Archive for the ‘What things mean’ Category

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.

in another part of the empire

I’m often struck by how, in the end, so many basic concepts- political, religious, behavioral- get argued about even though the arguers in point of fact share the exact same view, just in different words.  There’s a great African story about this.  One day a God, being the usual god-like shit disturber (and male, FYI), decided to walk down a road which separated the fields of two villages.  He painted one side of his body blue, and the other red.  He was big, too.  Probably radiant.

So there he is walking down the road humming a song he was working on, and the villagers are out pulling weeds and thinking of witty ripostes as we all do at such times.  Suddenly someone looks up, says OMG!! THERE’S GOD!! AND HE’S BLUE!! at precisely the same time someone on the other side of the road says, OMG!!! THERE’S GOD!!!! AND HE’S RED!!!!!

Shouts and jostling ensue, and things are getting tense.  What does the God do?  He walks back up the road, the other way this time, so that?  The colors are exactly opposite.  Which leads to anguished howls of OMG!! THEY WERE RIGHT!! GOD’S (whatever color)!! answered by, OMG!! THEY WERE RIGHT AND NOW…THEY’RE SAYING WE’RE RIGHT…AND….net net the villagers swarmed over the road and began flailing gardening tools about wildly at each other.  Because God, right?

Finally, having gotten a little bored with this exercise, the God stands in such a way that everyone can see all of him.  YOU BIG SILLIES,he says, or words to that effect.  OMG. GOD IS GREAT AND MULTICOLORED. NOW WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO PULLING WEEDS, the villagers all say, or words to that effect, and which ones were grateful and which ones wanted to go back and fight is left to your imagination.  It is indicated, however, that some of the villagers actually realized on the spot that it didn’t make a bit of difference what color God was or is.  The incredible thing is that such a being exists at all, and that is amazingness enough to take a lifetime to truly understand and act upon. Also? God has a wicked sense of humor, which means that both those who lack compassion AND those without humor are pretty far from the tee, or weed patch, they’re supposed to be on.  One can only assume both villages did something like comedy competitions for a while to hone their humor skills after being taken in so completely.  Yah, they’d probably say.  So and so! What a goof! Started a whole new religion with a PURPLE God!! hahahaha…..

So it is with many things.  I was at my landlady’s after the Primary election, and met her gentleman friend, who told me, YUP. I’M A CONSERVATIVE and you KNOW WHAT? They tried to keep me from voting, saying I had no party preference!  Didn’t want any votes for Trump!  Given that this place is a reactionary hotbed, I murmured, I have a hard time understanding that but whaddaya know?  They did the same thing to ME.  It was one of those moments where the red and blue of God were quite visible and it is, albeit remotely, possible that some kind of meeting of the minds in compromise was reached on a few “conservative topics”.  This sort of thing always makes me reach for the tequila but there is just so much of it right now that I’ve had to break down and stick to water.  Still- it is a bit easier to navigate these shark, rock, crocodile, rocket launcher and yeti//bigfoot infested waters of the now when you can remember that really, we are all talking about the same thing.  It may be that some simply don’t know who or what they are, and maybe they never will given an intense attachment to STUFF and therefore a corollary lack of care for  PEOPLE, and so they think their language is the only one and refuse to listen to anyone who says, look! God was blue and now he’s red! even when they can see the same thing with their own eyes. (I think Marx and Engels referred to this as false class identification…) Nonetheless, it really is both/and, not either/or, or even worse neither/nor.  Regardless of whether you see the whole face or not.

And in truly exciting news, we have a shower for the first time since we’ve been here, thank you Partner!!!  I had forgotten how wonderful showers are.  Another reminder about what really matters, and mostly it is the simple things, adequate shelter, decent food, and beyond that the ability to appreciate the world and express love in it.  While remembering all the different words for same, of course……

rolling in the deep

This is no ordinary procrastination, Gentle Reader, that is keeping me from going outside and figuring out which starts are melons and which are cucumbers.

No. This is a day where I almost feel as though I have been resurrected, and I’m still pooped out from the lengthy stitching together required for various and sundry body parts to come together in another version of Moi.  (On an emotional, mental, energetic level, thank you for asking. ) (The Dog is FINE, too.  Edging his way toward triple digits….)

I’d been reading various bulletins about the cosmic weather and how arguments and misunderstandings were rife and likely.  Fine, I thought.  Forewarned is forearmed. Well? NOT SO MUCH.  I came upon a situation which was unexpected, out of the blue, as painful as a migraine/ root canal combo with no anesthesia.  AND, for good measure involved a very long standing, important and huge piece of my life.  One where I expected no disturbance.

At bottom, and as usual, it was a struggle for a sort of ideological dominance.  At bottom, and as usual, the fact that I could see it in somewhat political terms helped me get the tiny fix on it that lit the way through in the end.  It looked, at the outset, as though I had failed my duty to a friend.  There was a forceful declaration of my complete and abject fault, which I missed the actual point of at first.  It seemed so out of character and out of sequence I had a hard time responding because I just didn’t “get it”.  I “felt” it, alright, and it hurt like hell.  It was an old issue but a strange approach. My attempt to “explain” was unsuccessful, to say the least.  But I kept knowing that there was more to it than just the topical “issue”, tried to remain civil and just THINK.  I thought about how, in real life, you don’t reach compromise when everyone’s yelling and thinking only of their point of view.  So I pondered whether in fact I was remiss/wrong/whatever, and of course- my life especially, upon scrutiny, looks like a disaster blockbuster, parts one through infinity.  But that just didn’t seem to cut the mustard this go round.  I apologized anyway, being female, and you know what, GR?  This is absolutely the last time that happens.  When things go sideways, people go off on you, it isn’t just necessarily your fault.  At times it is about the other person and really doesn’t have much to do with you except your presence, and what that presence represents to the other person. (In the news now this is mostly shown by how everything is a terrorist act.  Not the act of a deeply disturbed person, but an orchestrated,intended to cause fear terrorist act.  Single nut jobs apparently don’t exist.)  Obviously one must take responsibility for their own behavior, but that doesn’t mean an apology is required for that behavior.  Sorry I’m not doing what you want is not actually something any of us need to say when we’re simply going about our business, as ourselves.  At bottom it is fear that makes a person attack, on whatever level that occurs.  They themselves may not know what they’re afraid of, or even that they’re afraid at all. And you’re supposed to apologize for their fear?  (Sorry, Donald. No dice.)

All of this came crashing together, what with the Personal Imbroglio, Orlando, Baghdad, the US Congress, and all the rest of it.  What I realized was this.  We really do create our realities by what we think and those realities are, who knew? REAL.  What we think determines what we do. This “thinking” can stem from parts of our lives that are wwwaaaaaaayyyyyy in the past and should have been laid to rest long ago.  Our responsibility is to make sure that what we do and think is in line with our moral compass as it is in present time- and everybody needs one of those.  And beyond that? It’s like not eating junk food or poison.  The static, unresolved noise of fear must not be allowed to take over your internal music and drag you down to its level.  You can’t change something by yanking and pushing- you change it by observing and doing the thing that IS the change along side it and eventually beyond it.  YOU are the change, and the energy from that inner change of yours can fund things beyond what you as an individual may dream of.  This is not grandiosity or prideful behavior. This is not the same as denial, or pretending something isn’t what it is.  Not at all.  It is being at home in your own skin, your own etheric template, and acting accordingly.  Even if, and especially when, challenges come that aim at your sanity or even your life.  In the end, all that you are can never be trammeled irreparably, or broken, or truly ended even,  unless you allow it.  And THIS is not the same as unthinking resistance, rigidity and narrowmindedness.  It is acting from Love and connection with Life/Nature.  And that starts at home, with each of us.  We are, truly, Good Enough As We Are, if we’d but act on that awareness.

I don’t know what we can do about all the incredibly angry and disordered individuals running around in the world and our lives now,

eyeofgod1  except to be kind- and mindful of when we need to get the eff out of the way.  On a personal level, all we can do is extend a hand, and have enough respect for self and others to walk away in peace when it is not accepted.  Not in anger or fear, but in renewed dedication to what is good and true in life.  Not chasing the illusory goals of our culture, but working to truly make this earth we share as good as it is- not as bad as fear would make it.

pensive jack

the dial got stuck

Indeed it did, Gentle Reader.  For the past few weeks the setting has been permanently on CLUSTERF***.

One tiny example? No internet or phone for a week during which my email “chats” (from my landlady’s where I was perched between a cat litter box and a saddle) with the satellite provider started being all caps. As in, NO.  MY INTERNET ISN’T WORKING AT ALL YOU CAN’T DO A TEST ON THE LINE.  NO.  I DON’T HAVE A PHONE BECAUSE IT’S CONNECTED TO THE SATELLITE. THERE IS NO PHONE WHERE I AM.  WE ARE OFF GRID.  SEND HELP.  That sort of thing.  Finally, after extended misadventures, workability returned to the ethers and the entire system was replaced.  For once none of this was even remotely my fault. This miracle entailed a visit from the person who owns the “dealership” here, who asked me out for a drink with the Partner sitting there and with his wedding ring shining brightly- right after he told me about his private plane.  Are your neighbors 7th Day Adventists with a landing strip? I asked him.  Deflection scored.   I’m telling myself it’s all fine even though all the ideas I was brimming with when this latest crash happened, for the website and whatnot, and of course brilliant blog musings, evaporated like the fog rising from the ground last night after it rained.  Even the part where we ended up dispatching and then cremating a scorpion who’d mysteriously appeared in the middle of the floor with its tail raised ever so adorably (the P: What’s THAT? Oh, SHIT.  Me: What? OH. SHIT.).

In the meantime all sorts of other things have been revealing themselves and it seems clear now that we don’t, in fact, live in Kansas anymore (in both personal AND cosmic ways of course) and none of the people we used to know remember us except in the most fetishized sort of way.  The Giant Finger that is public/government involvement in one’s life (think insurance, and certain other basic things, like registering to vote plus various other matters the County involves itself in) has been showing itself to be ever more puckish, which contributes to 1) A bit of screaming 2) Deep breathing 3) Acceptance that one seriously needs a new map.  It’s a kind of condensed grieving, actually.  Where you grieve for yourself as the human you thought you used to know you were, and the life you thought you used to live.

The truth of course is nicely put by Wendell Berry:

“When I rise up/Let me rise up joyful/like a bird.

When I fall/let me fall without regret/like a leaf.”

It takes some practice but it IS possible to greet all the pits with the stakes and the live tigers as ways to do it differently.  Ways to see it differently.  I’m thinking now that if you can at least catch yourself sometime in the 24 hour period during which these things hit, you’ve got an excellent chance of doable change in circumstance.  The question is, what do you do during that gruesome 24 hours when your stomach is in your toes, your heart is torn and your head aches?  What you do is stop, and breathe, and WAIT.  Let yourself have time to speak.  Then, of course, you have to listen- which doesn’t have to be so bad once you firmly stick to the NO JUDGMENT rule.  You can, and often probably should, decide not to do or feel or think certain things again, but you mustn’t torture yourself for having done them.  Or as the case may be, not done.  It’s all a springboard, weirdly enough.

And in more important news, the Dog is almost a year old.  At 75 pounds he is what a PetCo employee admiringly said, a “tight-looking dog!”.  Even though he has taken to rushing to his bed and pretending to snore when it’s bath time, he’s really VERY handsome. The Partner took him shopping for birthday toys and evidently it was a smashing success, with the Dog investigating all appropriate items, sniffing bones, and even playing with another 11 month old.  mycouch2The romantic hues of this photo show that…well.  He takes up the entire couch now.  It’s admittedly not a big couch but it is about….five feet long? He revels. When we’re out his smile disarms even the crankiest individual. We’re still looking for a chew toy that will last more than 56 minutes and not hurt him if he swallows any of it, but I suppose that is the Quest Perilous in which we try to prove ourselves Worthy.  Prithee, Sir? doth this chew toy ring satisfactory and please thee? Anyway,  I’m making hummus for his birthday next week- it’s his favorite.  So far.  Right after potato curry and home-ground hamburger.  Little nibbles, of course.

Thank you and bless you, ALL!  as we continue on this ever wilder ride.

yonder: wild and blue

It’s hard to say what’s been occupying my mind of late.  There were a lot of “things” that happened and required a long, taxing slog through what I actually “think”.

Sometimes, it really is true, we hold beliefs about ourselves that are inimical to growth.  Or peace of mind.  Then we have to actually just look at those beliefs and put them in context.  Things really are dependent upon each other and try as you may, finding an exact individual starting point for anything is not generally doable.  Therefore, limiting beliefs are the result of a CONTEXT that had a lot of things in it which were aimed at being limiting: aimed at controlling us for one reason or another.  Aimed, also, at being the authority we’d accept.

When the Partner remarked to me the other evening that, given my history, the only way I ever really had to go psychologically  was UP, it made me think about how many of those limiting, destructive beliefs I’d adopted as reality.  And about how much they cut me off from what I am as a person.  (Whatever, uhm, that may be)  And then?

I had an experience of something that even still I had difficulty believing could be true.  It kind of dovetailed with becoming aware of how much not being able to take certain things seriously, largely relating to self worth, had held me back.   It also related to the ambivalence I saw in myself about my sense of reality- which is that everything is alive and moving and we CAN, if we choose, heal ourselves- maybe even cure.  A constant back and forth I didn’t even know was happening.   Anyway, I met another person who works in related arts, who “worked” on me, and helped me in the most profound way I can remember.

So.  I am here to tell you for absolutely dead bang certain that you CAN change the things in your life that don’t work.  Obviously this involves some distance from the capitalist model of money equaling success, and movement toward understanding that success is no more, or less, than LIVING and ENJOYING your life.    We’ve had, for example, the ongoing crap shoot of life here which has involved several largish unexpected expenditures- which is usually right up there on the disaster scale around here. ( A rock hit and shattered the back window of our car, for one thing.  With all the hilarity that ensues.)  But this time? It didn’t stress me out.  Earlier that day I’d spoken with a friend who has recently been diagnosed with leukemia.  We agreed that actually the diagnosis didn’t make a bit of difference- what mattered was still the quality of each moment and what this person DOES in those moments.  And that quality is something that we can influence, unlike most other things.  Something about the healing work I received finally really sank in and the actual joy I felt upon realizing I wasn’t upset about all the crap that just happened…was beyond words.

This helped also with the Dog.  He dashed through a foxtail forest getting one lodged in his ear.  Vet bills ensued.  But even though I was worried about him, I didn’t lose it.  Instead I was able to marvel at how GOOD he was at the Vet’s even though they were pulling something out of his ear.  He was with one of his “girlfriends” and watching through the window, I saw him resting calmly against her.  She had her arms around him and was scratching his head.  The Vet was in the affected ear with Something Official Looking.  And he? was smiling radiantly.   There is a light in the world, Gentle Reader, and we can see it more often that we think.  Sometimes all it takes is a friend and a 70 pound Dog.

the roller coaster of learning

I’ve been having all sorts of thoughts and realizations of late, Gentle Reader.  Naturally they flow most when I’m not able to write them down, but that is the way of it.  Sometimes, or usually, I think, that’s OK because those ideas, or whatever they are, are rolling around in the ethers of my brain.  Sooner or later there will be a report from the front.

And whaddaya know? A report materialized.  My birthday was on Easter this year, so aside from the frivolity (cake!!! EXTRA wine!!! ASPARAGUS!! STEAK!!) (and, I believe we saw not one but FOUR Easter Bunnies) I found my thoughts revolving rather depressingly around 1) the past and 2) the future.

Not much can be done about the past, or about the fact that each birthday moves us closer to a time when we’ll be in something we have no truthful idea about before we get there.  While this is always true to a certain extent, of course what I mean here is: death.  On top of the unknown future itself.  Which, if  you want to be happy,. you stay out of until you arrive.  Thus always being in the NOW.

While I mulled over the dawning realization that I found the above stuff more than somewhat upsetting, the Report started to be broadcast on the cranial speakers.  You’re just afraid, it said.  There is no room in your head for that fear, and besides it’s giving you a headache.  (Certainly it wasn’t All That Cake…..) And while we’re on the subject? The fact that you have beings you love madly in your life is leading you to fear their loss.  NOT VERY EVOLVED YET ARE WE?  (My broadcaster can be less than tactful.) And then, of course, the triple whammy was revealed.

I was watching something on PBS about James Randi, a magician who “debunked” psychics, in particular a man who seemingly could bend spoons telekinetically (Uri Geller). I got to thinking about the whole idea of magic and psychic things and suddenly it hit me.  And no, it wasn’t that I could’ve had a V8.  It was that perhaps the biggest obstacle to, we might say, realizing my dreams, was me being strung on the line between truth and apparency.  What we’re told is true vs. beyond what we KNOW, ultimately, is true.  It’s very easy for people to dismiss “magic” and the psychic realm because, sadly, there are many practitioners who don’t function with integrity.  It’s another case of external authority being swallowed whole with no critical thinking, things are either black or they’re white.  People are very willing to give up their sovereignty if they think someone will give them the answer they want to hear.  Whether or not it’s true doesn’t seem to matter much.

The thing of it, for me, is this.  Everything I do is, in a sense, based more on magic than anything else, years of study and work notwithstanding.  Magic, to me,  is actually a system of interactions and flow and pattern, and the world as it is being viewed carefully and responded to.  There’s a hell of a lot more to it all than we generally know, or can ever hope to.  And, really? We don’t need to know it all. When I started getting deeply into energetic medicine, I tried very hard to not be one of those individuals in flowing robes laying down gnomic concepts, or being someone who “knew it all”.  Or knew anything, really.  It isn’t about what you KNOW.  It’s about what you are and how that interacts with everything around you- that is magic.  It’s not about manipulation or trickery.  It IS about opening a line of awareness so that whatever is happening can be seen.  Then you are in a much better position to make a decision about how to RESPOND.  I see more and more as the remedies come together for people, how elegant and focused they are, far more than they would be if I just thought about what to do from the perspective of what I’ve studied.

This also means, on some level, that the things I do aren’t replicatable on a big scale- not, let’s say, very commodifiable or prone to being monetized.  I’ve also worried in an ongoing sort of way about just how crazy people thought I was.  Very, probably.

But.  You know what?  Finally, at long last, all that is just fine.  It’s OK.  It is what it is, and the truth is we really don’t need to make choices about believing in magic or not, or worrying whether people don’t like us because they don’t understand us.  It’s enough to know that there is truth in our awareness if we are willing to do the work to develop the muscles.  Truly not about what others think.  Not even about what we think of ourselves.  But very much about what we DO as we go along.  So I’m now on a new project: no grousing around.  There’s a blueprint out there somewhere, and we’re all equally flawed and perfect- but the quest is of paramount importance.  Not a bad birthday!