3 Things I Learned About Rejection By Being Accepted ~ A Traveller’s Tale

Travelers Tales China: True Stories

This post is an expansion of a comment I made on Daryl Sedore’s article, Why Rejection Letters are Great appearing on Write to Done. Sedore reminds us that in all endeavours we can expect to be rejected one or more times before being accepted. Every rejection is a good thing; we should look at each one as one more out of the way before reaching acceptance.

Also, I just wanted to write an article featuring a numbered “How To” list, since they’re all the rage in blogging.

Rejection is a good thing. I like turning negatives on their head. How about turning positives on their head? What if we looked at a positive event to determine what can be done better, and hopefully reduce the number and severity of future negatives? The first time I received an acceptance letter it provided some lessons in using rejection as a learning experience.
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The Dao de Jing ~ The transformational quality of seeing the beauty in all things.

Tao te Ching ~ Laozi ~ Stephen Mitchell

Tao te Ching ~ Laozi
trans. Stephen Mitchell

I can’t remember when I first encountered The Dao de Jing (also Tao te Ching, pronounced the same), which surprises me since it quickly grew to become my favourite written text. It’s brief (just 81 chapters of verse, a page or so each) yet richly nuanced. I’ve read all or parts of it dozens of times and always discover some new way of seeing or gain some clarity in every reading. The verses cover all aspects of living: love, death, leadership, war, existence itself. On the whole, it’s a book about mastering the art of living.

This is a text I will come back to time and again within this blog, just as I do in my own life. I’ll try to keep the entries brief, concise, though I’ve not mastered Lao Tse’s artful concinnity. This first post is a little something about beauty and ugliness, inspired by a post on a very wise woman’s blog. What I write here so bluntly, she writes beautifully, implicitly, within a story about her own personal journey to discovering the beauty in something once judged ugly. The story there amplifies the meaning here.

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

~ The Tao te Ching (Chap. 2), Lao Tse
Stephen Mitchell (trans.)

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Annie’s Song ~ Notes on observing the sacraments of a sacred life

John Denver was a gentle, loving soul of considerable talent and purpose. He sang with heartfelt clarity and graceful gravity, qualities his music often reflected. Annie’s Song is ostensibly a love song, John Denver singing a poetic list of metaphors for how grand the experience of loving a woman is, and being loved by her. What’s compelling about the metaphors though is that they could be common everyday experiences, mundane even. The kind of experiences we take for granted every day. Denver elevates them, finds in them a grandness he equates with the most soulful of loves.

You fill up my senses
like a night in the forest
like the mountains in springtime,
like a walk in the rain
like a storm in the desert,
like a sleepy blue ocean
you fill up my senses,
come fill me again.

How often do I walk through these scenes and sense nothing out of the ordinary, feel no expansion? How often are my senses not filled up? Read more »

Grace on my mind, and in my heart ~ Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews, prodigiously talented and prolific, a true minstrel of our times writing soulful, often doleful songs of our everyday experiences. Transcendent, luminescent, playful. His live performances bring together extraordinary musicians with nary a glorious note misplayed or misplaced. And at the center mic, leaving no doubt as to the driving force of the band’s epic noise, is the vibrant, passionate often jubilant and always generous Dave Matthews, a man and artist of grace. I’m more than a little overdue in dedicating a post to him.

Grace is a word that has been coming up in my life lately. It is among my favourite words, useful for aesthetic, spiritual, emotional, personal and even social meanings. When I hear the word, though, or speak, read, think or write it, the sense that nearly always accompanies it is of divinity, the divine. Divine grace, so-to-speak, though it seems the pairing is but a repetition. When we walk through this life with grace and dignity, we do so with bouyancy in our step…bliss courses through us.
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Neil Young: He came dancing across the water

I can remember the first time I heard this album, Zuma. I was all of 20 years old, ski bumming in Whistler, BC, and gathered with a bunch of friends after the bars had closed. I can’t remember her name. She was skinny and not very attractive in any traditional sense, but there was something about her that was fascinating. That fascination grew immensely when I saw the sound system she had — all Nakamichi … top flight — and numerous milk crates stuffed with albums.

Zuma. She pulled Zuma. In a room filled with rowdy drunk friends there was me, her and this album, Zuma.
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Blade Runner ~ do androids weep electric tears?

Blade Runner is among my favourite films. In a veritable symphony of cinematic elements — cinematography, script, production design, soundtrack, direction, acting — it doesn’t miss a note. The film touches on all the major themes of the human condition: love, death, good and evil, redemption, justice, ethics, greed, passion. It’s philosophically spiritual and passionately physical. All of that culminates in this scene that ends Roy Batty’s life, but also witnesses the redemption of it.

Batty, the android, the replicant, had been on a murderous spree, killing every scientist and engineer he could find who’d been involved in creating him, a nearly perfect being yet with the artificially brief lifespan of just 4 years. Moreover, Deckerd had killed all his friends, possibly everyone he’d ever loved including Priss, the android/woman he loved above all. This scene occurs at the end of the breathless chase which Deckerd has every reason to believe will end with his death should Batty catch him.
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The Fool’s day in April

The Fool Tarot Card

The Fool Tarot Card

April is my month of the extraordinary. In April 1991, I took the first job I was offered after having been unceremoniously fired by my previous employer. A year later, I’d had enough of the computing industry and was poised to quit that job…when Microsoft bought the company I was working for and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Three years later, on April Fool’s Day, Microsoft closed shop in Vancouver, handed me my golden parachute, and that was the last day I worked in an office environment, and the first day of a spiritual quest…though I wasn’t aware of it as such at the time. In the past couple years, that quest has intensified.

I put a lot of trust into allowing the possibilities to emerge out of the minor chaos that is my life right now, give time for the path to become clear. Sometimes, I feel like I’m walking at the edge of a precipice.
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I started a post about courage, featuring this song, a couple or three weeks ago. It’s still sitting in the drafts folder. The Tragically Hip are a favourite Canadian band from the late ’80s and early ’90s, a time when I, and many other Canadians, considered them the best rock band on the planet. Fully Completely, the album on which this song was released in 1992, is my favourite of theirs, and this song, Courage (For Hugh MacLennan) is the best of it.

The Hip have been nominated for a few Juno awards this week, the Canadian Grammy’s. Reading about that reminded me of the promise to write about the song, about courage. Then, I remembered, I already had.
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Cloudbusting a rainy day in Vancouver: Kate Bush is in my subconscious

Maybe it’s due to the thick layer of clouds busting down with rain overnight and today. Maybe it’s about getting caught up in a rearward look last night. Maybe it’s about the upbeat glee of a gift and a moment shared with a friend across the miles.

I’m not sure what put Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting in my mind’s ear this afternoon, but…there it was. This song and I go back a quarter of a century now.
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Nothing Else Matters when Bif Naked is your muse

Bif Naked came into my life in an odd way, the leading edge of a wave of the odd, the uncanny, the revelatory. This song has a lot of meaning for me, coming as it did amidst upheaval, chaos and — ultimately — awakening. And she came right into the middle of something else.

I’ve had a soul-mate come in and out of my life every now and again over the past couple decades. We’ve tried the relationship thing a couple or three times, but that never seems to work out for us. Yet there’s an undeniable, inexplicable connection and from time-to-time we spend some time in each other’s lives. Read more »