Posts Tagged ‘nature of reality’

what the heck is time, anyway?

It’s starting to seem like either a huge load of unset jello being poured over me constantly or else? Something that contains everything in it and must be sorted through moment to moment for relevant clues.

Which is to say I haven’t been getting too much accomplished.  Storms, mud, power outages, dog walking and making pasta have been about the apex of late.  It’s all fueled by a massive pressure system of indecision which sooner or later will…burst? Probably.  We just hope for some clarity, as always.

There has always been an equal push pull for me between staying in and going out.  This may mean I am by nature a hermit, or it may mean that I’m just a scaredy cat about showing myself at all, anywhere, any time.   Balancing the demands of world/self, “career”/home- this is challenging stuff, Gentle Reader.  I used to handle it before by functioning at top speed all the time, go go go, do do do, perform perform perform.  Moving so fast I was perhaps just a blip on people’s screens.  This of course resulted in a blown out nervous system and necessary adjustments in the daily trajectory.  As my teacher said, we are human beings, not human doings.  That was one memo I certainly didn’t get in a timely manner, thinking as I did that doing equaled being accepted.

Now that we’re, clearly, living in a manner we might call off the grid remote, I’m finding that the whole prospect of “going outside” is even more challenging that it was before.  I mean, going out for long walks is one thing even if it now is completely tick laden and thus somewhat anxiety provoking.  But what about going out into the WORLD? I *think* I want my writing to be read, my work to be useful to many- but that may mean recognizing myself as something I never saw before, in a good way for once. Not telling people what to expect before they even get to that point. Just…putting it out there.  Quite the endeavor, GR, even if undertaken a bit late in the day.

Meanwhile, Mt. Shasta looks astounding with the top above the clouds, everything sparkling and luminous.  Wild flowers are breaking through the wet earth with their shoots, and the wild pigs are back en masse, eating all the chanterelles before we can get to them.  The stream has only flooded once so far in all these storms, our road here hasn’t collapsed, and the power did indeed come back on, after I found the candles.  It’s all good, in a strange way, especially since I now have the Dog to bounce things off- he’s remarkably perceptive and I now understand “best friend” in a whole new way.  Perhaps progress IS being made, after all.

 

thank you, peter tosh

The morning after I came home from the hospital, I woke up with Tosh’s voice in my head, singing “the mighty God is a living man/now you’ve seen the light/stand up for your rights.”

This gave me a bit of pause, Gentle Reader, as you might imagine.  Why then?  Who even knew I remembered that song? Or, more importantly, how incisive and “right” Marley’s lyrics always were?  Anyway, I thought about it to the limited extent available to me at that point.

For one thing.  Stand up for your rights.  I realized that this does NOT mean those ego based rights people think of so often- when I was Slave Girl to the Divorce and Bankruptcy Courts there appeared to be an almost endless stream of people coming in to the attorney’s office clutching soft drinks with gnats in them, waving them in my face and in loud voices asking what their “rights” were in such egregious situations.  (I was not altogether sweetness and light at such times.  Often I said, well, you have the right to party! paraphrasing yet another song.)  So, no.  Not those sorts of rights.  What it seemed to mean to me was that once that larger awareness dawns, you see what is actually “right”, and that is what you must stand up for.  Not so much just your place in line, but everyone’s place in that line.

Then there’s the thing of the mighty God being a living man.  I’m starting to think the Greeks probably had it pretty correctly viewed: THEIR Gods were all over the place and far from incorruptible even if for the most part infallible.  In this perspective, divinity itself has foibles.  Those foibles result in things that we as humans don’t understand and as a result resist.  Which leads to all the hilarity that normally ensues in the course of a day.

And more, if the mighty God IS a living man, then that means that EVERYTHING is divine since we have seen the divine and he is us.  All of us.  Foibles and all.  I contrasted this with the Christian, Catholic setting I had just been released from.  In that paradigm, pain, fear and suffering are the tools of the trade.  You are to believe that a “loving God” sends his son to earth to be pulled to pieces, in essence. You yourself are punished constantly for some amorphous and unknown “sin” (which with a bit of research seems to largely involve sex and poverty- check out Martin Luther’s screed on who was possessed by devils, for example) of which you probably have no concrete memory but for which you must atone 24/7.  In all of this, only God is divine.  I’ve always had problems with this paradigm because it seems to smack, perhaps even stink, of hierarchical, top down, patriarchal process.  The good things are at the top, and where are all of us?  Not, Gentle Reader, at the top.  Nature is, of course, deeply suspect and right there? We should all be very suspicious indeed.  How can the very source of our beings, what feeds and nourishes us and regales us with beauty,  be evil and require such religious scouring as to be death defying?

So.  Even though I fell into a pretty deep pothole post-hospital, I think it did provide clarification of a sort- or perhaps just proof of how far around and beyond the bend one is.  I think, no, really I’m sure, that “religion” is a means of control, plain and simple.  The realization of what is truly divine is something available to us all, and it IS what we all are.  We are all pieces of a mighty divinity and it would certainly be nice if we could remember that a bit oftener than we do.  The fact that there ARE foibles and places we don’t get it doesn’t mean anything except there’s more to see and learn and we shouldn’t bog ourselves down with opinions. ( In that vein, I’m almost over my screaming meemees about the anesthesiologist.  We live in hope and progress is always possible.  I may yet be reunited with the garden shears! ) But I am still wondering what is to be done about the complete insanity we see all around us, and how much longer we’ll really survive as a species if we don’t start putting the truly divine before the clearly profane. I think polar bears and clean water and the Arctic and the people of Syria and Baltimore- ALL OF US- are a HELL of a lot more important and divine than the profanity of profits those at the top derive from the suffering they are inflicting on us all.  Doesn’t it seem as though if we all just stopped collaborating with this paradigm it might make a difference?

good fun and well worth it

Well, Gentle Reader, when last we put paw to keyboard there wasn’t enough time to tell the story.  I must say my recent experiences have plunged me into an angry despair unlike anything I’ve ever experienced which is saying quite a bit.

Part the first.  So, it turns out I’ve had chronic gallbladder problems which were always diagnosed by my regular doctor as being in my head.  Strange, since that isn’t where the gallbladder is located.

Part the second.  Finally the long suffering Partner takes me to the ER in the only hospital we can use, being poor and all.  After a lot of fun in the waiting room, saying over and over between pukes that no, I have not been to West Africa,  continuously vomiting and mostly missing the opening of the tiny bag they grudgingly gave me, I went in to the treatment area.  My veins were apparently collapsed from dehydration and in their efforts to get a line in me I ended up looking like someone beat the snot out of me, as my ex-Marine postman remarked in horror.  Amazingly a diagnosis was quickly made.  I was told this procedure is essentially outpatient, laparoscopic surgery, no big deal.  This is, of course, true if you have what is referred to as “good insurance”, something I now think of as being in the same category as “good hair” if you know what I mean.  Since I did not have good insurance I instead was put in a bed, no food or water, for 48 hours.  The surgeon’s instructions were that I was to get pain meds every two hours.  The nurses decided that they didn’t really need to bother with being timely with that, with the result that I found myself screaming at one point and being roundly chastised by said nurse.  Lucky for her that by that time I couldn’t speak.  The extra fun part of all this is that I’m allergic to opiates and two days of them put me on Mars.  Plus all the other unknown substances they were pumping into me via IV.

Part the WTF.  At long last I get wheeled into surgery.  I told the anesthesiologist from hell that I’d never been in the hospital, never had surgery, never took drugs, and also have a heck of a gag reflex.  He made a few sexist remarks which he capped off with “I’ll make you fall in love with me- I’m going to give you that stuff Michael Jackson took!”.  Knowing that it was in his power to kill me with this concoction I imagine I attempted a smile.   That was at about 3:30 p.m. on,I think, Tuesday.

Part the way beyond WTF.  I woke up at 1 am, I guess on Wednesday.  Restrained and catheterized and staring into a bright light with three people in the room looking at me like avenging angels.  When at last they removed the restraints and yanked out the catheter I noticed that both hands looked like chopped liver and I couldn’t move my legs due to the tender mercy with which they’d inserted the catheter. They’d pulled the 20 gauge needles out of one hand and jammed a 40 gauge into the other which felt as though it was in a state of permanent crucifixion.  There was  a large divot missing from my lip which was both numb and painful.  They had also hooked me up to a portable heart monitor (with a special sticky right under my boob which developed an infected scratch therefrom.  Extra fun.) and I was literally entombed in wires and tubes.  “You had to be restrained” they said, looking at me like I was Charles Manson.  WHY, I said.  Then even in my miserable state I realized they weren’t about to fess up to giving me a massive drug overdose so I said I had to call my husband.  This being a Catholic hospital there’s just a lot they don’t get so it was easier.  I wasn’t really aware of what time it was, but he answered on the second ring.  He was crying.  He briefly told me what happened, cried some more, told me he loved me and this had been too awful to talk about but nonetheless he was glad I wasn’t dead and he didn’t have to come and blow the damn place to smithereens. We hung up.

In which the fun continues.  So, OK.  I was relieved to see they had indeed done laparoscopy and not a major gutting and tried to content myself with that.  An endless stream of respiratory therapists and people thrusting potassium on me to drink- my heart stopped during all the fun, apparently, and hourly further blood draws ensued.  The first phlebotomist decided it was just too hard to figure out how to get my blood out so she jabbed a needle on the inside of my wrist- right where you’d slit it if you wanted to sit in a warm bath and kiss it all goodbye.  I said, please use a butterfly.  She said, I never use those.   Another huge glass of potassium in plain water which tastes like drano.  Orange juice makes it palatable but I guess since I was a bad dog having to be restrained and all I didn’t merit that consideration.  And let us not forget that by this time I had had neither food nor water for five days.  The drano concoction was the first liquid I’d had.  So, so great. Delicioso indeed.  There was also a veritable endless stream of people coming in to stare at the Person Who’d Had to Be Restrained, as though I’d developed 86 heads.

The Afternoon of the Morning After.  The Partner appeared, we were both sobbing and whatnot. A bitch from hell Valkyrie Nurse’s Assistant appeared, yanked my blanket off, yanked my hospital gown up, and said- No dwainage.  Gut, in a ruminating sort of way.  Still a bit out of my mind I made it all even better by asking her if the thing next to her non-existent nametag was a charm to avert the evil eye: It definitely looked like one of those blue eyeball things you see all over the…oh, dear.  Middle East.  She reared back and made what came to be a consistent theme of hissing and furtive sign of the cross.  No, she said.  At least she finally, at about 3:oo pm, brought me some WATER.  Thank you, Jesus, I said.  Then the osteopath came in.  That went well too, because I said, Oh, you’re an osteopath.  Not an MD but who cares at this point.  Have you read that text Palpatory Literacy?  Literacy, he said???? I said, it’s a basic text for osteopaths and involves training your hands to “read” musculature for dysfunction.  I do it, I said.  Oh, he said, with a minimal hiss and cross making. NO. I DON’T DO THAT ANYMORE.  He did at least partially cop to the fact that they’d almost killed me with the saline/dilaudid combo, saturating my tissues to the point of serious problem.  Next up was a cheery Hospital Administrator, who told us that one of the Great Things About this Hospital is it’s part of a network, so patients who can’t get what they need at one can be taken to another for treatment.  I wondered why they hadn’t done that with me.  (Further notes of interest on this were at the “post op” visit with the surgeon where I had to remove my own bandages and clean my own wounds. His nurse told me when she’d had the same situation he’d worked her into the schedule on the same day.)  Next up another respiratory therapist who I was, at this point, able to ask as to whether or not what they were fuming into my lungs was a steroid.  I’m allergic to steroids.  He said this wasn’t a steroid of course.  Let’s just say that I haven’t been able to breathe for several days and my lungs are just now uncrunching ten days later.  Apparently I’d aspirated a lot of blood as well, so it was just an overall….disaster.

The last two nurses.  OMG.  Honestly I don’t think you should be a med/surg nurse if you don’t understand what pain is.  In any event, Nurse from Hell Ms. S., the one who told me she wasn’t giving me the pain meds because they didn’t seem to help me and I was crying, turned the wheel over to another Nurse S, whom she told about my having to be restrained and nothing else.  So, FINE.  JUST HISS AND GET IT OVER WITH- YOU’LL FEEL BETTER.  After three blood draws, four vital checks and four respiratory therapies, I fall asleep at 3:45 am.  At 4 am?  New Nurse S comes in, shakes me awake, and says, your guard rail is down! That’s against hospital policy!  You’ll have to sign a release form! Put it up yourself, I said. She of course couldn’t do that, and also said she had to put compression hose back on me.  Well, that didn’t happen because the former compression hose came to a grisly end after the combo of stool softener and IV Lasix hit me like a ton of bricks.  Lasix, you may remember, is that stuff they can’t give to race horses anymore to avoid drug detection.  Anyway, I said I’d sign the release when the sun came up.  Ha ha I am so funny that way.  I’d just closed my eyes when back she came, triumphant, waving a release form around.  I found it! So, fine.  I couldn’t even see it but signed it, whereupon she looked at me and said, wow.  That’s pretty good.  Don’t you use your right hand?  Given that it had the ginormous IV needle in it, not right now but I am left handed I said.  Throwing caution to the wind what with the 86 head reputation I was maintaining, I said to her, if there’s nothing else? GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME.

Finally after five days they let me out.  The nurse of the last day who’d been ignoring me came in and handed me a scrip for MORE OPIATES.  No, I said, NO.  I don’t take this stuff even if all my neighbors do and I could sell this shit and take a vacation.  I don’t want it.  Well, she said.  You HAVE TO TAKE IT.  I HAVE TO GIVE IT TO YOU.  It’s the LAW.  You don’t have to get it filled if you don’t want to.  We’ve phoned in the stool softener prescription for you too.  I’m sorry, I said, but I’m really confused.  If you smoke marijuana they’ll arrest you and the light of day will be a dim memory.  If you sell heroin, same thing.  But the entire thrust of the medical industry seems to be getting you addicted to these bloody pills.  She clucked and backed out hastily.

In the end.  In the end, this experience connected me with an anger and rage I’d never experienced.  I have pretty much dedicated my life to helping others and doing no harm, and to be veritably mutilated in this manner…well.  It made me think about all the prisoners who are thrown in the SHU, all those who are subject to Rendition, all the people in Africa who are sick and dying, and the incredible, monstrous greed of a system where money is all that matters.  They can pretend they care, pretend they’re doing something, but unless there’s a stream of money in it for them- and often even then- it’s all a big, fat lie.  Whether you live or die is simply the luck of the draw once you get into such clutches.  The good part about it is this anger has liberated me from a great deal of fear.  There really, in fact, is no room for fear in our minds.  Especially now when it is largely an implant geared to keeping people powerless.  It has been really challenging to attempt to reconcile my desire to perform an orchidectomy on the anesthesiologist with dirty garden shears in a busy intersection, and leave him there after kicking in his ribs, with the reality of who I am, which is still someone who apologizes to the moths for swatting them.  I’ve read Buddhist texts, I’ve read Elaine Pagels, I’ve prayed and breathed deeply.  The Partner assures me that just because I have these thoughts doesn’t change who I am.   I’m just trying to figure out how to proceed now, knowing what I know.

Back in the real world. Meanwhile, in just a few days! I’ve gotten overdue on all my bills and found that I can no longer do online banking because my 2008 laptop doesn’t have the “right OS” and thus the browsers suggested cannot be downloaded.   I’ve told the Partner to keep the gardening shears away from me for a while.

life with flowers

I have always been someone who would spend their last dollar on flowers, so it’s not all that surprising that they are the tools, in essence, of my trade.  Right now the camellia is starting to bloom and the roses are all ready to perfume the garden air.  There’ll be toothache plant, chinese roses, jasmine, rosemary and gardenias, not to mention all the vegetable and citrus flowers, all the flowers on the herbs, and the passion flower.

Sometimes it looks as though we don’t see what we’ve made of our lives.  But I saw it pretty clearly the other night.  Walking back from feeding our landlady’s horses, I saw inky dark rain clouds in the east, and in front of them an incredible huge rainbow.  It arced over the garden and the budding plants and I thought, perhaps tritely, that if I hadn’t had to come outside I wouldn’t have seen any of that splendor.  And it was a splendor both innate and created and powerful, and that splendor? is really where the Partner and I live now, even and perhaps especially when things are challenging.   So perhaps I haven’t made such a hash of things as it might seem.  Hope springs eternal, Gentle Reader, and that’s a good thing.  None of it would have happened without flowers and an ever growing reliance on all the things in life that we cannot necessarily see with our eyes, but with our hearts.

the annual scorpion

The more things change, right? The more…well.  Let’s just say recurring experiences do happen.  For example, we’ve had some weather we hadn’t seen here before: Dense fog, all around the yurt.  Today the Sierras looked like an ink painting of mist and trees, also a first.  But then, whatever day it was in the midst of whatever titanic battle we were recently waging (ants? mildew? clutter?) a scorpion appeared by the door.  The weird thing is, we never see them anywhere, which is really perfectly fine.  But once a year, in spring, there is always a scorpion at the door.  Always.

Since in the midst of all this in your face reality I find myself moving more and more (how, you might ask, is that even possible?)  into a metaphysical mindset, I realized this Annual Scorpion probably has something to say.  Be careful where you step, at the least.  Or, observe, period, and remain calm.

There’s always a surfeit of sturm und drang on this hill given the overall situation.  Life in the country has its specificities, one of which is a seemingly high degree of eccentricity in the inhabitants.  Of course this could just be a case of noticing the crazy you don’t know about, which it probably is.  But this particular location has a lot of elements that make it almost an exact microcosm of the circumstances seen in the larger world.  There are political issues, environmental issues, social issues, all right here on this little hill, that are no different from anywhere else and may be more than emblematic of the changes we all are going through.   I may get the nerve up to actually write about it, who knows.

The net net of it all though, is teaching me every day that indeed perspective is of paramount importance.  You simply can’t react to everything that transpires, or even take it seriously, because it all shifts and twists and despite what may be said, turns out on some level as you might expect it to in a rational universe.  The twists and dramatic turns are really more an expression of the individual actors’ mental states than an indication of what is tangibly to come as a result.  Which is to say, in spite of how bloody godawful things may look at the moment, they generally do work out for the best.

Needless to say, I get to that point and then the Prison Warden Brain says: Yah, yah.  But what about the Koch Brothers? and the Caliphate Bringers of Every Stripe? What about WATER? what about getting glasses? and the long climb down to semi-normal heart rate begins again.  But each time I find a stronger awareness remains of an overall pattern and movement which is way beyond what one’s mind can logically understand.  Once you remove the premise of your own large importance in the scheme of things, it does become clearer that things really DO have an impetus and even if we have no idea what that is, even if humanity seems as a whole to be thumbing its nose at the idea that they are not the end all be all of the planet, it still remains, just like gravity.  This is maybe the most sustaining thing I’ve come to up here, so far. ( Except of course for the garden, where even the struggle with the weeds is philosophical fodder.  Anyway, I think we could all get by very well if we did a lot less, on the whole.  Sadly, that doesn’t include laundry and coping with dust bunnies, but there it is.) (Can you guess what we’re doing the rest of the day?)

river rocks

We all descend to some reactive foolishness from time to time, I suppose.  What with all the this and that of late it was easy to overlook the basic goodness of things.  And lose, essentially, one’s equanimity and a bit of one’s temper.  Yes, I did.

I went out for a walk to let the smoke clear from my nostrils and halfway up the bluff realized I’d forgotten my glasses.  It was interesting because on some level I can’t see all that well without them.  I figured, though, that since I’d gotten that far, put boots on and everything, that I should just use it as Practice which clearly was sorely needed.  And seeing! What a metaphor!

The strange thing was that I actually could see well enough to totter down to the “seasonal” creek at the crook of two hills.  There were all kinds of animal prints and bedding down spots and I was pretty amazed that I could see all of that, along with the dazzling array of rocks in the creek bed.  The rocks!! Holy cow that creek contains some absolutely mind boggling rocks.  Three  of them seemed somehow to migrate into my hands, whispering their secrets:  One kind of midnight blue, one green, and one a flame-y red ochre.

What I could see, even without my glasses, was that each rock looked like a complete world. So there I was, holding three worlds in my hand, standing in perhaps a multitude of worlds extending into and beyond me.  Humbling, for sure. The midnight blue one, square and flat, has lines of granite and quartz on the lower half, with the dark blue and more quartz running on top like a night sky over the land.  The green one, shaped like an enormous russet potato, looks like the water rushing in the river, with some striations of tree branches leaning into it.  The flame colored one is a small, triangular shaped rock and it looks like a glowing, beating heart.  They stack together like they’ve been that way forever together, and now are gracing my work spot.

It occurred to me AGAIN that really, the information is out there, always,  The answers to our questions are available.  It’s just that often those answers are: stop, take a breath, put down whatever you’re holding.  Be quiet. Experience beauty. This doesn’t always seem like it’s going to provide any answers whatsoever.  Of course the more one feels like they aren’t going to put down whatever they’re holding, the more crucially important it is that they do so.  Even then nothing may be terribly clear.  But it is about shifting focus, allowing for nothing to happen, waiting and observing.  Sadly, I find it doesn’t always mean that I rise above my own foolishness, but I do, more and more often.  Which is something.

I can’t tell if we expect perfection from ourselves or if it’s just perfection-ISM, which keeps a person from doing much of anything.  It is probably quite often a case of not being in your skin where you actually are. At least if you observe the slips and trips, there’s more information and perhaps the same pratfall can be avoided in the future.   I’m starting to think it is more a matter of training oneself in flexibility and observation than it is a matter of actually digging up, for review, those mangled body parts of the past and looking at it all in dismay.  This usually causes reacting instead of responding.  AS in: Instead of (YOU, he, she, it, this) is intolerable and  is, at the very least, a flaming asshat/ clusterf–k /disaster. You can instead think to yourself: This (whatever) is pushing my entire button panel and I smell smoke.  Let me go outside.  Perhaps what nature does is give you perspective in every atom of your being.  Ultimately that lends itself to better decision making, at least I hope so.  Now, what to do about Citizens United. (*sigh*)

frozen, maybe bullet proof

And yes, Gentle Reader, it is both.  But I did learn today that our stout Subaru can, in 14 minutes, warm up and de-ice its windows and sally forth.  I was pleased and it was pretty amazing looking at the snow flakes while all that went on.  Also, since someone on the hill spent an hour and a half in unrelenting gunfire/shootout/god knows what last night, ARs and handguns and rifles? I’m thinking there’s a lot less ammo up here than before, which also pleases me.

Along with all the cold weather and sounds of battle, there was also a brainstorm.  It had pitchforks and lizards and fer de lances and booming black clouds but at the end? The sun came up and I learned something more, even, than how much I love my car.  Which is that the things that really drive you crazy? The wounds you can’t get to stop festering and the limited movement that brings on?  Tangible or otherwise? Are often about you being mad at yourself for having allowed it to go on. Forgiveness starts right where you are.  It’s shocking how long it takes us homo sapiens (questionable, that last word) to understand that when something disagreeable persists, on some level that is because we are holding on to it.  I never got that before, call me fuzzy brained, and this is not about assigning blame or judgement.  It’s about paying attention to what you’re doing.

It’s funny in a way how long it takes me to apply the things I do for my clients to myself but there it is.  Healing can take a long time, or a split second.  It arrives when we are ready because really it’s hanging around all the time and we are, in essence, courting it.  But the fearsome places in us where disharmony lodges are just the places we don’t want to touch or look at- they hurt and are stinky, after all.  But bringing some light to the subject and not over thinking it can be a good thing with a complicated issue.  Plants and flowers have a wonderful way of opening things up inside us so that we find more range of motion as we go along.  This allows us to at last arrive, as it were, on a hilltop in the sunshine where the place we’ve been is visible and we can decide not to EVER GO BACK THERE.  But calmly, we decide that, because now the lights are on.  It’s actually not quite as bad as we thought in the dark, but it is definitely not a place to book another trip to.  In any event, we can breathe now and that is a big thing.  On the other hand, if someone is not ready, those same plants and flowers will elicit discomfort because that is what is inside us waiting to be released.  Some will blame the remedy and stop, blame the practitioner- or feel hopeless and quit because they’re frightened.  Others will try and control the remedy by using only what they decide the stinking wound will accept- not really realizing  what’s going on.  It’s a lot different process than one person simply giving another a pill or diagnosis, in other words, because on this path the individual begins to take care of themselves with support from someone who is paying attention.  And there are never any guarantees except we all know we’re not staying here forever.  The point really is about the quality of the time we do have in whatever condition we find ourselves.

The other thing of it, of course, is how much those stinking wounds are a part of us, of who we think we are.  A way to look at that is to take the opposite viewpoint.  What makes up the deficit?  How big is this hole exactly? This wound is caused by something, yes, and what that something is can lead us to being able to harmonize things in us once we recognize it.  (This is not particularly something like poison ivy, let’s say, where you’ve been in the woods in shorts and are now paying the price.  Although that’s somewhat akin.) We’re prone to this or that, so we pay attention.  So often a person can think that if only this or that or the other or someone or something would do x, y, or z instead of what they are doing, we’d be fine.  Of course that misses the boat completely.  We don’t have much control in this life and certainly not over the actions of others.  But we can decide, say, if someone stabs us metaphorically or otherwise, to step back, care for the wound, and learn to be truly aware of our surroundings.  If we’re stabbing ourselves, we can put the knife down and step back.  If an illness develops, we can decide to step back and see what we FEEL about it.  That feeling, once discovered, is like the trail of breadcrumbs that leads to freedom.  It’s not pain free or quick but it is lasting and the feeling of….almost like flight? is amazing to either feel or observe in another.  Our minds and spirits can do almost anything.  I’ve seen this over and over, and even though it is easy to forget in the crush of daily experience, it is real and it is there for all of us.  It starts with listening.

 

at the sea’s shore

I used to think, when we first came here, that not being by the ocean would be the thing I really couldn’t handle.  Sometimes I wanted to see water so badly it was shocking.  It was also interesting because a trip to the river usually pulled me together.

It made me start thinking about what water represents:  Life, sustenance, feelings and emotions.  There were clearly oceans to be navigated right between my eyes, and it was those oceans clamoring to be seen.   I used to have dreams  about being taken down to the bottom of the ocean by a huge animal, whale like (but of course also like a bear).  I could see it all in the dream and the feeling of being conveyed to the surface, breathing again and feeling full of light still stays with me.  Later on I’d dream about walking on the surface of the ocean, on a net, with large dark shapes moving beneath me, walking and walking toward the horizon.

I think, if anyone asked me which of course they have not, probably the most important thing you can do in life for your own sanity is keep your psychic housekeeping up to date.  Let go of things that don’t serve you, and don’t gloss over situations that give you problems and seem without resolution.   Don’t be afraid to feel what you feel.  Reason being?  If you put it off, it just gets bigger and more unwieldy, possibly poisonous.  Be here now, be clear now, and even though in the moment it may be challenging, in the long run it pays huge dividends in calm and focus.  I only know this because I DIDN’T do that, exactly.  The tools gained in the search have certainly helped and now at least I know that the things I’m feeling are akin to an archeological discovery  of a rather peculiar civilization.  I’m learning to appreciate all that old architecture and pottery in spite of the dust, darkness, and sharp spots.  I think, actually, we are here to enjoy life. I didn’t always think that, but I do now.  If we do that, in truth, it makes it better for everyone.  Real joy is unmistakable and anyone can have it- but you do have to be willing to feel what you feel, when you feel it, and act according to the highest value you can reach at any given time.   It may not make everyone happy, but that isn’t really our job, is it?  We have to be happy ourselves, and that is an inner condition.  And that inner condition can be either fed or mutilated by what we do or don’t allow for ourselves.  It’s simple.  It’s complicated.  It takes time.  It happens in a heart beat.

SO.  As a simple, complicated, flawed and sometimes whole individual, I thank you for reading and being there, and wish you the joy that most certainly is there, beyond all the appearances.  That’s the building block for the new world we really have got to get round to setting up now.  Joy.  Just wait till you feel it!

in which i go outside

So, okay.  Stormy weather and somehow I knew that since our power only went off for a couple of hours and everything was working correctly and we weren’t in the epicenter of howling winds like usual- I knew that there Would Be More.

And, yes.  The road washed out is what happened.  The only way in or out of where we live was, just like that, gone.  The small bridge over a culvert/seasonal stream was not properly constructed to begin with, as you might expect up here.  Then a bear, seeing an appropriate den, moved in for a while.  Then, what with 8 zillion pickup trucks going back and forth every day with their ARs and whatnot, when the storm hit the road went kaput.

The ensuing events once again made my little head explode.  First, the phone rings at night which is weird enough in itself.  Our neighbor (who now detests me because of the summer Hummer Ranchero episode) says the road will be closed until further notice/it gets fixed.  Oh, I said.  But…..how do we get out?  Answer, you don’t.  The song and dance that followed about just how they managed to get a guy (who, in his normal life, runs the wine department in Trader Joe’s) to head a crew to fix this thing involved gold mining and all sorts of excuses and hems and haws, along with professed total lack of knowledge about just who was doing the work.  And when.  But boy it was really hard to find someone with heavy equipment who could do the job- especially considering that, apparently, all the people up here with back hoes and stuff were not considered suitable for a piece of work such as this.  The first day I lost it, being as how I missed doing a job among other things.  No fed ex.  No groceries.  No email and no way of monitoring the progress of business.  By the third day of confinement I was able to remain calm, say to myself, self? Nothing to be done.  Que sera sera and all that.  Clearly the universe feels you should just sit still.  When I walked down to the site I did almost cry, on that day three, because what had once been a collapse had been turned into a pit that seemed likely to go on forever.  It’s a wet fix, the guy said.  It could be DAYS.  I turned around and started thinking how a potato curry would probably be OK for dinner and thank GOD there was still that bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau in the kitchen.  Beyond that were dragons.  But they’re always there.

Fortunately the thing did finally get wrestled to the ground, and when we did get to at last venture out to pick up a week’s worth of mail and totter into the grocery store, we were rewarded with the sight of intense green swards covering the pastures on the main road, and!  an eagle.  Who was very muddy but nonetheless spectacular and awe inspiring.

In the end it’s hard to know what things mean sometimes.  You THINK you’ve got all this stuff to do, but how important is it?  And if the infrastructure isn’t there, ultimately even the best efforts don’t produce what they might in other, less fettered, conditions.  So there you are, in the perhaps quintessential position of humanity.  Wondering what is to be done? And how you might even get to the point of doing something.   And how important is that anyway?  Goodness but there’s a lot to figure out.  One of my teachers said the fastest way to get nowhere is to follow the crowd.  At this point I think I can say that we, the Partner and I, are firmly out there where the crowd is not.  We’re just not sure where that is, whether or not we’re lost or found.  It’s beautiful, in any event, when we can focus our eyes.

Thank you!

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.