Monday, June 10, 2024

CHURCH OF THE ORDINARY

Breakfast Eucharist

THE CHURCH OF THE ORDINARY

When you sweep the floor
Gather your daily regrets into the pan
Release them into the afternoon sun
And let the dust of sorrow plant new dreams
When you wash the dishes
Scrub away the debris of mind
Let each bubble reveal the emptiness
Of your original face
When you cook food
Let your whole heart pour into every simmer and stir
Let every spice and kernel and grain
Contain
Your holy devotion
To this brief human Life
When you eat
Chew your own Love
Swallow the arms of the Mother
Let them wrap around your belly
With infinite compassion
Let every bite
Be an act of worship
When you bathe
Let your hands become healers
Strip the body of its tensions and confusions
Pour the water of suppleness back into your bones
Baptize yourself into holy presence
Let your skin drink the nectar of open delight
Let your fingernails scratch open 
Your tired old wounds
Until your wholeness is revealed
Beneath the static
When you walk
Let each toe pressing into earth
Be a thank you note
To the gift of ground
When you breathe
Let each inhale be a love letter to God
And every exhale a blessing to the trees
This is the sacred mundane
You are living prayer
And magic in motion
The church of the ordinary
Is the secret of secrets
For it is in these tiny places
That kindness lives
And this kindness
Is the doorway
To God.
 
 
----Maya Luna

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Art of Parting


 THE ART OF PARTING

Even tho there are parts of the Earth
I never would have seen
Were it not for you
 
Even tho there are parts of the Music
I never would have heard
Were it not for you
 
Even tho there are parts of the Sea
I never would have smelled
Were it not for you

Even tho there are parts of me
I never would have tasted
Were it not for you
 
Even tho there are parts of you
I never would have touched
 
Were it not for you
 
Were it not for you
I never would have learned

Were it not for you
I never would have learned
I can live without you.


Friday, March 29, 2024

Two Moods: Eclipse and Emergence

Heart eclipse projected onto a frame drum.

ECLIPSE
 
One of the ways
August expressed her sorrow
after her marriage
fell apart.
 
Eclipse of the Heart
San Francisco 1983 

ECLIPSE OF THE HEART 1983

EMERGENCE

On the other hand
August's Knotted Hare 
Capitola 2002
expresses her fondness for every kind of animal,
Spring flowering,
one more joyous Easter:
our good Lord emerging from the tomb.
 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

The Discovery of Anti-time

Jim Rintoul

THE DISCOVERY OF ANTI-TIME

This being the tale
of the future discovery
of what was at first assumed to be
counter-reality,
(and as such did not matter),
but which soon came to be known as anti-time.
 
Because anti-time could be surfed
like any wave,
the implementation
and subsequent proliferation
of anti-time devices
for the home and workplace
made anti-time big business
if you could just get your board
in the water in time
moving forward
against a headwind of the future
rushing into the past,
to ride the wave till it crashed
and let time (the undertow of anti-time)
reel you back into the present.

The discovery of anti-time
anti-mattered so much
that time began to matter again,
until it became so cheap to produce
that everyone spent it freely.

 
Jim Rintoul lives in Santa Cruz, 
was a prominent member of 
and has just published  
It Only Laughs When I Hurt 
Aquarian Moon Productions (2024)

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Len Anderson (1944 -- 2024)

Len Anderson

LEN ANDERSON (1944 -- 2024)
 
Len Anderson passed away in his own bed on Mattison Lane in Santa Cruz early Tuesday morning, January 30, tended by his wife, Elke Maus.
 
Len earned a PhD in physics from UC Berkeley, worked in experimental high-energy physics at Berkeley and in Europe, then switched to industry where he designed sensors for paper-making machines. 

Moving to Santa Cruz in the early 90s, Len developed his talents as a poet, co-founding Poetry Santa Cruz and Hummingbird Press, organizations which sponsored poetry readings, encouraged and published the work of local poets including three books by Len himself: Affection for the Unknowable (2003), Invented by the Night (2011) and The Way Home (2019).

In 1992, Len laid down a memorable mark on the poetry scene with his clever parody of Allen Ginzberg's Howl, the infamous anthem of San Francisco's Beat Generation. Len called his work BEEP crafting it as an anthem of the "BEEP Generation", in which he caricatures the behavior of the programmers and entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley whose efforts gave birth to today's personal computers.

BEEP's opening line

A large part of Len's work deals poetically with spiritual and metaphysical themes. Like myself, Len was for a long time a practicing Roman Catholic.
 
Invented by the Night    p 28

And next, Len imagines for us a back-alley encounter between Science and Mysticism:
 
The Way Home   p 42


 
Modern quantum physics, consciousness and mysticism are not so easy to comprehend. These regions of experience are subtle, obscure, elusive and call out for a correspondingly subtle and sophisticated courtship. One example:
 
Invented by the Night   p 48
 
 Philosophically Len Anderson was a passionate agnostic who flirted playfully in public with the boundaries of human knowledge (as per the title of his first book Affection for the Unknowable). And in Len's books and readings he shamelessly reveals himself as a faithful lover of the Great Mystery. For his wife Elke,  his friends and community, and for fellow seekers after the Mysteries, the death of Len Anderson has left a big hole in the fabric of being.

Affection for the Unknowable   p 11

Invented by the Night   p 68

 



 


Monday, October 16, 2023

it's time to face this sex thing

August O'Connor

 it's time to face
this sex thing
 
It makes us men.
It makes us women.
It makes a joke
to please us
to see us smile.
It makes Beauty
to open our hearts.
It makes Love. 
 
            August O'Connor 
 

Friday, September 29, 2023

Fulton-Bennett Woodblock Prints

Kim Fulton-Bennett: Boulder Creek Library

Kim Fulton-Bennett is a man of many talents, marine biologist, science writer, composer and performer in several musical genres, primary traditional Celtic music where for several years he was half of the Dobhran ("otter" in Gaelic) duo with August O'Connor which entertained at coffee shops, festivals, weddings and private parties in the Santa Cruz area. More recently he performed with Blarney, a larger Celtic band. Inspired by his work at MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) he is currently authoring a website Seasons in the Sea which recounts the life stories month by month of conspicuous plants and animals living in and around Monterey Bay. Inspired by his contact with nature through marine bio;ogy, through hiking in the California wilderness and by surfing off the coast of Santa Cruz, Kim has been producing a series of woodblock prints some of which are now on display (Sept--Oct 2023) at the Boulder Creek branch of the Santa Cruz Library.

"I live in the redwood-covered hills behind Santa Cruz," writes Kim, "and spend my free time hiking the mountains and surfing along the wild North Coast. That's where I get the inspiration for most of my wookblock prints."

"My first woodblocks were simple designs for friends and relatives. But I soon fell in love with the magical process of carving a design into a block of wood, inking the block, and then seeing the design on a piece of paper."

"I carve my woodblocks by hand and make prints in small editions of 5 to 15 prints. Each print is signed, numbered, and dated. Because they are hand made, each print is unique."

Mt Lassen from Spirit Lake




Point Sur

 
Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Rockview: Moonlight

Plum Blossoms


Thursday, July 6, 2023

August O'Connor (1951 - 2023)

August O'Connor in meadow with big bodhran.


 AUGUST O'CONNOR (1951--2023)

Born in Southern California in 1951, the middle girl between two brothers, Raleigh and Greg, August O'Connor early experienced a love of animals, drama and mystery. She raised pet rats and played with snakes. And face-painted, dressed in leotard, rabbit skins, leather aviator helmet and shaking a coyote-skull rattle, she entertained her high school classmates as "Animal Woman: Protector of all speechless creatures." She starred in student plays, performed in an all-girl band and, starting as a freshman, she edited her high school's literary magazine.
 
After graduation, while living in Claremont, she met and married Bill O'Connor. Shortly afterwards they moved to Capitola where they attended St. John's Episcopal Church before moving to San Francisco to work at Grace Cathedral.

For eight years at the Cathedral, August O'Connor served as assistant verger, supporting Bishop Swing in ceremony, designing vestments and providing counseling, For six years she worked as chaplain at San Francisco General Hospital during the rise of the AIDS epidemic.

In recorded conversation with San Francisco social historian Lynne Gerber about her AIDS and other work, August recalled: "Lots of different lives but there is a chaplaincy thread running though it. The thread is love, I'd say, the thread is willingness to love. And to be loved, you know, because when you open your heart to someone, you might not be loved, you know." August's motto, painted on her gate post, is: "Every blessing on all beings."
 
August has worked in every aspect of the visual arts from large oil paintings to cartoons. In the 70s she was Art Director of Good Times, Santa Cruz's largest weekly newspaper. She designed logos for several businesses including Zoccoli's Deli and Pink Godzilla; producing signs, murals and window displays for numerous local shops. She also fashioned necklaces, earrings, bracelets, Celtic knot tattoo designs and unusual hand-hammered copper sculptures based on double spirals which she called "Buddha-mind roller coasters."
 
After leaving Grace Cathedral, August and her friend Nick Gardner began attending Native American sweat lodge ceremonies in Marin and Shasta counties under the direction of Karuk medicine man, Charlie "Red Hawk" Thom. When she moved back to Capitola, August mentored under medicine man Indio, eventually running her own sweat lodge events when Indio became ill. August's sweat ceremonies, carried out with Nick Gardner on the beach a few miles south of Pigeon Point lighthouse, drew a wide variety of attendees primarily from the nearby University in Santa Cruz. Also with Nick Gardner, she enjoyed many trips into the wilderness which she loved. 
 
In her home in Capitola, on one city lot, August put together a voluptuous Mediterranean garden crowned by an orchard of olive, apple, plum, lemon, loquat and persimmon trees. In addition to wild profusions of flowers, the garden produced food – lettuce, tomatoes, beans and potatoes as well as fruit from its trees. August's garden was a haven for bees, butterflies, bats and small mammals and had been officially certified as Wildlife Habitat #29951 by the National Wildlife Foundation.
 
August was a splendid chef, could create a tasty meal out of most anything. At San Francisco gatherings, she garnered admiration for her party specialty: chocolate truffles. Her turmeric toast made an unusual breakfast treat and August's mushroom omelettes were arguably the best in the known universe.
 
August sang and played guitar and bodhran (Irish frame drum). With flute-and-whistle player Kim Fulton-Bennett, they formed the Celtic duo Dobhran (Gaelic for "otter") which played at weddings, wineries, coffee shops and private parties and they also recorded a few instrumental CDs. Dobhran has performed at numerous Scottish and Irish festivals in Santa Cruz and Ben Lomond. A familiar presence at local Irish music sessions, August recently started a new group called Blarney with Kim, Nick Herbert and Matt Johnson, which has performed on stage, at private parties and most recently at an Irish wake in Boulder Creek.
 
Friends have described August's character variously as "playful dignity", as "innocent sophistication", as "kaleidoscopic life force",  as "remarkable, unique, eccentric",  and as "a tempestuous whirlwind." She herself explained "My life/is one kiss/with life."
 
She was hospitalized recently in Santa Cruz for a serious infection. And, on March 24, a week after St. Patrick's Day, early in the morning at age 72, this former chaplain, artist, musician, sweat lodge leader, gardener, beautiful and loving woman, August (Augie) O'Connor, passed away peacefully in her sleep.

Says Nick Herbert: "August came from a larger place and shared some of that with the rest of us."

Said one good friend: "August filled pages; she was a tome."

Added another: "August was an Irish rose."




I LIKE MY HANDS
https://quantumtantra.blogspot.com/2023/07/i-like-my-hands.html


Saturday, July 1, 2023

I Like My Hands

August playing her bodhran (Irish frame drum)
 
I LIKE MY HANDS

Hands, I like my hands
They do so many things
Well for me.
Hands, I like my hands
They do me well.

Feet, I like my feet
They do so many things
Well for me.
Feet, I like my feet
They do me well.

Friends, I like my friends
We do so many things
Well together.
Friends, I like my friends.
We do so well.

Lord, I love my Lord
He does so many things
Well for me.
Lord, I love my Lord
He does me well.

Life, I love Life
It's so good to be Living
And, and when I die
I'll be so glad for what
I've had.
And, and when I die
I'll be so glad.

AUGUST O'CONNOR SEPTEMBER 1977


Sunday, June 4, 2023

Deep in my Head

August O'Connor

DEEP IN MY HEAD 
by August O'Connor
 
I was deep in my head
Deep in my head
Deep in my head
When you startled me.

I was deep deep
Deep in my head
When I saw you
And you startled me.

When I saw you
And you startled me
I saw you
And you startled me.

I would like to be
Startlingly beautiful
Deep in my head
When you startled me.

I would like to be
Startlingly beautiful
I would like to be
Startlingly fair, fair, fair.

Fairer than a rose
Fairer than a perfect rose
Fairer than a dawn
Fairer than a perfect dawn.

Fair as the light
Shining from my lover's
Bright eyes

Fair as the words
Spoken from my lover's
Sweet lips

Fair as the love
Deep at the heart of everything
I would like to be
Startlingly beautiful.

I was deep, deep
Deep in my head
When I saw you
And you startled me.