5 February 2017

Portrait: Ed Gulley Chops Off His Beard

Ed Gulley Chops Off His Beard

We went over to Bejosh Farm to help Carol Gulley wrassle with some computer problems and I wanted to do a portrait of the new Ed Gulley, he has shed the Duck Dynasty look and trimmed off almost all of  his bear. I think it adds to his smile.

Ed is a person who brims with character and emotion, and I think the new look bring out his personality.

And there is a lot of personality to  bring out. I offered him three dinners to come out to our woods with a buzz saw one afternoon and help clean up our meditation area, filled with junk trees.

I think he might go for it. We try to take care of each other, we can each do some of the things the other can't, and the list is narrowing on Ed's side. He has turned out to be a natural writer, blogging up a storm. He is also coming out as an artist, creating and selling his very distinctive farm art sculptures.

But he won't change somethings, he refuses to learn how to type,  This is a wily move, he sticks Carol with all of the editing and computer problems. Ed respects change but it is a bit wary of it, as are many farmers. I was eager to update the new look.

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Voice Meditation. The Peaceful Hour, Thoughts In Solitude

With the help of Thomas Merton, my guide to meditation and the glory of solitude, I spoke in the above voice recording about my urgent need for a Peaceful Hour, a time of quiet and reflection, a time away from the outside world and its' messages and conflicts. I feel sometimes that I am flying through a cloud of anger and division, everyone speaking but no one listening any longer, a kind of Orwellian reality that it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape.

But not impossible. Every day, I am building a Peaceful Hour for myself, Disconnected from the outside world and its idea of news and politics. Maybe out in the woods with dogs, sitting by the stream we have found in our woods, reading, meditating. Being with myself. I think in our world every idea struggles to live and not be sucked into the whirlpool of anger and argument that is sometimes gobbling up the rational universe.

So this is the first of my voice meditations about it, I will share my experience with the Peaceful Hour. Merton teaches us that if we cannot be alone, we cannot know ourselves or love ourselves or anyone else.

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New Refugees Coming Again Right Now. We Can Help Them.

New Refugees Coming

Today's Donation Pick: Learning English Dictionary, $10, Digital Alarm Display, $10.95

Due to the court rulings over the weekend, refugees with proper documents and clearing can come to America again, at least for the next few days. Many have rushed to airports all over the world and set out for America once more, they are passionately drawn to the dream of being in America.

They are the victims of terrorism, not terrorists. They are the victims of politics, they are not political.

Refugee workers and volunteers are in chaos and confusion, they are scrambling to help people with approved visas get here, some are making it. People who have suffered enough are suffering more.

We are a divided country, some people want to slam the door close, some are fighting to keep it open. However it is resolved, I can testify that these are good people who need help, women and children mostly who have spent years trying to get to America lawfully. I hope that most of us are not so polarized that we cannot pause to help a refugee mother and a child or a young father working two jobs.

Hope (above, not her real name)  is not a political child, she has been an innocent bystander all of her life.

Here they are, these good people, these families,  more coming in, almost desperately, every moment, for as long as they can. I hope that whatever your politics, left or right, conservative or progressive, you can transcend argument  and think about helping these people. They need everything and have nothing, they gave it all up to be here.

The U.S. Committee On  Refugees and Immigration (USCRI) has put up an Amazon gift page to help the arriving refugees acquire the necessities of life, the stipends they receive are and mostly gone before they arrive. If you can, please check out the Amazon Page, and thank you.  They need everything.

They are arriving in America right now,  many coming to a cold and icy upstate New York winter. The things they need are not expensive, the donations are simple to choose and send. You can pick them  yourself – a Learn English DIctionary for $10, kid's socks, a digital alarm clock, pots and pans, diapers, silverware, teapots and comforters. New items have been posted this weekend.

These new immigrants  are experiencing a difficult and frightening passage, these donations allow them to feel welcome and safe, they reflect, I believe, the true  heart and soul of America. I am going to meet some of them soon.

The gifts range from $7 to $50, they are constantly updated to reflect the needs of people who are exhausted, frightened and confused. This may make all of us feel better, it has certainly infused me with hope and a sense of purpose.

Don't argue. Do good.

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New Stream. My Peaceful Hour

My Peaceful Hour

There is a beautiful stream out in the woods behind our pasture, thanks to a new bridge, they are accessible to us after several years of frustration. The stream is going to be a permanent part of something new I am instituting in my life, I call it the Peaceful Hour.

Our farm, like your home or apartment, is no longer easily protected from the din and argument raging outside of our fences, so I am always looking for ways to continue my pursuit of a spiritual life, and of finding peace and perspective. I feel sometimes to be drowning in hysteria, as if life had become a kind of ugly Super Bowl, the roars and chants never seem to stop.

This new and quite beautiful stream will help. Tomorrow, I'll walk out there and take a video of it and you can also hear the sounds, they are ancient and soothing and grounding. Every afternoon or early evening, when I am done my work,  I pause, turn off cellphones, I sit and meditate for a few minutes, I might read, or sit quietly in a peaceful place – the barn, our living room by a fire, or outside by this rushing stream.

There, I close the anger and cruelty and self-righteousness of the world off, I seal myself away from it, and give myself the chance to think and draw breath.

It is a good time for thinking, for listening, for going inside of myself and settling, for absorbing the day, my life. Next week, Maria is off to India (next Sunday) and I will be grateful for the peaceful hour. I will think about ways to do good, to stand in my truth, to respect myself.

The stream is very close to our new meditation bench. I will pull it closer. I love this addition to my peaceful hour. I learned when I wrote Running To The Mountain and studied Thomas Merton that you don't need a monastery to find solitude, you can find it in your basement, or attic, or living room. It helps to have a stream.

Every day, I will protect my Peaceful Hour. It just got easier.

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Day’s End. Productive Day.

Day's End

We had a good day in our woods. We crossed the Gulley Memorial Bridge around 10 a.m. and stayed out there for several hours. Red stayed home, he's not crazy about the woods. Fate loves to come, she stays close, keeps busy, leaps over streams and fallen trees.

We took a ladder, two clippers, a bolt cutter, and an eager border collie.

Maris was keen on cutting a path for me so I could get to our new meditation bench when she is gone. We spent a long time clipping through thick underbrush, but we did blaze a new trail up into the woods. I don't think I could live any more without being in nature, without seeing beautiful things.

When we got home, we went over to the Gulleys' and helped Carol straighten out some blog problems she was having. They have done so much for us, it was a pleasure to do something for them.


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