Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Welsh flag in WinterOh no, if Scotland leaves, is Wales or Ireland far behind?      It’s over a three hundred year Empire, thisaaa United Kingdom.  And to think we only broke away 238 years ago.   What’s next, Texas leaving our union?    Maybe by winter, I can fly the Welsh flag outside just by itself.

Leave a comment

Filed under England and Wales

Boycott the NFL

Okay, I grew up in Philadelphia where sports is a religion.   I have followed their sports teams for years.  But I am so disgusted by the actions of the National Football League (NFL), that I did not watch a single game this weekend, and I won’t again until the NFL stops protecting its business interests by accepting domestic violence.   It took the picture of one of their players knocking his wife out with a punch on an elevator to make them act, but it seemed almost reluctant.

My suspicion is that as a mega business the NFL owners and commissioner will do anything to protect their profits and only act to stop violence when it hits them when it hurts–in their pocketbooks. Only now have they begun to make some adjustments, but these only came about when the thought of losing fans and income became possible.

My not watching NFL games until they adopt a clear policy about domestic abuse in their ranks won’t really make much difference to them, but it will to me.  And if enough of us do this, it might make the NFL think differently.

My big test comes tonight when one of my hometown teams, the Eagles, play.  I plan to turn the television off. And I will not turn a football game on again until the NFL comes up with a plan to educate its own players about domestic violence and a clear set of expectations and punishments dealing with this issue.

And, while I realize some believe that “sparing the rod spoils the child,” I do not believe in corporal punishment (e.g., hitting children)as a way to discipline children.  Using corporal punishment only teaches children that hitting, smacking and beating are what people do to one another, whether that person is a sports star or not.

Leave a comment

Filed under John C. Morgan

A Few Haunting Words

Every once in awhile, a few words hit home with me and won’t let go until I pay attention.   Usually the words are from a poem, like a Shakespearean sonnet or a Robert Frost poem.

But while traveling in Wales a year ago I came across a slim volume of poetry by a Nineteenth Century poet, Sarah Williams, that keep coming back to haunt me, I think because in the often dark times in which we live these words speak of love and hope and courage.

Here they are from her poem, “The Old Astronomer to His Pupil”:

Though my soul may set in darkness
It will rise in perfect light,
I have loved the stars too fondly
To be fearful of the night.

IMG_0924

(Woods in North Wales, 2013)

1 Comment

Filed under Hope, John C. Morgan, Poetry, Wales

A Blog About Nothing

What’s on your mind? Facebook asks this every morning. I am still trying to respond “nothing,” but by responding at all I know I am lying. It’s nearly impossible to think about nothing. The best I can do is find a second or two when I am unaware of myself, and that is fleeting.

The universe has a great deal of dark matter where there is neither time nor space. Nothing occupies most of the known cosmos with points of light and physical objects in between.

IMG_2092

One of the earliest human questions was why there was anything at all. Scientists may be able to describe the first seconds of the big bang when something burst unto the scene, but they cannot answer why. Was it just an accident, as some cosmologists claim, or was it purposeful, the act of a divine creator. I admit I don’t known the answer, although I appreciate the thoughts of a physicist who said that now that he had solved the beginning and end of time, all he wanted to do was make it to Friday.

I can’t visit a black hole in space any more than I seem able to forget that I am thinking for only a second. It’s quite frustrating.

So what is consciousness? I am conscious I am writing this right now. But is consciousness simply a matter of my mind? Who is it that is aware? And is consciousness more than individual? Might there be a Great Consciousness in which all our individual thoughts are gathered?

All I want to do is make it to Friday.

Leave a comment

Filed under John C. Morgan

The Whole Tooth and Nothing But the Tooth

I sometimes have fantasies about returning to the “good old days,” when everything was more simple, there was no Internet, when you could sit out on your front porch at night and talk with neighbors. I admit, having visited a few small villages in Wales, the fantasy has only gotten deeper over time as I recall the farmhouse in Northern Wales watching sheep outside and then traveling to the nearest small town where there wasn’t a mall but a series of small stores and a place to sit outside and sip coffee or tea).

IMG_0321

But fantasies have a way of crushing back to the reality. I remember once before in another part of Wales on a Sunday morning when my brother hit his head and might have needed stitches, until the inn keeper directed us to a local vet he said had stitched up horses and could handle any human. We cleaned and bandaged my brother ourselves. But it dawned on me, what if I had had to have a tooth out? Would I have gone to the vet? After all, he had yanked bigger teeth out of bigger creatures than I am, and they might have bitten him. All I would have done is sworn and screamed.

Reality came into my life yesterday. Does the picture below give you a clue why?

Dental Office

Yes, I had a tooth out yesterday. I didn’t notice any waiting horses in the office so I figured it might be safe to have the tooth pulled. Thanks to modern dentistry and putting me into some pleasant dream sequence, it wasn’t painful. I wonder how beautiful the Welsh countryside might have looked if I had had a bad toothache?

Yes, I would love to live in village in Wales, put on my authentic Welsh riding hat, and grab a cup of coffee while sitting talking with villagers about the latest news (ironically, I did this once and was surprised to see the only crime of the week had been a stolen bicycle, but with a note it had been returned a few days later–how difficult from the stories in my area that read like stories from a war zone). But the truth of this tooth story is that all things considered, I’d rather have a dentist who treats humans nearby.

For me, it’s all about need to balance a simple life with one complicated with technology. I suppose the way the world is going, it won’t be long before I can find a Welsh village with all the technology I try to avoid in these parts. Even the sheep may have cell phones and everyone in the coffee shop will be sending text messages and hardly noticing anyone around them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Celtic, dentists, England and Wales, humor, John C. Morgan, Nature, Pain, Villages

They’re Coming!

Ready (no), set (no), go! Here comes Fall and then Winter.

Yes, it is warm and sunny now, the birds are singing, the tomato plants still growing, the garden ablaze with colors.

photo(36)

But right behind I know the leaves will change colors and drop, the flower petals drop, the sky turn gray. Fall will be here.

photo (14)

Then, comes the chilly and white Winter, full of ice and snow, earmuffs and layers of clothes.

Snow

The wisdom of the seasons has finally taught me to appreciate each one as it comes and not anticipate what comes next. For example, as the first signs of Fall I think of Winter instead of watching the glory of the colors and the relief of chilly evenings when I can sleep nestled under layers of blankets. The Fall has its own beauty. Winter is more difficult for me to appreciate as I scrape off ice from my windshield and slide down the road, not to mention the cost of heating my house which gets higher each year. But I need to remember the time sitting inside watching the snow falling inside, hours for quiet reflections.

So the seasons are our oldest and sometimes most wise teachers, helping to try to put our lives in harmony with the seasons of our lives an accepting each as part of the great life process.

IMG_0196

Leave a comment

Filed under Nature, seasons, wisdom

Psychic Numbing

I first encountered the words “psychic numbing” in a book about the survivors of Hiroshima by Robert Jay Lifton. The words meant that sometimes in the face of great tragedy or losses, people become numb to the realities they witness, often in order to protect their psyches from the painful shocks.

I was watching the news the other night and suspected there are many out there in the world who are now suffering from psychic numbing, whether the loss of a child gunned down in the streets of Philadelphia or Chicago or Reading, or the horrid sight of a journalist being beheaded, or children lost as bombs hit their schools in Gaza. There is enough tragedy around in the world these days for waves of psychic numbing.

In a less obvious way, most of the so-called “reality shows” on television provide second hand experiences of reality, as if we don’t have enough reality in the world or our lives to feel sadness over. Freud used to say that we cured people of great suffering in order to make them face daily suffering.

So what do we do?

First, there’s no way through sadness but through. As they say, “Denial is not a river in Egypt.” If you stuff the sadness too far down it becomes a way of life, a block to experiencing all emotions, joy included. If you need help making it through, seek it–through someone trained to help.

Second, see if you can practice focusing on what’s right and good around you, as simple as a friend or family member or walk. If you can establish a mindful practice of looking for what’s good, you may actually discover it’s always been there. I know it’s not easy, but you can do this if you try.

Third, practice what most all great world spiritual traditions teach–have compassion for yourself and others. Instead of judging others, find a way to connect with their losses. Instead of judging yourself harshly, find a way to accept and move on.

There’s a prayer often recited in AA groups that offers great wisdom to anyone. It comes in many forms but here is one I have heard:

Grant me the patience to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and must change, and the wisdom to know the difference.,

Site for Robert Jay Lifton’s book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Death-Life-Robert-Jay-Lifton/dp/080784344X/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409401417&sr=1-8&keywords=robert+jay+lifton

Leave a comment

Filed under Living an dying, wisdom