Category Archives: connections

A Writing Conference in Eugene?

Yesterday, I had a preliminary meeting with Juanita Metzler of Travel Lane County, and Matt Lowes, writer, teacher, man of unlimited energy, and we hammered out some initial ideas and goals for a good writing conference for Eugene. The Register-Guard helped by posting a notice about the first public meeting on October 4, 3-5pm at the Travel Lane County offices at 754 Olive St., Eugene, Oregon.

We three came away extremely excited about the prospect of bringing world-class writers to our community to share that community and bounty of nature that we all love so much.  We don’t want to compete with other writing conferences that are established and do what they do so well, like the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland which is held every August. That is a big, stellar conference. No, we’re looking for something smaller and perhaps a little more specialized, without excluding the local writers upon whom we will depend to help with the organization. A conference runs on a battalion of volunteers.

After all, we’re all in it for the story, right? It all comes down to character, plot, motivation, setting and structure, whether you’re writing romance, science fiction, fantasy, thriller or mystery.

Anyway, we’re open to suggestions of all types. If you have a good idea for a name for this conference, or a theme, or a presenter you’d like to hear, or a type of class you’d like to teach or take, let me know. If you have ideas where we can acquire seed money to get this thing off the ground, we will be forever grateful. If you want to attend the meeting where I hope we will make some definitive decisions and begin to enlist volunteer captains, pop me an email, as the Travel Lane County conference room only holds so many souls.

Fun. Very fun.  A new adventure in writing.

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Filed under connections, Possibilities, Writing

The Little Bucket List

I was talking with my good friend Mike Sack the other day and he said he was making his “little bucket list.” I asked him to explain, and he said that after all the years he and John have been living in Seattle, there are so many things right there in the city and environs that they’ve always said they wanted to do but never done. Isn’t that the truth?

Usually, “bucket lists” are grand schemes. Sail around the horn. Fly cross country in a balloon. Raft the Colorado through the Grand Canyon… But what about the amazing little sights and events and natural wonders in our own back yards? Where I live, in Oregon, they are legion, and my eyes, thanks to Mike, have been newly reopened to them.

Al and I regularly take what we call “ExplOregon” days and weekends, where we visit a place we’ve not been before, but it’s been a while since we’ve done that. And there are so many other things that I’ve always meant to do that are right here, twenty minutes or an hour away that would take an hour or a day to do.

I don’t know about you, but long-distance travel isn’t much fun any more. I don’t mind sticking close to home for the next year or so, but now that I see the local, experiential riches that are on our little piece of note paper stuck to the refrigerator, I’m happy to be right here.

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Filed under connections, Friends, Fun, Possibilities, Travel, Vacation

The Global Conspiracy

On the surface of the world right now there is war and violence and things seem dark.

But calmly and quietly, at the same time, something else is happening underground

An inner revolution is taking place and certain individuals are being called to a higher light. It is a silent revolution. From the inside out.

From the ground up.

This is a Global operation.

A Spiritual Conspiracy.  

There are sleeper cells in every nation on the planet.

You won’t see us on the T.V.

You won’t read about us in the newspaper.

You won’t hear about us on the radio.

We don’t seek any glory.

We don’t wear any uniform.

We come in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles.

Most of us work anonymously.

We are quietly working behind the scenes in every country and culture of the world.

Cities big and small, mountains and valleys, in farms and villages, tribes and remote islands.

You could pass by one of us on the streetand not even notice.

We go undercover.

We remain behind the scenes.

It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit, but simply that the work gets done.

Occasionally we spot each other in the street.

We give a quiet nod and continue on our way.

During the day many of us pretend we have normal jobs.

But behind the false storefront at night is where the real work takes a place.

Some call us the Conscious Army.

We are slowly creating a new world with the power of our minds and hearts.

We follow, with passion and joy.

Our orders come from the Central Spiritual Intelligence.

We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking.

Poems ~ Hugs ~ Music ~ Photography ~ Movies ~ Kind words ~Smiles ~ Meditation and prayer ~ Dance ~ Social activism ~ Websites Blogs ~ Random acts of kindness…

We each express ourselves in our own unique ways with our own unique gifts and talents.

“Be the change you want to see in the world!”  That is the motto that fills our hearts.

We know it is the only way real transformation takes place. We know that quietly and humbly we have the power of all the oceans combined.

Our work is slow and meticulous. Like the formation of mountains, it is not even visible at first glance.

And yet with it entire tectonic plates shall be moved in the centuries to come.

Love is the new religion of the 21st century.

You don’t have to be a highly educated person, or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it.

It comes from the intelligence of the heart.

Embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Nobody else can do it for you.

We are now recruiting.

Perhaps you will join us.

Or already have. All are welcome. 

The door is open.

                                           –author unknown

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Filed under connections, goals, Goodness, Possibilities, relationships, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Writing en masse

There is something to the idea that group synergy equals more than the sum of its parts.

Last weekend, twelve of us got together at a beautiful riverfront resort up the McKenzie River in Oregon to write science fiction stories. This weekend, like the annual ghost story weekends, required all participants to write a science fiction story in 24 hours.  We had some good chats about science fiction, and then at 7pm on Friday, after dinner, we all got down to it.

Saturday at 7pm, the dinner dishes done, exhausted yet energized, we sat in a comfy circle to hear the stories. It’s like having someone reading an entire anthology of excellent science fiction stories. We laughed, we shivered, we exclaimed, speculated, we clapped, we cheered. And then we realized that every one of the stories had certain elements in common. How could that be? There was no collaboration, no collusion. How could every single story have some of the same thematic elements? These were not things we discussed in pretrip meetings or over Friday night pizza and salad. They just happened.

I prefer to think that these things are in the ether. That our mind channels, when opened to the Great Creative Powers become not unlike an insecure internet portal. We wander around the grounds in the sunlight, pondering our stories, and those ponderings collide with another writer’s musings, and bingo! They both come up with a common solution for their outrageously different stories.

We’ve had this type of synergy before in these weekends. I’ve facilitated enough of them now that I thought I’d seen everything, but no. This was extraordinary.

And made every one of us eager to repeat the process.

Next spring: Fantasy Story Weekend.

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Filed under connections, Ghost Story Weekend, Reading, Short Stories, Writing

Rightmindedness

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to that word: Rightmindedness.

We have a thousand opportunities every day to choose our mindset. If we get our minds right, we can choose happiness, joy, freedom, love, light, loyalty, sunshine.

Or, if something we don’t like happens, we can allow it to color our whole day, our month, our year.  A moment’s temptation can throw us off a diet, for example, and in a few days, all the good hard work that’s been done is erased. Or, we could choose to not let that happen. We could choose to put our minds right again, and not let a small slip throw our world into chaos.

The same goes for fear and anxiety. We can let it run our lives, or we can live with self-forgiveness and let old conflicts go. When new situations arise, we have the power to choose our reaction to them. If we behave ourselves, what do we care if others misbehave?

I read an article about how human minds seek out similarities. We like finding coincidences. We match up things that go together. We say things like: He looks just like so-and-so, except for…”  And that also goes for series of events. In one day, we could have a flat tire, have to wait so long at a professional’s office that we miss another appointment, get some bad news and have to deal with a miscommunication. Each of those things has the potential to ruin our day, if we let it, especially if we run down the litany of everything that went wrong to the spouse or loved one.

Instead, we should run down all the great things that happened. All the miracles that we’ve bunched together, all the coincidences, all the moments of synchronicity and delight. All the good things that people did for us, all the nice things people said about each other.

We’re not in control of much in our lives, but we are in control of our attitude. I know people who are negative, and I know people who are positive. I’d rather hang with the positive folks. The socially fragrant ones help me enjoy life.

I’m working on getting my mind right, one decision at a time, because that will make life a lot more fun. And it will also make the world a better place.

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Filed under Beauty, connections, Discipline, Friends, Fun, goals, Goodness, Honesty, Joy, peace, Personalities, regrets, relationships, Spirituality

Every Day at 5:50pm

Beginning July 1, I’m joining a group of people who will spend five minutes at 5:50pm (Pacific time; 8:50pm Eastern) every day meditating.

We expect that our energies will join to help eradicate fear and greed on this planet. We expect to concentrate on the concept of Rightmindedness in the hopes that this five minutes of concentrated effort will not only change us, but will ripple out and effect real change everywhere.

Please join us. Five minutes. Set your timer. Close your eyes and visualize our planet in good hands. How hard can that be? Sometimes the tiniest of actions produces the greatest results.

5:50pm for five minutes every day. I’m fairly certain that you won’t be doing anything more important for those five minutes, so why not add your considerable energy to the mix?

Magic might happen.

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Filed under concentration, connections, goals, peace, Possibilities, Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Laying Down One’s Life

Yesterday, seven women “laid down our lives” and gathered in my living room. We left chores behind, we didn’t go out into the beautiful sunshine, we didn’t go to the gym, we didn’t go shopping or mow the lawn or work in the garden.

We knitted and crocheted prayer shawls for our friends who need our prayers.

We talked of many things as we worked, but our focus was the garment we were creating, and eventually the conversation always returned to things of a spiritual nature.

We found connections. Two of the women realized they had met years ago. A different two realized that their social groups overlapped and they had mutual friends. We discovered many things that we all had in common with each other as we prayed, snacked, and talked of this and that, but mostly we knitted beautiful things intended to comfort someone who is in need.

It didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice, as it was a completely enjoyable time, gathering together, sitting and knitting, but I can’t help but reflect on all the things that were likely on each person’s “should do” list for a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. But because comforting our friends in pain is a much higher priority, we all stopped what we were doing and saw to that first.

Not everybody knew of someone in need of a prayer shawl yesterday, so their shawls, scarves or lap robes will be stored until a need arises. Some of us brought photographs of the people for whom we were creating garments infused with love and the intention of healing.

Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). I believe that’s what we did yesterday, and the spiritual reverberations will echo through the generations as these shawls are worn and passed along, and the love will spread laterally through the circuits of time and space.

The next time you receive a handmade gift, take a moment to savor the fact that whoever made it, laid down their life for you.

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Filed under Beauty, connections, Friends, girlfriends, knitting, peace, Prayer, Social Consciousness, Spirituality