It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

After many a tussle of  late, it has become glaringly apparent that to-do lists have to be created with a long time line in mind.  The corollary to that is that one really can not divulge too much of what is on any given to-do list to anyone, perhaps even to oneself, lest other Pressingly Important Things insert themselves as they please.  Which contributes to the faltering to-do list utility.

Today, for example.  I woke up having triumphed over Bilious Attack only to be dismayed at the remembrance of last night’s news which contained some disturbing elements.  About which, more later.  But in any event, the dishes had been washed and the soup made and today was another day,  and visions of coffee cake sort of things were flying around BECAUSE our neighbors have brought us lots of things to eat and I must reciprocate.  That is, really, one of the great things about being here, the sharing and support between (some of the) neighbors.  We traded cucumbers for squash all summer, and I’m in the process of wangling a sourdough bread trade for our friend’s cabbages.  Anyway, something sweet is called for at this juncture.  I have probably made one coffee cake in my entire baking career so it has been something of a poser.  However, while writing this I may just have had a brilliant idea which will also use up our bumper crop of native wild California grapes.  The question is, should I put that on the to-do list?

In any event, today turned into a constant stream of people coming up here, which in and of itself is rather strange.  The man we get our wood from called early and came up with our wood.  His wife just died so we kept him a while to talk and remind him he’s always welcome for dinner.  There were certain crises in the garden that had to be attended to, then another round of neighbors, after a long and fruitless search for my hair dryer which I fear has disappeared.   Since this radical change in life style it has been a constant series of finding out that I did, indeed, get rid of things that I couldn’t imagine I’d do that with.  All for the best but when you need a hair dryer you need a hair dryer.  Meanwhile other chores piled up and I’m wondering how a day could get so completely out of control.  Because, of course, also, all the time I was thinking: You big dummy yousaidyou’dposteveryday.   And, really, when I woke up I had all kinds of ideas to write about which of course evaporated in the course of a day in which it now appears I got absolutely nothing accomplished.  At the moment, it seems I am opposed by the Universe in almost every endeavor that involves anything even close to involving the word “progress”.

However, there was a moment of serendipity (which does happen quite often) in which I picked up a book by William Elliott, TYING ROCKS TO CLOUDS.  I love this book.  It is composed of interviews Elliott did with people like the Dalai Lama, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Pir Vilayat Khan- in short, people to whom he refers  as wise and spiritual .  It flipped open to the interview with Stephen Levine, and the question was What makes you angry? happy? and his response was that one does experience anger, fear, doubt, all those things, but that they do not last.  The latent tendencies we have as human beings are still there, but we can abide with them and open to them.  He said that identification with the hindrances is what keeps us stuck, thoughtless, dark.  I had been thinking about some situations arising in our life at this point, and realizing that we can’t, as the saying goes, solve the problem with the same mind that created it (even though we ourselves didn’t exactly create it and it’s pretty hard to read the so-called mind of the powers that be, but…).  So, essentially the same thing.  I was clinging to the feelings of fear and anger that arose in me in this circumstance.  As I looked at it, it seemed to me that this is almost the very essence of what we are struggling with society wide.  Things are done, said, promoted all over the place, that do nothing but provoke fear, separation, blame, feelings of powerlessness.  This leads to a state of inanition, which then pretty much means that the elements producing the fear theme are able to proceed unhindered.  This is the crux, somehow.  That we finally let go, open up, and step away from the fear and constriction and say, uh, you know? We’re not playing this way anymore.  Let’s figure this out.  Instead of just blindly going on and doing it all the same old way all over again.  Regardless of how it all may turn out which is beyond our ken most of the time SO WHY NOT GIVE SOMETHING NEW A WHIRL?  Seen in that light? The total flame out of today’s to-do list might actually be a good thing.

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