Posted by Patricia Adams Farmer on July 16, 2019

"Doing nothing usually leads to the very best of something.”
— Winnie the Pooh, from the movie Christopher Robin

Once upon a time we knew how to play. We would run outside with the screen door banging behind us, grab our bike by the handlebars, and pedal off to unknown adventures. We might meet our friends, find new friends, or just be alone with imaginary ones. Play was as natural and normal as eating and sleeping.

But something happened. . . .

Posted by Patricia Adams Farmer on June 14, 2019

“Everything can be taken from a [person] but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances . . . . Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how.'"
— Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Dear Generations X, Y, and Z:

On behalf of Baby Boomers everywhere, I offer a heartfelt apology for the planet we are leaving you. You were born on a distressed Earth in the throes of Global Warming and it's not fair. Please forgive us for our part in this unprecedented catastrophe. Our generation failed to act on what we knew was coming; we preferred to live in denial with our 401(k) plans to think about.

Every generation has much to forgive of the preceding generation. . . .

Posted by Jay McDaniel on June 10, 2019

Let's hear it for the "average" child who receives no special award on honors day: the one who stares out the window in geometry class and dreams of faraway places, having mastered the art of reverie; the one who feels abandoned by her peer group but stands up for her own convictions; the one who spends the night listening to a friend in need rather than studying for a history exam; the one who manages equipment for a football team but doesn't play football or receive recognition from the crowd; the one who studies hard and shows up for all the extra sessions but makes a C on the exam, all the while doing his best; the one who opts out of biology lab because he doesn't want to dissect frogs, knowing they are too beautiful to be murdered for dissection; the one who stays seated during the awards ceremony and somehow musters the strength of soul to clap for all the "special" people even as she feels unnoticed. Yes, let's hear it!

Aren’t these the kinds of students who partake of spiritual depth, . . .

Posted by Patricia Adams Farmer on June 3, 2019

So you must not be frightened . . . if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

A Word for Spring

I am standing in a crowd on a cool spring day, listening to the celebrated artist Edwina Sandys . . .

Posted by Jay McDaniel on March 20, 2019

As a process theologian I believe in the primacy of moments. Yes, we live our lives year to year, week to week, day to day. But most deeply, I believe, we live from moment to moment.

I learned this lesson in my twenties in a very pleasant way from a Zen master for whom I was an English teacher. His name was Keido Fukushima. (I tell the story in a short essay called "Can a Christian be a Buddhist, too?") He would always say that Zen is about living in the moment and responding to the circumstance at hand in a spirit of creativity and compassion, as best we can. I saw this in the way he lived his life. He could remember the past and anticipate the future, but he was always "present" in the here and now. Often he would encourage me to forget the past and all that I'd learned, in order to see what was present before me: another person, for example, or a tree, or a sunset, or a challenge to be faced with courage.

I learned about the primacy of moments later, . . .

Posted by Jay McDaniel on March 4, 2019

What is Justice Like?

Bread. A clean sky. Active peace. A woman's voice singing somewhere. The army disbanded. The harvest abundant. The wound healed. The child wanted. The prisoner freed. The body's integrity honored. The lover returned. ... Labor equal, fair and valued. No hand raised in gesture but greeting. Secure interiors — of heart, home, and land — so firm as to make secure borders irrelevant.
— Robin Morgan

A Reflection on Justice and Its Place in the Spiritual Alphabet

The spirituality behind justice is rich and vast. It includes compassion and reverence for life and a sense of connection and hope for a better world. Those who love justice — those who seek fresh bread and a clean sky for all — already know this. If you are among them, read no further. What needs to be said has been said above. But if you have doubts about connections between spirituality and justice, you might want to read a little further.

When I first encountered the spiritual alphabet . . .

Posted by Patricia Adams Farmer on February 25, 2019

“See the world through the eyes of your inner child. The eyes that sparkle in awe and amazement as they see love, magic and mystery in the most ordinary things.”
― Henna Sohail

When I was young and impressionable and just learning about spiritual matters in my church youth group, someone offered me this acronym: Joy = Jesus, Others, Yourself. In that order. This translates (I was told) to: Jesus before others and others before yourself. I tried to embrace this thrilling hidden code of spiritual wisdom but, alas, it did not add up to joy. Instead, it weighed down my youthful spirit, separated things that should not be separated, and put me in my place: last.

Now that I am older and wiser, . . .

Posted by Patricia Adams Farmer on February 11, 2019

"How shall we live? Welcoming to all."
— Mechtild of Magdeburg,

Preaching to Birds and Squirrels

A new sculpture called "Saint Francis and the Birds" was recently celebrated among neighbors at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California, a senior community committed to justice and peace. Commissioned by Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat, co-founders of Spirituality & Practice, this sculpture was born of art templates from the late artist Frederick Franck.

This fresh interpretation of the saint sweeps the eye upward . . .

Posted by Patricia Adams Farmer on January 18, 2019

On a soft, snowy morning I read a poem by Mary Oliver. And in the afternoon, it came to me, a notice of her death. Too soon! I thought. Too soon to lose a talent of this magnitude. My heart rocked in grief for several minutes. But then I re-read the poem from the morning called "Bazougey" (Dog Songs, 2013), about the death of a beloved dog. It begins,

Where goes he now, that dark little dog
who used to come down the road barking and shining?
He's gone now, from the world of particulars,
the singular, the visible.

So, that deepest sting: sorrow. . . .

Posted by Patricia Adams Farmer on January 8, 2019

The Adventurer of the Universe starts with the dream and reaps tragic Beauty.
— Alfred North Whitehead

I have a friend named David who can see things others can't. He has visions. I don't mean David has "second sight" or any psychic ability; rather, it's more of an artist's vision of seeing things that are not there, but that might be. With a gestalt sensibility, he can see something whole that is now in parts, broken, and crying out to be either put out of its misery or loved back into life. David is a woodworker, restorer, and artist. He mainly works with discarded and unwanted pieces of furniture, like the lonely chair left out on the curbside by someone in a rush to move, or the abandoned table at the side of the dumpster, or a battered antique trunk hoping to be discovered on the last day of an estate sale when everything is 75% off. David grabs what others pass up, or gathers odd pieces and makes something completely novel like the "Frankenstein" table as he jokingly called it: a stunning dining set created from disparate parts he found "here and there."

What a gift! To see possibility among the discarded . . .

RSS

About This Blog

Welcome to Process Musings for the spiritually curious, the creative, and the open-hearted. We, Jay McDaniel and Patricia Adams Farmer, are two bloggers from the world of process thought, inspired by the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. This multi-faith blog features articles, essays, stories, videos, and poetry which invite you to discover fresh possibilities for wholeness, creativity, and joy. Read more.