Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anthony de Mello, S.J.

We are heading into the short dark days of winter (though, in fact, it has been nice and sunny this past while). Time to go deeper into contemplation and self-reflection. And who better a guide than Anthony de Mello, Indian Jesuit, philosopher, psychotherapist, poet and writer? I'm reading two of his books right now The Song of the Bird and Sadhana, A Way to God. The first is a collection of what you might call parables or teaching stories from various sacred traditions - Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. Some of them I get and some I don't, but I can feel them all working away in miraculous ways on my psyche, like spiritual medicine taken in glasses of sunlight. The second book is a 'how to' of exercises on how to pray. Just about every chapter has made me cry in a happy healing sort of way. It's really beautiful stuff. Of course the Vatican banned de Mello at some point. All the top dogs of organised religions hate when people approach God without their authority and permission. Of course those same top dogs are nowhere near God because secular power exercised through spiritual authority is really their chief interest. I suspect many of them are atheists (but not the humanist kind). Still, they don't like the idea that they may have missed the boat and that others could be out on the Great Ocean basking in a warmer Sun. Ah well. It takes all kinds. I don't want power (though I wouldn't mind a bit more money). I'd really like more of what de Mello talks about all the time: awareness. But most of all, I'd like to get closer to God. As the Muslims say about life, "Unto God is the journeying." [NB my de Mello books were printed in India by Gujarat Sahitya Prakash.]

Monday, November 09, 2009

Still Recovering from Swine Flu

Jaze, I tell ya, this is one doozer of a dose. Never mind all those conspiracy people telling you it's all fear-mongering. Those of us who have been hit know the story. Yes, it's a normal flu when you first get it - sore throat, fever, deep coughing, muscle aches, chills, loss of appetite, exhaustion - but it's the aftermath that really bowls you over. It goes on for weeks and weeks! I've past my third week now and just starting to feel human, but I'm still coughing from time to time and when I do, I think I'm going to die. My poor lungs feel damaged and my ribs bruised and my chest muscles twisted. Doc says my lungs are clear, so no infection, but tell that to the pain centres in my brain! And after one or two tasks a day, I'm wiped out. This must be what people with ME feel like. They have my utter sympathy. Apologies for moaning. And of course I'm getting very little work done. Put aside adult novel (one last draft to finish, yahoo!) and am revising first book of new young adult series (still can't announce as contracts still going through, sorry) plus working on television script of same. A lot of the time I'm working in bed! Rest is important for convalescing and working in bed keeps me from being utterly bored.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Celtic New Year

I'm still recovering from swine flu (oink!): no worse than any other kind of flu except that it takes ages for you to return to normal. A week over it, I am still debilitated and my ribs are sore from coughing. Alas this meant I could not do a Sweat Lodge on the weekend as my body couldn't take it. However, I did manage to have popcorn and copper money ready for the kids who came to my door and here is my porch decorated with one of Finn's amazing puppets (on the window sill) and a stuffed witch whose mask was made by her also and whose body was made by me. (Her chest is a teddy bear!) Now I usually point out that Hallowe'en or OĆ­che Shamhna (in Irish) is the beginning of the Celtic New Year and the time when the veils between the worlds are thin and the dead and the Faerie Folk walk the earth. But I have been told by those in the know that according to the lunar calendar - by which the Celtic year is marked - that that day will not be here until November 15. Still, it was a powerful night what with a full moon as well and I made my wishes for the new year.