Posts Tagged ‘family life’

aside from soccer

It’s been a very good thing that the World Cup has been on because otherwise? Recent events might have been almost undealable with, minus the distracting flow of the juxtaposition of luck, skill, politics, and byzantine rules.

It’s been tough sledding for us earthlings, and the fraying nerves and fear and tension are all visible in the outside world.  So too, though, is a depth and kindness, which, given where we are, is quite encouraging.  This being kind of an Epicenter of Ugh, and all, the more prevalent occurrences of kindness and restraint are striking.  Not that it isn’t still a bastion of  oxymoronic white supremacy which is ever more sickeningly mind boggling and seems to be on the ascendancy when one is feeling badly.  But.  The necessity of remembering that unity is real and duality is an illusion seems to be gaining ground even if it is in a bit by bit fashion.

Given the expeditionary quality of life now, every experience sort of requires a new way of looking at it.  New in the sense that as a human on earth we may not have always looked at things in their entirety, which is to say we are each part of a huge, colossal whole, which actually has sentience and thinks (for lack of a better word, Gentle Reader.  It’s HOT here and the brain does not do well over a prolonged period) for itself.  There is a motive power in all this, a cohesion, which we have, in this culture and world as I see it anyway, been separated from for….ages.  It’s not top down, in short, and far from it.  So every experience and relationship which has been structured in that way is up for dismantling whether we like it or not.  And life being what it is, we’re all presented with these little challenges from time to time.

In that vein, I’m happy to report that progress is possible and things do get better, especially when you don’t have a fixed image of what that is or might be.  My most recent challenge of this nature came upon me when I was already reeling from last winter’s brush with homelessness, and various other decisions that had to be made based on actual reality and not what one wished it was.  This most recent Learning Experience involved “Family” and Death.  And long standing resentments along with fictionalized histories and a large serving of guilt gravy.  Manifesting into shape many of my deepest fears and scraping open so many old wounds it seemed impossible.  The Dog just looked at me in a worried way, and the Partner reminded me that in the big picture, none of it really had much to do with me at all even though it appeared that it did. (Really? sometimes he is just SO IRRITATING.  Being right all the time and all.) In an almost funny mix of mistaken identity (on every level) the thing unfolded and I felt at times as though I just couldn’t do it this time.  But then? It became clear that all of it was, essentially, a story, and one in which I could choose to participate.  Or not.  And that decision had to be made on what IS, which is that colossal cosmic reality, and not on the top down story, which was the mistaken identity happy roundelay.  A rather new experience, really.  Not easy.  But totally doable.  It did involve a lengthy view of just how other people had seen me which was, of course and in this case especially, a bit challenging. (OK, I cried a lot) Then it involved the realization that all of it, and I do mean ALL OF IT, was in essence a story, and since it was a story that did not truly include me, I could wish it well and say good bye.  And rest in the flow of that colossal, cosmic reality knowing that however things look, there is something behind the apparency and that something sustains throughout, no matter how it turns out or looks.  In the midst of the pain and conflict, I saw for absolutely sure that the essence of things really is love.  Whether it is received or not, kind of irrelevant.  It just IS.  When you have negative experiences while you are “growing up”, it can lead you to believe things that are simply not true, many of which revolve around your supposed “badness”.  The world is full of people acting out of all that pain and misunderstanding, much of which is fomented of course on a political level, but nonetheless.  It is possible to stop doing that and just step into the open space that reveals itself.  Then you see what happens.  It helps if you have a dog.  Just saying.

Blessings and thanks and may we all continue to step into the real from the unreal, and turn the lights on for everyone.

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ground to a halt

Or something like that, Gentle Reader.  In the ongoing jumble of everything, it becomes increasingly harder to focus on anything besides, perhaps, dog hair.  Of which there is ever more.

Firstly, I know you are all wondering exactly what birthday cake I made for the Partner.  I thought about this topic for weeks, and it may well be the reason my cranium feels filled with inert gas now- cake’s made and it’s over.  But it was a chocolate roulade filled with cream chantilly and lots of specks of prunes macerated in armagnac.  The cooking, at least, has been going reasonably well and the cake was well received, indeed.

Other than that I continue to swing between thinking, well heck.  We’ve actually pulled things together a bit more this year IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING.  And then? OMG, it’s all a mess what happened here?

Then I think, well.  If they managed to elect a Pope who actually appears to be a fully functioning human being, isn’t anything possible? ( I’m trying to keep my happy dance at Boehner’s resignation to a minimum, given that the alternative to him may be unspeakable.)  At the same time, I’m thinking: Hmmm.  This tide of humanity which is seething across borders and oceans.  It’s awful right now but the fact is good will come from it.  The tenets upon which the world has operated, at least in the past century and fifteen years, are beginning to be visibly bankrupt.  There’s no stopping what’s happening, and the moment the people who think of themselves as the “haves” and don’t want any immigrants messing up their perfect piles actually have to live in the real world for even a minute? Tipping point.  Sooner or later everyone is going to have to acknowledge we’re all in the same boat, we may not all BE the same but we are all one.  Perhaps someone will have the brain to ask the right question at long last and cooperation will begin.  Those who have hogged everything for themselves will find that what they held on to isn’t worth anything and it will certainly be interesting to see what happens then.  Somehow I think the vanquished of this world will, truly, rise to the occasion and show everyone how it is really done.  With love.  I”m hoping.

Of course the fact is that many people have been so damaged in the course of things that cooperation won’t be something they’re interested in.  There’s a way in which some migrations have the intention of crashing the place of arrival.  But now that time is changing and is both shorter and longer?  It may well be that the overall perception of things is more realistic in terms of doing what actually works for the most, instead of the fewest.  In my fantasies, anyway.

Otherwise, it finally rained here and wow.  I’d forgotten what that was like.  The day after it stopped the sky was the most amazing blue, and the clouds were sparkling.  The trees looked happy and a person could actually breathe, while looking at the mountains.  There was even a bit of snow on both Lassen and Shasta!  It’s hard to put aside the multitude of quotidian worries about survival and whatnot, but somehow when you can actually be present in nature on a day like that one after it rained, it just seems impossible that all will not be well.  It’s kind of the same view I’m taking of the erstwhile puppy training we’re engaged in now- it’ll all be fine in due course.   More on that another time, except I will say that when The Dog decided he would no longer be restrained on his leash in front of BevMo (where I was doing birthday party preparatory shopping for Polish beer) and raced in dragging The Partner behind him?  Everyone in the place tottered straight over to him, smiling and petting him as he splayed out on the cool concrete floor, grinning and waving a paw regally at all his devoted subjects.  I don’t know who this Dog was in his previous life, but I’m betting he was a rock star equivalent.

Appearance and Reality

Dependent-arising and emptiness.  We are having a go at understanding THAT, Gentle Reader.  Still pondering the 97% invisible nature of scientific reality,  I “coincidentally” opened the book, HOW TO SEE YOURSELF AS YOU REALLY ARE, in which the Dalai Lama writes about emptiness, quoting Chandrakirti.  He says that phenomena do not actually exist in their own right, but visual consciousness makes it appear so.  Therefore the visual consciousness is mistaken about how things appear as “real”, but the same consciousness is valid with regard to the presence of such objects.  So, the mistake in ordinary perception makes us think things are “established from their own side”, that is to say, solidly “real”.  But in fact, nothing is established in that way.  The chapter finishes with: “…..all phenomena are empty of their own inherent existence.  Emptiness is not something made up by the mind; this is how things have been from the start  Appearance and emptiness are one entity, and cannot be differentiated into separate entities.”

I think that makes sense, it totally jibes with what The Astrophysicist Said, and of course it is always delightful to have what has long been known in some spiritual and cultural circles turn out to be exactly right.  Just as one thought all along.  Phew, in short.

But of course, then we get to the part where we have to implement this knowledge in our daily lives.  This then quickly turns into The Continuing Saga of OMG.  It’s all well and good to think this sort of stuff in one’s kitchen, surmounting yet another moat full of alligators and bravely doing dishes.  Humming along and all that.  Then the phone rings and it’s some poor desperate fellow in Gujarat trying to sell phone book advertising, or you look at the new marketing program you’re doing online that is using completely inappropriate words to describe what it is you do (when you’re not humming in the kitchen), or you once again have occasion to ponder just how it is that your wayward friends and stepsiblings always, ALWAYS land on their (supposed! empty! dependent-arising!) feet while you, dear bear, land squarely on what does to seem be be a very real, not to say hard, or soft either,  head.  Every time.

While my innate laziness has trumped vanity all my life (with the happy result that I look like what I am instead of some hybrid untouchable Brand of Female with more maintenance than an Italian race car), the gullibility has remained in full force.  Which today I understand to mean that I still think all this stuff is totally real.  Dude.

So when things happen or conversations occur, it can be realized that: HOLY SMOKES I TOOK THIS SERIOUSLY ALL MY LIFE. Embarrassing.  Also, it can leave one a bit out at sea; it’s kind of like talking to someone with a wall eye.  You’re never sure quite where to look.  This particular quandary, or bugaboo is maybe a better word, naturally involves things that also are not “real”, are empty, like how I see myself and how that is largely based on not only something that wasn’t really real, but something that didn’t actually have a lot to do with me.  Still doesn’t.  Even though I’m not exactly real either, uh, cosmically speaking.  Mmmmmm.  Yet  the awareness of the presence of this quandary laden situation requires some sort of action, response, energy from me.  Directed at what or whom? From whence?  and also, WHY?  Or more correctly, responding to which element of this situation?  Which eye do I look at?   This is gnarly, Gentle Reader.  But as usual we have miles to go before we sleep, so off we go.