Archive for the ‘life and death’ Category

the famous exploding head

Yes indeed, Gentle Reader, that would be MY head. Things have been so far above standard gnarly of late that about the only thing to do has been pray. However, when I got an email from an old friend who was concerned about my lengthy blogging absence, remarking that since my life has more twists and turns that seem humanly possible she was worried, I thought, perhaps an update would not be amiss.

Our living situation here has always been a bit…..tricky. Due largely to the fact that our landlady has been a bit…..tricky. In fact, we have just now learned HOW tricky since she is terminally (probably) ill and Stuff has Floated to the Surface at an alarming rate. A long, sad story and a big part of it has been me having to actually face the facts of the whole thing. (Partner: You see good in people even when it isn’t there. Me: Really?. Partner: YES) Plus figure out what to do so we don’t find ourselves living on a sidewalk somewhere. I look like I have Parkinson’s most days now what with the nerves firing on all cylinders all the time. HOWEVER.

There appears to be resolution in the offing and all will, we hope, be well. Nothing goes smoothly and dealing with County officials and Social Security applications and relatives who crawl out of the woodwork and all the rest of it…well. To be expected in today’s milieu, I guess, but it has been almost more than this bear could..well, bear. However, we still have a home and potentially a Permanent one, and while there will be more on this Incredibly Amusing and Horrendous Story, there have been some successes in the midst of all the Challenges, too.

There were horses living here, right next to us. I often took care of them and we always dealt with positively biblical levels of flies, and then mosquitoes from the above ground pool and horse troughs. A home, it transpired, had to be found for the horses in the middle of this Situation. In a place like this such a thing isn’t as easy as you might think since there are lots and lots of unwanted horses after people get them and realize a)it’s expensive and b)it takes actual work. But. I persisted and? found an absolutely splendid home for them. Pictures were duly sent and the two of them looked like totally different creatures, they were so happy. So that was good. Also? NO FLIES. Happy. Drained pool and troughs: NO MOSQUITOES. I am calling that a WIN.

Another striking thing that showed itself was that, like Camus, I found, in the depth of this horrible winter, an invincible summer in myself. While spiritual teachings have largely, in this culture, been turned into blunt instruments to keep everyone in fear and in line, the fact is that the Divine does exist. Everywhere and all the time. And it is there when you call it. You may indeed be at the brink, at the last straw, in despair and fear. But. The Divine is there to remind you that you take another breath, you step back, you allow things to reveal themselves and gradually, come to a higher point than ever seemed possible. And, hey. So what if you have to do this a thousand times a day? Which leads me to:

Pickles. The weather has just been gruesome this summer and the garden has not been the usual resplendent refuge. We have, however, had zucchini and the Partner suggested making pickles. I thought for a minute and then realized that a simple refrigerator pickle would be just the thing. We happened to have a jar of Trader Joe’s organic hot and spicy dill chips that had no pickles but had the pickling juice. Zucchini spears were duly inserted into said juice. Results in three days? Outstanding.

Otherwise the world seems to be mirroring the struggles we experience here (the irrational people, the bursts of Bad Behavior), and it looks more and more like full blown good vs. evil, which I always had trouble believing in, in the past. It is absolutely beyond mind boggling, and the fact that Bloviating Pustule thinks he can buy Greenland? Is so insane that it taxes one’s credulity that it has been…acknowledged as anything but completely psychotic. And when we go to the doctor now, they ask us if we take “a certain medication for a certain (x) condition”….naturally when I said, you really think some ringer is going to come in here for this fantastic non service? REALLY? and they say, well you MIGHT be an illegal trying to get a prescription refilled….we need to know you know what you’re taking….well. Let’s just say there are days happy hour starts Early. People are definitely crazy and things are definitely strange…but, blessings and thanks as always!!

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report from the front

Holy Moly Cow and Toledo, Gentle Reader. I feel, for the most part, like a figure in a Gary Larson cartoon most of the time these days, especially the deer who has a bull’s eye on his chest, whose companion remarks, bummer of a birthmark, Hal.

Two good things happened, of course. I found a hawk feather, and at long last met a truly like minded individual here. Politically speaking. Which was astounding enough, given that the chances of that are remote, for the most part. Anyway, we were in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, talking about politics and restorative agriculture, biodynamic farming, and generally making the other people in the room writhe in their seats. After all, when you speak out against Monsanto around here it’s tantamount to “get the rope” time.

These two events seemed to kind of illustrate the knife edge we’re all walking on right now: the transcendent is ALWAYS there, always available. The death struggles of the current way of things on this planet are increasing in strength and volume, and if one doesn’t remember the transcendent? Things get grim in a hurry. ( There’s a reason the two liter bottles of alcohol are always on sale at our local drug store, in short.) The fact is, NOBODY can stand things the way they are and the sooner we all start communicating the better off we’ll be.

But, back to quotidian reality. After another two week down time for internet and phone, which the Partner said I handled better than usual and seemed to demonstrate Mercury retrograde at its finest, I have had to deal with the current Dramatic Production in our lives. Having just crawled out of another lengthy detour through the swamp, this really was not what I “wanted”. While I can’t “write about it” just yet, it has most definitely been and continues to be the most in depth trip through fear and old attitudes ever undertaken by this bear. It turns out though that once you wade through the fear, you’re at a clearing where you can say, self? Hal? despite the birthmark let us do this differently, whatever that may mean. And whatever it takes. The aforementioned dismal state of affairs in the world doesn’t make this an easy proposition, of course, but that’s just it. We ALL have to do the hard things now, face ourselves and move forward. The options you think are all you have are largely the outlines of outmoded propositions which seem, upon looking at them, to have originated with the colonialist imperialism that has shaped our world at present. Non-starters. Making a new option is quite the endeavor, let’s just say. It helps to read some history at times like this so as to see exactly what it is you’re looking at, and it does appear that the greed and rapacity that mark the way this world is run came into a full bore, full court press, mode, oh, a couple thousand years ago. So? you ask. Well. For me, what this has meant is the dawning of an awareness that the crappy, nasty, life endangering behavior one encounters day to day is actually an extension of a long chain of such behaviors. It’s not PERSONAL. In much the same way I had to get over the shock I felt at how badly hurt, physically, I had been in the hospital that festive time a few years ago, the shock that anyone could be that way….I now have had to surmount realizing that same thought about my current surroundings and situation. Oddly, this has given me some confidence. Patanjali wrote a long time ago that someone who cultivated yoga in themselves actually gained a level of protection from the slings and arrows of outrageous individuals. I’ve decided that for now, what that means, is: if you don’t sling noxious material all around you, it won’t get tossed back at you. Others may be unsettled by this but it does confer a sort of Pass. And you get to do things a different way. We will report on the success of this approach, which I have decided is the only way it will BE, as more information comes in. Meanwhile, the garden is coming along despite various snafus, and I fully expect to have some home ground corn flour by winter. More on that, too, to come.

Meanwhile, blessings and thanks as always. Be careful, and take time to see what is being looked at. And, especially, be thankful for your friends!

back on the street again

Well, Gentle Reader, it HAS been a long time. Mercifully, however, another season in hell has completed and for once I think we may well have really, really Learned Something.

Last year was a doozy all the way around, and my little world’s bookends of death and fire were, while by no means extraordinary, quite beyond anything that had gone before. I was unprepared for the collapse that occurred, even though it turned out the Partner was not (having passed this way before, he knew what was going to happen). My body seemed to sense that I was planning on carrying on as usual, and it issued a firm and not gentle NO. Somehow it orchestrated every tendons’ going kaflooey at once- tendonitis, fasciitis (not the culturally induced kind in this case, either), tear ducts and alveoli. The brain suffered as well and there was very little that got done in the final analysis. A lot of sitting on the couch, deep breathing, and the ever special fearless and searching moral inventory.

The good news is that you really can change habits, especially once you realize how many things are just that: habits. Fear is a habit, really. Being in the wrong situation with the wrong people is a habit. Feeling that you have to constantly achieve to be accepted is a habit. The fact that the world is in ever increasing chaos reveals that what we were accustomed to thinking was real, and now turns out not to be…that pattern is a habit, too.

AS usual, it comes down to basics. The rule is do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When they do unto you what you do not do unto them, time to go. No prevarication, no wishing, no falling back on habit. No blame and all of that sort of thing. I found it interestingly difficult to let go of some old resentments and attitudes until I realized that my habit was to feel those as supportive, instead of what they really were- anything but. The new practice of letting the day dictate itself instead of “having things to do”, does, just like they say, end up being far more productive than you could ever imagine. The realization that the thigh bone IS connected to the knee bone leads to integration and healing. Even the huge effort of overcoming all the fears that arise during such an intense change turns out to be simpler than you might think. Will I EVER be OK? is just a thought. Returning to the moment you’re in, attending to the requirements thereof, gets you to OK right on time. So, net net, I think I made it through yet another Dark Night. Of course, there was cooking.

I got on a dog biscuit kick, since I have a cookie cutter shaped like a dog bone. That reminded me of how much I used to like making rolled out and cut cookies. In another time, I made sugar cookies in shapes based on what people had in their yards that amused me (bears in their windows, pig statues in hidden gardens) and gave them to the respective creative neighbors. I hadn’t made any of these cookies for a long time and when I did this year? It was quite a success, a parade of bears and pigs and cows and Christmas trees and shooting stars and moons and hearts. Another night we had what I considered to be a personal triumph. Making all these things with paws that felt like they had nails in them was tricky but nonetheless I forged ahead, tried a new schedule for making sourdough bread, and had a good result. Then I made some ricotta, thinking I’d make ravioli for dinner. Think again, of course, because the weather has been horrendous and we had both a road washout and no power. I’d made filling for ravioli already, with the ricotta and chard from our perennial chard installation, but clearly any cooking was a non-starter, literally. So. I made SANDWICHES with the sourdough and the ricotta filling and we grilled them on the woodstove and they were wonderful. Like something one had actually Intended to Do, sort of thing. Evidence, truly, that staying in the moment pays off. And here is someone who really knows that, for sure:

Blessings and thanks and happy new year, let us hope anyway!

Jose Andres was here

Oh Gentle Reader.  So much has happened and of course the more things change……

We will start with Part Two…… We were not too far away from another horrible, horrible fire.  Thousands of people displaced and many killed.  An entire town (Paradise) burnt to the ground.  Of note is the fact that of the 1000 or so missing people, and the 80+ deaths, a large percentage were over 65.  Let the fact sink in that these woods are full of elders living hand to mouth with absolutely no safety net of any kind.  There are many wonderful things about this area, but it is also full to the brim of poverty and homelessness.  And people who have no other place to go than their current roof over head situation.  And of course, it’s winter, and it’s the “holidays”.  The local community got together with the wonderful and intrepid and humane chef Jose Andres, who I have always loved and firmly believe has wings stuffed into HIS shirt too, and with the Sierra Nevada brewery, and fed hundreds of evacuees Thanksgiving dinner.  First responders, still fighting the fire and away from their families, served the meal.

In striking contrast to bloviating pustule who blew through here, couldn’t remember the name of the town that burned (calling it “Pleasure, and what a name!”), and suggested that if Californians raked their forests all this could be avoided.  The news footage of bp, Governor Brown, and a Cal Fire official was unbelievable: Cal Fire guy’s eyes were literally bugged out of his head, the Governor was looking at the middle distance as if wondering how much longer he could stand there before he decked somebody….I could say more.  But I will limit myself to two things: (A) pustule and your poisonous cohort and chain illegal immigrant family? YOU’RE FIRED.  (B) Another swell move by pustule was to authorize OUR military service people, sent to the border,  to use lethal force on people attempting to cross the border and seek asylum.  The Partner believes that for the most part, our service people would refuse to do that, and that no  authority exists for this action.  I certainly hope so.  I saw a meme today that also relates to this whole nasty mess:  If you believe that a fertilized egg is a human being, and refugee kids are not?  Then you’d better stop saying you are motivated by religion.

I find this all so….staggering and dismaying…that no sense can be made of the fact that all of this continues to go on, and expand.  What is wrong with everyone that they don’t stand up and say THIS MUST STOP.  I have periodic cry breaks, let’s just say.  Then I blow my nose, or what’ s left of it, and carry on.

And now on to Part One. Carrying on was already a bit of a challenge, and then? The day Paradise burned up, my mother died.  The for far too long unrecognized bane of my existence left this plane.  On my end, it was pretty awful and the Dog got worried.  But then I saw an excerpt from a book, Inner World of Trauma, and the kaleidoscope shifted.  Everything I experienced, went through, suffered? had, over the course of my life, become an externalized Thing which kept me in fear, anguish, doubt, and a constant quest for replacement baggage when the original matched emotional set fell apart.  So, in a way, all this torment was…not real.  It was a complex constellation of things that came together in my baby brain and just stayed.  And grew.  Not anyone’s fault, no blame, just kind of a massive Oh. My. God. Suddenly and at long last? I put it all down.  It’s a bit strange having all this space in my mind now.  But I am here to tell you it can be done.  So whatever your burden is? It can be transformed and so can you.  It takes work, of course, and a willingness to feel what you’re feeling and a shift in focus from My Very Important Story to the grandeur of life and the world as it is every minute and of which you are an integral part.  Perennial wisdom, as it is called in the many forms it takes, is an invaluable help.  Buddha is not the only one to say, the fear and attachment and attitudes that you have are not really yours.  The hike to understanding just what this really means is not easy, you have to do it yourself, and the weather on the way can be horrible.  But it is probably the most important walk you’ll ever take.  The love and support of one’s friends cannot be overlooked either.

During this festive period another really fun thing happened.   A spider decided to bite me on the cheekbone…and boy howdy!!!!!!! I went from normal to sci-fi experiment gone horribly wrong in less than an hour.  Swelling, pain, acid-like suppurations from the eye, and a very special red bull’s eye all around the affected area.  I very briefly considered going to the doctor, and thought again after the last visit where I had to wait an hour for a scheduled appointment because someone else was late for theirs and filled the entire office with yelling about how they were on psychiatric medications and we’d all better look out.  I even more briefly considered going to the oxymoronically named Emergency Room, but remembering how close they came to killing me the last time I went, thought better of it.  Here is what I did, with sensible input from the Partner.  (1) Sprayed affected area with Vetericyn.  Nobody should be without this stuff, which comes in both veterinary and human packaging.  Exactly the same, but if you’re human it costs twice as much. It can be sprayed in the eyes, in open wounds, burns, kills pathogens including fungus and MRSA.  The Dog views it favorably as well.  (2) Did Jin Shin Jyutsu on self.  Nobody should be without THIS stuff either. (3) In between sprays and JSJ, I came up with a new cocktail, which I call the Linus Pauling. ( He was a famous scientist of yore, who once said that if you had a shot of vodka and vitamin C every day, you’d probably be fine.)  I knew vitamin C would help and as miserable as I was, and since I always used powdered, I thought, heck.  WHY NOT.  So.  Powered vitamin C, vodka, and orange juice.  I actually look…uh….normal…now.  So it turns out venom can be dealt with, too.

Onward, in any event.  Blessings and thanks as always!

 

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!

don’t think it hasn’t been fun

how-it-is.jpg  This cartoon from The New Yorker pretty much says it all.  And yes, we HAVE been eating olives.

What with the over 110f temperatures every day for a long time, the state of the world and all, everyone’s been a bit Tense.  Barky, if you will.  So this past week kind of put it all over the top, completely, seeing as how we currently find ourselves a bit closer than we’d ever want to be to the south end of an 89,000 acre fire, complete with firenados and total murk as far as air goes.  The wind here is always like something out of some movie where you’d say, Oh, that’s not realistic!!! Wind doesn’t do THAT! so when there are flying sparks involved and the wind does THAT? It creates something very close indeed to apocalypse in spots.  This afternoon is the first time in days that there has been anything even hinting at blue sky and it’s mostly in my imagination, probably.  Anyway the other night we watched the City of Redding burn from our front door- the flames reflecting off the huge clouds of smoke.  The fire guys got on it quickly and the red sky dimmed in an hour or so but I very much hope not to see anything like that again.  It’s all kind of a stress blur, but yesterday it looked very likely that we would have to evacuate.  In this situation, what that actually means is you leave and know there will be nothing when you return.  So, what THAT actually means is you have to get over your sense of your entire body being ripped open, think it through and realistically assemble what can be taken- if you have, as we did, the…uhm, luxury…of time.

Seeing as how I have hundreds of books and bottles of oils and tinctures and essences and what not this was not the most fun I’ve ever had.  But, I was proud of myself because I actually was able to put things together in a pile by the door.  Leaving, of course, 99.9% in place.  A Kitchenaid mixer can be replaced.  An out of print copy of the only existing authoritative book about Yoruba herbology probably cannot, but there it is.  In the end, at least for yesterday and today, the fire line held and we are still here.  For which I am truly thankful.  While we’re not anywhere near the end of this, unless the wind does something totally infernal, even for it around here, we will probably be OK.

So once again I marvel at the workings of the universe and all its mysteries, and once again realize that you do create your reality with your thoughts.  No matter how awful the scene in front of you appears to be, it is always shaped by how you are reacting or responding to it.  I couldn’t help thinking about all the people who live with smoke and destruction all the time, like in Syria.  And what that kind of stress does to people- the grocery store yesterday was enough to make a person reach for Xanax, after a mere week of this disaster.  But also? There are the unimaginably angelic individuals, like the farrier who was helping people move their animals to safety just Because.  And of course, the firefighters.  I feel as though I have a lifetime debt to them- it’s going to be interesting to figure out how to get that in balance- aside of course from the daily work of kindness to those one encounters.  These people go directly into Hell and save places and people they don’t know, with everything on the line.  Just Because.   So in the end, and despite certain other things that transpired that sent me directly to the cocktail olives, I feel for the first time in a long time, a certain sort of hope…or maybe it isn’t hope. Maybe it is the sense of the Light that is always there, no matter how dark it appears to be.  There is a peace in that, and a peace in knowing that there always IS light, and it is us and we are it.  And, eventually the ash will stop falling, we’ll reorganize and move along.  All of us.

Blessings and thanks as always!!!!!!!

 

aside from soccer

It’s been a very good thing that the World Cup has been on because otherwise? Recent events might have been almost undealable with, minus the distracting flow of the juxtaposition of luck, skill, politics, and byzantine rules.

It’s been tough sledding for us earthlings, and the fraying nerves and fear and tension are all visible in the outside world.  So too, though, is a depth and kindness, which, given where we are, is quite encouraging.  This being kind of an Epicenter of Ugh, and all, the more prevalent occurrences of kindness and restraint are striking.  Not that it isn’t still a bastion of  oxymoronic white supremacy which is ever more sickeningly mind boggling and seems to be on the ascendancy when one is feeling badly.  But.  The necessity of remembering that unity is real and duality is an illusion seems to be gaining ground even if it is in a bit by bit fashion.

Given the expeditionary quality of life now, every experience sort of requires a new way of looking at it.  New in the sense that as a human on earth we may not have always looked at things in their entirety, which is to say we are each part of a huge, colossal whole, which actually has sentience and thinks (for lack of a better word, Gentle Reader.  It’s HOT here and the brain does not do well over a prolonged period) for itself.  There is a motive power in all this, a cohesion, which we have, in this culture and world as I see it anyway, been separated from for….ages.  It’s not top down, in short, and far from it.  So every experience and relationship which has been structured in that way is up for dismantling whether we like it or not.  And life being what it is, we’re all presented with these little challenges from time to time.

In that vein, I’m happy to report that progress is possible and things do get better, especially when you don’t have a fixed image of what that is or might be.  My most recent challenge of this nature came upon me when I was already reeling from last winter’s brush with homelessness, and various other decisions that had to be made based on actual reality and not what one wished it was.  This most recent Learning Experience involved “Family” and Death.  And long standing resentments along with fictionalized histories and a large serving of guilt gravy.  Manifesting into shape many of my deepest fears and scraping open so many old wounds it seemed impossible.  The Dog just looked at me in a worried way, and the Partner reminded me that in the big picture, none of it really had much to do with me at all even though it appeared that it did. (Really? sometimes he is just SO IRRITATING.  Being right all the time and all.) In an almost funny mix of mistaken identity (on every level) the thing unfolded and I felt at times as though I just couldn’t do it this time.  But then? It became clear that all of it was, essentially, a story, and one in which I could choose to participate.  Or not.  And that decision had to be made on what IS, which is that colossal cosmic reality, and not on the top down story, which was the mistaken identity happy roundelay.  A rather new experience, really.  Not easy.  But totally doable.  It did involve a lengthy view of just how other people had seen me which was, of course and in this case especially, a bit challenging. (OK, I cried a lot) Then it involved the realization that all of it, and I do mean ALL OF IT, was in essence a story, and since it was a story that did not truly include me, I could wish it well and say good bye.  And rest in the flow of that colossal, cosmic reality knowing that however things look, there is something behind the apparency and that something sustains throughout, no matter how it turns out or looks.  In the midst of the pain and conflict, I saw for absolutely sure that the essence of things really is love.  Whether it is received or not, kind of irrelevant.  It just IS.  When you have negative experiences while you are “growing up”, it can lead you to believe things that are simply not true, many of which revolve around your supposed “badness”.  The world is full of people acting out of all that pain and misunderstanding, much of which is fomented of course on a political level, but nonetheless.  It is possible to stop doing that and just step into the open space that reveals itself.  Then you see what happens.  It helps if you have a dog.  Just saying.

Blessings and thanks and may we all continue to step into the real from the unreal, and turn the lights on for everyone.