Head Coverings


“Why should anyone be frightened by a hat?”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,
The Little Prince

The MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat seems to have become a symbol of hate from certain quarters. It brings forth that primal, visceral, animalistic scream, the red cape baiting the bull. Wear this hat and you will be punched, spat upon, drowned in the beverage of your choice, hit with a broom and vilified in the media. Our civilized world has a thin veneer and how quickly it descends into chaos.

A television personality, Alyssa Milano, with 3.5 million followers on Twitter, tweeted

” The Red Hat is now the White Hood “. ( Meaning it equates with being a Klansman)

I looked her profile up on Twitter, and wonder of wonders, she has political aspirations, and this is how she makes her introductory statement. Is this the state of American politics or a narcistic cry from a celebrity craving attention.

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“I dressed the way I did not because I was trying to be a nun, but because it felt good—and because it made me feel less vulnerable in general, like I wore a kind of armor every day. It was a personal preference.”
Tahereh Mafi,
A Very Large Expanse of Sea


A Hijab, a form of scarf, has become another controversial form of headwear. Western society proclaims that if women wear a Hijab, it’s because they are oppressed, downtrodden and virtual slaves . Although this may be true in some extreme Muslim countries, wearing a Hijab is a choice in Western societies and women should be allowed that choice. Look at the Hijab above and decide whether this is a veil of oppression.

The Hijab should not be confused with the Niqab, a veil that covers the face but leaves the area around the eyes clear, or the Burka which is a one piece veil that covers the face and body.

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The Missionaries of Charity is a Roman Catholic religious congregation established in 1950 by Mother Teresa, now known in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta. In 2012 it consisted of over 4,500 religious sisters. A member of the congregation must adhere to the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and the fourth vow, to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.”[ Today, the order consists of both contemplative and active branches in several countries.

The Missionaries of Charity have been accused of unsanitary medical practices in their treatment of the poor…….. So there was this woman, who went into the streets of Calcutta and noticed people dying, lying neglected in the streets, while people passed by. So she took them in and recruited other women to take care of these unwanted souls. Ask yourself what kind of sanitary conditions they encountered lying unwanted in the gutters of Calcutta. Though to be fair, there has been no criticisms of the Missionaries of Charities headwear. Yet.

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“Personally I would never want to be a member of any group where you either have to wear a hat, or you can’t wear a hat.””
George Carlin

Headwear has been part of men and women’s attire down the ages and has represented both social position and fashion choices. In England, some years ago, the bowler hat represented the professional business class, the flat cloth hat represented the working class and the top hat represented wealth and royalty. I remember, in my younger days, that it was a requirement for Catholic women to cover their heads in church. Many just carried a handkerchief and placed it on their heads upon entering church. The Easter bonnet was a wonderful tradition for many years and made attending church at Easter a very colourful event.

People have become so quick to take offense and leap to judgement over such simple items as a hat or veil. Leave it be.

No Matter Where I Turn, I Meet Myself

I entered my grade 11 class at Holy Name of Mary, Catholic High School to see Robert holding his usual morning audience. Upon seeing me he shouted , ” Did you see your loser friend Jordan Peterson on YouTube last night , crying like a little baby”. My insides tensed and I felt like flying across the room and smacking him in the face. Instead I ignored him and walked to my seat. Jordan Peterson is a professor of psychology that I follow on YouTube. He suffers from depression and occasionally cries when he get emotional over issues concerning the plight of young men with a lack of direction in their lives.

The first lesson of the day started and my mind kept drifting to the writings of Kosho Roshi that I had been pondering the previous night. What did he mean when he wrote, ” when I took my first breath the world was born with me, and when I die the world dies with me”. Surely the world existed long before me and will exist long after. I heard the teachers voice, droning in the background, as I continued to contemplate the words of Roshi. I was suddenly aware of laughter and the teachers attention on me saying ” Am I that boring that you find it necessary to sleep in class”. I stuttered a reply, “No sir, I was just reflecting on your words”.

My morning was not going well, no matter where I turn, I meet myself. That same old struggle between body and mind. My mind knows what it wants but my body refuses to cooperate with its wishes. I can live in the world of my mind quite comfortably, it’s only this material world that causes me problems.

Thank God. The bell for recess finally rang. I made my way to my locker to pick up a carton of chocolate milk. As usual Stephanie was accessing her locker at the same time, and as usual she started talking to me. As we carried on a conversation I became increasingly aware of her closeness to me. My body started to experience strange sensations and I flushed, starting to feel uncomfortable. I excused myself and hurriedly walked away. There I go again with my insecurities, my mind going one way and my body fleeing in the opposite direction.

Outside in the yard I felt the warmth of the sun on my face and leaned against the fence, feeling my body relax. I noticed Robert and Stephanie deep in conversation off to my left. Stephanie abruptly walked away and Robert followed grabbing her arm. Stephanie swung her arm away and continued walking with Robert trailing. Robert again clutched Stephanie’s arm and swung her around. Stephanie started to struggle and before I knew it I was running across the yard towards them. Approaching I enquired if everything was okay. Robert stared at me and told me to mind my own business. I asked Stephanie if everything was okay and she just glared at Robert. After a few seconds, Robert let go of Stephanie’s arm and shouting ” loser” to me, he walked away.

The school bell rang, Stephanie uttered her thanks and we both walked quietly towards the classroom, enjoying each others company.

It was from that day that I truly met myself for the first time.

Whatever way you put it, I am here only because my world is here. When I took my first breath, my world was born with me. When I die, my world dies with me. In other words, I wasn’t born into a world that was already here before me, nor do I live simply as one individual among millions of other individuals, nor do I leave everything behind to live on after me. People live thinking of themselves as members of a group or society. However, this isn’t really true. Actually, I bring my own world into existence, live it out, and take it with me when I die. Kosho Uchiyama

Reena set a challenge based on the above caption-Reena’s Exploration Challenge week 70.
https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com

Love and Marriage

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I was reaching into the cupboard for a cereal bowl when I turned to my wife and said, ” Do you know I have a magic drawer in the bedroom, as soon as it empties of socks and underwear it magically refills the next day”. She arched her eyebrow and quietly replied, ” I wonder if the drawer would still be magic if I wasn’t here”   …… and ……I thought…… she’s absolutely right without her there would be no magic in my life. I would be just a depressed, chain smoking, overweight, alcoholic, searching for the meaning of existence. Now I’m kind of happy guy, who has quit smoking for 38 year, the usual 10 lbs overweight, still likes his alcohol on the weekends and found the meaning of life in family. My wife Kathy first cast her spell over me at the Royal Canadian Legion in September of 1971.

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Shortly after coming to Canada, at 21 years of age, I was adopted by an English family. I spent a great deal of time with them and one Saturday evening, about two years later, they invited me to accompany them to the Royal Canadian Legion. I sat opposite a young woman, sitting with her parents, and entered into conversation with her. I was immediately attracted to her casual, down to earth conversational style and calm demeanour. I loved looking at her face and the way her eyes reflected such kindness and understanding. By the end of a very pleasant evening we agreed to meet the following Friday at the local bowling alley. From that first date our relationship progressed and two months later I asked her to marry me. We were married six months later and settled into my basement apartment ready for domestic bliss.

Fast forward eight years and after the birth of our second child I finally managed to quit cigarettes. Soon after we had family over who smoked, and when they left I cried a river over how I couldn’t stand the smell of cigarettes. Kathy turned to me and said ” how do you think I felt all the years that you smoked”. I had my ash tray, cigarettes and lighter on a stand at the side of the bed and as soon as I was awake in the morning I would reach over, grab a cigarette, and start puffing away. Kathy told me she would open all the windows as soon as I left the house and would wash clothes daily because they smelled of cigarette smoke. She’s always been a non smoker. I was shocked when she told me this because in all that time she had never complained once.

Kathy and I both have different viewing habits, so we have two TV’s. Hers in the family room, mine in the basement. Kathy likes to watch women’s talk shows, dancing competitions, singing competitions and some reality shows. I like to watch Game of Thrones, The Vikings and any fast action dramas like Justified. When we were first married we both compromised. We watched her shows together and I was bored out of my mind. She would watch my shows and fall asleep after half an hour.

Kathy is a very caring, patient woman. She has to be, with me for a husband. I love her very much and if I had to live my life all over again, I would search for her till we were together again. Romance is not being all starry eyed but an understanding that neither of us is perfect, and a willingness to put up with those imperfections. So here we are forty seven years later, still romantically involved, still forgiving each others faults and still trying the best we can to ensure our relationship endures.

This post is written in response to a post by calmkate from “aroused” who asked for contributions on the subject of Romance.

Sunshine Blogger Award

Gary A. McMahon has nominated me for the Sunshine Bloggers Award. Thank You Gary. Gary blogs at Another Picture on the Wall and sadly his house and all its possessions, including a life time of photos and other memorabilia, were destroyed in the fire that swept Paradise, California in November, 2018. He is a genuine, down to earth man with a wonderful writing style and a great sense of humour…….and survival.

Gary’s 5 questions:

  1. What were your favorite games as a child?
  2. When was the last time you danced?
  3. Who are your favorite recording artists, bands, solo artists, orchestra?
  4. You have one month free to travel, where would you go?
  5. Do animals have souls?
  1. My favorite games were: a) soccer from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. b) “Tin Can Tommy”- place a can on the ground with two sticks crossed on top. Kick the can as far as you can and call a name. The person who’s name you call has to retrieve the can and the sticks while everyone hides. The person retrieving the can and sticks has to go back to the starting position of the can and place the sticks back on top. That person has to find the other people. The people hiding have to try and kick the can again without being discovered. c) Role playing Robin Hood and Knights of the Round Table. We used to make our own bows and arrows, swords and knives and shields.
  2. I don’t dance. I can be found at a table in the corner, nursing a beer and talking about the meaning of life.
  3. I like the Beatles, Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti, Gene Autry, Frank Patterson, Andrea Bocelli. More classical than pop.
  4. One month of travel. I would go to Las Vegas. The shows, casinos, alcohol on the street. Balanced with visits to the desert, Grand Canyon, peace, solitude. I’m conflicted.
  5. Ouch. After all my drinking in Las Vegas the question of whether animals go to Heaven hurts my brain. My daughter has a Norwegian Behund puppy, Finn,  who I take for a walk from time to time. I have looked into Finns eyes and know that he has a soul. If I am allowed in Heaven, Finn has to be with me, or I’m not going.

My five nominations are: ( My site seems to turn web addresses into text ??)

http://miraculoussmile.wordpress.com/

http://ajunefloral.wordpress.com/

http://awifemyverse.wordpress.com/

http://beinginnatureblog.wordpress.com/

http://revolutionarymusings.wordpress.com/

My five questions are:

1.What is your fondest memory of childhood.

2. If you could write your obituary, what would it say?

3. Do you prefer turbulent waters or the stillness of the desert

4. What is your favorite flavor of ice-cream

5. Who do you most admire from history

The Great Divide-2

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https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/reenas-exploration-challenge-69/

FOR THE NEW ENTRANTS

There is no restriction on the format or the length of the piece. It just has to be your reflection on the prompt from the core.

Write a post on your blog, and link it up with here with a pingback, or copy-pasting the blog link in Comments.

I eagerly await your responses.

There are many sites on WordPress that offer inspirational prompts. This is one from Reena as highlighted above. I couldn’t resist because it seems so topical these days.

The North and South lands had been separated by the great Divide for a thousand years. The inhabitants of both lands bore the same ancestory, with their distinctive skin colourings of various shades, but over time Souths culture had evolved into a more open society. 

Prior to the great Divide both North and South had autocratic rulers who reigned with an iron fist. Freedoms for the majority of the population were limited and for woman non- existent. The rulers held to the prophecies of ” He who knows all” and punished all unbelievers with death. 

After the great Divide, South land entered a time of renewal where past practices were questioned and the autocratic rulers were overthrown, to be replaced by a more democratic system of government. People were allowed to adopt their own belief systems, women were given their freedom and freedom of speech was encouraged.

The North land had not changed since the great Divide, the inhabitants were still ruled with an iron fist by the autocratic class .

News of the free society in the South began to creep into the North lands and its people became restless. They soon found ways to bridge the Divide and flee to the South. The South welcomed them with open arms, embracing the North’s people.

However, on reaching the South the people from the North could not adapt to it’s open society. They openly questioned the morals of these South people and their reckless ways. They were especially shocked by the belief systems of the South and not following the prophecy of “He who knows all”. 

A thousand years later the great Divide was finally bridged and both North and South returned to its original roots. Despotic rulers, no freedoms and adherence to the prophecies of “He who knows all”. It would be another thousand years before the great Divide would re-emerge once more.

 

Transcendence and Community


“He is one of those who has had the wilderness for a pillow, and called a star his brother. Alone. But loneliness can be a communion.”
Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings

Church for it’s various followers is both a sacred space and a community space. Transcendence and community are two sides of the same religious coin.

Growing up Catholic in London, England during the 50’s and 60’s I was very aware of the church as a sacred space. The antiquity of the churches exuded an atmosphere of age and stillness that enhanced the meditative spirit. The repetitive intoning of the liturgy at mass, in Latin and then English, induced a prayerful state of consciousness and belief in a creator.After decades of attending daily and weekly Catholic liturgies I had only to step into the church space to automatically transform my mind into meditative reflection.

At one point in time I used to attend daily mass. Daily mass at St. John of the Cross Church was held in a side altar, as only about thirty people attended. I remember on one occasion a woman attending daily mass with her very young baby. The baby cried and cried and I found myself unable to pray. So I approached the woman and asked if I could take the baby outside in the hallway. The woman gratefully handed me the baby and I walked up and down the corridor, outside the main church, clutching the baby to my chest with a slight rocking motion. The baby was soon fast asleep and I was able to return to praying. She entered the hallway after mass, accepted the baby while offering a heart felt thank you and proceeded on her way.

Sometime in the eighties the sense of the Catholic Church as a sacred space began to change. People sitting in church before mass would start to talk and exchange pleasantries on their week. The atmosphere was changed from one of prayerful reflection to a community hall setting. I used to spend some evenings in church before the tabernacle meditating on the life of Jesus for an hour. But I discontinued this practice as groups of people would come into the church, presumably from the church meeting rooms, and continue to chat, presumably still discussing their meeting. Call me old fashioned, but I think that the communal rooms of the church should be separated from the sacred space and its members act accordingly.

I left the Catholic Church because of the lack of credibility of the institutional hierarchy in regard to child abuse. My daughter left the Catholic Church because she was looking for community and could not find it in the Catholic Church. She now attends Grace Community Church which has a smaller congregation and lots of clubs and communal interaction. She finds the Sunday services very motivating.

My fourteen year old grandson attended some of the services of Grace Community Church but found it boring. He said it was just some guy dressed in jeans doing a lot of talking on stage. He asked if I would take him to Sunday Mass at the Catholic Church as he found this more inspiring. I had not attended Mass regularly for about ten years. So for the last six weeks we have been discovering together a new sense of the liturgy of the Catholic Church.

Different people have a different sense of church. Some like church to be a sacred space, infused with a sense of awe and wonder, to transcend our everyday experience and bring us closer to the divine. Others see church as a community with a shared sense of values and find the divine in supporting and motivating each other. Of course the Church is both Transcendent and Communal.