Saturday, September 23, 2023

 Dear ones-

So grateful it 's raining. We'e actually in a drought. 

Life is, in a word, insane. Two midwives for the whole clinic is not ideal, to say the least. I did say no to my partner yesterday so I could write. I think I might be at the point where I can call my thesis 'good' because we have a form to fill out that states we are 80%, 40% etc done... I think I'm at 85% done. I have no idea if my APA formatting is ok (don't ask). I still have a few appendices to complete. I sent what I have to two friends to read. One of them is way smarter than me and way more eloquent about Buddhist principles as they inform her life. I just write about how it feels to swim in very cold water and gratitude for my little life. And the love I give and receive. If I would say anything about my 27 year practice of meditation, it's that. 

Then there are the baby boys. Omar and Edvin. 

Well, there's another momma in labor today. We'll see about that and when she needs attention. 


XX Luminous Cloud

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Felix is very confused.

 Omar and Edvin (Eddie for short). Obviously for our boys in Young Royals. And before you get all attitude cuz they're brothers and I'm referencing a gay story, these children do not know their gender identity or orientation yet. They're just babies, after all. And those names are perfectly respectable and they are hilarious. 

Saturday, September 09, 2023

 Dear ones-Just done hosting a morning meditation for my dear teacher who is traveling. It' s so lovely to sit first thing in the morning. It's a bright sunny day and for the last few days a neighbor and I have been getting in the lake at 6 AM with the other lunatics. The water is 65 degrees at the moment. Not as cold as it will get. Not wetsuit weather yet. We're gonna go later in the day today. 

Tuesday I caught a baby and called 911. It was, how to say, a true emergency. Everyone is fine, I visited the family on Thursday, as they got home from the hospital. I'm very curious now about the intersection between faith and science because this situation had both. The family, devout Christians, prayed. I used medications and techniques I know how to use. And in my way, I wasn't praying exactly but I do believe in cause and effect (called co-dependent arising) and I have my own dialogs with the BVM and Kuan Yin. So who's right? Neither? Both? The family firmly believes in the power of prayer and that the situation arose as it should. In other words, it was preordained. From my perspective, yes, they're right. What I never know is how it will go, what will happen. Will this mother bleed? Will the baby struggle to breathe? I'm alert for all the irregularities but resting on normalcy. I don't believe there is some higher power directing the activities of humans. Or do I? If we're mere specs, I would think a divine being would not bother with us individually. 

I also think we live on an intelligent biosphere. As an aspiring green chaplain, it seems evident to me. As we inter-are, as Thich Nhat Hanh worded it, there is this vast web that in indivisible. We form and unform and reform into and out of the elements. We never die, if you will. We just become something else. As Ram Das' teacher Neem Karoli Baba said about his own death, "Where would I go? I'm not going anywhere. I'm just leaving my body." As long as we believe that we are these skin suits, we get stuck. So we've got our ancestral DNA. Calling on the ancestors seems right. And this family was doing that too. So are we that different?   

Well, I wasn't planning to go HERE this morning. 

I'm watching a junco eating the shriveled grapes outside my window. She pecks at the bunch, knocks one to the ground, hops down and eats it, then goes back for more. I missed the grape window this year. I was away getting married.  

Ah well.

Enjoy your day.


Shoun (Luminous Cloud)

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Dear friends-

Welp, what is there to say? I'm still in bed,  avoiding my writing desk. I just talked with a video-savvy friend who is eager to make a short video to accompany my thesis presentation, should I get that far. (I will, I must).

The birth world is chaos but that's nothing new. We're short a midwife so I'm taking more call :-( and feeling the pressure to be in twelve places at once. I talked to the boss AKA my friend who I sold the practice to back in 2017 yesterday and with the addition of another midwife at the end of this month, I may be off the hook for real. Like, not working anymore. Which would be just fine with me. I would still offer to  birth assist but randomly. I was thinking I could hold out til the end of the year but sooner would be just fine. I talked to my financial guy yesterday and he assures me that he can get me to 2045. But holy moly, I don't want to live that long, nah. Besides, the planet and all. 

How are you faring with everything? My children and grandchild are ok. My circle of friends and wider communities are also ok. But the planet is not. Well, she'll be fine, she'll right herself. We've just made a hash of it. 

In other news, it rained yesterday and last night, finally. I went outside and turned my face to the sky, just to feel the rain. Today the air smells so good and fresh. All the poor plants are in their shutting down cycle  but their roots are well watered. My pea patch buddy brought me a summer squash, tomatoes, green beans, a cuke and some sweet peas. I'm debating whether to go in the pool or the lake...When the weather gets colder, I do this bargaining with myself about where to go. Tomorrow and neighbor and I are getting in the lake at 6 AM for a swim. Then we go off to work. 

What will I do if I don't work in the clinic anymore? It will be so WEIRD. Putting down an identity. 

Love and kisses,

Luminous Cloud   

Wednesday, August 23, 2023


My girl married her John from South Africa. He now has a whole new family. And he asked me to be his mum. I said yes, of course. 

Waiting on a mom in early labor. I don't wanna go to a birth but I will get over my bad self. I have to. Friday another three days of training with chaplaincy. It rained a bit last night, lovely to hear the rain on the deck. 

I have a bunch of short papers to write about the last trainings and the one coming up. Remember, if I EVER suggest another training program I'm interested in, please disabuse me of that notion. Please. 

Although film theory would be fascinating. (Don't ask)

I must go for a walk or something. I'm tangled up in knots with stress.  A swim would be great but I can't take my phone in the water with me. 

I hope everyone is ok after the latest climate/political fuckery. We find our friends. We hang with those we love. Last weekend was nuts but I saw some of my favorite people in the world. My wife loves me and I love her.  Clark gave me a Bob Ross bobble head that talks. So life is good. 

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

 Tomorrow begins another chaplaincy training period with lectures on-line and a 5 day retreat thrown into the middle. My mentor cleverly suggested that on our 'rest' day that Rachel and I go to the lady spa. I immediately made an appointment for a scrub and a soak and a lie down. Yeah. 

The weather this summer in the PNW has been reminiscent of the past. Cool in the morning, burned off by 2 PM so a dip in the lake is called for and cool nights. While the rest of the planet burns up and people die of the heat, we are enjoying the lovely Northwest summers of yore. 

Can we talk. I don't know how we (I) live with this cognitive dissonance. I know the suffering is immense. When we were near Death Valley last month, the temperatures reached 120. Mapquest did not allow us  to cross the desert. A broken car would be death for us. Heat deserts are a thing, especially for poor and Black and Brown people in big cities. As usual. Who dies first, sooner, more often. 

How do we live with this? 

My thesis is now 24 pages and growing. I told my advisor it's probably all wrong. I'm keeping the magic out of it. The beauty of the women I have interviewed is hidden behind the words. Maybe those long gorgeous stories are just for me. Facts and surveys and data are not my experience. If I have a description for myself at this point in the chaplaincy process is that I'm a mystic. I endeavor to see with the eyes of my heart. As I said to someone I'm mentoring right now, it's all love. All the years of practice and meditation and study and retreats have brought me here. It's all love. From within and without. 

Continuing on with my teen boy series obsession, I have discovered a Substack person who is dissecting Young Royals with the eye of a film school instructor. Each week he/they/whoever takes one topic; metaphor of pizza, music, negative space, blocking scenes etc. and gives an in-depth analysis of said topic. I'm totally hooked. It's so interesting. My wife has joked that film school will be my next field of study. She might be right. And very possibly, I'm avoiding the pain and heartache of our beleaguered world by entertaining myself thusly. 

Well, dear friends, I have to get up at 5:30 for the morning meditation so I better get to bed where, perhaps I will fall asleep. 

I may dream of my dear dear lake which holds me and rocks me in her vastness. I am grateful for every day I get to swim there. 

Random thoughts. May we all be well. May we find freedom in this very life. 

Monday, July 31, 2023

 Dear friends-down deep in my writing I'm not sure there is a light at the end of this particular chaplaincy tunnel. I don't know if I'm getting closer or farther away, distracted by so many shiny things. What about the patriarchy? Don't forget indigenous peoples! Therefore mycelium! Grief informing every step. How many trees have burned, exactly how many? Not to mention all the other assorted life incinerated. 

How do we show, demonstrate, practice with an undefended heart when that heart is nothing but rubble? 

In Seattle there is a project called The Last 6000. Folks are cataloguing 'heritage trees', the old ones in parks, in back yards, in green belts. Of course I'm interested. I just learned from the city that trees destroyed in parking strips by the homeowner adjacent can be fined, depending on the size, kind and age of the tree, up to $100,000 per tree. As if money could replace the shade and shelter of that individual. 

Ok, this is an obtuse post, I know. 

Eden is marrying South African John on the 19th of August. I will leave my two week training and immediately go to the airport and fly to LA (Hi Elizabeth!), perform a quickie wedding for them on Saturday and then fly back on Sunday. Whew. 

Nick Cave is a genius composer. 

ANOHNI and the Johnsons - Sliver Of Ice (Official Video)