Monday, June 25, 2007

Breath: The Ethereal Existence of Life

Inhale. Exhale. Rest. Repeat. We all breathe. It is a sign of life. It is a sign that our body still has the capacity to live. How do we live, breath after breath? How do we take our life from the everyday mundane, to the extraordinary, to the ethereal existence of life?

Life becomes mundane, because in many senses, we forget our senses. We forget to, say, stop and smell the roses. We forget to slow down and enjoy the breezes from a mild, warm afternoon with the sun peeking through the clouds. We forget to quiet ourselves to hear the sounds of nature all around us.

Instead, we busy ourselves with the mundane. We surround ourselves with materialistic things that dull our senses, and create more mundane-ness in our lives. Listening to surround sound stereos that enclose our senses into an impenetrable egg. Watching TV that saps the energy from our bodies. Working constantly during the day without stopping for breaks. Seemingly escaping with illicit drugs that bring a quick high, but essentially enhances the dulling of the senses. All of these are ways of distancing and dehumanizing ourselves from our vital functions of life. And they all make us slaves to the mundane.

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. --Genesis 2:7

We all began with a breath.

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. --Job 33:4

It is our primal instinct to breath, and it is our in survival that we continue to breathe. It is our subconscious duty. Inhale. Exhale. How we easily forget that we continue this vital prayer of life. Breathing is our silent prayer. In speaking, we add words to our silent prayer. In silence, we pray, sometimes with thought, and sometimes thoughtless. Sometimes listening to the breath of the Almighty, many times listening to the dead space of the mundane.

But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. --Job 32:8

Maybe we take breathing for granted too much? Have we forgotten the power of breath? Take a moment, close your eyes, silence your mind, and just breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Rest. Repeat. It feels centering and focusing on the basics. It feels natural and soothing, envigorating, quieting and subtle. Peace. Patience. Understanding.

Next time you pray or go to church, stop first and breathe. As you pray or participate in the church service or mass, be conscious of your breathing. Be aware of the emotions and thoughts, both positive and negative, that escape your being as you exhale, and the renewing senses as you inhale. Feel the presence of the Spirit with each breath.

Whenever life seems crazy and chaotic, or when you feel caught up in the mundane, just breathe. Get away from the mundane. Go for a walk. Go lean against your favorite tree. And breathe.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Soothed by the Rain

Ah... The soothing qualities of rain. There is a magical, ethereal quality about a raindrop that hits the dry, parched earth. The soil clenches up as if shocked by the touch of water drop. Then, it gives way as the rain drops accumulate. The dust is no longer blown away in the breeze, but stays together with the soil it yearns to remain.--Me

Thursday morning, while I was enjoying a lovely dream, I was suddenly awakened by our bedside weather radio alarm. I thought, this had better be good, since it woke me up 4 minutes before I needed to wake up at 4:30 a.m. No, it was a Severe Thunderstorm Watch--not a warning! And, no, it wasn't for our immediate area. It wasn't even for our regional area! It was for Faribault County in Minnesota!! I couldn't believe it! I know that I programmed that weather radio to only alarm for warnings and only for my county and surrounding counties. It must have been an act of God. Or something...

Yesterday afternoon we experienced T-storm watches and warnings, but somehow we just were not fortunate to enjoy more than a few drops of rain. Very disappointing since our lawn looks more like a hayrack spilled its contents all over our yard. However, at 2:30 a.m. this morning, I was awakened by the sound of strong winds and thunder. Thor must have listened to my heartened pleas, because he was out in full force this morning, banging away with flashes of light in an otherwise dark night.

Then, the downpours came. The first one was so soothing and refreshing, however, that was not good enough for Thor. The second storm system converged shortly after the first, and it began with a thunderous boom and then--poof! All the lights were out in our end of town. The lightning darting from the sky seemed to almost leap at us in the dark-black night landscape. As the zags of lightning flashed in the night, I could see the trees bending down, as if they were trying to touch their roots. The sheets of water pouring down from the sky made the scene a hazy blur.

Soon after, the angry Thor god ushered himself onward to the next unsuspecting, sleeping community. The soft, gentle rain continued, massaging the stressed ground, as I dashed from my car to get to the door and into my dry work cave. I am always refreshed by the effects of a good thunder boomer, but this morning I was soothed by the rain.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Advent of Computers and the "Tubes"

I feel compelled to share this bit of humor with you. I typed it in a forum post discussion on remembering the beginning of the internet, in a humorous context. I hope this will add a bit of a smile to your day.

Yeah, I remember the days of the text only internet.

Oh, you know that reminds me of the first time I saw a computer porn show. Really. Let me take you back. The year was 1985 and I was on my first "date" with this geeky guy, a sort of premonition that I would be destined to love geeky guys. After the homecoming dance, he took me back to his house and it was all dark. 'Pretty sure my parents are upstairs banging away,' he said to me. Great. Then, he said he had to show me something. I'm thinking he's really crazy or really horny. Found out he was both, but that's another story. He took me over to his dad's den and, as we sat in front of the computer, he put a 5 1/4 inch floppy into the drive. 'You gotta see this,' he said. Okay, this better be good, I thought. All of a sudden the drive starts to make this grinding noise, and on the screen it says something like "Oh, baby, yeah. That feels so good." The floppy in the drive starts to make whirling sounds and then more grinding. "C'mon, baby, work it harder," the screen said. More whirling and grinding, and I swear the computer was going to have an orgasm! Either that or it was going to explode! "Oh, Oh, Oh My G-d, Come. Yes! Yes! Yes! Ooooooh! Ohhhhh!" Wow. I don't know if his intention was to turn me on, which it didn't, but I got a great laugh out of that.

You know, I think it was the intention of the designer of the computer and the tubes to make it just a bit suggestive. Think about it. You insert your disk into the drive... and in the old days, disks were huuuuge. 5 1/4 inch was small compared to the 8 inch monsters. It is a bit ironic, too, that they called them floppy disks, because any man who needs viagra would be very pleased if he could be as rigid as a floppy disk. When the 3 1/2 inch floppy came out, it was even more rigid than the 5 1/4, which was great because 5 1/4 inch floppies were just not lasting long in my backpack. Another great internet tool that I miss is being able to "finger" someone online. Kinky, huh? Yeah, I remember posting on the BBS, and if my favorite poster wasn't there, I could "finger" him. It was always fun to get "fingered" online, too. For those who have no idea what online fingering is, I can tell you what it is not: It is not giving someone the online bird, unless after you fingered them you gave them the computer version of the bird; It is not touching the computer screen with your sweaty fingerprints; It is not exploring the inner chasms of the tubes in search of pleasure... Oh, ah, actually, yes that is what it is. Okay, boys and girls, fingering is like ICQ, or instant messaging. Get your mind out of the gutter.

There's some of my odd sit down comedy. My own experiences wrapped in the topic of discussion. If I got you to smile, or even chuckle once or twice, or if you actually learned something, then my typing was not in vain. I kind of think that way about my life, too...