Archive for the ‘Consciousness’ Category

the never ending reveal

The Partner just showed me a piece of wood he’d brought in for the woodstove.  The tree it was from, which had fallen, looked to be from the rings about as old as we are.  Sobering thought in a way but also just totally amazing and also,  a kind of proof of interconnectedness and the flow between all things.  I don’t know, maybe it was watching the young turkey mosey on up the driveway last night with a hummingbird escort, or maybe it’s the beauty of our Very Short Spring, but everything seems flooded with a kind of light and beauty, even in the most austere spots.

For example, on a recent evening it turned out we’d both, as kids, seen the film The Hunchback of Notre Dame at about the same ages, and both recognized, with a start, Self in the Hunchback.  We’d both been dragging virtual hunch backs around with our respective Histories, and the memories of walking down hallways in school and people leaving a few feet of space between them and us, as though there were a contagion of some sort we’d been exposed to and they wanted no part of, were the same for both of us. I was quite frankly shocked.  YOU? I said? Handsome and kind YOU?  Well, he said. Yes.  And YOU?

It really made me think about what we go through as humans, and how some of it is so hard that your possibilities can be shrunken, in your own estimation, to the size of a grain of rice.  How much effort must go in to stepping around that obstacle, that possibility, and how much further effort into not carrying that sense of alienation along with one for the duration.  How all those hardened faces you see in life, all the issues and ailments arising therefrom, the narcissists and the shooters….all of it is about that beginning salvo of you are not OK.

So, ok, fast forward through the wending around all that.  I recently re-read THE DIVINING HEART, by Patricia and Richard Wright  (a companion book to THE DIVINING MIND, by T. Edward Ross and Richard Wright).  Both of these books came to me when I was first learning how to dowse, which perhaps not coincidentally is Another One of Those Things I don’t talk to most people about lest they be sure I am a nut.  Dowsing, popularly thought of as what some strange individual does with a forked stick, announcing in a creaky voice where you should dig your well, or where your car keys are, is actually a way of focusing your mind and all the energies therein on investigating the Universe.  Theta brain waves floating out from you with a question, coming back with an answer.  The question, of course, is most important, and one of the many great things about dowsing is that you actually learn how to formulate and ask proper questions.  It changes the way you communicate across the board because superfluities such as One’s Very Important Story are not part of the equation, nor is any sort of brow beating or Proof of Currently Existing Concept to the Exclusion of All Else.  In other words, it is a kind of ego-free way to learn.  Also, you find your car keys a LOT sooner.

Anyway in rereading this book I came across a part about the power of focussed intention on healing, which is sometimes referred to as prayer.  TCM refers to this, in the preparation of medicine, as Bao Zhi, which is simply (or over simply maybe?) the power of the practitioner’s awareness and loving kindness being passed in to the preparation.  Prayer has many connotations, I suppose, especially now, but I think of it as what another teacher called it: Unencumbered communication with Creator.  And, since I agree with the Buddha that all beings want to be happy, what I understand this as in a healing framework is the practitioner smoothing, so to speak, the electric and magnetic and emotional waves of another individual, with clarity and love and no preconceptions of what anything will look like, so that person can themselves reach into their own still point of this communication.  That is where healing happens and this, I believe, is HOW it happens.  We always heal ourselves, if we are willing, but we often need help from another in holding, so to speak, the space where it all happens minus fear and expectation, and with the provision of whatever other elements may be most appropriate.

SO.  The other day someone suggested I write up a sales flyer for a short weekend fair about my “stuff”, being careful not to step on the toes of another person in the situation who works with essential oils in a fairly traditional way, which is to say, eucalyptus is good for colds and muscle aches, lavender is calming (in small amounts), etc., i.e. the commonly known and already conceived “knowledge” about these substances. I realized that the situation was not appropriate anyway, and I certainly didn’t want any fur raised anywhere, but beyond that it came to me that I had absolutely no idea about how to simply describe what I do, since it is not “that”.  Because in a way it “sounds” crazy and this, Gentle Reader, is where the whole Hunchback Quasimodo thing comes in.

What I realized, the moral of this story thank you Bob Dylan, is that in fact one SHOULD never be where one does not belong, and if you can’t explain something simply without pretense and inhalation it’s perfectly fine to smile, say no thank you, and carry on.  People can clear a space around you or come calling, it’s their choice.  The distractions of current cultural imperatives, money, conformity, appearances- are just that.  Distractions from the work at hand, which is to do the best one can in any given situation, whether it involves wide open solitary spaces or hands on someone’s forehead when they’ve just tripped and fallen and are bleeding in front of their propane tanks.  I’m not a religious person, do not denominate myself, oppose patriarchy in its many guises….but I’m coming to see that quite often doing the best one can involves the prayer, the open question to the skies which takes into account what is already known and elicits what is not, with a humble and open heart.

Blessings and thanks, as always.

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the love project continues

glimpsedeepintoyreyes

And, probably, we need say no more.  But when the cursor allows it, we spring in to action and TYPE.

On the one hand, things appear to be hurtling toward hell in a handbasket.  On the other, essential reality and truth are seeping ever farther into the picture rendering the handbasket a bit smaller each day.  I mean, for the most part, I think things will turn out just fine, the News of the Day aside both political/personal, and personal.   There’s not much point in grousing, after all, however NECESSARY it may seem.

On the positive side, a lengthy sojourn of weed pulling and clipping and advancing into the impenetrable center of the garden (where I found blooming camellias!) did not result in career-ending back pain.  The asparagus plant has sprouted again, the plums are  looking strong, the peach is in full leaf, the pomegranate is leafing out AND the fig tree has both leaves and the initial early First Fig forming.  Clipping errors on rose bushes became propagation projects.  The grapes are legion, and the Fo Ti  has taken a grip on things that will take some time to unravel.  My laziness will have to be set aside so at long last, the roots of same can be tinctured in September (which is about when I’ll probably find them, too) and provide us with medicine which was, of course, the initial idea.  I think it’s called Hou Shou in TCM, a kidney and overall longevity remedy, which right about now seems quite appropriate. ( Otherwise, a word to gardeners: Fo Ti is a great plant but it’s like kudzu.  One little sprig will take over everything and I do mean everything.)  There’s still plenty of excavation to be done prior to planting the actual vegetable garden but it all seems, in this moment, Promising.  The black rufflled hollyhocks survived the winter so I am looking forward to blooms…..and sunflowers……oh boy!!!!

Also? the Partner hooked up the turntable for my birthday and I am once again reunited with my (large, sigh) record collection.  It’s almost…..overwhelming.  I mean, it’s been eight years here and….well. The dust situation is daunting, and the heat has burnt up two CD players already, but: MUSIC.  I’ve yet to find Coltrane and Bob Marley but they are in there, T. Monk, Bach, dance music of every description, in every language almost, oh! and! SALSA! which I have also not found yet….but.  Look out neighborhood, all I can say.  No longer do I have to satisfy myself with blasting out pow wow music and Femi Kuti from the car!!!! The Dog is adjusting fairly well, too, especially considering this is the first he’s ever heard of this sort of exact thing.  We’re listening to the Rolling Stones and he’s stretched out on the floor, head cocked and smiling.  And now? the tail is wagging and he and the Partner are dancing.  He also appears to have decided that I’ve had Quite Enough Time to Write This Whatever It Is and Someone Has To Go Outside When The Song Ends…..

So.  Setting aside  fears of disaster (although really- so much has happened already by this time I should know better), which are actually intrinsic to being human and thus can be assigned a proper size,  there continues to be reason for cautious optimism.  It really does come down, over and over, to choosing open over closed, love for all over #@@$$@@##!!!.  and also, when the mind spirals into the panoply of how many ways things can go sideways? Just turning around and facing the opposite direction.  Where you can actually See.  Which is, I think, what Creator (however called and named) wants us to do.

Blessings and thanks! as always.

 

 

 

hope springs eternal

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Upside down but there it is.  Hope, and cake.  A totally decadent Julia Child flourless chocolate thing, just chocolate, whipping cream, eggs, a little sugar and rum, vanilla.  A raspberry sort-of-coulis underneath with a honey simple syrup.  And yes, it was for my birthday.

WHICH I ONCE AGAIN SURVIVED.  Quotidian notwithstanding.  And even though I fell into a bit of a mood-hole today, all is very well, and we even got out of it without bringing in a backhoe for extra fun.  We’re clearly in a time of change, Gentle Reader, which is thorough going and leaves nothing untouched.  That can be a good thing when it’s the old callused habits that get scraped off, even though in the moment one is thinking, ouch? OUCH? THIS AGAIN? ANYTHING BUT THAT…..and if is of course yes this again because dear heart you did not deal with it before.  All those things we all become entangled with in life as we pass by that we shouldn’t dally with, old relationships, old shapes we wanted to squish ourselves into……not to mention the moving storehouses of everyone else steaming by with hooks, barkers, enticing offers…..  And of course it turns out that the way out is through, right? Oh, goody.  But it also turns out that a heart oriented personal system of not doing anything to someone else you wouldn’t want them to do to you does work.  Even if what it does is make that Other dump you like a hot potato, or alternatively make you realize that “one should never be where one does not belong”, or, perhaps most challenging, make you realize you’re here now and it IS what it IS.  And you, darling little speck of light and energy, are one piece of a very big thing, so do try not to be the tail wagging the dog.

There’s a lot to getting along in this life and a big part of it is not-doing.  So, it’s a good thing indeed that it is Spring and in my ongoing not-doing epic, the garden now needs attention and I can just say, well, kid! go pull weeds! later for all that other stuff and DO quit worrying about whether the whatever it is got mailed/done/answered/ordered/handled.  First project will be cleaning the Dog’s Bathroom which is now the entire garden area.  (Why is there nothing productive to do with dog poop???? This seems like a huge oversight on someone’s part.)  Second will be figuring out a less byzantine system of seedling organization than last year.  Not that the color coded pots weren’t fun but the handwriting on the “key”….well, it got wet and then Somebody Chewed It…..so it was the usual  I guess we’ll see what this is in a week or so……..the Partner was VERY not amused.  o-PHOTO-BOOTH-DOGS-570.jpgAnd, given the enormous amount of love and support and being there he provides? The least I can do is make it possible for him to know what…well, what it IS.  And, apparently the Universe is saying, what it IS? is go wash dishes and I’m going to insert this picture here no matter what you think.  It is a really good picture, sort of a words to live by thing, and now….off to it! 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!!!!!

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

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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

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