The past few years for me have been full of initiations of one kind or another; I thought it fitting that my first blog entry should reflect upon some of the recent initiations I've experienced, as well as touching on the nature of initiation itself...
The more linguistically-minded of you out there no doubt tend to think of "first-ness" when you hear the word "initiation," given the etymology involved. And as I mentioned above, this has been a time of "firsts" for me: In the past four years I have gotten married; I began the process of recording and rough-mixing the raw tracks for my first full-length album of original music; I taught my first online classes; I became a father; I passed through the first stage of the discernment process in the Episcopal Church, in hopes of becoming a priest; and last but certainly not least, I established a presence on the Internet.
Obviously, some of these firsts are more life-altering than others. Yet, they all share the quality of beginning, of taking a preliminary step the consequences of which will expand exponentially with each further step. Each step in a journey may thus be viewed as an act of creation, if one keeps in mind the cumulative impact of each such step. Seen in this light, a first step (an initiatory step) takes on special significance as the beginning point of a new creation.
And what is it that's being created? Well, not to be too melodramatic, but LIFE! At this point, having passed through so many firsts, there's no telling whose life I'll be living tomorrow, to say nothing of next week/month/year! And I have to tell you, that is an exciting feeling--the realization that I am crafting an entirely new life with each decision that I've made and that I'm making.
Which leads to the more traditional implication of the word initiation: the ending of an old way of life and the entering into of a whole new way of living and being. In the "olden days," such life-transitions were inevitably marked by religious ritual and ceremony combined with social acknowledgement (and usually celebration). Much of that sort of thing has faded from the forefront of Western culture, but those of you who are married know that marriage is *definitely* a good example of just the sort of initiation I'm talking about! It's only been a little over four years for me, and I can already see plainly that Christopher-the-Husband is a rather different man that Christopher-the-Single-Guy was. And that's a very, very good thing, in my humble opinion. Growth and evolution are the essence of the natural order of things, and it's exhilarating to feel a part of that natural order.
Of course, the other traditional aspect of initiation involves testing: as soon as the initiate enters his or her new life, circumstances readily conspire to test his or her committment to it. Situations arise which seem to encourage him or her to cast off this new life and return to former habits and practices, to older ways of seeing. That's as it should be--a new way of life is nothing to enter into lightly. And if the person were truly ready for the initiation in the first place, then he or she will see the folly and basic undesireability of returning to the old way of living & seeing.
So, what does all that have to do with the real world? Hey, that's your (the reader's) job to figure out! ;~p For my part, I'm excited about the new lives I've begun. I'm profoundly grateful to my wife for wanting to initiate a new life with me, and I'm humbly grateful to the Source of all life for entrusting a daughter to us, and for continuing to nurture my creativity and sense of wonder.
I look forward to conversing with you, the entire world, and sharing the insights that you bring to the discourse!
As a way of initiating that conversation, here is a brief, desultory introduction to me:
Twenty-Five Random Things About Me
1. I own the entire run of the Marvel comic "Rom," issues 1 - 75, including four Annuals.
2. I use the same brand of guitar strings as Ty Tabor of King's X.
3. Plato is my favorite philosopher.
4. I got my Master's in English (MFA) without ever taking a Chaucer or Milton class.
5. I've been engaged twice, but married only once (got it right the 2nd time).
6. I have a step-dog named Jasper who's the best dog in the universe.
7. I'd rather be a werewolf than a vampire.
8. I'd rather be a socialist than a fascist.
9. In high school, I was a black-belt in Tae Kwon Do.
10. I once saw moonshine actually bleach a brown stone kitchen floor white.
11. I believe that Led Zeppelin owe at least part of their success to The Who.
12. I once got choked up by Peter, Paul, and Mary's "Puff the Magic Dragon."
13. I think "Hudson Hawk" is one of the funniest movies ever made.
14. My closest friends and I can converse for a solid 2 hours using no original language ~ only quotations from films, t.v. shows, and songs.
15. I think grades do more damage to education than any other single factor.
16. The best band I was ever in only played 3 shows before disbanding.
17. I'm seriously exploring the possibility of becoming an Episcopal priest.
18. Even so, I do not think C. S. Lewis is the "end all-be all" of Christian theology.
19. I would love to play Hamlet just once, even though I'm too old.
20. Roller-coasters, womens' purses, and fundamentalists all frighten me.
21. I've never taken an illegal drug.
22. But having 4 wisdom teeth out at once taught me why some people do.
23. I can beat you at air hockey, even if I play left-handed.
24. I was the Star Student for my high school in 1989.
25. I was once complimented by someone from New York City on my ability to swear.
So, that's one or more aspects of me, in a nutshell. We'll get to some more serious topics shortly, so please check back soon. In the meantime,
Peace to your path,