Tag Archives: life

Can’t go on, must go on

What do I mean when I say this, and what difference does it make for me and for others? “Can’t go on, must go on” is a mantra for the moment to moment mourners, the grief-learners, the ones who journey daily through slivers of light and stretches of shadow. To live in this awareness or to remind myself of this is to learn that there are times in life, sometimes daily where I need to be honest about two things: one, that there is more than enough heartbreak and trouble to go around and it is real and it hurts like hell; and two, that my place is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and walk with wonder and fullness in this heartbreak.

“Can’t go on, must go on” is not a declaration of self-pity. It is not depression, nor is it desperation. It is the look I see in the eyes of people day after day after day who courageously lean into their own sickness or the trouble of those whom they love dearly. These words are words of the lean-in, the hold-to, the push-forward, the hang-on to something… anything.

But most people don’t say the words. I see it but I don’t hear it. And some stop half way. “I can’t go on, and I won’t go on” is expressed often and it truly is a dark day, when someone stops there, especially when it doesn’t have to be true.

“I can go on, and I must go on.” This, too, doesn’t carry any weight, and often in many ways is heartbreaking in itself. No… ultimately you can’t go on. Or you won’t go on. Listen to what they are telling you. As Brendan told me yesterday, “Nothing lives forever, Dad.” Thank you, six-year-old chaplain’s son, thank you.

If we want to learn compassion, learn to have joy, to witness ourselves expanding both up AND down, words like these need to be said among us. Words like these need to be felt deep into our beings. I feel like I am at the end. I feel like I can’t take any more. I’ve got nothing left and I can’t cope with one more stress/tragedy/heartbreak. I can’t go on… and yet… I know this is not the end. There are still things for me to do. The world, my home, my land, my people, they need me. I will call upon whatever strength I might have and whatever strength I am given by the mysterious out-there/in-here. Divine Life will enliven my spirit and/or my body… to take one more breath… until there are are no breaths left and my spirit and my body will enliven others. Even then, we go on. Nothing is lost. Everything comes from somewhere.


Who holds the vision?

“Where there is no vision, the people will perish.” – Proverb

“In the last days, God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.'” – Prophet Joel

The question is an essential one and the importance of vision and it’s role in the community has been held in cultures since the beginning. These verses from the Judeo-Christian scriptures demonstrate the importance for me. Who does hold the vision when there are so many divergent ideas about who and what we should be as human beings?

I don’t believe that there will be a time when vision is more or less prevalent than right now. Mythically, there are no “last days”… or perhaps, we are always in the “last days.” I would say that all last days are first days and all endings are beginnings. So as things are coming to an end, new things are being created. If we are in the last days, then the truth of the passage applies.

For me, God is synonymous with Life… the Spirit of Life is poured out on ALL people. Not just the Christians, not just the Jews, not just the Yogis, not just anyone. All people. Humanity has been immersed in the Spirit of Life and those who have vision, prophecy, and dream their dreams will come from all corners of the earth.

I love the mystical reality of vision, prophesying, dreams. Prophecy (Greek in origin), divination (Latin in origin), and seer (English in origin) all mean the same thing. Each is, in it’s essence, about telling, not even necessarily about foretelling. As a teacher of mine says, when we focus on observing rather than techniques or “how-tos,” that is when we gain the keen insight to infer the likelihood of what is to come. So the more acute attention we can have for what IS, and is in the present, the better will we can anticipate and speak into the becoming and the evolving of what may come to pass.

THIS is why the all-inclusive access to the Spirit of Life, the nature of reality, the bigness of the smallness, the “divine light in you,” the sacredness of all things is so absolutely profound. This is why paying attention and the slowing down and the stripping away leads people of all ages to see, and to see clearly. THIS is the time. Now is when we must pay attention. And what is seen must be spoken, manifested even. “Manifest”  has as it root, mani-, which is hand… so essentially “made at hand.” Again, the time is now and we must make vision graspable and tangible (“that which may be touched”).

True Vision is for all people and brings all things together. It leads to tangible, manifested love. It holds ALL of Life, the beginnings and the endings, the living and the dying, the light and the darkness. Nothing is too great and nothing is too small. It is physical AND spiritual. There is no dualism only unity. Anything short of this is false vision, and we get this over and over and over again from those who grapple for the spotlight of power. True power does not have to be fought for. It is found in vision. It is this vision that keeps “the people” from “perishing.” It is drawn from the deep ocean of the present, from Life itself, and it makes that Life tangible for the people of all times.

In regards to slowing down… simplifying

Sheesh, it’s been a long time since I’ve ventured out here. Perhaps, in recovery… perhaps, in rest… I’ve been thinking in my down time about slowing down and simplifying. Voices from my past telling me, “You need to be doing more, need to be more productive.” Or, “What you are doing is not valuable.  Need to be busy… too much free time means something is not right.”

As I listen… through my initial thoughts of feeling guilty for not doing more, I realize there is a freedom with not being stretched thin. If people are invested in too many things here and too many things there… yes, they are left with much to do and think about. Sometimes an overwhelming amount of things. Politics, blogging, activism, boozing, success… the list goes on.

To be singular (or at least minimal) in thought and purpose and to live there… fully… is that not enough to free one up from so much that is peripheral? In this way of being, do we not finally allow ourselves time to fully rest? I don’t have to feel guilty for not being busy. I don’t have to feel lacking for not being stretched thin. Freedom… I know what I have to do… what I am supposed to do, so that when the time comes, I might do it, do it well and I may know that no one else can do it as well as I will.

The question remains then: What is it that you, reader, are meant to do? What is peripheral and what is central.core?

Breathe, Nate, Breathe

Tonight is the night… they decide whether I stay or whether I go… The group that is there to be led by the Spirit in making decisions for the community… will they hear the same spirit that so many of us hear?

2008, you hang in balance on this night. One way and I will sigh in relief, rejoicing in a year of partnership and promise. The other way, and I sigh a sigh of “Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap…” Time to get creative and find another way to keep doing what God has made me to do.

I have done as much as I am going to be able to do. I have communicated as clearly as I could have. Now I sit and wait.

Trying to just breathe. Trying to keep that breath coming. The candles burn in threes. Incense. Sigur Ros, Celtic, sacred choral… loud. All saying, “Breathe, Nate, breathe… let this thing happen.”

Dreaming dreams of future… conversations, relationships, life on life… tales to be told, music to be played, lives to be changed… I am a part of it.