Saturday, April 27, 2013

What is a terrorist?

Composite Cape Code images: Spring 2013
CC Jean Stimmell
The interesting thing about the following quote by James Hillman is that it was published in 1989 in a book, bringing together a collection of his earlier writings. So the quote comes from much earlier, perhaps the 1960s or 1970s,  Back then, a terrorist was a word little used, appreciated, or understood by Americans; nevertheless, Mr. Hillman was already on the case. Here's the quote:

"A terrorist is the product of our education that says that fantasy is not real, that says aesthetics is just for artists, that says soul is only for priests, imagination is trivial or dangerous and for crazies, and that reality, what we must adapt to, is the external world, a world that is dead. A terrorist is a result of this whole long process of wiping out the psyche."*

*James Hillman, Blue Fire (1989), page 187

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Language is not an avenue to truth but a means to bind us into the world

Moines Tibetains Du Monastere De Schechen
Photograph by Matthieu Ricard*
Oral, storytelling cultures wield words in a very different way. For such folk traditions, language is not primarily a tool for getting at or figuring out the world, but more a way of binding oneself into the world.**

*To see more of Matthieu Ricard's amazing photographs or buy one of  his prints see:

** David Abrams from Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche, 7:1, 104-119

Monday, April 22, 2013

The wheel of life rolls on

Wagon Wheel Farm:* 4/22/13
CC Jean Stimmell

Once upon a time, a young man made a smart decision, staking his future on a sturdy new wagon to help transform his fledgling farm into a paradise. But time marches on.

The farmer and farm are now long gone but the old wagon, weathered and worn (next to what is now the town community parking lot) still stands guard: A living testament to the past when times were simple, things were made to last, and you could make a honest living by hitching your wagon to a dream.

*The property was acquired by the town of Durham in 1989 "to preserve its scenic vistas, provide for future municipal purposes and preserve open space."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dream: Nun in Shining Armor

Nun in Shining Armor: 4/15/13
CC Jean Stimmell
I dreamed last night that I am wandering in a dark cave without beginning or end.  Empty, feeling neither sorrow or joy, I stumble upon what appears to be a statue bathed in light, perhaps a knight in shining armor. But, coming closer, I see a Buddhist nun, tears streaming down her face, cradling her dead baby.  In her grief, she is majestic: fiercer than any warrior, more authentic than the Buddha. 

During my dream I fully aware that I am receiving an important message but, despite my best efforts, I can not pull together the various threads to interpret what it means. Looking back on it in the light of day, I see the nun as my guide, sent to lead me to the gate of real faith: that flesh-and-blood imperative, that ultimate attachment that lifts us out of void and makes us truly human: passion, resiliency, and love.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

In Search of Spring

Looking down at Lake Winnipesaukee from top of Mt Major
Photoshop composition: 4/13/13
Despite the clouds and coolness
 – and yet another snow storm –
we all emerged from hibernation
to climb Mt Major today:
older folks walking dogs;
parents carrying infants
or cajoling their kids;
teenagers flying downhill
their sneakers like skis
through the snow.

When, in a sudden magic moment
 the sun burst through the gloom,
we spread our spirits
until we were sails.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kim Jong-Un & Coyote marking territory

Garden Present: 4/9/13
While our local coyote asks for trouble,
 shitting on our garden mulch pile
 to mark his territory, 
 Kim Jong-Un rattles nukes.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Back to the Future: Daydreaming with Jung

Photo #1:   CC Jean Stimmell
These photographs taken in Kittery Maine: 4/6/13

Daydreaming at Sea Point Beach at low tide,
watching water draining slowly down a gully,
meandering this way and that
yet flowing inescapably to the sea,
brought this thought to mind:

Indeliably engraved into our western minds,
evolution is depicted by two universal images:
either a fish flopping up on land on flimsy fins
to become the first land animal;
or the image of a series of primates,
each, in turn, standing more erect
until the apex which is us.

Why not a third way, I imagined,
a sacred path to a new stage of evolution,
where we humans turn our back on technology
and start marching back to the sea,
becoming less rigid and erect as we go,
until merging once again with our mother.

Photo #2:   CC Jean Stimmell
Close up of Photo #1
Documenting my vision with  Photo #1 of the gully,
I was amazed to spot two human figures in the distance,
hunched over in their journey, heading toward the sea.

 It turns out, they were First Americans,
iron workers brought east to build the new bridge.
They were in awe at their first glimpse of the sea:
Going back to their beginnings
turning over rocks like little children
in search of exquisite treasure.
Photo #3:   CC Jean Stimmell
Iron worker displaying  treasure
In summary: what can I say except Jung was right:
There is no such thing as coincidence!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Our lives are not a stage act, but a ritual performed in concert with Nature

Baseball at dusk: a Cape ritual 2010     CC  Jean Stimmell

In my last blog entry, I included this quote from Henry Beston , a quote I think very important:

A human life, so often likened to a spectacle upon a stage, is more justly a ritual. The ancient values of dignity, beauty, and poetry which sustain it are of Nature's inspiration; they are born of the mystery and beauty of the world.” *

How profound and so true! Our lives gain immeasurable substance and meaning when we view them as ritual – rather than just a stage act. But not any ritual will suffice, only meaningful ones reflecting the majestic rhythms of Mother Nature herself.  In the quote that follows, Beston poetically describes his feelings of gratitude and reverence for the gift nature bestows upon him, while immersed in her magnificent seasonal rituals during his year on the outer Cape:

“My year upon the beach had come full circle; it was time to close my door. Seeing the great suns, I thought of the last time I marked them in the spring, in the April west about the moors, dying into the light and sinking. I saw them of old about the iron waves of black December, sparkling afar. Now, once again, the Hunter rose to drive summer south before him, once again autumn followed on his steps. I had seen the ritual of the sun; I had shared the elemental world. Wraiths of memories began to take shape. I saw the sleet of the great storm slanting down again into the grass under the thin seepage of moon, the blue-white spill of an immense billow on the outer bar, the swans in the high October sky, the sunset madness and splendour of the year’s terns over the dunes, the clouds of beach birds arriving, the eagle solitary in the blue. And because I had known this outer and secret world, and been able to live as I had lived, reverence and gratitude greater and deeper than ever possessed me, sweeping every emotion else aside, and space and silence an instant closed together over life. (pp.215-6) *

Henry Beston was far ahead of his time, although writing almost 100 years ago, he could acutely feel the pain to the Earth for the wounds we had already inflected on Her – wounds now, of course, immeasurably worse, endangering most of the species on earth, including us two-legged ones.

In my next installment I will note how Henry Beston, along with another visionary, Carl Jung, writing in this same period of time, could appreciate the folly on the other side of the equation: about how we in the West, immersed in our individualistic, materialistic culture are in complete denial about the centrality of nature to our very existence; we have been impoverished by a collective loss of memory of anything more important and bigger than we are. 

As Bonnie Bright has written, “As a society, we have become dislocated in time and disconnected from place, leaving us rootless, transient, and opting for sensationalism instead of spirituality; superficiality instead of soul.”**

 The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod