2012.02.26 19:00 - Ways of Belonging

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Calvino Rabeni. The comments are by Calvino Rabeni.

    Paradise Tennant: hello cal
    Paradise Tennant: quiet nite :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi :) Yes it is !
    Paradise Tennant: smiles just finished my taxes :))
    Paradise Tennant: always a happy moment :)
    Calvino Rabeni: Makes a face revealing "have not done that myself"
    Calvino Rabeni: Congrats
    Calvino Rabeni: it feels better after, as I recall
    Calvino Rabeni: :)
    Paradise Tennant: I have this handy program that walks you through everything
    Paradise Tennant: lol it does indeed ..will do my mom's tomorrow
    Calvino Rabeni: I use those, but it doesn't sort all the expenses into their categories
    Calvino Rabeni: like many things the prep is half the work
    Paradise Tennant: yes sitting here surrounded by little piles of paper :) but it is done ! will print out and review in the morning :) I have booked tomorrow as holiday :) of sorts ..
    Calvino Rabeni: ah indeed

    Calvino Rabeni: that would be fun if neighbors could get together for a post-tax celebration
    Paradise Tennant: or revolt we are one of the most taxed nations in the world :)
    Calvino Rabeni: yes I guess a pre-tax revolt
    Paradise Tennant: smiles
    Paradise Tennant: what shall we talk of tonight
    Paradise Tennant: liked the log from last week with all the quotes from john o'donohue
    Calvino Rabeni: I was browsing Amazon and found a new book by him - new to me anyway - the Four Elements
    Calvino Rabeni: it is a set of contemplations organized by the elements, in nature
    Paradise Tennant: sounds lovely
    Paradise Tennant:

    In "The Four Elements", poet and philosopher John O'Donohue draws upon his Celtic heritage and the love of his native landscape, the west of Ireland, to weave together a tapestry of beautifully evoked images of nature. As John explores a range of themes relating to the way we live our lives today, he reveals how the energy and rhythm of the natural world - its innocence and creativity, its power and splendour - hold profound lessons for us all. With a foreword written by his beloved brother Pat, this illuminating treasury is a unique collection of reflections inspired by the ancient wisdom of this earth.

    Calvino Rabeni: I have a spare change book fund
    Calvino Rabeni: all the leftover coins go in a jar
    Calvino Rabeni: which gets taken to the grocery and sorted by a machine
    Calvino Rabeni: and made into an Amazon credit
    Paradise Tennant: lol brillant idea
    Calvino Rabeni: so I fool myself into feeling better about frivolous book purchases :)
    Paradise Tennant: was published after his death
    Paradise Tennant: oh no there are no frivolous book purchases
    Calvino Rabeni: I found another book - The Three Marriages by David Whyte
    Calvino Rabeni: which is dedicated to John O'Donohue.  (I got it used for $4, a nice ex-library hardback in mylar, like-new condition.)
    Paradise Tennant:

    The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self & Relationship looks beyond the notion of work-life balance to the triumphs and tragedies of human belonging in three crucial areas that most individuals simply can't avoid: in relationship, in work and in all those strange and inexplicable inner ways we belong to ourselves. It looks at what happens along with the way when we become more interesting: when we get out of the dynamics of self-entrapment and fall in love - with a person, a future, a work, or with a new sense of self. Thinking of work, self and relationship as three marriages offers the possibility of living them out in a way in which they are not put into competition with one another, where each of the marriages can protect, embolden and enliven the others and help keep us mutually honest, relevant, authentic and alive. (Riverhead Books 2009)

    Paradise Tennant: there is a link to listen to an excerpt too
    Paradise Tennant: http://www.davidwhyte.com/Three_Marriages.html
    Calvino Rabeni: Thanks !
    Calvino Rabeni: Reading ...
    Paradise Tennant: browsing his poems :))
    Paradise Tennant: he is very good
    Paradise Tennant: 

    Your great mistake is to act the drama
    as if you were alone.  As if life
    were a progressive and cunning crime
    with no witness to the tiny hidden
    transgressions.  To feel abandoned is to deny
    the intimacy of your surroundings.  Surely,
    even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
    the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
    out your solo voice.  You must note
    the way the soap dish enables you,
    or the window latch grants you freedom.
    Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
    The stairs are your mentor of things
    to come, the doors have always been there
    to frighten you and invite you,
    and the tiny speaker in the phone
    is your dream-ladder to divinity.
    Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
    the conversation.  The kettle is singing
    even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
    have left their arrogant aloofness and
    seen the good in you at last.  All the birds
    and creatures of the world are unutterably
    themselves.  Everything is waiting for you.
    David Whyte, from Everything is Waiting For You, Copyright Many Rivers Press

    Calvino Rabeni: I wonder what their relationship was .. (Whyte and O'Donohue) ?
    Paradise Tennant: Friends by the sound of .. a like minded pair
    Calvino Rabeni: O'D was not known mainly as a poet, though he published several books
    Calvino Rabeni:

    Understanding the human need to belong - and expressing, fulfilling, and accommodating it throughout the recurring seasons in a life - has proven to be a central theme in all of Whyte's work. In The Three Marriages, the aclaimed poet-author explores this need in the dynamics of the three core relationships we all negotiate - that of the intimate other, that with work, and that with our self. They are separate yet interwoven life threads, capturing the need to belong to another, to belong to community, and to belong to something larger and deeper within ourselves. Each is vital, and neglecting any one weakens the others. But it's not simply about "balancing" them, Whyte warns. It's a bold lifelong adventure of keeping them in an open and honest conversation. When we allow these marriages to learn from and revitalize one another, we risk becoming vulnerable but we also open to a life that is "innocent, dangerous, and wonderful all at the same time."

    Calvino Rabeni: They were both very interested the topic of Belonging
    Paradise Tennant: yes a big topic one that reverberates through you
    Calvino Rabeni: nods

    Paradise Tennant: I wonder what it is about poetry that somehow gets people closer to what is true
    Calvino Rabeni: perhaps it opens another door, another way of knowing
    Calvino Rabeni: and having more doors is better
    Paradise Tennant: yes
    Paradise Tennant:

    The Opening of Eyes

    That day I saw beneath dark clouds
    The passing light over the water
    And I heard the voice of the world speak out
    I knew then as I have before
    Life is no passing memory of what has been
    Nor the remaining pages of a great book
    Waiting to be read
    It is the opening of eyes long closed
    It is the vision of far off things
    Seen for the silence they hold
    It is the heart after years of secret conversing
    Speaking out loud in the clear air
    It is Moses in the desert fallen to his knees
    Before the lit bush
    It is the man throwing away his shoes
    As if to enter heaven and finding himself astonished
    Opened at last
    Fallen in love
    With Solid Ground
    David Whyte from Songs for Coming Home ©1984 Many Rivers Press

    Calvino Rabeni: Poetry is a language of interiority, of direct experience, rather than an "aboutness" way of knowing and use of language
    Paradise Tennant: yes that is it !
    Paradise Tennant: it connects us to the our interiority what Jd seems to reference on every page
    Paradise Tennant: and goes undiscovered in our distraction
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Calvino Rabeni: it creates an experience in the present moment, that is its art
    Paradise Tennant: why silence and stillness are so important we think of them as a negative almost
    Calvino Rabeni: so much of our activity has a function, to distract from those existential conditions
    Calvino Rabeni: Perhaps more balance is needed
    Calvino Rabeni: If they stop the distraction they expose the shadowed felt aspects of living
    Calvino Rabeni: one sits to meditate, then discovers, a headache,  an itch that was there all along, an antsy feeling, a "hard to be in the here-and-now" feeling
    Calvino Rabeni: Or especially, actually, an emotional one, regarding our shared world
    Paradise Tennant: hiya stev
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Para, Cal
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi, Stev :)
    Paradise Tennant: we are talking of the importance of silence and stillness and why it is sometimes so uncomfortable
    Calvino Rabeni: With a topic like Belonging, just saying the word invokes the spectre of not-belonging
    stevenaia Michinaga: hmm, I find getting to stillness the uncomfortable part

    Tess Aristocrat: hello folks
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi Tess!
    Paradise Tennant: hiya tess :)
    Calvino Rabeni: There are different ways of being uncomfortable .. I think that's part of the lesson :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: just to notice
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Tess
    Tess Aristocrat: hi :)
    Paradise Tennant: we were talking of belonging .. the importance of silence and stillness to being able to access the deeper regions of being
    Calvino Rabeni: Sometimes it's a familiar process .. like being an archeologist and digging down through the layers of the mind, like the layers of an ancient hill-city
    stevenaia Michinaga: thinking of belonging as a staring point, not a destination
    Calvino Rabeni: yes that's more how it is, I think, a starting point
    Calvino Rabeni: like trying to create a relationship and discovering that it was there all along as a basic condition in the first place
    Calvino Rabeni: a coming-from rather than a going-to
    Paradise Tennant: finding old shoes and bed springs :)
    Calvino Rabeni: hehe, yes the old broken pottery, with images of things that were of concern at some point
    stevenaia Michinaga: nods, if people choose to move on, (diminish belonging) that is the choice
    Tess Aristocrat: Well, it seems I've only just arrived and now I have an errand. See you all later :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: bye tess
    Paradise Tennant: take care tes
    Paradise Tennant: tess
    Calvino Rabeni: oops, cat attack :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: smiles
    Calvino Rabeni: Interesting thinking about the possible meaning of emotions for a cat .. they are really curious, and it seems all of a fabric with hunting and attacking, like that is a pleasant feeling for them
    Calvino Rabeni: this cat really likes me, therefore gets carried away and attacks, its a positive attack
    Calvino Rabeni: not from being scared or angry but from liking
    stevenaia Michinaga: and the gentle biting, not drawing blood (sometimes) but with affection

    Paradise Tennant: pay me attention pls !
    Calvino Rabeni: yes
    Paradise Tennant: smiles get those too !
    stevenaia Michinaga: doggies?
    Paradise Tennant: fond of biting toes .. was difficult for a while when he was a puppy to keep socks on would literally chew them off your feet :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: affection comes in many lovely forms
    Paradise Tennant: it does doesn't it ..so diverse .. so pervasive :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: There are also those humans that also love biting toes (or so I am told)
    Calvino Rabeni: Neuropsychologists are trying to reconcile their brain scan data with older theories of emotions ... maybe "anger" is really several different things and, there could be new distinctions and new words for the definitions (of what we call emotions)
    stevenaia Michinaga: like a soup? made up of ingredients
    Calvino Rabeni: The theory said, a negative emotion is aversive, and anger is a negative emotion, but at least in some forms it seems to look like an attraction in brain studies
    Calvino Rabeni: so are those different modes of action that need different words?
    Calvino Rabeni: The cat doesn't know the theories :)
    Paradise Tennant: anger is very connecting :) you are close to those you are mad at usually
    Calvino Rabeni: Yes it does presuppose a connection or belonging, maybe it even helps maintain it, if it doesn't get out of hand in negative ways
    Calvino Rabeni: Maybe I'm too much a pacifist .. been told by friends .. who liked a fight every now and then .. but it is a bit difficult
    Calvino Rabeni: because I felt it wouldn't or didn't seem to go well
    Calvino Rabeni: reminds me of someone's workshop on "fair fighting for couples"
    Calvino Rabeni: and the controversy that came up around it
    Paradise Tennant: well fighting usually comes from poor communication though it can just arrise out of conflict .. wanting the same thing wanting different things
    Calvino Rabeni: watching my cats, they play-fight, just a rough-and-tumble
    stevenaia Michinaga: Fighting as an affectionate response is an interesting thought
    Calvino Rabeni: yes it's interesting
    Calvino Rabeni: seems like the cats like it :)
    Paradise Tennant: animals do it so much better growling is very smart nothing specific in a growl
    Paradise Tennant: easily forgotten
    stevenaia Michinaga: it can keep you engaged for an extended period after all
    Calvino Rabeni: I met some people who like it too .. fighting for fun with their friends .. it's outside my cultural milieu
    stevenaia Michinaga: nods
    Calvino Rabeni: oh except in certain settings, like a martial arts class.. the sparring can be fun
    Calvino Rabeni: it doesn't seem to qualify as "aggression" in that situation, there aren't any victims
    Calvino Rabeni: but I can see how it might worry people

    Editor's note: The word aggression comes from roots meaning "to step toward", and seems originally to describe actions;  the first use of it in a psychological sense, to describe a feeling of hostility, is attributed to an English translation of Freud, as recently as 1912.  It's similar in some ways to aggregate, "to join together" in herd... see also gregarious.  It goes to show, I suppose, there are many different ways of coming together and of belonging.

    Calvino Rabeni: (watches cats in their chase-and-ambush game)

    Calvino Rabeni: These are pampered felines, always been baby-ed
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Paradise Tennant: bet they view it as a born right :)
    Calvino Rabeni: perfectly trusting... yes, they like being carried, being held up in the air in 2 hands, for instance, no tension or fear at all
    stevenaia Michinaga: yawn, bedtime for me, night all
    stevenaia Michinaga: night
    Paradise Tennant: nite nite stev
    Calvino Rabeni: umm, actually I think I need to go too :)
    Paradise Tennant: me too :)
    Calvino Rabeni: keep the cats from their mischief
    Calvino Rabeni: Good night :)
    Paradise Tennant: smiles thanks cal stev for the company and the conversation :)
    Calvino Rabeni: :) YW
    Calvino Rabeni: Bye

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