Tag Archives: tracking


What boundary separates Hope from Love?

This is a transition week, a break between four May posts on Hope and four June posts on Love. So, I have been pondering this question.

But, as a teacher, I know that while my pondering is very powerful for my learning, it does little for the student. Learning is completely dependent upon what the learner does.

Are you pondering? Are you seeking?

Hope is a necessary, but insufficient, emotional attribute of healing and growth including recovery from trauma, stress, and post traumatic stress. Love is another. We will begin our discussion of four kinds of love next week with the familiar eros.

When you think of love, do you think of a noun, a verb, or maybe an adjective?

Do you think of yourself, other people, or something else?

All learning depends upon what we think we already know. Do you know enough about love to empower your learning? Do you know enough about love to impede your learning…because what we already know can do either.

If you know enough about love, you must be living it all the time. Right?

If not, why not?

Post traumatic stress challenges our ability to love and be loved. We often feel less than lovely and loveable.

Some experiences lead us to believe that some people need killing. We believe they are dangerous. That is why we killed them–or tried to.

The blood won’t come off our hands.

The hate won’t leave our hearts.

Will it?

A Quest is a form of inquiry to some power or wisdom beyond our own mind driven by an emotional need to know something.

What do you need to know about Love? Not what do you want to know. Need!

I do not have your answers. I have mine, the answers I discovered by Questing.

Since all learning depends upon what the learner does, and what the learner does depends upon the learner’s motivation, what is the role of the teacher?

I love teaching.

The root of “learn” is a Latin word that means furrow or track.

Happy Tracking!

Simply Seeing

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” (Helen Keller)

Note: This blog series investigates twelve attributes I see as conducive to recovery from PTSD (and other past stress) which has become part of our ethos or basic belief system. January reflects upon simplicity.

Have you ever watched the dawn paint colors upon the forest, slowly, as the sun rises behind you? A world of black and gray turns as perceptibly as Earth itself into a world of color.

Have you ever wondered why people have favorite colors? Why do all people not love blue as much as I do? Perhaps we do not all perceive blue the same.

Last week I heard a story on NPR about an artist whose paintings have a unique vibrancy of color. It appears she sees about a thousand times more hues of color than almost all other humans. The gene for color vision resides on the X chromosome, and most of us have three different genetic codes for cones in our eyes. She has four (tetrachromacy). In addition to the common red, green, and blue cone receptors, she has another. Where I see many different kinds of blue, all of which I enjoy, she sees a thousand times more.

I wonder if that kind of sight is a distraction. Concetta Antico has said so. A morning glance out her window may fascinate her as she pauses to sort out nuances of color.

Tom Brown, Jr. teaches tracking and I have studied a little with him. Learning to find animal tracks in fields and forests, in grasses, pebbles, or even on rocks, opens a new window of the mind. Tracks are literally everywhere. Once a person has opened the mind to subtleties of such tracks, the world is never the same. Any walk in Nature is complicated.

“What we perceive depends upon what we believe as much as what we believe depends upon what we perceive.” You might find that statement or something like it in some things I have written over the years. I am probably not the first person to state something like that, but I believe I invented it. Until we believe we can find tracks on rocks, we cannot. And, until we are shown that it is possible to find tracks on rocks, we probably believe it to be impossible.

No, I am not good at tracking animals; however, I know people who are. It seems like magic until they show you how it is done. Then all it takes is dirt time, years and years of practice. If you have the Vision to become a tracker, you can learn to perceive tracks everywhere.

Be careful what you ask for. It can be distracting. Check your Vision, first.

So, should you become good at finding tracks everywhere, like Concetta Antico who sees millions more colors than I, you will face the challenge of simplifying what you see. If tracks are everywhere, how will you follow the one track of most interest? How do you follow your track among all the others?

How do you perceive the still small voice within you among the cacophony of modern life or even the symphony of Nature?

Simplify. There is a focus of attention grounded in intention that allows us to hear one instrument in a symphony (well, not me, but some friends), that allows us to see beauty surrounded by apparent chaos and confusion. I shall address these in the next two posts.

In the meantime, sshhh. Go within.

Happy tracking.

Holy Duty

Note: This blog series investigates twelve attributes I see as conducive to recovery from PTSD (and other past stress) which has become part of our ethos or basic belief system. December investigates charity.

We cannot experience charity by sharing ourselves with others unless we can accept ourselves, even our egos. Yes, the goal of many spiritual growth paradigms is to abandon ego; however, in my lay opinion, abandoning ego completely may lead to spiritual enlightenment and physical death. I aim to abandon the ego as the center of my existence.

And, that brings us to duty.

“Holiness is not the luxury of the few. It is a simple duty for you and for me.” (Mother Teresa)

I have made a leap from lay psychology to spirituality of the masses (pun intended). Come on, you knew it was coming. I have given you enough Jungian kind of psychology to expect some commitment to the unconscious.

This has been a challenging week for the entire concept of duty—with the release of the torture report. Last week I had searched for duty quotes and found many that are negative or inappropriate for this blog. I think the explanation is fairly simple: Egocentric duty is damned dangerous.

I recall a story about young Mother Teresa, but I could not find it. It claimed she was so moved by the hunger of the people she cared for that she gave away her own meager lunch. Day after day. And, being of youthful metabolism, she soon began to weaken until a superior noticed her failing stature and inquired. Young Mother Teresa was admonished to eat her lunch.

The point of the story? Unless we keep ourselves alive and reasonably healthy, we will have no strength, even no life, perhaps, to share with others.

I do not know if the story is true about Mother Teresa, but I know it is true about me.

It is the oxygen mask rule. In the case of a sudden loss of cabin pressure in the airplane, your oxygen mask will drop from the overhead panel. Put it on as demonstrated. If you are traveling with a dependent, put your mask on first so that you will be able to help your child or mother traveling with you.

That is why I say we must not abandon our ego—only put it in its proper place.

Proper place?

Yes, in service to others.

I am not Mother Teresa. Neither are you, I’ll bet, or you would not be reading my blog. We are people wounded by life, sure, but more than that, we are people with different duties, different callings.

Duty to whom?

Oh, no. You are not going to trick me into giving you my meager lunch. I have a deep conviction about my calling, my mission in life, and I am trying to live that. My gratitude is that I have been blessed with opportunities to serve others in that calling and that I continue to be so blessed.

For each of you, I pray such a blessing.

But, I am not a missionary to the poor. I am a teacher and occasional minister to the poor in spirit.

Who are you?

Whom do you serve?

There are very old ways of answering those most personal questions, ways that have much in common across indigenous cultures, ways that do not fail when the ego has been relegated to service, for then we become blessed with the joy of charity, of giving of ourselves, of doing our personal duty.

“Is it I, Lord?” (Daniel O’Donnell)

The answers are inside you, deep down beyond your ego, and they are Holy.

Happy Tracking!