why i heart rob brezsny

Below is my horoscope for this week from Free Will Astrology. Could there be better wisdom for a pastor?
“The composer Stravinsky had written a new piece with a difficult violin passage,” writes Thomas Powers, quoted in the book Sunbeams. “After it had been in rehearsal for several weeks, the solo violinist came to Stravinsky and said he was sorry, he had tried his best, the passage was too difficult, no violinist could play it. Stravinsky said, ‘I understand that. What I am after is the sound of someone trying to play it.'” Keep this story close to your heart in the coming week, Aquarius. It will give you the proper perspective as you, too, go about the work of doing the best you can at a task that is virtually impossible to perfect.

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May you eat an unfamiliar dessert in a strange land at least once every three years.

May you wake up to salsa music one summer morning, and start dancing while you’re still half-asleep.

May you spray-paint Rilke poems as graffiti on highway overpasses.

May you mix stripes with plaids, floral patterns with checks, and yellowish-green with brownish-purple.

May you learn to identify by name 20 flowers, 15 trees, 10 clouds, and one extrasolar planet.

May you put a bumper sticker on your car or bike that says, “My god can kick your god’s ass!”

If you bury your face in your tear-stained pillow and beg God to please send you your soul mate, may you not slur your words in such a way that they sound like “cell mate.”

May you dream of taking a trip to the moon in a gondola powered by firecrackers and wild swans.

May you actually kiss the earth now and then.

May you find many good excuses to say what physicist Niels Bohr once did: “Your theory is crazy, but it’s not crazy enough to be true.”

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on the most depressing day: ten reasons to be happy

I keep reading news stories that say that some scientist has determined that January 24th is the most depressing day of the year. Now, other accounts say that it was actually Monday the 22nd that was the most depressing this year, either way, here are some things to be happy about, in order to counteract the cloud of gloom that supposedly surrounds this week.

1. Apparently Newspapers are thriving in Asia where increased incomes and literacy rates are resulting in people who are ravenous for free media. “Read all about it” here.

2. It’s sunny in January in the Pacific Northwest – how often does that happen? Spend some time taking in the gorgeous views.

3. Kenyan political rivals Kibaki and Odinga have met and are pledging to resolve the crisis that their country is facing in the wake of their December elections. (cbc.ca)

4. There is a great magazine called Ode that is dedicated to solely reporting good news. Check it out.

5. “Scientists appear to be a step closer to transplanting a kidney without the need for a lifetime of drugs.” Full story here.

6. We still have two more Sundays of Epiphany/Ordinary Time in the Christian calendar before Lent starts, so live it up before you give it up folks. Listen to a great Epiphany reflection here.

7. Jim Wallis’ new book The Great Awakening, which contains tons of good news about how people of faith can take stands on issues that are important is now available.

8. If you live in Vancouver, there are still a few days left to enjoy the gastronomic delights of our town at special prices. Dine Out Vancouver restaurants have prix-fixe 3-course menus for $15, $25, $35. Visit this site for more info and to make a reservation.

9. Despite what some may say, food, I believe, in moderation, can be the ticket out of the winter blues zone. Imagine pairing two great comfort foods into a delectable loaf of, get this, chocolate bread. (You’ll find a recipe at the end of the NPR article that the chocolate bread link will take you to.)

10. Happiness has a strange way of popping up in the most random of places and people. Be on the lookout for happiness and you’ll probably find a lot of it.

a side note on books and curves

Just a short reflection on one of the lighter moments in Tara & I’s Monday night pilgrimage to the CBC:

So we were there for a show that is a “Book Club”.

Have you ever seen what the majority of women at these sorts of events look like? While we stood in line to meet the author, we surveyed the room and were interested by what we saw. One general conclusion was that I must have missed a sign that told me to park my curves at the door. Tara and I both felt like our breasts were just a little too large and our bodies in general a little too bootylicious for the literary crowd.

The kicker, though, was the noses. Now, I’m a big fan of my own nose, I like it very much, and normally I don’t particularly notice noses, but I could not help but notice that most of the noses there were pointy and bird-like. How does that happen? Do people forget to eat when they are so engaged in book reading? I myself am a big fan of snacking while reading, so I’m not sure how one could forget such a thing.

Anyhow, since part of the theme of the night was about diversity and variety, I felt like I definitely did my share of bringing diversity through representing the non-booky-looking book-lovers, in my own rubenesque style. Here’s to Tara and I transforming the literary world, one curve at a time.

office work really can kill you

this was a fun article to read as I stare at the shared HP LaserJet color printer that sits on my desk that everyone uses to print from.

clipped from www.digitaljournal.com

The supposedly benign laser printer emits dangerous particles into the air, an Australian study discovered. Watch out, office workers — new toners can be as harmful to your health as cigarette smoke.

Digital Journal — Even though most offices have banished smokers from the workplace, there’s a surprise health threat as potentially dangerous as cigarette smoking: the laser printer.

As BBC News reported, Australian scientists have discovered that some office printers emit a dangerous amount of toner in the air, possibly causing health problems ranging from respiratory irritation to cardiovascular problems. The scientists even noted some of these floating microscopic particles may be carcinogens.

  blog it

sunday sunday

Somehow I’d forgotten that Sunday afternoons are perfect for napping.

Today I remembered.

Finally, with no schoolwork looming over my head, no Hebrew translation to do, no readings to finish, no papers to write, I sat down on the couch with a cup of tea and a novel and planned on relaxing. As my eyes drooped I realized that, wonder of wonders, I actually had available to me the luxury of an afternoon nap. As I drifted through the layers of consciousness I found myself visiting feelings new and old, watching with wonder as my imagination spun yarns of dreams, and generally just languidly languishing in the warmth of the sun as I sunk deeper into the couch.

This morning I presided over a church service, attempting to construct a meaningful experience of community connection for that particular group at that particular time. A friend once brought up the idea that creating worship is in some ways like creating a sand painting, like Buddhist monks do. We spend many hours attentively putting all the pieces into place, choosing just the right words and notes and actions, and carefully placing them in an order that will hopefully be beautiful and meaningful, pulling people into deeper relationship with the divine and with each other. And then, just as the sand painting gets blown away by the wind, once a worship is done, it will never exist again. Each piece of the service unfolds uniquely in a particular voice, in a particular place, at a particular time, and never again will the pieces unfold in that exact same way.

I found myself wondering this afternoon, in the twists and turns of my bliss-enhanced nap-ish consciousness, what the difference is, if any, between meditation and worship. Both ought, I would hope, to lead us into deeper communion with God and each other, both ought to reveal new things to us about ourselves and God. Both ought to draw us closer to a path that follows more closely to the path that Holy Passion lures us to and along.

Lately the worships I’ve planned have involved more and more silence, more and more gaps for contemplation and individual meaning-making, more pictures, more sounds, and fewer, more carefully selected words. Perhaps it is because I myself am starved for chances to stop, breathe, listen, and then submit myself to the lure of the Divine, and I want to provide that kind of space for both myself and others.

Stop.

Breathe.

Listen.

Take a nap.