Monday, January 28, 2008

France and Enneagrams

First, a poem about me. Then, you'll see why it's about me.

The Very Rich Hours of the Houses of France
by David Kirby, from I Think I Am Going to Call My Wife Paraguay. © Orchises Press, 2004. Reprinted from The Writer's Almanac

Our plane falls from the sky
into France, where everyone seems
so much happier than we are,
but no, it's not the people
who are happy, it's the buildings,
the high-beamed Norman farmhouses,
the cottages with roofs of trim thatch,
the chateaux set in verdant vineyards.
The people are like you and me:
their clothes don't fit very well,
their children are ungrateful,
and they're always blowing their noses.
But the buildings are warm and well-lit,
and even the ones that aren't,
the ones that have bad lighting
and poor insulation and green things
growing on the tile, even these
seem to be trying like crazy to comfort us,
to say something to us in French,
in House, in words we can understand.

Has anyone ever taken the Enneagram Test?

I'm curious what you are. There's some online versions out there in cyberspace. As best I can tell, I'm a 3 with a 4 wing (3w4). How that pans out with me is complete immobilization. I'll explain momentarily, but first a bit of history and resource recommendation.

There are varying explanations as to the origins of the Enneagram ("ennea" = 9 "gram"=something written or drawn). One asserts that notes and drawings have been found which date back to the Desert Fathers. The personality assessment was then apparently honed by the Franciscans. Today there is lots to be found online, but one of the best resources I've found about this test is a book by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert which gives a wholistic perspective on what these things mean, particularly for those of Christian faith.

As for my quandary, well, in the aforementioned book, there is an extensive table which details all sorts of things about each personality type in concise language. Classifications like "Representative Color", "Chief Temptation", "Biggest Asset". The one that really explains my predicament comes in the column that reads "Representative Country". See for a #3, that is the good ol' U.S. of A. Three types work hard, know how to work a room, goal-oriented, successful... (there's much much more). Anyway, #4 is characterized by none other than France. Fitting that my personhood would be locked b/t the crushing ideals of both of these cultural behemouths. US culture of success, suburbs, consumption, sporty kids, superbowl ads.... and France culture of, well, culture. Fours tend toward idealism, meloncholy, a feeling that the world is not as it should be. (We)/They have a "Beauty will save the world" attitude. Can't you see why I feel completely immobilized? I like the notion of being a 4, but they can't pay their rent! I have an entreprenueurial 3-ish father who I respect greatly and I like getting praise and recognition for accomplishments.

Anyway, that's my (very four-ish) ramble on my conflicted personality. What's your Enneagram #?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So THAT'S Why I Feel This Way!

It's been too long since I've posted something...anything. And while I've dutifully commented on many a friend's blog about this and that, my own has been kicked aside, wallowing in shame and emptiness. Perhaps, my blog should heed this article, too.

Jan. 24 called worst day of the year

- British psychologist calculates ‘most depressing day’

Dr. Cliff Arnall's calculations show that misery peaks Monday.*
Arnall, who specializes in seasonal disorders at the University of Cardiff, Wales, created a formula that takes into account numerous feelings to devise peoples' lowest point. Read More

*note: This study was published in 2005. So with his calculations, the most depressing day of '08 was PROBABLY Tuesday 1/22. Folks were back to work after a long weekend, snow was melting, and no more vacation day prospects until memorial day...

Anyway, rate yourself on the different factors mentioned in the article. I know I completely relate with the factors (M) low motivational levels and (NA) the need to take action.

All said, I am proud to say I'm still sticking with the New Years resolutions, only because I didn't really make any.

Happy "Most Depressing" Day!

Friday, January 04, 2008

One Giant Leap

In honor of Buckley's 1st birthday (12/26), enjoy this short video taken a few months ago.

Notes: Unfortunately this was the best leap we could capture on film, there were others that were even more dramatic. Though it made our yardwork a little harder because he kept jumping into the pile, it was worth it.

I often wish I went after things with the tenacity that Buckley does. Anything you're planning on gleefully jumping into in 2008? (besides leaf-piles...oh, and Northerners, please don't say snowdrifts because I'll be incredibly jealous, so will Buckley).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

London Journals (2)- November 2007

(More journal splashes from my trip to London in the fall)

From the Small Chapel in St. Paul's whiplash.
glorious whiplash. The bridges that cross the Thames' expanse at once connect old and new. They are like slingshots, my spirit is tossed from modern ramblings on art and culture to the ancient-like pillars of St. Paul's. The beautiful link - the millennium footbridge - between Art and Holiness is telling that the two are not separate, yet they seem to take distinct places in my mind. That's why I love London..the two interplay so seamlessly, and in fact, join the dance with nature in parks and squares.

But while I can see the beautiful, mysterious transformation of wine to blood examined in Rainer's "Weinkruzifix", it's St. Paul's, not the Tate that is intended for God's glory. Gold, relics, glass, stone, all infused somehow, though not always evidently, with the Spirit of God.

Transformation - the word is chained to the walls of my mind. The concept is riveting. His life. the Blood...transformed to Wine. Bread...becomes the Body. Spirit becomes Flesh. My flesh transforms into Spirit. The earth transforms in seasons...


Pictured at RIGHT: Exhibition in Tate Modern's Turbine Gallery.
"Shibboleth" by Doris Salcedo.
Yep, its a giant crack in the concrete floor. At its widest point, it could fit a small baby, or a sprained ankle. It's intriguing.

London Journals (1)- November 2007

(Here are some journal splashes from my trip to London in the fall)

Hyde Park - Sunday in November

Damn! I'm in front of a beauty only heaven can match and I haven't a battery in my camera! But...perhaps nothing else would bring my pen to paper. But when I write, I can't see the shimmer. The pink horizon. But I can hear the birds - pesky pigeons that annoy at any other time, now lend a measure of music to this scene. i feel the chill on my sweater...but I'm warmed from walking. Only a few brief moments ago, I fought the rush of humanity all to get here, for a magical sunset, a wonder that pales to any that I thought to pay for this evening.

I'm on a picnic bench. The bright hues of fall explode around me, but they dim quickly as the sun takes shelter beneath the horizon. some weeping willow may hint at sadness, but it is crowed with golden leaves. Betrayed.

An explosion of languages surrounds me, words in a thousand tongues fly through the cooling air. I don't know what a Londoner is, but I want to be one. I am at once drawn to the beautiful French families strolling promenades arm-in -arm and to British children singing songs that I don't know, and Eastern European girls with their skinny legs and tall boots..I want to be like them, too.

Bright green. yellow. brown. black. pale sky. Colors are vibrant, dimming, collected into art. can I complain when I am here. Or when this morning I experienced the presence of the living God...expressed in the gold. brown. blues of the church -

...the Church was entirely foreign, yet approachable. Very distant, yet so present and comfortable. A picture of paradox - paradox that brings me so close to the cross, so close to the essence of Christ. Not that He, or faith, or God are contradictions, but they are mystery. Old&New / Gilded Icons & sunset sky / tired feet from standing & rest found in words of truth / beauty&pain / sin exposed (like..every waking minute) & sin reposed ( like..every waking minute).

The beauty of the chants stirred my soul, or at least, satisfied it - even when I did not take the words at their fullness. I hoped and trusted something snuck into my pores, like the fragrance of worship did to my senses.