Archive for the ‘What things mean’ Category

what just happened here?

Lately it’s been a daily-ish experience to kind of have my head, unexpectedly of course, snap around and wonder what just happened here?  It’s almost as though Sleeping Somebody just woke up and however much sleep is rubbed from the eyes, it’s still an unfamiliar vista.

Staring at the now Very Big fennel area in the garden, which was seeded  four years ago, I not only wonder where the time went but who was that masked person who planted those seeds?  The descendants of Tyrant, the OG Hummingbird, flock around the feeder now and eat all together.  We can see the markings of everyone who went before, including the amazing copper hummy we saw last year.  Spring came and went, in the usual quick fashion of this place, with incredible lush swaths of green everywhere and the wild flowers blooming as if in arranged bouquets, short to tall, complementary colors.  Lots of new cows and goats and lizards.  It took about a month but now everything is dry and crisp for the most part, the snow and cold are a memory, and the rabbits are once again lying in the relative coolness of shade spots on the driveway.

I’m feeling the permanence of the impermanent, maybe.  We try, all of us I think, to throw off the weight of entropy, of inertia, what F. Scott Fitzgerald called the dead hand of the past, and live our lives.  At least we try to do that when we commit to being present, feeling what we’re feeling and following that, in an effort to find Peace of Mind. And when we are able to do that? There is a brilliance to things that is almost blinding,  They race by, they stand still, but everything is somehow different in its unfamiliar familiarity.  It’s a flow, a big river of energy and light and stops and gos.

Our quotidian struggles have come and gone and been replaced by new ones, of course.  (Notwithstanding the periodic bleak moments that happen when I hear “the news” however briefly and it seems like we are in a Really Deep Hole that Goes On Forever.  Like seeing that a municipality in Oregon is going to spray a 200 acre organic farm with Roundup to “eradicate weeds” so, I’m guessing, they won’t grow on the Interstate.  Uh.  If that isn’t a deep hole I don’t know what is.) The leap into the 21st century continues and I only cried once.  So I’m proud of myself, continuing to assume that my learning curve will be a curve and not a sheer drop off a cliff.  Photography, for example, how to actually get the pictures somewhere else than the phone….my oh my.  But, hope springs eternal.  In other news: The Dog did something strange and had to be rushed to the Vet a week ago, an untimely bank account draining, equanimity squashing ordeal.  However, he appears to have been restored to vim and vigor from Whatever Happened (see?) and once again I am overwhelmed with gratitude. The xrays revealed that he has an absolutely splendid trachea and spine, so there was that as well.  His Legend Continues of course.  He had to be sedated and when he woke up and came out to the waiting room? He bounded out with a huge grin, trotted briskly over to the reception counter, stood up and put his paws down as if to say, hey! I’m here! Where are the treats? Drinks for everybody!  The staff continued to tell the tale of it later in the week when I went in for…well, more treats…and they pointed to me and said, you should see HER dog!  In other good news all the seeds I planted germinated….still waiting on the culinary herbs but it may already be too hot for them.  The Partner has done a stellar job of clearing grasses and mixing soils and transplanting tiny tomato seedlings.  The beans are in, soon to be followed by winter and summer squash, melons and cucumbers.

The continuing sense of deep unease and doubt is something I’m trying to experience calmly, in order to deal with it without screaming.  Admittedly life here is a matter of continual touch and go, new gnarly things rear their heads constantly, and we watch our opportunities to adequately support ourselves dwindle.  Most of this has to do with things that are entirely beyond our control, and the only influence we have is in how we think about these things and each moment as it happens.  Given that there is so much beauty and reward here even amidst the challenges, it’s pretty disorienting. It’s a strange business working on equilibrium and basic happiness in view of the fact that everything dies and is reborn, over and over, and we really don’t have much clarity about that for the most part.  Nor are there really any reliable guidebooks, other than those containing what is often referred to as “perennial wisdom”.  It takes some time to absorb that perennial wisdom, let’s just say.  I’m wondering how to get it to work at the checkout stand in the grocery store, for example.  As in, why NO.  That total is NOT OK.  How about a whole lot less?

In the end it probably comes down to good housekeeping.  Not only can you not take it with you, you shouldn’t lug it to the departure gate either.  Nothing stays the same, even when the architecture and firmament are recognizable.  This is actually a good thing, and leads me to my personal big question, which is: why why why why why is there all this fear?  All the acting out, selfishness, war, unfairness in the world….has a substrate of fear.  So really.  What are we so afraid of?  Even in the worst circumstances peace can be found, the moving river of whatever this is moves, you take the next step into the what is, if we’re honest, always unknown.  But it isn’t necessarily BAD.  In fact, it’s often really good.  Nothing to fear. Maybe that’s what’s been happening.

Blessings and thanks!

 

understanding

I’ve been pondering the course of my life lately, Gentle Reader. And I have FINALLY gotten a bit of it. There was a fair amount of blood and composure loss along the way, but that’s life in the fast lane, apparently.

Anyway.  Not to belabor things, I grew up, as do many, with hardly anyone who understood me even a little.  I mean, of course, they THOUGHT they understood me.  This understanding  mostly consisted of an assumption that I would, given a range of possible behaviors, always pick the worst one.  It was pretty much a constant no confidence vote.  Bullying occurred.  Physical harm occurred.  If I was sick, the doctor always assumed it was “in my head”- which, as it turns out? Not the case. (Of course all of this DID create things “in my head”, but that was probably Creator going, hah, let’s make this interesting. We know she’s dyslexic, so let’s make this bassackwards to begin with!)  I took this, as do many, to mean that *I* was unworthy, had something wrong with me.  Understanding the psychological underpinnings of it all has been a life long quest.

This morning I understood something, at long last, and as a result of all of the above.  We know people are often hesitant to ask for any kind of help, lest they be judged.  And who judges someone who needs help? Someone who doesn’t understand, doesn’t WANT to understand, just doesn’t get the necessity of understanding.  Sometimes because of an attitude that those asking for help are less than, not good, and an endless string of words I’m sure you can conjure for yourselves. Or, alternatively, there are people who put their shingles out as “helping” – more often than not, they do not, and often project the things they actually don’t understand or need to know or evolve through on to you, expressing their personal situation as containing some kind of  found Absolute Truth, and yours fairly regularly as being entirely lacking in truth of any sort.  Of course as you go along through life it becomes more apparent that the old adage is true: those who know, don’t say (or at least they’re not SELLING it to you), and those who say, don’t know (because they often are kind of selling it to you).   We all often go along with this sort of thing. You think this person knows more than you do. (Or, in more political contexts, they have more “power” than you, which means they can exert that in potentially unpleasant ways.) Yet you know they’re not really paying attention to what’s happening in front of them- so there’s this kind of unpeaceful icky feeling that arises when you think…uh oh.  This might not be right.  What do I do NOW?

So, then, knowing.  What the heck is that? And how do you come to it?

The simple version is, shut up and pay attention.  Breathe.  Direct your attention to what things FEEL like.  You already have the equipment you need, even if it has been allowed to rust and fall apart a bit.  The mind is a wonderful tool, but it needs guidance.  The heart and soul reveal that guidance in the form of FEELING.  The brain then can do its job of sorting through those feelings, presenting the findings (probably to the gut, the third brain in TCM- and after all the stomach is quite a reliable indicator of how you FEEL) and moving on.  The tricky part is how much old habituation gets in the way.  If you were raised to be a blackbelt level co-dependent (thank you Ann Lamott!) this means that the brain actually has to step in and say, hey wait a minute.  That pull you feel toward that person or thing and the overwhelming urge to Do Something For/With Them/It? What is that exactly? Then you start thinking about what help really is, after all.  And who really needs it.  Often after the zillionth hair raising situation where it’s 24/7 drama, you realize it’s you who needs the help.  And you can’t be afraid to ask for it- but you do needs some tools to find the right source.

Which then gets you to what I think of as the crux.  Understanding.  Until you begin to move in the world with understanding, with the intention to understand what the other person is experiencing, you’ll never really know what to DO.  Real understanding doesn’t involve control, or power, or any kind of manipulation to a “desired” outcome, or any rule other than do no harm. More like simply turning the lights on,  it’s ultimately an expanded version of: if it’s on fire, don’t stick your hand into it without a damn good reason and don’t get an attitude about it, either. Understanding gives you a map, a picture, a way to move.  Following your feelings to understanding lets you not pick that THING that really isn’t good for you, whatever it may be and whatever anyone else says about it.  It can lead you to see so much more than you used to.

While none of this may be particularly rewarded by the culture at large? it makes life a lot more- a lot more everything.  More enjoyable, deeper, more beautiful.  The pain is still there because pain just exists.  But it is finite, and that may be the biggest thing understanding gives you.  The negative really IS finite, a piece of a bigger whole.  That bigger whole contains everything along with the negatives, and my view is, we’re here now.  We might as well look around and experience it, and say thank you, while we’re at it.

It’s funny how these “personal history” things feel so Big and Important (when in reality they’re more like gigantic, unsightly doorstops placed here and there, but almost never at an actual door they’re holding open).  I think that’s probably a function of where we were size-wise when we started looking at them.  It’s a long road, though, and really best and most enjoyably traveled without the baggage we THINK  we have to have.  Unencumbered is a good word, don’t you think?  Now that I think about this word, I remember that my teacher said that true healing is really unencumbered communication with Creator.  The feeling associated with that? is joy.  And we really can all have that.

Blessings and thanks!

 

another year older

We’ve been busy of late, Gentle Reader.  Mostly the Mental Hamster getting into Olympic condition, but still.  Things did happen.

It was, in fact, my birthday last week and I decided this year a different attitude was called for.  No shopping or thing coveting transpired (aside from an ill fated attempt to buy a copy of Moby Dick online), and the Partner baked me a cake this year- I decided not to do it for once.  I relaxed into it all and rigorously chucked expectations and preconceived notions.  And? it turned out great.

Our social landscape has changed drastically since we’ve been up here.  Some of it has hurt alot, and some of it has just happened. There are definitely fewer people in our world now, anyway.  Since this is the case, and birthdays are of course, like many holidays, times when we can go overboard into the past OR the future,  I did not allow myself that lapse this go round.

And what happened was that so many birthday wishes and lovely things came to me that I was absolutely overwhelmed, with surprise and gratitude.  The day itself was interesting, too.  After a year of, essentially, armed struggle, I FINALLY got a doctor appointment for the Partner.  On, as it happened, my birthday.  I’d thought about just taking a thermos of wine with me to quaff while waiting, but realized that the Dog would be with me so I’d be attending to him, and he DOES jostle in a most Tiggerish way, so it would not be cocktail time just yet. On the trek to the appointment we saw two amazing things which gave us both a jolt.  One, a peacock unfurling his splendid tail and vocalizing in that unearthly way they have, in a horse pasture.  The other was by the creek, an actual bald eagle.  Those birds are HUGE.  I figured those were both really good signs.  Anyway we duly arrived at the appointment and I experienced a fair amount of unease because I really didn’t want to leave the Dog, by himself, in the car for over an hour.  Nor did I want to be unavailable for questions during the appointment, as I would’ve been outside with the Dog.  And you know what? They let me bring the Dog into the waiting room! (Is he small? they asked. Er, NOOOOO, I said. Is he a service dog? nodding their heads? YESSSS!) Where he was, for him, exceptionally good and brought a noticeable calm.  Maybe people were just stunned by his Handsomeness, but anyway. That was one of the most interesting things, really, because I could actually SEE people relax just looking at him- elderly, kids, and everybody.  So when the Partner came out and I said, did the doc tell you what the plan is? and he said yes and I said, do you remember any of it? and he said no….I just rolled with the calm.  SO MUCH EASIER, really than what I might’ve done before which would have been the usual balloon shrieking up into the corner and quietly deflating in irritated futility.

The appointment itself went very well, all the paperwork got wrestled to the ground and worked, which in and of itself is almost shocking.  All my plant seeds came in the mail that day, I got a few Big Things accomplished thanks to my friend and New York Marketing Guru and Cab Driver Extraordinaire, and learned something.  Which is this.

Not that it’s altogether easy at first, but.  If you really make an effort and focus, cast out the what-ifs and shouldn’t-I-be’s and all the things you know are lurking under your mental bed waiting to leap out and scare the daylights out of you? and just say, this particular endeavor will go well, the highest good for everyone in the situation is what we want, and you smile? It actually moves in the proper direction without any of the normal pushing and pulling.  The challenges are temporary, like everything is, even if there are as many of them as grains of sand, but the moment to moment beauty and rewards are somehow nonetheless quite indelible.  It’s possible to feel complete joy no matter what.  And when you feel that it somehow affects everyone around you.  It’s magic.  And that, Gentle Reader, is what I got for my birthday.  Best ever, really.

And here’s the cake- His first, I believe,  a caramelized pear/peach upside down gingerbread cake.  The sky’s the limit!

CAKE

As always, blessings and thanks!

the dog with no sense of time

Whenever I ‘m in the kitchen,  I can usually time pretty precisely just when I’ll hear the patter of ever bigger paws, rising from whatever reclining position He and They may have been in, trotting around to INSPECT.  Looking, licking his lips, and pretty much saying, I don’t care what it is, I want some and when will it be ready?  Not yet, is my general response. Unless it’s coffee or something and then he gets told it’s Not For Dogs.  He’s getting better, in that he usually only comes back once more to assess just HOW MUCH LONGER????!!?? and I remind myself, every time, that this Dog does not know how to cook and thus has no idea about anything other than that stuff he likes comes from this area and he….must…..patrol…..not…..miss…..anyofit…..so he’s engaged and curious. Yes.  Good things!

I also try to cultivate in myself his for the most part consistent joy in things that are pretty much always the same and he greets with OH BOY! MY FAVORITE! YIPPEE!…notwithstanding the times he has to be Very Parliamentary and look just a tiny bit like a dog George Clooney, with his paws crossed in front of him.  Ball, stummy rub, cooking shows where they’re making hummus (a favorite), the morning routine, the afternoon routine, the evening routine, checking out the kitchen, switching seats on the couch, the morning kiss, hippopotami, the paw hold when he gets hiccups….everything, in short.  Except baths which he has recently developed an aversion to- he either retreats to his bed, snoring ostentatiously, or most recently, tries to fake us into letting him outside right before he’s to be put into the soapy drink.  He loves baths, actually, and closes his eyes in bliss as the Partner soaps him up, rinses him,  helps him out of the tub and whatnot.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking, which may or may not be a good thing.  The being in the now is the joy thing with him.  It’s all good to him, for the most part.  He doesn’t have a lot of preconceived notions or opinions although he does have some ever lessening remaining trauma from his challenging early weeks.  Really, he doesn’t have fear or trepidation either.  He just assumes, correctly as it happens, that everyone is going to like him.  So far, he’s been right except for two times which is an average one might profitably take to Vegas.  Clearly, there’s something to the way in which he assesses things.

The thinking struggle I’ve been engaged in, however, ranges farther afield from NOW and covers the knottier topic of knowing who to listen to.  The Dog ignores us at times but for the most part, KNOWS he benefits from listening to us.  Would that I had that kind of clarity myself, let’s just say.  I try to take his happy appraisal as a model and implement it in my own day.  It was going really well for a while. But as usual my ongoing issue of listening to the wrong station at the wrong time reared its head.  I realized that I had almost lost faith in myself.  I put too much emphasis on what I was hearing, in essence, without keeping the housekeeping detail in action.

I think about faith a lot.  I am not religious but I do have faith.  This faith tells me that love is the truth, do unto others as you would have them do unto you is the rule.  Hard as hell, but true and rule, nonetheless. While most of the things our cultures deems “wrong” appear on reflection to be nothing more than exertion of social control and an extension of the separation between us and everything else that seems to have happened about 5000 years ago, the things that really ARE wrong get no attention and it is quite common to hear people, in a variety of settings, say that there is no right and wrong.  But, there is.  It is wrong to hurt people or condone it when others do it. (Even though we hurt people all the time just by being alive; we step on bugs unwittingly, our housing tracts kill animals, everything our society is based on just about causes some harm. So already we’ve got cognitive dissonance up the wazoo.) It is wrong to damage the earth. It is, in fact, wrong to think that you are better than anyone else- or than any animal, plant, rock, or body of water, on some level, as well.  In a way the discourse about there being no right or wrong has morphed into an acceptance of awful behavior as long as you agree with it yourself. It’s almost a bit doctrinal, when you listen to religious people talk about the world now- and with SEVEN “god channels” on the tv here, it’s unavoidable. The religious texts, it seems, tell you so.  Yes, there ARE a million ways to stack dishes after you wash them, a million ways to clip your fingernails, all those things we so often let drive us bananas- tuneless humming, et al.  None of those things are wrong although they are often cast as so.  But I happen to think it is wrong to discriminate against people or situations or things simply because you want it all to be more like YOU. It’s wrong to make others suffer because you refuse to do the proper thing in a situation.  It is wrong to accept shoddy thinking and behavior as accepted and installed wisdom just because it benefits you, or so you think.  Given that we are all one, we have some responsibility to each other not to be total idiots. Even though, of course, THAT HAPPENS.

Is it about considering the source? I wonder.  Real Source is, after all, ineffable.  We get glimmers and hints and outright blatant messages but it is still all so much bigger than we are, as we get carried along with the cosmic parade.  Current source, not so much.  In fact one of the main things to be said about it now is that it constantly contradicts itself.  (Which may be better than say in the mid-20th century when essentially untruth was the message for the most part)  Researching a simple thing like is dog saliva a good thing for dog owies gives you a zillion answers that all refute each other. Information pretty much equals propaganda unless you’re the type to spend a lot of time in the real or metaphorical library.  Perhaps it is more about the fact that since we don’t know, it really is better to greet each moment with the joy it deserves rather than trying to figure out how to get it to do or be something other than what it is.  Which we don’t know anyway.  The information we REALLY need is, for the most part, available to us, right there in front of us.  It’s a question of who we listen to- who tells us what we’re seeing.  And that person we listen to should really be US- as long as we are willing to put in the work every day, pay attention, learn how to truly think for ourselves, greet the day with joy, and hope for the best.  Then it kind of doesn’t matter, or at least not as much, who’s talking because you can listen, think, trust YOUR source, and make better decisions.

So far, having crawled out of the Hole of Seemingly Complete Across the Board Powerlessness of last month, I’m equilibrating myself one day at a time. Traversing the hills and valleys of taxes, delicate but crucial negotiations, County Inspectors, health insurance weirdness,  memories and current time attitudinal snafus, I’m Remembering that I CAN trust myself, so I’ve cooked, the usual fallback after breakdown.  Butternut squash/olive/white bean pizza (initially looked at askance, liked very much later), homemade green Thai curry (did not send myself the memo about the part where I decided I’d make all this stuff from scratch so there was a good half hour snipe hunt in the refrigerator for the non-existent jarred stuff)  soup with more of That Squash, homemade garam masala dusted over roast chicken for the luxury portion of the trip, and variations on our new old favorite, tetrazinni.   Not to mention the Achiote-on-the-brain extravaganza, more of which to come later. Since so much, including whether or not we have basic services or any income whatsoever, seems beyond my ability to effect OR affect, I’m finding that preparation of every successful dinner has a very salutary impact on my quivering brain.  Marx said that people do things like crafts and knitting and complex cooking I suppose as an antidote to alienation.  I think he was right about that.  As for what comes next? I’m trying to cultivate the Dog’s approach and see the good in it.  While reserving my right to bark and give a good nip if the good turns out not to be there.  And I think, Gentle Reader, you know what I mean.

Blessings and thanks!

running on fumes

And, you know what happens when you do that, Gentle Reader.   Eventually you hit a wall of some sort.

It finally came to my attention that ongoing crying jags mean I Need A Nap.

I mean: after the mammoth power clusterfuck, after the serious Dog injury, after spending literally my last dime on the clusterfuck thus having to Fix Dog Ourselves (and may I say? YAY SUPER GLUE!), and after the Partner got ill again? I found myself at the sink with tears literally squirting out of my eyes.  More than once. The fact that I made absolutely zero money in the last six weeks is not a happifying thing, either.

So.  I said, SELF? ARE YOU IN THERE? to which the response was a muffled whowantstoknow? YOU DO, I said.  Let’s just walk ourselves through this spot we’re in, whaddaya say? Gurgling sounds happened, which I took as an OK to proceed.  As we all know, I said, getting my selves gathered round the inner podium, it’s been way, way above standard high soul destroying impact lately.  We’ve all done really well.  Especially considering we’re doing some fairly heavy lifting on the healing and rebuilding frontier of ourselves while contending with rampaging Godzillas everywhere else.  What have we learned?  Speak UP! and, it turns out that a big thing we learned is not to take things personally.  Please sir, may I NOT have some more? if you will.

Part of not taking things personally is not coming from a place of fear.  It’s realizing that that pounding in your chest is composed of many things, and the only one you can do anything about is your own concept of what that pounding is.  Undifferentiated anger permeating the atmosphere isn’t necessarily directed at you.  Even if it is, you actually don’t have to pick it up.  When people do things that cause you difficulties, you can say what that is, and let them carry their own trash out.  This takes a lot of practice and I am far from mastery of the technique.  But just realizing it as a possibility, dawning into a reality and a Thing, has been huge.  In a situation involving a lot of manipulation? You do what martial artists do.  Use that energy against itself by deflecting it back from you.  Calmly and with intent.  And love of course.  No, you say, thank you but no.  It’s this way.  Of course you have your training to fall back on in case more incoming shows up, bob, weave, shoot arrows.  But it has at least partly to do with not feeding whatever it is that’s eating you. So to speak.  We’ll see how this works in upcoming discussions with….well, the people lobbing the incoming at the moment.

I’ve had several occasions in my life that have shown me that once someone realizes you are not afraid, unless they’re totally crazy or wearing battle dress they back off.  For me of course this is a tricky balance because I have huge fear in me.  But as I go on, the fears rise up and reveal themselves and mostly? They go.  Of course we all must have food and shelter and warmth and the getting of these things seems to get more difficult exponentially.  That’s scary.  But the reality is we don’t always see things the way they actually are, and the good thing about that if indeed there is one is that the very mis-seeing creates what we might think of as wiggle room.  It’s not cast in some indestructible substance, this thing we’re viewing.   Anyway.  Not taking things personally actually frees up space in the cranium, and once you calm down, it’s possible to progress.  Anyway I shall entertain that as a possibility.  Loser of the Popular Vote notwithstanding.

In the meantime, as we proceed further into what really does appear to be the end of time as we have known it….the challenge is to balance the necessity of a future, in the sense of yes I’ll plant this garden and feed myself and others, with the collapse of the present and all of the things of the past that seem no longer to persist- like money, and infrastructure, and common courtesy.  How can I plant my garden when I don’t know where I’ll be?  Or, in ever more evil frequency, if I can’t use seeds that aren’t fake? This leads you into the metaphorical winding paths of,  plant it wherever you are, blahblahblah, which while of course being true is also a bit sophistic leaning as it does on various concepts of what that garden might actually be.  Other than a physical squash or bean plant.   Even the Dalai Lama says it’s tough to have equanimity when your physical survival is challenged.

Still.  What I think now is this.  So much of the fear we all experience is literally fomented by the powers that be. It comes from outside us, actually.  If we are not afraid and off balance, we’re not as gullible and liable to abdicate our own authority.  The “resources” like money, fuel, water, food are controlled by the tip of a hierarchy.  They’re held at the top and in some very important ways none of us lower down have any of them.   This means that we need not fear not having them, actually.  Since we kind of don’t.  We can make our own structure, however humble it may be.  A structure that relies on energies and beliefs from a time way before ours.  This is true of more personal emotional issues too, naturally.  So what if your family didn’t support you in any way? That was THEM, not YOU- it isn’t a measure of your actual worth, altho the lack of support and resources to be magnetized to may mean your social position is more or less non-existent.  Still. That is not YOU.  Admittedly it takes some stern stuff to forge ahead in the midst of such things.

When we get it reasonably and consistently warm in here again, I’ll be baking bread.  Lately, however, it being cold and all,  I found myself immersed in the mysteries of whipped cream.  We had blood oranges that needed to be used, and I found a recipe for a gingerbread upside down cake with caramelized blood oranges.  Spectacular if I say so myself.  The Partner requested whipped cream.  Not something I think of much since I’m lactose intolerant, still I always have at least one of those sterile paper packaged long life whipping creams on hand for emergencies.  Thank you, Trader Joe’s.  So I made the whipped cream, and, as with the fried chicken episode, a whole new world opened.  It is in fact fantastic stuff.  So I am focusing on the amazing properties of cream instead of the still present, looming large challenges strewn hither and yon.  What is important, after all? You gotta keep your strength up to keep going on.  And now is most definitely not the time to give up however much one may wish to.

Blessings and thanks.

anatomy of meltdown averted

Ye GODS and effing little fishes, Gentle Reader.  Once again we see that there are even more previously undiscovered circles of Hell than previously supposed.  However, even in Hell you can keep your cool.  At least a bit.

So.  We had a bangup start to the year.  The person we rent space, water, and power from, Madame Entropy hereinafter referred to as MmE, caused just a bit of a snarlup right from the jump.  Maintenance not being a strong suit, somehow “her” power pole (as designated by the power company who puts poles out here but then makes landowners put their “own” poles up for boxes and whatnot) actually….just….disintegrated.  Yes there was snow.  And then torrential rain.  And high winds.  And 29 degree weather.  But the power pole just collapsed before all that because it was, essentially rotten.  AS it has been since we arrived here.

So, OK.  While it was in fact something of a miracle that it a) got fixed at all and b) within a ten day period? Seven to be precise? We had no power, no water, no phone, no nothing for all that time.  No place to go. No chainsaw for wood, either.  Twenty nine degrees, people.  Forty mile an hour winds.  I won’t bore you with the details of All the Excuses I Heard etc., but net net? I’m down about $700 clackeroos.  Which I didn’t actually have to begin with but bartered a stretch out for a portion thereof thanks to the good will of a friend.  The Subaru is probably going to smell like gasoline for several months from all the trips back and forth to fill the portable gascan to fill the gas guzzling generator we THANK GOD were able to use- for a price, yes, but that does not lessen my total gratitude. Not to mention the gas the CAR used because of course the creek was at flood stage and we had to Go the Long Way.  I found myself slogging through what was eventually about half a mile more than once  what with all the trips to and fro with 10 gallon buckets of horse trough water so we could flush the toilet.  After it essentially overflowed. (Snow melt and rain, ya know.  Filled septic up briefly.) I got a bit of a charley horse from yanking my mud caked boots off ten times a day so as not to have the yurt be an impersonation of a barnyard. We have not yet reached agreement on the central current issue which is that since I had to do amazing things to get through this, and the causal responsibility is squarely on certain shoulders, there will be no money forthcoming in that direction until I’m out from under the $700.  Which, technically, is the law.  However this intelligence has been greeted with dour dismay.   Not a surprise but still.  One more Thing.

A few other gruesome events transpired during this festive period and I admit that I came within millimeters of just….giving up.  Enough already.  I felt like I’d been shot but hadn’t yet fallen down.  Am I dead yet? NO????? WHY THFUCKNOT?????AAAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! sort of thing.  But then.

I thought about the larger reality.  Even when this morning, the Dog tore off down the “driveway” seemingly never to return? I allowed myself a brief strangled cry and then thought, the only way out is through.  And the only way through is Love.  So I beamed LOVE toward his little doggy brain, trudged into the underbrush, and eventually all was restored to its current dull roar.  He’s also managed to nearly cut his paw off which adds a level of zing to things since a visit to the Vet is not a possibility at present.  However, I suspect the Partner was a mummy wrapper in Egypt because he has battlefield level wound management skills with bandages.  So, so far so good.  More or less.

Love doesn’t mean letting people crap all over you, and it doesn’t mean pretending things aren’t happening when they are, but it does mean that you step out of the reactive radius of the ego into the slightly more spacious area of, in progression, WTF? and REALLY? NOW? and, actually beauty still exists after all! on to We can, in fact, do this.  People say, especially now, all sorts of things about the nature of things, and the nature of thinking, and the nature of money and all the rest of it. It does look, to all intents and purposes, as though we are on the express ride to hellish crappola.  Starting Friday.  But bottom line? You can only BE where you ARE, and on some level that is timeless, even though time flies while you’re there.  The thing about time flying is, of course, it’s a bit of a magic carpet if you allow it and before you know it, or at least before too many more moons have risen and set, you are BEing somewhere else than you were, even if in temporal space and time it is the “same” place.   For me this current somewhere else is largely constituted by its being something completely different, in every sense, from anything I ever thought I “knew”.  Nothing, literally, is as it was. I am truly not stepping in the same river.  It has become more imperative to explore and observe than ever.  Given my energy levels as a person, I find it better to devote the energy I do have to this exploration rather than staying in the utter despair and why?why?why?.  The big thing I noticed in all this, too, was: being nice and kind really DOES make a huge difference wherever it occurs.  So. Be nice.  Be kind.  It works.  It helps your fellow creatures.  And really, staying in internal muck just keeps you begrimed.  Breathing is the first step out.  Sometimes staying at least a tiny bit sane is the best you can do.  And even that radiates out for the good no matter how dire things are or seem to be.

We found ourselves in this, actually entire, situation through a confluence of things, which make more sense to me now than they used to.  I no longer blame myself for not fitting in, not subscribing to the prevailing belief systems, for allowing myself to believe all who told me I was basically nuts due to the results of items one and two, even though that has led me to HERE.  In many ways I really like it HERE, and wouldn’t go back even if it were possible which it most def is not. I mean, seriously. NOBODY regular can afford to live where we used to eke out our lives. The burndown of the Ghost Ship is just one example of that. But what I think I learned this trip down the rabbit hole is that you cannot continually accept other people’s ICK.  They aren’t going to be good and nice, and especially honest, just because you are or because you want them to be.  It is important to have clarity at all times and not pretend, and express that with kindness. As in, no thank you, that particular load of crap is not landing on me.  I’m sorry but you get to keep it, dear. That’s the next project anyway, and I hope it doesn’t turn into yet another runway to ?????!!#@@#!.  Still, even if it does? This time I think I can cope, at least for a bit longer.  I hope, eventually, to have snow pictures, too.

Blessings and thanks!

 

a long walk

And, it hasn’t been in the park, Gentle Reader.  This year has been a doozy all the way around.  Things I thought were “solid” disappeared like a drop of water on a hot stove.  The reality of reality has come into total question, but! in spite of how it appears, progress may still be made.

The election here has, of course, pretty much turned things ass over teakettle, with More to Come.  It’s an absolutely terrifying prospect but it is real- even if it is based  on lies and untruths and unkindness, and marketing.

Someone asked me recently if  I had any way of detaching from  the ego when things get heated in the process of trying to figure out if our fellow beings are actually Being Asshats on Purpose or By Accident.  And really.  What DO you do when someone next to you says and does things that seem not just out of character but actually dangerous for the well being of all?

I confess I stayed in my pajamas for a while this go round.  I hid, let’s just be honest.  Then, I baked, which always helps.  And I thought about what actually transpires when Things Go Sideways Between People, along with politically and philosophically streaking over the edge so fast you may forget what you were looking at.  It is, I think, that we become affixed to our ATTITUDES and EMOTIONS to the point that we think they are us.  At this point nothing can really be accomplished and it would be nice if there were some giant bell that rang and made us go back to our stools in the corner.  The thing of it is, then, to install that bell yourself.   You feel your temperature rising to a certain level, along with the sensation of whatever you’re dealing with being impossibly stupid and wrong.  Before you know it, you may find yourself doing something like…yelling.  Using profanity.  Etc.  THAT’S when you ring that bell, take a breath, and STOP.  What is it you really want here?   Vanquishing your “opponent” and being proved right? Usually not the most possible of options.  Besides which, then what?  So.  What you want is more than likely not to feel the discomfort you’re feeling about whatever it is.  A wish that is more than likely shared by the person you’re encountering.  Not to feel the fear and sense of being ignored.  Not, in an even bigger sense like say Standing Rock, to feel that the literal ground beneath your feet and the air you breathe is about to be rendered unrecognizable in its destruction.

Weirdly, or not, the answer is pretty consistently this.  After you STOP and BREATHE, you turn your focus to what would bring balance to the situation at hand in the now.  Detaching from the emotions is critical, especially since in heated situations, emotions tend to run together between people like molten lava and everyone is feeling all of it. This is not capitulation to something you believe is wrong, but a stance of allowing vision.  You may, in fact, not prevail.  You may even die depending on the circumstances.  However, without accepting abuse from someone, you can still rise above whatever emotional turmoil there is, and see what the middle way  of the moment may be.  This is in the direction of Positive Good.  Generally this involves seeing what everyone involved actually WANTS.   This is obviously difficult in a large setting but it isn’t impossible.  When concensus cannot be reached, it is important to remember that YOU can bring peace to a situation by your OWN peace, and you can work with the others you find on the edges of things to effect larger shift.  Yes, this can take a long time- but the more one can stay grounded in breathing and as much clarity as possible the more actual positive stuff can occur. On a personal level, I’ve found lately that looking someone in the eye, asking calmly what they’re FEELING and what they really want overall can be really helpful in moments where fisticuffs seem imminent.  It hasn’t changed my feeling of being surrounded by lizards in human suits altogether but it is allowing me to, at least, go outside.  I mean, I realize now that in many cases it’s just like pouring water on a rock.  The rock gets wet but nothing penetrates.  No communication, period.  It’s scary but allowing oneself to be overcome by fear and loathing makes it worse.  I’ve developed an almost reverse tactic of smiling at everyone now and it is a very interesting practice since, seemingly all of a sudden, a lot of people DO smile back, but many more do not and look downright suspicious: unauthorized smiling! What’s next?!?!

It turns out at this point that the “perennial wisdom” is still perennially wise.  In a world where greed seems to rule supreme, where narcissism is the order of the day and no crappy thing is left undone, it is still a good course to remember that one is not the absolute center of everything and many things have to be investigated and learned in order to have any kind of sensible concept of anything.  Feelings pass and what counts is what we do every day to improve our lives and those of our fellow beings by listening and doing what we all KNOW is the right thing: truly doing no harm.  Just because every thing and everybody else seems to have devolved doesn’t mean you have to as well- you can still tell the truth about how you feel and what you think, and lend your help to those who need it. Not overlooking the truth, but facing it.  Then things begin to rise.  Kind of like baking, when you think about it.  Thank you, Friends, as always.