everything must go

anotherrealsky

I kid you not: this is pretty much how the sky looked the other night.  It had been a kind of luminous glowing Presence for a few minutes right before this and then a display of color began, of which this was the only picture I got.

One thing this place does, up the kabonga, is produce so much immediate cognitive dissonance that you just have to slow down.  So much beauty right in front of your nose. So much mind boggling weirdness right next to it.  Putting that on top of regular life now is enough to make anyone blow a gasket, but the good thing is it DOES make you slow down enough, often enough, to realize that really nothing is to be done, beyond the endeavor to actually be where you are, however that is.

In the Harrowing Trifecta of the past three months, almost no ghastly stone has gone unturned in our lives.  On the one hand it gives one perspective about the Larger Picture, as in I actually feel sorry for the LPV, while of course being pretty much transfixed in horror concomitant with fearing any current replacement.  On the other, when the third bit of truly bad news hit the decks here, I thought, wow.  Is there a Ground to this? Is THIS where my head blows up for good? And of course, yes.  And, also, no.  It led me to understand at long last the Upanishads’ lesson about what is (it IS and always shall be) and what isn’t (it is NOT and never will be), and just how when you confuse those things for each other things do not come to a happy end.  Which is where I found myself, at long last seeing the reality of a big piece of my life- which was not at all what I had told myself all along.  So.  Ouch but no fatality.  Pick yourself up, breathe, go on.  Still hurts, yes, but it is a pain rather than a superating wound, we might say- so I know it will pass.  This really is important because even though I don’t think we really know what time is? it is something to pay attention to.

This was forcibly brought in to me the other day at one of my Spots of Challenge, the Laundromat.  Ever since the incident of the handless man, I have been somewhat apprehensive about the place.  However it is the only game in a town by us, so it is what it is. (yes!)  Prepare, breathe, go inside and remain calm.

This particular day the place was a total madhouse.  Many of the washers are out of order so the place was a literal tower of bubble babble, with people rushing hither and yon in search of empty machines.  I got there in the nick of time and secured three decent washers, so I was THRILLED and my pulse slowed down.  All of a sudden, someone who could only be described as a “hipster” walked in.  Pajama pants, hoodie, van dyke beard, clunky glasses, idiot phone.  He scanned the situation, and seeing no available machines, began a hissy fit right next to me.  I said, just wait 12 minutes and my machine will be open.  Hissying continued and he stomped out.  He returned 40 minutes later, just in time for all the machines to have finished and been re-occupied during his absence.  (Clear and total Lack of Laundromat Savvy AND No Sense of Time, either.  So.)  Something like the Son of Hissy Fit ensued, and he Stormed Out again, nearly ripping the front door off its hinges.  Clearly nothing good was going to happen to or for him, or probably anyone near him, anytime in the near future and the world was responsible for this travesty, in his opinion.  It just really made me think about how often that happens, everywhere, and how, while it is an incredible amount of work to pay attention? it is so much easier in the long run because you say to yourself, here I am in this Situation.  Let us look at this here situation and determine the best course of action,  which funnily enough is usually not storming out slamming doors or yelling after you’ve made some error in judgment or other.  Often not making a total ass of yourself is a matter of touch and go, which is amazing since it is generally such an unproductive act.  Why is it so hard to just shut up and pay attention for a minute?

It’s just amazing what we do to ourselves.  At least these recent events and crashes and news flashes have shown me that in fact, slowing down and being quiet pays off, if only at times in terms of not making it worse for yourself by thinking that what Is Not, Is.  I can actually do this now! Seems like something has finally been learned……

Blessings and thanks!!!!!

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yet another palimpsest

Well, sheesh Gentle Reader.  The normal torrent of words flying around my brain has slowed dramatically of late and writing, which is usually fairly easy? has been like pulling teeth.

However, I decided to take the position that this is a Developmental Phase and inspect all the words that DID pop up along with their associated…associations.   All while fairly major things were transpiring, as usual.

I’m slowly investigating things now that make my stomach upset.  Realizing at long last that stomach upset is, guess what? a SIGNAL that something isn’t right, I’ve been thinking about how many times I’ve disregarded my inner voice, self, whatever you want to call it, in favor of the opinion of the Other.  And how in the process I internalized that Other Opinion.  Which has pretty much been a huge mistake every time.

It has been a mistake because in those moments I relinquished my authority over myself and set it outside.  This sort of thing always leads to the same place, which is nowhere you really want to go and often includes the permanent installation of that stomach ache.  You think, of course, at the time, that it’s a good thing and this other person knows more than you do and all the rest of the malarkey that goes alongside.  It turns out that generally not to be the case, and people who insist you take their opinion as Fact do not for the most part have your best interests at heart.  The sad thing is they may think they have THEIR best interests at heart, and that isn’t true either.

Net net, after all this sitting still and observing things, something big happened.  I accepted myself as IS, and yes, not a moment too soon.  Early in December during a massive flood of unpleasantness, someone came over to our house and proceeded to tell me in a very patronising way that the work I do, what I do…none of it works and it’s just silly.  This pretty much covered everything from gardening to my remedies. I looked at this person and thought, wow, you must really feel like crap to attack me like that for no reason.  Then I thought…whoa! this isn’t the first time at this particular rodeo, kid.  People have told you this over and over.  Intellectually I know it isn’t true and those uttering such sentiments speak from ignorance and limitation,  but….and there’s the but.  I saw that I doubt myself.  I decided to just try to nip that in the bud each time it poked out and wow, was THAT a full time occupation.  The way I spoke to myself for most of my life was in a manner continually anticipating some sort of ghastly failure.  Admittedly there is some historical basis for such a concept- but not all the time.  The countervailing force of “stay in the now” saved me but also caused a lot of cognitive dissonance, i.e. stomach aches.

Anyway, in taking the long view it became clear just how much magic and goodness filled, always, my days and how that, in fact, kept me afloat in a world that seemed not to wish me well.  Balancing the necessity of living in that world with the necessity of staying sane while so doing has finally paid off, however.  I recently had two powerful and really, incontrovertible, instances of where my work and remedies made a big and sustaining difference in people’s lives.  It was an amazing experience, like fireworks were going off all around me and I’d finally come up to the surface of a deep lake from the bottom, spluttering and shaking water from my eyes, to see….myself, waiting for me.  No division, no stomach ache.  Challenges for sure….but the knowing that they can be met.  So, it IS true.  Once you believe it, you  see it, and not in the sense of seeing what you expect to see, but in the sense of removing constricting information from your viewfinder and turning the darn lights on.  It can be done!

As a reward for your patient reading of this:

bloodoranges

Aren’t these AMAZING? Given the harshness of the climate here, the fact that this little tree produces this much magic fills me with joy.  Plus they’re totally yummy.  Blessings and thanks!!!!

abducted by aliens

That’s really the  most sensible description of the past..oh, nine weeks, Gentle Reader.  Somehow I seem now to have been re-deposited in the yurt, Partner and Dog are both hale and hearty and things seem fairly “regular”, possible stargate breach notwithstanding.

But what the heck happened in the interim?  It’s hard to remember……..anotherworld

Here is a picture of a very dear friend’s stellar canine companion.  It seems as though she is seeing into another world, someplace that used to be flat, familiar and solid, and now seems deep and mysterious even with that familiar sweet face peering back.   Embodying the whole recent experience,  this is an actual image, it seems to me, of the moment when one is about to step out off the cliff, in faith, feet seeking the bridge.  (Or, perhaps, gets abducted.  And who knew that those Aliens were actually in your head the whole time?????)

Let’s just say it didn’t feel nearly this pretty.  Those nine weeks ago something happened that looked as though it was going to end Life As We Have Been Living It.  It didn’t, of course, but as close to the edge as we always are it certainly LOOKED like just a few paces away from being curtains. Disturbing for sure,  it was as these things always are, an excellent learning opportunity.  In revealing how easily old patterns get activated whether they should be or not, and how these old patterns lead one to certain thought trains that go nowhere helpful, it turned out to be a life altering experience of surrender and trust that may actually turn out far better than one could hope.

Surrender and trust involves, of course, that Whatever It Is that’s so much bigger than we are, encompasses all possibilities, and often makes a person feel like Loki being tossed around by the Hulk.  The thing revealed was that in fact, it does make a difference what thoughts you carry around with you, what actions you perform, what Work you do- and all of those things matter a lot more than what anyone, or you even, says or judges or opines. The actual body of what we ARE has a real presence that influences things, and the clearer you can be about all that the better off you are. It turns out that what matters is all that work done on listening to the inner voice, the bigger Presence, even if daily life tends to imply otherwise.  Things DO follow a pattern of sorts, and a clear pattern that moves toward understanding rather than having, and on inclusion rather than restriction, is ultimately going to lead you in the proper direction.  It may be seemingly awful in the moment, or take waaaaaaay too long, but that’s where the trust part comes in.  Often it seems as though if things go the way we “want” them to, or think they should, we think everything’s fine.  And it isn’t, in fact.  That control is a total illusion, of course.  But letting go of all that and remaining as clear eyed as possible in moments of flux or inside-tornado-ness is at once easier and more challenging than pretending we are in control of it all.  Or anything.  And there’s always the I Ching if you need a stern talking to. (My personal favorite? “You already know what to do”. GRRRRRRR.)

So while I’m trying to not dwell overmuch on how much I fell apart during this Abduction by Quotidian Monster Experience, and think more about how the center did hold after all, it seems in the end to reinforce what I am coming to see is true- if you hold to the harmony, the compassion, the not-judging or giving up, you are far better able to see where you are and thus, where you are headed, which is of course to a place where things work out in the end.  Even if for at least a part of the experience you are a total basket case in a blindfold.  Love is the way, too, even if for at least a part of the experience you visualize yourself wildly slaying dragons instead of meeting them.  Blessings and thanks, and back to more important things like RECIPES, next time.  We had a small but excellent blood orange harvest, which is always wonderful.

 

 

raisins d’etre

blue17Ijuneevening

Time is zooming by and at the same time, it’s like a big piece of amber in which we find ourselves closely held.  The seasons have changed, the one week Fall colors were completely different this year in shades of rust and copper, and there was a last group of lizards and frogs and bluebirds before it began to freeze at night.  The hummingbirds have taken to following us around on walks, bossing (or trying to) the Dog and Partner around in no uncertain terms.

A lot has happened, and nothing has happened.  As usual I suppose, but seriously, Gentle Reader, this has been a time in which the austere face of how things are in fact has shown itself in an irrevocable kind of way.  An adjunct to that is the realization that my lifelong effort to see the good in people may have….er….blinded me to certain prevailing truths.  Which gave a whole new cast to this life thing to be thrashed around (with AND by). So the masks have fallen, the gloves are off, and it’s more than a bit scary.  Then of course, there’s the “news” and the “world” and well.  Some days it is simply too much.  As usual I retreat to my Dharma (the kitchen!), my Sangha (D and P!), and of course the Buddha (to whom I address important questions like how much sugar do I really need to put in this glaze?).  A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words, which I do not have today.  So, above, we’ll say is the oft-consulted Buddha.  Below, and you can decide which is which, are the Dharma and the Sangha.fantinlatour

cuteoverload

BLESSINGS AND THANKS.  May we all weather the changing seasons and greet the flowers in spring with joy and heart!

strange trips

Or, perhaps, Bummer Du Jour.  There was an unscheduled landing on the island State of Disturbed Mind recently and hacking through the underbrush seems to have taken what attention I had left over post various and sundry head explosions.  More on that later.

In any event, before the Unscheduled Landing, I’d been pondering something.  Ever since we came here I’ve had the Rash from Hell.  This summer it perched attractively on my face, and being actually able to GO TO A DERMATOLOGIST, I did. ( More another time on how depressed dermatologists appear to be- then again, looking at rashes all day would be enough to lower one’s spirits.)  They diagnosed me with rosacea, which is in fact a catch all term for: We have no idea, it’s a rash, on your face.  I did as told, and as one might expect, nothing really got healed.  So, one day the lightbulb went off, and I said, dude! why not try your OWN rosacea remedy? I made this up several years ago for a client, and it has been successful more often than not.  Duly making a batch up for myself, I applied it as directed (!!) and…guess what? It worked.  Like a charm.  Let’s just say it was a teachable moment.  This year particularly I’ve been trying the things I make for other people.  The usual way this comes about is someone contacts me, says what their current project is, and I tootle around and make something.  Often of course I hear nothing, but just as often I hear that people are thrilled, their problem has healed (like ganglion, rosacea, migraine, shingles, different pains and sores…well, you get the picture) and all is well.  Generally speaking I make these things, keep the recipes for future use, and think no more of it.  This year, though, things have been so rocky I’ve ACTUALLY TRIED MY OWN STUFF.  The cream for residual pain from injuries and chiro adjustments? Works.  My bone spur cream? Works. The across the board pain cream? WORKS.

I don’t think of these things as something *I* make- I am simply a conduit, a vehicle, for a higher level of awareness to be brought to bear, so it followed that I didn’t give “specialness” to, for, or about any of it- in the same way my several matched sets of emotional baggage used to block my mental entrances and exits so that I didn’t think about going someplace far, far away.

Well, haha Gentle Reader.  It turns out that far far away place is ME.  Who’da thunk? It’s been interesting walking around feeling as though I am coming to some totally different state of animation and understanding- no “self”, but SELF which is of course part of everything. It’s liberating, and challenging since of course at the same time several things have occurred pushing all the remaining recessed buttons on my panic panel.  The recently discovered “me” knows that things work out; the panic panel operant is sure that we really ARE going to die now.  In short, the human condition with some additional overhang, stakes and live tigers.

Meanwhile, in my efforts to escape the Island State of Difficult Mind, it became ever more clear that the old tools were not working.  I can’t, for example just go out and get a job like I did when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Society, we’ll use that word, is in a state of collapse and if you don’t think so, just try getting something accomplished out there.  The recent “mass shooting” in Tehama County, California, took place about 40 minutes south of us.  The media has presented “the shooter” as a mad, bad, demented and deranged man, “not law enforcement friendly”.  The dwellers at that particular threshold say they reported this guy numerous times and law enforcement did nothing.  HE said his neighbors were cooking meth, made his dog sick, and wouldn’t stop.  Admittedly he did go way over the edge but one can, if one lives here, see how it could happen to almost anyone. Net net? The whole thing is this place in a nutshell.  Half the people here are just like that shooter.  There is no law enforcement unless the Sheriff decides to do something- as in you can call them, but good luck with that project. Honestly? I don’t know how it happened that the guy (Mr. 98 years in jail) across the road from us actually got arrested but I suspect after a certain number of bodies, something Has to Be Done. So there you are, bravely going forth in a place where the citizenry is unravelling before your eyes, and there is no redress for any misfeasance.  Every law and regulation that gets passed puts us more at the mercy of whatever moneyed interest pushed it through.  We, for example, get to pay twelve extra cents a gallon tax on gas now for some in fact unclear reason, which no doubt involves money passing from one hand to the other for some “project” far in the future.  The “new” and “emergency” regulations on “legal marijuana” are like something you’d make up as a pastiche.  Municipalities get to decide if you can grow plants, and where and if you can sell them, but nonetheless! If you want to do that, in some sort of cloud of unknowing, you have to have insurance coverage of $2 million, a $5000 bond, an annual license that ranges in cost depending on Idon’tknowwhat from $1250 to $78,000, AND a sort of know-me fee to cover processing your “application”.  The rules for “medicinal” and “adult-use” products are now under the same rubric- which I take to mean that medical users get to pay the same (sorry!) usurious tax rates as profligate hell bent adult users.  This was supposedly cobbled together including “robust” public input.  And of course it doesn’t stop there.  Mr. Unmentionable LPV continues going beyond the beyond, and besides displaying a disturbing grasp of geography,  one really important thing that got his recent attention seems to have been, whoa! too many elephants! lift the ban on bringing elephant trophies back from your brave African hunts! Total tip of the iceberg of course but it is precisely this complete wrecking of any kind of social fabric, conscience, and responsibility that makes life incredibly difficult in these times.  Making a plan for the future is only possible, it seems, if you’re rolling in money.  And maybe not even then, but at least you have some choice, which is not available in the more tenuously funded realms.

All of which is to say this is quite the endeavor.  I ask that I be given the grace and means to do my work, but it is entirely unclear how that may happen.  It’s only clear that it can, and does almost independently of anything else.  And now, I must bid you adieu since the Dog needs something for itchy winter skin.  Watch this space! It will probably work on humans, too.  Blessings and thanks, as always.

dance

where the wild things are

And, that would be HERE, Gentle Reader.

Lately it’s been so wild, in fact, that my sense of humor pretended it had been buried somewhere in the back yard.  GAH, it said.  This is no fun at all.  I shall hide under the bed of mint until things improve.  No amount of cajolery swayed it even one bit.  So I had to consider things without benefit of jokes or drollery of any sort.

Once I decided to stop thinking It Was Gone Forever, and moved on to not panicking about small things like where the hell are the car keys, and could all the metal pieces in everything just stop breaking, clarity returned, if not a steady stream of witticisms.  Turns out it was just another opportunity for growth!  It’s kind of like the time many years ago when I realized that my ability to know what people were thinking was something I used to protect myself, and thus had to drop until I was able to function on my own without that crutch.  The sense of humor, while a good thing overall, became another such tool.  Once a blackbelt co-dependent, I guess.

So here I am, unable to think things are funny for the past few weeks- largely because of course they really aren’t, and it was a weird experience to finally just get close to all those things without any armor (you know, fires, floods, murders, idiocy, that sort of thing?).  The ultimate revelation from this was of course that one doesn’t NEED armor after all.  The whole idea of separation from other things is an illusion and I guess we find that out however we can.  I realized that in fact with a moment’s attention you can really FEEL what someone else is feeling, and instead of shielding from that awareness or using it as some sort of protection,  say to yourself, Self? You know we’re all One.  Let’s open up and send some good vibes out just for ducks.  It’s harder to do this of course when one is righteously indignant (like having new neighbors across the road in the house where the ACTUAL MURDERER used to live, who pull up blaring their car stereos in exactly the same way he did at all kinds of absurd times like, say, 2 am…).  It’s also harder to do when you’re circling the anxiety drain over how is this going to get fixed or whatever.  But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.  The other part of it shows Confucius wasn’t wrong about everything, since he said comparisons are odious.  No more comparing on the rigged scale we’ve all become accustomed to, either.  Things are as they are.  And they reveal their information over time.  Which ultimately provides guidance and a crumb trail to follow.

While I’m waiting for the sense of humor to crawl out from the mint patch, then, the crumb trail has led to some interesting culinary moments.  I made butternut squash enchiladas at long last, even straining the sauce like you’re supposed to and making the tortillas big enough to roll, and they were great.  It also turns out that you can indeed use  yellow lemon squash in place of zucchini in zucchini bread, and it’s almost better.  It’s also led to some amazingly spot on prognostications for people.  When I breathlessly tell the Partner that, guess what? remember when I told so and so such and such? He just shakes his head, like, silly bear.  Only YOU don’t know you’re generally right.   The trick now is believing in our own happy ending in this amazing new paradigm, where things seem to be irreparably blowing apart and mending themselves into something stronger, all at once.  The Dog, as usual, stays focused on the important things and is his usual invaluable counselling self, even when his usual question is: what’s to eat?  His quiet padding up to me in the kitchen area always reminds me that slow and steady, stick to basics, look everyone right in the eye, laugh…is a good way to go about things.  He may even find my sense of humor for me.

Blessings and thanks!

things and how they seem

When the Partner is in his Zone of Pontification, he says things are not as they seem.  However, we are both starting to realize that in fact many things are exactly as they seem, just not as they are described in today’s ever meaning-shifting language.

Two examples are the Electoral College which we mentioned previously- a relic of Civil War politics which pretty much assures gerrymandering will prevail barring some extraordinary turn of events. Turns out the Second Amendment which every Tom, Dick and Harry has posted on his driveway fence here, is also a relic of those politics, an earlier (1780?) institutionalization of slavery in the form of saying “well regulated militias” can bear arms.  I always wondered about the well regulated militia part- I mean, how does that connect with needing to shoot poisonous snakes out in the country at times? AND! IT DOESN’T! It connects, completely, with slaveowners in the South being able to pick up a gun and go after any enslaved individual uppity enough to make a run for it.  So that discord in your head? Is because this particular thing IS what it seems to be- a rule ensuring that somebody will always be able to shoot you if you go against their wishes.  And this, Gentle Reader, is in the Constitution.   While this may be an oversimplification, it is not an untruth.

Juggling that bunch of indigestible information with recent events has been challenging.

Then, as usual, events conspired to show a bigger picture.  The medical care to which we have access is not wonderful.  Don’t misunderstand me, I am grateful to have any access especially given the vigor with which certain “legislators” are going after getting rid of it entirely.  But it means the care we get is spotty and not very personal.  SO ANYWAY.  I have had certain health issues which were largely precipitated by the Hospital Hell of 2015.  I went to get this evaluated recently, and this evaluation, in which I told the person seeing me exactly what I wanted because that’s how they do it…there is no look at my situation and ensuing diagnosis…culminated in an email telling me I had something quite serious wrong with me.  This happens to be the something that killed my father (even though I only learned about it by having his obituary sent to me in a Christmas card).  There I was all of a sudden in a hall of mirrors with a flashing neon light saying IS IT TIME TO FREAK OUT YET.   Which, upon reflection, I realized is pretty much the norm now.  You get told that something is the way it seems…to someone else….and that’s the end of it.  It is then your option as to whether or not to stew about it or enjoin the battle for further information.

I admit I was rather surprised at the unease this whole thing generated.  However, nils desperendum.  Insisting on seeing the actual test results, I was able to see that in fact, this issue is “stable”, doesn’t require MORE medication, and is something that I can do something about with the  tool box I have.  My own diagnosis, in other words, was correct.  I gulped down that food for thought.

This really made me think about everything from economics to the fate of fresh air.  And what I continue to see is that we are all being encouraged to disenfranchise ourselves from everything.  To accept top down word which seems designed to foment separation and fear more than anything.  To not, crucially, think for ourselves.  We’re encouraged to accept “solutions” from a prior paradigm which didn’t really work then and is entirely unsuitable today.  As long as we are fretting about the fact that things aren’t working for us we aren’t taking a breath, asking questions and trying something different.  Not that this is easy but no matter where you find yourself, it can be done.  It’s important to just stop beating your head against that wall for a minute. ( Finances especially seem non-responsive to head banging, for example.)

One thing that absolutely (to my mind anyway) has to happen now? We all must stop accepting and consuming crazyoverthetopcrazypants as sane instruction or information, wherever it may pop up.  The Emperor really IS naked for the entire parade snaking over our planet, and actually this is a great opportunity to design a new suit and parade route.  Of course this means giving up one’s own attachment to a Certain Sort of Button and folding chair (from which to watch the proceedings)  but inspiration does give a person wings.  Those wings usually are much, much better than any Button or seat you were ever given by other routes.  And after all buttons, and chairs, are utilitarian items that can also be beautiful, so there’s another stellar opportunity to CREATE.  Out of what may seem in the moment to be thin air, but…..what the heck.  Why not???  Blessings and thanks as always!