Category Archives: contemplative essays

various themes

That Good Part.

According to reports Judge Robert Sambroak was bedridden, under hospice care, the week I stood in line at the Post Office awaiting my appearance at small claims court. It couldn’t have been he, therefore, standing to my left as I prattled my anxieties, commenting: “ You feel irrelevant…” Yet, whomever that man was he did seem placed there for a purpose, like so many who found themselves in line at the South Erie Station. There was something about that gathering, a Federal office no less, which brought about the most unlikely convergences.

I had awakened this morning, Friday, with a passage of Scripture running across the ticker of my frontal lobe. The scene was Jesus, Mary at his feet in place to absorb his every word. Martha, her sister, bustled about the serving, taking care of the practical concerns that the presence of such a significant house guest likely entailed.

Jesus had spoken to Martha. She had complained to him, regarding her sister’s apparently passive position on the floor near Jesus as he sat teaching, beseeching him to implore her to help. He’d said: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and troubled, about many things; but, Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken from her.”

On such a Friday, after a week of arduous preparations, mine musical, tasks requiring repetition and drill, analysis, experimentation, and more drill, muscles tired, mind absorbed with the complexities, how was it that I had been awakened by this Scripture?

My mother was a task master. Rather, she mastered tasks like no other. Machine operator at a local manufacturing shop, her “piece work” tally always exceeded the rest of the workers’, a fact which isolated her from them. Yet, she pressed on, tirelessly, determined to produce above and beyond expectation. This was the American work ethic, nobly represented by the then-dominant working lower middle class, and my mother was at the top of the heap of the “We can do it!” women of her age.

But, it wouldn’t be until many years beyond adolescence that I would become aware of another aspect of my mother. Also a professional seamstress, she worked out of our home and, that, late into the evenings after much of the rest of the house had retired for the night. Our younger brother, however, one inclined to drive his latest, favored car until all hours, would often keep her awake well after she had stopped the treadle on her Singer sewing machine. Myself having taken a job as waitress in a local dinor I would often work two shifts, entering the house at odd hours; it was at just one of these junctures that I met my mother, seated in the kitchen at the table.

She wasn’t just having coffee. She was poring over her Bible.

Our mother, in dark green robe, would sit up waiting for our brother to return home, and read Scripture. Not neglecting those moments of reflection, of seeking counsel, of meditation and contemplation, she was effectively both Martha and Mary. Whether she read to calm her nerves or occupy her thoughts, mum sacrificed for the family all day and then sought that good part, for herself.

Judge Sambroak passed away, yesterday. He’d served the courts of Erie County more honorably than any other – advising even opposing counsel, entering the schools to set up “mock courts” – representing all that was good about the law. Like the Judge, mum’s life was cut short decades before she was likely intended to depart us, her body exhausted by the toxic overload the local environment had bestowed. But, she had lived her life with the kind of integrity that would, as the decades passed, become increasingly rare.

So, today might be yet another Friday. One more week in the life may be history, but I exhort us all to take that pause. The world is spinning, faster and apparently more recklessly by the minute, rendering our reality more unpredictable than ever before. If we seek that good part, one thing is as certain as the voice which intoned the words; Jesus said it shall not be taken from us. Seems like a worthy treasure, indeed.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  3/3/17   – All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for respecting the work of all writers, both recognized and unknown.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Silver Bells.

“Social Intelligence and the Standard Bearer.”

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“The holidays” can put a person off.

As the season approaches, a certain set of expectations play across our culture. By some unspoken demand, one must be “festive”. This invariably translates as seeking out the company of others. In between massive bursts of expenditure, lunch dates are squeezed. The bravest among us host carefully planned and exhaustively prepared dinner parties. In the air, there’s that feeling of Christmas, and at the end of it all is the subconscious satisfaction of having met an effective standard; along with managing to get the gifts bought, wrapped, and delivered on time, there is the reward of having done it all right.

Just read, today, that those of very high intelligence prefer being alone.

In our family, it was always our older brother touted as the family genius; but, by golly gosh, he still commands an audience and I prefer my own company. Or, rather, after just a couple hours with people, I need to get the hell home.

Don’t read this wrong. People are fascinating. I love the energy of human exchange. I’ll be on the sidelines, watching and listening with keen interest. And, nobody dares call me aloof; the barber’s daughter, I know better than to look down on anyone.

But, what of social intelligence? Among all six recognized aptitudes (verbal; mathematical; spacial; physical; creative),  just how overvalued is this trait?

The life of the party is venerated, for an ability to both mobilize and inspire all in the company to open up, relax, and let it all hang together. Seems every social gathering can’t survive without one. And, why is that?

All are warned to steer clear of the “bore” – that one who tosses out a stimulating topic for discussion and then secures a solid conversation with another willing to listen and respond. Parties aren’t supposed to be about substance, after all; keeping things light maintains a more comfortable atmosphere, one which challenges no one to engage any form of critical thinking or divergent speculation lest any feel tested. Enjoying oneself at a social gathering is paramount, even if tantamount to total intellectual abdication. After all, nobody wants to be guilty of clearing the room.

When life was smaller, people all knew each other. Natural gifts – for music, or comedy – emerged of their own volition. The only collective expectation was that the food be tasty and plentiful, the beverages fine, and the location of the gathering within a moonlit walk of home.

The rest of the world was the place one went for a change of scene. And, this might constitute a few days’ drive from town, even including dinner out at a restaurant where the people looked, smelled, and served up food so removed from the usual that the whole experience offered plenty of follow up conversation for days thereafter.

But, beyond the monthly excursion, neighborhoods maintained intact homeostasis. Proximity was close, and familiar, and understood. The pool was smaller; all members were recognized; the power of influence-peddling was moot; and, anonymity was alien.

Now, life is enormous. Technology has made social access nearly total. People of every persuasion cross virtual paths, almost daily. Food, of every conceivable gastronomical device, is offered up anywhere a meal is within reach. But, proportionately, social expectation has become overtaking in its scope, and the quality of what used to be called “genuine” is fading.

Where does one go, anymore, to find a true standard for the authentic?

Have we become so practiced in the arts of persuasion, manipulation, and influence that our respect for the real thing is relegated to the attic find on Antiques Roadshow?

Perhaps our social collective can submit to regaining its willingness to acknowledge that which rings merely true. I think somebody said Jesus would have it so.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo   12/19/16       All rights those of the author, a real person who taught herself to type, and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your recognition. I, too, see you. Merry Christmas.

littlebarefeetblog.com

We Are So Small.

 

The other day, as I proof-read some sundry social media post, the TV was prattling along in the not so distant background. Whether from some inherited distractibility syndrome, or due to my particular penchant for multi-media creative activity, or merely the generalized chaos of a brain on overdrive, it was not uncommon for multiple media to be activated in my realm. That is, simultaneously.

As I read, CNN was airing a special on the military’s role in the impending satellite conflict. War in Space, I think. And, this was the interview portion. Some Lieutenant Colonel was holding forth on tactical strategy intended against powers competing for orbital dominance.

But, what happened only needed an instant to manifest, yet left several minutes thereafter of baffling wonder in its wake. For, just as my eyes passed across a specific phrase in my own media post, I heard the Lt. Col. utter the very same words.

“Close proximity.”

I had typed, and was now reading the phrase “close proximity”, even as he was speaking the phrase aloud.

Just today, my elderly friend sat across the room from me as I completed transcribing some music, reading an article in an old issue of one of my magazines deliberately saved since the year it was published ( 1992.) At one point, she looked up from her reading to quote an adage which appeared there:

” Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? ”

Then, she marveled, had she not just been recollecting the very same just the day before, remembering it to be a favorite of her beloved church minister. There, merely leafing through the magazine, she would hone in on the phrase, word for word as it had appeared in her thoughts.

Given these two cosmic events happening so close in, well, okay, proximity to one another, I found myself commenting. If such convergences could occur so entirely out of our control, identical factors finding immediate locality, how did this not comment on the vastness of that which was really out there over which we had absolutely no domain?

Dr. Steven Greer, licensed E.R. physician, has stepped boldly into the public forum with his declarations about our universe. Herewith his latest,

CORE PRINCIPLES OF THE NEW COSMOLOGY.
* Linear, relative reality and non-local, non-linear reality both simultaneously exist as Reality. Their perception and understanding is wholly dependent on the level of consciousness of the observer. Even physical matter has an aspect of its nature which is non-local, transcendent and conscious.
* Conscious, intelligent biological life forms, whether on earth or from some other planet, have physical realities as well as spiritual realities. Pure mind or unbounded consciousness is innate to all such life forms. It is the ultimate highest common denominator which all life shares.
* Beings which do not have biological bodies (so-called astral or spirit beings) are also conscious, intelligent entities and as such can interact with other conscious life forms both biological and otherwise. On rare occasions they can even effect a physical manifestation. Once again, the highest common denominator linking these beings with other life forms is unbounded consciousness, or non-local mind.
* The universe consists of both linear and non-linear, or transcendent, aspects which, while seeming paradoxical, simultaneously exist at every point in time/space and non- time/space. From this standpoint, every point in time and space exists in every other point in time and space, through the quality of non-locality.
* The concept of God or of a Universal, All-Knowing Being is enhanced and magnified, not diminished, by the recognition of the vast multiplicity, infinite diversity and limitless scope of life in the cosmos.
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So how does intelligent life in the universe actually manifest? While keeping the above concepts in mind, let’s review this diversity of life and how we our inner and outer senses may perceive them.
From Dr. Greer‘s paper: Extraterrestrials and the New Cosmology
Read the full paper here.
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Can’t speak for you, dear reader, but I’m about to read that full paper. In the meantime, perhaps a little review is in order. A.) We are but specs in the magnificent reality of our cosmos, both physical and spiritual, both seen and unseen; B.) Our fixation on the relative size of our troubles is greatly diminished, thereof. In the words of another, comparatively famous quote, from Steve Martin: “Let’s get small.”
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My mother’s favorite comes to mind, perhaps quoted from her own mother whose birthday was this day in 1890.
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“Know your place.”
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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  12/5/16    All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect. Remember the little people.