Celtic Daily Thought: ‘The World According To Siri’, Or ‘Great Words From A Computer Algorithm’

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I have a smart mobile (cell) ‘phone and it has that Siri app on it – you know the one that answers back, verbally, when you give it  a verbal question.

If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing better, especially when it’s new, than it ask it impossible questions. Ah, impossible questions like, what’s the weight of the colour green? What’s the largest number you can think of? And, how long is a piece of string? And then the novelty wears off, but it still has its uses – I usually now ask it more serious questions, and it then gives me serious answers.

Oh, how I wish our politicians would give serious answers to serious questions posed to them by the general public? There are so many sensible questions being posed; so many nonsensical and off-the-point answers coming back. A veritable cacophony of nonsense returns that clamours for our attention, drowning out rationality, almost.

Meanwhile, I making a several of most elegant  dorchau pen, literally the ‘head wreaths’ for an upcoming event. Purists will take me to one side, as the dorchau pen are made from artificial, silk vine leaves this time, with little white flowers for the woman’s headwear….but it was necessary to use artificial leaves and flowers (honest!) as they have ‘to travel’ and be used a few weeks apart!

Oh, how I wish that FaceBook wouldn’t link to dubious health websites – you know the sort that says that if you have cancer you should ditch the chemo and ‘load up’ on sugar and that is recommended by a chiropodist! And, glowing praises follow in the hundreds, if not thousands. I admit it’s an emotive subject for me. As a ‘survivor’, I would suggest that you  do not follow their advice. [Ofcourse, there is a place for complementary therapy, but it is complementary, and not alternative! There is a huge difference. Beside, chemo was part of what saved my life].

‘You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them,’ wrote Maya Angelou.

Meanwhile, I’m reading a wonderful book on the spiritual aspect of midlife (‘Am I of an age where the book is relevant? I aim to be honest:  Yes’).  I’m making copious notes on each page of the book, indexing it at the back, such is the pure joy it is to read this book, and inwardly digest its knowledge and wisdom.

Oh, how I wish that Christmas wasn’t so commercialised? Oh, how I wish that manufacturers would stop putting those microbeads into products that kill ocean life? Oh, how I wish….

Meanwhile, I cooked the most beautiful piece of cod you could imagine, last evening. I know some may not find that spiritual (but I do, as I don’t believe there’s a duality between the sacred and the mundane for Christians, Druidic-Christians, Celts, Druids and other similarly ‘aware’ people), but I’ve also noticed that when one talks about food on FaceBook and elsewhere the readership goes through the roof. But, as you’re reading this, you will know that I am really more interested in quality, rather than quantity. More interested, too, in making that important point about non-duality, as duality blights many peoples daily life and spiritual walk.

‘Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.’ Matthew 13:47, The Book.

Some time ago, I sat down after a long and busy and enjoyable day, checked my emails, and then, in a moment of verbal mischievousness I asked Siri: How are you? It immediately replied: ‘This is not about me, it’s about you!’

 Well, I could have fallen on the floor had I not been sitting down, already. What a great reply.’…It’s about you! ‘So, I took it to heart.

It’s not really about politicians, its about you and me. It’s about us! If politicians can’t or won’t give serious and truthful replies, then don’t vote for them. They’ll soon get the message.

And, those dubious health websites (and other annoying ones)? Well, don’t’ give them the time and ‘likes’ that they beg for. Your time is too important for that.

‘I learned long ago to focus on things you can control and don’t even pay attention to things you don’t,’ wrote Bryan Cranston.

And seasonal commercialisation? How about we buy what we want and be wary of advertisements. And microbeads? If we stop buying their products, they’ll get the message in exactly one week, and mend their ways in double-quick time. In one fell swoop, I tuned away from the over-commercial radio station to ‘Magic FM’ – a most suitably and aptly named radio station if ever there was one, thus avoiding over-commercialisation and politicians’ words.

You see, it’s not really about them; it’s about you.  Siri was right!

‘…It’s about you!’

It is about you, and you are powerful. What kind of power do you have? The power to make Christmas, the solstice, the upcoming full moon, or whatever festival you ‘lean to’, a really great and personal event. In that respect we don’t need politicians, we don’t need another’s approval, and we don’t need  commercialisation etc, though that’s what they would have us believe.

‘Wherever you go, go with all your heart,’ said Confucius

You only need intentionality, grit and determination, and the ability to hope, to expect, and the joy of carrying on the path, the way.

So, this season, I’m going to celebrate the upcoming full moon (liturgy is now ready), and the winter solstice (layered clothing all cleaned), and Christmas Day (gifts wrapped and ready to distribute), and not heed politicians’ words, not be swayed by dubious websites, and buy only what I want to buy, and avoid the hype. In that respect…

‘…It’s about you!’

Ofcourse, the season is about others, too, and giving, and celebrating the season. Others, as we choose, but primarily not about politicians, bad website information and shopping….unless the latter serve us. In that respect it is about others, but you can include yourself, too.

‘…It’s about others!”, and …’It’s about you!’

And, so without those distractions, I carried on, and completed some great dorchau pen (‘head wreaths’) for friends and look forward to leading two upcoming Druidic-Christian marriage anniversary celebrations, have almost finished reading that great book by Joyce Rupp and benefitted from it (and it is highly recommended), pondered on that awesome fish meal and gave thanks to the Source of All for it, and continue to look ahead to celebrating this wonderful winter and Christmas season in several different ways. Life goes on, and it’s a good one. Don’t you think so?

‘Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful,’ wrote Norman Vincent Peale.

Whatever is ‘derailing’ you in your positive and wholesome endeavours, whatever is clamouring for your attention and maybe unhelpful, whatever is holding you back from good things. I would suggest you take Siri’s advice. It’s not about them.

‘…It’s about you’.

Celtic Daily Thought: But At Times, Keep Your Shoes On…

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…Yes, sometimes, it’s good to keep your shoes on. Aha! Having wrote, yesterday, about those dogma-shoes of restriction (of extreme religion, ‘churchianity’ or the like, or any unwelcome and unnecessary restrictions) that we wear, and which cripple us and hold us back, there are some things that are good for us.

Dogma-shoes may be ‘out’! But, protective-shoes, are definitely still ‘in’. Life can be complex, I know.

So there I was, this morning, moving some hefty paving-stones around the garden , and it was a damp and cold day. Brrrr! I had put on my ‘gardening boots’, bought some years ago and which have aged alongside me like a close friend, and they have steel toe-caps. They are not flattering. I wouldn’t win a fashion contest in them, but they are functional. And, I love them….if only because, ten minutes into moving these paving stones around the garden this morning (using a kind of paving-stone ‘walking motion’, of swivelling them to rest of alternating corners as I half-turned them – and, that sentence made sense to me, but apologies if it doesn’t really make sense)…one paving stone slipped (due to the cold and dampness in the air) and fell onto the toes on my left foot! Crash! But, toe steel-capped boots are a blessing, I’ve found. No damage done. Sometime it pays to have oh-so-unfashionable-but-restrictive shoes on, protective footwear, appropriate for the task in hand.

Having said, yesterday, to go barefoot – to remove any outmoded restrictions in our lives, perhaps sometimes, protective-boot-dogmas are needed (or progressive-boot-dogmas can be inserted there). Certainly, tangibly, that was the case today.

So there I was this afternoon, at the cottage. I met Ben for a match. Ben, who is a young-ish neighbour, and who was born in New York is physically strapping, a massive man, muscular and built-like-a-farmhand, sort of man. He’s astute, strong, full of energy, could floor Tarzan, overpower Superman and think nothing of it, and Batman wouldn’t even have time to reach for his bat-[insert here a gadget of choice], and as an amateur wrestler, Ben hardly ever loses. But, I beat him. Oh, yes, it wasn’t a technically pure match, but I beat him, fair and square. He didn’t like it. His ego was bruised,  due to my win. Did I mention I won? The match, for him, went downhill from the thirtieth minute. That was when I used my knight to take his queen, and the rest, as they say, was history. I love chess. But, if you employ a consistent strategy, a dogma-of-moves, the potential of winning is enhanced.

And now here I am typing, or is it word-processing? And, it dawned on me that there is a need for us to remove those old, restrictive dogma-shoes, that hold us back, but that’s only half the story.

There’s more!

There is a need for a framework in our lives, a belief. Call it goodly-dogma, lifestyle or relevant-faith, but it can be a force for good. Practically, steel toe-capped boots saved my poor little toes today, a good chess strategy assisted me to beat a friend at chess, and maybe a positive belief in the Good and That Which Is Bigger Than Ourselves, is needed. I’ve found that to be the case. Goodly-dogma (that enables, and I know I’m now using dogma in a different way). But, what do you think?

The last word, well almost the last word goes to Ben, – he’s the wrestler chap. Having lost the chess match – oh be still, my rejoicing ego – Ben issued a challenge for me and him to ‘hit the mats’ next time! With suitable protection and strategy in place, it occurred to me that I might just beat him at wrestling, albeit that thought only stayed with me for several seconds. But,  fortunately for me, ‘sanctified common-sense’ or lifesaving-dogma clicked in, and I politely refused. Sometimes, that which ‘restricts’ us, certainly restricts us from accepting rash challenges can be the best way forward. Sometimes, my advice is: don’t remove your protective-dogma-shoes.

 

Celtic Daily Thought: Time To Take Off Your Tight Shoes…

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A thought: Whenever I can, I like to go around barefoot. What about you? In the house, in the cottage, at the beach, yes I’m barefoot, whenever possible. Not only does it feel better, but it connects me to the earth – do you feel the same? – and if I’m involved in leading a ritual or ceremony then it reminds me that we’re on holy ground, and if Moses can do it, then we can, too! Health and safety excepted, ofcourse.

This got me thinking about shoes! I’ve had some great shoes in my time – thank you Clarkes, and some others that pinched, and what should be a joy, or even at least uneventful, that is the action of walking, then becomes a constant reminder of pain, as every step reminds you: your shoes are too tight, take them off! Expletives deleted.

The shoes I’m also talking about is more than what’s wrapped around our feet, but some of our attitudes and beliefs, that at one time may have served us well (though with hindsight, I have my doubts, sometimes), but now restrict us, or ‘cripple ‘ us, and hold us back. And are so painful, too boot [pun not intended].

So, are your dogma-shoes too tight?

Our first reaction is to dismiss this ‘challenge’, after all, these shoes have served us well for years, so why change? But, they’ve been faithful, and I’ve got used to them.  Why change? They’re ‘fashionable (our shoes and our beliefs)? Why remove them? Because, they don’t serve you well, now! Because they’re hurting you? And yet, we do resist. We like our old habits, even bad and painful ones; we cling!

As Elvis Presley once sang:

Well, you can knock me down,
Step in my face,
Slander my name
All over the place.

Do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh,
Honey, lay off of my shoes.

Are your dogma-shoes too tight? Are we making excuses, being held back?

‘If you put on shoes that are too tight and walk out across an empty plain, you will not feel the freedom of the place unless you take off your shoes. Your shoe-constriction has you confined. At night before sleeping you take off the tight shoes, and your soul releases into a place it knows. Dreams glide deeper.’ Rumi

Rumi has the right idea. Some of those constrictions are too painful to put up with any longer. Some of them have to go. Take off your tight dogma-shoes, and relax. Interesting, he suggests we take them off at night and as our soul, at rest, eases into sleep,  we move into the place of dreams. Unrestricted, ‘de-shoed’ and free, the soul flies and soars, and the Encounter takes places. Ofcourse, having taken off our dogma-shoes, the ego, with one last effort of self-preservation, then tries to persuade us that our dreams and the Encounter mean little or nothing, and it’s best to put our oh-so-tight shoes back on. Much safer, it suggests! And, many do!

‘You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?’, The Book

The Telling Place: The Story Of The Monk And The Moon.

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A thought: Black Friday , that day of ‘commercial rampage’, the day after Thanksgiving Day, is fast approaching. Even here in the UK, where Thansgiving isn’t celebrated – sorry, America – that ‘sales day’ will be screened on the tv news as some people will go wild, and wrestle tvs and other items from the hands of other shoppers, and head towards the tills, and save a few £pounds.

Values?

Here’s a story:

An aged monk, a devout man of faith, lived a very simple kind of life, all by himself, in a very small hut at the foot of a mountain. Each day he would perform a ritual, give what little food he had to the poor, and return home at night to sleep.

One evening in wintertime, a thief came to the hut, broke in, only to discover there was absolutely nothing of value to steal.

The old monk returned home, and caught the thief still in his hut. ‘You must have come a long way to visit me, my friend’, he told the thief, ‘and you should not return empty-handed.’ The old monk looked around, and said, ‘Please take my clothes as a gift.’

The thief was amazed and didn’t know quite what to say. He took the clothes and ran off into the night.

Now the monk sat naked, watching the moon. ‘Poor fellow,’ he said to himself, ‘I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon’. 

Priorities? Values clarification?

C S Lewis summed this up, when he wrote: “If we consider the unblushing promises of reward … it would seem that…our desires [are] not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about…when infinite joy is offered us, [and, we are] like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.’

Too easily pleased? What do you think?