Thursday, November 27, 2008

To my friend on her second birthday

This from 365 Tao - today's meditation.


A course sieve catches little.
A fine mesh catches more.
If you want the subtle, be refined,
But prepare to deal with the coarse.

The irony of spiritual living is that you become more sensitive and more subtle. Therefore, you become intolerant of the coarse. There is not much choice in this. If you want to catch the subtle things in life, then you must become refined yourself. But the coarser things will then accumulate all the more quickly. A coarse sieve in a rushing stream will hold back only debris and large rocks. A fine mesh will catch smaller things, but it will also retain the large.

Some people attempt to cope with this by becoming multilayerd. They set up a series of screens to their personalities, from the coarse to the subtle so that they can deal with all that life has to offer. This is quite laudable from an ordinary point of view, but from the point of view of Tao, it is a great deal of bother.

What do we do? If we remain coarse, then only the coarse comes to us. If we become subtle, then we gain the refined, but are plagued with the coarse as well. If we become multilayered, then we create a complexity that isolates us from Tao.

The solution lies in floating on the current of Tao, uniting with it. That way we no longer seek to hold or to reject.

Meditation for November 27
365 Tao
Deng Ming-Dao
Harper Collins

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Things I do when I'm tired

Messing up is one of them, and today it led me to some wise words and questions to ponder - rhetorical or otherwise. Fairly regularly I read from a book called "365 Tao". It's a collection of Taoist meditations - one for each day of the year. The reading guide in the back of the book suggests an order in which to read these. It's listed for both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Sometimes it's easy to look up the date and inadvertently read the meditation for the South, but today brought a unique kind of mishap: Somehow I chose a meditation for July... dunno how, but it happened, and the words were uniquely appropriate for me, today. Whether this means that I, myself, am out of sync with the seasons and possibly my own sense of Tao, I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure I was somehow meant to read these words today:


When washing your face, can you see your true self?

When urinating, can you remember true purity?

When eating, can you remember the cycle of all things?

When walking, can you feel the rotation of heaven?

When working, are you happy with what you do?

When speaking, are your words without guile?

When you shop, are you aware of your needs?

When you meet the suffering, do you help?

When confronted with death, are you unafraid and lucid?

When you meet conflict, do you work toward harmony?

When with your family, do you express benevolence?

When raising children, are you tender but firm?

When facing problems, are you far-seeing and tenacious?

When you are finished with work, do you take time to rest?

When preparing for rest, do you know how to settle your mind?

When sleeping, do you slip into absolute void?

Meditation for July 12
365 Tao
Deng Ming-Dao
Harper Collins

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Early morning ponderings

Things here seem to be levelling out for the most part. Although the ideas for blog posts seem to be mounting, (I have literally four or five things I'd like to document)one in particular came to mind as I woke up this morning. It may be an ages-old story, I'm not sure, but I'd heard it a couple weeks ago and it's been sitting in the back of my mind burbling away.

It's the story of the University professor who is prepared for a talk in front of his students. In front of him is a tall glass jar filled with golf balls and two glasses of wine. The question he poses to his students is this:

"Is the jar full?"

The students all nod in agreement; of course it's full... of golf balls.

The professor then produces a container of small stones. He pours the stones over top the golf balls and they begin to fill in the spaces between the balls.

"Is it full now?"

The students look at each other, some laugh; of course, we hadn't thought of that.

The professor smiles and brings out a container of sand. Sure enough, the sand filters through all the remaining cracks between the small stones.

"Is it full NOW?"

Of course, they agree, the glass jar is finally full. The professor asks,

"Now, what's the point of all this?"

They're not really sure.

"I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favourite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first", he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the good things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18 holes. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the two glasses of wine represented.

The professor smiled, took the two glasses of wine and poured the contents of both into the jar over the golf balls, stones and sand.

"No matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."

Sunday, November 02, 2008


On Wednesday last week I took a trip to Vulcan to seek out my grandparent's burial plots. I arrived at the Town Office in the morning to fetch a map of the cemetery. I was surprised to note that the names of those buried there were actually all listed on the map. I must have given the clerk a look of bewilderment when I looked down to see not two, but four plots for "Hoskyn". For a split second I thought,

"Was Dad supposed to be buried here?"

It would appear that Grandpa Charles must have purchased a 'family plot'.

Knowing full well that Dad had made his burial request years ago, there should be no need to panic.

So, off to the cemetery I went.

Relatively in the centre of the yard is the Field of Honour, dedicated to the soldiers of the First and Second World War. I decided to use it as a reference point against the map. I was very quickly lost because this section sits 90 degrees out from the drawing on the map. Once I discovered this, however, Grandma and Grandpa Hoskyn's plots were easily visible from the dirt road that runs around the perimeter of the cemetery yard.

I took this journey (a little over two months after having taken Dad down for his birthday in August) mostly for me, but in a way for him too. I placed Dad's urn by the stones that stand for his parents, Laura and Charles. Regardless of what you may believe, I think it was something of a family reunion, on a spiritual level anyway.

I spent some time reflecting about Dad and the stories he used to tell about his folks. He'd lost his Mom when he was three or four and his Dad when he was twenty-five. I'm thankful that I was blessed with him for much longer, especially since my parents didn't start a family until they were in their fourties.

Charles, Frank and Connie Hoskyn c. 1929 (?)

Connie, Frank and Bill the Cat

Frank and Connie c. 1928

I took a tour of Vulcan including a drive by the Hoskyn house. If you look at the railing and lattice in the above photo, you'll see that not much has changed. I did notice that the house has received a coat of paint since our trip in August.

For Dad's birthday on August 19th., we road tripped to Vulcan to visit Dad's high school friend, Henry Hansen, who spoke about their 69-year friendship at Dad's service in September.

Dad with Henry Hansen c. 2004 ?

We attended the 50th. Anniversary celebration dinner and dance for St. Andrew's Anglican Church on Friday, September 12. Dad got in on a photo of the founding members of the parish. He looks positively happy.

The founding members of St. Andrew's Anglican Church - Calgary September 12, 2008
Frank stands second from the left, back row ; Margery is on the right hand side, front row

Dad's interment service was held on Saturday, November 1, 2008 at Mountain View Memorial Gardens. I had the honour of placing Dad's urn in the niche and although it provided for much closure for all of us, I have to admit it will likely be some time before life, for me, returns to normal.

HOSKYN _ Frank William
August 19, 1924 - September 14, 2008

Frank William Hoskyn, beloved husband of Margery of Calgary, passed away on Sunday, September 14, 2008 at the age of 84 years. Frank was born and grew up in Vulcan, AB. After attending Normal School, he began his teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in Dorothy at age nineteen. He trained as a navigator/bomber in the Royal Canadian Air Force and then earned a B.Ed. from the University of Alberta. Frank continued his teaching career in Calgary where, over the years, he was teacher, Reading Consultant, Elementary School Principal and Resource Teacher. He was also active in the Canadian Teachers' Federation and the Alberta Teachers' Association. He was President of the Provincial Alberta Teachers' Association in 1966/1967. Frank retired in 1986. As an active Anglican, Frank was a member of the Cathedral choir and played an important role in establishing St. Andrew's parish where he participated as a member of the Choir, Treasurer and Vestry member. He also cared for the gardens and grounds at the church. After retirement, Frank continued to be active in the community. He was Chairman of the Calgary branch of Save the Children Canada and was involved in the establishment of the Nose Hill Branch of the Calgary Public Library. He also enjoyed the personal pursuits of gardening, reading, classical music and travelling. Frank was predeceased by his father, Charles, and mother, Laura, of Vulcan and sister, Connie, of Calgary. He is survived by his wife of forty-two years, Margery, children Laura May (Doug), David and three grandchildren. Funeral Services will be held at St. Andrew's Anglican Church (1611 St. Andrew's Place N.W.) today, September 19, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. Forward condolences through . If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to Save the Children Canada, 4141 Yonge Street, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario M2P 2A8 (Toll Free 1-800-668-5036. Email or St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Calgary, 1611 St. Andrew's Place N.W. (Telephone 403-282-3234). In living memory of Frank Hoskyn, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: 403-241-0044. Published in the Calgary Herald from 9/17/2008 - 9/19/2008

Fern Hill

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honored among wagons I was prince of the appletowns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, and lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying stable
On the fields of praise.

And honored among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house-high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky-blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow-thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.


About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.