A 12 Step Contemplative Spirituality

Dedicated to Father Richard Rohr  

1) The paths of love and suffering both transform us. On both paths we journey both in authenticity and toward authenticity, humbly increasing our humility, authentically growing our authenticity. We recognize our radical finitude and get radically in touch with our need for outside assists or grace.

2) In touch, somehow and in some way, with this reality of grace, with the fact that manifold and multiform outside assists brought us into existence, itself, have nurtured and sustained us thus far and, reportedly …

per credible witnesses … can

re­orient,

re­dedicate,

re­new,

re­empower and

re­lease us …

3) We thus surrender to Outside Assists and yield to their gifts of

truth, via Right Believing,

beauty, via Right Desiring,

goodness via Right Behaving,

unity, via Right Belonging and

freedom, via Right Being­in­Love, as one Be­loved.

4) Working honestly and diligently to raise our awareness of how we’ve been wholly and miserably …

dis­oriented, acting both in and on un­truth;

dis­affected, aspiring, inordinately, toward lesser goods;

dis­possessed, acting willfully and not willingly;

dis­empowered, playing on the wrong playgrounds and with the wrong playmates, selfishly at work on our own agenda rather than at play in the fields of the Lord, where we cooperate with genuine outside assists or Grace;

dis­integrated, literally losing our freedom (always inner but, too often, also our outer liberty, too) and diminishing our capacity to receive and return genuine love (as distinguished from our enslavement to persons, processes and substances, which masquerade as counterfeit love objects rather than authentic love subjects).

The disengagement of playgrounds and playmates does not represent an abandonment of other souls or disregard of their intrinsic value as beloved persons but involves, rather, the establishment of healthy relationship boundaries, lovingly entrusting others to providence, while walking the path to freedom in a way that, one prays, others may choose to follow of their own accord, some day.

5) Re­connecting and reconciling ourselves to community ensues in the wake of sharing our stories of dis­orientation, dis­affection, dis­possession, dis­empowerment and dis­integration ­­­ not only with our own conscious awareness and our God, but ­­­

with another person who positively affirms us, who

re­possesses us from our possessed existence,

re­empowers us by reintegrating us into a wholesome, loving community, which, through

right belonging, can

re­instill right desiring, which will naturally encourage

right behaving, thereby reorienting us through right believing.

6) The contemplative stance goes beyond any problem-­solving or propositional concerns.

Far more than propositions for solving our problems in reality, the contemplative stance engages dispositions for evolving our probes of reality.

Beyond a mere nonreflective awareness, which doesn’t judge reality from our willful self­-perspective, propositionally, the contemplative stance does also adopt, dispositionally, a willing trustful surrender to a friendly ultimate reality, trading a specific set of anxious expectations for a more general and vague but peaceful hope in providence.

To the extent the contemplative stance pauses between reality’s stimuli and our responses, withholding judgments regarding precisely how we might think, feel, norm or interpret this or that reality, that pause, then, very much has a valence as a pregnant pause, as we dispose ourselves in a manner that reflects a surrender, to wit:

7) Take, Lord, receive, my …

memory,

understanding,

my entire will …

Gift me, new …

beliefs, a vibrant faith beyond my weak grasp of truth; to think again!

desires, a fervent hope beyond my feeble sense of beauty; to feel again!

behaviors, a willing love beyond my willful approach of goodness; to norm anew!

belonging, an authentic fellowship beyond my impoverished notion of community; to re-interpret it all together with others of goodwill!

beatitudes, a beatific vision that grows my experience of freedom beyond the mere license to do as I want to the clear liberty to do as I must; to liberate one to live & love again!

8) As a major hallmark of the contemplative stance, we re­cognize our radical solidarity and connected­ness to others, the cosmos, God and even our selves.

Out of this solidarity, compassion necessarily ensues, beginning with those to whom we, ourselves, have brought suffering.

The contemplative stance, then, pursues Enlightenment, much less so as any self­improvement or personal growth project.

Indeed, such spiritual masters as Gerald May, Abraham Maslow, Viktor Frankl and Bernard Lonergan instruct us that self-­actualization properly ensues as a by­product of self­-transcendence, that, pursued for its own sake, self­actualization even frustrates true transformation.

Hence, the Angelus and fiat: Be it done unto me according to Thy Word. And the Magnificat: For He looked on His servant’s lowliness …

Hence the real­ization that one seeks Enlightenment more so out of compassion for all those who have suffered our unenlightened selves!

Thus moved to sorrow, repentance and compassion via our contemplation attaining to love:

9) We move beyond any abstract, self assessment and willingly surrender to the concrete, practical response of re­constructing our broken relationships with others, seeking forgiveness, offering reparations, making amends from the standpoint of what’s truly helpful to them and not what’s needed by us.

10) The contemplative stance becomes ­­­ not a new way of thinking about reality, but ­­­ a new way of seeing reality.

We cultivate a practice of daily examen and daily sitting, a habit of pausing awhile, a commitment to timely and heartfelt reconciliations, knowing we’ll fall, again and again, from our inescapable finitude and fail, again and again, from our willful refusals to cooperate with outside assists or surrender to grace.

11) On the road of transformation, the quest , itself, becomes our grail; the journey , itself, becomes our destination.

Our growth in truth will commit us to accurate historical accounts and successful scientific ventures, beyond which we develop an eschatological vision, which means an enduring commitment to a better future. We seek and provide outside assists to orient us to truth.

Our growth in beauty will commit us to wholesome cultural engagements, beyond which we embrace an essential soteriological trajectory, which means we cultivate through time-­honored practices and rituals, our growth in authenticity and humility and recognition of solidarity with all other sojourners. We seek and provide outside assists to sanctify and dedicate us to beauty.

Our growth in goodness will commit us to enlightened philosophical and economic approaches, which inform all of our moral and practical norms, beyond which we engage a truly sacramental economy, which receives all as pure gift and which inventories both daily and lifetime moments of gratitude, voicing this gratitude to self, God and others. We seek and provide outside assists to nurture, sustain and heal us in goodness.

Our growth in unity will commit us to wholesome social realities, beyond which we participate in an ecclesiological reality, which fellowships in community. We seek and provide outside assists toward unity.

Our growth in freedom will commit us to political action and apolitical contemplation, beyond which we embrace diverse sophiological trajectories, which means we sustain our authenticity by different ways of being-­in-­love with others, God, cosmos and even self. There are many ministries but one mission.

Beyond a universal and essential soteriological trajectory, which gifts our authenticity, there are poly­doxic (many­gloried) ways of sustaining authenticity through loving and being loved. We seek and provide outside assists toward that freedom and relationality which foster reality’s deepest loves.

All spiritualities, whether the great traditions or indigenous religions, whether contemplative practices or 12 Step Programs, have elements of

eschatology vis a vis truth and right believing, historically and scientifically;

soteriology vis a vis beauty and right desiring, culturally;

sacramentology vis a vis goodness and right behaving, philosophically and economically;

ecclesiology vis a vis unity and right belonging, socially; and

sophiology vis a vis relationality and freedom, right beatitude, politically and contemplatively.

12) What return shall we make? That’s the urgent but peaceful imperative of all who’ve come into awareness of reality’s radically giving (donative) nature as we minister every consolation we’ve received to others. When we awaken to our solidarity, whether through the path of suffering or of love, which intertwine inextricably, compassion will inevitably and naturally ensue.

How can we keep from singing?

“For every poet it is always morning in the world; history a forgotten, insomniac night. The fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world in spite of history.” ~ Derek Wallcott

A 12 Step Contemplative Spirituality is not a life event but a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle of gathering frequently with others to remember, to not forget!

Anamnesis (from the Greek word meaning “reminiscence”) is a liturgical statement in which the Church refers to the memorial character of the Eucharist (thanks-giving). It has its origin in Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, “Do this in memory of me.”

In a wider sense, Anamnesis is a key concept in the liturgical theology: in worship the faithful recall God’s saving deeds. This memorial aspect is not simply a passive process but one by which the Christian can actually enter into the Paschal mystery.

So, if amnesia means “to forget,” then an-amnesis means “not to forget.”

We recall, then, why we simply must be thankful. And we do so prayerfully.
As they say, a family that prays together, stays together.

So, too, psychologically, modern medicine has discovered that “neurons that fire together, wire together.”

Religion means to re-ligate or “tie back together.”

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All of this taken together suggests that our spiritual survival requires a vigorous hygiene and rigorous practice of “not forgetting to give thanks.”

Phillipians 4:8 reminds us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—keep thinking about
these things.”

From a properly holistic perspective, this spiritual hygiene of anamnesis thus plays an indispensable role in maintaining one’s emotional equilibrium.

The more seriously compromised one’s emotional homeostasis has been, especially over protracted periods of time, the more vigilant one must be to stand guard over one’s thoughts, the more rigorous must be the practice of anamnesis and the more integral must be one’s assault against any and all threats posed to one’s psychological defenses.

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Anamnesis – a suggestion
Inventory:

1) 5 most stimulating intellectual curiosities that once captured your imagination

2) 5 most wholesome and emotionally satisfying moments that you can still recall with great relish

3) 5 most morally courageous commitments you undertook together with others

4) 5 most satisying practical accomplishments from your academic, athletic or work life

5) 5 most wholesome and rewarding social engagements you’ve enjoyed

6) 10 most wholesome and grace-filled familial memories, persons, events

7) 5 most spiritually rewarding divine encounters and the persons who shared or mediated them, whether personally, through books or media, etc and 5 holy places where such encounters were gifted

Commit the above inventory to memory and recite it daily. Recite it once. Or recite it 70 times. Recite it in the place of other tapes that have been playing in your head, perhaps for decades.

Go to this place of gratitude.

It will become your sacred, safe place. It not only represents but constitutes your reality.

It WILL rewire your brain.

Neurons that fire together will wire together. Others that cease firing will eventually lose their wiring.

I did this over 30 years ago and it rescued me.

Later, I listened to a Melody Beattie audiobook and she prescribed a similar daily inventory of gratitude and I better understood how and why my old spiritual hygiene had worked. Finally, my spouse came into this type of practice from yet another spiritual resource group and I witnessed its transformative influence on her, too.

 

In January 2003, I published the following: “How Wide Is Your Moat? – our holistic moat”

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The mutual fund industry has popularized the moat metaphor, a moat being that deep and wide trench around the rampart of a castle, that is usually filled with water. There are even pinball games, like Medieval Madness , in which players use different strategies to breach the castle’s defenses, such as the moat, the drawbridge, the gate, the wall. Sometimes the madness is not so medieval but very much contemporary, within our own psychological castle walls.

I have often thought of the analogy of the moat in other than economic terms. It might also be a useful image in considering a person’s general well being.

Like a castle with its multiple layers of defenses, one’s general well being is also bolstered by its own moats and walls and gatekeepers and can be breached by many different types of attacks.

There are times in our lives when we know our well being will have to do battle, when we need to both widen and deepen our psychological moats and pull up the drawbridges of our physical ramparts. The size of such bulwarks must be determined by many factors.
Let’s consider some examples of the types of battles we must all fight and of the kinds of defenses we might need to put in place to fortify our general well being.

When we are healthy, physically, emotionally and mentally, and under no significant stress, in other words are not under attack physically or psychologically, the size of our holistic moat doesn’t matter much, seemingly. I’m going to call this moat the holistic moat because its depth and width is determined by many factors which, I will argue, all need to be considered as a whole. Ignore any given factor and our defenses will be breached , which is to suggest that sometimes we don’t have a very wide margin of error to work with because our moat is both shallow and narrow.

What are some of the things that fill up our moat and seriously jeopardize our castle of well being?

Well, certainly anything which can affect us emotionally, such as trauma due to grief, terror or physical injury, such as chronic or acute illness, addictions, broken relationships, financial difficulty, employment and career setbacks, academic and professional failure, damage to one’s reputation whether unjust or from a personal failure, and so forth. The effects of aging or of a chronic debilitating illness, the propensity toward chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters, and other insults to our general well being, all of these things and more, can lower our defenses and increase our vulnerabilities to where we spiral down into near or total dysfunction and immobilization.

The return to any normalcy and full functionality can be difficult, near impossible. In such desperation, we can approach the point where we even lose the will to go on, despite our loved ones, and, assuredly, when the blessings of those relationships no longer weigh heavily enough in the balance against the pain of a truly tormented existence, the castle has been most seriously breached; our physical well being drawbridge is down; our emotional gate has been battered; our mental gatekeeper defeated. Our spirit has thus retreated to the most inner recesses of our being and, though still sharing immanently with its Beloved in these innermost chambers, there is no felt sense of communion, neither with God nor with the castle cohort, that indwelling and abiding relating to family and friends, and most definitely not with the outer world of strangers.
What are some of the kinds of defenses we might need to put in place to fortify our general well being?

When our moat is narrowed and shallowed by any of the insults to our well being we have considered, we have no room to maneuver and have little margin of error. We cannot afford any mistakes and must move aggressively on all fronts. If one’s castle is especially vulnerable, either chronically or acutely, one cannot take a casual approach to defending the castle. One must proactively work to widen the moat! Like the Corps of Engineers on the Mississippi River, one must continuously dredge because the silt is being deposited 24/365 when we suffer from chemical imbalances or are otherwise in the midst of trauma, grief, anxiety or depression.

Physically, we cannot afford to miss out on proper diet, sufficient rest and good exercise.

Our diet must be substantial and routine and not made up of the four mainstays of the 4 Cajun Foodgroups , which are sugar, salt, fat and alcohol .

Rest and exercise are essential, too, for manifold reasons documented elsewhere.

Medically , we must seek out pharmaceutical aids to help us through the acute phase of any substantial psychological crises with antidepressants or antianxiety prescriptions and maybe even sleep-aids or other therapeutic regimens.

Emotionally , we must force ourselves to interact with family and friends, with outdoors and nature, acting ourselves into a new way of thinking , unable to think ourseleves into a new way of acting.

Mentally , we may need ongoing psychological counseling and, perhaps, even that in combination with specialized trauma counseling or social welfare assistance and counseling.

Specialized support groups can be most efficacious in assisting and advising on all of the fronts under consideration here and can be an emotional lifeline. They can also make us feel a little less alone by being in the empathetic company of others who don’t know and will never know your tears but who have cried tears for similar reasons.

We should seek to stimulate and enrich our minds with good reading materials, uplifting movies and music, and engaging hobbies.

Spiritually , we may need spiritual direction, either formally or informally, with a director-directee relationship, or in a spiritual companioning mode with a fellow pilgrim with whom we may share a special spiritual kinship.

The life of prayer, no matter how arid or desolate, must be maintained with perseverance and discipline, privately and communally, perhaps augmented by small group participation but most definitely sharing as well in at-large community worship services.

Ideally, one can likely not implement the entire holistic regimen because the very exigencies and contingencies of life, which press in on us and lower our defenses, such as employment and parenting responsibilities, such as financial and physical constraints, also get in our way during the rebuilding efforts. However, one must aggressively and vigilantly attend to all of the factors within one’s means and to the fullest extent possible, notwithstanding constraints on one’s time and resources, and make these efforts a priority, because spiralling down to the lowest ebb of life will most assuredly defeat everything else one is trying to accomplish and deprive one of the vibrancy in one’s relationships, with God and others, that makes anything else worthwhile.

Our road to healing must be holistic and I emphasize this multifaceted approach because I have seen healing stratgeies sabotaged by approaches that don’t take the whole castle into account.

What good is it to deepen or widen a moat if one leaves the drawbridge down?

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The attempt to make it through significant crises only pharmaceutically can backfire and bring on even more substance abuse. The temptation to self-medicate with over the counter stimulants or sedatives can simiarly cause problems. To take pills but not eat and rest properly is self-defeating.

Confusing psychological counseling and spiritual direction can be a problem; they are distinctly different enterprises, however related.

If one’s castle is especially vulnerable, either chronically or acutely, one cannot take a casual approach to defending the castle. One must proactively widen the moat!

Neglect of one’s spiritual life, in my opinion, represents the first shallowing of the holistic moat because the spiritual life, a life of prayer, is the climbing into the watchtower of our castle, lifting our hearts and minds to God, aligning our wills with His, and, whereby through ongoing self-examen and discernment, we can vigilantly gaze out over all of our defenses and remain on guard for those attacks that no castle avoids. All of this we do as we await that Kingdom which is to come while living as safely as we can within that one which is already within us but constantly under siege.

It may be, that what I have outlined above can be viewed not merely as a defensive maneuver against life, but rather as one’s offensive strategy for looking to make one’s mark on the world. These are the very same things I’d suggest as New Year’s Resolutions, to anyone serious about deepening their relationship with God or their relationships with loved ones, to anyone interested in advancing on one’s academic or career path, etc There is a great unity of purpose in the spiritual life, to a holistically informed lifestyle.

When God is first in our lives, everything else falls into place and we will be about the same tasks in life whether our castle is under siege or not. Mark my words, however, it is best not to wait.

So, while you see a chance — take it.

While You See a Chance (for Asceticism) Take It! – forsaking all for the sake of Love

Viktor Frankl taught that a person with a WHY to live can bear almost any HOW.

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He should know; he learned that in a Nazi concentration camp.

That’s why renunciation, self-denial & ascetical exercises – not for their own sake, but – for the sake of a Loved One can also liberate us, ourselves.

We thus all should aspire to be strong-willed persons, but, as Gerald May distinguished, not willful but willing.

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How might we strengthen our will to grown in love, willingness & freedom?

How might we weaken our willfulness & break those bondages which separate us from those whom we love?

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How can we transform our “bondage to” into – not only a “freedom from,” but – a “freedom for” the sake of whom we love?

Where might we find a “technology of liberation” that frees us to aspire to a higher love, to life’s finer things, to get us back in the high life again, where all the doors we’ve closed at times might open up again?

Growing one’s freedom to love requires dwelling in – neither the past nor the future, but – the now.

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No need to get preoccupied with either the past (as “Jesus paid it all”) or the future (as the Spirit eternalizes all traces of human goodness, every beginning of a smile, all wholesome trivialities).

Nothing to fill in the blank with regarding “I’ll be okay when _______.”

Seriously, to grow my own freedom to love, I constantly sing in my head or even mouth the lyrics: “While you see a chance, take it!”

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In each now moment, while I see a chance to strengthen my willingness to love, I have better learned to take it, with increasingly few exceptions …
because my WHY to live has become way more important to me than any HOW.

Here, I am less focused on loving, personal interactions, although that remains the end. I refer, instead, to gratuitous self-denials, ordered to what Cynthia Bourgeault describes in terms of exercising & strengthening our “letting go muscle.” She’s talking within the context of distractions in Centering Prayer, but the same dynamic operates here.

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While I see a chance for denial, whether regarding something as simple as –

Googling or not to satisfy some seemingly pressing but genuinely idle curiosity,

consuming or not some morsel (digital or vittles),

replacing or not otherwise intrusive worries with psalms,

foregoing or not an indulgence of drama (news-cycles or soapy series), or, more proactively,

climbing out of a chair or not to go walk or

dedicating my time or not to spiritual writing —

while I see a chance for denial, I take it.

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And I’m talking about gratuitous self-denials regarding anything & everything, including wholly innocent self-indulgences, which, in and of themselves would be rather insignificant & morally neutral.

Because this exercising & strengthening of my “letting go muscle” has formed an increasingly strong habit in me of turning my attention to and caring ever more deeply about life’s higher loves & finer things, I’ve slowly found myself back in the truly high life, again.

Beginners on the spiritual path get scandalized at first regarding John of the Cross’ severe asceticism or Francis of Assisi’s betrothal to poverty.

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Later, they learn to quit beating their heads against life’s walls just because it feels so good when they stop. They better realize that our saints & mystics didn’t forsake all just for kicks, but, instead, for the sake of One, Whom they loved above all. Romance fueled desires inspired their renunciations, released them from bondages to _______ & freed them for the Most High.

The spiritual practices & ascetic disciplines of every great tradition will eventually come to the fore in every life, as each finds the mystical path out of either great love or great suffering, usually some of both.

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There may be some biochemistry in the admonition given to addicts – not to smoke as it makes relapses more likely. Beyond that, whether a substance or process addict (and we all have some degree of both, just varying by degrees of dys/functionality), I see the clear psychological & spiritual benefits that would accrue in strengthening one’s “letting go muscle.”

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So, in addition to the psalms & hymns of old time religion, I commend Disney’s “Let It Go” and Steve Winwood’s “Finer Things,” “Higher Love,” “Back In the High Life” and, most of all, “While You See a Chance.”

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From “Finer Things”
And come morning
There’s a good wind to blow me home
So time be a river rolling into nowhere
I will live while I can
I will have my ever after
The finer things keep shining through
The way my soul gets lost in you
The finer things I feel in me
The golden dance life could be

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From “Higher Love”
Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Bring me a higher love
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?
I will wait for it
I’m not too late for it
Until then, I’ll sing my song
To cheer the night along
I could light the night up with my soul on fire
I could make the sun shine from pure desire
Let me feel that love come over me
Let me feel how strong it could be
Bring me a higher love

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From “Back in the High Life”
We’ll have ourselves a time
And we’ll dance ’til the morning sun
And we’ll let the good times come in
And we won’t stop ’til we’re done
We’ll be back in the high life again
All the doors I closed one time will open up again
We’ll be back in the high life again
All the eyes that watched us once will smile and take us in

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From “While You See a Chance”
Stand up in a clear blue morning
Until you see what can be
Alone in a cold day dawning
Are you still free? Can you be?
When some cold tomorrow finds you
When some sad old dream reminds you
How the endless road unwinds you
While you see a chance take it
Find romance, fake it
Because its all on you

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Regarding the realities of Sacrifice as well as Detachment

Sacrifice requires the surrender of something good for the sake of something better. It’s an indispensable part of our human condition because we are radically finite. Values will inevitably compete, forcing often difficult choices.

When we do sacrifice one value or good for the sake of another, we do best to distinguish the higher from the lesser goods, the eternal from the merely temporal.

Sacrificial choices won’t always involve such a revaluing, devaluing or disvaluing. They can involve a Sophie’s Choice dilemma, which allows us to only suboptimally realize one of several otherwise vitally significant & deep values.

Often, sacrifices will take the forms of detachment (enjoyment in moderation) or dispossession (all or nothing abandonment). Neither is necessarily more effective or virtuous. That will depend on unique individuals and particular circumstances.

This is all to recognize, for example, that some persons might remain largely functional as social drinkers or recreational weed smokers (where that’s legal!) while others might be rather exceptionally susceptible to a downward spiraling into an inordinately dysfunctional tailspin. In such cases, an all or nothing dispossession or abandonment of such substances would be essential. Any notion that mere detachment or simple moderation would suffice is a dangerous rationalization, often unconsciously motivated by intractably ingrained habits.

So, too, for example, while loyalty is indeed a genuine good and high virtue, still, without disvaluing friends or loyalty, we might nevertheless need to reorder relationships & set boundaries by, as they say, changing our playgrounds and playmates. The changing of playgrounds & playmates must often be more than literal. Metaphorically, it can include the playgrounds & playmates in our minds & imagination, for example, the memories & recalls triggered by certain musical playlists & artists or by mere daydreaming & fantasizing. New approaches to leisure & entertainment can be life-saving.

Indeed, there is no measure of vice even in abandoning certain friends and absolutely no virtue in losing irreplaceable family time, employment, much less one’s very life.

This is a more extreme example but it applies to most sacrifices related to physical, emotional, mental, moral & spiritual hygienes.

As I wrote in my tribute to James Taylor, Ode to Stringbean, it’s place in time not a place in space, where a person’s home is found. That place in time is the eternal now. The entire journey is taken in each next good step. It’s about going home.

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Ode to Stringbean

the true handy man doesn’t work on a house

with a pencil and a rule

what he’s handy with are his people you see

love is jt’s tool

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most songs that are sung are about going home

according to his school

when life’s skies grow dark and full of clouds

and the world turns down right cruel

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when ole stringbean sang about carolina

he sang about a woman not a state

about a holy host of others

loved ones his truest fate

he had no need for sad salvation army sisters

singing nearer my god to thee

or moonlight ladies in the canyon

up on the roof went ole jt

he was going home you see

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what a fool I was to leave the only happiness i’ve ever know

where the seeds of faith were planted

and the fruits of love were grown

where seldom was heard a discouraging word

only rockabye sweet grady james

where I always thought I could see you again

e’r my flying machine went up in flames
when ole stringbean sang about carolina

he sang about a woman not a state

about a holy host of others

loved ones his truest fate

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he had no need for sad salvation army sisters

singing nearer my god to thee

or moonlight ladies in the canyon

shower the people sang jt

walking man walks like ole jt
in every life there are sacred places

where sweet memories abound

but it’s a place in time not a place in space

where a person’s home is found

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when life’s cold winds blow and your back’s to the sun

what’ll turn your head around

are those precious sacred faces

whose voices make such precious sacred sounds
when ole stringbean sang about carolina

he sang about a woman not a state

about a holy host of others

loved ones his truest fate

he had no need for sad salvation army sisters

singing nearer my god to thee

or moonlight ladies in the canyon

b s u r like ole jt

he was going home you see

The the above approach has its anthropological foundations explicated here:

Contemplative Being, Believing, Belonging, Desiring, Behaving & Becoming – an outline of foundations

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