Posts Tagged ‘perception’

walking the line

I don’t know about you, Gentle Reader, but I am not really looking forward to the eclipses barrelling toward us.  Regardless of your metaphysical perspective, it seems to me lately that almost everyone feels pulled, toward what they don’t know, pushed, and they don’t like that much, and generally frizzled.  Eclipses are like the giant reset button in the sky being hit on a lot of levels and….I think we’re all kind of tired.  Anyway, I know I am.

Still.  I read something this morning, again in Patanjali, that made a lot of sense.  Once you can stop looking at time, clock and western world defined time I mean, as a Real Thing, and accept it for the construct it is that actually lives, truly,  in your watch, it’s possible to have a different approach to past and future.  With some discipline and effort, you can (really!) keep them from bleeding into the present, which means that you actually have one.  The now really is quite roomy when left to itself.

Another really groovy thing about it is that when you are IN the present, you’re not having opinions about the past, or hopes and fears about the future.  You’re too busy attending to the what IS.  The longer you can maintain this at any given juncture, the better the what IS gets and that can mean great ideas, a calm mind, all kinds of things.

Not to say that this is easy.  How often do you find yourself ruminating about some long past Episode or even more fruitlessly WORRYING ABOUT SOMETHING?  I can speak with some authority on this because, given the solitude we live in, there’s plenty of time to rehash those non-witty non-ripostes, and also to worry about the ever looming and expanding list of WHAT IF’S.  Something happened yesterday and it plunged me into a quite moody abyss.  However, I thought, really not liking this feeling state.  Let’s see…..and of course I realized that I had in the twinkling of a bird’s eye placed all kinds of disaster scenarios on this one more than likely non-event.  Even if the worst DID happen? What was I accomplishing except ruining what could have been reasonable moments??? leading up to??  And of course in this particular moment (as usual) there really was nothing to worry, despair, or be perturbed about.  I have to say I was rather proud of myself for the five minute meditation retreat I took which allowed me to get back on the horse.  (I did burst into tears a bit later whilst picking up dog doody- which somewhat shockingly reminded me of the army one Greek hero sowed with dragon’s teeth- in 100+ degree heat but, well, chalk that up to short childish outbursts.  Nothing a glass of Fortified orange juice can’t handle.)

Net net what I think this means is that it IS possible to get through a day with minimal or no blood loss, no matter what kind it is.  If you are in the now, you are thinking of what works in that space.  Not about what didn’t work in another space or what might happen if pigs started flying around your bedroom.  Given that pigs ARE flying around a lot of places they shouldn’t be, it may mean that one’s thoughts go to how the droppings might be productively used.  Can a window be opened so they can fly out? sort of thing.  Maybe they’ll all fall asleep? How can this actually work overall?  Of course this means that you have taken yourself out of the position of Center of Everything and Most Important, and joined the rest of the universe in its giant circle dance.  Which also means that, since you’re dancing, aggression and frustration are sitting this one out. Again and again the message seems to be pay attention to what you are seeing and feeling NOW, not to the blunt instruments of yesterday’s “thinking”.

So I think there’s hope, giant reset button and all.  Have a good week, blessings and thanks!!

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.

success with pineapple

In all the excitement around here of late, I may have omitted proper treatment of one of my bigger accomplishments, Gentle Reader.

Which was the replication of an acceptable al pastor, for tacos.  Al pastor is one of those things I love deeply, sometimes even more than carnitas or rajas.  Naturally I was deterred from making it at home because you always see it being grilled on a rotisserie-like thing.  Which I don’t have.  So I thought, oh dearie me, too hard.

Well, not so much.  Turns out? all you really need is a good basic adobo recipe and PINEAPPLE.  It’s nice if you have the canned chiles en adobo but since I didn’t find mine until after I made the recipe, I can say it isn’t crucial.  You just then have to use a mix of roasted dried chiles and herbs and stuff, and the crucial pineapple, and whoosh it together…..and then you have a marinade to put on protein of your choice (I mean, in theory, you could use tofu- and tofu actually is not bad in rajas….) and……suddenly you find that you have accomplished something that seems huge.  And it’s basically just a recognition of what the elements of a thing actually are, and the relative sizes of them and you, and proceeding accordingly.

Bucked up by that glorious achievement, I have tried to approach the various and sundry things that seem to be hell bent on making me lose what little mind I have with what I am now calling The School of Pastor Approach.

In practice it’s kind of like stop, drop and roll in a fire.  Something happens, you pay attention to it, remain calm, and get out of harm’s way.  This means not losing even a tiny bit of composure which is always the part I struggle with: the inner Donald Duck.  In any case, the other day something happened which actually was pretty big.  I was taken aback by how quickly I went from zero to sixty on the Completely Upset Track.  (“I can’t do this” sort of thing.)

While the situation, had it been as bad as it might’ve been, was definitively not wonderful, it was also not as world ending as my feelings toward it indicated.  I realized that it was my attitude about it which was causing at least half of my distress.  Again.  This allowed me to calm down enough to not make things worse by untimely displays of inchoate emotion and yelling.  And to realize? that it was my expectation about what a given thing meant and thus should do that caused a relative inability to function.  Kind of like not being able to make pastor without a rotisserie.  Not, actually, the point.  What does this thing consist of, and how should it be approached?  How do I get on the right level here? In terms of pastor, the crucial thing is not the equipment, it’s the ingredients.  I suppose you could say the same thing of The Situation- it was the ingredients- the thinking- that made it seem impossible to navigate.  In the case of pastor, it was an addition (the sweet).  In the case of the Situation, it was a subtraction (the prickly bits- so pineapple still works as a metaphor!).  The thinking was the same, though, really.  I’m hoping this means progress has been made; over and above, that is,  the sheer joy of now being able to pretty much have pastor whenever I want.

Thank you!

crime and punishment

One thing about having read a lot is that one goes through periods where one book or another seems to be leaping into view, and refusing to sit down.   Lately it’s been Dostoyevsky.  Which, really? I can hardly believe I had the concentration to read his novels, much less retain the information.  I continue to be cowed by Moby Dick, but The Idiot and Crime and Punishment are lodged, forever, in my brain.  Weird.

So we were talking the other day about prison, and crime, and private prisons, and how it’s all kind of a tailor made situation, when you think about it,  for a) getting people deemed “undesirable” into confinement and out of general circulation b)which means some people make a lot of money running that confinement scenario, and the confinees find themselves in a condition similar to enslavement and c) there’s a place to funnel lots of people from the military into jobs overseeing the Other Confinees.  All the uncontrollable individuals are handled in one swell foop, with monetization to boot. An obvious oversimplification but then again.  There’s method to this madness.  As a place to put individuals whose “service” to their country has left them profoundly injured even while they still have to make a living, prison employment presents an option.  An out of sight, out of mind option, at that.  Then, there’s this. An overwhelming number of Americans are in prison.  An overwhelming number of those people are in prison for drug issues. ( It could be argued that aside from the burglary and robbery part, who really gets hurt by drugs?  The user.  And those who love that user.  Not something you’d think would call for imprisonment.) An overwhelming number of those people are not white.  An overwhelming number of laws differentiate between things that white people are likely to get arrested for (powder cocaine, let’s say) and black people are likely to get arrested for (crack, let’s say)- and which one has stiffer penalties I will leave to you to divine.  So there’s a mind numbing level of unfairness just built in to the whole system, not to mention the fact that people are being incarcerated for things that are not crimes but reactions to specific sets of circumstances, like poverty and joblessness and all the stuff that gets mentioned in passing as some sort of aberration, for which people are at fault.  Crimes, for which they must be Punished.

How Raskolnikov got jumbled into all this I can’t really say, but suddenly it all made a horrible sense.  Society as it has existed for the past couple of thousand years apparently has to have crime, and police, and lawyers and prisons and judges.  It seems at times that this is because the irrationality of the system itself is what has to be protected and concealed, because really maintaining function and order in society might well not involve incarceration and misery for so many.  The craziness at the top has to be disguised, at the least.  I mean, after all.  If you actually REALIZED the truth about it all, the reality that the controlling powers in the world not only do not have your best interests at heart but actually have nothing but their own hegemony and bank balances in mind, and your annihilation may fit nicely into that, how would that make you feel about the fact that you can’t find work to do?  In truth, your job has been moved away, condensed, disappeared, whatever it takes for profits to increase- it isn’t because “competition”, or because anything other than the greed and self interest of those “in charge”.  The fact that we’re swamped with “information” that is used as a paralyzing pacifier rather than an empowering tool, and part of that information seems to be that these age old paradigms must be maintained no matter what…..it really did make me think of the desperate Raskolnikov- looking for a feeling, an answer, some sense of his own existence and being.  And all he could come up with to do was, basically, take the breath away from someone else to make that happen.  But it didn’t really provide him with any information he could use, in the end.  It seems just like..right Now.

Then, yesterday as I was going to town, a ground squirrel darted in front of the car.  I didn’t want to hit it.  Simultaneously, a woman in a pickup came zooming up the road on the wrong side.  There I was, trying not to squish a squirrel nor get squished myself.  (This made me unaccountably think of Prince Myshkin.) Fortunately all was well, the brainless squirrel lived to dart again, and I managed to restrain myself from any rude gesturing at the other driver.  Which felt like massive progress.

It made me think, though, about how close we all are at every moment to complete and utter change, the unexpected, to death.  Or to grace and goodness, to joy.  It’s kind of, though, about dealing with all of that experience, tumult, whatever it is, without punishment, judgment, imprisonment, denial. It starts on a small, individual level and radiates into the whole of humanity.   It’s about changing the automatic, default setting on yourself to OBSERVE and LEARN from FEAR and REACT.  If I can keep myself from flipping someone off in traffic when they of course so richly deserve it, it’s possible to shift other unproductive actions as well.  A gradual standing up straight, opening of the hand and heart.  The more we hide things away, put people away, refuse to look, the more we are all in prison.  Perhaps it is that quality of vicious, entrapping circle that makes me think of Dostoyevsky’s novels- and the meeting of that quality with Heart and Soul which he did so wonderfully.

 

two bees. or not to be’s.

I’ve been finding myself lately pondering writing as though it were like getting up on a high dive board at the Olympics.  Have I mentioned my fear of heights, Gentle Reader?

One thing that happens is so much time is spent on reading everything I think I “need” to read and writing stuff I think I “need” to write,  that by the time it comes to putting paw to “creative” keyboard, there’s no time or I’m mentally drained.  This is a lot what happens in today’s world in general, really.  Everyone’s glued to their screen, whatever it is, and time gets taken up, resources are expended, and what actually happens?  Not much.  But you’ve been busy, right? Without accomplishing anything productive or harmonious or dynamic.  This is starting to seem like it is actually the point- we are “guided” by “society” to function in ways that seem to create nothing but entropy for us, if we are really honest. Consume, react, repeat. And for HEAVEN’S SAKE!!! Do NOT confuse yourself with actual facts.  Mercy.  Don’t stop and ponder the fact that perhaps those extra pounds everyone’s so worried about could be handled by simple label reading and not purchasing things where the ingredients are largely corn and corn syrup related.  And why are so many in this country so overweight even though an unduly large percentage of us live in poverty and hunger? Not to mention the rest of the world. Why, in fact, is so much of the food we eat here not even really FOOD?  And definitely do not let yourself think too long about the fact that actual flat out blatant lies are being told as the truth, all day long, about things that have a direct impact on people’s lives.  A good recent example is the DEA saying that it will continue to classify cannabis as a drug on a par with heroin.  No research, they said, no demonstration of medical use.  This is simply not true and it doesn’t take an investigative genius to find that out.  As a result people are suffering needlessly. This will only end, of course, when the Big Boys figure out how to get all the money from this product, and not until then.  Oh, and then there’s the little problem of  opiate addiction (where they DO get all the money)- amazing what a visit to the dentist can do to you. But God Almighty, you can’t have cannabis for that.  You’ll get addicted to THAT.  And, of course.  Do not even consider focusing on just what it would take for everyone to have a decent life: cooperation.  Respect.  Having a value based on something other than personal aggrandizement.  We do, after all, have to make America……what, exactly?

What I decided at long last is it’s just another invitation to start again, to re-think, and the most fun of all, exercise some self discipline.  The temptation to go along with the flow, the tide, the crowd, the truth as you are expected to believe it is great.  Now, one could dissolve into a quivering puddle of horrified yuck at any moment, or into a twirling helix of anger- just by going out to the store, or watching the news.   This is the same kind of inanition I’ve been experiencing lately.  It’s all so overwhelming.  But then I realized something.  (For the umptieth time- when will it stick?) Being paralyzed by things is not going to cut the mustard.  And the rehash…..well. Enough, already, of that.

It will be fun to see if I can actually make sense of this for you, GR.  But today I read a really good description of Mercury retrograde.  (Bear with me, here.)  We’re accustomed to the warnings about not signing agreements and how our appliances and cars will appear to go temporarily insane during these periods that occur relatively frequently, and Mercury goes, in our view, backward.  But Eric Frances, in Planet Waves (I have a link!) wrote about it being something that exposes what has gone before- shakes the tree, as he put it.  So, then, this means? that if you haven’t paid attention, have glossed over things, or functioned as a case of Walking Entropy, problems and consequences will arise with which you will have to deal.

So, OK.  Instead of having a feeling of dread about Mercury retrograde, perhaps a more sensible thing is to say, now we’ll see where I didn’t pay attention, where I lacked clarity.  The cosmos in effect gives you a way to clean up your act, a few times a year.  If we see these times as periods where we shouldn’t do much because Things Will Go Wrong, we’re missing the point altogether.  Instead, this is a frequent flyer marvelous opportunity.  Most of the things we consider to be intractable problems are really areas where we are not paying proper attention, or willing to do the right thing.  Like, say, eat right, or keep your elected officials accountable for their actions.  These are every day actions.  Small things in a way.  Eat real food and cook it yourself, let your “representatives” know you are watching what they do.  Spend your resources consciously.  This means things like, for us anyway, not buying any more Limonata which we both adore- because why? Because Pellegrino is owned by Nestle, and Nestle is contributing to water problems on the planet in a macro way- by for example, getting water from here in California for cents on the gallon and reselling it to you, the consumer, and us from whom it was essentially taken without consent, for a large profit. And for extra fun putting it in plastic bottles which end up in the ocean.  This is real stuff, Gentle Reader, not propaganda.  Using your grocery money with awareness is an example of a  very small thing you as an individual can do that ultimately has an impact on the entire planet (where we all do live).  Especially if enough of us stop fearing Mercury retrograde and actually attend to what we’re doing.

Then I thought about what might happen if enough people on earth start doing these small things.  Evidence suggests this is happening, however slowly. There’s an energy and a power there, and what with all the worldly and political glitches coming to view, it might be possible to do what isn’t, really, rocket science.  Which is: CHANGE THINGS.  Because I personally don’t want to see one more image of one more bloodstained child or mangled man or blasted building or beaten woman in the name of what it really is all done for: Money.  Or one more parent who can’t get treatment for their sick child.  Or themselves.  Or afford it even if they CAN get it.  We seem now to live in a stupor so that the top sector of the world can live in its chosen cocoon.  We keep our eyes shut and are exhausted because it seems too tiring to do anything else.  It is not going to work- and really? it hasn’t.  So we got a BIG Mercury retrograde thing going on whether we like it or not.

When, however,  you open your eyes you see the world.  And it is beautiful. It is always new. Each step you take, each piece of trash you pick up, each person you treat with respect, wakes you up.  It’s tempting to stay in the old habits and patterns- but it is also constricting and suffocating and ultimately not even possible (uhm, thank you Mercury?).  Walking through the world with open eyes is when you can begin to claim your true inheritance as a human being- inclusion, not exclusion.  Love.  Not fear or hate.  Healing, not making yourself sick.  Worth a try.

And, for extra motivation:

happybirthday

thank you!!!!!

a bright spot

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, right? Something splendidly reassuring?

As may have been apparent, things have been On Fire lately.  I have been in a rather dark spot looking for a hose and trying to keep up with my chores, not to mention getting all the dragons and elephants in my head to either learn how to dance or leave, thank you.

In the midst of all this, the Partner has been ill for the past several days.  He has a  chronic project, with which in my opinion we are making progress, but which is challenging to deal with and a  bummer, on the whole.  Not to put too fine a point on it.

So we get to this morning, and a moderate, but far from complete, improvement. In reasonable time, to my mind.  In my daily runthrough about current vitals, I ask the Partner if he feels certain things, obscure yes but powerful and describable.   He lifts his head, looks me square in the eye, and says: HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?  Because usually, of course, when I ask him questions about how he feels he responds with ultra descriptive things like: sore, sick, tired, or my all time favorite, I don’t know. So it on some level has not got much to do with what he himself describes verbally, figuring out what’s happening.  It is not, then, unusual to have to proceed on meager  pickings.

But this, Gentle Reader, is pretty much what everyone says to me (with a sense of FINALLY! SOMEBODY GETS IT! HECK! I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THAT. YOU’RE RIGHT.)  How do I know that? and, Work your magic for me.  I naturally feel that it’s no big thing, just something observable. However. To have someone so close to me (and thus really be harder to work with than someone I don’t know, oddly but there it is) have the same experience and sense of…????…was like having a bright light shine on the dragon/elephant room and having them all behave as they file off to sunnier climes, waving goodbye.   It was like getting some incontrovertible truth demonstrated: this is what you ARE and it is really OK.   And that’s today’s good news, which is more than enough to get me back in the saddle.

in another part of the empire

I’m often struck by how, in the end, so many basic concepts- political, religious, behavioral- get argued about even though the arguers in point of fact share the exact same view, just in different words.  There’s a great African story about this.  One day a God, being the usual god-like shit disturber (and male, FYI), decided to walk down a road which separated the fields of two villages.  He painted one side of his body blue, and the other red.  He was big, too.  Probably radiant.

So there he is walking down the road humming a song he was working on, and the villagers are out pulling weeds and thinking of witty ripostes as we all do at such times.  Suddenly someone looks up, says OMG!! THERE’S GOD!! AND HE’S BLUE!! at precisely the same time someone on the other side of the road says, OMG!!! THERE’S GOD!!!! AND HE’S RED!!!!!

Shouts and jostling ensue, and things are getting tense.  What does the God do?  He walks back up the road, the other way this time, so that?  The colors are exactly opposite.  Which leads to anguished howls of OMG!! THEY WERE RIGHT!! GOD’S (whatever color)!! answered by, OMG!! THEY WERE RIGHT AND NOW…THEY’RE SAYING WE’RE RIGHT…AND….net net the villagers swarmed over the road and began flailing gardening tools about wildly at each other.  Because God, right?

Finally, having gotten a little bored with this exercise, the God stands in such a way that everyone can see all of him.  YOU BIG SILLIES,he says, or words to that effect.  OMG. GOD IS GREAT AND MULTICOLORED. NOW WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO PULLING WEEDS, the villagers all say, or words to that effect, and which ones were grateful and which ones wanted to go back and fight is left to your imagination.  It is indicated, however, that some of the villagers actually realized on the spot that it didn’t make a bit of difference what color God was or is.  The incredible thing is that such a being exists at all, and that is amazingness enough to take a lifetime to truly understand and act upon. Also? God has a wicked sense of humor, which means that both those who lack compassion AND those without humor are pretty far from the tee, or weed patch, they’re supposed to be on.  One can only assume both villages did something like comedy competitions for a while to hone their humor skills after being taken in so completely.  Yah, they’d probably say.  So and so! What a goof! Started a whole new religion with a PURPLE God!! hahahaha…..

So it is with many things.  I was at my landlady’s after the Primary election, and met her gentleman friend, who told me, YUP. I’M A CONSERVATIVE and you KNOW WHAT? They tried to keep me from voting, saying I had no party preference!  Didn’t want any votes for Trump!  Given that this place is a reactionary hotbed, I murmured, I have a hard time understanding that but whaddaya know?  They did the same thing to ME.  It was one of those moments where the red and blue of God were quite visible and it is, albeit remotely, possible that some kind of meeting of the minds in compromise was reached on a few “conservative topics”.  This sort of thing always makes me reach for the tequila but there is just so much of it right now that I’ve had to break down and stick to water.  Still- it is a bit easier to navigate these shark, rock, crocodile, rocket launcher and yeti//bigfoot infested waters of the now when you can remember that really, we are all talking about the same thing.  It may be that some simply don’t know who or what they are, and maybe they never will given an intense attachment to STUFF and therefore a corollary lack of care for  PEOPLE, and so they think their language is the only one and refuse to listen to anyone who says, look! God was blue and now he’s red! even when they can see the same thing with their own eyes. (I think Marx and Engels referred to this as false class identification…) Nonetheless, it really is both/and, not either/or, or even worse neither/nor.  Regardless of whether you see the whole face or not.

And in truly exciting news, we have a shower for the first time since we’ve been here, thank you Partner!!!  I had forgotten how wonderful showers are.  Another reminder about what really matters, and mostly it is the simple things, adequate shelter, decent food, and beyond that the ability to appreciate the world and express love in it.  While remembering all the different words for same, of course……