Monday, April 28, 2014

Wandering shepherd

Listening to Wandering Shepherd, one of the few songs recorded by Joe Crookston that he did not write himself.

I listen to Joe Crookston when I'm depressed and tired.

Some of the words that resonate with me:

Wandering shepherd, wander no more
Lay down your trouble, your worries and woe
Traveling pilgrim, rest for the night
Safe from the darkness, here in the light

But at times like this, I find darkness to be peaceful and healing, while light is glaring and instrusive.

A line from another song also comes to mind: "so lonesome I could cry."

I am tired.  I feel demands have been placed on me.  I work and work to meet the demands.  Never does a gift come to me.  I do for others, no one does for me.

That's the way it feels when I am tired and depressed.  I don't think it's really a reflection of my actual situation.  It's just the way it feels.  When I have a busy day or a busy week, then after that, I am tired, and it feels like this.

The song continues:

Homeless believer, find here a home
You may be lonely, never alone

I've been thinking maybe I should get a stuffed animal so I have something to hug at times like this.

Erosion of old friendships

Friends are the family members we choose.  When I give my heart to someone, I consider it a lifetime commitment.  It's not logical.  It's just the way  my heart works.  I should know better by now, but my heart keeps giving itself away.

That's why it troubles me when I find I no longer wish to continue a friendship.

There seem to be two main factors in whether I want to continue a friendship.

One is how the person treats me.  Do they treat me as a friend, as someone they treasure and respect? They need not spend a lot of time with me, but the way they treat me needs to be proportional somehow to the kind of relationship that we have.  If they don't honor the connection that we have, then I may need to turn away from them.

This is difficult.  I still treasure the person, and yet keeping them in my life erodes my self-esteem.

The other is whether I value who the person is.  What I value: people who can live with the fact that not everything can be known, understood, or fixed.  People who let others be what they are rather than trying to reform them.

The second one is easier.  When I am troubled by who a person is, it is clear to me that I know longer wish to be friends with that person.  But still, it troubles me.  What is wrong with me? Did I show poor judgment in choosing this person as a friend to begin with? Am I too much of a perfectionist, failing to accept the person as they are?

It is reassuring, after seeing someone I no longer like, to see people I do like.  I realize that I am not someone who just rejects everyone, someone who cannot accept the fact that everyone has flaws.  I realize that there are clearly identifiable traits that make the difference in who I like and who I don't like.

New friends

With ingredients sunshine, soil, and water, plants blossom into something beautiful.  So too do friendships grow.  I think the ingredients are my actions, the other person's actions, and some element of magic.  The magic is what some might call chemistry.  It's whether my personality and the other person's personality make something when they come together.

I do my best to make my actions ones that will nurture the friendship without quashing the way the other two ingredients are taking paths of their own.

People often say that I am too quiet, that they find it hard to connect with me because I don't talk enough.

People often say that I come on too strong, that I want too much from them.

It's like walking a rocky path in the dark.  Trying to find the right steps to take.  Try not to tread anywhere that will break something.

Friendships don't develop unless I reach out to someone, unless I help to cultivate the friendship.  But I can't expect to control the way they develop.   My actions are just one of three ingredients that help them grow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


A feeling hit me.  In the first instant, just a feeling, an instinct.  I stayed with it, and within seconds, it unfolded into consciousness, into words.  It said, "I am so tired.  I am too tired to do what I'm doing now. I need to take a break from this."  But what I was doing in that moment was lying down with my eyes closed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Attitudes of high status people

According to the values I grew up with, we are all equal.  According to the values I grew up with, it is morally wrong to treat a high status person better than you treat a low status person. I think I got this outlook from Quakerism, but I don't maintain it out of a desire to adhere to Quaker values.  I maintain it because it's part of my beliefs.  It's ingrained in me, and I choose to keep it.

I see some people in high level positions who seem to take the same attitude.  They are humble. They don't act like they are better than anyone else.  If they ask you to do something, they explain why.  If you  make a mistake, they seem to take the attitude that we are all fallible.

But then there are other people in high level positions who have a smugness to them.  They act like they advanced to that position because they have greater ability and hard work than other people.  If you make a mistake, they seem to take the attitude that you are incompetent and/or malicious.

Well, not all are that bad.  There are some who don't look down on others, yet there is still something about them, something that says they have a determination to succeed.

It seems to me that those who are humble, who are in a high status position but act like they are the same as anyone else, are often people who came from an environment in which it was taken for granted that they were intelligent and could pursue whatever they were interested.  Many of those who seem to have a smugness about them, or at least an attitude that they have succeeded due to their personal determination, seem to come from backgrounds in which it was not expected that they would succeed.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Time of rest

What The Apple Branch says about Samhain:
All true growth takes place in darkness....Seeds sprout underground....There will be openness to growth the is slow and unforced.  
As Samhain marks the end of the year, Saturday marks the end of the week.  Every Saturday I am tired.  Every weekend I rest, and begin the week with new energy.  And yet it the larger scheme of things, I feel my life has been in darkness for years.  I don't know if it will ever come out.

Multiple truths

From The Apple Branch by Alexei Kondratiev (page 10):
many versions of one story can be true simultaneously.  Looked at from one angle, a specific pattern will emerge; from another angle, the pattern will be different.  All the patterns are interwoven, all are related, yet each one can stand on its own.
This fits my own philosophy.  Back when I was in college, a theme I used for several papers was that in order to fully understand something, you need to look at it from different, seemingly contradictory, viewpoints.