Brown is beautiful – inspired by KC & JS

[5 minute read]


“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
[T. S. Eliot’s Little Gidding]

Our soul is our home. And it has infinite possibilities in the color brown.
[below]

To help someone is not to do it for them. It is to amplify their effort—their way. Effective therapists, true friends, confidants, and authentic lovers do not tell us how to feel or think. They do not even tell us WHAT we feel and think. They assist our growing awareness of what we have already begun to feel and think—our way.

Therapy is a tunnel that leads you from one cavern of perception to a new one. And when you do not feel at home in that cavern, you look for another tunnel to a different cavern. Successful therapy leads you through this maze of tunnels and caverns to a final destination. And that is in fact the very cavern in which you started: “… the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started…”

This is what non-dualism and mystics mean by having all that you need already. You have always had all that you need. But the human love of mystery and exploration drives us with a motor that can be summed up in “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” For, “We shall not cease from exploration…”

As we have visited these different caverns, we have discovered that the grass there is also brown. Not green. And when we return to our own cavern, and realize that grass only looks green from some other side, brown becomes beautiful. We can rest from the quest for illusory green. “And know the place for the first time.” We can’t “know” that brown patch if our eyes are restlessly aimed elsewhere.

Perhaps you have always felt like the loser in some relationship. The other always had to have the last word. The other got angrier and pounded their fists louder, and so you acquiesced. In addition to “loser” and “winner,” we use words like “strong” and “weak” in that context. And so perhaps you were the weak one. Perhaps the therapeutic tunnel you followed was to improve your self-esteem, to speak your truth, to “use your voice,” to stand up for yourself.

I suspect once you travel those tunnels and visit those caverns, and then you return home to your own brown space, you have grown in awareness that you were a loving person in your losing relationship. You acted with love by withdrawing from the dance that led repeatedly to unhappiness for both partners.

One partner must step out of the dance, or both partners get nowhere. Both believe their grass is greener, even though they know it’s brown. Even though they know? Yes, we know it in a way that we don’t admit to ourselves or to our partner, because in that dance, winning is valued, and losing is weak.

Apply those ideas to Jesus Christ. He was such a loser he never judged the people with whom he interacted. He was such a loser and so weak, they made him carry his own cross to his own death, and he did it willingly. What a weakling. What a loser. Why didn’t he stand up for himself and use his voice? Why didn’t he have more self-esteem? Because. Because ego is much less important than we initially believe it to be.

Ego is only a small part of our nature—but an important part, which tells us we are separate individuals from others. It’s an important piece of knowledge to have — that we are not identical with others — but we don’t *live* from that place of knowledge. Separateness is not life-giving by itself. It is not a large part of our nature.

The largest part of our nature is living from a place of love. Loving. Life-giving. Judgmentalism and ‘being right’ do not satisfy our full nature. Perhaps they are tools that keep directing us back to fuller awareness of our brown patch. Our very own home. The home of our very own soul:

It is judgmentalism that leads us into those tunnels in caverns, and so it serves us well by letting us explore to discover that we are most fully home in our full self:

Our soul is our home. And it has infinite possibilities in the color brown.

We value ego, and we also value being right, too much. But the worst of all illusory values is to believe that hurt and pain and suffering are things to be avoided. These are feelings from which we learn that brown is beautiful. We cannot know deep and authentic love without knowing pain, hurt, and suffering. This was the example of Jesus Christ. Awareness of suffering deepens awareness of loving.

Christmas celebrates the Incarnation—the start of the example of God’s becoming man. God suffers. And God suffers so deeply that we often say, God is Love. The example of Jesus Christ is an example that deep suffering always accompanies deep love. That pure love is always accompanied by pure suffering. There are long-standing wise traditions that speak about the suffering of God. In your own suffering, in your own soul, and your own piece of God, in your own “divine spark,” that same truth is what emerges from knowing and loving the color brown for the first time. From exploring all those other tunnels and caverns.

By surrendering to your suffering, you are following the example of the incarnation. And from that come the fruits of perfect love. Learn to be aware of how deep your suffering is, and you will also become aware of how deep you are as a font of love.

You were not weak. You did not lack self-esteem. You were, and are, a mysteriously wonderful example of love accompanied by suffering. The more you try to avoid future suffering because it hurt so badly in the past, the more you will avoid deeper love, and being a source of deeper love. Including for your own self.

.

Neil D. 2020-12-25


Inspired by Susan C


Came a Christmas morning text among many, but from an uncommon genre of warm wishers:

“Merry Christmas to you and the family Neil!🎄”

As, by aging, wisdom besets me absent volition, a realization unfolds from within—somewhere deeper than my conscious mind alone. It has the flavor of authentic appreciation—gratefulness that some interpersonal relationships perhaps born of transaction or convenience evolve to survive, and neither their nascence nor evolution were inevitable. Nay, they are both inter and personal. Between two human beings, EACH of whom exercise their inalienable freedom to invest — to risk — trust. Not all such commitments bear fruit, yet that makes more wondrous the ones which do.

My profession is in selling—always implying risk for a buyer, and to the seller as well whose time too is limited. My profession is support—always an interpersonal time commitment that’s BIdirectional, demanding trust each way, especially if subsequent engagements are to happen. My profession is science—a foundationally *human* vocation. Scientists fancy much of their practice as objective, but the involuntary wisdom I’m talking about eventually, for most scientists, humbles them to recognize they are only scratching at the surface of unfathomable mysteries. The vocation itself makes scientists more aware of human nature and frailty.

Beneath this wisdom is some vague understanding that personal integrity has its own way of rising. It seems the more we grow true to who we are as unique human beings, the more we grow into the calm that, although we are mere stitches in the fabric of creation, our thin and frayed thread is no less or more valuable than those over and under which we are woven.

.

Neil D. 2020 COVID-19 Christmas Day


“Do you hear what I hear” – best online versions. Preface: Awesome Dad


[At the end of this article are the carefully researched 11 best, free, outstanding online video recordings of the carol. My own fav? No-brainer: Angel City Chorale.]

“Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
…goodness and light.”

A son texted his father:
Thanks for lunch and bein an awesome dad, goodnight

So much that father has been given. Although the abundance is always there, his heart feels it deeply when a message like this is taken in through the eyes of his head. That must mean consciousness of those gifts hasn’t entirely sunken down into his heart.

But if messages like his son’s get said to him, there must be something already coming from his heart.

When these feelings rise up like this, something must be already in the dad’s heart.

Into this child has been imprinted the image and likeness of Love. This is that child pouring It out of his soul.

This is a son’s soul anointing his dad with sacredness. This is God in that child reminding the dad of God in his dad.

This dad is not a shepherd in the desert beckoned by angels and a star to Bethlehem. Instead, his son’s words bring the Christchild TO his dad.

What the dad hears and sees from that boy is that dad is OK, because dad is living according to his nature. To love.

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know
In your palace warm mighty king
Do you know what I know?

[You are] “bein an awesome dad

The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He [brings dad] goodness and light

“…awesome dad, goodnight

Even if dad is not perpetually conscious of it, dad is awesome when he is living according to his nature, from his heart. Loving.

Goodnight son. A very good night.

.

[Neil D. 2020-12-20]

Here are the best of the best online, in categories of male/female, classic/contemporary. My own fav? No-brainer: Angel City Chorale. But you don’t want to miss any one of them. On this YouTube playlist, they can all be played in the sequence below.

MALE

Classic

The original record 1962: A classic Christmas sound of a chilling choir and bugles, The Harry Simeone Chorale

Bing Crosby, made it a worldwide hit on his Christmas album 1963, with the chilling final “liiiight” and full choir and orchestra
Commonly played crooners
Andy Williams
Johnny Mathis

Contemporary

Chilling contemporary male a cappella, Home Free

Integrated with adorable children telling the story of Christmas (male vocalist, Gentri)

MIXED (MALE & FEMALE)

An outrageously stirring, handclapping professional production gospel choir will get you on your feet, Angel City Chorale

FEMALE

Classic

An angelic female vocalist and full orchestration, Laura Osnes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Warm female voice Orla Fallon

Contemporary

Contemporary professional production with enchanting girl vocalist with The Five Strings, a family band of five siblings

Contemporary soul female Jordin Sparks


Christmas Carol paradoxes 5 – It Came Upon a Midnight Clear


My goodness, Christmas carols are loaded with contrasts and paradoxes. And so am I. Good and bad. Deserved and undeserved. Earned and unearned. Beautiful and ugly.

Wishing we could be quiet enough, and have “ears to hear” above the din of judgmental self-talk, let alone the judgmentalism of open warfare…

“Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world hath suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.”

.

Wiki on this carol
.

Share your favorite carol lyrics and the paradoxical mysteries they raise inside you, below, please!

Brushing snow off car

Like her, Kathy’s snowbrush is small & cute, so using it felt like swabbing a gym floor with a Q-tip.

Humming Christmas music the whole *long* while…what a wonderful early Christmas gift!

Frolicking in the tranquil stillness of nature’s own blanket — greeting passers-by only whispering at the wonder, so as not to disturb the serene scene’s quiet beauty.
…blessings & curses…

…blessings & curses…

What were you thinking and feeling as you disrupted the perfect covering? Tell me below…

Christmas Carol paradoxes 4 – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing


My goodness, Christmas carols are loaded with contrasts and paradoxes. And so am I. Good and bad. Deserved and undeserved. Earned and unearned. Beautiful and ugly.

“Pleased, as man, with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!”

God, pleased to be a man, and dwell with men?
This Incarnation signaled that a human person is worthy of being divine, and that the divine knows our experiences of joys and sorrows and deep suffering, for it is that to which Yeshua submitted freely. We cannot claim Abba doesn’t understand what we go through. He opted in–into our humanity and excruciating suffering to death.

YHWH came to us the same way each of us came to the world. A baby in absolute need for survival.

God chooses us, despite our blindness to that. Not because we deserve to be divine, but exclusively because God loves us with no conditions. Just because God is goodness.

.

Wiki on this carol

Share your favorite carol lyrics and the paradoxical mysteries they raise inside you, below, please!