Posts Tagged ‘Live and Learn’

following the nose

In keeping with the spirit of the times we’ve been shifting and changing and tilting and whirling.  The Partner’s birthday came and went and on the whole? it was a success.  Roast chicken with herb butter, Popovers,  Mexican chocolate cake with coconut cream caramel frosting.  Yes.  If I say so myself.  The Dog got his current favorite treat, a Whimzees Vegetable Ear, and he also got some chicken breast wrapped in a bit of popover.

There was more to it, of course.  While The Dog zonked out in a blissful full stomach stupor, an injury the Partner had inflicted on himself a day or so before (to wit, whacking his knee with the wood maul) worked its way through his system and resulted in a seemingly strange symptom- lung congestion and the cough from infernal regions.  So we were up all night long and I wrestled, for the most part, with Dread and Powerlessness about once again entering the fray and trying to secure a doctor appointment while wondering what in the world to do NOW. ( This appointment business means dedicating a day to calling various and sundry official places and going through various and sundry assumptions of the position.) (A few days later I DID actually get this wrestled to the ground.)  I managed to get myself to a neutral position about it all, remembered to say the Cosmic Please and Thank you, and asked for some insight about this new and unwanted development.

In about an hour I opened my eyes but before that happened I saw a picture of what had possibly happened to the Partner’s lungs.  Reviewing my text book (because my brain is a literal sieve) I saw what had happened.  And, it had to do with the flow of energy through the body, as it goes through various meridians and organs.  The whack on the knee initially involved the movement of liver energy, which passes through the knee and ends where the lung energies begin to flow.  So we had an impingement on one flow that wasn’t usually problematic, but which went directly into one that has been a lifelong project, thereby creating a temporary blockage.  Adding to that the fact that the injury itself occurred at a time where another bodily energy was moving  which is not the strongest element in the P’s constitution, and? You have a disruption of the lung energy as it begins its circuit through the body.  And the infernal coughing began at the time the lung energies begin to move, and ended at the time they move into the next thing.  I was even able to explain this understandably.

The big thing about it though, over and above the fact that I finally, reflexively understood something I’ve been doing for a long time, was that the fear and anxiety level for both us was immediately gone.  We both understood what was going on, and what would be of assistance, and sure enough in another day or so, everything was fine.  And really there wasn’t anything “to do” except be kind to the affected areas, lessen inflammation and keep a good fluid intake going.

So of course I thought about it all.  Things that seem so intimidating, so complex at the outset really do open up with simple Attention.  When I initially began studying all these things, the plants and botany and anatomy and sidereal time and all the rest of it, I thought I must’ve been nuts to think I’d ever “get” it.  But something prevailed against that residual lack of confidence and now? Cake and understanding a cough in the same day? There’s hope, and it can be brought to life by just Letting It Be each time you think something is impossible or whatever word you use for OMGletmeoutofhere sorts of things.

Not to mention the other big thing which is the very imperative current necessity to disregard what seems like “truth” coming from what seems like “authority”.  The sense that you cannot handle whatever it is that is in front of you, and some larger “thing” is going to have to “do it” for you.  Or to you, or over you, or whatever.  As in, oh dear, we have to see a doctor and there are no doctors and this is going to be AWFUL. Or whatever the case may be.  “Things” seem so overwhelming it’s easy to let everything you see in a day bleed into everything else.  You know- terrorterrorterror, or whatever other fear inducing message is being murmured about.  In fact? Not so much.

SO.  It may have been the Partner’s birthday, but I feel like I’m the one who got the present.  Love and Understanding.  Not to mention dog kisses.

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When Dogs Dream Big

The Dog is a prolific dreamer.  In his sleep, he RUNS, sometimes he SINGS, sometimes he TALKS. At length.  The most amazing, however, is when he wags his tail.  I kid you not, Gentle Reader, he actually wags his tail for extended periods during dreams.  We’re quite cheered by this sign of happiness although it is a bit startling in the middle of the night, especially if the tail turns out to be close to your head.  It’s also pretty amazing that he is so vocal, too, because he didn’t utter peep one for close to five months after he came.  Clearly, he tried not to cry, or cry out, and his little mouth would be set in stern effort, eyes squeezed shut.  We assumed he was working on the memories of how he came to be here in the first place.   (I gave him flower drops for all thatbabyatsunset– 5 Flower Formula, Snapdragon, and Peach, respectively-  and he got through it quite well and quickly, actually .) The only thing he’s done since the very first minute? is snore.  We fed him on the deck that first night, and after eating, he promptly flopped down, went to sleep, and snored.  At our feet.  We were hooked. When he started smiling, we were of course ecstatic although we did at times curse the unfair advantage Total Cuteness has.  And then he realized he could bark.  Fortunately he is not a compulsive barker and the first few times he did bark, he was quite surprised by it.  Now, when there are strange noises, he strides around huffing and puffing, and sounds EXACTLY like the Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune.  I picture him saying things like, “don’t make me kill again!” and the foundational “brace up!”. The high level hound-like piercing barks are of course saved for the times when I drop things, or trip, or have one of my daily multitudinous flambe situations.   Otherwise he is quite sparing with his comments, although he does seem to always have the last word/bark. We finally got him a small blue wading pool.  When his bright green round toy is in it and the water is shimmering above it,  it almost looks like a portal to another world.  He puts his head under the water and blows bubbles, which to me is further sign of wonderfulness.

So, between that and the fact that I saw 25 wild turkeys in a pasture this week, the challenges of the outside world although Big, were not Overwhelming.  Until today when numerous Lingering Fiascoes decided to coalesce into early morning  over thinking. SIGH.  But! I think we’re continuing to move forward.  I finally actually tackled one of my biggest long standing DUMB THINGS I DO.  Which is to water fruitless trees.

When I started training in Jin Shin Jyutsu, the teachers always told us not to water fruitless trees.  Being a past master at that I didn’t understand what they meant.  But I do now.  And what it means? is that giving and taking have to be in balance.  Respect has to be present.  And when something doesn’t come to life? Let it go.  In terms of healing, it means that the person who doesn’t really want to face the changes of getting well should start at another point, get ready, and THEN come to you. Kind of like writer’s block.  You take a walk and clear your head so that what’s in there can come out in some orderly fashion.  In terms of any relationships, it means that accepting the down position all the time, giving all the time and not receiving, is not good for anyone.  Period.  If people don’t appreciate what you offer, or want to take it with scarce acknowledgement, then you should move on.  Not in a negative way, just in the sense that life IS, and stuck ISN’T.  When Lady Bountiful steps toward you, it is often best to plead a prior engagement.  Hoping that something will turn into something totally different from what it really is, is not a good thing.  In fact, it is probably floating on that river in Egypt. Anyway? if it IS going to turn into something else, it’ll do it in its own good time so you need not waste your time trying to pull on the grass in order to make it grow faster.

So I made a decision in this vein.  It was surprisingly hard, and of course I didn’t exactly feel like a Brain Trust for having had it take this long.  But after a while, a big tight weight in my chest went away.  The hole it left was what occupied me this morning, and I realized that the ache from that is something that accompanies all healing, and it’s always scary since we think it means something’s amiss.  Instead it means things are very well, actually.  That, plus turkeys, plus dog bubbles? Is enough.  And also we are beginning embarkation on a long dreamed of project.  More on that to come!  Meanwhile, thank you.

fire and rain

I actually drove through such a thing this past week.  As you go north from Berkeley up to Redding, I-5 passes rice fields which, at this time of year, are burned.  The smoke, a very particular shade of brown,  is generally so thick while this happens that you can’t see anything, which makes driving even more problematic than usual (what with dozing truckdrivers and skinheads in pickups with hand grenade decals covering their back windows).  On this particular day, the fields were on fire, and the smoke rose up covering the horizon like a giant man standing square across the freeway, bending down with his arms ready to scoop up all who passed through.  It was also pouring rain. So it was strange, seeing flames and smoke in the midst of a downpour which turned into a hard and fast hail a few miles up the road.  By the time I got home, the sun was shining and it was hot.

The sensation of passing through something that was trying to scoop me up was intense and there really was a sensation of relief and escape as the smoke disappeared back down the road.  Naturally this made me think about THE SAME OLD THING- what is to be done?  We all have these tableaux daily, moving through time, approaching danger and reaching safety- and of course vice versa.   Now, whether or not you believe denial is a river in Egypt, it truly feels as though all of us are on the brink of a colossal drop into something malevolent.  It also seems to me that this malevolence has been, essentially, conjured by the absolute refusal to awaken, and the greed, of the tiny number of people who actually run the world.  Bill Maher pointed out in one of his New Rules that the six Walmart heirs have the same assets as 130 million of their fellow Americans.  Six.  One hundred and thirty.  Need I say more?

I also had occasion of late to observe the very real class differences in this country, which are supposed not to exist.  They do, though, and the sense of entitlement of those in the gravitational orbit of the “top” is quite striking.  They clearly live in another world from the one I’m in, and the one I’m in? Can just go to the infernal regions as far as these fine folks are concerned, and the sooner, really, the better.  All very polite of course, but really.

Still, one endeavors to see beyond the “apparency”, and even though the conduct of politicians and the powerful is reprehensible for the most part (do we even need to name names?), there really is something more, and that more, however obscured, is in fact what affirms life rather than monetizes it. No matter how dark it seems.  It is in the move toward that “something more” that, bit by bit, the light begins to be ever more equal to the dark, it seems to me.  I’ve spent years (ACTUAL YEARS) trying to open myself to this “what is” and now while my mind says, OMG! DUDE!  WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! my heart says, all is well.  Love, and keep your eyes open.

And love is something a whole lot more all encompassing than I ever thought.  I realized the other night that even now my understanding of love is limited.  Love is really a universal, everywhere all the time, trans AND impersonal force.  If you can stay with that love, the answers may not be immediate but the questions are pertinent and revealing.  It also turns out that staying in that love also allows you to walk away from things that harm you, and lets you know that no harm really results from being truthful in a spirit of love.  My success with this is spotty, of course, but there is ever more of it, so who am I to complain?

In other perhaps more important news?  All the seeds I planted are coming up and the happy dance is being done daily.  Squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, cabbage, beets, sunflowers, peppers!  AND.  The vet originally said he thought there were probably three dogs in The Dog.  We had two narrowed down, retriever and pit bull.  The third dog has finally stepped up, unequivocally.  And the prize goes to GREAT DANE.  I kid you not, Gentle Reader.  The long, narrow fingers of the paw, the slim but graceful hips, not to mention the facial markings.  Not to mention the TALLNESS and the LONGNESS OF THE LEGS and BODY.  And the all round general ever bigger overall stature.  So it’s exciting.    We really are running with the Big Dogs.

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.

oh, Sam

Nobody was too happy today when I arrived on the other side of our hill to do some work.

It’s where Sam, Dog of the West, lives, who is my Boyfriend (we’ve had words about the paw on the boobs, for example) and Posterdog for Goofballness.  Sam was a picture of dejection today such as I have seldom seen.  Apparently he got a bad scratch on his side and had to be taken to the Vet as a result,  from whence he emerged wearing one of those big cone collars animals get to keep them from messing up injuries.  He didn’t even come to give me a kiss, and I saw him crouching between a fence and an outbuilding, with cone and forehead resting against the wall.  Shoulders totally dropped and nose down in abject misery.   This is about the first time he’s had this major sort of consequence- he got ‘fixed’ and that didn’t phase him one bit, and also a fight with the other dog who lives here left him with a bit of an eyescratch but nothing much.  Usually Sam is just smiling and happy and lovable if you don’t let his largeness, big paws, and jumping get to you. But this!  I don’t know if he thinks he’s being punished, or if he’s going to die, or what, but he is not taking this at all well.   I do hope he will be back to his customary bounce and joie de vivre soon, but it did make me think about all the other animals whose paws and claws I’ve held in similar circumstances.  Usually they’ve all either come right up to me or dashed by with very specific communications along the lines of HELP!  Some have had reactions to medications, had new fellow pets in the home, gotten chewed up in unfortunate kennel visits, and a few have even had cancer.  There’s often the thorn in the paw or the flies on the face, but there has always been a very clear and specific request and for the most part, successful treatment.  Animals are often a WHOLE lot easier to work with than humans.  In this case, though, Sam seems to be acting just like a person in terms of feeling the unfairness of it all.  And, insult to injury, a cone to wear!  Leave me alone!

The question then is, what do you do when there appears to be a need but you are not invited to deal with it?  This is a pretty crux-like thing as it turns out.  Help can so often be either something that makes the other person (or dog, of course) feel as though there’s something wrong with them, something that must be “fixed”.  It can also be someone doing something they simply need to apply to their own lives.  It can be, I think, something that comes out of an operational base of power, and not love.   Timing is everything in this, just like it is in everything else, and in order to be truly of use and service one has to, in a sense, step outside of clock time and into the other kind of time, which is more about what it actually takes to do something.   So even if you know what might be a good thing to do, if the time isn’t right and the situation not receptive, it isn’t the right thing to do.

I don’t know how the injured Sam came together in my tiny mind with Bruce Lee, but there it is.  We watched the movie about Lee’s life yesterday, and the Partner remarked that one reason Lee had conflict with other, local, older martial arts schools was that he taught fighting before philosophy.  In a traditional setting, you practice blocking and living the philosophy before you ever really fight,and the point of it is to avoid fighting if possible- especially since the consequences can be very serious.  The Grand Masters were individuals who knew ALL the schools of kung fu, which made them essentially pretty intense guys- who’d be crazy enough to fight somebody who knows all THAT? So it’s a long training in observation and what not to do, along with training yourself to have that observation be a reflex that informs your actions and guides you.  Less is more, actually.   One result of this shift in approach was a lot of fighting without the conceptual framework, and in only one manner depending on where you studied.  The conceptual framework learning is something everybody who’s tried to learn anything has struggled with.  But without it, you wind up executing actions that don’t resonate and aren’t proper.

I recently read, somewhere, that warriors and healers walk the same path and I think that is actually true.  In looking at Sam, I have to see that although I may “want” to “help” him, that isn’t what is needed in the moment based on his behavior and wishes.  I may think I know what he needs, but that may not only be irrelevant but untrue as well.  He may need another school altogether, in short.  The same thing goes for being a warrior.  You may indeed want to smack someone into another galaxy, but it’s not always the correct thing to do.  You may want to learn how to fight and defend yourself, but without a framework of observation, practice and understanding, you won’t accomplish anything beyond muddying already dark waters.   It all takes time, more than we in this culture feel we have to devote to anything. Which explains, I think, why Bruce Lee took the tack he did, in an effort to increase knowledge and awareness in a way he thought might work.

It does just take a lot to know what to do at any given point, especially when so often there ISN’T anything to do right then except watch and wait.  It’s a whole different way of life, based on responding to the environment you’re in and not reacting to what you think it is.   Everything takes on a different dimension, and although there is always that moment when the hill you’re climbing turns out to be a giant turtle’s back and you slide off in a completely different direction than you started from,  the habit of paying attention does pay off.  It pays off because even when you’re flying through the air off that turtle’s back, you are able to see that, really? You’re going to land in a much better place.  I’ll see if I can explain that to Sam later.

still raining still dreaming

The world is oddly green around here now: Flourescent, almost.  It is incredibly calming, uplifting, and when one thinks about it, confusingly unseasonal.  The oak trees shot out a few new leaves during the week or so of “fall” we had, like emeralds in the midst of a fire, and now that all the brown dead leaves have blown away they linger uncertainly.  It’s hard to know what day it is, in short.

However it is December, this year is drawing to a calendrical close, and I feel oddly both bullet-proof and mangled beyond recognition.  But it is the nature of love that has been revealing itself to me of late.  I realized the other day that being cursed (we were drinking Maudite) and being very close to the divine often amount to the same thing experientially- what sets them apart is knowing that love is real.  When you feel cursed, you doubt and collapse.  When you are just that teensiest bit too close to the divine, the pain is similar but somehow you know it will shift and in the meantime there’s incredible stuff to see.

At long last it dawned on me that acting from love does not mean allowing things you don’t like or want in order to keep another person happy.  What is, is, how you feel is how you feel.  You simply have to develop your own beliefs and live in your own skin, whatever others may say about that.  You might ask, well, what about mad bombers or raging capitalists or…well, all of that worldly mayhem.  To my mind such individuals are living under the curse, believing they can control things and there is no limit to their actions.  Therefore in the long run success will not come from that direction.  It can only come from love. Everything really is an invitation to begin again- the difficulty we humans have is precisely that.  It’s hard for us to put down whatever we’re holding in a death grip and start over.  That start-over really does mean you start completely over.  How can this be made better?  How can this serve everyone involved?

Love really is the answer.  Perhaps acting from love means you refrain from injuring yourself.  Perhaps it means letting things move in their own time and accepting all the myriad realities existing around us without feeling the need to “do” something.  Love may not make you feel better the same way you think you feel better when acting under old patterning- but it does give you a way to turn the lights on and see how spacious things really are.  Love isn’t about changing anything except your own perspective, in a way.  It’s a force like light or wind, I think, which we can learn to flow and fly with.  It is amazingly easier to let people be who they are- but then you have the responsibility for your own actions as the north star.  No resentment, no rage.   Begin again.

In an important neighborhood piglet update: They’re getting slightly bigger and now they’re mostly covered in mud with tiny specks of pink showing through.  The chickens are hogging the heatlamp, and one piglet engages in daily duels with the rooster for a spot in front of the treat dispenser.   The pigs who had staged the daring escape on another part of the hill have now proceeded to being made into sausage, which is the ever present reminder that death and life contain each other all the time, every day.  With that basic reality check going on, things do start to make more sense.  In that general vein, we’re researching chicken raising and seed catalogs are winging their way here.  When you don’t know what to do, do what you know, right?  Green eggs and purple carrots should do the trick.

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.