…. To arrive in a country with no luggage

well here I am, arriving with a blank page to write a chapter on singing and spirituality. Much baggage inside of fear and doubt and judgement and pride.

oh to leave all that at the door….

‘Bahlasa’: Abbasid-period Arabic, meaning ‘He arrived suddenly from another country without any luggage’.

True Lent

To Keep a True Lent.
By Robert Herrick.
Is this a fast, to keep The larder lean?
And clean?
From fat of veals and sheep?
Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh, yet still
To fill
The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg’d to go,
Or show
A downcast look and sour?
No; ‘tis a fast to dole Thy sheaf pf wheat, And meat,
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife, From old debate And hate;
To circumcise thy life
To show a heart grief-rent; To starve thy sin,
Not bin;
And that’s to keep thy Lent.

The beauty and terror of conversation

So beautifully put by Maria Popova:

”The very act of communication is an act of tremendous courage in which we give ourselves over to two parallel possibilities: the possibility of planting into another mind a seed sprouted in ours and watching it blossom into a breathtaking flower of mutual understanding; and the possibility of being wholly misunderstood, reduced to a withering weed. Candor and clarity go a long way in fertilizing the soil, but in the end there is always a degree of unpredictability in the climate of communication — even the warmest intention can be met with frost. Yet something impels us to hold these possibilities in both hands and go on surrendering to the beauty and terror of conversation, that ancient and abiding human gift. And the most magical thing, the most sacred thing, is that whichever the outcome, we end up having transformed one another in this vulnerable-making process of speaking and listening.”


psalm 16
A Miktam of David.
1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore
my heart is glad, and my whole
being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.


Last night I deactivated twitter.  And a weight has lifted. A crazy longing for truth, an impossibility, but powerful force that tears inside me and pulls. Now uncoupled.
I can’t know. It’s ok. I deal with my immediate world. And read. And listen.


Boris with his partisan alienating language, arrogance, indifference to fairness, suffering.  His lasciviousness – unbridled lust – echoes Trump

Together they combine characteristics of the father Fyodor Pavlovich in Brothers Karamazov, coarse, vulgar, greedy and lustful, with deeply unjust influence over others to gratify his lust for money power and young women.  Also their penchant for self serving advisors and glee to manipulate. And desire to destroy others. Especially those viewed as competition. And stoke up rage or passion, so calm reasoned discussion not possible

And how to respond?  I suppose we choose Dmitri or Ivan or Alyosha as our reaction to him.