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Lindon, Utah, United States
"I am a person with a unique frequency who is becoming a son of God."

Friday, October 22, 2010


(By Keith L. Jensen, written on September 16, 2010)

And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? (Mark 12:10-11)

I was first introduced to the focusing process in the fall of 1997 when I was being trained by Dr. Deborah M. Khoshaba and Dr. Salvatore R. Maddi to become a certified hardiness trainer. Dr. Maddi had been a colleague of Dr. Eugene Gendlin, the founder of the focusing process, when they were both teaching at the University of Chicago. In hardiness training, focusing is one of three techniques—the other two are: “situational reconstruction” and “compensatory self-improvement”—taught to assist students in broadening their perspective and deepening their understanding of their stresses.

I first taught CLSS 1100 Stress Management: Hardiness at Utah Valley University (UVU) during the spring semester—January through April—1998. I have taught this course each fall and spring semesters since then. Learning and teaching hardiness training has been a huge positive experience in my life. It has given me resources and courage to make big changes in my life.

For the first nine years teaching hardiness training, I just didn’t get this focusing thing. I just couldn’t see much value in it when compared to the other techniques taught in this class. As far as I was concerned it was pretty much a waste of both my and my students’ time. Each semester, I would spend one class day teaching focusing by going over the examples in the workbook and explaining the focusing exercise that the students needed to do. I would read the focusing steps out loud to my students from the Hardiness workbook. I even went so far as to look up on the internet other teachers of focusing and to read through their suggested focusing steps also. I also purchased Eugene Gendlin’s book Focusing and read it. Still with all my “thinking” about the steps of focusing, researching about focusing on the web, and reading Dr. Gendlin’s book, it still just didn’t click with me.

That was pretty much the state of affairs between me and focusing until the fall of 2006. For some reason, I decided to take another look at focusing at that time. I just sensed that there might be something to this whole focusing thing that I might have missed. As has happened to me before, I once again personally experienced the truth of the saying:

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

This time focusing fell upon more fertile ground. I found Ann Weiser-Cornell’s website [ http://www.focusingresources.com/ ], and the articles I read there started to really speak to me and make sense. I purchased Dr. Weiser-Cornell’s book The Power of Focusing and read it. I also discovered The Focusing Institute’s website [ http://www.focusing.org/ ], and the information I found there resonated with me. While searching on The Focusing Institute’s website, I read about something called focusing partnership. I liked the idea of this and decided I’d like to do some focusing sessions with a certified focusing trainer so that I could someday have a focusing partnership with someone.

Looking through the list of certified focusing trainers on The Focusing Institute website, I found one that spoke to me. It was Kye Nelson. I read about her and her philosophy for focusing on her website at: http://www.antheosophia.org/ Shortly after the first of 2007, I contacted Kye to see if she would be able to do focusing with me. Over the next six months, Kye and I met two times a month over the telephone for me to be trained in the focusing process and to experience partnership focusing.

During this time, I also attended the 2nd annual Focusing Institute Summer School (FISS) at the Garrison Institute in New York. This was a weeklong training in focusing taught by the best focusing teachers from around the world. While at the FISS, I met Geof Oelsner and we became friends. Geof, M.S.W. and nine years my senior, and I have been doing partnership focusing once a month over the telephone for the past three years. This relationship continues to bless both of our lives.

Currently, I am reading books by and being drawn to the focusing philosophy of Edwin M. McMahon and Peter Campbell. Ed and Peter’s work is speaking to me at a deep and profound level. Being involved in focusing in the way they describe feels like the place where I want to put my time and energy—it speaks to me.

“Biographical Notes”

(Excerpts from the back cover of Rediscovering the Lost Body-Connection Within Christian Spirituality by Edwin M. McMahon & Peter A Campbell)

Edwin M. McMahon, Ph.D. and Peter A. Campbell, Ph.D. hold doctoral degrees in the psychological study of religion and spirituality form the University of Ottawa, Canada. This field of inquiry addresses the issue of what in religions and spiritual practices contributes to health and human wholeness—and what generally leads to pathology. Both men are native Californians, born in 1930 and 1935—teachers, authors, theologians, Catholic priests, ordained as Jesuits and members of that order for 25 years as well as confounders of The Institute for BioSpiritual Research, Inc. http://www.biospiritual.org/ . . .

During the last 20 years they have concentrated their attention on developing a more effective, inner body-learning process within which those who share a common Christian faith can best learn a new habit in their important feelings. The priority here is no longer simply one of acquiring more new information, but including as well how our body can know and expresses Christian faith. This practical, missing piece is crucial for all transformational religious maturation within the whole human organism. . . .

The Institute for BioSpiritual Research, Inc. is . . . a member supported, shared leadership community of “peace-makers from the inside” who have come to experience that this transformative, unifying and loving body-experience is grounded in the human organism’s awareness of being a living cell with a Larger Body—for Christians, the Body of the Whole Christ. More and more today, Christians want to be nurtured by a Christian spirituality that ties their own process of maturing wholeness (holiness) together with their body’s gift for recognizing the working of grace inside this same Loving Process, “. . . in whom we live and move and have our very existence.”


(Beyond the Myth of Dominance by Edwin W. McMahon, pp. 120-121)

Affection, which is literally at the heart of a caring-body-presence, postures us in a more open, unselfish, “for-the-other” stance. We are there more as gift to the other, rather than fixer or manipulator. We let ourselves feel value, respect, awe, tenderness, openness, uniqueness, beauty—whatever gets inside us—as we contemplate the other. This transforms the controlling behaviors, drawing them off center stage. We are much more inclined simply to let ourselves and the other just be. However, people often confuse affection with their feelings toward a child, spouse, friend, etc., when they need that person to fulfill unsatisfied goals and needs in themselves. Real affection does not control and manipulate for personal aggrandizement, and that is how you can tell the two apart. Real affection involves a letting go of manipulation, together with availability and vulnerability in our body to being changed by the other, as that other is right now. Thus, being in relationship with affection is always growth-producing, healing, expanding and supportive of wholeness (often for all involved) because it is our body’s way of inviting grace.

Having affection toward someone or something tones our way of being with the other. That is why nurturing and learning from our own capacity for affection is so vital in creating a caring-feeling-presence toward the feelings we hold at arm’s length. With affection, we are far more able simply to be quiet, just to be with the object of our affection, rather than needing to do something or move on. This is crucial when disposing ourselves for grace. The fixing mode is restless and itching to get on with it. Affection quiets us down and eases us into waiting and presence. In Focusing, this is essential for carrying the felt sense of something until it is ready to speak on its own schedule. The allowing for grace to happen is the critical factor whenever a step toward wholeness (holiness) is the issue. Thus, human/spiritual maturation really depends upon how we carry our body feelings.

Caring-feeling-presence is what allows us bodily to hold, without destructive tension, the issues still needing to tell their story. This is not to say that we will not feel pain during such holding. But it is not the kind of terror and exhausting, debilitating tension that we feel when all our fight-or-flight apparatus is revved up for battle or escape. This war syndrome is hazardous to our health in every way. The alternative, even though it includes unfinished pain, feels like we are on the path home. There is anticipation and excitement in being on the right track.

Caring-feeling-presence is an umbrella term I use to describe a wide range of body approaches which help us become reconciled with feelings that we have made into our enemy. It is the most effective approach of which I know to restore our sacred body covenant. This covenant with which human life blesses us has provided us with a body and its own language—our feelings. Honoring this covenant is the antithesis of those disowning habits which our addictive culture programs into us.

We have been taught in a thousand subtle ways that pain is the enemy, as is the healthy tension of any challenge to grow. By deadening this pain, we separate ourselves from the feel of our own unique spirit struggling to be born and express itself through our body. Separated from the body-feel of this life cycle of dying and being reborn, which is our own emerging spirit, we become hooked on the painkillers of canned entertainment, shopping, drugs, or other escapes. How easy it is then to be manipulated and lead from the outside rather than from the body-feel of our own spirit. It is the rare person today who even has any knowledge (in the Biblical sense of knowing by being “bodily in”) about living out of the truth of one’s own spirit means.


(Beyond the Myth of Dominance by Edwin W. McMahon, pp. 132-135)

There is a strange paradox for most of us as we get used to creating a caring-feeling-presence around feelings that before we would have mustered all our forces to push away. We discover power in gentleness, but not in the manner or with the characteristics we generally associate with power. Here, there is no pressured, intrusive, forcing, manipulating, driving. This is not an approach that will break down blockages, pierce through the armor, powerful enough to muscle its way right in and fix all that needs fixing.

Instead, gradually what we find is that the gentleness of this presence is far more powerful than any driving attack we could ever put together. The power lies not in what we do, but in what we do not do; not in the more perfect person we try to create, but in a coming home to the person we really are; not in the fixing of our feelings, but in an open invitation which our body becomes when we let go of fixing ourselves; not in all the strategies of control that we assume will move us toward our goal, but in the vulnerability of letting go of such control. Then, the empowerment just happens. And it dawns on us eventually that indeed this gentle, caring way of treating the adversaries we create inside ourselves is the path home. To journey on that path is to hold with loving and open arms the truth of ourselves. Those open arms embrace not only what is real, but cry out as a prayer never left unanswered. Living that is power.

Millions hunger to live in that power, hoping for peace. There is a direct relationship between this power and the way we treat ourselves, each other and the environment. The worldwide cooperation needed to effectively address environmental issues will not happen without a global spirituality that teaches us, irrespective of religious traditions and cultures, how to take care of our own inner ecology. Effective “outside” environmental care flows out of effective “inner” environmental care. There is really no separation, but an interdependence and interrelatedness that demand we live a caring, inner ecology of growing wholeness within ourselves to nurture the wholeness of the planet. This is what caring-feeling-presence is ultimately all about.

“Inside” & “Outside”

(22) (1) Jesus saw infants being suckled. (2) He said to his disciples: "These little ones being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom." (3) They said to him: "Then will we enter the kingdom as little ones?" (4) Jesus said to them: "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below - (5) that is, to make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male will not be male and the female will not be female - (6) and when you make eyes instead of an eye and a hand instead of a hand and a foot instead of a foot, an image instead of an image, (7) then you will enter [the kingdom]." (The Gospel of Thomas)

“The Kingdom of God”

20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21)
People who remain at war with part of themselves will inevitably spread wars around them. War is not just bombs and guns. The most direct, practical way for human beings to assist the process of planetary wholeness is by learning how to be reconciled with the enemies they carry inside themselves. We, who are now the older generation, can develop through caring-feeling-presence in ourselves a spirituality of global care and reconciliation as our gift to the planet and to the generations that follow us. By living and modeling a nurturing body-spirituality ourselves, we will encourage younger people to discover an environmental spirituality that begins by honoring and respecting their own bodies as integral to the process of learning to respect the planet. Caring-feeling-presence gifts people with self-esteem and connects their hunger to experience the Sacred with the way they treat themselves. The effect of this on youngsters literally would be earthshaking, if we adults in the family, church and school would connect this process of discovering our own precious spirit with what we prize as spiritual and educational.

If children could experience that gently owning in their bodies whatever is real was honored and cherished by adults because this truthfulness and vulnerability connected us to each other and a Higher Power, then a caring, unifying, environmental spirituality could be born. When spiritual values are communicated in and through a process of human wholeness experienced within the common Body/body we all share, then cultural ethnic and religious diversity are no obstacle to the emergence of a nurturing global spirituality. When people with diverse backgrounds realize that such spirituality is environmentally healthy, they will simultaneously realize that it is in no way a betrayal of whatever is healthy in their own spiritual tradition.

I believe millions of people are ready for this. People raised and nurtured within the traditional framework of religion are hungry to enrich their spirituality with a broader vision of how to treat themselves, other people and the environment they live in so they do not destroy it and at the same time find the Sacred within it.

What distinguishes our approach from others articulating a global spirituality is that together our starting point is always in owning bodily whatever is real, then developing our cooperative projects and policies out of that body/Body experience. This simple, practical, teachable method, which we call “BioSpirituality through Focusing,” is a process easily adapted for children and for widely diverse cultures. Focusing provides us with the concrete steps and experience of change as the basis for healthier ways of relating to ourselves and our environment. Rather than just discussing ideas and theories about the need for change, Focusing helps people process the way they actually carry their fears, guilt, anger, loneliness or frustration in their bodies. Such feelings are the underlying engine of destructiveness that must first be addressed if any of us are to sense (not just think) alternatives to the way we now do things. Without an ability to own and be drawn inside the untold story within our potentially destructive feelings, then fear and our need for security will continue to dominate human life and relationships on this planet.

I believe growing numbers of people all over the globe are poised and ready to take a momentous step beyond what Marshall McLuhan counseled us to do in the 50s and 60s. Then he used to say that we must re-enter the tribal night, but this time with our eyes open, which, of course most people interpreted as open-mindedness or not being naïve. I think we now know how to enter that tribal night with our bodies open. This is a precision and an evolution of extraordinary significance.

Finally, if we choose, we can embrace a body-spirituality that opens our “inward eyes to be illumined, so that (we) may know (in our bodies) what is the hope to which (we are called) . . . and how vast the resources of power open to (those) who trust.

[18] having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might (Ephesians 1:18-19 RSV)
Back to Keith: Besides reading hundreds of books on psychology, spirituality, human potential, etc., I have also been regularly recording my dreams for the last couple of years. I have recorded over 200 hundred personal dreams and have typed up over a thousand pages detailing these dreams and my reflections on them. One of the main books that inspired me to start recording my dreams was Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language by John A. Sanford, Jungian analyst and Episcopal priest.


(A dream of Keith L. Jensen recorded on Friday, October 16, 2009 from 0555 to 0643 AM)

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)


(Written on Friday, October 22, 2010)

Over the last couple of days, I have been pondering this dream of a little over a year ago. I have realized additional insights that I did not notice previously. In interpreting my dreams, I mainly subscribe to Jungian dream interpretations methods. According to Carl Jung, the characters in our dreams often reflect aspects of ourselves. Jung called dream characters that have universal applicability archetypes. In the following dream, you will notice several of these archetypes. For example, the “I,” or self, in the dream is the Persona. The dream starts out with me floating in a large body of water. Floating in, or on, the water usually represents one’s journey into the collective unconscious. While floating on the water, I notice a young four-year-old girl who is struggling and starting to sink beneath the water. This child represents my true self in its purest form—the Divine Child. Before rescuing this child, I (Persona) first obtain permission to reach out and touch this child from an unseen motherly force. This unseen character in my dream is representative of the Great Mother. I find it interesting that in the second part of my dream, it is my rescued Divine Child who reaches out to the Shadow.

In the second part of my dream, I am back at a location I remember from my childhood. This is the Civic Center building in Great Falls, Montana. It is significant that the name Civic is closely related to the word civil. In this part of my dream, the archetypal aspect of me called the Wise Old Man/Woman counsels me to be civil by taking the higher path.

In the last part of my dream, I magically unlock and enter an abandoned and dusty magic shop. The words abandoned and dusty are accurate descriptions for those parts of me I have neglected and locked away. While in this building, I meet two additional archetypal characters: the Trickster and the Shadow. The way in which my Divine Child reaches out to the Shadow is a perfect example of how one might reach out to those hurting and scary places we each have inside in a focusing way.


Keith’s Journal (Friday, October 16, 2009): I am currently on duty at Hill AFB where I serve part-time in the Air Force Reserve. I woke up after five this morning. It took me about 1.5 hours to remember and write this dream down. For the last 2.25 hours I’ve been typing it up here at Hill AFB. So from waking up to arriving at a typed and somewhat finished product, it has taken a total of 3.75 hours, or 3 hours 45 minutes. The fact is that this really takes up a lot of time. However, I think it is worth it.

Today is my last day of duty at Hill AFB. When I was waking up this morning, I could just barely remember that I had been dreaming. I had just a couple of very faint fragments of memories of my dreams. I’ve learned that if I try too hard to remember my dreams—to effort it—then, they will just float away. However, if I just lay there for a few minutes as I transition from sleep to wakefulness, I will often start remembering a bit more.

I woke up thinking that I could hardly remember a thing from my dreams. I reached over, turned on the lamp by my bed, grabbed my notebook and started jotting down the few memories I had. This method always seems to bring me to a point that, somehow, I just start recalling more and more details of my dreams until my pen has a hard time keeping up with the rate at which I’m recalling the details of my dreams.

I find dreams so fascinating. When I go to bed, I’m never sure what guests are going to show up and which experiences I’m going to have. It is seldom what I expected. My dreams early this morning were no exception.

A Dream

“We” are floating on Deer Creek Reservoir. I’m not exactly sure who all composes this “we.” “We” kind of has the feel of: Kim (my wife), Brandon (my son), Aveon (my daughter), and me.

The Persona is the image you present to the world in your waking life. It is your public mask. In the dream world, the persona is represented by the Self. You know that this "person" in your dream is you.

We’re sitting on or hanging from the sides of this inflatable raft/island. Brandon is wearing a pair of flippers. He has his head down in the water and is in the back of this raft propelling us through the water with his kicks. I’m surprised at how swiftly he’s propelling the four of us through the water. There are a lot of other people around us swimming, floating, and playing in the water.

Brandon paddles us through a group of people. I notice a little girl who looks to be about four year’s old paddling determinedly through the water. She has gotten into deeper water than she planned and is starting to have some trouble. The look on her face is one of fright and desperation.

Brandon just keeps his head down in the water and continues to churn away with his flippered feet. He doesn’t even notice the little girl or the other people in the water. People have to scatter out of our way so he doesn’t run into them.

We’re coming upon this frightened little girl who is about to slip under the water.

The Divine Child is your true self in its purest form. It not only symbolizes your innocence, your sense of vulnerability, and your helplessness, but it represents your aspirations and full potential. You are open to all possibilities. In the dreamscape, this figure is represented by a baby or young child.

I look around for her mother. I don’t want to reach out and touch this little girl without her mother’s permission. I don’t physically see the mother, but I receive a definite “okay” from her that I have her permission to reach out and touch her daughter and to get her out of her desperate situation.

The Great Mother is the nurturer. The Great Mother appears in your dreams as your own mother, grandmother, or other nurturing figure. She provides you with positive reassurance. Negatively, they may be depicted as a witch or old bag lady in which case they can be associated with seduction, dominance and death. This juxtaposition is rooted in the belief by some experts that the real mother who is the giver of life is also at the same time jealous of our growth away from her.

Having sensed the mother’s approval, I reach over and grab this sweet little girl and pull her over to the side of the raft. I put my arm around her so she doesn’t slip off.

Rescue To dream that you are being rescued or rescue others represents an aspect of yourself that has been neglected or ignored. You are trying to find a way to express this neglected part of yourself.

Some of the other people in the water are getting tired of treading water too. As Brandon paddles through the midst of them, I indicate that it’s fine if they also grab to the ropes on the sides of the raft and hitch a ride too. Soon the raft is covered with people who have climbed aboard or who are still in the water but holding onto the sides. With all this added weight, I don’t think Brandon alone will have the strength to keep this raft moving. At the very least, I think we’ll slow way down. The strange thing is that we don’t slow down at all.

I’m surprised at how swiftly Brandon keeps us all moving through the water. I’m concerned that he might overdue it and burn himself out. The last thing I remember of this dream is of us approaching the shallow and safe waters by the shore. Brandon has gotten us all safely out of the deep waters and back to shore.

A later dream: “We”—again, as close as I can sense this communal “we” has the feel of Kim, Brandon, Aveon, and me—are in Great Falls, Montana. We’re walking along the western end of Central Avenue. We’re heading south on the street that runs in front of the Civic Center.
There are a lot of other people walking along with us. “Someone” who seems to be in charge of this walking excursion asks my group to continue on the higher path.

You see, we’re not all walking down on the sidewalk. Some of us are walking in the air above the sidewalk. The group I’m leading is walking at the highest level up in the air. When this “someone” asks us to stay on the higher path to avoid congestion with the other groups walking below us, we must have been 80 to 100 feet in the air.

The Wise Old Man /Woman is the helper in your dreams. Represented by a teacher, father, doctor, priest or some other unknown authority figure, they serve to offer guidance and words of wisdom. They appear in your dream to steer and guide you into the right direction.

As we are walking along way up there in the air, I can see the tops of the roofs of the buildings below us. We continue south in front of the Civic Center until we reach the other side of the street. From here, we turn left and continue east along this side of Central Avenue. Like walking down a set of invisible stairs, we gradually come down from high in the air until we reach the sidewalk. There’s a store down here that I want to check out. It use to be a kind of new age shop like the “Crystal Ray” in Pleasant Grove near to where we live now.

As we approach the front entrance, I notice that it all seems to be shutdown and abandoned now. The heavy curtains are pulled shut and the front door is locked. I and some of the others with me—Aveon in particular—have some basic magical powers. Our powers aren’t that advanced or proficient yet. In magical ability, we are kind of like first-year students at Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Using our magical powers, we cause the door to unlock and then enter into this abandoned store.

Magic To perform or dream of magic suggests that you need to look at things from a different view or approach problems from a new angle in order to successfully move forward. Alternatively, magic symbolizes creativity and wonder. Perhaps someone or something has caused you to be in awe.

Once inside, we quickly discover that this shop is no longer what it used to be. Right off, we sense that it has been being used for other purposes and that these other uses haven’t been good. The lighting inside is very dim. The room has some dust covered old wooden tables, chairs, and other furniture around in it.

Dust To see dust in your dream suggest that aspects of yourself have been ignored or neglected.

In the dim light, we make out “something” white hanging from a rope attached to the ceiling. We sense that something evil has been going on here. We feel the hair standing on the back of our necks as we sense something approaching behind us. A dread comes over all of us. In unison, we turn around to see what it is. There standing is Lord Voldemort!

The Shadow is the rejected and repressed aspects of yourself. It is the part of yourself that you do not want the world to see because it is ugly or unappealing. It symbolizes weakness, fear, or anger. In dreams, this figure is represented by a stalker, murderer, a bully, or pursuer. It can be a frightening figure or even a close friend or relative. Their appearance often makes you angry or leaves you scared. They force you to confront things that you don't want to see or hear. You must learn to accept the shadow aspect of yourself for its messages are often for your own good, even though it may not be immediately apparent.

He smiles evilly knowing he’s captured us in his web and that we have no way to escape. Voldemort has just recently regained a body. It is still developing. The features of his face look snake-like. He points at the white “something” we noticed earlier hanging from the ceiling. He laughs evilly as he tells us that this is our mighty Dumbledore that he has captured and rendered harmless and ineffective.

The thing hanging from the ceiling doesn’t look like the Dumbledore we know. It’s hard to describe but somehow from looking noble and quietly powerful, Dumbledore has changed him into a silly cartoonish looking character. Hanging from his feet upside down, he kind of looks likes a combination of Caspar the Friendly Ghost and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

The Trickster, as the name implies, plays jokes to keep you from taking yourself too seriously. The trickster may appear in your dream when you have overreached or misjudged a situation. Or he could find himself in your dream when you are uncertain about a decision or about where you want to go in life. The trickster often makes you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, sometimes mocking you or exposing you to your vulnerabilities. He may take on subtle forms, sometimes even changing its shape.

We all feel really badly for Dumbledore and want to help him get away. However, our magic feels pretty pathetic against the powers of the mighty Lord Voldemort.

Knowing that he has nothing to fear from us, Voldemort orders us to sit on this dusty old couch while he decides what to do with us.

“We”—now this “we” feels like Aveon, me, someone else, and a little girl of four—all sit on the couch as ordered. Voldemort pulls up one of the dusty wooden chairs and sits down facing us. He gloats as he tells us of his capture of the foolish Dumbledore. Aveon and I feel repulsed by his evil snake-like appearance. Surprisingly, the little four-year-old girl seems more curious than afraid.

From where she is sitting next to me on the couch, she gets up and climbs over me and towards Voldemort. Both Aveon and I are concerned as she approaches Voldemort. He seems confused by her approach. In the past, what he has always felt from people when they see him are feelings of repulsion and fear because of his looks and energy. He is really taken back when this little girl climbs up into his lap and gently begins petting his scaly snake-like face. He closes his eyes and begins to soak up the soothing caresses from this sweet innocent child. He’s feeling and experiencing something he’s never felt before. Or, if he ever did feel something like this before, it was in some distant and ancient past that he had completely forgotten about.

I wake up thinking that maybe with him distracted for a moment by this child that now is the chance for Aveon and me to use our combined spells and try to free Dumbledore.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


The following short story was written by Margaret Prescott Montague (1878-1955). It is one of my favorite. I hope you enjoy it. --Keith Jensen :)

"Big Music"
By Margaret Prescott Montague

(Note #1. Last Sunday, October 23, 2005, I was given another gift of peace. I have been doing a lot of heavy reading. I decided to do some “light” reading to relax and unwind. I chose volume 8 “Myths and Legends” from my 16 volume set of “The Children’s Story Hour.” I was drawn to a story by Margaret Prescott Montague called “Big Music”. This simple American folktale spoke to my own experiences and to the longings of my heart in a powerful way. It was scripture to me. –Keith Jensen)

(Note #2. If you’re interested in reading more about the characters mentioned in this story, I suggest that you read the book Up Eel River by Margaret Prescott Montague.)

“All a feller had to do was jest to jump into a tune and let it carry him on away. For when the big music comes it ain’t like little musics, you don’t dance to it, it dances you . . . (p. 346) . . . It’s like I say, when the big music comes it dances you, you don’t dance to it, but every feller’s free to pick his own tune.” (p. 348)

DOGGONE it! I wished Tony Beaver would quit being so all-fired reckless! Why, I b’lieve some day that feller’ll turn the world right spang upside down jest for to see how would she look thataway! There was more times than one up Eel River when I was skeered right down to bedrock and would of laid back my years and shot for home if Tony hadn’t of named me the Truth-teller and laid a kind of sacred trust on me, so I knowed I had to stay with the job and hang onto the truth no matter where it might take me—and it sure tuck me into some strange places.

I’m mighty glad though, I happened to be in camp when the big music busted in, for that sure was a great time, and folks have tole so many lies about it that I’m glad to give you-all the straight truth in this here tale that’s been all tried out with that paper of Tony’s, and every lie sifted outer it.

Well, Tony sure was fooling with somepen powerful dangerous that time, and yit the whole thing commenced with nothing more’n a little drop of dew: jest pure common dew like what a person kin see any nice summer morning laying over the leaves and grass and swinging onto the spider webs. That’s what started the business, but mebbe even Tony wouldn’t of been so reckless if there hadn’t a-been so much spite work going on in camp. Aw, you know how it is, sometimes a camp’ll all go right sour with spite. Every feller’ll have a gredge erginst the next feller, and there’ll be more mean tales passing from mouth to mouth behind hands than you kin shake a stick at. Every feller’ll get so techy that if a person happens to say “Hand the biscuits” kinder short, ‘stead of “I’ll thank you for them sody biscuits, if you please,” there’ll be a fight and a sulk right that minute.

Well, that was what struck the Eel River camp whilst I was up yonder. Aw, I dunno how the thing come to pass: mebbe it was dog days, or mebbe they vittles had kinder turned erginst ‘em, anyhow every feller’s temper was on a hair trigger, couldn’t nobody open his mouth ‘cept for a mean word, all the good healthy cussing and fooling had done went in the ground, and every job was tied up, ‘cause there wa’n’t no good fellowship to grease the wheels of work.

“What’s the matter with this camp is that it’s done froze up. What you-all need is somepen that’ll get you above yerselves and thaw you out, so’s you’ll be running all loose and free eregin,” Tony says looking around at all them sour dough faces, with they under jaws set and they lips pouting out. “And I’ll jest have to figger out somepen that’ll do it,” he says.

With that he goes off into the woods all to hisself, for Tony kin allus figger better when he’s out in the deep woods all alone.

Well, the very next morning he was ‘way off on the top of a high ridge all to hisself jest at sunup, when he ketched a wink from a little dewdrop what was laying out there on a bunch of green moss. And seeing’s he was all alone, Tony he winked back at the critter, for you know, stranger—you fellers what’s reading this book—a person’ll do a heap of nice fool things when there ain’t any other feller round to laf.

Well, sirs! The minute he done that, it seemed like somepen inside him jumped up and hollered, “Dewdrop! Dewdrop! Look at it, you great big two-fisted Jim-bruiser, you ain’t never seen a dewdrop afore! Look at it!”

Tony he did. He jest looked and looked at that dew drop with all the looks he had. It was filled with frosty light. And yit it had a rainbow in it too, and furst the sun would twinkle it on one side, and then it would twinkle it on the tother. And all the time it kep’ setting there so round and pretty, like it was the whole of creation and knowed a heap more’n it was aiming to tell. That kinder made Tony mad.

“Hey! You doggoned sassy little cuss!” he bawls at it. “Don’t you know I could bust yer head off with one finger?”

But the little critter didn’t sass him back nor nothing. It jest kep’ right on twinkling along there to itself, and the more Tony looked at it, the more awestruck he got, for he seen he was looking right into the very heart of creation itself.

By now all the little birds had done chirped the sun up right high, and Tony tuck a great skeer that his little dewdrop would melt. So all in a hurry he commenced plucking up leaves and moss to kiver it over. He worked like he couldn’t work fast enough, and when he had it all safe, he was dripping wet, and panting like he’d run a mile—for you know a feller’s bound to sweat if he aims to beat the sun.

Then, having got sorter acquainted with one dewdrop, Tony commenced to see all of ‘em like it was for the furst time. ‘Peared like, everywhere he’d look the sun was winkling and twinkling dewdrops at him. Tony set there in a maze, jest fa’rly carried away with the sight, and seemed like he could hear every last one of them sparklers hollering out at him, “Brother! Brother!”

By now the sun commenced to lap them dewdrops up off’n the leaves and spider webs, and all of ‘em went like they was glad to go, hopping away in the sun like they was jumping into their daddy’s lap.

About then a right peculiar thing come to pass. There was a little feller in camp what all the hands called Fiddling Jimmy, ‘count of him allus playing tunes on his fiddle, and now as Tony set there kinder dazed, watching them dewdrops hop off into the sun all so round and pretty, it seemed like he heared that little fiddler playing a tune somewhere right close. The tune it come nigher and nigher, ‘til d’rectly Tony thought he was riding erway on it, like he was riding a saw-log downstream. But when the last little dewdrop had hopped away to—well to wherever it is they go—he found hisself still setting there with his mouth gapping open.

“Well, I will be dogged!” he says. “An’ that’s what happens every morning, and me never knowing it afore!”

Then he peeked down at the twinkle of dew he’d saved, and right that minute he knowed he’d ketched there a drop outer the heart of all the world, and that what was in it was the sap in him too, and in all the varmints and critters, and rocks and rivers, and green things in all creation.

When Tony bumped erginst that big thought he goose-fleshed up all over, for he seen he was thinking too wide, and in another pair of seconds he’d slip right out over the edge and be where—well it’s the truth, I don’t know where he would be! And Tony didn’t know neither, but he give a powerful jump back in his mind from all that wide kinder thinking, and it seemed like he couldn’t git back where other humans was fast enough. He stuffed his little dewdrop into the bosom of his shirt and lit out for camp so fast he fa’rly burnt the trail up behind him.

Well, when Tony hit camp and smelled sweat and sawdust, it eased up that cold feeling down the spine of his back, and he ketched his breath, looking around for a good place to hide his dewdrop.

He’d just got it all kivered up nice under the roots of a white pine when he turns about and seen that little hand by the name of Fiddling Jimmy leaning up erginst a sapling looking at him.

Now there was sompen right peculiar about that little feller. He was might clear and wide betwixt the eyes, and had a look like he knowed a heap more’n he could tell with his tongue, so he had to try to git it out by fiddling. Mebbe you remember me speaking of him when I furst hit camp.

Tony seen right off that the little feller sensed he’d been fooling with somepen powerful dangerous, so he lighted into him furst.

“Hey!” he bawls, “what in the thunder was you doing fiddling when every other hand was on the job?”

“Me?” says the tother looking s’prised.

“Yes, you! I heared you fiddling out in the woods this morning jest at sunup.”

“Jest at sunup!” Jimmy hollers, pricking up his years mighty quick and looking kinder awe-struck too. “Aw no, Tony, that wa’n’t me. You know what it was.”

“I’ll be dogged if I do!” Tony answers him back.

“It was the big music,” the tother says, letting the words slip right out soft and respectful like.

“THE BIG MUSIC!” Tony whispers, his mouth gapping open, and the goose flesh walking up the spine of his back ergin.

“Look a-here, Tony, you better tell me all erbout it,” the Fiddler says mighty earnest and solemn.

And looking at him Tony seen he’d better. So he hands it all out to him, how he got acquainted with his dewdrop, and how all at onced he seen dewdrops and everything else different from what he ever had seen ‘em afore, and then how the music come so close it seemed like he was riding erway on it.

“Tony, you’d better mind how you go looking and looking at dewdrops and hearing music jest at sunup,” the Fiddler warns him, “or the furst thing you know you’ll look a hole spang through to the tother side and then the big music’ll bust in on us sure ‘nough!”

“Well, I wouldn’t keer if the big music was to come!” Tony hollers out, looking powerful mad and dangerous. “Things has got mighty hidebound and mean-spirited round this here camp, and you know there’s a heap of spite going on. Mebbe if the big music busts in it’ll kinder sweep things cl’ar ergin. An’ anyhow,” he lets fly at the Fiddler, “it ain’t for you to talk! You been fiddling holes all round this camp ever since you struck it. Why look a-here!” he bawls, jabbing his finger into the air. “here’s a place right this minute, where you fiddled ‘My Old Kaintucky Home’ what’s so thin a person kin nigh run his whole hand through it. And what with you all the time playing ‘Dixie’ and ‘The West Virginia Hills,’ and all them other tunes, you got the whole place punched as full of holes as a porous plaster, and why we ain't had the big music in on us afore this is a wonder to me!”

“Well, if she comes, she comes! And I don’t keer!” the Fiddler says cutting a kind of pigeon-wing.

“I don’t keer neither!” Tony hollers out, all fired up. “It’s jest the very thing this camp needs. And by the breath of the gray rocks, I’ll turn that there dewdrop loose tomorrer jest at sunup!”

“Jest at sunup! Great Day in the Morning!” Jimmy busts out, his eyes dancing, and him dancing with ‘em.

Well, now you-all kin easy see what sorter dangerous doings Tony and the little feller was up to that time. They didn’t say nothing to nobody, not even to me, but the next morning jest at daybreak, Tony tuck that powerful big cow’s horn of hisn that’s a whole sight bigger’n any natcheral born cow ever did have, and standing out there on a gray rock, he blowed sech er blast it fetched every feller tumbling outer the bunkhouse on the jump.

“Fellers,” says Tony, looking mighty strange an’ tall in the gray light, “it’s glimmering for dawn, and I want you all to take a right good look at this little dewdrop and keep on looking at it when the sun hits it, for it’s my belief that not a one of you great big two-fisted Jim-bruisers ever really seen a dewdrop afore.” With that he showed ‘em the little critter still laying on its green moss, also round and pretty.

Well, that sure was mighty reckless talk, and right that minute old Preacher Moses Mutters, what’s allus sech a calamity hunter, tuck a powerful skeer.

“Oh, my lands, Tony!” he screeches out, “you’ll have us in every kinder trouble d’rectly! Do pray take keer!”

“Man!” says Tony, flashing a crisscross look at the ole feller that twisted him into a corkscrew, “who ever seen me take keer?”

And it’s the truth, not a hand there had ever seen Tony take it.

Well, all us hands done like Tony told us to and jest looked and looked at that little dewdrop. And the more we looked, the more still and awestruck we got.

Fiddling Jimmy had tuck a stand on a cliff er rock at the head er the holler, and he kep’ a-looking and a-looking off into the dawn, holding his fiddle, and kinder stretching up on tiptoe like he was listening for somepen. Right about then a yeller strand of sunlight come wavering down the mountain and hit that little dewdrop, and the little feller commenced to burn with a spark o’ fire, and while we was a-looking at it so awestruck like, it burned brighter and brighter, ‘til it burned itself right up into the sun and was gone. When that happened every feller there felt the stillness inside of him kinder bust wide open, and he knowed he was right on the edge of somepen powerful big.

Jest that minute Fiddling Jimmy, off on his rock, let loose with a powerful yell: “She’s busted! She’s busted!” he hollers. “Great Day in the Morning! The big music’s busted through!” And with that he commenced to dance and to fiddle fit to kill hisself.

“Oh, my lands! Somepen terrible is coming!” ole Brother Mutters screeches out, flinging both arms round a right stout pine tree to kinder anchor hisself to the ground.

By now all us fellers could hear the strangest kinder music coming from ’way off yonder somewheres, and it looked like Jimmy’s fiddling up there on his rock was kinder blazing a trail for that tother music to come in by.

Well, sirs! The next thing that come to pass was a whole panel of rail fencing floating over the ridge and down the holler like it was riding a river a person couldn’t see. And whoop-ee! In another pair of seconds that panel busted itself all to pieces, and every last one o’ them gray rails up-ended and commenced to dance, whirling around and bowing to one another, back and forth and hither and yon!

“O my lands! O my lands! Jest look at that now!” pore ole Brother Mutters bellers out, taking a strangle holt of his pine tree, with his hair all bristling up and his eyes hanging out of his head.

The next thing that come was a fat old lady of a haystack dancing over the ridge and down the holler, bowing and kicking up, and carrying on like she was a two-year-old. And you better b’lieve every hand there made tracks to git outer her way in a hurry! Next there come the prettiest little pair of young maple saplings, skipping and dancing with they branches on they hips, and cakewalking along together jest as sassy as you please.

That was jest the beginning! In another pair of seconds the full tide of the big music busted in on us, pouring down the holler in a kind of torrent, like a river in flood. Every king of a tune a person every did hear, and every kind of critter and varmint and growing thing dancing to the tunes, all of ‘em wove together in the wildest sort of a jamboree. There was ‘possums and rabbits and groundhogs, ‘til you couldn’t rest, and there was b’ars and wildcats in plenty too, and strange critters what never had been seen in these mountains afore. And there was trees and bushes and saw-logs and rocks, all jumbled and dancing together, and tunes—Whoop-ee! Every tune what ever was! A feller could see ‘em as well as hear ‘em, every color of the rainbow weaving in and out amongst all them dancing critters. Every varmint and critter there blowing along by them tunes was dancing and laffing fit to kill theyselves. A old she b’ar with her cubs come rolling and bounding in, doing a kind of a breakdown along a little pink strand of a tune, and laffing so hard she jest natcherly had to clap her paws to her sides to hold ‘em in place.

All a feller had to do was jest to jump into a tune and let it carry him on away. For when the big music comes it ain’t like little musics, you don’t dance to it, it dances you. And you’d better dance! For if you try to hold out erginst it, it sure will treat you mighty rough like it done pore old Brother Mutters.

Well, all us hands in the Eel River crew, we jest let ourselves go to it, and one tune after another picked us up and swirled us off. And all the time Fiddling Jimmy was up there on his rock dancing and fiddling and singing like he was plum destracted.

The fellers they all tuck partners if they could find ‘em, but if they couldn’t they jest flapped they arms and danced by theyselves. The Sullivan feller picked him out a right stout saw-log, and danced so hard with it that the chips flew outer the log like popcorn hopping outer a hot griddle. That little Eyetalian hand, he found a monkey along of all the stream of foreign critters the music fetched in. They two sure was glad to see one another and stepped off together to the strangest kind of a wild dance ever was seen up Eel River. I can’t reely tell you what-all I danced with I was so busy watching the tother fellers.

But whoop-ee! I wished you-all could of seen Big Henry, doing the polka with that old lady haystack what come over the ridge at the start! Big Henry was sorter bashful at the beginning, but onced they got acquainted, they cert’n’y was dancers from Dancerville! That haystack, for all she was right up in years, sure was a light stepper. And courtesy—Great Day! She’d draw off from Big Henry and bob right down to the ground and up ergin and never drap a straw! Big Henry cert’n’ was taken with her, and the last the fellers seen of the two together they was going down the stream of music with Big Henry’s arm around the lady’s waist—as fer that is as it would go—and him talking matrimony to her to the tune of “I seen my lover go round the bend.”

Tony Beaver jest danced with every last thing and critter that come by. Furst off he tuck up with a big gray rock what come footing it down the ridge early in the game. “Hey, brother! Fall to it!” Tony sings out, and they ketched aholt of one another some way, and had a high old time together. But it’s the truth, that rock was so all-fired heavy every step it tuck it went down waist deep in the music, and splashed the tunes and songs up all over everybody like they was showers of rain. And having the music splashed over ‘em like that jest sent every feller off dancing harder’n ever.

Well, Tony he danced with his rock a spell, and then he broke loose from it and tuck a whirl around with a whole string of little young squirrels, what come by all sorter strung together, frisking they tails and jumping and barking and cracking out jokes like they was cracked nuts. Then Tony he tuck up with a field mouse and a hoppy toad, what was riding around together on the tune of “A frog he would a-wooing go.” And then he danced a spell with a dogwood tree what had all busted out in full bloom ergin, though its right time of flowering was over and done with nigh a month back. It sure was a pretty sight to see that tree all kivered over with its white blooms, as graceful as a young bride, with its branches waving and twinkling to the tunes. Tony he had it for a partner for a right smart spell, and after that he danced with any and every thing that come by, and between whiles he’d kick up high and low and whirl round all to hisself.

But about then, that little boy what’s sech a great buddy of Tony’s got wind of the jamboree, and come a-running and a-limping into the camp as best he could on his crippled foot, holding out his hands and hollering, “Take me! Take me, Tony! I wan’a dance too!”

“Sure! Come on, buddy! You kin dance to the big music with the best of ‘em!” Tony hollers back, ketching aholt of him, and yonder the two of ‘em went off together, laffing and dancing, bounding, whirling around, and carrying on with every last tune in the bunch, and I’ll be dogged if that there little feller, for all his crippled foot, didn’t outdance the whole shooting match.

It sure was one of the biggest sights a feller ever did see, all them hands and critters dancing and laffing there together, with the pink tunes and blue ones and red and yeller, whirling ‘em all about; and Fiddling Jimmy up there on his rock, fiddling and singing, and jest carried away in a kind of a glorification.

It was a funny thing what kind of a tune the different critters would pick out to be danced by. It’s like I say, when the big music comes it dances you, you don’t dance to it, but every feller’s free to pick his own tune. Take that string of thorn bushes now, the pretty little round kind that a person kin see most any time growing in a old run-out field: they come dancing in to the tune of “Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush.” All they little leaves was winkling and twinkling and clapping theyselves together, and all of ‘em was giggling out the prettiest little green giggles a person ever did hear.

It was all right for them bushes to pick a baby song like that, but it sure was a funny thing to see them powerful big steers of Tony’s just natcherly carried away by the tune of “Bye Baby Bunting.” When it come by in all that tangle of music, them beasts they jest got right up on they behind legs, slung they tails over they arms, and let it walse ‘em away for mile upon mile. Them critters is so powerful and large that when they dances they tromples down trees and kicks great cliffs of rock outer the mountainside, and I bet “Bye Baby Bunting” never had no sech a swath cut to it afore. But pshaw! A person can’t never say what they’ll do when the big music busts in.

And it’s like I say, when it comes you better mind and dance, or you’re mighty apt to see the same rough time ole Brother Moses Mutters seen. That ole preacher, pore feller! He sure did set a great store by his soul, and he was allus powerful oneasy for fear it might git lost, and if it was lost what in the H_ _ _ Excuse me! What in the thunder would he have to travel on when he hit the next world?

So when he seen them rails dancing over the ridge, and heard the big music coming, he knowed they was in for somepen all outer plum with his kinder religion, and he ketched aholt of that pine tree like I said to sorter anchor hisself down, for he knowed dancing was a sin and powerful onhealthy for the soul. But pshaw! I tell you, you got to dance when the big music hits you! And try as he might that pore ole feller jest couldn’t keep both foots to the ground at onced. Furst one little tune and then another’d come tickling round, and h’ist his leg up in time to it, and ‘fore he could holler out, “Aw my soul!” and git that foot jammed down nice and pious to the ground ergin, here’d be the tother up in the air shaking a dance step to every jig that come by. It sure was a right pitiful sight to see that poor old feller hanging on tight to his pine tree, trying so hard to save his soul, while furst one leg and then the tother was danced out from under him, and waving up in the air like a cat shaking its foot when it steps in water. His ole buddy Ain’t-That-So had been swept off by the tunes long since, for he ain’t got the staying powers of the preacher.

But d’rectly his pine tree failed Brother Mutters too! Whoop-ee! When the full tide of that music come down the holler, that tree give a great heave and a bound, and busting its roots loose, it jumped up outer the ground, and commenced to toss its branches and to dance with the best of ‘em, swirling pore ole Brother Mutters round and round with it, high and low, up and down.

Well, sirs! That ole pine it muster lost its soul long since, for it sure did take to dancing natcheral! And you better b’lieve it was a strange sight to see that tree dancing for all it was wurth, with the pore ole preacher feller dangling on to its trunk, his coat tails spread out right straight behind him, and him groaning and moaning over his soul. He didn’t want to dance with the tree, but onced he’d got aholt of it , he was skeered to let loose. And looked like the tree didn’t want to dance with him nother, for it jest turned itself loose and did every kind of a scan’lous worldly step a person ever heard tell of, fox-trotting and cheek-dancing with the ole feller ‘til you couldn’t rest. And every now and ergin if the preacher wa’n’t might spry the tree’d tromp down right hard on his toes—and you all know a pine tree ain’t got no light tread.

But after a spell the tree, it got plum out-done with sech a flat-footed, mean-spirited partner, and it give a great bound and a kick and slung Brother Mutters up to a high ledge of rock ‘way above all that tide of music. After that the pine tree hucked branches with a red oak, and the two of ‘em went downstream together kicking out jigs and cutting pigeonwings and dancing so hard the sap sweated out in great beads all over ‘em.

Ole Brother Mutters, he lay up there on his ledge all tousled to pieces, yammering and moaning and panting out, “Oh my soul! It’s lost! It’s lost!” and peeking down over the edge at all that swirl of music and dancing down below, like he was looking to see where his soul had done went. The hands and critters what was dancing, they got pretty night tickled to death over the old feller and his soul, and ‘fore they hardly knowed it, they was all dancing out a game acting like they was hunting for the preacher’s soul. They made up a little song, “Has anybody seen Brother Mutters’s soul?” It went off real nice to the tune of “Has anybody here seen Kelly?” ‘Course Tony Beaver, he had to start the thing. Him and his little buddy walsed over to Big Henry and his haystack, splashing the music up every which away as they come, and bows and sings out, “Has anybody seen Brother Mutters’s soul?” Big Henry and his partner, they danced it on to that string of little young squirrels, Big Henry he bowed to the squirrels, and the hayrick she bobbed a courtesy to ‘em, and both together they sings, “Has anybody seen Brother Mutters’s soul?” The squirrels they jerked they tails and frisked and barked it out all up and down the line, ‘til d’rectly the whole shooting match, hands and critters, trees, rocks, and varmints, was all doing the ladies’ chain to the tune of “Has anybody seen Brother Mutters’s soul?” all of ‘em skipping and laffing fit to bust they heads off. It sure was scan’lous, but it’s the truth when the big music is dancing you around, the thing that’ll tickle you most is to have anybody think they kin lose they souls.

And all the time Fiddling Jimmy stood up there on his rock, with all that stream of music and dancing critters splashing and bobbing and whirling past him. One little tune after another’d come lapping up round his ankles, asking him to come on with it, but he jest kep’ on where he was, fiddling and dancing all to hisself, and waiting. And then, by and by, a wonderful big tune come rolling in that was bigger and grander than any of us rough hands up Eel River ever had heard afore. It was all blue in the middle where the soft notes was, and pink up high, and way down gray in the low notes. It come in to a long thundering march, mighty solemn and beautiful, like the skies had opened and stood back for to let it come through, and like it was rolling outer the heart of all creation. Fiddling Jimmy, he tuck one look at that big tune and hollers out, “Here I am!” mighty high and joyful, like they’d been a-looking for one another since the world commenced, and with that he jumped right out into the heart of it. The tune it never broke its stride, but it ketched the little fiddler up and went on rolling away all so grand and beautiful. And all them other little tunes, they drawed up on both sides and all the dancers with them, making a kinder rainbow lane of sound, as you might say, for that big tune and the fiddler to pass down. After that--? Well, that was all. The minute that big tune passed away, all the rest of the big music sorter gathered itself together and blowed off to—Well, to wherever it had come from. The sound and the sight of it all died away; the hole where it had busted through closed right up tight; all the critters and varmints scuttled away into the woods, the trees jumped back into the ground, and in the shake of a lam’s tail there wa’n’t nothing to show for it all but jest a few gray rocks laying around outer place, a little dogwood sapling in full bloom a month outer season, a parcel of husky hands all outer breath, and ole Brother Moses Mutters still lamenting up there on his ledge. Fiddling Jimmy we never did see no more, but we didn’t feel too bad about that ‘cause the feller looked so all-fired happy when him and that there big tune ketched hands and danced off together thataway.

But every hand there felt mighty limber and free. All the meanness and spite work was clean swep’ away, for we’d seen a dewdrop for the furst time, and we’d danced to the big music, and we was all kinder stretched up and above out common selves.

More’n that there was another grand big thing come outer it all. Whilst we was all laying round, sorter ketching our breaths, and feeling mighty friendly to each other ‘count of all the spite work having clean blowed away, all to onced that little buddy of Tony’s hollers out, “Aw, look! Look at me, Tony!”

And when we looks there was the little feller, running and jumping, and cutting up capers jest to beat the band, for I’ll be dogged if the big music hadn’t straightened his crippled foot all out, so’s it was jest as limber and free as the tother.

“Aw, look, Tony! Watch me—watch!” he kep’ a-hollering out, jumping and cutting up, and laffing all carried away with hisself.

Well, sirs! All us hands bust loose with a great shout at that, and Tony ketched his little buddy high up on his shoulder and went off into another wild dance, with the young-un setting up there, his arm hugged right tight round Tony’s neck, kicking his heels, and singing out a little song, “I kin walk! I kin walk! Tony, I kin walk!”

For you see, strangers, that little feller had danced to the big music jest right. He hadn’t helt back or been mean-spirited or skeered, he’d jumped right into the middle of it and let it dance him on away jest anywheres it pleased.

And that’s what you better mind and do too. If the big music comes, you mind and dance to it, for if you don’t you’re mighty apt to git treated like it done Preacher Moses Mutters. That ole brother, pore feller! His coat tails was all tore to strings, his whiskers was raveled out, and it’s the truth! He ain’t had a sprig of hair on his head from that day to this—no, sir! Not one sprig!

And if any of you readers don’t trust me and the lie-paper to hand you out the truth, all you have to do is to go up Eel River for yerself, and any hand there kin show you a kind of a crinkled place on the face of one of the highest cliffs up yonder, what marks the spot where the big music busted in—and then mebbe you’ll know the truth when you see it!


By Thomas Merton (arranged in stanza and poetry form by Keith Jensen)

For it is God’s love that warms me in the sun

And God’s love that sends the cold rain.

It is God’s love that feeds me in the bread I eat

And God that feeds me also by hunger and fasting.

It is the love of God that sends the winter days

When I am cold and sick,

And the hot summer when I labor

And my clothes are full of sweat:

But it is God Who breathes on me

With light winds off the river

And in the breezes out of the wood.

His love spreads the shade of the sycamore over my head

And sends the water-boy along the edge of the wheat field

With a bucket from the spring,

While the laborers are resting and the mules stand under the tree.

It is God’s love that speaks to me in the birds and streams;

But also behind the clamor of the city

God speaks to me in His judgments,

And all these things are seeds sent to me from His will.

If these seeds would take root in my liberty,

And if His will would grow from my freedom,

I would become the love that He is,

And my harvest would be His glory and my own joy.

And I would grow together

With thousands and millions of other freedoms

Into the gold of one huge field praising God,

Loaded with increase, loaded with wheat.

If in all things I consider only the heat and the cold,

The food or the hunger, the sickness or labor,

The beauty of pleasure, the success and failure

Or the material good or evil my works have won for my own will,

I will find only emptiness and not happiness.

I shall not be fed, I shall not be full.

For my food is the will of Him Who made me

And Who made all things in order to give Himself to me through them.

My chief care should not be to find pleasure or success,

Health or life or money or rest or even things like virtue and wisdom—

Still less their opposites, pain, failure, sickness, death.

But in all that happens, my one desire and my one joy should be to know:

“Here is the thing that God has willed for me.

In this His love is found,

And in accepting this I can give back His love to Him

And give myself with it to Him

For in giving myself I shall find Him

And He is life everlasting.”

By consenting to His will with joy and doing it with gladness

I have His love in my heart,

Because my will is now the same as His love

And I am on the way to becoming what He is,

Who is love.

And by accepting all things from Him

I receive His joy into my soul,

Not because things are what they are

But because God is Who He is,

And His love has willed my joy in them all.

(New Seeds of Contemplation, pp. 16-18)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


“All things done in love become you.”

QUESTION: What does it mean to “do things in love?”

ANSWER: To choose and act in love is to do things from the heart. It is awakened doing. The three modes of awakened doing are: acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. (A New Earth, p. 295)

“[W]hatever is done, whether in the physical world, in human relations, in the substance of thought, or spiritual contact—whatever is done with love endures. All else is consumed in the eventual transformation. . . ‘[T]hings done heartily’—these alone have a complete and ultimate influence in the accretion and the fashioning of the spirit entity.” (With Folded Wings, p. 50) The course of personal development, then, is a constant transferal from that which is outside in experience, permanently to that which is—not inside, but ourselves." (With Folded Wings, p. 33)

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
(Matthew 6:21)

I Am
(Written by Keith L. Jensen on 1/26/2010)

I am loved
I am a unique individuating free will

I am the wind blowing across open prairies
I am the sun sparkling on new fallen snow
I am the laughter of a crystal clear mountain spring
I am long walks by myself . . . and with a friend or two

I am a son, a brother, a cousin, a nephew, a . . .
I am the partner of my beautiful wife
I am the father of two beautiful children

I am curiosity—the wanting to understand the “how’s,” “what’s,” and “why’s” of life

I am a lover of stories
I am a teller of stories

I am a loving presence, a loyal friend
I am courageous

I am laughter, music, dance . . .
I am the silence—the stillness—between each sound and motion

I am a unique combination of all things I love

I am becoming a son of God
I am a mystery . . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The beginning of the fight against hatred, the basic Christian answer to hatred is not the commandment to love, but what must necessarily come before in order to make the commandment bearable and comprehensible. It is a prior commandment, to believe. The root of Christian love is not the will to love, but the faith that one is loved. The faith that one is loved by God. That faith that one is loved by God although unworthy—or, rather, irrespective of one's worth!

In the true Christian vision of God's love, the idea of worthiness loses its significance. Revelation of the mercy of God makes the whole problem of worthiness something almost laughable: the discovery that worthiness is of no special consequence (since no one could ever, by himself, be strictly worthy to be loved with such a love) is a true liberation of the spirit. And until this discovery is made, until this liberation has been brought about by the divine mercy, man is imprisoned in hate. (New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton, pp. 76-77)

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Creed of Elbert Hubbard

(Elbert Green Hubbard—June 19, 1856 to May 7, 1915—was an American writer publisher, artist, and philosopher.)

I KNOW: That I am here. In a world where nothing is permanent but change, And that in degree I, myself, can change the form of things, And influence a few people;

And that I am influenced by these and other people; That I am influenced by the example and by the work of men who are no longer alive, And that the work I now do will in degree influence people who may live after my life has changed into other forms;

That a certain attitude of mind and habit of action on my part will add to the peace, happiness and well-being of other people, And that a different thought and action on my part will bring pain and discord to others;

That if I would secure a reasonable happiness for myself, I must give out good-will to others; That to better my own condition I must practise mutuality; That bodily health is necessary to continued and effective work;

That I am ruled largely by habit; That habit is a form of exercise; That up to a certain point, exercise means increased strength or ease in effort; That all life is the expression of spirit; That my spirit influences my body, And my body influences my spirit;

That the universe to me is very beautiful, and everything and everybody in it good and beautiful when my body and my spirit are in harmonious mood; That my thoughts are hopeful and helpful unless I am filled with fear,

And that to eliminate fear my life must be dedicated to useful work—work in which I forget myself; That fresh air in abundance, and moderate, systematic exercise in the open air are the part of wisdom; That I can not afford, for my own sake, to be resentful nor quick to take offence;

That happiness is a great power for good, And that happiness in not possible without moderation and equanimity; And that the reward which life holds out for work is not idleness nor rest, nor immunity from work, but increased capacity, GREATER DIFFICULTIES, MORE WORK.

I BELIEVE in the Motherhood of God. I believe in the blessed Trinity of Father, Mother and Child.

I believe that God is here, and that we are as near Him now as ever we shall be. I do not believe He started this world a-going and went away and left it to run itself.

I believe in the sacredness of the human body, this transient dwelling-place of a living soul, and so I deem it the duty of every man and every woman to keep his or her body beautiful through right thinking and right living.

I believe that the love of man for woman, and the love of woman for man, is holy; and that this love in all its promptings is as much an emanation of the Divine Spirit as man’s love for God, or the most daring hazards of the human mind.

I believe in salvation through economic, social and spiritual freedom.

I believe John Ruskin, William Morris, Henry Thoreau, Walt Whitman and Leo Tolstoy to be Prophets of God, who should rank in mental reach and spiritual insight with Elijah, Hosea, Ezekiel and Isaiah.

I believe that men are inspired today as much as ever men were.

I believe we are now living in Eternity as much as ever we shall.

I believe that the best way to prepare for a Future Life is to be kind, live one day at a time, and do the work you can do the best, doing it as well as you can.

I believe we should remember the weekday to keep it holy.

I believe there is no devil but fear.

I believe that no one can harm you but yourself.

I believe in my own divinity—and yours.

I believe that we are all sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be.

I believe the only way we can reach the Kingdom of Heaven is to have the Kingdom of Heaven in our hearts.

I believe in every man minding his business.

I believe in freedom—social, economic, domestic, political, mental, spiritual.

I believe in sunshine, fresh air, friendship, calm sleep, beautiful thoughts.

I believe in the paradox of success through failure.

I believe in the purifying process of sorrow, and I believe that death is a manifestation of life.

I believe the Universe planned for good.

I believe it is possible that I shall make other creeds, and change this one, or add to it, from time to time as new light may come to me. (The Note Book of Elbert Hubbard, pp. 24-26)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Parable of the Potluck

(Keith L. Jensen, July 2008)

"That's why the Lord made such an everlasting variety of a world for, so every man could find his own kind of knowledge. There used to be a fellow down at Toll House, who had been reading these health magazines until he began to eat nuts and raisins and olive oil and pine sawdust — and not much else. Old Doc Harkness was talkin' to him once when I was there. 'But, Doc,' says he, 'this yere editor don't eat nothin' else, and he works fifteen hours a day, and keeps healthy on it.'

'Sure,' says Doc.

'And ain't they the healthiest sort of foods?'

'Sure,' says Doc again.

'Then why . . .'

'Do you like 'em ?' the Doc interrupted him.

'Not very well,' said this fellow at Toll House.

'Well, then they ain't healthy for you. That's why there's forty-eleven sorts of grub—so you can get what you like.'"

Chapter VII “ON THE CONDUCT OF LIFE” (as found in Stewart Edward White’s book The Cabin)

When I was a kid growing up in Sun River Valley, one of my most pleasant memories is of potluck dinners at the Sun River Valley LDS Church. On a summer evening on the 4th or 24th of July, we would all gather at the Sun River Valley LDS Church. Depending on the weather, tables would either be set up in the cultural hall or outside on the grass. Everyone would bring their favorite dishes to share.

Some were made from family recipes handed down for generations, and others were made from recipes newly discovered. My mom would make her rice pudding that her mother had taught her to make. Bernice Christensen would bring a green jello with pineapple and cottage cheese salad. Aunt Donna would bring her homemade chili, and Aunt Wanda would bring her homemade rolls.

And so it went on and on, everyone would bring the food item that they felt best about and would like to share. With joy, I’d get in line and wait my turn to select the foods of my choice. With plate in hand, I’d begin to make my food selections. My selections would be based on a number of factors. I’d listen to recommendations made by others.

“Oh, you just have to try Sister Feeler’s fried chicken. It’s to die for!”
“Son, you better not have any of Bishop Christensen’s baked beans. Those are only meant for the men here.”

Other selections were based upon memories of dishes from previous years. Sister Vergie Nielsen’s crumb crust deep dish apple pie was always a dish that would get my attention. And then, there were always the selections based upon the sights and smells of the day.

“MmmMmmMmm! What’s that that smells so good? I just have to have some of those scalloped potatoes.”
“That has to be one of the prettiest tossed salads I’ve ever seen. I think I’ll just try a bit of that.”

And so it went. Each person got to select the foods they’d like to eat. There was no one making an announcement that because of their position or calling that they knew what the best or “most right” foods that everyone ought to eat. In fact, the whole joy of the “potluck experience” was that I got to eat just what I wanted and in the portions I liked.

At a potluck dinner the very idea of someone getting up and saying—

“Through much prayer and fasting the brethren have received a revelation on what the proper and healthy potluck diet is. Each of you has been given a list of ‘appropriate foods.’ Please make your selections only from this list. And remember, ‘even though there is meat on this table, as God’s chosen people, you are to partake of none of this’”

—would seem ridiculous and absurd, and I hope few of us would put up with it. If we did, the whole experience of the potluck dinner would have lost much of its appeal as a fun and festive gathering.

And yet this is the very trap that we fall into when it comes to many aspects of our lives such as parenting, religion, and spiritual matters. We have bought into the delusion that someone has a special dispensation from God and that they know what’s best for us. We have lost touch with our own bodies and the messages that they first quietly speak to us and then more loudly and loudly they shout when we are no longer listening. Constantly, God is speaking to each of us, but we have fallen into a sleep of not hearing and not seeing. We have fallen into the trap of believing that there are others who can hear for us and see for us. It all reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew.

“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” (Matthew 13:13-16)