Archive for the ‘Blather’ Category

heat

Or, perhaps, the flogging will continue until morale improves. It has been over 100 degrees fahrenheit every day for a solid month. Too hot for bees, even, so I have some anxiety about the fate of the garden this year. Anyway. After all the other fun and frivolity of the last several months, the heat and the, of course, HUGE fires have people walking around here like literal zombies. A quick survey of media will remind one, however, that the entire planet is engulfed in this sort of beyond challenging situation and it can be hard to know what to do in any way, shape, or form.

It’s been quite the endeavor, as we all know, to keep a minimal level of sanity not to mention engagement. Nothing is working, in terms of daily activities, the way one had become accustomed to. Let’s just say. I was intrigued, for example, to find out that in addition to potatoes and chardonnay, there are also no Rolaids to be found hereabouts. I did find a quite splendid ten inch tall silver colored elephant watering can, though.

HOWEVER. We’re not here to discuss Rolaids or watering cans, Gentle Reader. It’s more about how in the depths of all of this shift and disruption and sorrow and unknowing and yes, fear, we can still find a working pole star. I was beginning to wonder, myself.

It seems odd that we have to go all the way, sometimes, into pain and Incredibly Poor Repetitive Decisions before the light dawns. (Especially if you think you’ve already done that…..) In dealing with that pain, it is possible (after what can seem like armed struggle) to get to a place where the pain itself moves into second place in one’s awareness. Then, if you can ride that wave a minute, you get to a place where you see that what you THINK about the pain or whatever it is has a lot to do with your experience of it. Moving right along, you see that what you THINK was most often taught to you in your early life- so you may think/believe/whateveritis things without even knowing why, or that you do think those things. Then, the fact that the body itself is tense and hard and maybe even twitching around gets you to base camp, in a sense. You can, in fact, breathe THROUGH this pain. Keep breathing. Put the thinking down, leave your opinions way behind (especially if they are about you or anyone in your immediate vicinity), and then…..it’s quiet. Open. There’s light for a moment and that allows for perspective. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Then the exciting part starts, when all the room the old opinions and fears and attitudes took gets freed up a bit? new things appear. You don’t have to be afraid, really. We’re here to learn and try to enjoy as much as possible. Turns out enjoyment really springs from love. Love is the answer to whatever may be bugging you, and the thing of it is to learn more about love. What IS the loving thing to do in a given situation? Usually it involves at least a tiny bit of You realizing the Other is YOU, too, and You are Other and the real answer to daily problems and struggles is to work on the solution, not on rehashing or blaming or any of the other things we all so often fall back on. Which involves love and breathing which get you to action, which we or at least I often seemed to think was in starting place. But it starts with love.

Which is not to say that I love Bloviating Pustule (long may he stay away), or the guy who called me a nasty name when, after he asked me, I expressed a positive opinion about June 19 being a national holiday in the U.S. Uhm, no. Not even. I’m still disgusted with what the country I live in has done through the years of its existence, I don’t like it and I work as much as possible to change things and provide whatever redress there might be for all those who….well. Were treated with such cruel inhumanity it’s hard to know what would balance things. I include rivers in this category too.

I have realized, though, that when I ground myself and proceed with the idea that we ARE all one, it is easier to deal with the flashpoints of reactivity and rage and poor driving. It’s a fire not to be fed by getting sucked into it. It’s more a situation of allowing space instead of anger and blame, and it turns out you can too figure out how to ask someone who’s yelling at you, calmly, what it’s all about. If the situation doesn’t involve someone having a psychotic break or drug derangement, it changes things somehow when someone slows down and speaks, and it is my feeling, not to mention enormous hope, that more and more of all of us are going out doing exactly that. Respect can always be present and that is important. There’s a change, and it is, however it may look now, I think a positive one. The old ways of dominion and power and duality are moving away, and it really is up to all of us to remember that we ARE moving toward a better reality, one based on proper interaction of all energies from the smallest speck of cosmic dust to the smile of a dog. One moment at a time.

Blessings and thanks. Take care of yourselves!

reckoning

It used to seem so much easier to write, Gentle Reader. Thoughts presented themselves, seemed to have some coherence, and off we went. Now, it’s a whole different ballgame, at least for me. I swing between thinking this long period of silence and staying at home is a good reorganization and recuperation period, and thinking I am not doing nearly enough to be of assistance to all my relations.

The all my relations part of this is pretty important. Among the many thoughts that have wafted through my non spring chicken cranium of late is this: The reason people have such a hard time articulating anything about racism, and I’d say everyone but especially people of, shall we say? non-color, is that it is an installed part of the thought form of this culture. It isn’t a separate “thing” that people come upon in the course of their lives and decide to adopt. It’s part of the infrastructure of life for many, not separate from any other part of their existence or idea of what is. It’s like gravity, there but unexamined. It grows from that non-relational attitude toward everything, at least that’s what I think. The western cultural approach is that everything is of lesser importance than the wishes and imperatives of a few individuals and their possessions both current and future. So if you, as a preexisting inhabitant of a continent that gets landed upon by western culture (or maybe you ARE that continent), are in the path of all that, you will be in Big Trouble. Review western history for more information. Also, the wonderful quote from Gandhi, when he was asked his opinion of western culture. He said: “It’s a good idea”. Yes. It seemed that way, anyhow.

Thoughts and thought forms can be transcended and resolved. Everything is energy. Energy moves. Electrical current moves water, for example, and magnetic energy moves…well, everything. The hardest thing to change often seems to be the one thing we really can: ourselves. It seems, then, that if we can manage the use of our own energies, we can have an impact on the energies around us. We’ve seen,and still are seeing, full bore no expenses spared, the results of what deranged energy can do to all of us. It seems like now is a good time to focus ourselves on what IS- which is that ever present energetic world and universe of which we are part. We are all related and it is imperative that we realize that and act accordingly.

Here at the Yurt HQ, we’ve had the usual stuff all this time. Helicopter flyovers at all hours. Gunfire periodically. A spectacular Spring has become the lion colored tawny stuff that gets brown and covers everything til you think you may have forgotten about Green. We had the first fire in the neighborhood the other night, and while I am THANKFUL that we are close (all relative out here but still…) to a fire station, I was surprised at how my anxiety went through the top of my skull at the first chopper sounds. We went outside and saw the water carrier underneath and that was enough. Fortunately it got put out quickly (LOVE FIREFIGHTERS.) to be followed almost instantly by a huge lightning and thunderstorm, with winds pushing the smoke from the fire in front of storm clouds toward the coast. No rain, of course. Just another day. But, with some important practice elements. Fear is something we all experience but it is also something we can all deal with and move through. I didn’t always know this, but I guess the first time you dissolve into a quivering puddle of yuck under whatever Monster lives in your area, decide to breathe through the tears and hold steady, something does happen. You get stronger, and fear isn’t attached to every single thing. It’s hard to stay dread free in the face of rocket fire when all you’ve got is…flowers, but it’s important. What we think can affect our world, no matter how far out of it we think we are. I’m sticking with that.

Meanwhile, let us all remember to take care of ourselves and each other. We’re in a situation which, whatever you think about it, involves the whole world. Pandemics are real, we’re in one, and pretending otherwise serves noone. I don’t trust western medicine much farther than I can throw it, but that doesn’t change basic reality. Vaccines have effectiveness against disease, and have had for centuries. People wear masks because they work . The underpinning of all of that stuff is largely energetic and about the whole system that is in motion and creating itself all the time (physics, friends). It’s not all about YOU, personally. To imagine that doing things that protect other people infringe upon your rights is….unproductive at least. Here’s to getting all of our heads and hearts out of the paper bag so we can think and feel and behave responsibly, and love one another instead of being afraid.

Blessings and thanks!

following the strange changes

So, I know it’s been a long time Gentle Reader. In the interim, the Editor here has become even more Byzantine or it may just be that my toleration for anything whatsoever has shrunk to an unseeable speck. Maybe.

Also, of course, the Dog is staring deep into my shoulder as I attempt to type, with his usual message of FEED ME! TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME! which will, of course, have to be done.

It has come to my attention though, that on top of all the rest of the joy we’re all experiencing on the planet now, I myself have been undergoing a massive re-build. After the election in November, slump isn’t even the word. I’d been working too hard for too long and the stress of the whole thing finally just came and sat on me and said: Sit. Stay. The Dog can do it, so can you. Choosing as usual to ignore the warnings (couldn’t hold on to anything, anxiety that obviated the necessity for even panic attacks) I carried on until the body finally said, OK. Basta YA. And it has now been two and a half months of actual total change. Everything was up for review and with the help of the loyal and stout Partner and Dog, it appears that Shift has Happened.

I’m still not up to working at the pace of yore but what this all showed me was that, in addition to the huge cosmic shifts we all are experiencing, the big thing was that I was disregarding my requirements in favor of those of others. I allowed the Stuff of the World to crash into my head and control my emotions for a while…which, in days like these, is a total non-starter. Confronted once and for all with the way things not only are, but have been, seeing the truth and fully accepting it…not the most fun ever. But important because of course, we have Work to do . It’s hard to say just what is going on now on our small planet, except that it does not look good from any honest perspective. Change has to occur, and not everyone seems to be onboard even with the minimum requirements for decent human beingness. The good news for me is that at long last, the fear of Large Belligerents has gone. Not that THEY are gone, but somehow even as they feel empowered I feel their lack of substance. Also the fear of what others will think, or what they think about my work or what I do (usually expressed as “that s&^! doesn’t work”, to which I respond now, then toddle along dearie!). The bigger questions of what to do about it all, what is to be done….seem to be most clearly responded to now by one moment at a time, one day, one task, one deep breath at a time. Turns out you don’t always have to say anything, but you DO have to walk your (previous and to come) talk. Nothing is the way it appeared to be, nor will it be. Change is now, and the more we can all operate from our Heart and what is basically good for all (which, let’s face it, is not exactly fricking rocket science) the better chance we have of success. The big thing, and the hard thing, is changing our habits. Ask me how I know…..

It has seemed overwhelming and undoable for a while and certainly the horizon is uncertain. Despair doesn’t get you very far and the fact is, beauty still exists and we walk in it if we can but realize it. That in itself may be the change we need. Hard as it is to hold that awareness when you look at what’s going on all around you, still it is important. ( How to get people to stop the things that they’re doing without putting a spell on them? is a good question.) Observation may be key there, because the truth and the information ARE out there and available- you just have to be quiet and listen (definitely up hill for some of us) because the truth is always expressed. There is now, from among the hundreds on the hills by us, ONE Manzanita tree blooming, and it is covered with bees. The song of their hum is breathtaking, and as the Dog and I stood there looking (he trying to decide just which branch he’d run by and snatch a flower snack off) I remembered the wonderful perfume in the air every year when these trees bloom and I thought: THERE is the reality. If we remember to BE, things oddly do fall into place and things do work out and what is to be done is at least somewhere visible. This allowed me to go inside and make a needed practical phone call to someone who, at our last meeting, had said to me, the only good Democrat is a dead democrat. This time, the person was polite and we discussed matters of disagreement calmly and arrived at a resolution. There’s always hope, and giving up is not much of an option anyway.

Blessings and thanks as always!!!!! take care, take heart and remember no matter how it looks? we are all in this together. Admittedly I have watched Too Much News of late, now that even a speck is overboard. I am dismayed and, really, sickened by what has paraded in front of all of us for the past….years and weeks. But one cannot concentrate on the hole all the time, right? You miss the whole that way! So even if I am, in my mind, thinking about how to set up a speaker to blast out, variously, pow wow music and San Quentin Imams calling inmates to prayer in response to our neighbor’s loud and hours long terrible bass lines celebration of Saturday’s “verdict”, I don’t do it. Right now that seems like progress even if it also seems like one does the same thing over and over in terms of reminding self that there IS a higher love and way…maybe that’s the one foot in front of the other part….Meanwhile….. Out to the Manzanita.

deeeeeeeeep breath

It feels like a river of dread is what I’ve been propelled through and over for weeks now.  We’re all inner tubing down this thing, of course. For extra fun, here we’ve had: a few weeks of daily temperatures above 106f/42c; someone trying to drain my bank account with all due ensuing joy at trying to rectify the situation when you cannot talk to anyone because Covid, and it all has to be done online and…hahaha, internet service has been terrible due to heat; a large and scary fire at the end of our road requiring 7 fire trucks, 4 aircraft, 1 sheriff and 1 fire chief; bureaucratic snafus up the yang; some health issues- anyway, more than enough stuff to make my heart jump out of my chest, stand in front of me and say HEY.  I CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS.  And then, of course, there’s the World.

While taking some, in fact, a LOT of, comfort in the fact that we’re all feeling the same things, my confidence that we will all work together to rise above the tide of crap and move forward is not at an all time high.  It was encouraging somehow, at a recent doctor appointment, when the Doctor said, people here are really strange.  Really jittery.  They don’t appreciate the beauty around them. It’s just weird.  No kidding, I said.  She’s from Texas which in a way makes this remark even more telling.  I mean: this is CALIFORNIA.  Then I remember people I used to think of as friends, also in California, who revealed that they essentially believe in Pizzagate .  Like the woman in the propane store who told me not to worry, enjoy myself, all this will be over at some point and was referring to the Rapture and not a lessening of our..er…viral load.  The concept we hold on to here is that this IS a pretty strange place, and it can’t be this way everywhere.  Right?

It seems logical to me that COVID 19 will be dealt with and SOMEBODY must know some actual facts about it, which would not be apparent to the average person in this country.  The lack of, and mis-information is mind boggling, and there really is no good reason why this infectious disease is still so powerful except: we are at a point in this country where we may really not continue even in the incomplete democracy we thought we lived in, unless everybody puts their kool aid cup down quick and in a hurry.  When the inhabitant of the White House says he wants the post office to close because otherwise, to put it simply, he won’t win the election, which is all that matters? when said individual suggested drinking disinfectants since they might do something about the virus and why not since you can’t get a test anyway? when it is revealed that the same individual caused needed pandemic aid to be withheld from “blue” states because? they didn’t vote for him? and when we continue to be subjected to racist, sexist, idiotic statements presented as fact? it scares me.  Marge Simpson, for heaven’s sake, has to defend herself. Suddenly there’s “diplomacy” in the Middle East? perhaps it is more an alignment of where the weapons and money are going in truth. The functioning US government is being dismantled, justice is more than elusive, environmental and civil protections are being slashed without anyone even knowing until after the fact? The fact that Breonna Taylor’s killers have not even been charged or arrested or anything? The founding principle of separation of church and state seems to be more and more a blurred line.  Photographs of postal service vans being removed by huge trucks in Los Angeles and not for repairs have been viewed.  It just goes on and on, and nothing is done to even address the very real questions raised by what is being said, and seen, and done.  And the manifested concern seems to be whether or  not one can go to a bar or get a tattoo.  Or be abusive in public at will. Exercise, you know, their rights.  Because, as I have been told more than once, this is what patriotic rebels do.  Someone actually said to me recently, very politely, that I, and people like me, (as in, appears to be a Democrat) really should be dead- that’s the only way we’d be “good”. Not EVEN kidding.

So. Yeah.  I fell into a pretty deep hole, which I realized one day when a petition to stop baiting and killing of bears (misnomered as “hunting”) completely gravelled me and I could hardly proceed with signing it.   It did get signed, of course, and we proceed with things like making dog biscuits (healthier! and also Someone may be a TINY bit spoiled), mayonnaise (now MIA in local stores), fig jam, salsa with our chiles, and tending to the welfare of this little family.  Keeping us stocked with the best mineral water on earth, Topo Chico. Making remedies and remembering that the Thing is to stay with what you know to be true.  Nature and kinship is what is true.  Love is what is true, and even as I sink into the attitudinal morass at times, still love for all of us rises more strongly than ever.

The question is, in this moment, about co-existence.  Is it possible? I always thought it was even though experience showed me it was generally a rather dicey proposition.  In the past, my belief that we could all get along and understand each other and accept differences and share what we know seemed unshakeable.  Non-violence seemed the only real way.  Now I wonder.  There are people with whom I really don’t want to communicate at this point, in the sense of not wanting to accept their abuse or lack of truth.  Another part, which may actually be a good thing, is I am no longer willing to compromise, fudge, elide,  what is correct for what someone else wants or finds pleasing or is willing to threaten me to obtain. (Apparently, according to a friend from high school, I was “always an outspoken bastard”, so maybe it’s just an old attribute rearing a head.) Bravery, after all, is often about keeping going in spite of how afraid you are, being of assistance where you can, sticking with it against apparent odds…more than it is about force or power over another.  In that vein, onward! Blessings and thanks as always, and take care of yourselves as we all carry on.

a rain of bivalves

Adding to my joy, Gentle Reader!!!! WordPress has instituted a “new editor”.  Perhaps I am a dinosaur but really? I JUST WANT TO WRITE.  I DON’T NEED CLEVER BLOCK LAYOUTS.  Anyway it is another challenge to this little bear’s brain, but I figure, what with the success I had with our doctor internet “portal” after it got changed and whammo, there appeared to be no way in hell to do what I wanted…and I managed to close my eyes, breathe and say: ok, point me to it! and suddenly  found the right thing to press…there’s always hope.

Anyway, I digress.  A friend in Canada reported that after a recent rainstorm she went out into the yard around where she lives and found: an intact clam. She lives a LONG way from the beach.  As do we.  And? The Partner found a fossil clam in our yard. The world is full of wonders.  One has to think, though, about the actual suction involved in getting a clam from the beach to a few hundred miles inland.  As it turns out, this seems to replicate the state of my brain now, although sadly no one has reported finding it in their yard.

While comfort and support can be found in words, be it Martin Luther King Jr., Cornell Wilde, James Baldwin, HH the Dalai Lama, or even Winnie the Pooh, and while we know we all gotta rely on our hearts and souls first and foremost to navigate? At the moment I cannot seem to get away from the wrenching nausea the past few days have elicited.  Try as I may I cannot forget all the history I have witnessed, the hopes raised… it is a huge effort to stay in the now, watching essentially WORSE AND MORE OF IT.  How many more times? What are those in power even thinking? and I use the word thinking very loosely.  I mean: I’VE been shot at by police, had them shoot windows out of my apartment, kick the door in….all kinds of things that happened back..er…in the 70’s.   From marches and murders, Watts to Rodney King, it has all been something watched in a kind of suspended disbelief, like, surely this isn’t really happening, except it is and bummer for you it’s in YOUR neighborhood. (Sprightly Dinosaur takes a bow).  The underpinnings of things in this country seemed horrible but one had hope, and worked, for change- you kept on, kept trying, kept working for change.  There was also the possibly deeply naïve thought that, change happens, right? Surely SOME of it has to be good.  Also one worked on one’s own interior development and this can make a person think that, hey, it will help! Do no harm, do the best you can, help others, be a steward not a consumer….and yet now? I find myself, who used to have extended dialogues with people pondering shooting down police helicopters about how important non-violence is, the need for a perspective, now completely understanding that people are pushed to the brink after another 50 years of this crap and thus, things are going to get broken.  So now I have to reread William T. Vollman’s Rising Up and Rising Down.  Which is an endeavor.

It’s helpful for me to remember a friend who was also a cop.  At first my inclination was to stay away, after all: POLICE. Nonono. But he turned out to be someone with a huge heart and a searing insight.  The last time I saw him, he was undercover investigating a White Supremacist Militia group that also specialized in methamphetamine, and that made me fear for his safety.  It was not a good thing when he disappeared from the places I usually saw him. The lesson there was you can not have an idea of what a person is like until you interact with them. Period. This being true across the board, it really makes you wonder how people justify all the prejudices and assinine attitudes they have…until the next really awful realization dawns and that is: This entire country has been built upon just those prejudices and it is, really, far from a level playing field.  The deep holes are arranged Just So. White Privilege is something that happens every single day, and even White people are irritated when someone pulls that crap on THEM. I’ve seen this more than once in the Costco Pharmacy line, and people really get teed off when they hear me laughing. Others, of course, don’t have the luxury of even having an attitude. The Partner looks at me sternly in such moments because HE has never had this dawn on him, having known it from the jump.  Plus, living where we do is an every day, all day, demonstration of said fact.

As usual, what is to be done? Jeeez. I’m aware that the loss of joy and focus is integral to any, shall we say?, defeat.  Eric Bibb’s song, I heard my angel sing, speaks to this: “I saw an old devil walking my way, he said Heaven’s closed, go home and don’t pray”. There’s a way in which all of this is illusory of course, but the pain is nonetheless real.  My hope is that the frustration and sorrow we feel can be seen as temporary and mobilized into energy to make the change that must happen, by ALL of us.  If we are to survive at all.  I still believe in this as possible.  The false duality must be dispensed with, power over has to go, and economics have to be on another entire body, not just another foot.  These are all really big shifts, and who knows how long the planet is going to wait for us to quit screwing around?  Anyway, blessings and thanks to you all! Be safe and nourish your joys, as they feed your soul, which helps us all. (I think anyway…..)

 

(However, a caveat to the unwary.  Antifa, which isn’t even an actual “group”, has been designated a terrorist organization.  Despite the fact that this isn’t something that can be done by….an official in the White House…what it does mean is that you, anyone you know, or don’t know, can now be arrested, charged with terrorism, and be sent…to one of the many hells on earth we taxpayers support.  It’s easy to  think this is nothing, or “fake news” or any of the other malarkey we tell ourselves, but it isn’t.  This kid of thing has been happening and now it can be even worse.)

oh, my

Or, fun or what? OR life on Planet Clusterfuck. We’ve had a few direct socks to the jaw lately on the road to the shining city of stable place to live, pretty much all remnants of the Previous Tenant’s misfeasance. Today it looks like Fun With the Water Supply. The Partner, booted to the gills, is out on an inspection round which we fervently hope reveals Nothing. Being on a well, it’s always quite unnerving when the water comes out brown (possible leak in line). Green happens sometimes too, usually after the pipes have frozen and unthawed, and God knows how all that indescribable green oozy stuff gets in there. However, I feel hopeful because? In the recent bouts of storms, the only time our power actually went off was when a lightning bolt struck ground close to the yurt. This produced a sound I have never heard before, let’s just say. Things went BLACK for about three minutes, shock one supposes, then back to “normal”. So I figure, if we weren’t struck by lightning, things may be improving. Or our sang froid is deepening.

Which leads to the next meandering. Waking up is always, and has always been, a challenge. Almost on par with going to sleep, but that’s another story. Sometimes there’s just the old devils dancing across the quilt going nyahnyahnyah, sometimes new ones. Sometimes there’s music: Tannheuser (don’t ask me, I have no idea), Godsmack’s Whatever, marimbas, cellos, Nathan Frayne and the Nightsweats….but today? Today’s offering was an exposition on what free will means.

Having always considered that concept part of the patriarchal external enforced reality, I didn’t think it had any real application. It always seemed like a way to be told that, once again, You’re Doing It Wrong and MOREOVER It really IS all your fault. But this morning it seemed different.

It seemed to me that free will is another way of describing one’s THINKING when it is generated by the forces of ego, of the individual feeling separate from everything and not being aware of the actuality of Source…the unifying theory/reality/situation that, while it may not have been discovered by physics, certainly exists. So, then, one acts in accord with these thoughts and feels oh, so independent. Then they come together in a daily message which we often refer to as karma. And one can feel plagued by bad luck, forces of fate, whatever. OR, in some cases one can feel as though one really deserves all this great stuff because one is just so great oneself, greater than others and all the rest of it.

But in the end it is still, or it seemed to me this morning, what they refer to in AA as “stinkin’ thinkin'”, which in turn lead me to wonder whether “free will” like so many other things on this planet, is on a kind of continuum. One end is the egoic free will, and on the other? The free will that links up with the, if we can call it so, Source Continuum. And all those “decisions” one struggles with might be, if not easier, at least not likely to lead one right back into that deep hole one thought one was free willing oneself out of. Of course, one also has to avoid the non-free-will, non thought turning of it all over to “fate”. Which is starting to seem like a cross between the build-up of all those decisions crossed with one’s ancestral history.

It connected to something else I’d been thinking about for a while, after having seen one of Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s programs on finding such ancestral history, with well known people as the research subjects. In one instance, there was a recurring murder, one for each of, I think, three generations. The person whose history it was had no idea about the previous murders, although one had been experienced in this individual’s life. This finally connected with a knot I’d been chewing on, about my mother’s death.

I wasn’t present for any part of it, in fact hadn’t spoken to her for a few years. This has, needless to say, caused pain in my heart. She had the same general situation, healthwise, as my grandmother. Who also died without my mother, who also hadn’t spoken to her for years. As happened with my great-grandmother and my grandmother, from what little I was told. Aha! Self, I said: A pattern, aren’t you smart? But what does it represent? This is where you have to leave the old free will/fate stuff behind and understand that this isn’t necessarily a place, this planet, where you Make Decisions All By Yourself. There is a purpose, and this seems ever more like a huge school. It’s not likely you’re going to do well in a subject your teachers have not understood, much less mastered. The real point of free will, whatever it is, may be becoming able to discern the patterns and select the ones that are dynamic and harmonic, instead of the ones that feed that false sense of power over. So after all this cogitation, it seems most likely that nobody in my family ever really mastered relationships. *AHEM* Is that IT? I said to the blanket this morning, waking the Dog. Onward, then.

The thing about relationships, just to wrap this up and get on with sweeping the floor, is that they never ARE going to work if you don’t start at a kinship relationship with everything. Which is horizontal, not vertical. (We are all one, we’re not all exactly the same, and even though one can’t let everything devolve into Fate, there really IS, I think, a Fickle Finger of Fate that shows up from time to time. Just to see if you’re paying attention. ) From there you go to not judging, and the difficult not taking anything personally. I found it was good practice not to get mad at the table when I stubbed my toe, for example. This made it easier to not go into full Donald Duck mode with those around me, eventually. After all, *I* bumped into the table, sort of thing.

While, in this moment, the Partner is still Stressed even though the Plumbing Event did not happen (YAY), and the Dog still stoutly refuses to wear the boots I got last year (hollow claws + mud=what do you think?), there is some larger peace now. Personally I think every time one of us Figures Something Out, it helps everyone…or I like to think that anyway. Maybe free will boils down to having the ability to look at what you’re doing in a way that keeps you from putting your face into the what do you think? Maybe.

Meanwhile, blessings and thanks! And, as we try to remember: Kindness and humor are essential now and may we all survive the….er….”holidays”…..

memories of underdevelopment

I don’t know, Gentle Reader, what made me think about this Cuban film today.  I reckon, however, it is because I’ve been engaged in a rather thorough going Improvement and Possible Modernization of Actual Self for a long time and I was, in fact, Looking Back on what the State of Me was before this all began.  My memory of the film is that as usual, the new and the old move along together and some parts of each get tired and fall away all in a politicized context of NEW vs OLD, or NOW vs THEN.  It occurred to me, thinking about this movie, that in the eight and a half years (!!!!!!!!!!!) we’ve been here, I maintained my historical approach of DO and BE also, because you can’t BE accepted or included or whatever unless you DO.  If that makes sense. Let’s just say it’s totally exhausting and in fact, impossible. Kind of like having a democracy in a fascist state.  In fact, what I think about that approach now is that it rather exactly mimics the process of capitalist colonialization, except you are doing the invading, genocide, institution creating and reality fixing yourself.   You believe the invaders (I’m picturing my high school “guidance counselor” here for one) when they tell you it’s their way or else and after all they DO have the weapons, as in, you must compete in the world, you must look outside yourself for every reward- all in a vacuum with no critical thinking of course- and, after all you are probably not Leadership and Success Material anyway because of things that are out of your control, like whether you have two parents at home, what color and sex you are, and stuff like that.   So one is constantly striving in an atmosphere that is completely artificial and has nothing to do with what YOU might actually be, and be able to contribute….and there is the distinction, I think.  Contribution to

first clear night

the actual whole as opposed to achievement for you individually.  And that would all be fine if the contribution to the whole part of things wasn’t systematically stymied to a very large extent.  Because actual change and development across the board are not what are wanted.  It is success for a small part of the whole, which is defined quite specifically and these days seems to consist entirely of the acquisition of money.

Someone remarked at the outset that the circumstances of our life here approximated some fairly serious monastic settings, for which experience in deleting DOING people pay big bucks.   I see that now, of course, and at long last I am surrendering, completely- or as completely as I can in this moment- to what IS.  What IS, of course, is almost completely gravelling at times and has involved the manifestation of all of my deepest fears.  One right after another, with traffic jams at times.  There really has been, and is, no room for anything other than acceptance and surrender.  So now what?

Now what is, in part anyway, seeing things more as they actually are and not as one was told, or what one wanted to believe they were (“family” is a good concept to ponder here). This is not an easy task.  It is and has been, also, for me, the laying of my personal foundation in what I have always known to be true: LOVE.  For so long I toiled away  and lived a kind of double life.  Knowing the truth and hoping to find a glimmer of it somewhere while hiding behind the exterior of a workman. Not daring to tell anyone what I actually saw when they walked into a room, or that I heard colors and had moments of divine awareness, happiness, joy. In my private time.  Naturally that did not work all that well, even though I thought it did since I was, after all, able to support myself, which I now see of course has been my struggle and preoccupation since about age 10.  Those around me convinced me that since I was Lazy, it was important that I rouse myself constantly and go DO THINGS, like clean out the gutters or mend everyone’s clothes.  All of which developed good work habits, don’t get me wrong.  But I did at last hit the wall, irrevocably and big time, and when that happens and all the things you didn’t want to look at just now, the disappointment and oftentimes rage, the sorrow, anger and fear, all rise up at once? Even when you think you’re all grown up now and that scar really did heal nicely, didn’t it?  You got to move.

The move, of course, is one we all dread- at least from what I hear.  Because it is a move to not doing, to silence, to feeling what it is you are actually feeling- and that last bit is a real monster as Russell Brand once said so well.  And, for extra fun? You get to do that while a bunch of stuff is happening all around you, stimulating all those spots that used to flash messages like EAT ME, DRINK ME, SHOP, RUN, VACUUM TIL YOU DROP.  I’m sure you know.

So that is what I’ve been doing, it turns out, for the past couple of years and this last year? has been a real doozy containing as it has the absolute full court press of OH GOD NO, NOT THAT.  But running from things is not moving, as it turns out.  Moving is often a rather still process although what happens in that stillness seems like pieces of the ground underneath you simply flying away.

At least part of what you come to is this.  Yes, awful things happen in life and there is pain.  And there is also the pain of others which can be even more difficult to deal with since it tends to elicit a sense of powerlessness that often leads to hitting the metaphorical snooze button. Nevertheless most of the things you fear are in your mind, are about how you think about things and not what they are. (Aside of course from things like “climate change” which is quite scary enough just as it is, and quite overwhelming when you wonder what you can do about it in light of the giant snooze button it has attached).  Facing those fears without running or flinching is tremendously difficult, but you can become skilled and able to do it, and as you do, somehow that basic ground of LOVE comes into focus, you see the pattern of life in a large moving sweep rather than an isolated pixel that has your face in it.  You are able to stop looking for what’s “wrong” and accepting that it is, as they say, what it is.  That what is contains everything, which means there are dynamic possibilities. Then, more fun! because you accept responsibility for yourself and begin to learn how to live with respect for yourself and all your relations.  There will be no more acceptance of the basically unacceptable in one’s “controllable” perimeter, aka the brain or some part of it.  No more snap-fests that last for days, no blame, no paralysis either which turns out to be one of the best parts….just the exploration of a whole new world, which you loved before and love even more now.  Functional expression of that love is what is, now.  So even when someone transgresses, it can actually be balanced AT THE TIME, without rancor, and who’da thunk?

Quick notes on magic: I have an almost 30 year old passion flower plant in the middle of the garden area.  We noticed this week that there is a long, vining tendril of passion flower growing out of the ground at one window- which had to seed itself somehow and is, in fact, in a direct line of float from original plant to new tendril spot.  Beets have sprung up again in the pot they were initially placed in as seedlings, then thought to be discarded since they more or less disappeared in the summer heat and smoke.  Something else got planted in the pot, the pot got moved, and now? We have both the something else AND beets.  Then there’s the forest of swiss chard that seeded from the OTHER swiss chard that had been there for three years.  It stopped being 398 degrees every day and the roses bloomed again, the butterfly bush did its thing and the Rose of Sharon has been extravagant.  The mugwort is about to bloom and we have a ton of tomatoes in the back at long last- after a summer’s worth of grumbling from the Partner that he was watering these huge-ass bushes and for what? Well? Cherokee Purple tomatoes at New Year’s is what.  We even had another successful solstice non-birthday, with guava bars and arroz con leche as this year’s favored dessert.  I also learned that I can, in fact, make a good red chile enchilada sauce- having always favored green up to now- and it’s pretty simple.  Add to that the discovery that Meadowsweet, already a favorite herb, as a single tincture applied to inflamed sores of any origin, works like a charm, humans and canines alike.  Not bad for a recent trip through Hell, yes?

Blessings and thanks!

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!!!!!

what’s in a title

It has been hotter than Hell here, and nobody is even thinking about disputing that, unlike when we first came and when it was 118 F every day you’d actually hear people saying, oh, this isn’t hot, I LIKE THIS.  So. Now? You see strong men in tears. People are more torched off than usual, they’re driving as though lobotomized, and all in all, it’s rough.  The vet is no longer going to carry the kind of dog treats the Dog Prefers. A problem indeed. The poor man who owns the laundromat recently lost his wife, totally unexpectedly, and another friend’s husband got thrown from a horse and it seems pretty serious.  And, it’s hot.  Thank God I saw that article about how hydrating beer really is if you’ve actually had enough water to drink.

The garden is doing OK, though, which is nothing short of amazing, and something else quite interesting happened.

I still, (in Spite of It All, the LPV,  “Congress”, Bill Cosby, the “health care” crapfest, Putin, Korea, the complete idiocy one hears no matter how hard one tries not to about everything in the world….) Participate.  I write letters to my “representatives”, make fun filled phone calls to Sheriff’s Departments, Governor’s offices, saying politely, please don’t do that ghastly thing with the firehoses you’re doing, so to speak.  I’m polite to the Sheriff when he shows up in bug eye sunglasses and remind him that there’s still no drug lab here. I remain calm while my time is constantly being wasted by How Things “Get Done”.  I also know that in some big ways none of this current malarkey is going to last, even in a tiny human conception of time,  so there’s not much point in blowing one of my precious remaining gaskets.   (I need those to figure out whether the shade cloth is keeping the tomatoes from getting pollinated, honestly.) Non-violence, like truth, takes a long time, but it really is easier in the long run and ultimately less embarrassing.  Unconditional Love doesn’t mean you always LIKE what someone’s doing but it does mean you recognize the common (one hopes) thread between you, and go from there.

So anyway, it’s been clear my Representative in the House has had me on the Ignore setting for some time.  I wrote to him once again recently about something, either climate change or the Russia Investigation, and for once there was a drop down menu for “title”.  WELL.  Gentle Reader, I went to town.  One of the selections was REVEREND.  And actually I AM a reverend, although I have misplaced my little certificate of reverendification, and I’m pretty sure no regular Church would want me preaching.  (The Temple of the Divine Dog and Flower? Maybe). So.  I selected Reverend.

For the first time ever, I got a response from this individual.  An actual e-mail letter.  And actually it freaked me out some because I realized that the only reason this happened was my use of the title.  Which in these parts people take to mean you are as Christian as the day is long and in these parts THAT means pretty much that witches are being burned, most likely behind the Pastor’s marijuana grow.  The sort of person this Representative counts on to vote for them in this very conservative area.  So it’s hard to know what to think except that I suppose this represents some positive step in the ongoing process of compromise and reaching agreement on challenging topics.  It amuses me to think that someone will connect the dots and realize I’m that same person they’ve been ignoring for so many years.  Then they’ll get the hiccups, most likely.   Still.  The information being discussed is pretty black and white, actually, and it may just be that a letter from such a person as myself has some tiny impact on the side of what actually IS.  We live in hope.

Meanwhile, on more important issues: still no pictures.  I’m working on it, let’s just say.  Blessings and thanks.

the wandering mind

Lately, probably in some high level of procrastinating avoidance, I’ve been In The Kitchen.

I decided, for example, to make the herein previously mentioned lentil/rice crepes, Adai.  Last time I may have omitted mention of the FLOOD that happened during mixing.  You have to grind things together and I thought, heck, food processor here we come.  Except, no, because? Water. Which went everywhere rapidly.  It did produce a rather pleasant cumin scented cleansing for the butcher block, and I went on to use the Nutri-Bullet, with good results.  So this time? There was FIRE.  Yes.  Actual fire.  Oh dear, I said, and managed to put it out with only minimal damage to one dinner plate.  Don’t ask how that happened.

But fire? after a flood? It seemed kind of apocryphal. Or maybe I mean apocalyptic.  Also I neglected the crepe component so they were a bit….thick.  But, live and learn.  Ultimately I decided to view the whole thing as a storyboard of progress, flood, fire, and then? The promised land?

Which turned out to be sourdough english muffins.  Worth the effort but not without incident, at least I can say I get the concept now.  And it also showed an important area needing improvement.

Which is following instructions.  Oh, dear.  I had a lot of things going on so I just read the recipe for the basic dough (baguette) and mixed it accordingly.  Of course when I turned to the actual english muffin recipe, it said, don’t handle the dough much.  Uhm.  So next time, like the Adai, it will be easier I think.  Less work, actually, and paying attention to what one does somewhat carefully does yield positive results.

So, notwithstanding that it was so hot yesterday I lost my brain completely and couldn’t even grasp which pan to use to make chocolate sauce, thus skipping that part of desert, I think this has all shown me at least what the next step is, about which I was wondering.

And that step is Attention.  I realized I’ve lived my life as though chased by werewolves, lending itself to a sense of not having time to…well, pay attention.  Run, run, run.  But as flood, fire, and spongy muffin interiors show, if you don’t pay attention? The wolves are waiting for you when you get there.  Going, haha and oh dear.  Looky here……So actually this has all been rather liberating in the final analysis.  I realized I don’t have to have epic disasters more than 40% of the time, which seems to be their naturally occurring orbit just in the way of things. At least in MY life.  We were watching a sitcom the other night and all kinds of things were happening with the expected ensuing hilarity.  The Partner said, this is so unbelievable! This would never happen in real life! (pause) Except, he said, getting up off the couch and moving away from me, to YOU.

In fact, he is a brave soul, the Partner.  It made me think of a time long ago, when as a student at University, a friend and I were taking the bus back from San Francisco to the East Bay after going to Japan town to get some groceries to make some culinary extravaganza in my studio in the ‘hood.  Exciting enough, really.  This friend had confidence in me since once when we were visiting his cousin in a somewhat questionable area, and wound up having to climb out of a small back window as LAPD broke the front door down, he commended me for my “sang froid”…we WERE in college after all.  So when, in the bus station, he said, you’re always saying weird things happen to you and I’m just going to stand on the other end of the platform to see, I remember gulping a bit.  And when, as usual, a poor disoriented man under the influence of many things both seen and unseen laid eyes on me, raised both arms with index fingers pointed and started stalking over to me, and I, in response, calmly lifted a pickled daikon (shrivelled, atomic yellow, and unpleasantly reminiscent of a certain part of male anatomy), packaged in a totally brain blasting plastic wrapper with exclamation points and Kanji in red outlined in purple, out of my shopping bag? And the poor soul turned white as a sheet and ran shrieking off the platform? My friend came over to me, hugged me and apologized for ever doubting my…er….cred.

This, in short, is what the Partner has taken on, bravely if perhaps ignorantly at first? I don’t know.  He’s probably somewhat relieved that our life precludes a lot of the normal dangers of going outside in a city, and keeps me limited to a small area where he has a hose and shovel and shotgun ready at all times.  He takes heart every day I don’t get bitten by a rattler, for example.  Anyway it gives me hope.  If I pay attention and have someone at my side who Understands that Stuff Happens, anything is possible.  And there really Is a splendid dog picture (success with the 21st century!) coming up in our next installment.  He’s almost not a puppy any more……..

Blessings and thanks!