Saturday, May 16, 2009

Life's Hidden Streams ... Shared

As I listened to Philip Glass speak (during a PBS presentation of the American Masters Series), of Music as being an ever-present River, that flows beneath our feet … awaiting our willingness to listen … I enjoyed an Awareness of a personal relationship to the Image.

It was in the year 1967, and I (as a 21 year-old new recruit to the Field-Engineering Department, of our local Electric Utility Company), was being introduced to some of the rudiments of our Department’s responsibilities. The Man, taking on this orientation, was a Gentleman who I would come to admire, respect, and, indeed, love, as a Friend, as well as my new Boss. We drove into a housing development under construction … stopped at a freshly paved intersection, amongst bare Lots awaiting their homes-to-be … and alighted from our vehicle.

Lloyd S. Wood (the afore-mentioned ‘Boss’), described how we were to place a wooden stake into the earth, in the exact spot that a construction crew was to install a power pole. He then did something that has stayed with me all of these ensuing years. He removed two lengths of ordinary, copper wire, from the trunk of the car … bent each into an “L” shape … held each in a manner that extended the longer portion of the “L” out in front of him … and commenced walking toward the edge of the right-of-way. The wires began moving. They crossed, into a perfect “X.” Then as he progressed … they returned to their original “straight ahead” placement … all by themselves. Lloyd backed up a step or two. The wires, again, crossed … and then resumed their “straight ahead” pointing, as he proceeded backward. He then turned and said, “Where the wires crossed, is where there are underground pipes or cables. We want to be sure to place the stake, that we drive into the earth, far enough from that “X” point, to ensure that the Crew, drilling the hole for the Pole, will not drill into the buried Utility Cables or Pipes. I was mesmerized.

He then gave the two wires to me, and instructed me in the manner in which they were to be held … I walked (in the same manner that I had just seen him walk) … and ‘Lo and Behold!,’ I experienced the exact same result. On our trip back to the Office, Lloyd told me how he had used that method to locate the best spot for drilling a Well for supplying his home with water. He told me how he had struck an underground stream (located by the “X” method) on the Well-Driller’s first try. “Best water in the neighborhood!” he proudly declared.

Some years later, whilst at an evening’s gathering of Friends, I posed a question, as to the reasons for the “wire crossing” phenomenon, to one of our group. With him being a Engineer (working in the field of nuclear power plant design) I assumed that his training, and education, would equip him to be able to tell me how, and why, it happened. To my surprise, he challenged me with an “Impossible!” declaration. As You can imagine, I asked our host for two, wire, coat-hangers … formed the requisite “L”’s … led a Parade, of all of the attending males, into our Host’s front yard … and … TaaDaa! … demonstrated the location of the buried water pipe, sewer line, and telephone cable. All of these were confirmed by our Host.

This Groups ultimate refusal to allow the simple Reality of what they had experienced with those silly little wires, was brought back to mind when I read of Anthony Campolo’s colleagues’ dismissal of an experience that he related to them. Here they were, hearing from the lips of a renowned Scholar, Scientist, Academician, Teacher, and Peer, the story of his encounter with spiritual happenings, demonstrating a direct influence on the physiological, and totally tangible, Being of a young lad … and they couldn’t bring themselves to accept any of what was offered. Instead, they, as a group, declared that what Campolo had presented was “outside of the bounds of accepted Doctrinal Parameters.” It was Doctor Campolo’s suggestion that perhaps, they might (inasmuch as they all were part of a Body of Scholars, Learners, and Intellectuals, who not only spent their lives teaching and instructing young minds in their particular theological themes … but were intelligent and learned Individuals as well), consider modifying the defining borders of their respective “Boxes of Theological and Doctrinal Parameters, to include irrefutable Truths demonstrated and given in Evidence as newly presented Facts.” Alas, they simply could not (or would not) subject themselves to such an uncomfortable proposition.

While I do, genuinely, respect and accept the rights of All to elect their own modes of Being, I have embraced, as my personal choice, a sense of responsibility, for making available whatever little Insights, Thoughts, Experiences, or Ideas I have been privileged to discover … my life’s particular little Streams of unseen, but genuinely validated, aspects of Life. In so doing, I allow each Individual, whose path in life intersects with mine, the lovely freedom of choice. It is my conviction that a fuller life-experience can be enjoyed if (as is true with any buffet-presentation of a variety of choices), One knows the opportunity to sample, try, test, or “taste” from as inclusive a selection of options as possible. Hence, in Philips Glass’s terms, I offer my Awareness of underlying streams of Love, Respect, Intimacy, Engagement, and whatever other elements of living I find … to all who welcome me.

Just as the Engineer, and the Others in the that evening's group, chose to dismiss the Reality of those crossed bits of wire … I know (from many years and encounters) that there are many who prefer the solid, certain, and easily defined “Ground” of a dry, barren, and unfriendly life-path, over the option of an embraced awareness of what are the undefined, uncertain, uncontrollable, and freely flowing streams of cooling, refreshing, invigorating Affections, Involvements, and, yes, even Vulnerabilities, that flow beneath their feet, in their walk through life. I have validated the legitimacy of differing temperaments and personalities that are threatened and made uneasy with such considerations … so I lovingly respect their election to assume a place of comfort, that disallows any Threat (present in those unfamiliar aspects of life) that would “destabilize” their chosen world of awareness. But I do take every opportunity to give everyone the choices.

So, My Darling Reader, I find myself following in the lovely steps of Lloyd S. Wood, Philip Glass, Anthony Campolo, Ann Kiemel, Joseph Campbell, Leo Buscaglia, and many Others who have touched my Life, inspired my Spirit, stimulated my Mind, engaged my Soul, and made better my Days … by excitedly and enthusiastically pointing out both the tiny trickles of Truth and Beauty; and surging Rivers of Present, and Eternal Truths and Realities ... each, and all, making my personal Walk richer and more delightful every day. I do hope that You too, will share Life’s Treasures with all who bless your pilgrimage … and with me as well!

[loving smile]

(PS … Because of my love, and appreciation, of Who he is … I phoned Lloyd Wood, a few days ago, to let him know how I feel about him and his effect on my Being. He is doing well … has retired from the Engineering field … is now ninety years of age … and still commands his indomitable wit, and gracious hospitality of Spirit. I promised him a copy of this bit of reflection … and will mail the same to his Love and Pride … his Daughter. I want her to know of how yet-another ripple, of her Daddy’s Influence, has touched Another in Life’s pond.)


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike, After receiving a notice from of new photos this week, I decided to check them out.
Your name was so familiar but the photo ['now'] was not (of-course) until I looked at the [']then.[']
This led me to your blog. It was very interesting. Now I plan to keep on reading so please keep on blogging !!

Glenda Buchanan

John-Michael said...

Glenda, Glenda, Glenda!! How wonderful to hear from you! As I told you in the Ecard that I sent .. You have just made my week.

I couldn't be more delighted to hear from you. Many "Thanks!!' sent your way.

Lovingly ...

lime said...

i am reminded of one of my favorite poems by yeats which ends with the line "I have spread my dreams under your feet. tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

perhaps a slightly different take but in a similar vein. thank you for your exhortation.

and how lovely that you've been able to reconnect with this man, his daughter, and now your classmate who commented.

John-Michael said...

I think that, perhaps, all of Our Dreams are flowing just "under [our] feet," My Dear Lime ... there for our discovery and acceptance. My desire is to tap into those "Streams of Dreams", and create an occasional Oasis of Respite and Encouragement for each Individual who is yearning for refreshment, nurturing, acceptance, or Love, in any of its many aspects. This would constitute a fulfilled life-journey for me. And I gladly give myself to it.

Lovingly ...

nitebyrd said...

I pity people that never open the boxes of their minds, their hearts and their spirtis. They miss so much magic.

John-Michael said...

The tragedy in the lives of all who are constrained by the Powers of Fear, Prejudice, Ignorance, or Domination ... lies in the wealth of all of the Fullness of Life's rich Experience, lost to them and those who are influenced by them.

I rejoice in reaping the bounty of Openness, Inclusion, and Acceptance of Life's richest Gifts ... in the very real form of Friendship and Love, known in the marvelous beauty of ... You (for example [smile]), My Darling NiteByrd.

With admiring Appreciation ...

Linda Pendleton said...

What a beautiful post. I love those words...Music as being an ever-present River, that flows beneath our feet … awaiting our willingness to listen.

Dowsing is real. More than once I have used it to find water pipes, and even the unknown location of a septic tank.

Some people cannot chance moving out of the "box." It may be fear, prejudice, ignorance, control. Whatever the reason, it is sad because they miss so much of the beauty of life.

John-Michael said...

So much Beauty and Wonder ... right Here ... present and available for our enjoyment, amazement, and pleasure ... if we will but permit ourselves to be open. I am so glad that You have joined me in this contemplation, Linda, My Dear Friend. The harmony of your Spirit with mine makes for a lovelier sonnet of appreciation of Life's sweet Gifts.

Lovingly ...

The Buddhist Conservative said...


The passion and insight you put into your writing is incredible!

How much better the world would be if we could just accept what cannot be quantified. This is the magic of life that passes unnoticed by too many.

While I did not always recognize it at the time, I have been fortunate to have been touched by many people similar to your friend. If we let them, these are the people who shape our lives for the better.

I had the privilege of knowing Leo Buscaglia for a few years before he died. He lived just down the street from the fire station where I worked. Even with his then fame, he never gave a hint of being in a hurry when we spoke. I was always struck by the pure love he had for people and the way this radiated from him.

One of the saddest days of my career as a paramedic was the night we responded to his home and I had to tell his partner that we had done all that was possible but there was nothing more we could do. I had to fight back my tears but it took me a long time to realize that my sadness stemmed from knowing that such a bright light in a dark world had gone out. I have not thought about this for a long time.

Your story has allowed me to reflect on what I was too young to fully understand at the time, how a person's love can so easily affect all who are open to it.

Namaste my friend,

John-Michael said...

Dear Roger, My Darling Friend ... How beautiful is the circularity of completion that is present in You and Me sharing in each others' Buscaglia-enhanced experiences. Your openness and generosity in your expression, of the Meaningful and Precious in life, has touched and made richer my Being. I happily thank you for that.

Loving You, My Friend ...

Suldog said...

"There are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio..."

Nice story, John-Michael, as well as a lovely bit of philosophy. You have, as always, brightened my day. Thank you.

John-Michael said...

As much as I do, genuinely, appreciate your kind response to this shared bit of philosophy, Dear Jim ... I am well aware of the infinite Truth held in the eternal Fact that "Heaven and Earth" hold far more truths "Than are dreamed of in [my] philosophy." (My Dear Suldog/Hamlet Friend.) [smile]

I sure do love You, Sir ...

jillie said...

Many nights Emmett spent his dreams under my feet rubbing his belly. My boy is gone....DOGSPEED ahead. But his memory forever lives in my heart.


John-Michael said...

Jillie, My most Precious One ... how heavy my Heart is ... with You. I have sought a way to convey the depth of my loving care for You ... I searched for a work of poetry that would deliver my Spirit's intent ... none were adequate. So, My Darling Friend, I assumed a perspective through Emmett's view ... and I ask that you please accept the 'music' underlying these words that I so feebly offer.

I can only imagine the Wonder of being her sole focus.
I will never know the quiet moments of her open Acceptance.
Yours has been the singular Joy of tenderness reserved just for You.
You, alone, will occupy that place of fond longing and love.

How I do envy you, Emmett, My Friend.
For my adoration of Her will only be from afar.
But I am certain (through her evidenced actions and words)
That to be loved by a Soul as sweet as Her makes You …
Forever Blessed.

(Imagine … having your belly rubbed by her foot … Bliss! [smile])

I love You Jillie ...

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