#clmooc - Exploring the Liminal Landscape

I try to wrap my mind
around
a tribe of connected learners
sharing their introductions
and reactions
to other introductions
with words,
pictures,
and maps.

I am a new comer
to the tribe
not yet acclimated
oriented
as I look at the maps
of physical space
and mental space.

In one mind map
the word
“liminal”
jumps out at me.
This is a liminal space for me
at this liminal time in my life.

Connected to the word
is the question,
“How do we make meaning
when we are most confused?”
Is there any other way?

The words Beckett gave to Pozzo
echo in my mind:
“They give birth astride of a grave,
the light gleams an instant,
then it's night once more.”

All life is liminal
taking place
between
birth and death,
and perhaps the best we can do
is map the rhizome
spreading through
the liminal landscape.

Kidney stones, #Birthday, #Ingress #PokemonGO #CLMooc

The pains returned Friday night. It had been a few months and I was hoping that maybe the kidney stone had passed, undetected. Nope. It was a painful sleepless night, leading up to my birthday.

So, as I sat in my chair, shifting my weight, trying to find ways to get comfortable, I started thanking friends who have wished me a happy birthday on Facebook. Last time I checked, it was 378. It is interesting to think about who shared greetings. Conservatives and liberals, priests and atheists, people whose houses I went to over fifty years ago and people that I’ve only met online through shared interests, white, black, Hispanic, gay, straight, trans, cis.

After this past week, where there has been so much violence, it is good to feel connected to all of mankind.

Some friends share a link to Choir, Choir, Choir, a large group of people gathering together to sing inspiring popular music, sort like massive karaoke on steroids, people connected to one another, like at Falcon Ridge, or, I imagine, at Miranda’s Hearth gatherings. I’ve been listening to a bunch of their recordings on YouTube.

Meanwhile, my youngest daughter has started playing Pokemon Go. For those who’ve missed it, Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game played on your smartphone, where you go to specific locations in real life and interact with objects in the game there. It is based on Ingress, which I’ve been playing for years. As such, the locations I go to for Ingress are the same locations that Fiona goes to for Pokemon Go. It is interesting to see the strong popular interest in Pokemon Go, when compared to the niche geek interest in Ingress.

All of this leads nicely into Connected Learning MOOC. It starts today, Sunday July 10th and goes til August 6th. I will try to participate as much as I can, although during this period I will be on Cape Cod for a week, and later at a folk music festival for several days.

The first Make Cycle asks, “Who are we?” During this coming week, I look forward to finding out who else is participating on CLMooc. Who will I be excited to connect with? What thoughts, projects, and ideas will we want to pursue?

I’m excited about the poetry part of CLMooc. For those interested, you can read some of my poems in the Poetry section of my blog. I’m also interested in mysticism. I’m currently listening to Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism during my commute, and reading some of St. Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle. All of this will probably feed into my poetry. It is fed by my religious journey in which I am exploring the possibility of becoming an ordained Episcopal priest. I’m very interested in online learning around religious and spiritual matters.

I heard about CLMOOC from RHIZO15. I’m very interested in a connectivist model of learning, the work of Deleuze and Guattari, and a bunch of other writers I lump together in the same larger group, from Lacan to Foucault. I work in social media in health care, and I’m working on an online health care professionals learning environment.

So that was my birthday, with kidney stones, and lots of interesting connections as part of my introduction to #CLMOOC 2016. I look forward to connecting.

Black and Blue

I’m feeling pretty beat up right now. For the past few days, many of my friends have been posting online about heart wrenching confessions of feeling unsafe in their own country because of the color of their skin. Due to the paleness of my own skin, I do not have the same fears for myself or my family, only for my friends. It is fundamentally unjust and un-American.

I have read posts from my friends talking about #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter. We must stand with and support those who are being told their lives don’t matter by saying with them that their lives do matter. Failing to do that doesn’t sound like one is saying #AllLivesMatter, it sounds like saying, you don’t believe black lives matter, and hence you don’t really believe that all lives matter.

When we say that one group of people’s lives don’t matter, it becomes too easy for others to say that other groups of people’s lives don’t matter. The murder of young black men and the murder of police officers are part of the same problem. We need to say together that #BlackLivesMatter and that #BlueLivesMatter. We need to say that #MuslimLivesMatter and that #GayLivesMatter.

We need to join with Jesus in saying #SamaritanLivesMatter and #TaxCollectorLivesMatter. We need to say that #LepersLivesMatter and we need to acknowledge that we are all lepers in one way or another.

I’m feeling pretty beat up right now; I’m feeling pretty black and blue.

Random Thoughts

On my way to work today, like has been the case for many days over the past couple of weeks, I listened to a recording of Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism. I had to get to work a little early because CHC started offering free Ta’i Chi lessons in Middletown, at 8 AM for staff and 12:15 for the general public. Online, I shared various posts about celebrating the end of Ramadan.

At a meeting about a medical assistants’ training program we are starting, we talked about corporate social responsibility and how that relates to providing good jobs. On social media, I read some of the outrage about the most recent black man killed police officers.

A couple friends share Social Justice Is a Christian Tradition — Not a Liberal Agenda and others shared an image from NASA that reminds me so much of paintings by William Blake, returning me to the beginning of the day, and Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism.

What to Write

Reading The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila. Listening to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artists playlist. Seeing the post on Facebook shift from pictures of sunsets and fireworks to discussions about Hillary Clinton’s emails, Donald Trump’s Star of David, more Brexit madness, and the latest terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Baghdad, and Medina. Fiona is visiting her cousins. Kim is watching television as she recuperates from conjunctivitis.

I want to write something, but I just don’t know what.

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