Saturday, May 2, 2009

Rainy Day, Memory, A Little Break

It's raining here in north Texas. About 30 minutes ago it was a "gully washer," as they say, but now that's finished and it's just dripping.

I brought my chair out here to the our backyard, (the covered part), just to listen to the birds (amazing!), watch the squirrels jump from tree branch to tree branch, and enjoy the coolness of day.

I've been working on my class for the Fall, Spirituality and Psychotherapy. Somehow it feels important to me to start with our embodiment, so I've been rereading, and taking notes on, James Ashbrook and Carol Rausch's The Humanizing Brain: Where Religion and Neuroscience Meet. It's a little old, 1999, but I think most of it still applies. I'm thinking that I might show Jill Bolte Taylor's video about her stroke, and then have students read certain chapters from this book.

Taylor is a neuroanatomist, so for her to have a stroke (and survive it) allowed her to understand something of the brain from the inside out. I read a couple of critiques saying that her scholarship on the right brain/left brain dichotomy is out of date, but I'm not sure I trust those critiques. I'll have to do some further research in this area, obviously.

Anyway, I've been doing that for three days now. Yep. I'm basically typing that book into a Word document on my computer so that I'll be able to have it online and can search it. I know that sounds like going overboard, but I've always studied that way. It sinks in better for me. Better for my brain, if not for my aching fingers! This little break is much needed.

It's such a luxury to have three days straight to just work like this. I got exposed to the flu (swine, supposedly, although that's not yet verified) when I spent so much time with the little girl at my church who contracted it. The incubation period for this thing is 7 days, so I still have one day to possibly get sick. David has urged me to stay put, just in case, so I cancelled my appointments on Thursday and Friday, and today we told our kids not to come visit, so we're missing out on seeing our little granddaughter, son, and daughter-in-law. That's a real bummer. Kinda nice, though, to have a free Sunday tomorrow!--we have cancelled church for tomorrow since our location is right in the heart of the schools with verified cases of H1N1.

That makes four straight days to work, huh? wow.

Glad my aching fingers enticed me to come here outside, just to relax for a moment. I hear some thunder, although it's still just dripping here. Oh, I love thunder. It's like God speaking ..... BOOM! :-)

The air smells so clean--sweet, even, from some of the bushes that are blooming around here. Makes me feel wistful. Memories close at hand now.

Here's a wonderful quote from St. Augustine on memory.

Great is the power of memory, an awe-inspiring mystery, my God, a power of profound and infinite multiplicity! And this is mind, and this is I myself. What then, am I, my God? What is my nature? It is characterized by diversity, by life of many forms, utterly immeasurable. See the broad plains and caves and caverns of my memory. The varieties there cannot be counted, and are, beyond any reckoning, full of innumerable things. Some are there through images, as in the case of all physical objects, some by immediate presence like intellectual skills, some by indefinable notions or recorded impressions, as in the case of the mind’s emotions, which the memory retains even when the mind is not experiencing them, although whatever is in the memory is in the mind. I run through all these things. I fly here and there, and penetrate their working as far as I can. But I never reach the end. So great is the power of memory, so great is the force of life in a human being whose life is mortal.
Isn't that beautiful? I'm sorry that his ideas led to such a dark and rigid view of sin, but oh, Augustine does have such a magnificent way of beaming into the human psyche. Here, as he writes about memory; also some of his writing on temporality is stunning; and, of course, our hearts are restless until we rest in Thee, O God. He was so right about so many things.


.......
Well, the thunder, with its attendant lightning, has chased me inside, but I'm refreshed now and ready to get back to work. Here are some pictures I took from my little break:




7 comments:

INTPanentheist said...

Thunderstorms are quite literally my favorite thing in nature. They are Home.

So glad someone else enjoys them, too.

asthedeer.com said...

St Augustine and thunderstorms. Haven't heard those paired before. I enjoyed this post. Peace to you.

Chris

Mary Beth said...

Wasn't it a beautifully rainy day?

Purple said...

What a great place to plan for the coming fall. Not sure I could ever leave your deck.

I find all the brain/spirituality/God research so darn fascinating.

Jennifer said...

How are you? Are you well?

Rev SS said...

This is such a lovely post ... all of it. I love thunderstorms ... God speaking, yes! And the Wind = I feel Holy Spirit's presence. And, I study like you do ... totally relate to typing the whole book for all the same reasons!

And I agree with Purple .. not sure I could ever leave that beautiful space (your deck)!

Jennifer said...

Katherine:
Thanks for asking. It was harder than I had imagined it would be...