Archive for the ‘Woolgathering’ Category

level of difficulty

Life is kind of like knitting.  Knitting patterns are marked in terms of “level of difficulty” and can be absolutely fiendish and at times soul shattering.  What this  meant in practice, for me anyway, was being able to estimate exactly how soon I’d burst into tears at the realization that it wasn’t a yarnover THERE or the always sobering realization that I could not, unlike everyone else at the stitch and bitch, do ANYTHING ELSE while knitting.   Be that as it may, I did progress and got to the point where I could manage something that was at a 3 needle out of five level of difficulty.  No intarsia need apply.  In my copious spare time I still imagine knitting a lace pattern shawl- probably while performing some other Herculean feat such as vacuuming.

Anyway, this morning’s guidance was: See the other person’s point of view.  Oddly, I had woken up being in full awareness of another person’s point of view.  It was an instance where a long standing condition makes an individual behave in a certain way, a way that one might find Massively Irritating if one were not paying attention.  What I realized in today’s waking moment, however, was that I felt what that other person felt at those times.  I felt in myself that irritating behavior coming up, saw what the origin of it was, and thought:  Good Heavens.  If this were a knitting pattern  I’d be getting to a virtual Alice Starmore level of difficulty.  If you knit you will know what I mean.  If you don’t, just picture it as an Olympic level of accomplishment.

Just like knitting, daily life presents all these opportunities to learn and hone one’s skills.    It does, eventually, simplify things in actual life, this learning.  I’m still not sure about knitting ever getting any easier.  Perhaps though, in knitting it is easier to see where you simply must start over or make an adjustment.  (Notwithstanding the possibility of the unintended dog sized sweater vest result….)  In this particular case today, what I saw quite clearly was that this other individual’s irritating behavior was, guess what, precisely like MY irritating behavior given the same stimulus.  We feel the same; we just don’t respond the same way.  Maybe this is the rudimentary skeleton of compassion- if we both feel the same way, how is that- what’s it really like?  What makes me feel calmer in the face of all this?  How can I keep my energy and focus on forward movement rather than reactivity and tail chasing?   Perhaps what it also is to a great extent is changing our perception of time.

When we’re irritated or in a hurry or in whatever distraction has us sucked up, when something appears to impede us, we get irritated.  I don’t have time for this, sort of thing.  We push the irritating thing aside without acknowledging it truly, and this is where the trouble starts to look like one of those tiny little pellets you put in a glass of water and it becomes an expanding dinosaur whose snout quickly rises up and out above the lip of the glass.  Our sense of time gets distorted, things become abrupt and abrasive.

But what is it we really don’t have time for?  In truth it is all the to-ing and fro-ing that we probably REALLY don’t have time for.  Vanity, pride, acquisitiveness, mean spiritedness, probably all are things we don’t really have time for.  What we do, and must, have time for is paying attention to each other- in fact, it is often the case for me that if I just stop and pay attention the whole megilla gets taken care of much more easily and swiftly that it ever does when “I don’t have time for this”.

As it happens, I am the sort of person who then thinks, well, what about axe murderers, rapists, and vicious capitalists? I spent a long time pursuing that line of thought and found that in the end,  I was still stuck in a reactive position because I was expecting a particular sort of result.  Like expecting a tomato to sprout from a patch of poison oak, I was just SURE that I could “help”.  One of the important reasons we must pay attention to each other, though, is to ascertain who we should NOT be paying attention to.  Kindness and humility are essential, always, but also essential is the learning of where to put the focus.  Where the focus is placed can be what keeps a person from going off the deep end- the simple act of blinking and looking somewhere else. Not in an attempt to ignore what is happening or “make it” some way it isn’t, but just breaking up the thought train a bit.    We are, as my teacher said, human BEings, not human DOings.  And we can be aware, and kind, and better to each other.

It’s odd, to swing between feelings of competence and blithering idiocy, watching the world go by like some completely insane combo shooting gallery/ merry go round.  What is the point?  The point is to give up the grandiose, I think.  As in, I know I will never manage a Starmore pattern.  BUT.  I can knit a darn good, serviceable little thingy to keep you warm, and that is progress.  Even if it is to a higher and thus dauntingly unknown level of difficulty, however discouraging it seems at times and especially how little it seems an individual can do….these are all the illusions we have to pass through and conquer.  What matters is what each of us does, how we live our lives.   The things that happen that cause difficulties are always to show us a better way, a more inclusive way.  I’m hoping that the places I fail in this endeavor at least bear the stamp of having tried to work it through to the end of the pattern.

Moving through the years

We’ve been going at our usual breakneck pace.  Serious injury has been avoided so far which really is something given the fact that all the knives have been deciding to leap off counters and out of drawers and dance around, landing between toes.

It’s winter here now.  We actually had a Fall this year, our very first one here.  It was LOVELY.  Several days of 70 degree weather, which usually one only sees at midnight in July.  Liveable nights in the low 50’s.  Golden and flame colored leaves against lion colored grasses- oddly, a new batch of tiny cows and goats as well.  We saw some tee-tiny newby lambs yesterday and wondered- it was very windy and very cold and they were just sitting on the ground like a series of tiny balls.   The two brown sheep who live by us on the road into town, however, are now looking like enormous fuzzy blocks.  Last year they simply looked to be a couple of hassocks set under a tree, but this year somehow their unshorn wool has grown into square shapes on each of them and it is pretty amazing.  Would I love to get my hands on that wool? What a color; intoxicating.  Maybe that’s why they don’t get sheared; it’s just too nice looking into that mass of chocolate.

In the meantime, I have arrived at a tiny bit of hope.  The world is travelling through perilous times and energies at present and everyone feels it, whether they know what it is or not.  But.  I realized that the things that seem the most threatening- the politics, the intense polarized stupidity, the nonsensical “statements” made by “officials”, and let us not leave out the religious fanatics and continuing loyal members of the flat earth society- all those things actually mean, I think, that the individuals holding these views and manifesting these actions?  Are doing so out of fear of the changes that cannot be avoided.  Since Nature moves forward, inevitably, this drag back group is not going to prevail in the end.  This gave me a very tiny measure of calm.  Which is much needed at this point, let’s just say.

In other exciting news, the frogs/toads are singing their heads off preparatory to going into their little holes and sleeping through the cold.  We have a mountain lion that rests for a time each night right outside our front door (by the woodstove, as it happens).  And!  The bear is back, judging from the frequent scat sightings.  It’s a full life, just right there.

May be….

Or it may be not.  It’s stormy today and the internet is…let’s say, unstable.

SO.  In this window of opportunity, a quick dash…..about writing.  Writing’s a funny thing.  I’ve always written and not thought anything about it.  I got a degree in painting, then probably the equivalent of a doctorate in plant and energy medicine studies.  Meanwhile the writing continues to push at the edges of what seems to keep me together.  I read another favorite person today who said  blogging may be keeping them from writing something bigger, like a book.  (HONEY ROCK DAWN is the site, my internet….need we say more? than that the link enabling feature has decided it is no longer co-dependent..) What I decided when I saw the post a day thing was that this was a way to forge ahead with my actual writing and move toward whatever bigger project there may be out there in the mists of time.  Instead of dithering around with what I *thought* I was writing, or had written, or people said should be a book..or, or, or.   Plus, there’s a piquant quality to this blog given that days can pass and it remains, perhaps, unseen.  I get to the point where I feel quite untethered and free, then I realize someone’s ACTUALLY READING THIS.  Which, of course, is quite wonderful in and of itself.  So, we’ll see.

Meanwhile the quotidian bugaboo looms, which is: What shall I make for dinner?  Anyway we’re losing internet integrity here I see, so toodleoo for now.

Some Days….

One just cannot get oriented, right side up, calibrated, none of it.  Today is shaping up to be one of those days.  The laundry, for example, has morphed into something monstrous.  I’m staring at it but the synapse that fires and says, pick this up and go do it is AWOL.  I’m trying to write a business plan, too. Ha, ha.  This is quite the endeavor, gentle readers.  Quite the endeavor.  I look at sample plans and they’re all, we expect to make X jillion $s by year two, and the demand for this service is yadda yadda.   While I think it is a worthwhile thing to write this Ostensible Plan, at the same time I see how far out of the mainstream we are here at the Rancho de Boo.  I happen to think the mainstream at this point is corrupt, to put it mildly, and I don’t WANT to be part of it.  However, back to the infrastructure issues which the Business Plan might address….oh, dear.  So, I’m waiting for inspiration.   Again.

We went to the movies yesterday, which was really quite exciting.  A matinee! during the week! Like a day game in baseball season or a trip to the track on Thursday, a lovely thing.  We saw AVATAR.  Which, moving beyond the quibble of how depictions of indigenous populations are often “idealized” (after their extermination, of course), and beyond the fact that the entities that bring us movies and films are often the self same groups that are exterminating the indigenes, as it were…it was really a great movie. IMHO.  Visually stunning, of course.  Sweeping movement and conscious content.  And, of course! Food for thought.  What does non-violent resistance really mean?  I suppose there is a point where one must physically defend one’s principles.  But fighting never accomplishes anything much except temporary population reduction.   Armed conflict is a tragedy for all involved.  But when an outside force is trying to crush you, literally, what do you do?  The eternal standoff between good and evil.  We all want to be on the side of the “good”, and so often are not, due to circumstances of birth, residence, space and time.  Good is, I think, a neutral concept in a way.  Good supports harmony and balance, but that support can involve things we don’t like, like death and disruption.  Evil, on the other hand, can appear to be good.  Over expansion, moving too fast, thinking only of one small thing instead of the balance of all.  Pretending that things don’t constantly change.  OH, DEAR.  The lengths I will go to to avoid laundry! Who’d’a thunk…….