Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

slippery streams

There’s something about blogging that is, naturally, just like real life.  The important thing is to do it, be it, not overthink or overreact, and to be, as Einstein suggested, free of the opinions of others- all without becoming an asshat in the process.

Of course that brings up the pernicious influences and backsliding sorts of things, like wow, people like this! I’m OK! or, oh no! no one likes this and I’m not OK!  Perfectionism creeps in, elongating into procrastination and nothing doing.  Like it all is so important on the opinion level.

I’m coming to the realization that the opinion level is where we get sick, get stuck, get distracted and removed from purpose.  It’s kind of like the monetization of your hopes and dreams, wherein for the most part they get crushed and you forget what time it really is.  This can be in the form of working at a job you hate, or becoming overly focused on “being successful” in whatever thing you’re doing and turning it into a carrot on stick scenario.  It can be about sticking to a paradigm or mindset, and insisting others do as well,  because you’re too afraid to step outside of what you think your safety level is.  In any event, all of this tends to separate you from your true self.  Without connection to your true self, what can you really do?

The use of one’s will is an interesting thing.  Too much focus on that and you’re stuck in an egoic quagmire, not enough and you’re without boundaries.  Religion, and actually? advertising, both attempt to define what will is and how it is to be used, but that’s just more of the imposition of external authority we’re all so used to, instead of doing the thinking for ourselves.  Life could be a whole lot easier if one were able to drop the opinions and external controls and just get in the flow of what is actually going on, respond to it, and go from there.  It changes the nature of pain completely, for one thing.  You’re not clinging to it like a burning spar in a shipwreck.  You feel the pain, for sure.  But if you’re moving in harmony with what is around you- and however inharmonious it may be you can do this- the overall field of energy can be seen for what it is, which is? LOVE.  With that awareness one is, somehow, able to continue, to go on, to proceed and succeed.

It is probably no mystery that this precise issue has been turning me into a bit of a couch potato of late. ( The weeds in the garden think they’ve won the battle, hands down. But.) There’s something to do, but it’s raining.  I have an idea, but I just forgot it.  How much energy is there to use today? What the heck was I doing before now? I almost feel like someone who’s been brought back to life as I look at the tools of my existence, realize I’m quite able to use them but don’t necessarily connect any more with the steps that got me to technical proficiency.  The big thing is ALWAYS not to run away from feeling.  Not to wallow in it either, but to simply look and experience and see it as truthfully as possible.   This process is leaving me with an interior that feels scrubbed and empty and ready for the next life to come in.  It is leaving me with the ability to focus more on what IS and not what I think I may have LOST.  The pain is still there; sometimes I feel my heart literally contract and bleed when things pass across my mind’s eye, as well as when I just look at what is happening right in front of me.  But the important thing is that our isolation from each other is an illusion.  Our thoughts do create tangible results.  The rest of it is, actually, pretty straightforward. If it is challenging in terms of implementation when we think of things like, say, Trump,  or Syria, or the gas leak in southern California, or bees or plant seeds, that is the point where we step back, take a breath, and apply ourselves to how we can cooperatively re-do our reality, shaping it in balance, not in fear.  The challenge is to find a substitute for violence and constriction, isn’t it?  That certainly seems like it might well start with observing our own, true, inner spaciousness.

Meanwhile, I was gently lured into the day by the Dog, who woke me up by first belching quietly in my ear, then beginning to hiccup into my neck.  Reminder, if one were needed, of how much I have to be grateful for, not the least of which are YOU, Gentle Readers!  I am always humbled and surprised and happy that you are out there.  Let us go forth, yes?

clouds of color

The wild plum and cherry trees are blooming now, and they look like clouds that have come down to earth to talk.  The redbuds came out all at once, from Monday to Wednesday, and the juxtaposition of mauve and ivory against the brilliant green of the pastures and the varying foam green and pink hazes of the trees beginning to leaf out against a brilliant blue sky is astonishing, to say the least.  Dot in a few cream colored cows and dark sheep and it looks like paradise, interrupting as it does what seems like one long season here: BURNT, which is divided into HOT and FROZEN.  A bit of gold and wine fall color to mitigate the dried grass colors as we pass from Hot to Frozen, then dark, dark brown and if we’re lucky, MUDDY and cold, with hints of green if you really look.  Spring is even more fleeting than fall but so completely ensorcelling you almost forget that it hardly happens, and its succession of wild flowers goes by in a flash.

In the meantime, the Partner is building some actual steps going into the garden from the deck and soon there will be absolutely no excuse for me not to go out and start pulling weeds.  How we’ll keep the dog from destroying everything this summer is haunting my dreams, but I fully expect him to understand once we’ve explained it to him a few times.

It came to my attention that he really isn’t like other dogs, the Dog.  He, after all, did not really have the benefit of mom and fellow pups to teach him doggy sorts of things since he was all on his own by the tender age of two months.  Being the avatar of love that he is, he just simply assumes that everyone wants to kiss him as much as he wants to kiss them and there is simply no time to waste.  He can jump really high, too, did I mention that?  We were at a pet store looking for a training leash thing to attempt to put an end to Pulling, and they tried to sell us a puppy training package.  He was jumping and smiling and dragging me hither and yon and for a minute it seemed reasonable. Fortunately the Partner’s rationality took over, and he reminded me that the Dog is really a WILD dog, not a tame store purchased dog or even a grown rescue individual.  It’s kind of like expecting a Martian to immediately enjoy a cotillion.  He’s more like the two of us in terms of his responses to things, given his initial orphan status and strength of purpose- I mean, he’s a goof dog but at the same time has an iron paw in a furry glove. He really IS smart and insulting his intelligence isn’t going to work very well, as I have learned. He has an excellent Stern, if Droll, look for moments when I’m making an idiot of myself.  It was a good lesson in not attempting to push a situation into a shape it didn’t want to be in, in any event.

It seems at this point that thinking about consequences is a huge part of life now.  Instead of compulsively doing what one has always done, it seems impossible to not stop and review what’s actually happening, and do it differently this time.  Some days that feels good.  Other days it feels like being completely lost with a map that’s disintegrating before your very eyes.  Those are the days it’s helpful to remember something Gandhi said, which was that whatever you have to do may be very insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.  Whether we believe we’re Ascending or Descending, it’s for sure all changing and fast.  If we can keep our attention open to that, we might have a chance.  I’m now going to go practice my dog speak and perfect my taco preparation.  More on tacos, and galaxies, soon.

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.

always learning

And yes, we are, Gentle Reader.  First, the animal report.  The pigs we’ve been watching grow are so big they collapsed their little shelter on top of them.  Now they’re sprawled over it whilst hammering out z’s.  The continuing dialogue between citizenry and police (cows and cow dogs in this case) continues, with outstanding stare downs and dogs slightly on the minus side in terms of Imposing Their Will on The Cows.  And, speaking of cows, a brand new crop of babies are suddenly, delicately, on their hooves in between being nestled in the still green grass like little pieces of obsidian, and having long philosophical discussions with their mothers.  Add to that the smoke trees blooming by the river? and it’s perfect.

So as usual,  the things of the earth are resplendent and wonderful.  Even while we’ve got solar activity pelting us all to the point of feeling like our heads may explode from the pressure, and while Nestle continues to bottle water here in California where they say we’ll run out all together in about a year.   It is sad to think that a company involved with chocolate, the food of the gods for mercy’s sake, is just so completely…well, evil.  Let’s us make a lot of money selling these poor fools their very own water back while they can’t flush their toilets for lack thereof.

But at the same time, it is spring, I just had a restorative visit with dearly beloved friends, it’s almost my birthday again (made it through another year! award time!), and although the amount of weed pulling before me is beyond daunting and our basic position vis a vis the World seems to be on a razor’s edge, I’ve learned something that will keep me going for a while.

To wit: It really IS about how you respond to things.  Especially now, when things just look so completely grim and hopeless all over the place- at the same time people are doing wonderful work and the light is made to shine in unexpected places.  We all do want to be happy.  Recognizing this just puts you on a, metaphorically, level playing field with everyone else.  We all want the same things, but the challenge arises in the manner in which we pursue these things.  Often people go after experiences and things  in an effort to find this happiness, but the problem arises when they haven’t figured out what really gives meaning to their lives.  Willy nilly, rushing around in pursuit of the external, perspective gets lost in the quest for gratification of whatever sort.  Everything really is connected- the business of a butterfly affecting things on the other side of the globe is quite literally true.  The fact that we can’t always SEE the ramifications of what we do in the moment, and the corollary that many aren’t even at the point of caring about those ramifications for various, numerous reasons, brings us to the world we have today.  Which is in truth a mess filled with human created obstacles and congestions and blockages.  A mess because of US.  Not “God” or space aliens or anything else.  Just us.

I think the basis for all of this is fear.  Fear is the big stick that keeps us coloring inside the lines even if we hate the drawing and crayon color.   The reality is there is so much more going on all the time than we can possibly take in that we should find relief in that fact, and focus on paying attention to what we truly see before us instead of confabulating stories about what we are told might be out there.  In time we can get to a place where we actually SEE what is there, and if one has the ability to tread lightly with that awareness, all sorts of things unfold.

Love is the motive force, but love is not an ego based deal.  Love is what happens when you unlock the gates in yourself and let everything go in and out.  It isn’t about “results” or outcome driven processes or anything like that.  It is like a huge beam of light that moves through everything and allows even the darkest, worst moments to shine with meaning and potential.  Love doesn’t mean you’re even going to “like” everyone you come in contact with; but you don’t actually have to worry about that.  Cleaving, as it were, to what really is true- and basically that is that we all want to be happy in an existence full of change and often of pain- what happens?

What happens is you can smile.  This is what I learned this week.  I found myself uncontrollably smiling at people (except, it must be said, the two idiots on the interstate who just about killed me by, respectively, tail gating behind and slamming brakes on in front while everyone’s going 85 mph- sadly I succumbed to non-equanimity and flipped them the bird) and my gosh.  Everyone put their shoulders down and smiled back.  If I can keep doing that until my time on this planet is complete?  I’ll have gotten something accomplished.  Now, on to the Great American Novel, and birthday cake selection, and continuing to behave as if ALL life matters- because it does.


That’s pretty much it, actually.  It’s been pouring here, at long last.  I won’t go into the exciting things that have happened as a result (landlord’s septic overflowed, creek impassable.  Stuff like that!) but this morning we saw something that looked very much like a miracle.

A HUGE double rainbow that got more and more intensely colored and stronger, and ended literally on the driveway in front of the yurt.  We could see the color and light dancing in the air, and the whole thing moved as one big band of energy and brilliance.   You could hear it almost, like a zillion small harmonies flying by, or glass pinging in heat.  I guess this means that we in fact have that pot of gold rumored to be at the end of the rainbow.   Immaterial, as you might expect in a story such as ours, but there before us nonetheless.So, it’s all a big balancing act.  On the one hand, rainbows.  On the other? Mind boggling daily reality.  There’s a lot of it, that reality.  It’s kind of amazing that you can almost just insert the exact opposite meaning into any sentence you hear on the news and come a lot closer to the truth than you might think.  Murder isn’t always murder we now see, for one thing.  (The police often have a truly awful job to do and I don’t think that’s in dispute- but it’s how they do it.  I mean, jeesh.  What if *I* got to choke people to death when I felt like it? )  Even though not everyone you know may be working, or able to tolerate it much less live on what they make, everything’s just getting better and better according to what we hear.   The fact that all this insane Christmas shopping kafuffle is acknowledged to be paid for with credit cards doesn’t seem to be cause for alarm.   The Republican party seems to feel confident that women will just ignore the political and social facts before them, in terms of poverty, war, children, and women’s simple basic rights to equal wages and control over their own bodies, and vote for them.  Scarily, there do seem to be many individuals who can’t see the forest for the trees.  I often wonder how any person of color can keep a civil tongue in their head given the historical reality.  I also often wonder how women can continue to collaborate in their own oppression.  And, I really wonder if it will take extinction to make people realize polar bears do matter.  Everything matters.  Keeping that in mind, yet another rededication to peace, love, and happiness.  The rainbow really does exist (although not for dogs now that I think of it).  Progress, not entropy.

running in place

I woke up today with my usual combination of profound apprehension and deep gratitude.  Not a flavor profile I would have picked, but it seems to be This Year’s Special.

I guess the thing of it is….the thing of it is that it continues to be difficult to maintain one’s footing in any area.  The basis of people’s lives is in question across the board, whether it be from lack of resources pushing you over the cliff to suddenly looking down during a life that appears to be working and seeing: Nothing beneath you.  I try not to sound like an idiot when people discuss these things with me, but really.  A big thing in life seems more and more to be the crucial importance of knowing when to leave something behind, especially if it’s something you’re used to.

Right now that something is, I think, illusion.  Or glamor, in its original meaning of a fairy dustish sort of thing that makes something look like something it isn’t.   It may LOOK like things are working, but they aren’t.  What is needed is a Gandhi-like universal world strike, in which everyone just stops.  Stops driving, stops buying, stops texting, stops stealing, stops lying, stops whatever it is. Quiet time on earth.  For a day clarity might surface-  even if a day would probably not be long enough to produce actual dynamic thinking.  We might see that the world is being run by a power elite that doesn’t care what happens as long as they keep their money.  We might see that this relentless push for capital doesn’t really help anyone and things could be a lot smoother and more productive.  If we stopped we might see that for the most part, our problems stem from being separated from our hearts.

That may, of course, be idealistic drivel.  But the cognitive dissonance going on is exhausting.  Which is why seeing the hundreds of wrens and robins and bluebirds in the garden in the early morning is so wonderful.  The pair of white ducks down the road, who supervise all activity in their garden, are enchanting, really. They stand with their heads together and wings touching, watching their human work in the garden, offering quiet quacks of instruction.  They have their own small swimming pool to paddle around in and drink from, as do the other geese and chickens on the hill since it has been so dry here for so long.  The water sometimes looks like quicksilver, splashing up on  creamy stomachs and necks above  yellow feet.  Sometimes it looks like the goose gaggle is standing around their pool, looking down and scrying.  At this point, their guess is as good as mine.

Still.  There is a music almost that calls a person to go on, and the importance of each moment shouldn’t be doubted.  There’s a big piece of me that knows we’re moving toward a global development that will change everything and for the most part for the better. It is hard not to let fear in when thinking about what that might be- but then again.  We really do have nothing to fear except fear itself, when you get right down to it.  Fear should inform us about where to take care, not keep us locked up.

saved by a tomato

Indeed, Gentle Reader, yes.  This morning I woke up and felt like a squeezed out tube of something.  Like a car up on the rack completely drained of fluid.  The Partner noticed this as I remained unresponsive when the blessed elixir    the coffee cup was placed before me.  He then, without saying much, placed tomatoes from the garden (picked a day or so ago) in my hands.  The effect was remarkable.  Suddenly I felt as though a living thing was breathing its heart into me and just like that, I came to.  Noticed the coffee and everything.

It was quite extraordinary, even if I did realize that since on some level this is what I do for other people in a way (here, drink this! put this on your forehead! hold this rock!)  it only made sense and of course it works.  My goodness.   The impact of things themselves is something often overlooked in today’s world, I think.  It is also true that most of the food people eat now is really totally dead.  You pick it up and feel? Nothing.   These tomatoes, though, practically sang in my palms.   It made me wonder if really, help is at hand for this world and it’s simpler than we might think. I mean: reconnect directly with the real world- the world that has animals and food and actual people you talk to in it.  The rest begins to take care of itself in that dance of time you recognize after it is over.

Lately I’ve been having conversations with people where they’ll say how awful they feel right now, how alienated and empty.  Then they’ll look at me and say things like, well, but you don’t feel this! (To which I respond with a strangled cry, of course.)  You like to cook! You ENJOY those things.  Like gardening.   I’m not interested in any of that, they’ll say.   I don’t want a spiritual grounding.  But I spend too much time on Facebook.  Well, I say.  Interesting.  You cut yourself off from everything that actually keeps you alive and then wonder why you feel so bad.  Since we do have to eat, shouldn’t we pay attention to that?  A spiritual grounding is not a confining religious program of doctrine.  It’s simply the ability to breathe in and realize you are part of a huge, humming entity and the longer you keep your heart and eyes closed to that, the more you suffer.  The sooner you realize you truly can breathe in this medium, the sooner you begin to actually live.  Marx wrote that people do things by hand, make things from scratch as it were, as an antidote to alienation.  There is something to that.  The time you spend learning to make bread or knit or build a cabinet is profoundly helpful and empowering.  You learn how to be at home with yourself and the earth and the record of your progress is right there to see, in a garden or scarf or cement counter or bicycle or engine or whatever it might be.  We’ve been bamboozled a bit, I think, by “technology”.   It’s kind of the same thing as being told in grammar school that you “can’t do math”.  We now seemingly all think that not only do we not need to do things like cook our own food or read a map because some technology can do it faster- we think, really, that we are not able to do these things. It’s “too much work”.   It is true as well that on some level the technology is smarter than we are.  It speaks a totally different language which takes a different sort of brain to understand and utilize properly.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, either.  It’s just that it should be another piece of the whole, and not a full frontal black and white operation, from which, given the politics of the world, many are excluded off the top.  It shouldn’t be a choice between spending hours liking things online or paying attention to real needs.  It’s just that paying attention to real needs generally means feeling what you are actually feeling.  That, of course, is what our culture is optimized to have you avoid.  Boy, oh boy.  Sleepers awake.

But there was also something this week that made me laugh so hard I just knew things are moving along as they should, somehow.  Dashing to the post office, as I got to the end of our gravel pit aka dirt road, what did I see but a passel of small pink pigs.  One velvety tiny brown one. The most adorable looking little cuties ever.  This, of course, was nothing like what I expected to see on that hiccup of a bridge and it took me a minute to adjust the gyroscope, stop the car, and realize these were probably our friend’s pigs out for an unauthorized stroll and not the usual wild pigs who would’ve  been chewing the car bumper by that time.  His animals often get out and they all have the same charming, frank but devious demeanor of a kid in a candy store.  We can be out here! yes! What?! Carry on!! We’re busy!!  As I sat there one small pig got so excited in telling the story that it toppled over onto its side.  Quickly scrambling up, just a bit muddier for the wear, and continuing the exciting pig escape story,  I looked at them all and just thought: Life is beautiful.  When I got to the fire station, which is the first place the cel phone works, I called home, The Partner called our friend, pigs were brought back into the fold, and all was well, once again, in the now.  As, weirdly, it is.  No matter how it seems.

the voices in our heads

And, yes, we’ve all got them.  Not so much a heard thing, perhaps, as felt and known.  You might call them thought forms, as did Alice Bailey.  The thing of it is, we all have our own and then! We also are subject to the influences from everyone else’s as well.

It is possible to rise above this input, I think.  We saw a program about jazz musicians, one of whom described what his version of this voice said to him.  He of course had the lovely critic sitting in his head telling him he’d never get it right.  You have to wonder why that critic is so often there, is so universal, and so often flies under the radar.  As in, you’re not consciously aware you’re telling yourself this awful stuff.  In this case, the musician was ravishingly accomplished but you could see that something had left a mark.

Meanwhile, back at toadstool central, events have flowed in such a way as to confront me with an impeccable sequence of all my deepest rooted fears and senses of inadequacy and out-of-body-while-chopping-vegetables-with-sharp-knives sort of thing.   Some weekend, in short.  Again? I think to myself.  Now?  REALLY?  But in the moments where the ability arises to say, well, this is a thought and that’s all it is?  Reality is reality and you don’t need to interpret it with your old issued at birth instruction manual?  A sort of spaciousness comes into the chest, lowers the shoulders from up around my ears, and the old thought form of failure and fear dissipates and fades even more.  It is quite a bit about letting yourself entertain thoughts of success, even though what that success might be is not visible particularly.  About saying, well, this whole thing may blow up but *I* don’t have to.  I may have to take a martini cure or two but it really is true: You can’t step in the same river twice.  So why worry?  At bottom, either you live through it or you don’t, so why waste time thrashing about as though there were some other ultimate results.  There is so little we can really effect and affect on some level, it seems sensible to at least attempt to focus on the areas where a dent might be made.  And this is generally in the area of how we are thinking about things, and in the attempt to at least do something a bit differently this next go round.  No matter how convoluted or self serving or whatever it might be that someone is saying or doing, if you can stay out of the force field of it all and just BE there, things can move for everyone.

In that vein, and in our ongoing locavore quest, we went to a local farmer’s market over the weekend.  While we can now stroll by the vegetables, this particular market has meat which is organic, pasture raised, and fed non-GMO food.  This was what we were after and wow.  I emerged from the market bearing a dozen chicken feet and some pork lace fat, among other things, for stock and wrapping things in, respectively.  Lamb next time perhaps. The really nice thing was how comfortable it was to be there and how easy to talk to all the farmers and purveyors. Nothing like the farmer’s markets we used to sell at in the bay area where everyone was a bit more closed off.  It felt like being at home, at long last.   That is an experience we haven’t had much of for some time,  and the pleasure of it was enough to carry us both along in a most reviving and pleasant way.  We rebooted a bit.  So, it’s odd how things come in groups of experiences, complete lesson plans if you will.  Once you develop the ability to enjoy the unknown quality of it all- as in start to finish no guarantees or maps-and trust yourself and your crew to navigate, there are possibilities that I at least find I’d never thought about.  For today that is what I’m sitting with, anyway, and my teeth only chatter once in a while.

in the wilderness

It really is the wild, wild west where we live.  An unincorporated area with a town split between two counties, there isn’t much law to be found here and what there is? Highly questionable. The other night when we heard strange noises- probably a mountain lion but could have been a human- and concomittant ATV noise and gunfire, I found myself hoping earnestly for nothing more than it to completely pass us by.  I actually buried my head under a pillow. If there were a fire up here, we’d be in trouble too because all that Cal Fire would do is establish a perimeter and let the interior burn- because there are so many marijuana growers in this area.  There’s also only one way out of here.

It’s hard to get a fix on how one lives in a place like this, but aside from the political and meteorological vagaries of it all, there is really a magic and wonder to it that’s quite extraordinary.   I think, actually, that this is a place that was used for ceremonial purposes by the original inhabitants, not lived in.  The energies here are intense and the ecosystem is fragile.  But in the mornings as we have coffee, the quail family walks down the hill, the rabbits walk up, the finches and titmice and hummingbirds do an incredible dance with each other, and the woodpeckers and magpies swoop through the trees.  We have dragonfly swarms around the yurt, and when the geese are moving up and down the coast there are huge V’s moving through the sky.  Butterflies and resplendent lizards, electrifying skinks.  You feel completely held by the beauty and it is as though everything is in perfect order throughout all time.

Which, of course, is why there is so much cognitive dissonance the minute one’s attention is turned to other humans and the world at large.   Yet another Thing Happened that left me reeling and unmoored.  Having to do with seeing the distinction between appearance and reality, or more properly what I thought was happening vs. what was happening.  Misplaced trust, actually.   This was on top of two rather horrible realizations about world events: One, the drought is even worse in Central and parts of South America than it is here.  So, apart from having to flee from deported-from-U.S. gang members who ply violence and extortion with gusto in their now-home countries, the refugees coming across the southern borders of the U.S. are also fleeing starvation.  I noticed at first how nicely dressed many of the kids were, and just now realized that they had been dressed with the hope of finding success.  Food and relief from threats of death- that’s success.  Thing the second was that there are indeed people from the U.S. fighting with the Caliphate Bringers.  Essentially we’ve got the mirror poison here to what exists in Iraq and Syria.  Always with the duality, eh?  What happens when we finally catch our own tails?

Anyway.  When the curtain gets pulled, there is a lot more to look at than I ever expected, is all.

that old black hole

One of my favorite songs, that is, by Dr. Dog.  “looks like that old black hole/no matter how i try/ i set out every day/never to arrive”.  Or something like that.  A wonderful song, in any event.

But really.  There are SO MANY black holes in daily life now it really gets to be quite the endeavor to navigate.  The nature of reality seems to be such these days that people really cannot take it in; it’s too painful at times.   I guess I’m grateful for all the humiliations I endured as a young person, because now I really don’t care too much what people I don’t respect think of me.  Many of my friends are waking up to the fact that the rewards they went after are simply not there, and they are surrounded by people they don’t respect who have some measure of power over them.    One of the key lessons in life, it turns out, is knowing when to leave.

The other thing that took most of the air out of my cranium, temporarily, was this week’s doctor visit.  An annual physical, yes, with a doctor I’ve seen for years. ( I’m not going to go into the horrors of the mechanics paying for such a thing: let’s just say that really? The Affordable Care Act is a quadruple win for the insurance companies.  If you’re poor? You have absolutely no choice whatsoever about the care you get, and let’s just say it can be summed up in a six letter word that starts with “c” and ends with “y”.  It is, after all, against the law not to have health insurance.  Which, if you’re poor, you cannot afford.  The alternatives are the equivalent of nothing. )Anyway, her office has become completely computerized, all the records are in a cloud now, and the really great thing? Is you get to sit on a chair with a paper towel on it by the door to the exam room with that fetching gown they give you on, with a person sitting next to you TYPING IN EVERYTHING you and the doctor say to each other.  Then, you get to get back up on the table having redeposited your clothes on the aforesaid chair, and the three of you get to enjoy your rectal exam.  It’s great, let me tell you.

So, when the doctor asked me if I had anything I wanted to discuss with her, I said, yes, but with YOU.  Not the rest of the world.  Then she asked me if anything was bothering me and I heard myself emit a rather short, barking laugh.  Oh, I said, I wish I’d known you’d ask me that.  I’d’ve brought a SCROLL.  She seemed rather shocked at my state of glowing good health, considering the challenges of my daily life now.  Irritated as well that I refused vaccinations for things I don’t need them for, like flu and shingles.  A high point was when I responded to the query about whether or not I have heart palpitations.  Of course, I said.  I’m out of my mind with stress most of the time BUT THAT’S WHY I MEDITATE.   And no, I don’t need an ortho consult for my hip pain.  THAT’S WHY I DO YOGA.  Anyway I found it all rather unsettling because, I suppose, it was a search light focused on how far out of the world I used to live in I am now.  Which I am happy about, yes, but.  It’s as though once you exit that regulated world of job and commute and all the rest of it (get up in the dark, shit, shave, force feed, as the poet Bukowski- I think- wrote) people cannot even look at you.  You don’t exist to them in the same way and there’s even a bit of withdrawing, as though they might catch whatever it is that you’ve got:  that thing that allows you to live outside their known world. My teacher always said one should be their own testimony.  I’m finding that a rather interesting prospect, because  my intact condition- my testimony, really- seems to be unbelievable to people like, say, my doctor.  My impression is thus that the work I do is not taken seriously.  At all.  Like studying and applying thousands of years of observation and practice counts for nothing, and herbs and proper food are irrelevant.

Oh, well.  I had other things to attend to, which I did.  On the way home (since I had to go down to the bay area for this appointment and thus drive back home later), I saw a rabbit peeking out of a hedgerow, and a flock of geese resting in a field.  The sky looked like an opal.  The hills are cracked and burnt  but the irrigated rice fields reflected a deep blue sky setting off an ethereal green.  Magic exists, and we must carry on and we must help each other.  That is, anyway, what I decided, yet again.  I got home after some digressions, the Partner dashed out to cover me with kisses,  and had some lovely vegetable stew I’d made the night before ready for dinner.  It smelled wonderful, the stars were out, and that is really about as good as it gets if you’re honest.  Peace be with us all.