly forced upon us as a people group) share.  I'm not trying to discount the wrong, just noticing that the wrong is silently continuing and wondering why it's not more of a front burner issue.  Sometimes it seems like we spend time stirring yesterday's pot.  And ... I wonder what I can do about this thing ... slavery with supports evil via the sex trade.  It just seems like there is a lot of energy surrounding slavery issues that might be helpfully directed towards right now.  I'm going to bethinking about this.  Not watching TV may be a handicap here because maybe a lot is being done that I just don't know about.  I didn't even know about sex trafficking until this year.  Duh ... yeah.

Monday, September 24, 2012

“The whole problem is confined within these limits, namely, to make a surface support a given weight by the application of power to the resistance of air.” ~ George Cayley 

In 1809, George Cayley published the conclusions of his research in a scientific paper. The most important part of his paper was stated in one single sentence, which laid the whole foundation for modern aeronautics.

Friday, September 21, 2012

haircut this month

She said I hadn't been in since last December ... maybe true ... and she said at least two inches ... they came off in 6" sections ... all good, but it does feel like short hair.

Tree branch with paper leaves ...

Tree branch with paper leaves ... going to hang this from the ceiling with fishing line ... it's for the children's area at church ... the bird house I made are already there ... will post a before and after sometime next week.  it's gonna be pretty sweet!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just ramblings ...

Gosh, it's hard to believe that September is almost past!  I couldn't sleep last night and stayed up re-reading ... Lewis' chapter on Charity, the summation of his book Four Loves.  Good thinking going on there I think and I'm trying to let his ideas settle a bit so I can brief them for myself.  I like the way he thinks and writes.  I like him.  After trying to think with Lewis, I enjoyed a little jumpseat flying with a hotshot rightseater via Captain Dave's latest post.  I wonder if he could possibly fly as well as he story tells.  Whatever ... late night reading dissolved in to a wonderful night's sleep of sweet dreams (on the Riverwalk in San Antonio of all places!  I really want to dream about hang gliding in Rio!)
I have on my list to read now ... The Great Divorce (Lewis), a couple of books by George MacDonald (haven't decided which two yet ... because of this:

"Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later," said C.S.Lewis, "I knew I had crossed a great frontier."

I will definitely be reading Phantastes, I believe the frontier Lewis is alluding to is the grey area between Atheism and Christianity.  I'm guessing the book rocks.) The other book is in the house now, a book on "LOVE" from a scientific slant ... at least a social science, my daughter recommends it.  I think she wonders what qualifies the writer of Christian literature to write on love.  Not in a negative way, she thinks of Lewis as the writer of The Chronicles of Narnia.  Lewis talks a bit about a higher love as something we can't quite see, but by which we see.  I think James Turrell is expressing something related to this with his work ... he strives to capture a "light experience" from celestial phenomena.  He and Lewis have in common the idea that we tend to think of light as some to see by rather then seeing the light itself. Well, I'm rambling ... because I am thinking about mankind in general as having been originally created as vessels for holding light ... the light of the world, Christ.
And I am thinking about the name Lucifer ... 

is the King James Version rendering of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל in Isaiah 14:12. This word, transliterated hêlēl or heylel, occurs only once in the Hebrew Bible and according to Strong's Concordance means "shining one, morning star, Lucifer". [1] The word Lucifer is taken from the Latin Vulgate,[2]which translates הֵילֵל as lucifer,[3][4] meaning "the morning star, the planet Venus" (or, as an adjective, "light-bringing"),[5] The Septuagint renders הֵילֵל in Greek as ἑωσφόρος[6][7] (heōsphoros)[8][9][10] meaning "morning star".[11] Kaufmann Kohler says that the Greek Septuagint translation is "Phosphoros". ~Wikipedia (thanks)

he was known as Lucifer before he chose a different path for himself.  Phosphoros sounds pretty hell and brimstone -esque.

phosphorous ... Phosphorus was the 13th element to be discovered. For this reason, and also due to its use in explosives, poisons and nerve agents, it is sometimes referred to as "the Devil's element".

lol ... what a rabbit's hole!  I gotta get busy!

... and the book Two recommends to compliment Lewis' Four Loves ... Hold Me Tight (Dr. Sue Johnson),  interesting book. Great addition to my research on Love.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

chevron risers ... yes still ...

Almost done with these ... and ... not perfect but pretty cute.  I would definitely do this project again ... still think the wall paper idea is best, but I have been unable to find black and white chevron pattern for purchase.  Bottom riser and a few little fine tuning cuts to go, but ... pretty much mission accomplished.

How I did it ... tips.

Four Loves ... chapter 5/6 notes on Eros

PDF for Four Loves
written by C. S. Lewis, first issued in 1958

Chapter 4 Friendship
Chapter 5 Eros
Chapter 6 Charity

Chapter 5


By Eros I mean of course that state which we call "being in love"; or, if you prefer, that kind of love which lovers are "in". Some readers may have been surprised when in an earlier chapter, I described Affection as the love in which our experience seems to come closest to that of the animals. Surely, it might be asked, our sexual functions bring us equally close? This is quite true as regards human sexuality in general. But I am not going to be concerned with human sexuality simply as such. Sexuality makes part of our subject only when it becomes an ingredient in the complex state of "being in love". That sexual experience can occur without Eros, without being "in love", and that Eros includes other things besides sexual activity, I take for granted. If you prefer to put it that way, I am inquiring not into the sexuality which is common to us and the beasts or even common to all men but into one uniquely human variation of it which develops within "love" - what I call Eros. The carnal or animally sexual element within Eros, I intend (following an old usage) to call Venus. And I mean by Venus what is sexual not in some cryptic or rarified sense - such as a depth-psychologist might explore - but in a perfectly obvious sense; what is known to be sexual by those who experience it; what could be proved to be sexual by the simplest observations.(pg. 84)

Eros enters him like an invader, taking over and reorganising, one by one, the institutions of a conquered country. It may have taken over many others before it reaches the sex in him; and it will reorganise that too. (pg. 86)

Without Eros sexual desire, like every other desire, is a fact about ourselves. Within Eros it is rather about the Beloved. (pg. 87)

If we had not all experienced this, if we were mere logicians, we might boggle at the conception of desiring a human being, as distinct from desiring any pleasure, comfort, or service that human being can give. (pg. 87)

The reader will notice that Eros thus wonderfully transforms what is par excellence a Need-pleasure into the most Appreciative of all pleasures. It is the nature of a Needpleasure to show us the object solely in relation to our need, even our momentary need. But in Eros, a Need, at its most intense, sees the object most intensely as a thing admirable in herself, important far beyond her relation to the lover's need. (pg. 87)

We use a most unfortunate idiom when we say, of a lustful man prowling the streets, that he "wants a woman". Strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not want. He wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus. How much he cares about the woman as such may be gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition (one does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes). Now Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. (pg. 86)

Very often what comes first is simply a delighted pre-occupation with the Beloved - a general, unspecified pre-occupation with her in her totality. A man in this state really hasn't leisure to think of sex. He is too busy thinking of a person. The fact that she is a woman is far less important than the fact that she is herself. He is full of desire, but the desire may not be sexually toned. If you asked him what he wanted, the true reply would often be, "To go on thinking of her." He is love's contemplative. (pg. 85)

Lewis asserts that he believes sex should be fun ... "gaiety" was one of his words. Then this:

But, it will be replied, the thing is serious. Yes; quad- ruply so. First, theologically, because this is the body's share in marriage which, by God's choice, is the mystical image of the union between God and Man. Secondly, as what I will venture to call a sub-Christian, or Pagan or natural sacrament, our human participation in, and exposition of, the natural forces of life and fertility - the marriage of Sky-Father and Earth-Mother. Thirdly, on the moral level, in view of the obligations involved and the incalculable momentousness of being a parent and ancestor. Finally it has (sometimes, not always) a great emotional seriousness in the minds of the participants.
But eating is also serious; theologically, as the vehicle of the Blessed Sacrament; ethically in view of our duty to feed the hungry; socially, because the table is from time immemorial the place for talk; medically, as all dyspeptics know. Yet we do not bring bluebooks to dinner nor behave there as if we were in church. And it is gourmets, not saints, who come nearest to doing so. Animals are always serious about food. (pg. 90)

For I can hardly help regarding it as one of God's jokes that a passion so soaring, so apparently transcendent, as Eros, should thus be linked in incongruous symbiosis with a bodily appetite which, like any other appetite, tactlessly reveals its connections with such mundane factors as weather, health, diet, circulation, and digestion. In Eros at times we seem to be flying; Venus* gives us the sudden twitch that reminds us we are really captive balloons. (pg. 92)

*Venus used here as sexual aspect of " in love" as:
The carnal or animally sexual element within Eros, I intend (following an old usage) to call Venus. And I mean by Venus what is sexual not in some cryptic or rarified sense - such as a depth-psychologist might explore - but in a perfectly obvious sense; what is known to be sexual by those who experience it. (pg. 84)

As nature crowns man in that brief action, so the Christian law has crowned him in the permanent relationship of marriage, bestowing - or should I say, inflicting? - a certain "headship" on him. This is a very different coronation. And as we could easily take the natural mystery too seriously, so we might take the Christian mystery not seriously enough.  We must go back to our Bibles. The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the Church - read on - and gave his life for her (Eph. v, 25). This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is - in her own mere nature - least lovable. For the Church has no beauty but what the Bridegroom gives her; he does not find, but makes her, lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man's marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs. He is a King Cophetua who after twenty years still hopes that the beggar-girl will one day learn to speak the truth and wash behind her ears. (pgs. 96&97)

Very interesting slant on these verses.  I haven't heard it preached or lectured like this before.

From Venus, the carnal ingredient within Eros, I now turn to Eros as a whole. Here we shall see the same pattern repeated. As Venus within Eros does not really aim at pleasure, so Eros does not aim at happiness.   ...  Even when it becomes clear beyond all evasion that marriage with the Beloved cannot possibly lead to happiness - when it cannot even profess to offer any other life than that of tending an incurable invalid, of hopeless poverty, of exile, or of disgrace - Eros never hesitates to say, "Better this than parting. Better to be miserable with her than happy without her. Let our hearts break provided they break together." If the voice within us does not say this, it is not the voice of Eros.
This is the grandeur and terror of love. (pg. 98)

We must not give unconditional obedience to the voice of Eros when he speaks most like a

god. Neither must we ignore or attempt to deny the god- like quality. This love is really and truly like Love Himself. In it there is a real nearness to God (by Resemblance); but not, therefore and necessarily, a nearness of Approach. Eros, honoured so far as love of God and charity to our fellows will allow, may become for us a means of Approach. His total commitment is a paradigm or example, built into our natures, of the love we ought to exercise towards God and Man. As Nature, for the Nature-lover, gives a content to the word glory, so this gives a content to the word Charity. It is as if Christ said to us through Eros, "Thus - just like this - with this prodigality - not counting the cost - you are to love me and the least of my brethren." ( pg. 101)

n. pl. prod·i·gal·i·ties
1. Extravagant wastefulness.
2. Profuse generosity.
3. Extreme abundance; lavishness.
...extravagance ... what a wonderful word!

But Eros, honoured without reservation and obeyed unconditionally, becomes a demon. And this is just how he claims to be honoured and obeyed. Divinely indifferent to our selfishness, he is also demoniacally rebellious to every claim of God or Man that would oppose him. Hence as the poet says :
People in love cannot be moved by kindness,
And opposition makes them feel like martyrs.
Martyrs is exactly right. Years ago when I wrote about
medieval love-poetry and described its strange, half makebelieve, "religion of love", I was blind enough to treat this as an almost purely literary phenomenon. I know better now. Eros by his nature invites it. Of all loves he is, at his height, most god-like; therefore most prone to demand our worship. Of himself he always tends to turn "being in love" into a sort of religion. Theologians have often feared, in this love, a danger of idolatry. I think they meant by this that the lovers might idolise one another. That does not seem to me to be the real danger; certainly not in marriage. The deliciously plain prose and business-like intimacy of married life render it absurd. So does the Affection in which Eros is almost invariably clothed. Even in courtship I question whether anyone who has felt the thirst for the Uncreated, or even dreamed of feeling it, ever supposed that the Beloved could satisfy it. As a fellow-pilgrim pierced with the very same desire, that is, as a Friend, the Beloved may be gloriously and helpfully relevant; but as an object for it - well (I would not be rude), ridiculous. The real danger is to me not that the lovers will idolise
each other but that they will idolise Eros himself. (pg. 102)

... rebellious to every claim of God or Man ... part of what Lewis is talking about there would be "in-loves" which shouldn't happen ... forbidden "in-loves" as adulterous affairs for example ... the heat of Eros makes these easy to justify for those in its throes ... with pitifully ruinous results as we all know ... Eros calls one to discount the costs. ... And, I'm thinking about this, pretty sure I think this and that it "fits" here ... The "fanning" of the fire of "Venus" detached from one's "Beloved" (Eros) as with porn or anything one might find sexually titillating isn't, can't be if Lewis reasoning is agreeable, isn't compatible with Eros.  This is my opinion ... men wonder what women want in bed ... I won't attempt to speak for the entire gender, but for me, this observation resonates ... "Now Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman."  It works ... in bed and outta bed I think. I read somewhere that ideally daily life, just being together, might be "foreplay".  I think Mr. Lewis is on to something here.  I think this is "cherish".

For one of the first things Eros does is to obliterate the distinction between giving and receiving. 
Just had to go back and find that line, because it is so super cool.  

And all the time the grim joke is that this Eros whose voice seems to speak from the eternal realm is not himself necessarily even permanent. He is notoriously the most mortal of our loves. The world rings with complaints of his fickleness. What is baffling is the combination of this fickleness with his protestations of permanency. To be in love is both to intend and to promise lifelong fidelity. Love makes vows unasked; can't be deterred from making them. "I will be ever true," are almost the first words he utters. Not hypocritically but sincerely. No experience will cure him of the delusion. We have all heard of people who are in love again every few years; each time sincerely convinced that "this time it's the real thing", that their wanderings are over, that they have found their true love and will themselves be true till death.
And yet Eros is in a sense right to make this promise. The event of falling in love is of such a nature that we are right to reject as intolerable the idea that it should be transitory. In one high bound it has overleaped the massive wall of our selfhood; it has made appetite itself altruistic, tossed personal happiness aside as a triviality and planted the interests of another in the centre of our being. Spontaneously and without effort we have fulfilled the law (towards one person) by loving our neighbour as ourselves. It is an image, a foretaste, of what we must become to all if Love Himself rules in us without a rival. It is even (well used) a preparation for that. Simply to relapse from it, merely to "fall out of" love again, is - if I may coin the ugly word - a sort of disredemption. Eros is driven to promise what Eros of himself cannot perform. (pgs.104&105)

Thus Eros, like the other loves, but more strikingly because of his strength, sweetness, terror and high port, reveals his true status. He cannot of himself be what, nevertheless, he must be if he is to remain Eros. He needs help; therefore needs to be ruled. The god dies or becomes a demon unless he obeys God. It would be well if, in such case, he always died. But he may live on, mercilessly chaining together two mutual tormentors, each raw all over with the poison of hate-in-love; each ravenous to receive and implacably refusing to give, jealous, suspicious, resentful, struggling for the upper hand, determined to be free and to allow no freedom, living on "scenes": Read Anna Karenina, and do not fancy that such things happen only in Russia (pg.106)  

My bold print.  Here, I will say to especially my adult children, that what "obey God" means should be agreed upon before the covenant of marriage is struck.  It really is a big deal.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The morning sky was pink and I wondered how far into the day before rain.  I haven't checked the weather yet.

Five is home with a little sore throat cold today ... And I am fretting about my son, Three.  He moved out of our home, well sorta moved out, my living room is stacked knee high with baseball bats and laundry baskets full of his nice clothing ... trophies, mementos, books.  He left early in August on a day when I was away and ...  I haven't heard from him since.  It seems that I did not raise him very well.  Troubling over him is continuously on my mind ... it makes my heart hurt.

And now it is around 3 ... and ... it has rained ... and my son dropped by.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

singing/prayer bowl

I was thinking about how something just suddenly "hits" you ... like ... maybe you've been thinking about something you didn't even realize you were thinking until ... suddenly ... you just know and knowing arrives to announce "Hey ... guess what ... now you know."  What is like that? I asked myself ... and I remembered this wonderful singing bowl that I saw in a shop several years ago.  I really wanted it.  I liked it well enough that even though I knew I'd never buy it, I went back to the store to visit it.  I even thought it might make a wonderful anniversary gift for my husband ... yes, an standing bell, a singing bowl, a rin gong ... a prayer bowl.  He would have been nice about it, but ... he would never want a thing like that ... he might even think it was offensive 'cause of the religious overtones.  I thought of it as ... just beautiful.  It yielded a pure sound which could be felt as well as heard. I rolled the mallet around inside the bowl as if stirring something and it rendered a tone series which was ... ethereal.  Gosh, I wish everyone could experience it ... stirring an empty bowl and sound that is more than sound floated delicately up ... out ... about.  Exquisite.
That is exactly what something you didn't know you were thinking about feels like ... it's like your mind is the bowl strummed ... you think it's just sorta empty, at least of that, and it is so pleasantly surprising when you suddenly know.  It is a small smile.  I love that. 

Singing bowls are used worldwide for meditation, music, relaxation, personal well-being. They are used by a wide range of professionals, including health professionals, school teachers, musicians and spiritual teachers. Singing bowls are used in health care by psychotherapists, massage therapists, cancer specialists, stress and meditation specialists. They are used to help treat cancer patients and also for post traumatic stress disorder. They are popular in classrooms to help facilitate group activities and focus students' attention. ~ Wikipedia

So ... I went looking for a picture of a singing bowl ... the one I liked looked like this one, simple like I like, but there are many ornate examples on line.  I went looking for that and found this too ... which I really think is neat.

And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God's people. ~Revelation 5:8

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:2

That is just outstanding ... excellent ... gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God's people.  

Four Loves chapter 4/6 ... notes on Friendship

PDF for Four Loves
written by C. S. Lewis, first issued in 1958

Chapter 4 Friendship
Chapter 5 Eros
Chapter 6 Charity

Chapter 4 


More then ... companionship, but built on companionship perhaps.  More then who we spend actual time with ... friends "see" and allow themselves to be seen.  I think friends are people I let in to my heart.  Let's see what Lewis thinks ...

The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, "What? You too?  I thought I was the only one." We can imagine that among those early hunters and warriors single individuals - one in a century? one in a thousand years? - saw what others did not; saw that the deer was beautiful as well as edible, that hunting was fun as well as necessary, dreamed that his gods might be not only powerful but holy. But as long as each of these percipient persons dies without finding a kindred soul, nothing (I suspect) will come of it; art or sport or spiritual religion will not be born. It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.
Lovers seek for privacy. Friends find this solitude about them, this barrier between them and the herd, whether they want it or not. They would be glad to reduce it. The first two would be glad to find a third.  (pg. 60)

It may be a common religion, common studies, a common profession, even a common recreation. All who share it will be our companions; but one or two or three who share something more will be our Friends. In this kind of love, as Emerson said, Do you love me? means Do you see the same truth? - Or at least, "Do you care about the same truth?" The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance, can be our Friend. He need not agree with us about the answer. (pg. 61)

The Friends will still be doing something together ...  still travelling companions, but on a different kind of journey. Hence we picture lovers face to face but Friends side by side; their eyes look ahead. (pg. 61) 

(And he says in each chapter that "this" type of love does not necessarily or even usually stand alone ... it's good when your lover is also your friend and visa versa ... commingled with a good amount of affection I would say.)

The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question Do you see the same truth? would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend", no Friendship can arise - though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers. (pg.61) 

(And here is where losing the camaraderie of the flight school environment was so nearly devastating for me ... I lost the time in the air, and almost as important to me ... the time on the ground with this group of "friends".  I am very tender now about this topic.  I see why ... in this area, I have nothing for the friendship to be about ... I step back.  It's kinda sad I guess ... and ... I don't want the pity.  I did my own little private pity-party, well, kinda private, I did feel sorry for myself here ... lol ... sigh.  Now I am trying to figure out where to from here.  I'm trying not to look up every time I hear a plane. I say I believe that God is in control ... and if I really do, it might follow that He has something else in mind for my time.   I learn hope.)

When the two people who thus discover that they are on the same secret road are of different sexes, the friendship which arises between them will very easily pass - may pass in the first half-hour - into erotic love. Indeed, unless they are physically repulsive to each other or unless one or both already loves elsewhere, it is almost certain to do so sooner or later. And conversely, erotic love may lead to Friendship between the lovers. But this, so far from obliterating the distinction between the two loves, puts it in a clearer light. If one who was first, in the deep and full sense, your Friend, is then gradually or suddenly revealed as also your lover you will certainly not want to share the Beloved's erotic love with any third. But you will have no jealousy at all about sharing the Friendship. (pg. 62)

For Friendship is utterly free from Affection's need to be needed. We are sorry that any gift or loan or night-watching should have been necessary - and now, for heaven's sake, let us forget all about it and go back to the things we really want to do or talk of together. Even gratitude is no enrichment to this love. The stereotyped "Don't mention it" here expresses what we really feel. The mark of perfect Friendship is not that help will be given when the pinch comes (of course it will) but that, having been given, it makes no difference at all. (pg. 64.)

A friend is more then an ally ...

Friendship, unlike Eros, is uninquisitive. You become a man's Friend without knowing or caring whether he is married or single or how he earns his living. What have all these "unconcerning things, matters of fact" to do with the real question, Do you see the same truth? In a circle of true Friends each man is simply what he is: stands for nothing but himself. (pg. 65)

It is an affair of disentangled, or stripped, minds. Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities. (pg. 65)  
And here I remember a favorite line from the movie AVATAR, "I see you."    To me this is the distillation of what friend and to friend ... is.  I think we are all really good at operating with our protective shields "up" ... a friend is invited behind the masking, protective layers.  I offer friendship where my soul is vulnerable and from what I've seen, the offering is made in love.   A friend asked, "Why am I telling you this (this thing that grieves me)?" and I was compelled to answer ... "Because I live that pain also ... I get it."  A hand was clasped at that point and from there the friendship has blossomed.  How did that happen?  I don't know for sure ... I personally believe it was the hand of God steering souls towards a  friendship where His goodness could be administered by vessels of clay.  
So ... I'm saying that I think a "symptom" of friendship is that one may share disentangled/stripped minds/souls.  It's not at all just about sharing our private pains, but a lot more about sharing joy.  I think it is a bit like falling with the assurance of a safe landing.  (One may learn how to "fly" all the way to the landing.  It's so interesting to see how many different ways one may approach the deep water.) 
I watched (over the years) as my little girl learned how to dive ... beginning with being slid face first from a slippery wet mat on the side of the pool, to the 3 meter board, next the 5, and then on up the tower ... each dive sliced in to the water at the deep end.  I sat in the risers on the second floor, present, but as inconspicuous as possible watching ... and ... it was a beautiful process to behold.  There were a couple of times when she was hurt pretty badly ... she stuck with it though.  I saw her frustrated ... angry with herself and/or her coach.  There were times when she wanted to just soak in the warmth of the hot tub spraying water around and rinsing her hair ... aggravating the coach. I saw her beaming with the triumphant achievement of vaults and flips and twists and the graceful athleticism acquired by extreme repetition.  I saw her "fall" out of a handstand from the highest platform, twisting, flipping, pointed toes disappearing ... and I remembered the first squealing, nostrils pinched shut, running jump from that place (taken on a dare).  She made falling in to the deep a thing of beauty.
It reminds me very much of this friendship kind of love. It looks a bit scary, but we learn how to do it ... we come to it gradually I think, sometimes with tiny mindful steps one by one and other times with hopeful running jumps ... 'cause something wonderful is occurring. Friendship ... I really like it.

But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples "Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends "You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. (pgs. 82&83)
(my emboldened print)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Four Loves Chapter 3/6 ... notes on Affection

PDF for Four Loves
written by C. S. Lewis, first issued in 1958

Chapter 3 Affection

"affection, especially of parents to offspring"; but also of offspring to parents. (pg. 30)  
Lewis noted that this wasn't exclusively familial type love, but wanted to point out the ease of "affection".

The Need and Need-love of the young is obvious; so is the Gift-love of the mother. (pg.30)
Maybe because this book was written in the fifties ... idk ... parenting has certainly evolved over the last fifty plus years.  I think of the contributions that my husband has made towards our children as different, but similar to mine.  Surely the gift of provision ... shelter and substance ... all of the things that either parent contributes to the rearing of a family ... could be seen as Lewis describes Need-love/Gift-love.

It is a Need-love but what it needs is to give. It is a Gift-love but it needs to be needed. 
As I read this I think of appreciation ... gratitude ... building a mind/heart - set of thankfulness.  I think I like the old school "common courtesies" very much.  I'm going to work on practicing courtesy ... looking for opportunities to say thank-you (more often) for example.

This warm comfortableness, this satisfaction in being together, takes in all sorts of objects. It is indeed the least discriminating of loves. (pg. 30)  
Lewis writes that "affection" is like Gin ... in that it mixes well with so many various components.  

But almost anyone can become an object (pg. 31)
I think this is the less attractive flip side of the affection coin ... this is the familiar ... routine ... easily taken for granted type of love. I think what he was expressing here is that it's pretty easy to slip in to "roles" ... and take each other so for granted that one becomes almost invisible.  He gave an example of the mailman ... familiar, I do like him ... I don't really know him at all ... maybe I like seeing the little white jeep ... he brings the mail.  Some times we let the people in our lives who really should matter the most slip in to these type places where they are not "loved" as well as might be wished.  I think I can see places where I am guilty of that.

But Affection has its own criteria. Its objects have to be familiar. We can sometimes point to the very day and hour when we fell in love or began a new friendship. I doubt if we ever catch Affection beginning. To become aware of it is to become aware that it has already been going on for some time. (pg. 31)  Hmmm, idk ... thinking about this ... I have known, maybe over something as simple as a shared liking for a particular song, that a someone could be a friend.  I'm saying for me I don't understand how that friendship is more then affection (and I didn't understand what Lewis was getting at until I understood what he was expressing when he used the word charity ... 'cause ... a friendship may begin with something like affection, but it takes a lot more then affection to weather ones way to friendship ... real friendship ... that's what I think ... and it is in the true friendships that one finds shelter ... abiding shelter)

The especial glory of Affection is that it can unite those  who most emphatically, even comically, are not; people who, if they had not found themselves put down by fate in the same household or community, would have had nothing to do with each other. If Affection grows out of this - of course it often does not - their eyes begin to open. Growing fond of "old so-and- so", at first simply because he happens to be there, I presently begin to see that there is "something in him" after all. The moment when one first says, really meaning it, that though he is not "my sort of man" he is a very good man "in his own way" is one of liberation. It does not feel like that; we may feel only tolerant and indulgent. But really we have crossed a frontier. That "in his own way" means that we are getting beyond our own idiosyncracies, that we are learning to appreciate goodness or intelligence in themselves, not merely goodness or intelligence flavoured and served to suit our own palate. (pgs. 35-36)
I thought this was interesting.  Making room for people not exactly your flavor ... Two encourages her siblings to date alot of different kinds of people and learn cool interpersonal stuff from the time spent.  It's easy to be seduced by one's very own flavor ... but ... well, I think it's very important to bond with "your very own flavor" ... come home to that, but don't limit all your doings to just what's comfortable and easy ... . Be open to a range of personalities, love easily ... that's what I would say to my own children. As this next quote suggests ... 

The truly wide taste in humanity will similarly find something to appreciate in the crosssection of humanity whom one has to meet every day. In my experience it is Affection that creates this taste, teaching us first to notice, then to endure, then to smile at, then to enjoy, and finally to appreciate, the people who "happen to be there". Made for us? Thank God, no. They are themselves, odder than you could have believed and worth far more than we guessed. (pg. 36)

Affection, we have seen, includes both Need-love and Gift-love. I begin with the Need - our craving for the Affection of others. (pg. 37)

between pages 37 and 50 he writes about our love for our pets and our love of nature, and he makes the point that our domesticated animals my provide a bridge back to the wildness of nature.

Selfish or neurotic people can twist anything even love, into some sort of misery or exploitation (pg. 50)

Firstly, as to neurotic. I do not think we shall see things more clearly by classifying all these maleficial states of Affection as pathological. No doubt there are really pathological conditions which make the temptation these states abnormally hard or even impossible to resist for particular people. Send those people to the doctors by all means. But I believe that everyone who is honest with himself will admit that he has felt these temptations. Their occurrence is not a disease; or if it is, the name of that disease is Being a Fallen Man. In ordinary people the yieldings to them - and who does not sometimes yield? - is not disease, but sin. Spiritual direction will here help us more than medical treatment. (pgs. 50 & 51)

Affection produces happiness if - and only if - there is common sense and give and take and "decency". In other words, only if something more, and other, than Affection is added. The mere feeling is not enough. You need "common sense”, that is, reason. You need “give and take”; that is, you need justice, continually stimulating mere Affection when it fades and restraining it when it forgets or would defy the art of love. You need "decency". There is no disguising the fact that this means goodness; patience, selfdenial, humility, and the continual intervention of a far higher sort of love than Affection, in itself, can ever be. That is the whole Point. If we try to live by Affection alone, Affection will "go bad on us". (pg. 51 with my additions of bold and underlined)

The unappreciativeness of the others, those terrible, wounding words - anything will "wound" a Mrs. Fidget - in which they begged her to send the washing out, enabled her to feel ill-used, therefore, to have a continual grievance, to enjoy the pleasures of resentment. If anyone says he does not know those pleasures, he is a liar or a saint. It is true that they are pleasures only to those who hate. But then a love like Mrs. Fidget's contains a good deal of hatred. It was of erotic love that the Roman poet said, "I love and hate," but other kinds of love admit the same mixture. They carry in them the seeds of hatred. If Affection is made the absolute sovereign of a human life the seeds will germinate. Love, having become a god, becomes a demon. (pg. 52) 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Four Loves Chapter 2/6 ... notes on Likings and Loves

PDF for Four Loves
written by C. S. Lewis, first issued in 1958

Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Likings and Loves for the sub-human
Chapter 3 Affection
Chapter 4 Friendship
Chapter 5 Eros
Chapter 6 Charity 

Chapter 2 
Likings and Loves 
for the Sub-Human
... for the sub-human as in I love, ummm, ice cream or I love my cat ... 

"Since "the highest does not stand without the lowest" we had better begin at the bottom, with mere likings; and, since to "like" anything means to take some sort of pleasure in it, we must begin with pleasure." (pg 11)

two classes of pleasurepleasure preceded by desire (great thirst makes a drink of cold water very pleasurable), and those which are pleasures in their own right not requiring preparation (unsought and unexpected pleasures of smell of a row of sweet peas meeting you on a morning walk) He offers the idea that an unexpected offer of a  drink of a beer to quench one's thirst is a coupling of these two pleasures. 
Presents idea of  "Need-pleasures" (similarly handled to "need-loves") and "Pleasures of appreciation".
"The human mind is generally far more eager to praise and dispraise than to describe and define. It wants to make every distinction a distinction of
value ... as though ... for a prize. " (edited, but from pgs. 12 & 13) 

"We are already warned of this by the fact that Need-pleasure is the state in which Appreciative pleasures end up when they go bad (by addiction).
For us at any rate the importance of the two sorts of pleasure lies in the extent to which they foreshadow characteristics in our "loves" (properly so called)."(pg. 13)
"When Need-pleasures are in question we tend to make statements about ourselves in the past tense; when Appreciative pleasures are in question we tend to make statements about the object in the present tense. It is easy to see why Shakespeare has described the satisfaction of a tyrannous lust as something
Past reason hunted and, no sooner had,
Past reason hated." (pg. 13)

An example of a Need-pleasure might be the smell of bacon frying in the morning ... yummy ... as the smell lingers after breakfast ... not so much a pleasure, maybe even somewhat nauseating. Lewis cites the example of an empty tumbler once one's thirst is slackened. I think sex for sex sake may be a need-pleasure.  One might approach an illicit  liaison with desire then once fate accompli nothing but self-disgust. 
Pleasures of Appreciation are very different. 
"He does not simply enjoy, he feels that this fragrance somehow deserves to be enjoyed. He would blame himself if he went past unattentive and undelighted. It would be blockish, insensitive. It would be a shame that so fine a thing should have been wasted on him. He will remember the delicious moment years hence." (pg. 14)
need pleasure is momentary, and outside that moment, have no meaning or interest ... easily cast aside as a mistress perhaps ... an object.  "The objects which afford pleasures of appreciation give us the feeling - whether irrational or not - that we somehow owe it to them to savour, to attend to and praise it." (pgs. 14 & 15).  Appreciative pleasure offers a foreshadowing of our experience with beauty ... either more or less senual or aesthetic ... transcendent.
"There is a third element in love, no less important than these, which is foreshadowed by our appreciative pleasures. This judgment that the object is very good, this attention (almost homage) offered to it as a kind of debt, this wish that it should be and should continue being what it is even if we were never to enjoy it, can go out not only to things but to persons. When it is offered to a woman we call it admiration; when to a man, hero-worship; when to God, worship simply." (pgs. 16 & 17)  
I get it ... .     
For the rest of the chapter he talks about love of nature, also love of country or place, patriotism.  And he notes that while animals are sub-human (he tweaks the phrase: sub personal) that we infer personality and thus elevate our "love" for them.