how bout that!

ABC of Spirit Talk with Carolyn Page

Wichita, Ks, USA   (Listen while you read)  

(Once upon a time there was a town. This town was lonely; it was in need of company. And so, what did this little town do? We shall tell you, dear friends. This little town decided to attract people by way of it’s ordinarily outrages scope of things to do. This it did. It decided to make itself attractive by way of making itself extraordinarily attractive. And, how did it achieve this?

This little town achieved this success by being innovative. It is today a city that is noted for its innovations which have proven, over time, to be so different from its neighbours that it is today a city marked by one or two attractions not seen elsewhere. It is this inventiveness that spurs on the inhabitants to be even more innovative within their own lives.

They can be seen doing…

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An Opinionated Review

Eat.  Pray.  Love.


On a wonderful jaunt to our public library yesterday, my wife spotted a movie based on a mega-bestselling memoir that she’d been curious to see since its release a couple of years ago.  We checked it out and viewed it last night in hopes of a light, relaxing fare to happy us toward slumber.

It was excruciating.  My first reaction was – can a person’s biography truly resemble such a cliché’d American self-realization mythology?  Basically a woman goes on a journey away from her responsibilities to others to “find” or “heal” herself, in the process (and apparently justifiably since it delivers her to a goal of peace, happiness, pleasure and love with a seasoning of spirituality) wrecking others’ lives and forgiving herself for it, ending in the arms of a handsome foreigner on a tropical island with some standard religious “truths” in tow.

Here are things I realized about myself:

I am suspicious of personal pleasure that causes others pain.

I am oh-so-glad and grateful that I grew up in a reserved Western culture with Continental philosophy and theologies at its roots.  I much prefer battling to wisdom and calm through the frenetic and anxiety-ridden vertigo of a convoluted mind ferociously doubting and investigating than through some “be here now” philosophies of higher unities and cosmic accord.  Rather interrogate now than “let go” and “let be.”  I am attached to the workings of our brains and our languages, pestering perception and scrutinizing sense experience with imaginative and skeptical rationales.

I radically doubt “gurus,” “prayer,” “saviors,” and other spiritual or “wholistic” practices of “balance” that accomplish “goals.”  Outcome-based anything feels totalitarian and programmatic and therefore facile to me, as if there were a form or behavior we might fit ourselves to that would lessen the struggle or suffering of “to be.”

The film’s story took a year’s time, replete with life-changing habits of mind and body and some claimed resultant growth.  As if wisdom came from Apple or McDonald’s.  The past was hardly processed, responsibilities released like thoughts during Zen, and no effort to apologize or repair any damage or hurts the main character had caused those close to her along the way (thank goodness no children were involved!).

It was the time-tested failure of the American Dream: do what you want to get yourself comfortable in your own skin (whatever beliefs, illusions and experiences that might seem to require) and everything will be alright in your world.

I simply don’t buy it.  And I won’t.  If we are socially constructed realities (and my point-of-view on the cosmos supports this) then final import is not in a self, but in a system.  Not toward results but a how of processing.  Not a personal calm or pleasantness but a social accord.

The film made me terrifically thankful for scrutiny and doubt, fervent self-questioning in light of surroundings, and the “wisdom of no escape.”  It just goes on.

For what it’s worth,

here lies a steaming pile of my opinions.

N Filbert 2012

A Parable

A Parable

Perhaps one day you will ask for something that you want but do not need, or even need but don’t quite understand.  On a lark, let’s say, out of a “why not?” not exactly exasperation nor as fueled as curiosity, almost a simple value, who knows, but perhaps you do.

How will they respond to your free request (a spontaneity without expectation) now having burdened them with options?  You had thought it a gift, an eruption, a “no harm done,” “nothing to lose,” but of course, in the world, there is more.

So your request floats out, on the air, like a streamer, swaying and curving, rippling past the subjects to which it’s addressed.  For some it’s a slap, for others a trial, still others just dodge it and head for silent hills.

You had thought it a good, an offering of joy, a connection and possibility, not something to wind or to bind.  Never something so knotty.  A kind of safe enclosure that’s open, a meadow of sorts, where gentle counterparts might convene when they wanted or needed and whomever appeared could relate.

But in order to appear each required a turn, of attention, of glance, of an ear – to surmise and to meet, to attend.  Bodies incapable of severance.  Could they send an arm, an eye, a knee or other organ, they happily would, provided it would not be missed any elsewhere (their “here”) – and this proved impossible.

One respondent, upon lending a hand, was not able to help his young son tie his shoes.  Another offered her hair only to find herself fired from her workplace.  Each was affected by your generous request while you were left with dismembered parts in your park.

Unintentional, no doubt, you found as well that it was not spare fragments you were needing for your want.  The severed hand grew stiff and cold under your knees; the hair like strands of sand in the night on your chest.  The smells were changing.  The eyes you’d assembled were distracted, neither here nor there the parts were failing.

In an awkward flashing of a dream a teacher’s voice arrived with cliché: “be careful what you wish for.”  You’ve been waking to that for awhile.