View From The Bus

THOUGHTS AND EVENTS FROM MY FIRST AND NOW SECOND YEARS AS A JESUIT VOLUNTEER IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON…

8,700ft.

Each Friday, someone from our team at work shares something inspirational.  Last week, Jeff, who spends most of his time away from work as a photographer and pacific northwest outdoor adventure enthusiast, had us each write intentions on prayer flags which when hung at High Camp, on the top of Mt. Adams at 8,700ft.

Here are some images of those good wishes being carried into the wind, from their camp among the clouds…know that many of you – both friends and strangers – were among them.  Click on them to enlarge.

“There are few things more beautiful than colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind- sometimes waving gently, sometimes raging; a dance of shadow and light. There is perhaps no simpler way to create good merit in this troubled world of ours than to put prayer flags up for the benefit of other living beings. Prayer flags are not just pretty pieces of colored cloth with funny writing on them. The ancient Buddhist prayers, mantras and powerful symbols displayed on them produce a spiritual vibration that is activated and carried by the wind across the countryside. All beings that are touched by the wind are uplifted and a little happier. The silent prayers are blessings spoken on the breath of nature. Just as a drop of water can permeate the ocean, prayers dissolved in the wind extend to fill all of space. By placing prayer flags outdoors their sacred mantras are imprinted on the wind, generating peace and good wishes.”  Timothy Clark

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What a JV calls home…

Inspired by my recent use of our downstairs bathroom, I chose today to post this article about The Freegan Establishment which NYTIMES calls“a bubbling stew of ideologies that draw on communism, radical environmentalism and old-fashioned frugality.”  This is SOOO JVC.  And so life in community, especially at cherry abbey (which when I originally drafted this, had not yet reached this peak of dirty.  I think it’s there now.)

Read the article for sure.  But just glance at the slide show and see how many similarities you spot to Cherry Abbey.

me in my room!

The bike room: our basement. Who knows where they all came from, but they live on unless deemed worth investment, in which case current JVs (cough, Elizabeth) fix one up enough to be rideable.

The fridge: more random yogurt containers filled with even more random leftovers, which have been there for who KNOWS how long.

We may not be an abandoned building, but we are fertile ground for squatting – our ‘guestbook’ is always growing and door always rotating…(our community DOES shine though while hosting guests – reference the photos from the beginning of the year until now)

Reuse and Recycle: ever heard of junk art?  we’re pretty good at it.  Exhibit A – our bent-into-fish-silverware mobile hanging above our table.  Exhibit B – The bike wheel we are turning into our chore wheel.

Large closet called the Free Store? : our basement.  Maria has been known to pilfer through and prize several articles of clothing from the depths…(e.g. the red terrycloth zip up bathrobe/cape, the purple knit poncho with tassels,  ugly Christmas sweaters from the 80s…..)

No attic room, but we do often discuss painting a mural on our white walls…that or a vertical wall garden….

“The dilapidated house has six fireplaces, a cavernous dining room, a library, several enormous bedrooms, servants’ quarters and an in-ground swimming pool filled with soil. Those who stay here often describe the lifestyle as “decadent poverty.”…our house isn’t exactly a mansion, but it allows for all 7 of us to have our own room and our living room serves as excellent space for large parties and potlucks : )

The “bedroom of a long time resident” photo grosses me out entirely.  But who knows what’s behind Robert’s door….

LOVE the photo of Uncle Rick with a meal prepared from Dumpster-diving. Like Freegans, JVs are dedicated to salvaging what others waste and trying to live without much of a currency budget…(Nick – remember us biking up the Cherry hill with milk crates rubberbanded onto our bikes and our backpacks busting with food bank gems??)

the mobile of forks and spoons hanging above OUR table...now if we could just figure out something to do with the bicycle wheel frame....

As we currently are hosting 5 guests, the anxiety of people being grossed out by opening what they think is yogurt and discovering waaaay forgotten leftovers, or encountering a bathroom that CLEARLY hasn’t been cleaned with bleach (I’m pretty vocal about missing chemicals…our bathroom is too) is less immobilizing than what it was 2 years ago, but still…there are some Freegan-esque features of JVC I’m ready to let go of and don’t see myself outgrowing discomfort around.

I’ve been working on my tan lines

If I could swing a volleyball net grid....that'd be sweet.

For real though, I have.  We went on retreat two weekends ago – my last official JVC retreat ever – and scored an awesome soft tan, thanks to the wide open meadow, endless games of soccer and volleyball, beaming beautiful sun, and several intentional directives to go soak it up, while reflecting on and SAVORING moments over the past year, both from within community and in the workplace.  (Nice to soak up some pure Vitamin D…living in Seattle grants a tan line similar to ‘blogging.’)

The theme was Ignatian Discernment, and entering with quite a solid grip on those principles, whoa buddy that stuff never gets old.  It’s so applicable to every stage of life and any decision, minor or major, one is faced with.  Do I move home or start anew or stick around?  Do I pursue an MBA, MSW, a JD or MA in French? The take home?  Go with your gut.  The place that lives 3 inches behind your belly button.  After listing out advantages and disadvantages to both options (e.g. Staying in Seattle, Not staying in Seattle – 4 columns total), underlining those that speak to you most, and then pretending to select one of the options and holding that for a few days, how do you feel?  If it feels right, if it feels freeing, DO it.  If not, go back, make the other decision, and sit with that for a few days.  Oh the beauty of a spiritual director to help navigate this ….

We also talked about fears.  Moving out of the structure of JVC, away from the women and men we have come to so intimately know, love, fight with, play with, celebrate and celebrate alongside, what about our intentional lifestyle will I take with me?  How will I hold myself accountable to sustainability?  What are my values now that I no longer have the JV auto-response explanation?

We were offered tons of incredible words for contemplation. When Death Comes by Mary Oliver and Cast All Your Votes For Dancing by Hafiz were among my favorites Jack Kennedy – our facilitator – offered us as we relished over the encounters we don’t want to forget.  Our “liturgy” was amazing – completely orchestrated by us and not really traditional, I think my favorite part was either the music (included Eddie Vetter’s “Hard Sun” and the use of random objects for percussion), or the petitions which we all contributed to /wrote together.  I guess the campfire site was pretty baller too.

Some pics from retreat:

Check out the open space behind us - let the games begin! (Also, worth noting are the homegrown snap peas we were munching on....YUM)

Chabbey crew. gOSH I'm gonna miss these peeps

LOVE the random pick up singalongs

soccer in the background, but you can kind of tell how we were sunk in a valley surrounded by the Cascade mountains on every side - you wouldn't believe the STARS at night

don't be decieved - that water is FREEZING. But it certainly sounds delightful at night from your tent rushing by

Big Sweaty Sigh

I ❤ my job.

Especially the affirmations from Members.  Shout outs from staff and our leadership team are awesome, but coming from the folks without a fancy title really make my day.

I don’t think I have written too much about the running/walking club I started up (massive thanks to Brooks for donating 300 pairs of brand new shoes, 100 tech tees, 40 pairs of socks, 40 pairs of shorts, and thus creating a sense of team, equality, and excitement!), but here’s an email I received from a Member involved (and just generally around making this place so full of brightness, song and personality):

hi liz.
i wanted to thank you for all that you do –
and ask you to help me thank everyone involved with the sole train team.
i made a video

please watch it, and if you think it’s appropriate, forward the link to intersted parties.
mahalo
owen

For real, Owen is so cool, and I should be the one thanking HIM (and the others who participate) for humoring my ceaseless announcements and probes to show up for a mid-morning run or walk before lunch.  I consider it a ‘Recovery Circle’ in motion, not only for Members, but for volunteers and mySELF most prominently.  We have SUCH great conversations on the road – about featured menus advertised in cafes we pass, about the meaning of and intentions behind use of the word “prejudice,” about our struggles with using or eating or reacting, about oil spills, legislative ridiculousness in Seattle or elsewhere(cough, cough, AZ), brainstorming jokes to tell at Open Mic, how much despite not wanting to come today, we know we will feel 1249x better afterwards, or about nothing at all, just enjoying each other’s company.

What’s really great about this video is how much it re-energizes me and re-commits me to this SOLE Train thing.  I’ve lately been a little flustered having to stop right when I get going in ‘super productive mode’ to change, fit people for shoes, and be gone for about an hour an a half and annoyed with having to be sweaty for the remainder of the day (we do not have showers to use post-run), and the lack of assurance in my appearance this causes….ridiculous, right?   Well just like my bicycle fall last week (I couldn’t release my cleats and took a slow motion sideways fall while stopped at a busy intersection en route to work.  Hilarious.), I am learning to let go of my ego a little – this video message makes being hot, unshowered, and not 100% put together Mondays and Wednesdays totally worth it.

I made the group one day smile and kick for the camera for a thank you photo to send to Brooks...

our glee upon returning one day

Some days we have 3, some days we have 13

Oh Glenn Beck.

In some situations, the media really do accurately portray people….

Single Lady Pride

Never seen someone so attached to being a single lady…

Typical Cherry Abbey Email Conversation

Forget painting the walls….
20 messages


Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 10:05 AM
To: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>
Cc: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
…lets grow plants on them!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/garden/06vertical.html?ref=garden


Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 10:07 AM
To: Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>
Cc: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
Yea!  Why would we want to be just like all the other JV houses…..when we could be so much BETTER.

Brendan

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Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 12:43 PM
To: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>
Cc: Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
5

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Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 12:49 PM
To: Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>
Cc: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
i’m so into that
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Boston College LSOE 2009
Jesuit Volunteer, Seattle, 2009-2010


Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 12:52 PM
To: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>
Cc: Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
Whoops, only sent that to Laura:
Yep, we could/should totally do this.

But in all reality, this is a potential inspiration. We could easily construct a series of shelves from the wood in the basement. Mount these artistically to the wall, and then work on filling them with plants, and presto…your drab white wall is glowing with life. We have almost all the materials necessary already.

Who’s in?

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Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 1:51 PM
To: Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>
Cc: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
I could put energy into this.  Painting is such dreadful work, but this sounds fun to me….

Brendan

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Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 1:54 PM
To: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>
Cc: Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
Who says words like “dreadful” but doesn’t like to paint?
You’re such an anomoly, B.

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Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 1:59 PM
To: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>
Cc: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>, Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
@elizabeth: thats a really good point

@maria: i think mounting planters on the wall would be way too heavy. theres no way you could support the weight of all that dirt with a few screws.
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Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:03 PM
To: Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>
Cc: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>, Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
We’re not talking about painting pictures here.

Anyone who truly enjoys painting walls is an anomaly.

Brendan

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Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:17 PM
To: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>
Cc: Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
I’m not talking full on planters. I was thinking a few little potted plants on each shelf. That wouldn’t be too heavy, esp. if we used lightweight pots. If a mounted shelf can hold books, it could hold plants.
We might need a studfinder though. I can check the basement.

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Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:25 PM
To: Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>
Cc: Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
Studfinder?  Is that a “That’s what she said?”

Brendan

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Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:26 PM
To: Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>
Cc: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
Having grown up in the presence of painters (my dad’s company has four employees, and two of them are painters), I would have to vehemently disagree with the fact that people do not truly enjoy painting walls.
Also, I’m into this plants idea.

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Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:27 PM
To: Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>
Cc: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
We have a resident StudFinder right in Chabbey.  Look at the magic Liz worked with Fr. A!

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Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:29 PM
To: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>
Cc: Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
My uncle is a painter / paper hanger.  I didn’t really mean that nobody could like painting.  I personally find it to be one of my least favorite housekeeping tasks.  A real chore if you will.

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Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:40 PM
To: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>
Cc: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
AND if we want to combine the painting theme… we could recycle the different paint colors from the basement and paint the shelves all different colors.
We could even go wild and make non-traditional shelf shapes and piece them together. Think T-frame, L-shaped… I’m envisioning a 3-D Piet Modrian, dispersed, with greenery spilling out.
Thoughts? I could do some sketches and check the available paint colors for compatibility.

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Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:41 PM
To: Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>
Cc: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
I am SO into this idea, Maria.  Consider me IN as a helper to fulfill your vision

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Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:42 PM
To: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>
Cc: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>, Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
ok the ‘magic with Fr. A’ is where i jump in – if by magic you mean access to skiing and fritos, yes.

that and the penelope toned “having grown up in the presence of painters…”[followed by]” my uncle is a painter / paper hanger.”  – ‘Chabbey Classic’ gmail folder. done.

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Elizabeth Coz
Volunteer Coordinator

Recovery Café
2022 Boren Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121

“Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and then go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman


Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:43 PM
To: Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>
Cc: Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>, Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>, Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com>
Point taken.  I think that the days I’m able to be on my email, I get overzealous in responses.

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Robert House <bohouse@gmail.com> Thu, May 6, 2010 at 2:46 PM
To: Elizabeth Eiland <elizabeth.eiland@gmail.com>
Cc: Liz Coz <elizabeth.s.coz@gmail.com>, Brendan Mackinson <blmack09@gmail.com>, Maria Roselle <meroselle@gmail.com>, Nick Simonson <nsimonson1@gmail.com>, Laura Brown <laurabrown.lb@gmail.com>
i certainly hope we have enough materials in the basement because as i see it we still need to cover nearly $200 to get us on budget for the year.

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