Nike's Psyche

An outlet for my peaceful ponderings with, perhaps, the occasional rant.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pisces Rising (cont.)

I’m lucky, really. I have, in the past 45 years, met a considerable number of children who were named for the place in which they were conceived. Mostly city names like Dallas or Bryce. Doesn’t seem to matter if they were male or female. Why, on God’s Green Earth, would you name your child after its place of conception? First of all, children desperately try to avoid the fact that their parents have sex at all. We want them to be asexual. Our Puritan roots (and now our Fundamentalist majority) speaking, no doubt. But to have to be reminded of it every single day of your life! Lord Have Mercy!
It brings up some interesting diversions, though. Just think of the fun you could have with that if you were required to name your child—Place Where Conceived (insert last name here). Would the middle name be the date? Hmmmm . . . Nissan Sentra August20th Smith. What would I be? Some-Cheap-Hotel-Name June13th Kowalski? Fortunately, I only know that my parents were on their honeymoon and that I was born exactly nine months later. Despite the Pisces, she had some discretion. Or, perhaps, it was only discretion where it didn’t actually matter. But, I’ll get to that later.
The funny thing is that when I was thinking of being named about where one was conceived (God, I would hate to be named Bleachers or Lockerroom), it made me think of how lucky we are not to have the little indicator lights that our automobiles have. Think about it. What if we had little lights on our foreheads that indicated when we were . . . horny, frigid or PMSing? What if they let you know if you’d just had sex? Little red flashing light . . . oh yeah, so much for that quickie in the Xerox room or storage closet or . . . well, you get what I mean. What if they informed people whether you were a nympho or, what is the male version? Sexaholic? OK. Maybe that could be useful. Unless, of course, they were your spouse and you weren’t seeing any of that action. The possibilities are endless but you can see where I am going. Isn’t it such a wonder that we are able to choose our masks and live behind them; even change them, if necessary?
But yet again I digress. So far, you know only that I bear the name Pisces and that I was still a virgin at 18 (and a few other sordid facts).
What you don’t know is that whether it was the fault of my moniker or not, I am a textbook Pisces. But that will come up later. You’ve probably figured out that my parents were “not quite normal.” But, neither was the world I was growing up in. The world we were living in at the time—the early ‘60s—was experiencing mind-blowing change. From Vietnam, The Beatles, Communism and Cold War and Civil Rights (for women, too, mind you) to mind-altering drugs and the sexual revolution and well, I’m sure that even if you didn’t experience the 60s, you’ve heard plenty . . . and all against that aforementioned backdrop of Puritanism.
I am just one of millions of dysfunctional people who managed to be born when the world started accelerating madly. I wouldn’t be surprised if things haven’t changed more in the past 50 years than they have during any other 50-year period in world history—from lunar landings and unjustifiable wars loudly protested (I mean I’ve never heard of anyone demonstrating to stop the Crusades, for example) to carrying around palm-sized devices that can do just about anything. It’s all a little mind boggling, really.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Slow Work of God

a slot canyon in Utah
Trust in the slow work of God.
We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown, something new,
and yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

Your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will) will make them tomorrow.

Only God could say what
this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.

Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that His hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
—the Rev. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Peace be with you

OK, fiction met with underwhelming success and following this past weekend, I could use some really peaceful thoughts . . .

I am Peace
Surrounded by Peace
Secure in Peace.
Peace protects me
Peace supports me
Peace is in me
Peace is mine -- All is well.
Peace to all beings
Peace from all beings
I am steeped in Peace
Absorbed in Peace
In the streets, at our work,
Having peaceful thoughts,
Peaceful words, peaceful acts.
--A Buddhist meditation

Or, to echo Christ's words in our Gospel reading today: "Peace. Be still."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

And now for something completely different . . .

How about a little stream-of-consciousness fiction I've been playing with?

It Starts . . .

First let me introduce myself. My name is Pisces. Pisces Kerouac Kowalski. Yeah, yeah, I know. Heard it all before. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. “Stella! Stella!” OK. That’s out of the way . . .
Oh, you were questioning the Pisces Kerouac? What do you expect when your parents were a couple of Beatniks? My mother was really into astrology, Tarot cards, Ouija boards and Beat Lit, particularly an aspiring young writer named Peter Kowalski. All I can say is: Thank God I wasn’t born between June 21st and July 22nd ! Cancer Kerouac Kowalski. But to her credit, my mother swore to me that if I had been born a cancer (and I ache for all you cancers out there), she would have gone with something like the birth flower or gem of those months. Oh. Gee. I could have been Rose or Pearl or even Ruby, if I had been born four months or so later, but lucky me, I got the striking and unforgettable name of Pisces. Not Violet. Not Amethyst. Pisces.
And the Kerouac. It could have been worse. I could have been Brautigan or Ginsberg. Although I have to admit, Burroughs doesn’t sound too bad. And I loved Naked Lunch. But I’m used to Kerouac and I’ve always felt a special tie to him . . . but, of course, this is all beside the point. Who am I kidding, really? It was like growing up on Dante’s fourth level of Hades with the name Pisces (and I stuck with that because it was a hell of a lot easier to pronounce on sight than Kerouac—although I prefer the latter).
I guess when I turned 18 I could have changed it. But when I was 18, I was too busy wondering if I was going to be a virgin the rest of my life; if I was ever going to meet that so-called “White Knight,” to worry about a silly little thing like being named Pisces.
So the whole name thing . . . yeah, I often longed for something succinct and Biblical like Sarah or Rachel or Mary or Rebecca. But I was Pisces. I AM Pisces. At 45, I imagine I will be Pisces until the day I die.
So, now going back to the Dante analogy, you know the first level of hell I had to endure. The name. And if that wasn’t hard enough, I was an only child (although, secretly, I often said a special prayer that a sibling of mine didn’t have to bear an equally obnoxious name. I mean, my parents kind of slid from Beatnik into Hippie and if they’d stayed together long enough, they would have done the whole Disco thing and then the 80’s self-indulgence and so on and so forth ad infinitum.
But, fortunately or unfortunately, they barely made it into the Disco era. And no more children although that was the fault of a sudden case of the mumps (my father’s, my mother and I had the shot) and not desire. So long to brother Moonbeam or sister Sunshine Daydream.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Blessed are the poor in spirit:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn:
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek:
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful:
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers:
for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

matthew 5:3-10 -Jesus


I wasn't going to add to this but I had something happen to me tonight that I had to share. I was starving after work, never had time for lunch, and I went to Locos Deli for supper. First, being a single female, I was seated at the very back of the restaurant. Then, I started to notice who was seated in front of me (we were in booths along a wall) - a couple of Hispanic women. Later, an African-American family arrived and they were seated in the back as well, at a couple of tables pulled together. Somehow, I felt as if we had all been relegated to the minority corner. In front, closer to the door, everyone was caucasian or in groups of two or more. You tell me.
On another note, it was a God-incidence of some kind that I was seated under a picture of Christ Church, Frederica. The only Episcopal presence in the place.
So, for our new FEMALE presiding bishop -- all I can say is Thank God and may God be with you during the trying times to come.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

On this Father's Day Sunday, it seems important to me to not only acknowledge my own father, but also my Father in heaven. But, there is yet another father, I would like to recognize - Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Not only is he the winner of the 1984 Nobel Prize for Peace, but he is also a fellow Franciscan (yes, a professed Tertiary!) and most importantly, a father, himself.

In 1955, Desmond Mpilo Tutu married Leah Nomalizo. Still married, they are also the parents of four children - Trevor Thamsanqa, Theresa Thandeka, Naomi Nontombi and Mpho Andrea.

And today, as the Episcopal Church USA continues its convention in Columbus, Ohio, the next Presiding Bishop is being chosen (by vote) to take the place of Frank Griswold. And that is why this quote by Tutu seems so appropriate to me today:

"Jesus did not say, 'I if I be lifted up I will draw some.' Jesus said, 'If I be lifted up I will draw all, all, all, all, all. Black, white, yellow, rich, poor, clever, not so clever, beautiful, not so beautiful. It's one of the most radical things. All, all, all, all, all, all, all, all. All belong. Gay, lesbian, so-called straight. All, all are meant to be held in this incredible embrace that will not let us go. All.
"Isn't it sad, that in a time when we face so many devastating problems – poverty, HIV/AIDS, war and conflict – that in our Communion we should be investing so much time and energy on disagreement about sexual orientation?"
Tutu said the Communion, which "used to be known for embodying the attribute of comprehensiveness, of inclusiveness, where we were meant to accommodate all and diverse views, saying we may differ in our theology but we belong together as sisters and brothers" now seems "hell-bent on excommunicating one another. God must look on and God must weep."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred . . . let me sow love
Where there is injury . . . pardon
Where there is doubt . . . faith
Where there is despair . . . hope
Where there is darkness . . . light
Where there is sadness . . . joy
O, Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled . . . as to console
To be understood . . . as to understand
To be loved . . . as to love
For it is in giving . . . that we receive
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned
It is in dying . . . that we are born to eternal life

While this is attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), it was actually written much later, most likely in the early 20th Century. But, it so wonderfully embodies the Franciscan philosophy that it was easy to see that it might have been written by Francis, himself. In the past century, the prayer has become so ubiquitous that we seldom actually listen to the words as we read, say or sing them. But, without a doubt, if we did try to live the prayer, we would grow more Christ-like everyday.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

An Irenic Fable

"Tell me the weight of a snowflake," a coal-mouse asked a wild dove.
"Nothing more than nothing," was the answer.
"In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story," the coal-mouse said. "I sat on a branch of fir, close to its trunk, when it began to snow, not heavily, not in a giant blizzard, no, just like in a dream, without any violence. Since I didn't have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch--nothing more than nothing, as you say--the branch broke off."
Having said that, the coal-mouse flew away. The dove, since Noah's time an authority on the the matter, thought about the story for a while and finally said to herself: "Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to about in the world."
New Fables Thus Spoke "The Carabou" by Kurt Kauter
Like the dove, I had to think about this for awhile, pondering the many times I have told myself to take some action toward a more peaceful earth and never finding the time. And so, I have to ask myself, "Am I that one voice? If I actually followed through and looked into making a stand, would I no longer be "nothing more than nothing"?
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