Into Great Silence

Philip Grönings documentary masterpiece Into Great Silence struck me as a beautiful prayer. From the opening scene, where a monk bathed in the early morning light is on his knees in prayer, to the closing scene with that same monk on his knees in prayer the viewer is brought into this foreign, quiet, and meditative world.

Gröning lived at the Grande Chartreuse monastery for over six months and filmed the simple, meditative lives of the monks who inhabit its ancient rooms and hallways.

There were a few scenes in the film where the light and composition was so beautiful that I was nearly brought to tears.

What better way to start my two-month time of meditation than to watch a film about those who have made a lifestyle devoted to meditation and contemplation. My next post will be from Lopez Island. Thank you to everyone who has wished me farewell. Your prayers and encouragement are a blessing.


Intentional Communication

This Wednesday is it. My cell phone will be turned over to the Clifton family. Over the last year they have generously allowed me to share minutes with them for a nominal fee of $20 dollars a month. Now the phone, charger, and all of the convenience that comes with it will be surrendered into Marcus’s large Scandinavian hands. I wont need the phone while on the island. And to be quite honest, I’ve never really liked having a cell phone (if you have spoken to me for longer than say 5 minutes than you already know where I stand on cell phone communication and the companies that run them).

There are a whole slew of theories I have been thinking on over the years about cell phones and how they have positively and negatively affected our society and the way we communicate. Overall I believe the cell phone has caused uneasiness in us all about how much communication is enough. Should we be obligated to talk to people all the time simply because we have the means to do it? Have cell phones actually made us lazier and less committal in our relationships because of the apparent ease with which the phone affords us? For those of you reading this who can remember back to the not so distant past you may recall a time when you had to either make a meeting and stick to it or leave the other person hanging. You couldn’t simply call the person on their cell phone and back out of it (don’t get me wrong, I'm the first to admit that I am guilty of this).

I also think of the content of our conversations. Because of the availability of communication have we in effect become less inclined to put much thought into what we are actually calling the person to talk about? How many phone numbers do we actually have to remember anymore, the phone does it for us. So you don’t even have the time to think about what you want say because the time you would have spent looking up or remembering the persons phone number and then dialing it in one number at a time is completely lost with your computerized “phone book”.

I have chosen not to focus on or even mention the positives because for me they are far outweighed by the negatives. In the next few months I will be delving into the fine art of intentional communication. Hand writing letters (yes, it still exists) and meeting face to face. If a phone must be used a landline will suffice. Please stay with me as I continue on in this process of weeding out the lax communication means of an afflicted society and how it directly affects the way we relate and are related to.

And to keep with the theme of using this blog as not only a means of sharing my own story but also the stories of others I’ll leave you with this portrait of Michael Ashley in his hotel room just a few hours before he was wed to his beautiful wife Jamie.



Anathallo, a Michigan band whose name in Greek means to renew, refresh or bloom again, definitely qualifies as all of the above. When they get together and play it is truly artistry in action. I don’t tend to endorse many bands on my blog but Anathallo is one that I will whole-heartedly promote without shame.

I can’t really describe their music to you; it just has to be experienced to be appreciated. Give it a listen and let them know what you think. I’m sure they would love to hear your feedback. Artists always love to hear what the masses think of their work (I know I do).


A Drink

"You promise me lies but then tell me the truth instead."



Sea-Tac Airport

The last three days have been filled with celebration and little sleep. Mike has succesfully helped Jamie to change her last name to match his. The wedding was beautiful. Congratulations.


Another Language

"The heart is forever making the head its fool."
~Carl Jung

A battle that logic has won many times before has been revealed within my heart. Damn you heart. I have been following logic to the point that when the heart speaks I silence it with facts and reasoning.

The only fact I know for sure right now is that my heart won't be silenced.


The Forest In The Trees

This ones for Chris, you macro loving maniac.


Stephen Colbert

After showing the Jon Stewart video to my friend Dana she asked me if i had seen the clip of Stephen Colbert speaking at the 2006 White House Correspondents Association Dinner. I replied no and so i searched for it online.

We'll i found it and watched all 24 minutes of the broadcast and was blown away. I couldn't believe Colbert was allowed to say the things he said without getting shut down. He completely laid to waste the entire Bush administration and the corporate news media that rules this country.

What i wasn't surprised by was the lack of media coverage the day after the dinner. The 2,000 plus media outlets (who are all owned by about 4 or 5 corporations) that were present at the dinner barely made mention of the 24 minute speech Colbert gave. No surprise there.

Through viewing these videos and speaking to a number of people i have been reminded that humor sometimes is the best way to say what needs to be said. Political comedians are some of the only people in America who can speak their mind on major television networks without being silenced.


Take The Time

So here is a video clip from a CNN Crossfire dialogue w/Jon Stewart filmed back in 2004. William told me about this today and I watched it and thought it was great for a number of reasons. The clip is kind of long (about 14 minutes) but well worth it. Jon speaks so much truth in this little interview that i almost jumped out of my chair (for joy) at hearing someone say the things he said on a major American television network.

For those of you who live outside of this walled country called America you might find this clip as an almost normal T.V. dialogue. Just know that in the States T.V. is one of the most censored tools for propaganda to ever be created. Our media tells the story's that the corporate giants who own them want them to tell. And the only story's corporations want us to hear or see are the ones that will keep us mentally inactive while simultaneously telling us what we should believe and buy, and in turn generating more profit for their shareholders.

Scary stuff.

An Excerpt

I wrote this down a few months back. Thought you might like it.

Home, as far as I remember it was made up of trees, red earth, and rain.
Sometimes barren and twiggy, sometimes full of leaves that sang when the wind blew rain in from the Gulf of Mexico. Cicades played in full chorus as the rains subsided. I lived in the South for 15 years but I never felt like a Southerner. As I quickly came to understand a large part of being a Southerner meant you had family that went back at least a few generations, maybe even as far back as being able to claim that this relative or that was in the Civil War, at this battle or that. My family moved to Lawrenceville, Georgia in the summer of 1989. My dad had been working in Denver as a truck driver for Pepsi Cola, winding his way through the Rockies, delivering bottles of caffeinated corn syrup to mountain towns along his route...

Just a small part of the story I call life.


Tall Buildings

Warning lights burn and blink red. Buildings, cranes, and high tension wires scream “we are here, don’t run into us!” The lights blink back their own color of red, warning light red. A color you might not find in a Crayon box. A color you most certainly will find blinking back at you from all cities, Seattle to Tokyo.

Buildings propped up by steel thrust themselves 50, 60, 76 stories into the sky. And then I, gliding by on bike through the cool evening, think about why we call them stories. Do they have memories of the men that built them? Does each of the 76 floors that make up the Bank of America tower have something to say? What stories do glass, fluorescents, cubicles, and steel have to tell?

The late Victor Steinbrueck, former dean of the University of Washington School of Architecture, had this to say about the Bank of America building in Seattle: "It's terrible. A flat-out symbol of greed and egoism. It's probably the most obscen erection of ego edifice on the Pacific Coast".

I couldn’t have said it better myself.


Some More Stories

I’ve wasted enough time browsing through mind numbing web sites over subject matter that really doesn’t matter. I'm trying to sell an item on EBay and I can't help but hit the refresh button over and over again to see if anyone has put in a higher bid on the item. Funny thing is I don’t really need the money. But I am selling the item because I have a need for it less than I have a need for what I can buy with the cash. Shoes. For the first time I am trying to find a pair of shoes that will meet the following specific needs:

-made of earth friendly products in an earth friendly fashion,
-made by people who receive a good wage and work in a humane setting

-will last between 5 and 10 years (or more).

If anyone knows of a company that fits this description please, send the info my way.

I don’t tend to finish books as of late. I start them, read at most a few chapters into them and then abandon them. Either the stories I am finding aren’t worth reading or they are all saying the same things over and again, just with different characters and interchangeable locations. Some years back my Grandmother put this love of stories within me and I am very grateful to her for it.

The last few months have drawn me to stories that encompass these three elements in some form or fashion: my familys story (from Ireland to America but why?), this countrys story (was this ever the land we were told it was?), and my own story (what do I believe and why do I believe it?).

Some days the story becomes too big for me. Some days I become lost in someone else’s story.