Words

Life

words of the day

by Andrea Elizabeth

Suja Organic Ginger Lemon Kombucha with 5 billion probiotic cultures +Ashwagandha

Batumi, Georgia

King Khalid AFB, Saudi Arabia

Red Robin Avacobbo

Malic Acid

Beets

Most Holy Theotokos, save us

Suzuki

 

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why being single is not a good thing

by Andrea Elizabeth

It’s not good because we need to love someone. Passionately. Not just martyrly, though that is half of it. Monasticism isn’t just about abstaining, though all commitments do involve abstaining from the unchosen. Monasticism is about joining onesself to Christ and, or not and, a monastic community. In my observation hermit monastics join themselves to contemplation of God through nature, or in rare situations, like Crazy John, or the doctor who was St. Anthony the Great’s equal, service to their neighbors.

“It was revealed to Abba Anthony in his desert that there was one who was his equal in the city. He was a doctor by profession and whatever he had beyond his needs he gave to the poor, and every day he sang the Sanctus with the angels.”

A single person generally has too much free time that ends up being directed towards themself instead of a spouse. They marry themselves, and this, like marrying someone of the same sex, is why the lifestyle isn’t blessed by the Church.

Let’s say though, that the single person is rebuffed by a monastic community. I have heard an American Abbot and an Abbess, who turn people away, say that a person needs to be a healthy contributor to a monastic community. That a monastery isn’t a place for the weak. Perhaps they were speaking of the fragile state of monasteries in America. Large monasteries in traditionally Orthodox lands do seem to be less against the cultural grain than here.

I can understand an argument that American culture, coming as it did from England where monasteries and monarchies were dissolved and seen as evil, and individualistic Protestantism shapes our generations, that a single person may find a traditional eastern monastery too much of a culture shock.

But if monasteries are more committed to their traditions steeped by conditioned people, than to the new people who can’t handle it, I think something may be wrong. (addendum: maybe parishes can help bridge the gap)

For one thing, a vegetarian diet is not in the epigenetics of most Americans. I am not a dietitian, but vegetarians in America have a reputation of being unhealthy. Diet in America is out of wack across the board though, so I think more study and experimentation with respect to physical side effects shouldn’t be seen as such an evil compromise. I know someone who was a vegetarian for many years and was told by a doctor to stop, that they needed animal protein, I forget what problems they were having. And Saint Porphyrios had to leave the Holy Mountain with a lot of health problems from “too strict a diet”, if I recall Wounded By Love correctly.

Additionally, blind obedience to a human authority figure is very taboo in America. This seems like a major deal breaker from both the monastic and single person side. A lot of single people have been burned horribly by at least one parent, and to submit onesself to another without recourse is a torturous thought. And there is so much controversy as to what the word submission means. It pains me to dwell on it, so I imagine just googling the word will show all the different ideas.

I will say though that the controversy probably has it’s roots in one’s philosophy of determinism. Does God, or nature, decree all events, abusive and not, without any input from the ruled?

I don’t think we have good enough answers for this question for most Americans. The happy Orthodox don’t seem to have a problem with unquestioning submission. Maybe the rest of us are missing the mark, but maybe we’re not. I’m not a total feminist, as I do believe there is a hierarchy, but my husband does not rule with an iron fist nor think I should live to carry out his will alone I may be a compatibalist. I like strong women like Joan of Arc and St. Nina of Georgia, not because they’re stronger or above a man, but because they show that one doesn’t have to get permission to breathe, or surrender all their convictions to the man boss, who may not know what’s best for one.  If there is a problem though, I have many times found rest in talking to my husband and letting his word rule. If I can’t handle his way, he seems to believe I may be right enough, at least for myself.

 

I prefer not to

by Andrea Elizabeth

I once heard an authoritative person discussing Bartleby the Scrivener as the type of monk you wouldn’t want. Then yesterday I heard Stephen King, reading his own Bag of Bones, say, after praising it as the greatest work of fiction if it had been longer, that he was the first existentialist. So I just read Wikipedia and the spark note analysis and see that Bartleby could be refusing to participate in the then new Wall Street materialism, or that it was his only way to assert his free will. 

I suppose I’m still looking for a concise formula

by Andrea Elizabeth

Like E=MC².

And it’s been done: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

But. It doesn’t say how much to love yourself. Perhaps the neighbor in there is the balance. Still, stoic people will expect stoicism from their neighbor, and selfish people will spoil their neighbor if they treat them the same.

How about, be heavenly inspired in all you do and think.

I deleted the last post

by Andrea Elizabeth

The idea had too many problems

detachment and love

by Andrea Elizabeth

there is God and there are his works. The monastic largely forsakes God’s wortks in order to attach himself to God alone. Unless one is in ecstasy, this love can feel like absence. He hopes that God will reward his sacrifice of emptiness with fullness of him. Emily Dickinson just popped into my head, and to look for her description of God’s presence in nature which I heard recently – I don’t remember if it was from the movie or from one of her poems or letters or what – I googled her name with light. Instead I got this poem, which is much…darker?… not exactly:

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –
Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –
None may teach it – Any –
‘Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –
When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –

 

Here’s a good interpretation.

It speaks of the detachment from God’s works. It’s not done in a divorced way, but with a dreaded preference for God’s metaphored light. However, this one speaks of the beauty of natural light:

A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely hereA color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human naturefeels.

It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.

 

Wait, no it doesn’t. The last stanza shows the proper, or rather improper relationship of nature to God.
Here’s what I mean:

 

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.

 

I’ll not defend her not going to Church except to say that her parish was Calvinist.

To the tune of What Wondrous Love Is This

by Andrea Elizabeth

There’s a’gypsy by the road, come and see, come and see

There’s a’gypsy by the road come and see

There’s a’gypsy by the road, who dropped her heavy load

Who dropped her heavy load by the sea.
You can take her heavy load by the sea by the sea

You can take her heavy load by the sea

You can take her heavy load, before it gets too old

But maybe it got ate by the sea.

If a gypsy has no load by the sea by the sea

If a gypsy has no load by the sea

If a gypsy has no load, walking lowly by the road

What could there be to see by the road 

Ms Todd

by Andrea Elizabeth

After altering them, at least she didn’t destroy the original copies of Emily Dickinson’s poems.

“Dickinson never published during her lifetime. True, around ten of her poems were printed in newspapers and collections, but there is no proof any were printed with her consent, and it is still less likely that she had a hand in how they were published. When books of Dickinson’s poetry first came out in the years following her death in 1886, they were heavily edited—given titles, regularized in rhyme, punctuation, and spelling. Even her portrait was done up to soften her stark appearance with curly hair and a frilly, feminine collar. Since then, much scholarly work on Dickinson has been directed at correcting the inaccuracies and peeling away the layers from “the Myth of Amherst.”

It was not until the 1950s that a complete edition of all known poems was published in quite faithful form. Over the past few years, scholars have increasingly been trying to get back to Dickinson’s manuscripts. It seems that there has been a common acknowledgment that transcription, like translation, is heavily interpretive.

…However, some publishers like Barnes & Noble evade Harvard’s restrictions and willingly disseminate misinformation by republishing the heavily edited editions that are now out of copyright.”  Source.

Looks like the same story goes for Emily Dickinson’s letters. See https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/letters

Open letter to the maker of A Quiet Passion

by Andrea Elizabeth

I wish you had not taken such liberties interpreting the life of Emily Dickinson. You made her a shrew, when all accounts, and they do exist, contradict yours. She was quiet, but her silence was not so mute as to invite your warp. One has only to read Ms. Todd’s introduction to her letters or the letters she wrote to Mr. Higginson (who wisely gave up instructing her and appreciated her somewhat. You can tell he was still afraid of her though) to know that she was not as you describe. You have a nice command of the language stylings of the time, and the performers were able to communicate love for her despite the consuming anger you inserted.

I believe you identified with the rejected suitor and the public she shunned, and thus made her reclusiveness a fault to justify such rejection. I believe however, as do many others, that she most likely had Asperger’s Syndrome. She was too sensitive and original to truck with people in ordinary ways. Her manner of relating was too intimate for people who took it as inappropriate and could not rightly receive it. The only recourse for such a one is to withdraw rather than risk being called worse than one is, as you have done.

Instead of castigating her, you should feel honored that she did not destroy her poems to keep them out of your inhospitable scrutiny. She was too pure for this world and shared her soul with more people, although indirectly, than you will ever do, and to much more blessed effect.

k-e-y… why? because we like you.

by Andrea Elizabeth

I’m a little ways through Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey on Amazon video and he’s reminding me a lot of the bits I’ve listened to from Jordan Peterson. I googled their names together and the hits say that they are similar and very influenced by Jung, but that Peterson doesn’t mention the preceding Campbell. I’ll say probably because he is so influenced by him and is worried people will think he’s not crediting him enough. One person said that Campbell is more of a genius.

What they both emphasize is the importance of mythology. From what I’ve heard though, they have a pretty gnostic view that myths and God are disembodied truths and important psychological states. In other words, they are humanists in that they believe God is them if they can also transcend their bodies.

I don’t know why I can settle for the gist and have such an aversion to reading whole works. I usually keep going back for snacks but when they seem consistent with the gist I’ve already gotten, I think, why should I read more? This lack on my part keeps me from being a credible source myself, but that is not motivation enough for me to pain myself so soul killingly. I will continue to scout the world, literary and physical, for truth nuggets though. I’m a pan handler, not a miner. It’s enough for me to know through my exercises that there’s gold in them there hills, but I’m not going to break them to get it out, as it were. I’m stone age that way.

My first experience with Mount Everest was when I was in early elementary school. I was transfixed by a documentary on Edmund Hillary who at that time had scaled The Mountain only 20ish years before. Now, googling again, I just found out Hillary was a New Zealander, not British, and was not the one who said, “Because it’s there”. “We know that Hillary made it to the top of Everest (FORBES GLOBAL, Jan. 10, 2000) because he survived to tell the tale (his famous words were, “We’ve knocked the bastard off”). But what about Mallory? He and his partner, Andrew Irvine, were last seen alive less than 300 meters from the summit–still pushing upward.” (source) Mallory tried 30 years before Hillary.

I also grew up thinking Hillary was the first person to climb a mountain whose only name was Everest. Not too long ago I found out the Tibetan traditional name “Chomolungma, means “Goddess Mother of the World” or “Goddess of the Valley.” The Sanskrit name Sagarmatha means literally “Peak of Heaven.” Its identity as the highest point on the Earth’s surface was not recognized, however, until 1852, when the governmental Survey of Indiaestablished that fact. In 1865 the mountain—previously referred to as Peak XV—was renamed for Sir George Everest, British surveyor general of India from 1830 to 1843.” (source)

I’ve also heard the Sherpas didn’t climb it because it was considered holy. I’m not saying that I don’t read lengthy diatribes because they are too holy. I too want to climb mountains because I am westernly ambitious. I just don’t want to hurt myself the amount it takes to get to the really challenging ones. I’m also not saying that the longer literary works of these people are too holy or challenging for me. I have read War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, David Copperfield, Gone with the Wind, and the life of Father Seraphim Rose. The difference for me between these and philosophy books (except for the poetic Either/Or Part 1. I’m struggling with Part 2.) is that I want to know what the philosophers don’t admit. How it works in their life. Not that I’m not interested in theory, but for theory I like ee equals emcee squared. Or Lord have mercy. If you’re going to theorize more than that, set it to a tune. Better yet, make it a ballad.