Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hey, I'm Still Around

Yep, still here.

At the end of my last post I mentioned a new website I had been thinking about, and which was to be called "Being Into The Journey."

Well, that started to get off the ground but morphed over to TimHodgens.Com

Please join me there.  There are several posts there.  It's been slow going but, if I may, I am pleased with what I have put up so far and would love to hear your comments - preferably there but here is ok also.

Be well,


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

70th Post In My 70th Year: Reviewing

In my 70th year I am now posting my 70th entry and this is a good time for review and reflection

It all started four years ago with my first post in which I shared a dream. In that dream there was the ocean which changed from just being out there to threatening to engulf me and overwhelm me. In rereading it, i see it as a "sea-change" dream in which my unconscious, if you are comfortable with that word, was wanting to get my attention and to do that by getting up close and personal in a rough and tumble way. There was no specific content in it (other than the buoy and the man next to me) and I take that to mean that it was a general statement of change and that "it's" not wanting to wait any longer.

That post then went on about the process of reclaiming my life and the simple guideline I used to go about doing that which was captured in the dictum: "I will rush no more!"

After that first posting I moved about through a number of different topics. Looking back on them now, I see a pattern or a flow to them which on reflection is speaking to my "journey." I'm pleased to discern this pattern because I didn't want this blog to just become a random process of chats to myself and others.

I talked about consumerism, damage to the planet, oil addiction, big changes 'acomin, what-if scenarios, doomerism, a dream or two, mindfulness, shiftings and purpose. That's the top layer that, to me, manages to outline part of my journey over the past four years. Those of you who have been following this blog, and my comments on other blogs, know that it is not just a recitation of events, of the ilk that I did this and then I did that, etc. Imbedded in many of the postings is material which speaks to my narrative. That narration speaks from my life more recently, essentially from the point of taking that vow, of "I will rush no more!"

Staying with that "simple" guideline has had powerful effects in my life. It helped to recognize the treadmill, the mindless maintenance of habit patterns, the "fitting in," and many other ways that the "system at large" maintains itself through conditioning and expectations, real and implied. With those insights, which were not new to me, but they were fresh and had more depth this time around, I was aware that insight without appropriate and helpful action is not really all that valuable. It would lead to a "thought envelope" which in its separation from the whole doesn't really plump up the experience of the journey.

And just briefly, I am again reminded that anyone who directly defies the maintenance of the dominant culture puts themselves in harms way eventually. That choice may be a worthwhile one, but it's best to choose it while being in a context of being awake, aware and alive.

The transitional strategy which has been helpful has been to discontinue purchasing daily tickets to maintenance of old patterns if unproductive. That opens a portal for moving attention and energy to more wholesome and meaningful activities. In doing that it creates a different energy which has a different resonance and, it is in that resonance field, that new pathways are laid down within and without.

Therein lies the initial challenge. Once you withdraw energy from the previous pattern, you have to find something else for that energy. There are endless distractions and enticements in the world which are clammoring to be fed from your energy. But everyone of them will continue to foster something which is counterfeit. What keeps coming back is the importance of the understanding of the "within," the more authentic by virtue of direct experience and verification.
If I may, one of the goals is to move within and connect with original beginnings, our own song, and universal themes and not get caught in the unfinished business of personal history. That involves a courageous taking of personal inventory of thoughts, words, and deeds for the purpose of removing the knots, the blockages, the injustices, etc., which all impede growth and openness. The 12 step traditions all speak of taking, at the appropriate time, a fearless and searching moral inventory. Great wisdom there for those on the journey.

Anything short of that will eventually fall flat on its face. There is so much here in this process but this was to be a short review.

To complete this for today, the last several postings have largely centered around mindfulness, and purpose and shiftings. The guideline of the personal choice "I will rush no more!" remains, but there is also a quickening.

Two other things that I have noticed in reviewing the past postings. First, the number of postings per year has dramatically shifted in quantity. Year 1 = 20; year 2 = 30; year 3 = 12; year 4 = 7, and so far in year 5 = this will be number 1. This progression has been noted by other bloggers with their blogs, and is not surprising. Second, and this relates to #1, is that I have clearly made a decision to talk more personally, but yes I sure do get abstract, and am ever more clear that I am not interested in a rant of how messed up the world is, or posting what I think others will like, etc., but rather talking about these issues of growth, purpose, expression, journey, and personal mythology.

This will all also dovetail into a website which is currently being designed over the past several weeks, (and incubating for several months) and which will be called "Being Into The Journey."

Much more to come.

Isn't it interesting, the more I leave, the more I find myself coming back.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Two Soundbytes And The Depth Surrounding Them

The SoundBytes: "I do not believe in short-violent-cuts to success."

And: "I object to violence because, when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

The Depth Behind It: In Gandhi's own words.

The link goes to copyrighted material from: Mahatma Gandhi: Selected Political Writings by Gandhi (Mahatma), Dennis Dalton. (N.B. I believe that by providing the link to the original webpage that I am keeping within the guidelines of the copyright protocol. If anyone knows anything to the contrary, I would appreciate your input.)

Reading Gandhi's words shows a depth of understanding that is seldom seen. His words are eminently sound-byte-worthy. However, what makes them even more valuable is that whatever the rhetoric contained in them, the power, the soul, and the spirit was that of a person who would not be dominated. And, yet, he refused to engage in the same swordsmanship to remove the domination because that would only perpetuate the same domination / subjugation dynamic again, and again, and again.

I also liked that he said it was an individual truth that each comes to, and upon which action and non-action is to be taken.

Truly, he was a person who was "being into the journey."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Lost Monday And Tuesday

I woke up yesterday morning and asked my wife: "What day is it?"

"It's Wednesday," she said.

"That's what I thought it was. But where's Monday and Tuesday. I've lost them."

Smile, smile.

This morning I said to her that I had some good news. "I knew what day it was when I woke up today. But the bad news is that now I can't find Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

But, Honey, if you come across them on your wanderings today say hello for me. Tell them also that they I don't have to find them again because they were good days.

Oh, and tell them to have a good journey themselves."


If everything leaves a footprint, do you ever wonder if the footprints themselves take on a life of their own?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Adhesions To The Cube

I play the lottery every once in a while. Not because I think I'll win it big but because it gives me an opportunity to think about what I'd do if I did. That dreaming is actually more real than the possibility of winning. The first part is always easy: get rid of any debt, help the kids, take a family vacation, take a two or three month sabbatical, and maybe buy a toy or two.

Maybe I suffer from imagination deficit disorder (grin, grin) but after that daydream I still want to come back to my home and my routine and my practice, and continue doing psychotherapy. It's what I do. It's what I'm good at, at least on my good days. Good family, good wife, good place to live, and great profession. I'm lucky that way and I never lose sight of it. But, if everything is so many wonderful shades of good and great in Timmyville, then why this restlessness that I feel and keep coming back to?

Is it simply fear? Or, is it a fear of stepping outside the box? Is it a survival strategy to stay in the box since that is where it is safer? In the box (you can variously define it according to your circumstances) you know the boundaries, you have structure and schedule, and you have a means to support yourself and your loved ones. Perhaps it's a more primitive issue of not moving beyond the boundary of the campfire during the night. Out there is where the wild things are. Out there is where people disappear, where they get eaten.

Here's a different way of looking at it. What happens if, either suddenly or gradually, you become aware that the very way of the life you have been living is so separated from the rest of the world, the universe, that it becomes a matter of sheer survival to explore in order to survive? Perhaps this very restlessness is a dim recognition of how our species survived in the first place. There has been a body of thinking these days which says that to survive we had to leave the savannah.

Nature shifted and it showed up in the environment. What had provided a comfortable arrangement between species and neighborhood simply changed. To stay in that neighborhood and to not read the signs that something big was happening was to hold onto the old ways. It was like waking up and recognizing you are in a situation of diminishing ruturns and saying to yourself that the best you can do that day is buy a ticket to the lottery in the hope that you win big so everything can continue to be in the same situation we have known for so long.

At some point survival becomes a matter of moving out into "the other" to explore and accept challenge and to keep moving precisely because there is a sense that to stay in any one place for too long is to sense death, the death of too much security and too much comfort. OR, as some would say, the world as we have come to know it has become too toxic to spirit and expression.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Shifting

There's a shifting that's been going on in my life. I noticed it six months ago when I was writing in my journal. What actually happened was that I had made several consecutive entries into my morning journal and then the next morning I decided to review some previous entries from a few years ago.

I read several of the entries from "back then." The themes that I was writing about were similar - but different - from the most recent entries. That got me to thinking about how recurring themes have a way of, well, recurring. You might say that they recur because I have certain favorite pathways which my mind goes in and that those themes rise to the surface when I am at a pause point, or a point of reflection in my life. But I also sense that they are reflective of a larger ongoing issue; that of being called to an awareness of a path.

My regular readers know that I have mentioned this theme several times over the course of my writings. It's not a dead end, it's a reminder of something larger, something much larger.

I have spent the last six months thinking about this. What is my purpose? Why am I here? What wants to happen with my life? Is it something I choose, or something that is given, bestowed, perhaps as a gift? Thankfully I have been productive in both my personal and professional life and have been able to offer some of the best service ever. I am grateful that I have those parts of my life and in some ways I know that it could enough in itself.

I know, however, that there is more, and in that more, further, is the place of puzzling. How does someone discover this? Does everyone, or is it just some? Does it happen suddenly or is it a process of gradual disclosure and awareness followed by acceptance? Is it a one time opportunity or a synchronicity which shows up periodically?

So all of this has been going on. What is different is that this time I have been able to maintain a certain focus for a longer period of time. I have learned much and will be writing about that as I proceed with this unfolding and I hope that it will engage the interest of others and will spark some to also share their experiences.

The Quickening. Two weeks ago I was reflecting on all this over breakfast and wanted to near get up and shout for and "demand" a clarity of purpose. But there was something forceful and aggressive about that which I knew was not, at that time, the way to go. It's not a good idea to force a lock or an image or a discovery. I held the uneasiness over this frustration of not knowing my purpose.

When I got outside, I stopped in my tracks and offered a prayer: "I need help to get out of this stuckness." I let that prayer reverberate.

The response came in the form of words: "Being into the Journey." I felt instantly peaceful and appreciative. I was also aware that the overfocusing on a purpose, my particular purpose was the blockage and that the image of movement inherent in "Being into the Journey" is purpose, action, ongoing direction (purpose you could say) and something which could be a "mission."

As I have been reflecting on this, I am developing an awareness that "Being Into The Journey" is both an individual and also a universal process. It's both impersonal and also intensely personal. That dual awareness will be helpful for me in exploring my own journey and also to look at the whole process as experienced potentially by anyone.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Pristine Pings

That's what I heard as I was watching the Boston Symphony's 4th of July concert on the esplanade. It happened during their annual and traditional presentation of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture (starting at 38 seconds), the end of which coincides with canon fire and the beginning of the fireworks display.

There was crescendo, frenzy, canon fire and there was build up. During the build up, the quickening, the ping from the triangle in the percussion section, could be heard. It was solitary, it was simple, it was just there, it helped to complete the rest of the world. It was expressing itself without fanfare and without attachment to how long it would last. It expressed itself without regard to whether anyone heard it or not. There was no self consciousness.

It's a great mystery, to me, how those notes come about when they come from a person. I've had moments when I have "spoken my truth" and on reflection they could be called pristine pings. Sometimes I remember them and sometimes I don't.

When I was out walking the other morning, a man came up to me and introduced himself and then thanked me for giving his son back to him. We talked back and forth for a while and then he said: "One thing always stood out during that conversation about my son. You said 'he was a good kid and he basically only needed a few wins' and that's how it turned out." I don't remember saying that, but he did. I guess that may be a ping that is expressed and has an impact. It took on a life of it's own.

I came across another ping when I read Ember's manifesto on her blog Kindred of the Quiet Way. She wrote on simplicity which she refers to as "Simplicity Testimony" The quote:

it's about choosing to live simply, according to one's own conscience & what feels manageable at the moment, stepping aside from consumer lifestyle to focus instead on what is non-competitive, natural & free. In choosing an occupation, asking ‘what did I come here to do?’ – and by all means travelling most speedily towards that place. It's about avoiding debt & high-maintenance, complex lifestyles that make it difficult to change course when life offers challenges & opportunities: choosing (in one's home, leisure activities, clothing, possessions & occupation) what is simple, plain, quiet, humble & modest, avoiding whatever brags or intimidates or makes others feel jealous or inadequate or ashamed. Understanding that we live in troubled times, it's about fashioning a life accordingly, ensuring that one is as free, as flexible, as prepared & as easy to satisfy as possible; so that when hardship & scarcity come to us, we already understand how to live frugally & simply & walk lightly, passing through turbulence with our light held steady.

That is pristine. That ping resonates in me. Maybe that's the purpose of a "ping," to offer those who would quiet down, those who are not rushing, those who are open to new and free information available in the environment, an opportunity to resonate. And with that resonance, they can take in new energy or reconfirm what they already have known, and then to take their opportunity to make their own notes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Oath Of Office

Dear President-Elect Obama,

A few weeks ago I heard you being interviewed and you emphatically stated that the very first priority that you will have every morning upon waking is the safety of the American people.

That started me thinking about what the Founding Fathers had in mind for the line of future presidents, and what they wanted to emphasize to them and what they thought their number one priority should be.

They said: Each president recites the following oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

You are about to assume a most awesome responsiblity at a pivotal moment in the history of these United States and in the history of the entire world. This world has been recently spinning around issues of safety and economy, and this world, at this very moment is standing still; waiting to see how you will guide this nation.

May I suggest that you make a slight shift in your morning practises to include silently retaking your Oath Of Office every morning. May that guide you and be your number priority.

In the preamble to the constitution the goals are...
"to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."

The path that they lay down is embarked upon with the taking of The Oath. It is that document, and the principles contained within it, that you swear to preserve, uphold and defend. Every day to day issue, every crisis, every opportunity must be informed by the indications of that document.

I wish you well on that journey.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I Resolve...

On this first day of this new year, I resolve to not buy into the fictions that are presented to me, and to the collective "us," each day. These fictions are pervasive, and they are presented so regularly, and so skillfully, both directly and indirectly that they put a coating of believability over each of their respective topics which makes it hard to even perceive them.

It is as if the coating serves two purposes. The first is to draw us unsuspectingly into an attractive alternative in the world of choices. The second is to capture us in a web which serves each and everyone who perpetrates it. The prime perp-er-trators are those who seek power over, and those who pursue financial gain over others.

Some of the tools and processes which perpetuate this web - dare I say: "Matrix?" include:

- The lie that is the "n-e-w-s," especially as presented on television;

- The fiction that is television programming, which is one of the most corrosive technologies on the planet. It purveys all sorts of unreality as if it is the way it is supposed to be. The latest lie I have noticed are the impossibly white teeth of virtually every celebrity wanna-be on the n-e-w-s programs;

- The lie that more and better purchasing and consuming will bring us happiness and a better quality of life;

- The lie that money is very important; it's important but after having a basic amount, not that important;

- The lie, the fiction, the deception that faster is better;

- The lie that we are a nation of great physical health and that pharmacology and high-tech medical procedures can, or will be able in the near future to solve most of our physical problems, and the lie that extension of life is in our best interest;

- The deception that financial investing is a good strategy for future security;

- The truly biggest deception is the covert programming that sucks from each of us the belief that we can make a difference;

- The unspoken lie of the established system that programs us to believe that we routinely need experts to solve our problems.

There are others. But I wanted to post this on the first day of this year.

I wish us all well in this coming year. And my wish is that all who embark on this discovery process will find a freedom and a power and a sense of purpose and life and engagement and responsibility that will benefit our respective worlds.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful

And since the weather has a mind of it's own, not easily influenced by me...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We had a juicy ice storm last week, and here in New England there are still thousands without power. We usually get hammered with these storms but this time we lucked out and were just outside "the swath." It was particularly fortunate since our sump pump has been engaging several times an hour for the last nine days. Yes, I am glad that we bought a generator four years ago; it gives us a bit of peace of mind during these storms. We didn't need it this time, but some friends were grateful that I set it up for them and pumped out their basement.

They were a bit red faced since they were so pleased with themselves that they had planned ahead and had a backup pump to their primary sump pump. They hadn't anticipated a total power failure to their home. I learned from their experience.

This has given me an opportunity to think about a few things which I have come to consider as part of my shoveling-out process and storm preparedness strategy. Here are a few of them; consider them both as a way of making things easier and also as "insurance" for the unexpected.

1. Do yourself a really big favor and go out and buy one of those shovels that has a crooked handle. They look foolish but my, oh my, are they kind on the back. They also have a long handle which is great for just leaning on for when it's time to take it even slower and listen and feel the silence and the snow and the breeze.

2. For apparel, make sure that you have a heavy coat which goes 1/2 way down to your knees. The outside of the coat must have something that blocks the wind and doesn't let the water in, nylon is fine. Most of the time you don't need this type of jacket but when you do, it is indispensible. As always, remember it's the wind not the temperature that will usually do you in.

3. There is no big rush with snow shoveling. Take it easy. Usually everyone thinks you do that to not overtax your heart and/or to not be as stiff the next day. But there is a further reason for pacing yourself, and that is to not build up a sweat. The exercise helps to heat, but the excess will lead to sweat and that in turn will lead to a chill. If it is really challenging outside and you have to be out there for some time, having a chill is not a good idea. Remember also, no cotton next to your skin.

4. Find your closest fire hydrant and shovel a path into it so the fire fighters will have easy access in a dire situation. It's everybodies job to do that, so you can be certain that no one will do it if you don't.

5. Buy a pair of cleats or grippers that can slide over your boots. My driveway is fairly steep and there have been times when I wouldn't have been able to get to my car if I didn't have cleats on. That goes also for getting to the woodpile during an ice storm. Our comfy home is kept comfy by the wood stove. Stove needs to be fed dry wood. You get the picture. Think worst conditions and you get the idea.

6. Have a pot of soup and some artisinal bread waiting for when you come back in from the outside if you really want to make it an event. Oh yes, worst conditions, go out and buy several cans of sterno. They store for years and can easily heat up soup, etc.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Addendum: Obviously the 7th suggestion is to have a portable generator. And in the spirit of "insurance" and "making things better" buy a pair of over-the-ear noise reducers. They are much more helpful than the small plug into your ear gizmos and offer better protection to the hearing apparatus. Remember, you only get one hearing system per lifetime - use it wisely.