Tag Archives: Easter

Sparks will fly #16 #resurrection

Deaths – there have been a few and resurrections seem to take more than three days – the cycle though of dying and rising is universal.  Coming to a détente with death has all the agreements of any truce, ceasing of hostilities and the strains in the relationship, to accept the politics on offer and that some tensions can never be eased, just tolerated. But when you find out there is the possibility of coming to an acceptance the inevitability of death, it is a deep reminder that it is life chosen to be lived that can be the best diplomat for accepting all the gifts on offer from a new beginning or for the next resurrection.  Dying to ourselves, our ego, burying the past, digging in and holding on – there is plenty to choose from when contemplating what you might lie down and let go of and perhaps too, what will be taken away from you without your consent.  This seems to be part of the no-mans land that coexists with détente before any new day dawns.

On this Easter weekend, I am spending some time in the fields of Tyagarah Ti Tree farm where cathedrals are tents worthy of sultans and sultanas arriving with their caravans of musical equipment. Many of the high priests and priestesses ask us to make a vow for more humanity, kindness and to recognise in this place we are all one family, and it is only outside that the whole world is going crazy. There is something about live music and music festivals in particular that enable community to form on not much more than ‘three chords and the truth’.  The sensory experience finds its way to cells throughout the body and deeply ingrained in the mind too, new pathways for new sounds and old ones refreshed and rewarded by memory. Familiar riffs and bass lines woven around lyrics are delivered via a set of lungs bellowed through speakers who have travelled further than anyone on the stage. My ears just one of the thousands of sets willing in receipt of the gift of this music. Whether it be the moaning of the elder activist, Mavis Staples, a witness to Martin Luther King, Rob Hirst’s t-shirt with a pertinent and relevant message in this election season,  the energy from Steven Van Zandt and his Disciples of Soul belting out Sun City – I know for me music is always at the heart of my spiritual expression of justice through death and resurrection.

Music is so central to what It means to be heard, to be seen and to instruct what action you might take – whether it be a simple chant in a march or a complex set of harmonies and big band sound forecasting how the new world will come – it is always music that delivers for me.  The music can come in the form of rain on a tin roof or raging waves as well, and the syncopation in nature with the blend of birdsong and breeze is always found where I live.  The dying and rising of sound is constant, especially the falling into silence as sound fades away.

There is no détente with music and maybe this is a clue to what dying and resurrection is all about, allowing the sounds to come and go, prescribed and improvised.  With the fingers moving at speed on stringed and keyed instruments on every stage. When everything  is so tightly scripted there is no room for joy and surprises it shows – I think this is what détente looks like – a musician just tolerating and enduring, rather than playing with what has shown up.  Iggy Pop screamed at a sound engineer to get the mix right and the expletives may have humiliated the guy working the booth, but somehow it was raising the stakes about what it means to rise, and not die, for Iggy.  I like the direct and unforgiving way Iggy chooses life over death – there is no Good Friday for him – Easter Sunday everyday – grabbing life by the throat and throttling every ounce he can out of the day he has been given and taking it to the people from whatever stage he is on.

Waiting in the tomb for a day or so is perhaps the practice (music practice for some), the chance to get ready to come out fighting for life, renewed, recast and resurrected.  In the original Good Friday narrative, first there is the rock and then there is the roll.  And when that combination arrives together, death ends up backstage, and it is inevitable, sparks will fly.

littlesteven

Little Steven – Bluesfest’s 30th Birthday – 2019 

Dancing with speeches #13 Elizabeth Windsor

Queen Elizabeth II described 1992 as ‘annus horribilis’ and in doing so, gave the world a collective term to gather up a tough year, rather than a series of single incidents. She has continued steadfastly in a role she cannot escape.

While it is a tragedy to have your house burnt down (for Elizabeth it was a castle), there was lots more to come for Elizabeth, deaths in the family, children going astray, public humiliation … the usual costs of living.  When we take the time to collect up our thoughts, and give the time or place a name, we name moment and in doing so create a still.  An invisible marker arrests us.  Maybe it is an anniversary,  a birthday, an occasion – whatever the marker – it hold us and ties us to the time and place.  Being held there we can wallow, re-member, transform and with wisdom and grace, transcend and integrate.

Easter is one of those times. From re-enactments of passover in the family home, to gathering for ecumenical last suppers around cafe tables to finding a church with the barest of remnants of the faithful, that invisible marker holds me still and connects me to the past, present and future.  This rich season of ritual percolates through the most secular of cultures and even the hardest hearts taste something of the season as the moon determines what comes next.

In 325CE the Council of Nicaea declared Easter to be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox (March 21).  What always come next is the waning, moving from full moon to new moon, the eternal celestial revolution. For the ancients this is a time for spells that banish, release, reverse. This is a time to break bad habits or bad addictions, to end bad relationships. This is a time of deep intuition and a time for divination. The days (and nights) Easter brings invites us to renewal.  To set aside what is not working and look ahead to what you are being invited into.  To take up a fresh start and set aside the horrible, unpleasant and nasty. Being offered a hand to embrace the new when all the while you want to hold on to that place-marker that invites you to stay delusional and frozen in time.  Knowing when to move on and to be transformed may well take more than the biblical three days the Easter season advises, it may take a year, it may take longer.

Learning the lessons from the moment being held onto so they can travel with you through all the moons to come, requires practice for integration.  Leaving behind what needs to be left behind, taking within what can be absorbed and adapting to the new. Like the moon, forever turning and tidally locked to our planet, we too might be locked into values and beliefs that help keep us steady in the wobbly moments (and years) when things might go horribly wrong.

To wax and to wane

To drift and to drive

To live in the pain

And be fully alive.

(c) Moira Deslandes, Easter Blessing 2016

 

moon-phases-101111-02

 

 

 

Reflection on Revenge

Dear Sor Juana,

I have discovered that gossip and scandal, lampooning and scuttle buck are ways revenge takes shape in my language and conversation – from a subtle put down here to a full blown personal attack there.  Words laced with vengeance have a capacity to rise up from a from a well deep inside I had thought was dry. The words echo from this dark chamber and make a lot of noise.

I can see why you might have chosen silence as a way of monitoring your own behaviour. Silence need not still the thoughts and from time to time they eek out through my mouth and become audible.  I had one of those times this past week.  Revenge is one of the dark sides of the desire for control.  I am indebted to Hugh Mackay who unintentionally helped me join those dots this week while I was reading his book “What Makes Us Tick“?  And reminded me once again of the difference between justice and revenge; “one civilised and measured, the other brutish and primitive”.

Control issues are inherent in my personality and the quest for integration is a balance of leadership and power and surrendering to vulnerability. I noticed my anger and vengeful self having a day out this week. Sor Juana your uneasy relationship with power and authority perhaps propelled you through the courts using your intellect to control others and within the container of the convent able to find balance in community and prayer, subjecting yourself to the rule of religious life.

The search for equilibrium is universal and in our western world phrases like “work-life balance” abound. An on / off switch regulating my working hours makes no sense to me. This is becoming easier as work practices are more dynamic and technologically supported; but it is also becoming easier as personal reflection is an integrated practice.  There is no work-life divide – just as there wasn’t for you in the convent – it is vocation to be who you are (warts and all).  I have written about this previously and been encouraged by David Whyte’s work in his book The Three Marriages.  This constant conversation is with all the elements and when the conversation is undertaken in whole heartedness, insights emerge healing and inviting us to our deeper selves. In the case of revenge, it may lead to forgiveness.

Forgiveness begins in the shadows of fear, betrayal, anger and breaches of trust. Finding the light, brings humility and is restorative.  As a pilgrim, I accept “We are each a river with a particular abiding character, but we show radically different aspects of our self according to the territory through which we travel” (David Whyte, The Three Marriages). The river flows through rocky rapids and other times takes up a foetal position in a cul de sac nudging the muddy banks. The invitation to get inside what revenge is all about has been an act of restorative justice. It is self restoration, a coming home to myself from darkness to light and appropriately so in this Holy Week Easter season.

Easter Sunrise

John O’Donohue

As the embrace of the earth
Welcomes all we call death,
Taking deep into itself
The tight solitude of a seed,
Allowing it time
To shed the grip of former form
And give way to a deeper generosity
That will one day send it forth,
A tree into springtime,
May all that holds you

Fall from its hungry ledge
Into the fecund surge of your heart.

 

Corcomroe Abbey, where John O'Donohue celebrated Easter morn many times. I visited in June 2013

Corcomroe Abbey, where John O’Donohue celebrated Easter morn many times. I visited in June 2013