Thursday, March 14, 2013

GUELPH



I'm thrilled to be headed up to Guelph, Ontario (yup, Canada, folks) on April 22 to give a talk to the Wellington School Board.

My contact, Bill Flaherty, has asked me to post a few words--so hello there, Wellington School Board! 

Bill  tells me your overriding theme is redemption.

That’s a big theme, but I can say up front that I had a lot to be redeemed from. Redeemed means to buy back and I was certainly out of bargaining chips myself.

He goes on to say “The idea of the reluctant prophet and Jonah running away are also going to figure into the morning activities.”

I’m actually not a reluctant prophet.  I spend about 85% of my life alone in my room, so I’m dying for someone to read my books, ask me to speak, pose a question!

As you may know, I wrote a whole book about redemption. It’s called Redeemed, though I perhaps could have more properly named it Redeemable--I Hope.

So I look forward to meeting you all! And here’s an excerpt:

One thing I can’t figure out is how some people have no belief in or concern about God at all and appear to get along just fine; to make their way through life way more easily and suavely than, for instance, me. I’m always asking, How crazy would I be if I wasn’t constantly consulting my spiritual director, and praying, and examining my conscience, and begging for God’s mercy? You might be thinking—I’ve thought it myself—that all that stuff is making me crazy. But you’d be wrong. I’m not nearly as crazy as I used to be, when I had to drink basically every waking moment in order to function. I’m not nearly as crazy as I was when I had tens of thousands of dollars in the bank and was picking plastic bottles off the street to refill rather than spring 79 cents for a fresh Crystal Geyser. I could just be trying to make myself feel better, but it seems to me that the very purpose of my “spiritual path,” for lack of a better term, is to bring me face-to-face with how wacked-out and unhinged I am, how desperately in need of help, how consistently I will pursue the wrong plan, person, way of thinking.

I’m beginning to see that the whole of Christ’s teachings can be read, or are perhaps most properly read psychically: as a call to come awake. More and more, for example, I see I’ve walked around all these years almost completely unconscious of what drives me: of my deep agitation and unrest, of the perverse ways I sabotage myself. Driving around town like a maniac, never allowing myself enough time, knowing when I should leave but subconsciously finding something to do so I short myself ten minutes, so that for the whole trip I’m in a coma of adrenaline-charged anxiety and rage. Putting off my “happiness” until such and such happens: when I have a certain amount of money I’ll be happy, when I sell a book I’ll be happy, when I lose that last 2.38 pounds I’ll be happy. The whole panoply of unexamined assumptions that are hard-wired so deeply into my nervous system and psyche I don’t even know they’re there: I’m bad, I’m guilty, I’m unworthy of love.

Being awake, in other words, really means being awake to my motives, actions, thoughts: how they lead me astray, how they keep me stuck, how I often like them to keep me stuck. As a friend of mine recently said: “All my life I thought I was open-minded. ‘I’m open-minded,’ I’d tell myself. ‘I live in a hip part of town, I have liberal politics, I’m a starving artist.’ I had no idea how closed down I was, of the sense of grievance I walked around with, of how quick I was to think I knew who you were, to judge”…



SPRINGTIME IN L.A.!
I WILL TRY TO SNEAK SOME POLLEN PAST CUSTOMS FOR YOU....

5 comments:

  1. The bit about sneaking pollen past customs has me in stitches!!

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  2. Dear Heather,

    as I write this note to you we are at my Mom's in her sleepy, artsy village just 20 minutes or so outside of Guelph. Soon we return home to Windsor so I will have to write in my diary, "Missed Heather meeting by *that* much."

    I share a few recollections sparked by your post on my own blog.

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  3. Oh, hey- you'll only be an hour, hour and a half away from me. Neat.

    With any luck by then it'll have stopped snowing. I am not really joking- today was one of our first days about freezing.

    Guelph's right in Old Order Mennonite country. Maybe you can get to Kitchener-Waterloo and go to the farmer's market. Or make a stop in Toronto! We could introduce you to our fifteen thousand (actually four) kids!

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  4. I always expect there to be a Ghibbeline to go with Guelph, or perhaps oppose it...

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  5. ha ha, Lissla...I would love to spend about two weeks in Guelph and the surrounding area but my time there will be short--and very good, Gooley, on your 12th c. history! I had to look up Ghibbeline and I agree, the two factions/names go together nicely...

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