Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

sartre lives

In a word, GR, NAUSEA.

So.  We now have Turkey, Baton Rouge, Minnesota, RNC., the Mediterranean Sea full of ghastliness, somewhat reminiscent of Otay Mesa, and more.  Even the police around here are nervous, looking at everyone as though a barrage of gunfire will erupt at any moment.  Given that it appears that the police around here are crack shots, based on the news, I don’t know why they’re uneasy. Yes, being a policeperson is a challenging job.  But no, you don’t just get to shoot people because they’re…well, whatever.  We are, after all, supposed to have a “rule of law”.  Not a rule of, I don’t like how you look so you are getting blasted to kingdom come. And, if you are being honest, you have to admit that this sort of thing happens All the Effing Time.  Here.  And, everywhere.  But the U.S. is kind of an epicenter of violence, oddly enough.  Or not oddly.  Just enough.

Moreover, it’s a really humiliating, more than usual even, time to be an American citizen, what with this “election”.  I look at the images of the individuals “in power” on TV, everywhere.  Istanbul to Cleveland, all of it.  Nobody looks even remotely human, like they’re not from this planet at all.   I’m horrified and saddened even though I am fairly sure this is all part of an evolving cosmos and world and really it will all be as it should, and fine, and well.  Still.  This is not the world I thought I used to live in.  I’m sorry, but really.  Trump? it’s totally inconceivable that anyone with even a small portion of a working brain could think he would be a functional, positive, competent leader of anything.  His business record includes, to my understanding, SEVERAL bankruptcies, not just one- and what this means? Is he defrauded everyone who invested in him.  UNBELIEVABLE FINANCING, we might call it. So, voters? Caveat emptor.  Just bring a barf bag and your check book.

But of course those feelings will not move us forward, and forward we must go.  In our world, we still have one person down and massive gardening duties as one result.  The Dog is using this time to great advantage.  For the first few days he ran wild outside, doing Bad Things Which Culminated in Vomiting since Mommy was Busy Elsewhere (with Daddy, of course).  Now we’re in more of a turbulent holding pattern, and for the four plus hours or so it takes to do what absolutely has to be done outside every day (temperature setting on BROILER), the Dog is in a state of bliss.  He paddles front paws in his water tub (yes, he does want to go swimming), flies over the deck with those same wet paws outstretched and tail extended gracefully, rolls in stickers and sits in mud.  He laughs, he smiles, he races back and forth carrying either an old slipper or small log in his mouth.  On the whole, it is in fact a lot of fun, I am getting MUSCLES.  Serious muscles, Gentle Reader.  Sort of an odd time in life to get buff but it is what it is.  And the plants are happy which is the true Big Deal.  We’ve got cucumbers and zucchini and grapes and chard already, which is exciting especially given my spotty  focus this year.

Other than that? I’ve had only one brilliant idea.  Kentucky Fried Chicken has had some, for them, quite witty commercials lately, featuring different people as Col. Sanders.  The most recent one features George Hamilton. ( Extra Crispy.)  I think the obvious next choice for the Colonel is Christopher Walken.  Followed by Samuel. ( Jackson, that is.)  It’s good to know in this dizzying world that I can still have ideas, after all.

I leave you with a picture of someone who does not like papparazzi:

dontwakeme

And of course, my thanks for reading.

a bright spot

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, right? Something splendidly reassuring?

As may have been apparent, things have been On Fire lately.  I have been in a rather dark spot looking for a hose and trying to keep up with my chores, not to mention getting all the dragons and elephants in my head to either learn how to dance or leave, thank you.

In the midst of all this, the Partner has been ill for the past several days.  He has a  chronic project, with which in my opinion we are making progress, but which is challenging to deal with and a  bummer, on the whole.  Not to put too fine a point on it.

So we get to this morning, and a moderate, but far from complete, improvement. In reasonable time, to my mind.  In my daily runthrough about current vitals, I ask the Partner if he feels certain things, obscure yes but powerful and describable.   He lifts his head, looks me square in the eye, and says: HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?  Because usually, of course, when I ask him questions about how he feels he responds with ultra descriptive things like: sore, sick, tired, or my all time favorite, I don’t know. So it on some level has not got much to do with what he himself describes verbally, figuring out what’s happening.  It is not, then, unusual to have to proceed on meager  pickings.

But this, Gentle Reader, is pretty much what everyone says to me (with a sense of FINALLY! SOMEBODY GETS IT! HECK! I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THAT. YOU’RE RIGHT.)  How do I know that? and, Work your magic for me.  I naturally feel that it’s no big thing, just something observable. However. To have someone so close to me (and thus really be harder to work with than someone I don’t know, oddly but there it is) have the same experience and sense of…????…was like having a bright light shine on the dragon/elephant room and having them all behave as they file off to sunnier climes, waving goodbye.   It was like getting some incontrovertible truth demonstrated: this is what you ARE and it is really OK.   And that’s today’s good news, which is more than enough to get me back in the saddle.

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.

on the brink

At least that’s how it feels, Gentle Reader.  Recent events have left me feeling both confused and enthused in roughly equal measure.

While the outside world continues at its apocalyptic pace, we still know that lots of people try and do the right thing. It is easy to forget that their efforts are probably what is keeping us from spinning off into dissolution altogether, especially when such efforts can be as small as giving someone a smile or a hug or as big as inspiration of some sort.  So when someone goes away who is a kind of support for all those Right Things in a big way, it leaves a gaping hole.   I can’t help asking myself why someone like Prince has to pass on, while Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, and others who, to my mind, exemplify a sort of evil, carry on in fine fettle.  I realize this is a silly train of thought but nonetheless.  Aside from hurting, it seems grossly unfair.  Yet of course it is life, as it is -and as we don’t find ourselves able to understand all the time.

And, of course, THERE IS SO MUCH I just don’t get.  I’m like an iceberg to myself at times, so much hidden under the water.  I had a few interactions recently that left me feeling unaccountably miserable, and with the sense that my previous life’s behavior had been motivated by what I thought were survival issues, but were actually about maintaining the fictitious world image I retained from my youth.  Which is to say, I abdicated my own authority too often, resisted unthinkingly too often, and felt myself to be unworthy too often.  Adding up just the topical things that have happened, it looked like a breathtaking recipe for disaster.  But what I realized at last was this.  We really DO create our own realities, and often the discomforts we feel are about the collision between our perceived realities and what another person feels to be baseline truth.   Sometimes the best, and only, thing to do is step back, be quiet, and watch the whole thing as though it were a story we don’t know.  Then it is a lot easier to pick up the plot.  If, as we’re told as writers, we should not be overly attached to our words and characters so as to be able to move along properly, then the same should probably be true in our “real” lives.  Just because something has been one way doesn’t mean it can’t change.  When YOU change and other things don’t, it can be kind of shocking to see what you used to be, based on how the interactions with those other things go.  The energy it takes to stay in your current orbit and not get sucked back into the old bad habits can be enormous.  This apparently continues unchanged and apace from birth to death, from what I can see.  There may be some extraordinary individuals who can just wake up and say, BASTA YA, and the old behaviors and ideas are all gone.  Since this whole matter of shift and change is in the anything is possible category, it’s probably best to just say, yes indeed, remain calm, and see what happens.

While I feel yet again that a huge piece of my life has just broken off and fallen out of sight and sound, there are still pieces of the iteration that need work.  Such as The Website.  When I first did the site, I modeled it on others both from my work and just in general.  It looked pretty much like everyone else’s, which was fine.  Now it seems a bit antique, dinosaurish, and with too many words.  Partly that’s because I like words.  Partly that’s because when I embarked on dot com, it seemed that explanation of how things work was needed since, being “alternative”, I couldn’t really just say, this thing works no kidding.  People told me I had to list everything that was in my products, and guess what?  This led to hacking and rip offs.  Weird, but there it is.  I fell into all the predictable deep marketing and entrepreneurial holes, in short, but survived and maybe learned.  The Partner and I met amazing people and learned undreamt of things both on the material and esoteric levels.  And this, in a nutshell, is the current quandary.

It’s like writing, in a way.  You’re taking something intangible (your thoughts) and making it something that everyone can experience (let’s say an essay.)  You’re selling, then, yourself, bottom line.  In this case, I take the intangible of what someone else is experiencing (whatever level it may be on), look at it, and make something to promote harmony for that person.  Just because it hasn’t been replicated in a lab by Exxon Mobil, Monsanto, or whoever, doesn’t mean it isn’t real and doesn’t work.  It also doesn’t mean it can be mass produced and be exactly the same every time.  Given my past habits of mind, it has been challenging to even figure out how to describe any of this.  But acceptance of all that, and simplification thereof, is the new project.  It may not be as daunting as first thought, because after all.  Anything IS possible.  Just because people want to pigeonhole you doesn’t mean you gotta stay there.  You simply fly away with love.  And yes, the Dog taught me that.

what sustains us

I find, still, that when I’m at points of transition or challenge, I cook a lot.  Given that adventure is often my criteria (get me OUTTA HERE!), I make a lot of stuff for the first time and the Partner winds up on extended trips to exotic locales while I work on pickles, chapattis, pasta, Asian noodles, reproducing roasted vegetable dishes from fancy places, or experimenting with cooking whatever protein our friends bring from their various enterprises.

However, of late it’s been tortillas and tacos.  And tamales.  Salsas, rajas,  multi colored rice, and the real mind blower: chile rellenos.  The interesting thing about this is I always thought that ALL this stuff from scratch was beyond my ability as a cook.   Which kind of dovetails with the realization of late that somehow I NEVER think I can do things.  (Which of course is ridiculous since I do things all the time, attempt things, and generally scramble through the air on a fiery trapeze with all the accompanying accidents and revelations.)  All the self doubt which has accompanied me from childhood turns out to be rather hard to let go of.

But I did have what might be a productive insight.  A memory came up in relation to all this flailing about, and although it was REALLY old, it had a lot of current power and pain.  I was blown away by the energy this occurrence turned out to have and how much the event had shaped my attitude about things.   And how inappropriate that attitude is, was, and always will be.  Not to mention that none of the other people involved in the situation probably have any memory of it whatsoever.  But it had a decisive impact on my sense of self and it’s been banging around with me- and all this time I could have just set it down.  Now it almost feels like a body part but really? It’s got to go.

SO.  Last night I ventured forth where I had not dared go before. Ta da, I thought.  Not, perhaps, a huge big deal Gentle Reader, but I made pita bread.  And it tasted like pita bread, split on the interior like pita bread.  Really easy and fun to make, as it turns out.  It went very well with the falafel I made, too.  The thing of it is, there’s so much you can accomplish if you just let yourself.  Give it a go, and shut up while so doing.

There’s still the whole magic question and the what am I now that I’m grown up question, of course, but I think that’s probably a matter of inadequate definitions.  The magic issue generally boils down to whether one functions to build power or express love.  Magic happens both ways but the end results are not the same.  Like non-violence, sometimes it can take a long time but haste is not always the best way.  In that vein, my next project is going to be routinely getting dinner on the table in less than an hour (thus addressing part of the grown up thing).  Balancing the long range with the productive goal of having dinner before total darkness descends.  In short, the middle way.  Still looking for it, but tacos are an immeasurable aid in the quest.

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!

 

something, and more of it

A bit of a rocky start today, Gentle Reader.  Notwithstanding first crack out of the bag chest pain which I chalked up to…oh, reality? it was dicey.  The french press plunger decided to spray boiling hot water and coffee grounds all over a fresh loaf of bread instead of plunging down and keeping it in the pot as per usual.  The Dog went out and rolled, quite comprehensively, in Shit. This caused The Partner to blow a tiny part of a gasket and *I* did not take it as well as I might’ve.  Probably I was still reminding myself not to get a big head about just proceeding with the coffee, smarting burn and smile in place.  Sometimes hissy fits are unavoidable, sadly.

So, what is it? that keeps us from staying on an even keel.  Some days the quotidian pile up of whatever it is, be it dishes, vacuuming, armed struggle with the phone company AND the post office (come out big, right?) just gets to be like noxious fumes that remove one’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand and perhaps lapse into total stupor.  No, No! Just do it, I say to myself. Like what you do, and all that.  For the most part I do, but on days like today when it seems like the last bit of wherewithal has been drained from me, like from a car up on a  mechanic’s rack, I can’t figure it out.  Ah well.  Now, the Dog is muscling up on the keyboard, because he has something to say.  Which is, as usual from Dogs, sage advice about how enjoyable things really are if you just play a little bit, then take a nap.

The days when I have no certitude about what I doing, or  want to do, are the days when I don’t want to play, exactly, OR take a nap OR cook anything because why? Too anxious.  And that means I am not in the now, which pretty much always leads to problems.  Thank goodness this Highly Intelligent Dog came to live with us and point such things out.  I just wish it could happen less frequently right after Shit has been Rolled In.  Then again, when better?  I’m now going to go and thank him properly, which will no doubt involve his favorite treat.  And since they’re all favorites, see how easy?  All better.

 

 

collective bargaining

I found myself bargaining the other night.  The Partner has been very ill the past few weeks, adding to the complexity of things.  He was going through an episode of hard pain, and I was doing Jin Shin Jyutsu on him.   Eventually, the flow I was doing helped his body release and get past the pain altogether.  But I heard myself, as I was working, say, Creator! Please! Even if it means I can never help another person, please let me take this pain away!

It struck me that perhaps capitalism is a natural offshoot of being human: we bargain for things reflexively.  It’s something we do, and maybe we need to do in some way.  The Partner also brought something else to my attention last night, which was this.  The United States is now a country that virtually precludes all collective bargaining.  Unions are being broken and destroyed.  Adding this to the dismal state a theoretically “working person” finds themselves in as far as even finding work to do that will support them, much less work that will allow them to retain a shred of their dignity, it isn’t hard to begin to understand the level of discomfort, pain, bitterness and hair trigger reactiveness that pervades so much of life now.

As I stood doing my work the other night though, I understood again that it is in fact the work itself that provides the dynamism in a situation.  It isn’t asking for outside help to save you or thinking that YOU are “doing it”.  The work leads you to a higher level of understanding and functioning.  You are not, perhaps, on a peer level with all the energetics of the cosmos, but you are part of them.  Maybe you can’t know it, but you can be it.   There’s a way in which this kind of awareness gives freedom and confidence.  You know you are not alone, in that moment of Being, regardless of outcome.  You know that you don’t have to do it all by yourself or even give any instructions.  You just have to be Present and do the best you can.

How does this relate to the perhaps more mundane issue of Unionized workers?  I think it relates in that when you have the ability to make decisions and see their outcomes in a situation, you feel empowered.  If you work for someone and can bargain, collectively, about issues of concern, it’s far more likely that everyone will get something they need.  Then the possibility exists for self respect and all the things that flow from that.  Removing this possibility removes so many other possibilities, and creates a situation in which about the only thing people can BE is angry.

SO.  While I often fear that my own little boat is just going to go over the edge of the falls despite all my paddling to the contrary, it still seems to me that at this point in time it is vitally important that we ALL remember that there is a better way and that way works better when we have some basic equity in ourselves and our life situations.  I still believe that putting one’s best foot forward, in love, just HAS to work.  Selfishness may work for a minute, for an individual, but in the final analysis, cooperation strengthens everyone and lets them be ever more able to do their best.

Now if I can just retain this calm attitude until I actually get my car back?  THEN I’ll be able to tell that blankety blank body shop that no, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday and there was no actual reason for the repairs to take TWO WEEKS.  And counting.  Cooperatively, of course.

 

failure & redemption

Indeed, Gentle Reader, life of late has been like HELLBOY meets Alice Starmore.  Without Hellboy’s help.  His hands really are way too big to knit with, I’d think, but I feel sure he’d understand Alice’s patterns, and one could always wind yarn on his horns.

Anyway.  It turns out that among other things, my hospital interlude left me with heart failure.  Which they knew at the time of my discharge and somehow omitted to mention.  Thus, I’ve had six weeks of that stuff where you wake up after being asleep for a while and feel you’re suffocating.  Among other things like not being able to pull weeds for five minutes without running out of breath and being totally at the bottom of the barrel moodwise.  Another six plus hour trip to the emergency room (ha!ha! that’s an oxymoron, G.R.) where I never did get seen but finally tottered out knowing I didn’t want to be there until midnight.  Instead? We went to a restaurant in town, where I always seem to be a bit tattered.  The first time, I had a black eye (beam from yurt roof fell on my forehead) and THIS time I was covered in bandages and hospital bracelets.  They take it in stride here, however, because EVERYONE looks more or less like a wreck, and after some shockingly good food (a REAL New York steak sandwich) and an Actual Cocktail (bourbon, thank you), survival seemed likely.  And whaddaya know- I’m still here and even perhaps improved.

In the meantime, things have been floating up in my mind.  The wound, as Rumi wrote, is indeed where the light enters you.  That light can reveal some things one might rather not examine, like how old patterns still form a big part of the operating system.  What’s my father doing in here? one might ask.  More pertinently, why have I been racing around my whole life thinking I had to do,do, do, do more, do more again- when really that isn’t it at all in life, and also? It’ll kill you.  Of course, there is a bit of a concerted effort to keep us all doing precisely that, rushing around and not thinking.  Just accepting it when it seems that you must work (for someone else) until you drop meanwhile saving some impossibly vast sum of money so that when you get cut loose by your benevolent corporate sponsor you don’t starve to death.  Using weed killer on the lawn, not thinking about what that’s doing to the ground and the water.  Letting your phone tell you what to do and where to go.  Believing them when they say that all the poison that got dumped/inadvertently mailed/put in your food poses no threat to public health.  Finding a place to stand in the midst of all this is indeed the work of a lifetime, and it’s a pity more of us don’t start earlier.  Or perhaps, more successfully- I THOUGHT I’d started but it turns out I was a foolish and deluded bear.

The thing of it was that I didn’t really accept the way things actually are.  It was just too depressing to acknowledge the evil and harm in the world, and I had a rather large set of matched emotional baggage to cart around as well.  It’s taken a long time to get even the bit of clarity I have now, and one thing seems clear at least.  One must remain calm.  It sounds silly but when you think about all the times you get stressed and disoriented, just in the course of a day or a stroll down the grocery store aisle, it illuminates the fog we (yes, I) walk around in far too often.  Calmness isn’t a matter of repressing what you feel, either.  It’s more a matter of feeling what you feel, looking to the source and putting it in perspective.  Like, that was then, this is now.  What can really be done at any given point?  WHERE THE HELL AM I? If I am in fact in the grocery store there’s no need to panic, seriously.  The other big part of it is acknowledging the World around you.  Look at and speak to your fellow humans and animals.  Look at the sky.  This alone goes a long way toward clarity because it eventually does show you you are NOT alone- others are slogging through all this stuff too and the odds are that one of you will actually make it and be able to deliver a cogent report about the lay of the land.

Last evening we looked at storm clouds on the horizon.  (And we could do this because we had on our handy dandy mosquito and bug repelling bracelets! Yay!)  They were an incredible slate blue, behind the varying shades of grey and olive green of the trees, and there was a strange kind of alertness to it all- a soundless sound.  The finches and titmice and woodpeckers and hummingbirds were  busily eating their dinners and taking baths, the lizards and frogs were bustling around (we have BABY frogs at present, and they’re PINK).  We’d spent the workable part of the day (the non-broiler setting on the temperature that is) weeding and digging our raised beds up, the Partner and I (albeit slowly in my case).  Everything was quiet and the soil seemed to be thanking us for our work as it laid there tilled and breathing, happy with its new rock dust and peat and seaweed.  Our seedlings have sprung up luxuriantly and of course, even though I did a drawing of what seed was where….naturally, it is now all a mish mosh and it will be a revelation to see which tomatoes are the giant yellow Ukrainians and which are the San Marzanos.  Will it be cayenne or bell pepper?  We’re clear on which melons are which but that is about as far as it goes right now.

Anyway, as everything breathed in unison it seemed to me that the truth is, redemption is always possible, and always happening.  There’s a wonderful line in a poem by Robinson Jeffers about how the heartbreaking beauty of the world is there, whether or not there is a heart there to break.  Our hearts generally do break, of course….but perhaps that is what they are made to do.  If they don’t break they don’t open, and we never grow and flower.

frozen, maybe bullet proof

And yes, Gentle Reader, it is both.  But I did learn today that our stout Subaru can, in 14 minutes, warm up and de-ice its windows and sally forth.  I was pleased and it was pretty amazing looking at the snow flakes while all that went on.  Also, since someone on the hill spent an hour and a half in unrelenting gunfire/shootout/god knows what last night, ARs and handguns and rifles? I’m thinking there’s a lot less ammo up here than before, which also pleases me.

Along with all the cold weather and sounds of battle, there was also a brainstorm.  It had pitchforks and lizards and fer de lances and booming black clouds but at the end? The sun came up and I learned something more, even, than how much I love my car.  Which is that the things that really drive you crazy? The wounds you can’t get to stop festering and the limited movement that brings on?  Tangible or otherwise? Are often about you being mad at yourself for having allowed it to go on. Forgiveness starts right where you are.  It’s shocking how long it takes us homo sapiens (questionable, that last word) to understand that when something disagreeable persists, on some level that is because we are holding on to it.  I never got that before, call me fuzzy brained, and this is not about assigning blame or judgement.  It’s about paying attention to what you’re doing.

It’s funny in a way how long it takes me to apply the things I do for my clients to myself but there it is.  Healing can take a long time, or a split second.  It arrives when we are ready because really it’s hanging around all the time and we are, in essence, courting it.  But the fearsome places in us where disharmony lodges are just the places we don’t want to touch or look at- they hurt and are stinky, after all.  But bringing some light to the subject and not over thinking it can be a good thing with a complicated issue.  Plants and flowers have a wonderful way of opening things up inside us so that we find more range of motion as we go along.  This allows us to at last arrive, as it were, on a hilltop in the sunshine where the place we’ve been is visible and we can decide not to EVER GO BACK THERE.  But calmly, we decide that, because now the lights are on.  It’s actually not quite as bad as we thought in the dark, but it is definitely not a place to book another trip to.  In any event, we can breathe now and that is a big thing.  On the other hand, if someone is not ready, those same plants and flowers will elicit discomfort because that is what is inside us waiting to be released.  Some will blame the remedy and stop, blame the practitioner- or feel hopeless and quit because they’re frightened.  Others will try and control the remedy by using only what they decide the stinking wound will accept- not really realizing  what’s going on.  It’s a lot different process than one person simply giving another a pill or diagnosis, in other words, because on this path the individual begins to take care of themselves with support from someone who is paying attention.  And there are never any guarantees except we all know we’re not staying here forever.  The point really is about the quality of the time we do have in whatever condition we find ourselves.

The other thing of it, of course, is how much those stinking wounds are a part of us, of who we think we are.  A way to look at that is to take the opposite viewpoint.  What makes up the deficit?  How big is this hole exactly? This wound is caused by something, yes, and what that something is can lead us to being able to harmonize things in us once we recognize it.  (This is not particularly something like poison ivy, let’s say, where you’ve been in the woods in shorts and are now paying the price.  Although that’s somewhat akin.) We’re prone to this or that, so we pay attention.  So often a person can think that if only this or that or the other or someone or something would do x, y, or z instead of what they are doing, we’d be fine.  Of course that misses the boat completely.  We don’t have much control in this life and certainly not over the actions of others.  But we can decide, say, if someone stabs us metaphorically or otherwise, to step back, care for the wound, and learn to be truly aware of our surroundings.  If we’re stabbing ourselves, we can put the knife down and step back.  If an illness develops, we can decide to step back and see what we FEEL about it.  That feeling, once discovered, is like the trail of breadcrumbs that leads to freedom.  It’s not pain free or quick but it is lasting and the feeling of….almost like flight? is amazing to either feel or observe in another.  Our minds and spirits can do almost anything.  I’ve seen this over and over, and even though it is easy to forget in the crush of daily experience, it is real and it is there for all of us.  It starts with listening.