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“…I can’t abide what the world has become, the frozen-ness of our product this evil thing that we kiss the ass of every hour. I want a dailiness that is free and beautiful.”

Definition of dailiness

daily or routine quality ORDINARINESSthe dailiness of family life

As I have often said before, “I love words and language.” Discovering a new word is, for me, like finding a twenty dollar bill on the street. It is being rewarded for the simple act of curiosity about the ordinary things of life, in the dailiness of every day.

The ordinariness of evil is its most pervasive aspect. Horrible is insufficient to express our feelings for people who routinely destroy people.

In some uncomfortable way, the word brings to mind the ordinariness of both good and evil in our lives. Great deeds are seldom made out of massively heroic and exceptional circumstances. Rather, great deeds are the result of the very dailiness of an individual’s existence. Routinely going about doing good, as done by Mother Teresa, to her fellow humans in the slums of India, came to her as a very ordinary thing to do by a very ordinary person. The extraordinary thing about Mother Teresa is that her virtue was lived every boring day, and every exciting day as well. Her humility was a revelation that great good could be the result of just that… a pretty ordinary person committing to extraordinary acts, even as daily habits.

Mother Teresa was faithful in a dailiness of her ordinary life, lived with extraordinary outcomes.

Evil is likewise ordinary, an accumulation of the tiny acts over a period of time which ultimately result in great evil, despite the banality of the individual steps that gets someone there. Hitler’s Nazi Germany was not evil because the railroads ran on time, it was because in the midst of one of the most efficient industrial states of the twentieth century, human beings were destroyed equally efficiently and with banal malice by other humans as a daily matter. This was so much so that the destruction of millions of lives was just another aspect of the dailiness of life in the Third Reich.

Words have the potential to stimulate great changes in us. Words matter.

As human beings we are responsible for our actions, and the necessary consequences of those actions. Accepting, and remembering the harm we cause others is the foundation of permanent change and growth – a vow to do better is nothing if it is not followed up by the small actions involved in turning virtuous behaviour into daily routine.

This is a reblog of an earlier posting from 2011. A lot has changed in eight or nine years, including my experience of a sense of broken trust with my wife of somn years.

The truth is that I was fooling myself, in believing that my wife was okay with my photo shoots with nude models. The only thing she was okay with was not talking about it, or expressing her feelings on the subject. This is now over, and she is quite vocal about her point of view, which is negative in general, and frustrated in particular.

She honestly believes that she never agreed to the terms of our marriage as I understood them, almost forty years ago. The whole idea of “open marriage” or a “poly” relationship is fundamentally offensive to her sense of what is necessary for a marriage to work, ultimately. Today, while we continue to cohabitate, she no longer considers our marriage valid, and considers herself to be unmarried, or perhaps, never really married at all.

In some ways things are actually better between us, in that she is now open to express her honestly held beliefs and her emotions. Now we’re both somewhat bitter about the whole thing, and yet still are trying to find a way to function as a couple.

Life is funny. Despite everything we love each other. Can’t always stand each other, but still have deep affection and respect. We just don’t agree on marital fidelity and a lot of other things. At the heart of it, I’m the one incapable of cleaving to one and only one woman. She’s convinced that it is a function of my inability to really trust anyone completely. She might be right. But just saying it doesn’t change it for me, and it doesn’t resolve it for her.

So. Limbo.

Out Here in Paradise

An artistic photograph of a nude woman

A close friend of mine, a photographer in Vancouver, with well-developed skills and a wonderful eye, is struggling with a major conflict between his intimate relationship with a long-term woman partner and his even longer term artistic exploration of the female form through nude photography.

I think it’s important to define both – what I mean by an intimate relationship with his partner, and what I mean by nude photography.  They may both seem pretty self-evident, but trust me when I tell you that neither is as simple as it seems.

My friend is struggling because his wife of about a year is absolutely mortified that her husband wants to take pictures of naked women, and spend time in intimate situations with naked women who are not her.  This is despite the fact that her husband, before marriage, was one of the best known local boudoir photographers in…

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      • 1855Robert Browning“Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”, XVI:
        [] I fancied Cuthbert’s reddening face / Beneath its garniture of curly gold, / Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold / An arm in mine to fix me to the place / That way he used.
      • 1888Henry JamesThe Reverberator.
        They believed that the ladies and the gentlemen alike had covered them with endearments, were candidly, gushingly glad to make their acquaintance. They had not in the least seen what was manner, the minimum of decent profession, and what the subtle resignation of old races who have known a long historical discipline and have conventional forms for their feelings—forms resembling singularly little the feelings themselves. Francie took people at their word [] It would not have occurred to the girl that such things need have been said as a mere garniture. Her lover, whose life had been surrounded with garniture and who therefore might have been expected not to notice it, had a fresh sense of it now []

    I like new words.  New to me, that is.  I’d never heard the word garniture and if I had I wouldn’t have know how to use it in a sentence.  The above quotes give us examples from Wikipedia of the proper use of the words.

    Which means, an accessory of sorts, but one designed to enhance the object or person being so accessorized.  What my mother would have called “gilding the lily.”

    So a room with furniture but no garniture, would be a room with essential furniture only, but without any other decorations.  No table ornaments, no wall hangings or painting, no fancy lights, to mats on the floor or, for the matter, on the table.  A room without any style at all, in fact.  The kind of room preferred by my mother, due to her Swedish roots.

    The word has other uses.  Imagine that a “boy toy” for a wealthy movie star as garniture, making her look good.  Or yard ornaments to upgrade the garden.  Or nice pictures of food in a takeout restaurant, something to look at while your waiting for your take out dinner.

    Garniture.  Like furniture.  Bears the same relationship to garnish as furniture does to furnish.  Another interesting example of how the english language evolved from Norman French.

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All things considered, I’d rather be in Tuwanek, for me a most unwonted place, filled with old but vivid memories from my early years, and periodic trips down memory lane on subsequent day trips to the rainforest village area.

I love the word unwonted, for all its unfamiliarity, and despite its similarity to the word unwanted, which sounds pretty similar, despite have a completely different meaning and emotional impact. The word “unwonted” sounds familiar, but it means extraordinary, unusual, and exotic – exactly the opposite of unwanted.

What makes this tiny point of land so special? Mostly it is special because of the flood of memories evoked when I remember summer holidays in my parents’ cottage, just a few hundred steps from the beach.  My parents bought the property for use by the family after buying a summer vacation property on Savary Island, further north past Powell River which had never really worked out well because it was simply too far to get to for a short holiday.  It took virtually a whole day just to get to Savary Island and another to get home at the end of the holiday.

There were two main benefits of buying in Tuwanek, after their experience on Savary Island.  Tuwanek is a drive of less than an hour from the terminal at Langdale, where the ferry delivers cars from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. So we could leave our home in North Vancouver, catch the ferry and drive to the cottage in a little over two hours, assuming that we caught the first ferry and didn’t have to wait for the next ferry.

Travelling all the way up to Savary Island is a long trip, with two ferry rides required, and the family taking its’ own water transportation to get to the island as there is no ferry to Savary Island, not even today.  That means a boat, which was a major expenditure for my dad and mom.  Sechelt is a lot closer, with only one ferry to catch, and it is on a road directly accessed from the Sechelt Inlet Highway.

It’s proximity to West Vancouver also meant that as we kids grew older it was practical to go up for a weekend, instead of reserving it for long holidays.  But even with easy access, comparatively, it became increasing a rare weekend visit once we went off to university or into other pursuits as young adults.

It did serve as the location for my honeymoon (of sorts) after I married my second wife.  I don’t know if she ever felt that we really had a true honeymoon, already having had a couple of kids before we got married. It was a great place all of us to holiday, and we loved spending time at the beach with the kids in the water.

Eventually my parents no longer used the cabin, and sold it to my sister, who lived there after returning from eastern Canada, where she worked for the New Democratic Party in New Brunswick.  To this day she still lives on the Coast, buying a small farm on the road to Port Mellon.

 

The original inhabitants of Sechelt are the Sechelt Nation, a British Columbian First Nations band who call themselves shishalh (or shishalh Nation).[3] Before English was spoken, the town of Sechelt was called ch’atlich in she shashishalhem (the Sechelt language).[4] For thousands of years, the Sechelt people practiced a hunting and gathering subsistence strategy, making extensive use of the natural food resources located around Sechelt, and its strategic location for access into the Sechelt Inlet. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Synonyms & Antonyms for unwonted

Synonyms

aberrant, aberrated, abnormal, anomalous, atypical, especial, exceeding,exceptional, extraordinaire, extraordinary, freak, odd, peculiar, phenomenal,preternatural, rare, singular, uncommon, uncustomary, unique, unusual

Antonyms

common, customary, normal, ordinary, typical, unexceptional, unextraordinary,usual

A step by step Guide to making at least one good decision every day of your life.

IMG_1030Would a Guide like this be useful?  If someone gave it to you, would you do what it said to do, or would you do the same thing you always do when you get advice you don’t really want?

You probably will do what you have always done so far.  Right?  Why not?  Well then, it’s got you to this point in your life, the point at which you’re asking for advice about how to make at least one good decision every day.

On the other hand, maybe you’re ready to try something new, and give The Plan a shot.  If you are ready to give it a try, then let’s get to it.

Step One

First, make a list of things you can’t live without.

The list can be short or long, it’s up to you.  But just a suggestion, keep it as short as you can.  The more stuff you can’t live without, the more stuff with which you have to live.

Take your time making this list.  It is important.  Who says?  Well, for one, you do. So, take at least a couple of hours thinking about it before you decide finally what should be on the list.  What do I think should be on your list?  You really don’t want to know.  I don’t even want to know.  Because it’s totally irrelevant to the Plan.  It’s also lesson one in The Plan – What I think is important to you doesn’t matter, and you should stop spending so much time worrying about it.  I’d probably put all sorts of stuff on the list that you wouldn’t think of anyway, because it’s stuff that is important to me rather than to you.

I am sure you have a lot of experience at figuring out what is important to me and other people in your life.  We have told you often enough, in enough different ways, so you have a pretty good idea of how to get through a day without once thinking about what matters to you.

Hmm.  Back to the list.

Try to figure out stuff that matters to you, and that you really couldn’t imagine living without in your life.  It’s probably not stuff, at least, not physical stuff.  For some of us it really is physical stuff like cars, houses and other things like that…. If it is, then put it on your list.  But ask yourself whether your life would be any better or worse without it?  (Just a random thought to ponder on the way to The Plan.)

ROZ 56952 “It’s no accident that most ads are pitched to people in their 20s and 30s. Not only are they so much cuter than their elders…but they are less likely to have gone through the transformative process of cleaning out their deceased parents’ stuff. Once you go through that, you can never look at *your* stuff in the same way. You start to look at your stuff a little postmortemistically. If you’ve lived more than two decades as an adult consumer, you probably have quite the accumulation, even if you’re not a hoarder…I’m not saying I never buy stuff, because I absolutely do. Maybe I’m less naive about the joys of accumulation.” ― Roz Chast, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?

This is where I admit that I have a lot to learn from my partner about eliminating unnecessary stuff from my life.  Over the years she has driven me a little crazy, what with her habit of giving away things she no longer wants or needs, like lovely jewelry she hasn’t worn in a while.  She’s given diamond rings away to our kids or their partners, and random bits of ceramics or glass wear, simply because it occupies space she doesn’t really want to maintain anymore.

Actually, she’s brilliant.  She has always had a knack at being able to focus on what matters to her, and let the rest go, even at the risk of offending other people.  Good on her, good advice for the rest of us.

But minimalism aside, which has critics as well as advocates , there are practical reasons for adopting a more limited list of important things to keep than just the amount of junk you have to pay to store or display.

The idea applies well beyond things, and includes non-purposeful or even destructive connections to organizations, companies, services, or even relationships.  Imagine going through the things you pay for every month to determine which of them could be eliminated without reducing your quality of life.

Even if you’re resistant to eliminating television or cable vision from your life, how hard would it be to get rid of all the channels you never or seldom watch.  Recently I eliminated over 50% of the channels on my Telus television subscription, and ended up basically with the minimum number of channels I could get on a basic service, as opposed to an enhanced package.

It’s not that we stopped watching television, or even that our interests had narrowed to the point where basic TV would satisfy us, rather we found alternative sources of programming at a small fraction of the cost, using internet based sources rather than broadcast TV.  It wasn’t that we weren’t using these sources before, but despite using these alternatives we have been paying for all the extra channels on cable for years, even though we had stopped relying on them for content.  It was a habit and being a little too lazy to go through the list and eliminate the unused or unnecessary.

We did go back, a month or so later, and added back a couple of channels we realized are of more valuable to us than we previously thought.  It’s okay to backtrack. It’s rare to right about anything completely. 

Now I’m going to talk about some of the harder things to reduce, eliminate or deprioritize.   The harder things to let of are relationships that no longer serve a positive purpose in our lives, but in which we continue to invest time, energy and emotional commitment.  Of these, the easiest ones to eliminate are people or time commitments that simply bore you to death, literally.  How many social meetings or gatherings do you attend every month that actually fail to enrich your life experience?  Do you really have to attend countless committee meetings, or have a hand in the governance of your local whatever organization.   Is it really your duty to sit on your strata council?

For some people, these social organizations and gatherings provide meaning and purpose, and for those people they are far from unnecessary or a waste of time and energy.  For most of us, not so much.  So just stop going, resign or don’t offer up your time.  Trust me, most often your absence will hardly be missed.

An even harder group to eliminate are destructive friends, relatives and acquaintances.  It’s amazing how many of the people in our day to day lives take pleasure in inflicting misery on us.  A good principle to follow – if someone really doesn’t like you, stop spending time on them. Also, if you really don’t like and admire someone, stop spending your precious life energy trying to fix them, or getting them to change into someone you might like.  Stop trying to impress that opinionated aunt, or the bitchy neighbor down the block who never has anything positive to say.   Don’t return phone calls to people who merely want to give you a piece of their mind on any subject you don’t want to hear. Especially people who phone or visit merely to criticize or put you down.

When was the last time you looked forward to a visit from/to your least enjoyable acquaintance, friend or relative?  Just stop going, listening or participating.  You’ll feel a lot better about yourself if you stop listening to poison, about yourself or anyone else you care to know.

So, make a list of what you don’t need or want.  Whether it’s stuff like an old table wasting space in the family room, or a relative who hasn’t a good thing to say about you for twenty years.  Invest yourself in those things and people that matter, divest yourself from those that don’t.

Step One could take a while, first to make the list, then to actually implement it. And then to revise it again. But do it with relish, and reward yourself whenever you eliminate something else or someone else that no longer serves your best interests.  Enjoy the absence of unnecessary stuff as a kind of liberation.  Likewise the absence of destructive individuals in your life.

A less cluttered life is by most accounts a better life.

Banner image credit to

http://www.standanddeliverworkshops.com/manage-meetings-masterfully/

If this is your image and it violates your copyright and you want me to stop using it please contact me and I will remove it. 

 

This gallery contains 2 photos.

http://madonnaandchildproject.chipin.com/the-madonna-and-child-project-book Vancouver Island painter Kate Hanson, who painted the series Madonna and Child, which was displayed in a number of successful gallery exhibitions on Vancouver Island over the past two years, is undertaking the publication of her works in a new form – a book of high quality prints of original paintings. As a fan …

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United Church of Canada

United Church of Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last fall I wrote a blog about leaving my church. At the time I thought it was about leaving The Church, that is withdrawing from the United Church of Canada, and maybe even revoking my membership in the worldwide Christian faith group, otherwise known as Christians.

My kids didn’t really believe me, because for as long as they have known Katherine and me, we have been active members of the United Church, but especially members of Highlands United, a congregation in North Vancouver, where I have lived, off and on, for more that 40 years. I first was confirmed at Highlands in 1967, at the age of 14 years old. So, although I left for a while in my twenties, I have been a member of that church for a very long time.

For most of the years I have been a reasonable committed member of the congregation, and have participated in the choir, as a youth leader, on the refugee committee. Well, you get the drift. Much of my life outside of work has been involved in the church as an active participant.

So our leaving the church as pretty big. Really Big. I essential recanted most of my Christian affirmations in my blog and in my heart when I left. I even left town and moved to Langley.

Well, folks, so much for that….. On Easter Sunday Katherine and I are joining the United Churches of Langley. Wow! I never saw that coming, although my kids saw it coming before I even finished saying that I was leaving.

So what in the devil is going on? How can I eat my own words and recant my recantation of faith.

Actually I don’t have to. In this new congregation my views are welcome as am I as a “Skeptic” and they look forward to engaging in a dialogue about our faith community. My sense of spirituality is awakened anew by their refreshing openness and courage in acknowledging and supporting the difficulty of being a part of a church in transformation.

The Very Reverend George C. Pidgeon, first Mod...

The Very Reverend George C. Pidgeon, first Moderator of The United Church of Canada, dedicates the cornerstone of the new Christian Education wing of Royal York Road United Church, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 7, 1958. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel like I’m coming home, but to a home looking for the return of its prodigal son.

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