Thursday, February 17, 2011


Apparently, the King of Bahrain recently attempted  to squash protest in his domain by giving each family  among his subjects $2,650.  

I don't think it worked. Bahrain, which hosts a fleet of the U.S. Navy seen as as safeguard against Iran, has been rocked with demonstrations.  Maybe the marginalized Shia majority in that nation used some of that money to purchase a book of poems by the 14th-Century Persian poet Hafiz.  Here, in honor of all holy protest and discontent, is  a poem by Hafiz.  It could have burst out of the heart of the late 20th century.   


The fish needs to say,

"Something ain't right about this
Camel ride--

And I'm
Feeling so damn

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What would your personal retreat look like?

I'm lucky.  This week I took a few days away at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center near Philadelphia.  I have about an hour before lunch, then it's back to real life.

But hey, dummy this is real life!!
Some things I've gotten from my time here (in no order, with no particular evaluation of relevance):

a) I'm not ready to become a vegetarian.
b) Realizing I need to change my relationship to the computer. I feel tyrannized by it.
c) Reading a pretty amazing book on the history of the relationship between Quakers and African Americans.
d) Realizing that my reading life is too driven by what I think I ought to read, rather than what I love. As if I could ever catch up!
e) Spent a fruitful afternoon at the Quaker Collection in the library at Haverford College. Read the original letters that my grandfather wrote home from France ca. 1918.  Writing-wise, something's cookin', but I can't say what.  Because I don't know yet.  They have a roomful of fiction either by Quakers or about them. The room isn't very big. 
f) Not-Doing is important. 
g) Grateful I could hang out for a few hours with my friend Wol.

This retreat was a success because my perspective has shifted a bit.  I didn't come in with any goals, but life is all around us, always changing. 

If you could take a personal retreat, where would you go?  What would it consist of?  Would you take a computer?  Would you let yourself take naps?   Chime in!