Depth & Beauty

We all have embedded values driving what we believe, how we think, and shaping how we live.

A number of years ago I settled on “depth and beauty” as my life motto. By choosing these particular words to express my fundamental “who” and “what”, I was necessarily rejecting others that are also hugely meaningful to me. This is important because a life motto should be as accurate, pure and straightforward as possible.

I don’t recall exactly where my love for depth and beauty originally came from, or when I first became aware of their enormously important place in my psyche and practice. I suspect they took up residence in my soul early on in my life journey – my parents certainly had a significant role to play, even if mostly unsconsciously so.

My dad was a tailor and my mom a world class cook. Both had a very keen sense of what constituted beautiful, meaningful and valuable. 

Each also possessed an affection for subtlety married to a powerful distaste for the obvious and vulgar. From food to clothing to culture, they taught us to respect mystery and the intangible, eternal essence of beauty over the shallow, offensive qualities of the only-practical and temporary.

I strongly remember my dad admonishing me one day to rather spend three times the money on one, high quality pair of shoes than buying three pairs of cheap shoes which would necessarily need regular replacement, thereby ending up costing more. He spoke with kind respect of the gifted shoemaker investing his time, talent and passion into creating something used every day that was as much functional as beautiful. Useful and attractive. Quality, value and pleasure over the simply convenient. 

Today I see how their preferences resonated with my soul – they were already in me since birth and so they were nurturing the seeds already sown.

From politics, fashion, business, religion and entertainment to education, there is no longer excuse  for shallowness or ugliness. We have enough knowledge and technology available in the world at large to avoid choosing the cheap, expedient, temporal and shallow. We can adorn the things we make and how we live with at least a base level of depth and beauty. From spoons we use at dinner to wheelchairs, it’s possible to inculcate the things that reflect us as humans with mystery, magic and beautiful usefulness.

I am often asked how one decides or settles on a life motto. My belief is that it’s already deeply in you, so all it requires is some discovery, understanding and expression. Essentially, it’s about intentionally living out who and what you already are.

And the most intriguing part is that each and every life motto is completely unique to the individual who carries it! You can find out more about this at LiveUniq. Suffice to say that once you know yours, it impacts your life positively on so many levels that mere existence is transformed into intentional destiny. 

May you quickly discover, understand and express your unique life motto!

Ecstatic

In the “modern” Western Church, we live in a mostly non-ecstatic world. And most of it is of our creation. A good word to describe it is “bland”. I want to discuss our desperate need to be ecstatic in our life with God.

Ecstatic: feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement; involving an experience of mystic self transcendence.

Can you remember the last time you experienced anything like what is defined above? If your answer is affirmative, most likely it was at a football game, a concert or a baby’s birth. Or falling in love. Here’s my question: was it at a church service? I would guess your answer is “No”. And if not, why not? Sadly, the vast majority of worship services held today steer as far away as possible from being ecstatic. Our well practiced, predictable, repetitive, well controlled meetings (our God is a God of order, brother!), placating our essentially ecstatic-free public gatherings are passed off as “meeting with God”. 

The Scriptures paint a very different picture of what people do when they meet with God. Think of how the Israelites react when they hear God’s voice at Horeb. Or how they sing, dance and shout in the Temple. And, the ecstatic experience we witness in Acts when the Holy Spirit falls upon God’s people – the list of Biblical examples goes on and on.

Let’s talk about “feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement.” I have always wondered why it is that the same people who talk loudly and excitedly before and after a Sunday worship service calm down to an almost zombie like state once the actual service begins. Gone is the excited talk, hands and arms gesticulating in happy chattery, now replaced by angelic looks, followed by a subdued, expressionless visage as we “enter the throne room”. All brought abruptly to an end as suddenly we have to “now be seated for the announcements”. 

And what of “involving an experience of mystic self transcendence”? Transcendence means “beyond the normal or physical level”. Typically, the word is employed when referencing to a spiritual experience in which the individual is profoundly affected, often beyond their ability to control. When was the last time you experienced transcendence in a worship service? Or in your private quiet time with God? Friends, we have a desperate need for the ecstatic in our relationship with an infinitely loving and all powerful Creator and Father, beyond our simple, sinful human comprehension but knowable through the touch of the Holy Spirit.

I can think of two powerful examples from the Scriptures of transcendence: one is with Moses, the other with our lord Jesus. We learn from them both that to experience the Father’s presence in such a way as to transcend our earthly existence takes dedication, persistence and focus. In Exodus we read that Moses pitched a tent of worship outside of the Israelite camp where he daily spent time in God’s presence. 

Often, Jesus separated Himself from His disciples and His Kingdom work to spend time with His Father privately and unhurriedly. In Moses’ life, we see the culmination of his devotion when the pillar of cloud leading the Israelite nation through the wilderness comes and hovers over his own personal tent of meeting. It immediately makes one think of the time when Jesus takes three of Is disciples up a mountain to pray and they experience the transfiguration of Jesus. I would say that both Moses and Jesus had ecstatic experiences with God. I would also say that if they needed and enjoyed it, so should we.
I understand very well that we live in a world full of the ecstatic that is both false and shallow, and often sinful. But that should never stop us from desiring and pursuing “feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement; involving an experience of mystic self transcendence” as we seek to be in His presence and know His power.

The Music of Being

Lurking the smaller spaces, avoiding familiar faces, searching deep the singular traces, hoping for undiscovered places.

Trusting the undiscovered, loving the never mothered, touching the other worldly, restlessly wandering.

Voicing the unspoken, forgiving the forgiven, opening the solemn, learning how the listen.

Landscape loved and sadness, dancing through the madness, for in all of us is greatness, diligent and faceless.

Music is the being, troublesome and freeing, tricky with the living, assuming with the dead.

Future

The younger are stronger though the shadows grow longer.

As we hunger for hunger they play with new thunder.

The record is broken by language unspoken, and though the load may be lighter, the circles grow tighter.

Give

I thought I was on the path, my road tried and true, I surrendered all and sacrificed even more.
But now I find that what I left behind wasn’t what You required.

And if You ask me if I have been true what do want me to say to You?
Should I speak and run away or coming to Your side, hide in it.

Is is true? Can I give myself to You?
Do I want to? Do I have to?

I know You see what I sell of me.
Is the price enough to cover all the stuff, and if I think I’m free am I still really me?

Now I see better than before what I am truly here for.
The words you spoke over me for which you paid so dearly could free me.

I can see that what You see is not the one I see, but who You are making me is You showing Yourself more freely.

And as I see myself in You, do you see Yourself in me too?

Green

Sad flows the pristine street, mother nature fringing sweet, souls drowning in steady beat.

Glancing now a furrowed brow, lies smiling and hurried low, touching not the air we breath.

Green is good or so we hear, and broken what we hold so dear. Cracks and crimes, dollars and dimes, now we bow, sinking quietly to ground.

And yes, the sun is shining, within it’s own dirty lining, bringing lies to those who seek truth from all created speak.

Streets

I guess I loved too deeply, couldn’t help myself.

Don’t come any closer, it only hurts me more.

I gave my heart to you, my mind and spirit too,
but still you cannot see me clearer, you don’t want to.

Will I ever walk these broken streets again?

I thought you loved me more, my rosebush friend,
and if I must surrender these streets I love,
I pray you will one day remember it was you I loved.

Delicate

As you wander through the squander of a delicate mind,
do you wonder, ever wonder what it is you will find?

Through the glasses and the grasses of a delicate mind ,
in the morass and the sorrows of an intricate find,
shallow and hollow, furrow and borrow from a delicate mind.

In the narrow great tomorrow lies your wonderful find.