Archive for the ‘Life Now’ Category

life, with Dog

mrhandsome

We’ll get the unpleasantness out of the way first: the lentil plant croaked.  Otherwise the garden seems to be shaping up splendidly, even in our now 100 degree f. heat.

Yesterday was the Dog’s birthday and another opportunity to see just how much he teaches me all the time.   The other morning we had an Unfortunate Occurrence….I had my back to the Thing in the moment since I was making something to eat, BUT.  I heard the Partner exclaim, No! NO! Oh GOD!!!! NOOOOOOOOO…..Since I wasn’t altogether sure if this was a Tottenham Hotspur malfunction or the Sheriff showing up I didn’t rush to turn around, but when I did?  There was an absolute steaming volcano of dog barf on the rug.

Of course, I am a pro at this now.  Show me your dog barf, pee, or poop! Go ahead! So, whipping out the always useful AARP magazine, I shoveled the stuff up, washed the area, mollified the Partner and babied the Dog.  I realized that since we found ourselves recently calling him the Bottomless Pit Bull, probably a ramp down on the food was in order.  He is a consummate pro at just…..staring….at you……until……you…….crack! and give him food.  He immediately races around whenever I even step into the kitchen, forget what happens when I open the refrigerator.  In short, he was playing me like Paganini.  Then again, the hummingbirds play me.  I just have to feed whoever’s around.  This turned into a really good opportunity to look once again at that still large matched set of emotional baggage and see that really, it is OK! I am not on a parole that will be revoked the minute someone doesn’t get waited on or fed, especially since I’m the one who passed the sentence.  And, especially since we know for sure that the Dog will eat until he explodes.

Traditionally (he’s three now after all. History, Gentle Reader!) he’s gotten a very tee-tiny (organic) turkey (nothing else) slider for his birthday.  This year I didn’t have turkey and he had to be content with what is probably going to be my crowning achievement for the summer: butternut squash popsicle cubes.

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Success there, all around.  Even if when I made the first batch somehow the immersion blender tipped over the container and……created an impromptu kitchen sterilization episode.  Anyway, bucked up by receiving all this Dog Teaching, I was somewhat surprised when after inadvertently watching the “news” my head exploded and the poor Dog found himself in the position of having to lick my tears and murmur therethere in my ear.  Now that you’re on the floor with me, aren’t you glad you cleaned all that stuff up? He is nothing if not ultimately practical.

In the end it all goes back to feeling one MUST DO SOMETHING whether it be to offer food or end single use plastic. The absolute self absorbed idiocy that passes for discourse, information, public policy is so disturbing on its face that it’s hard to believe people aren’t rising en masse against it.  My egoic self with all the luggage feels that the world has been destroyed by a bunch of jerks, and casual observation does nothing to dispel that thought.   Then again, that itself is a thought, right? A separating sort of thought, too. And most of the difficulties in life come from separation, from not allowing love in to one’s life and being.  I had the oddest set of realizations that night, after the restorative power of Dog Licks (and Partner applied cold compresses!).  Perennial philosophy, let’s call it, discusses both the necessity of disentangling oneself from the glamorized and/or apocalyptic apparency of things, and to put in practice a radical kind of acceptance of what one encounters.  Not accepting abuse or radioactive stupidity at all, but extending actually the kind of….warrior power? of love.  Let me take that thorn out of your paw before you shoot me, sort of.  Then we each go on our ways, thus fortified.  Anyone can do this.  So I at long last incorporated this information: that we are all holy, so to speak.  The Teachers just all passed this way before we did, yet we are in the end all one and the same. We may be defiling ourselves by our actions (may????grrrrr……) but that can always be stopped because there is always a choice.  So.  Although I am driven close to mad when I see the suffering caused in this world today by stupidity, greed, selfishness and fear, and grasp my own powerlessness to “do” anything about it…..at the same time I am increasingly more sure that there are such things as truth and beauty, and that they will prevail as long as there are those to show them in the tiny spaces that often get overlooked.  Like, you know.  Gardeners and cooks and poets and people who hold the door open for you wherever it may be found.

Plus, I think I finally understand gravity.  And: the bug spray is in beta testing.

Blessings and thanks, as usual and always!

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rising and falling and rising

Well, yes, it’s been Quite Some Time since I’ve been here Gentle Reader.  AS always, don’t think it hasn’t been fun.

Aside from the cursor on my laptop deciding to continuously pretend it’s actually a member of Cirque du Soleil and toss things around the big screen wildly and erratically and immovably, the main reason was that in a crescendo of awfulness, my hands, wrists and elbows all decided to shriek in unison for about six weeks.  Years of overdoing turned into the tendonitis/bursitis bout from a previously unknown circle of you know Where.  In short, I couldn’t do a damn thing.  I can report that CBD oil (I made a mix with a wood essence) does help with this, as does the TENS thingy you can get at a large pharmacy.  And doing nothing- this would of course be more fun if one didn’t keep thinking about What Has To Be Done.  Still, I managed to restrain myself and healing actually has happened.  But it took a long, long time.  With NO LIFTING, or typing, of any sort.

Other things demanded attention, of course.  Like someone hacking my bank account and subscribing me to cable TV in sub-Saharan Africa.  So not too long after the ongoing no phone- no internet- snafu return of equipment- yadda yadda, we then had no bank and no money for a while.  Then I got to laboriously change all my payment methods to the new account, right? and then? find that none of them had gone through and things STILL bounced.  But this is just “normal life” now, and one can give oneself a hearty and careful handshake for navigating it without undue injury to self or others.   And, fortunately, it so happens that tequila has been on sale lately.

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(image courtesy of the always wonderful TERRIERMAN’S DAILY DOSE)

SO.  Part of what went on also was a kind of shift.  Not just because pain does something to a person. But.  This picture really spoke to me, and after I stopped laughing it made me think more deeply about how our lives get structured. Because, really, rabbits do not need Freud.  And too much Freud can really screw a rabbit up royally.  Especially if the rabbit isn’t clear about exactly everything having hopped  briskly up to now, along with not being altogether clear about just how big that inner brain/library/dance hall is and how in going from one end of it to the other things can be lost and found…at the same time.  What shopping list?, sort of.  Which all added up to a much bigger sense of the continuum of things and a stronger sense than before that if…..really, IF….we can all shift our thinking just a bit about the things that bedevil us, those things shift and when that happens it does have a sort of boat lifting effect.  Mysteriously, but there it is.  Anyway it’s an idea.  And so far, all the horrible things people were going through around me have gone their course and we’re all still here.  In terms of the larger picture? Hard to say but surely goodness and mercy triumph ultimately- at long last?

In other parts of the empire, our seeds for the garden are sprouting very well indeed.  Melons! tomatoes! a cucumber! Lettuces! We got a lentil plant! (Photo below of one of our recent nursery expotitions) Raspberries and rhubarb! Figuring out where to put it all has been interesting and after all my laborious charting this season? The Partner has been repotting, hardening off, and generally beavering away….and moving things so I have no idea what they are once again.  Then there’s which things can be by fennel, and which can’t.  drivingoses The roses have outdone themselves, too- there are over 100 blooms on the big pink one in front, picture I hope to follow.

Meanwhile:

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So perhaps what it amounts to at this point is: we’re enjoying the chaos a bit more than before.  It’s a start.

Blessings and thanks!!!

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.

the Dog has a bilious attack

Oh, Gentle Reader.  It would be, really, impossible to describe just how much fun we’ve been having of late.  A friend accused me of being a “fun hog” after hearing the most recent happenings.

Anyway, on Monday, the first morning I’ve felt even remotely OK for  weeks and weeks, before I had coffee, the Dog, who’d had a Big Day the day before at the farm supply where we buy his food and he has, essentially, a fan club whose members stuff him with treats and hugs, barfed all over his spot.  This included his just eaten breakfast and treats.  I  realized at once that he’d a) overindulged and b) been affected by the bone crushing level of stress around here.  This caused me to remember a song, whose artist I don’t remember, the lyrics of which are in part: “I smoke two joints in the morning/I smoke two joints at night…” This actually made me laugh because when I used to hear that song, I didn’t realize the truth of it, which is that cannabis is a powerful aid in dealing with intrusions, both unwanted mental ones and the more rude, intentional ones performed by humans.  Feeling thus bucked up at the realization that I’d actually made it through several more Scylla and Charybdis episodes with a bit of such aid (the Dog gets flower essences for same),  I further rejoiced at the finding that there IS a use for AARP magazines.  They are excellent at picking up dog barf.

But and so.  We had no internet or phone service for around two weeks.  This is special on so many levels but I maintained a sense of pride at not having screamed at anyone even once, over the three hours on the phone this caused (including the part at the neighbor’s where one person started shooting his .45 at rocks about six feet from me while I was talking to a young man in the  Philippines who promptly freaked out- and I probably did not exactly help by saying, Oh, it’s nothing, just a drug dealer shooting himself in the foot) explaining that no, I can’t be in front of my laptop now because I am 20 miles away from it, where I have phone service.  But when I WAS in front of the laptop this is the diagnostic code I got.  What part of off the grid don’t you get? especially given that NOBODY has Hughesnet unless they have absolutely no other recourse.  Well, my favorite guy said, I’m here to help!!!! Which he did by saying we’d agreed that I’d take a $10/month credit on my bill over three months to make up for the extra money it cost in gas, and all the joys of having an internet business with no internet and missing calls and orders.  Not to mention that I’d paid for service I did not get.

So in the course of one day, I got to:

a) begin wrestling Hughesnet to the ground about the non agreement with absurd offer and get a proper credit for non-service,

b) wrestle with my health insurance about how they sent me a request for information to avoid cancellation which I got the day before it was due back to them, so therefore it would not be “on time”, and

c) continue working on the Larger Issue which I can’t write about here since Actual People Are Involved, but which borders on being life and death.  The person I’m dealing with, in the middle of yelling at me, said, oh, you are just so ENTITLED.  At which point I started laughing, calmly restated my position (which happens to be the only legal one in the picture on some level) retreated to Yurt Central, and had cocktails.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  I hope progress has been made on this front, is all I can say.

In the meantime, as usual to calm my jagged nerves, I cooked.  Focaccia, squash lasagne, butterscotch pudding, and at the same time as my friend in Chile did, baklava.  Plus of course tacos, Thai style coconut fish curry, and a million wonderful ways with beans.  Also, my planted peach pit sapling bloomed after we had a week of 75+ degree weather.  Then we had several hard freezes, of course, but the tree is FINE.  I am thrilled.  I mean: PEACHES. !!!!!!!!!

And of course as usual I learned alot.  How dumb was I, is a frequent question these days, but…..I learned unequivocally that whatever you call it, faith is both indispensable and the lever with which you can move..well, whatever it is.  After four months of living in the pit of my stomach I was shown that good decisions do not emanate from that region.  You just gotta move up toward the heart.  You have no duty to accept abuse but must remember we’re all here together.  Solutions can be found, but at least one person in the room has to be coming from some spot other than the Democratic Republic of Ego.

There’s also a good bit of observing and letting go.  In the midst of all this, more of the typically upsetting news I get from my (in fact only one person) family of origin arrived.  Realizing that freak outs of any sort are strictly prohibited in such perilous times as we currently are experiencing, I reviewed the situation, which involves me having severed contact a few years ago, and realized that in fact the whole thing turned out, for them anyway, as well as it possibly could and that was something to appreciate.  FROM A DISTANCE.  It also meant that I could no longer kid myself about my position in line so to speak, accept it and realize that I am in many ways exactly where I ought to be, and faith is my…well, strength and shield.  I have something to do besides  chase worldly success and please people.  It’s a new paradigm, Gentle Reader, and those who can leave their matched sets of emotional baggage behind at, or close to,  the outset have my deep admiration.

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When reality looks like this? Who are we to question.  Missed you!!!!! blessings and thanks, as always.

 

 

 

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:

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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!!!!