Posts Tagged ‘curling smoke and slippery slope’

Sun and Smoke

EVERYTHING is on fire around us.  The smoke  made the sunset sky night before last look like a gigantic bruise, and in the days it muffles the line of sight to the point of nothingness.  We’re remaining calm, right? Everything is tinder around here and on our hill there being only one way out, we’re thinking positively.  No lightning due for a minute, anyway.

Meanwhile, my goodness.  I quit paying attention to the news for two seconds and look what happens.  Ryan as vice presidential contestant, the shocking revelation that the average Republican has apparently been exposed to absolutely no science or logic at all and thus have managed to drag the level down even further on every level where they are to be found.  As a woman, I must say their interpretation of human biology is…quite surprising.  Jumping nekkid into the Sea of Galilee on the taxpayer’s dime is another uplifting episode,too.

It seems to me that the eternal standoff between good and evil (just to TOTALLY OVERSIMPLIFY) is proceeding apace.  My own life is rattling along with pieces large and small falling away from it,  and in a world where cows are fed meat and fish eat chicken, and a country where it is crucially important that we be able to purchase assault rifles but can’t get medicine without an insurance company deciding it’s okay…well.  It’s all getting a bit apocalyptic for my taste.

Which made me think about how difficult we humans find change.  Let’s say you give up a long standing bad habit.  You know it’s bad, you know you feel better without it, but still….it follows you around trying to lure you back.  The comfort of old thought patterns, even if negative, exerts a pull. People can get “stuck” in these situations.  The future is a complete unknown except that what you DO know is that bad habit really, really needs to go.  Like fossil fuel, for example, or codependent relationships. We KNOW we’re destroying the earth and we keep doing it.  We KNOW we’re doing violence to our own hearts and souls, and we keep doing it.  The funny thing is, though, that however terrifying it all is or may be, once you actually do step into the supposed unknown which is really more like the unadulterated present, somehow it’s not quite as frightening as staying in the old tied up position.  One may still be afraid but it is a different ball game, different situation, and ultimately the fear can become guidance rather than leg irons.

Still.  It is difficult to be in such a different part of the journey from what was known before, and to be in such a different part of it that some people can’t even see you any more.  This is where, I think, real faith comes in.  Faith is about inner knowing, inner trust in things unseen and ungrasped perhaps.  Faith comes from spirit.  Faith does not, in my estimation, come from authority, from people telling you HOW IT IS.  None of us on some level really knows doodly about how it is, why we’re here, what’s going to happen next.  In order to have control, feel important, have power, structures have arisen that feed upon this “authority”, and in our world they masquerade as “religion” or “morality”.  In fact they are nothing of the sort, and more like blinders that get attached first thing to keep people from thinking for themselves.

So, to all of us here on Earth, everyone everywhere- start thinking.  Start being curious, start simplifying.  Start with simple, direct talk to yourself.  Start from love- and this also means not accepting what is not good for you, in having compassion and love for yourself along with everyone else, and every THING else as well.  It really isn’t easier not to do this- we just think it is.

Brain: Friend or foe?

So much of everything has to do with our brain chemistry: How we see the world, how we feel, how we cope.  When the brain chemistry is off, things do not flow, to put it mildly.

The other constant thing of course is change.  So we start to see how basically life can be a lot like racing over rolling logs in a river.  Sometimes you can do it, sometimes not.  The nature of the river and the logs starts to be important too.

The fact that things change also means that whatever is going on, it will shift into something else, guaranteed.  So while good times pass, so do terrible ones.  That’s a comfort on some level. although even the nature of change seems to be shifting, and everything is going ever faster and faster, centrifuging all of us who knows where.

It seems so much as though we are living, indeed, at a time when the world is coming to an end- at least the world as we used to know it- and things become ever more polarized and fragmented.  A common thread of late is people noticing that no matter what the situation, now one absolutely must be totally on top of every aspect, know everything about the topic in question, and do this whether nor not it is your business. Whether or not this produces a successful result is probably calibrated at this point by how much of a mess gets made in the final analysis. (As in, do you get the product you needed?  How many times do you have to go back and revisit the same thing?)  Also?  This is remarkably similar to hypervigilance, which ultimately drains the brain, throws the neurochemicals into disarray- in essence, shorts you out.

It all seems, Gentle Reader, like something the average bear’s brain is not constructed to handle.  Mine, for example.  Take last night.  (PLEASE.)  I had gone grocery shopping in a state of moderate agitation following Our Week of the Bad Breaker Switches (and concomittantly, no power, no water, sturm & drang and generalized disarray and debility) , picked up a loaf of bread assuming it was what I usually buy since it was in the usual spot.  Of course, it wasn’t, and the thing of it was that it contained poppy seeds, to which the Partner is deathly allergic.  So that was fun, jumping into high healing gear because my attention wavered when it shouldn’t’ve and had a problematic result.  Bear with me for a minute, here:  I had been thinking about how, perhaps, healing involves a raising of the interior energy bar, so to speak, so that you rise above the disharmony and stay there.  It doesn’t mean that the original issue/illness/project/whatnot goes away necessarily- it just means it is not being stimulated. I thought about this after reading several apocryphal stories of individuals who, having been diagnosed with things like cancer or serious heart disease, decided that they were going to get well and did so, only to sink back down and in some cases die after hearing a negative comment from a physician or other person with influence of some sort.  Their altitude shifted with their attitude, it would seem.  Perhaps we can get a sense of how this works by noticing when some old “thing” in us gets reactivated out of the blue and suddenly we’re back in time wondering how we got there.

So that got me wondering, of course, how that actually WORKS, how it gets harnessed, what it means.  The brain is a pretty powerful thing, but it seems as though we really don’t know how to operate it.  How far away from grace one can seem when even though one has indeed decided to be perfectly well, perfectly happy, open minded and compassionate, things just continue to go so intensely and consistently sideways.  I know many people who are sure that things are all unfolding as they should, according to Plan.  I suppose I share that view in a way; the overarching movement is toward the light.  I’ve seen it happen, in fact, but at times like these? My fingers are digging into the cliff, and although there are indeed tigers below, I haven’t seen any strawberries yet.  The movement toward health for any and all of us and for this earth we live on- we are in dangerous times it seems to me.  We have a world economy that is completely in the hands of people who care only for money and power.  The recent article in the Rolling Stone, excerpted on Common Dreams, laid out the math- there are roughly 500 and some pounds of carbon crap that can be shot into the environment before it is, really and truly, game over.  Game over for the Earth.  This is something you would think people would be paying attention to in a serious and dedicated manner.  And indeed they appear to be doing just that.  The biggest oil companies (apparently our friend Exxon-Mobil and Lukoil in Russia) are racing madly to extract enough fossil material to extrude over 2000 pounds out there.  In the next few years.   Sixteen, to be exact.  A two degree centigrade temperature increase?  Game over, people. And even without the quadruple quantity in the sky?  That looks to be imminent, also.  Not to mention the consequences of all the OTHER pollution going on.  Which causes all kinds of illness and misery and makes people have to go to the doctor- if they can.

And then? There are the doctors.  Health care in this country is run by insurance companies and I find myself terrified by the fact that if you don’t have insurance, you get no care.  Period.  If you have insurance, you get what the insurance company says you can get.  Physicians are practically wearing blinders in terms of diagnosis and thinking about possibilities in illness and care, which essentially means that in this arena as in so many others, you are at the mercy of how well the person you are interacting with knows what they are doing, how well they can think.   Along with being completely circumscribed by the amount of money you’ve got.  So it’s all kind of life and death.  I am not happy, let’s just say.

According to what I’ve read in “thisishowyoublog” sorts of articles, this post is waaaaaay too long for anyone to read.  Along with everything else, many bloggers hope to make something viable from their blogs, express themselves and maybe…reach a wider audience.  As well as stay economically viable while attempting to do something creative.  But I am detecting a note of despair in spots, a shrillness in others.   I go back and forth wondering if there’s a point to it or not.  The floor seems to be shifting under us all, and it’s a real question whether or not the entire ROOM is tilting.  Are we on the ceiling yet?


A Set of Miracles, No. 1

This morning the parrots were on my…well, front…eating their breakfasts.  They like to perch on their bowls, lean back onto me where my heart is, then crunch their way through everything.  They make small growly noises, close their eyes, then look up and smile at me.  Boo has started doing a little routine in which she looks like a Mardi Gras Indian in New Orleans.  Totally fluffed up, slowly waving back and forth, she gets on first one leg and unfurls her tail and the opposite wing.  Then she waves the free leg around in circles for a three count.  Then, reverse.  All while totally fluffed up.  Poppy affects disinterest and usually just climbs under my hair, making confidential little comments only I can hear, usually to the effect of what a good bird she is.  And she is, too.

So there I was, crawling up onto the Pinnacle of Some Small Restoration of Order, and it struck me while all this breakfast dancing was going on just how astonishing so many things are.  Like music.  There’re only a certain number of notes and yet they get combined into unique messages and sounds that haunt you and bring joy too.  Like snowflakes and grains of sand and feathers and clouds and leaves and….everything.  The same, yet no two alike.  The breathtaking order and beauty of it!  Then there’s writing and painting and knitting and cooking and building things and….there is so much wonderful stuff in life and it is so easy to lose sight of it.  Or have it taken far away from us.  But we all can walk in beauty once we make the choice.

The Partner remarked to me today how lucky I am to be able to do work that brings me joy.  I AM lucky in that regard, even though at this point it doesn’t pay the rent quite.  But really.  All you’ve got is time and why spend it doing things you can’t stand?  I may not have this entire concept in one room yet, and I’m not even close to sure that all the sacrifices that got made to get to this particular point were “right”- but as Helen Keller said, life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing at all.

I agree with that.  Tomorrow, the Tale of the Rice Cooker.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: I thought I’d lost this earlier, deep in the bowels of cyberspace.  And in fact, it DID get lost.  Along with some editing….oh ##$@!!.  The good news was the clogged chimney cap from hell was discovered before we died from asphyxiation last night.  The bad news is that as the poster child for Einstein’s definition of crazy I keep trying to publish this and it keeps giving me the same ominous error message that my “attempt to edit” this post “failed.”  So, while I handled it ok yesterday, this morning it’s starting to get on my last nerve.  So this is it.  One more try and then INTO THE TRASH.

Deviating from the norm…

I heard today that a journalist in Iran got a year in jail for “deviating from Islamic normalcy”.  He said something about how women shouldn’t HAVE to wear headscarves if they don’t want to.  Deviating from the norm is, apparently, dangerous.  I thought so.

Meanwhile we are slogging through what needs to be done.  The turkey came out well, and a miracle happened with the gravy.  We’re almost ready to put the mini greenhouse arrangement up over the plants, and….and….it feels alot like Odysseus, sowing the dragon’s teeth and having warriors spring up out of the furrows.  If memory serves.  The illusion of  “getting things accomplished” bouncing off things  just springing up all over the place demanding attention to the point where focus is non-existent, topped off with a dollop of “reality”.  I don’t know, but I think it’s happy hour.  It’s the best idea I’ve got at the moment.   After all.  Tomorrow is, indeed another day, and another opportunity to continue the deviation.  Which, I’m pretty sure, we’ll do.

It’s All Designed To Blow Your Mind

My guidance for today was to choose peace, and to write- preferably a book, apparently.  Well, I’m working on both those things but since it seems as though, quite often of late, my cup has been runnethed over it takes a minute to expand from the resultant squashed and quease-like state.

Never mind that I (IDIOTICALLY) read NEWSWEEK first thing today.  The one with (why? It looks like her) picture of Ms. Bachmann on it, and Niall Ferguson’s piece on just exactly how the US debt is structured (roughly 60% is to owed to itself and the citizenry.  Neat trick.)  It might be argued that the American people are to blame for this reactionary, narrow minded, visionless cabal of poseurs being allowed to run things, which has given us a stomach churning reality of rich getting richer and everyone else sliding on a slippery slope.  Then again, when the Supreme Court of this country has ruled that corporate entities can give as much money as they want to political candidates however they want to and secretly if they choose, what chance does Jane or John Q. Citizen really have of any influence whatsoever?  So, OK.  I was already unsteady on the old pins and this didn’t buck me up much.  The inconsistency of Bachmann’s prior incarnation as an attorney for the Internal Revenue Service and her current one of spearheading the total dismantling of government just keeps my little hamster brain running around on its’ wheel wondering why people don’t a) just tell the truth, or b) say nothing if they’re going to lie anyway.  Biting the hand that has fed you, and all that.  Like, it’s OK to take all that money but now I want it another way and you’ll have to just suck it up.

SO ANYWAY.  Also remembering that there are, shall we say, celestial influences at work that make people snappish, irritable, and loosely attached to their handles, not to mention Mercury retrograde so that even the best laid plans seem to dissipate in the air like curling smoke, I had quite the struggle with self last night when I learned another fabulous thing about this maudite place we live.  IT HAS A HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION.  Wikipedia, bless its furry heart, has a concise entry on these groups, if you’re interested.  They get to levy fees and threaten lawsuits and liens if these fees aren’t paid.  You don’t have any choice about whether or not to belong- they have been set up by the initial “development group” and that, Gentle Reader, is that. If you want to buy the property, you get to join the Association, period.   In our case there is also the additional, if not uncommon, wonderfulness of being in an unincorporated area.  Which means people pay property taxes, some of which go to the county, and for which they get? Nothing.  Because the area somehow is not incorporated into the county although it is in the county.  We don’t have streetlights, we don’t have public safety, and since we don’t have paved roads we also cannot get our garbage picked up or mail delivered.  Also there is no line laid for internet or all the other things that are seeming indispensible in today’s world.    So.  On some level, who cares? You make a choice to go largely off grid and there it is.  But.  This here HOA, of which I was blissfully unaware until recently,  has a road committee, and they assess fees to homeowners for”maintenance”.   (Since the county doesn’t do it because we’re not part of it.  Got that?)  I’ve seen better roads in jungles in Mexico, which leads to the fun part of it all.  The roads here are absolutely awful.  They are so washboarded out you really could probably scrub something on them.  There are huge potholes and deep tire ruts (left from the winter when the mud is ankle deep) that are like razors.  The dust is like something out of a biblical epic.  A regular car couldn’t even make it on these roads, and riding over them is like being in a buckboard, even in a car designed for such torture.  There is no doubt a thriving business in suspension around here.  Anyhow, somehow the HOA has decided that what they are doing (perhaps in a parallel universe?)  is “maintenance”, and should be paid for not only by property owners but by anybody even renting out here.  If you want to dare driving on this collision course with extensive auto repair, you get to pay THEM.  They have it in their rules, but it has, apparently, not been disseminated before now.   I was totally flabbergasted by this revelation, because:  I’m supposed to pay for something that not only is not being done, but over which I have no control or manner of serious input.   They also are considering making people who rent pay MORE than people who own property.  Now, that’s fair for sure especially since if you rent you can’t vote on any issues pertaining to the HOA.  Because, see, you don’t own property.  Obviously that puts you in a lesser class all across the board.  So, it’s kind of a know-me fee.  (Or extortion, I thought, in a really unbridled moment.) Most HOAs do ridiculous things like tell you what color you can paint your door or how your yard has to look or what kind of TV service you can have.  On, theoretically, your own property.  (There’s a woman, for example, in the East who’s facing jail time because she planted vegetables in her front yard and her Association didn’t feel it was appropriate.) But there is, generally, overall maintenance provided, responsible parties (” “) to call if things go awry.  So there is balance if you have a reasonable HOA.  Out here in eyesore central? Zero zip nada.  There’s something about having to pay even more to be totally on my own that just….irritates me. I can think of better ways to throw away money I don’t have in the first place. There’s nothing in my rental agreement that mentions any of this, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it shakes out.  But it just reminded me of how things are going in the whole country- a small vested interest group gets to do whatever it wants, really, and you get to pay.  Not just in taxes and money, but in living conditions and lack of power over your circumstance.  It’s funny, really.  Who would do this if they thought about it?

But I digress.  The practice here is to choose peace.  Which doesn’t mean accepting things that aren’t right.  But it does mean reasoning and experiencing a process and working with and through the whole notion that entrenched power cannot be dealt with in the end except by some sort of major change or overthrow.  Peace can mean challenging the ways that things have been done when they don’t achieve the desired result over time.  But you have to be a little bit brave to stand up to things in a calm, loving, and non-violent way, no matter how small they may seem.  And if they’re big you have to be very brave, in my view.   I do think Existence, or Creator, or the Universe, or whatever you want to call it, has a plan.  That plan is largely not knowable by us.  We must go forth, knowing that resisting what is will not get us where we need to go.  But dealing with the constant tides of small mindedness, fear, lust for power instead of lust for life…what’s the best way to do that, really?  You go back and back and back again into the NOW, and breathe again and again and again into the heart of things, and struggle with the fear that walks the world so powerfully now over and over and over. You reaffirm your vow to do no harm and be of service, every day.   I confess I’m finding it all very confusing- I must really have had some unrealistic expectations.  The other day the Partner and I were talking about the issues concerning returning service people, especially those who have been, say, in the Rangers or the SEALS.  How do they reintegrate into society after leading an adrenaline and violence filled existence?  I realized I was envisioning a world not so far from now where such things as covert operations were not needed.  The Partner was very gracious in simply clearing his throat and murmuring something like sillyoldbear.  Our lives, though, are  important, and also over in a very short time and so many things are never noticed and we understand so many things so late in the day.  There’s no way around death.  Maybe the way to working with peace is to realize that each time you come up against some obstacle, you’re dealing with a kind of death.  Death of the soul, the heart, the understanding.  Perhaps working in peace means you allow those around you to come back to life if they wish, or not.  Either way you keep rendering service,  divesting yourself of “opinions” and having to be “right” and all that.   Perhaps working in peace is just working with your own fears and everything they call up in your own mind, letting it all go, standing your ground, and moving on in the now, doing what needs to be done, really.  I guess we’ll see.