Posts Tagged ‘Psychology’

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.

 

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……

rolling in the deep

This is no ordinary procrastination, Gentle Reader, that is keeping me from going outside and figuring out which starts are melons and which are cucumbers.

No. This is a day where I almost feel as though I have been resurrected, and I’m still pooped out from the lengthy stitching together required for various and sundry body parts to come together in another version of Moi.  (On an emotional, mental, energetic level, thank you for asking. ) (The Dog is FINE, too.  Edging his way toward triple digits….)

I’d been reading various bulletins about the cosmic weather and how arguments and misunderstandings were rife and likely.  Fine, I thought.  Forewarned is forearmed. Well? NOT SO MUCH.  I came upon a situation which was unexpected, out of the blue, as painful as a migraine/ root canal combo with no anesthesia.  AND, for good measure involved a very long standing, important and huge piece of my life.  One where I expected no disturbance.

At bottom, and as usual, it was a struggle for a sort of ideological dominance.  At bottom, and as usual, the fact that I could see it in somewhat political terms helped me get the tiny fix on it that lit the way through in the end.  It looked, at the outset, as though I had failed my duty to a friend.  There was a forceful declaration of my complete and abject fault, which I missed the actual point of at first.  It seemed so out of character and out of sequence I had a hard time responding because I just didn’t “get it”.  I “felt” it, alright, and it hurt like hell.  It was an old issue but a strange approach. My attempt to “explain” was unsuccessful, to say the least.  But I kept knowing that there was more to it than just the topical “issue”, tried to remain civil and just THINK.  I thought about how, in real life, you don’t reach compromise when everyone’s yelling and thinking only of their point of view.  So I pondered whether in fact I was remiss/wrong/whatever, and of course- my life especially, upon scrutiny, looks like a disaster blockbuster, parts one through infinity.  But that just didn’t seem to cut the mustard this go round.  I apologized anyway, being female, and you know what, GR?  This is absolutely the last time that happens.  When things go sideways, people go off on you, it isn’t just necessarily your fault.  At times it is about the other person and really doesn’t have much to do with you except your presence, and what that presence represents to the other person. (In the news now this is mostly shown by how everything is a terrorist act.  Not the act of a deeply disturbed person, but an orchestrated,intended to cause fear terrorist act.  Single nut jobs apparently don’t exist.)  Obviously one must take responsibility for their own behavior, but that doesn’t mean an apology is required for that behavior.  Sorry I’m not doing what you want is not actually something any of us need to say when we’re simply going about our business, as ourselves.  At bottom it is fear that makes a person attack, on whatever level that occurs.  They themselves may not know what they’re afraid of, or even that they’re afraid at all. And you’re supposed to apologize for their fear?  (Sorry, Donald. No dice.)

All of this came crashing together, what with the Personal Imbroglio, Orlando, Baghdad, the US Congress, and all the rest of it.  What I realized was this.  We really do create our realities by what we think and those realities are, who knew? REAL.  What we think determines what we do. This “thinking” can stem from parts of our lives that are wwwaaaaaaayyyyyy in the past and should have been laid to rest long ago.  Our responsibility is to make sure that what we do and think is in line with our moral compass as it is in present time- and everybody needs one of those.  And beyond that? It’s like not eating junk food or poison.  The static, unresolved noise of fear must not be allowed to take over your internal music and drag you down to its level.  You can’t change something by yanking and pushing- you change it by observing and doing the thing that IS the change along side it and eventually beyond it.  YOU are the change, and the energy from that inner change of yours can fund things beyond what you as an individual may dream of.  This is not grandiosity or prideful behavior. This is not the same as denial, or pretending something isn’t what it is.  Not at all.  It is being at home in your own skin, your own etheric template, and acting accordingly.  Even if, and especially when, challenges come that aim at your sanity or even your life.  In the end, all that you are can never be trammeled irreparably, or broken, or truly ended even,  unless you allow it.  And THIS is not the same as unthinking resistance, rigidity and narrowmindedness.  It is acting from Love and connection with Life/Nature.  And that starts at home, with each of us.  We are, truly, Good Enough As We Are, if we’d but act on that awareness.

I don’t know what we can do about all the incredibly angry and disordered individuals running around in the world and our lives now,

eyeofgod1  except to be kind- and mindful of when we need to get the eff out of the way.  On a personal level, all we can do is extend a hand, and have enough respect for self and others to walk away in peace when it is not accepted.  Not in anger or fear, but in renewed dedication to what is good and true in life.  Not chasing the illusory goals of our culture, but working to truly make this earth we share as good as it is- not as bad as fear would make it.

pensive jack

shaken AND baked

The Dog is taking the triple digit heat in a Sensible Doggy Way.  He’s snoring on his bed, coming out periodically for ice cubes and the odd chicken dog sausage.

I’m sitting in a heat induced stupor with spinning wheels, for the most part.    The one year I am totally on top of starting my seeds, it’s too damned hot to plant the seedlings.  My Looming Project, re-doing the website, is acting like a wayward foxtail in a sock and making me the teensiest bit anxious and procrastinatey.  Partly it’s because I read an old blog about when I did it the first time, so long ago.  I forgot how much screaming was involved and the over the top frustration level (oh, you mean this browser DOESN’T SUPPORT THIS ACTIVITY? AND YOU SAY NOTHING IN THE INSTRUCTIONS?), and the daily tide of you can’t keep a thought in your head for two seconds is not abating around here.  I realized I was fretting over a shopping cart button, in short, while I was looking for remnants of a thyme plant.

Deciding to abandon that for the present in order to wipe the sweat out of my eyes, I’ve been trying to also not focus on the fact that Donald Trump is making an appearance in this podunk place today, at the Redding Airport. Waving to the Folks from his Personal Plane.  Suddenly we exist here, it seems.  Bernie came to Chico, which makes some sense as he actually has a brain and some ideas.  But Trump is the LAST thing anybody up here needs since they’re mostly 98% fully crazed and well armed to begin with.  A conservative hotbed where until quite recently I could count the number of black people I’d seen on one hand, and men in the post office make jokes about how the only “Allah” they like is “ala carte”.  Haw haw and all that.  They’re probably lapping his antics up like seals getting fish in a circus, right this minute.

That may not, in fact, sound very “nice”.  And there’s always the thing of not letting the other person’s Stuff poison you.  But there’s also such a thing as kowtowing to the fuckery and I for one am struggling with balancing the overt perfidy of people with the truth of our oneness and the absolute necessity of honoring that through love.  I’m tired of acting like this whole thing is working.  I read recently a good analysis of anger and resentment, which we see manifesting on every news program and interview.  Anger happens when you learn something you didn’t know (in this case it might be something like: There will never be a decent job for you, so sorry), and resentment is doing something you don’t want to do.  Which in this case seems to mean behaving cooperatively and as though one is not the entirety of the universe.  The hangdog, uninformed victimization one so often sees is very disturbing indeed, since it leads to so many problems down the road.  People believe things they must on some level know are not true- but hey, they saw it on the internet.  Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are coming into the country.  If so, where are they?  Not here, since they’re not coming.  The Egyptair flight that went down- Trump brayed out that it was a terrorist bombing.  At present that doesn’t seem the most likely cause.  Will he ever acknowledge he shot his mouth off without knowing what he was talking about?  Given that the answer to that is a no doubt resounding NO, is this the sort of person you really want wielding power?  I’m not saying I’m happy with the other part of the spectrum which seems to be in favor of supporting the noxious status quo.  Still, it seems a sounder choice than someone who behaves as though being a crude embarrassment to the human race is a good thing.

The bigger problem with this is, of course, that people gravitate to such negativity, such bullying, and such straight-up disrespect for intellect and cooperation and each other.  Not to mention plants and animals.  Sometimes I think we’ve been so saturated with TV, computer, media images- where everything is split second, truncated, and meanings are fluid- that it has changed the very ability to pay attention.  There doesn’t seem to be much of that going around.  It’s like everyone is following the breadcrumb trail left by the evil empire, not caring if they’re going over a cliff or not.

Knowing as we do that this sort of thing has gone on for all time, just like people forgetting to put everything back in their picnic basket after lunch and then criticizing each other when the spoons seem to have disappeared, it still seems a challenging thing to resolve.  I do believe that things will shift and change, and that more and more human beings are rising to just that occasion- being real human beings.  This is a matter of joy to me whenever I encounter someone who is actually Living their Life.  Maybe that’s the thing.  So many of us are trying to run away from ourselves, our feelings.  So many people don’t even cook their own food.  So many don’t understand that they have abdicated their ability to think for themselves, and as a result will say things like “all the prices went up right after the minimum wage was raised and it just made things worse”.  No ability to look and see, or see what you’re looking at, or that hoary chestnut, consider the source.

When I did my herb farm apprenticeship, one of our teachers said we should remember that one day soon, planting your own food and medicine would probably be a crime.  At the time I thought it was a bit hyperbolic.  Now I’m not so sure.  But I’m certainly going to keep doing it.  (As we all should.)  And remember that loving kindness is worth more than almost anything- except perhaps water.  And air.  And Earth.  And ice cubes, if you’re a dog.

 

all russian roulette, all the time

Cosmically, Gentle Reader, things are heating up just as much as they are environmentally, and we seem to have the same level of denial all round on both fronts.  It seems that human beings are stuck on thinking they have a lot more time than they really do to get and maintain the togetherness of their shit, across the board.

The cosmic level has been rocky up here as usual.  We’re perhaps too close to the heavens  and seem to get the double whammy no matter what happens- and all these eclipses are NOT HELPING.   First, one of the dearest people to me in this life who lives at the opposite end of the earth? called me and our electric got overloaded, blew, cutting off the phone altogether.  At that moment the Dog returned from his morning constitutional, INCOGNITO.  Which is to say, totally covered in thick mud.  The Partner, after recovering from the phone/who’sthatdog episode, sallied forth in search of some electrical thingummy that would, in theory, prevent future flameouts.  I’d like that, let’s just say.  Anyway, totally thwarted there as well because?  There was a BOMB THREAT in RED BLUFF.  The poster child, or one of them, of lovely one horse towns, gets shut down because someone left a mystery box somewhere.  Home Depot was totally off limits as a result.

Then, in a moment of brainlessness, we turned the tv on and saw Brussels airport.

Between wanting to crawl into a deep hole from the simple overwhelming pain of it all, there’s wanting to crawl into a hole after hearing what the…I don’t even know what to call them, but we’ll be polite and refer to them severally as The Last Season of America Republicans, or TLSOAR. ( Rhymes with dinosaur?) Anyway I can’t believe anyone with a functioning brain could say the things they all say.  Patrol Muslim neighborhoods? (And where exactly pray tell are those,  in the US?)  Torture? The usual beyond cringe inducing bloviation? It’s so frightening to see these guys and even more so to realize there are people who “agree” with them.  Which leads us to….

How are any of these people different from each other? How is Trump really different from whoever the titular head of ISIS is at this point?  They’re both concerned with money and power and not much else, far as I can see. How are the rabid  people who support Trump really different from the rabid people we see chopping the heads off those who disagree with them in the middle east?  The restoration of the Caliphate has to do with ancient, we might say chthonic, issues, the driving of Islam from Europe.  It also has to do with the fact that the diaspora is not a place of rewards for most, and hopelessness and ignorance and poverty are generally not good ingredients for a positive outcome.  None of this is rocket science, is it?  It’s just the same old thing:  We all want the same things- we want to be happy, for God’s sake, and basic equity would go a lot farther toward making earth a harmonious place for all of us than pitting us against each other.  Happiness isn’t about what you can buy.  It’s about how you FEEL and how you are able to live in the world.  We’ve had centuries of doing it this top down, patriarchal, fear based way, which by any measure is not working.  It’s enough already.

Meanwhile we have a splendid crop of tiny red romaine, which since  it is outside the garden fence will probably provide a few moments of bliss for the rabbits.  I figure the birds dropped the seeds, thus helping the rabbits.  See how easy?  Really.

something, and more of it

A bit of a rocky start today, Gentle Reader.  Notwithstanding first crack out of the bag chest pain which I chalked up to…oh, reality? it was dicey.  The french press plunger decided to spray boiling hot water and coffee grounds all over a fresh loaf of bread instead of plunging down and keeping it in the pot as per usual.  The Dog went out and rolled, quite comprehensively, in Shit. This caused The Partner to blow a tiny part of a gasket and *I* did not take it as well as I might’ve.  Probably I was still reminding myself not to get a big head about just proceeding with the coffee, smarting burn and smile in place.  Sometimes hissy fits are unavoidable, sadly.

So, what is it? that keeps us from staying on an even keel.  Some days the quotidian pile up of whatever it is, be it dishes, vacuuming, armed struggle with the phone company AND the post office (come out big, right?) just gets to be like noxious fumes that remove one’s ability to concentrate on the task at hand and perhaps lapse into total stupor.  No, No! Just do it, I say to myself. Like what you do, and all that.  For the most part I do, but on days like today when it seems like the last bit of wherewithal has been drained from me, like from a car up on a  mechanic’s rack, I can’t figure it out.  Ah well.  Now, the Dog is muscling up on the keyboard, because he has something to say.  Which is, as usual from Dogs, sage advice about how enjoyable things really are if you just play a little bit, then take a nap.

The days when I have no certitude about what I doing, or  want to do, are the days when I don’t want to play, exactly, OR take a nap OR cook anything because why? Too anxious.  And that means I am not in the now, which pretty much always leads to problems.  Thank goodness this Highly Intelligent Dog came to live with us and point such things out.  I just wish it could happen less frequently right after Shit has been Rolled In.  Then again, when better?  I’m now going to go and thank him properly, which will no doubt involve his favorite treat.  And since they’re all favorites, see how easy?  All better.

 

 

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.

 

brain, suspended

A huge thunderstorm just moved over us.  We’d been hearing the thunder for some time, and then the entire sky turned Payne’s Gray, making the leaves and needles on the trees look phosphorescent.  It rained for about two minutes and on it went.  I don’t know if it’s me, but things certainly seemed to take longer to happen…back in, uhm, the day.

We’ve been in this place for almost six years now, which is incredible when I think about it.  A total, complete, exhaustive and comprehensive life change, and we have survived it so far even though it seems more like we’ve been here for twenty years in terms of what’s happened.  In that time a lot has changed in this little area:  people have come and gone, several people have died, one got murdered and as of today it’s almost as thought none of that happened.  Actors on a stage, indeed.  A lot has changed for us, too, in fact so much so that nothing is really the same as it was before.  I think I always admired people who I thought were brave enough to do such a fool thing as take the leap when the calvary’s bearing down with sabres drawn, but for sure I didn’t think I was such an individual.

It has, in retrospect, taken this long for the Partner and I to even begin to be oriented in place and time.  We came here to a spot that had literally nothing on it except an RV hookup of sorts, in a place we’d never really been,  and built a home that has protected and sheltered us, and grown a lot of our own food.  I still have a shock of incomprehension when I drive to town, as though I’ve just woken up some place far, far away.  But we really are here, and we are starting, as well, to be here NOW.

And, NOW is such a time, isn’t it?  Clear and honest communication seems to be at a premium, the power structure is full of crooked, mindlessly selfish individuals, and yet in spite of the nightmares swirling around all over the world, things continue and it is hard to imagine that somehow that might end.  In spite of everything I find my optimism is unquenchable, if bloodied and muddied.  It’s clearer than ever to me that we all, really, could do almost anything we set our minds to if we would choose to do it.  So much of what we do is kind of on auto-pilot- the brain knows what it’s doing and you don’t need to be told it’s doing it.  The gist of mindfulness, in a way, is slowing ourselves down to the point where we actually pay attention in each moment instead of gliding along letting the brain do its thing.  This isn’t so we can micromanage how our skin heals or how we walk up stairs, but perhaps to NOTICE it and notice everything around all of what happens, and thus to see that there is a bigger order than we know or create.  That bigger order contains the proper questions.  And those proper questions lead us to actual answers.  The thing, I’m thinking now, is not to be afraid of that, not to be afraid of the silence or of the music, not to doubt that we may yet do what we ought to.  Not, in essence, to be afraid to relinquish our ego drives thinking that we will lose our “individuality” in so doing.  That fear keeps us from being what we are, doing what we really could do.  Not to mention SHOULD do.  It’s amazing how pervasive fear is, how powerful, and how once you commit to the work, how it recedes into the distance and goes away.  Anything is possible.

brain on the run

While my head is, at times, filled with words, I haven’t found myself able to write any of them down.  There’s something of a tectonic shift going on and now that I’m at times able to not be totally freaked out by it all, I think there may be something…taking shape.  AHEM.

But whether that will be Venus on a Clamshell or Straight Outta La Brea Tarpits remains to be seen, Gentle Reader.  Time is expanding and compressing simultaneously and it’s downright weird to get to the end of a (long) day and not really have much clarity about any of it.  I was amused to see a young woman on the news, however, remarking that people are now wanting to have QUIET when they go out to dinner instead of the all too common sitting on someone you don’t know’s lap experience.  And I thought it was just me! HAH! Maybe the old is new at long last and some civility will be introduced.  Or, maybe not.  All I know in this moment is that most of what I thought I knew before was…er….erroneous.  This frees things up a lot but it also means one is constantly saying under one’s breath, I can do this, I can do this…..because it’s like learning how to ride a bike all over again.  This go round I’m trying to have more fun in the process.  I will report soon.

bemused

Lately I’ve been spending time outdoors at night, looking at the sky.  Some nights it fills me with an incredible calm.  Other nights revelations appear, and last night? I took my glasses off which was amazing.  The entire sky came into clear view, no fuzz or distraction.

And this, Gentle Reader, is how it is.  Seeing what you look at is not as easy as you might think.  You have to drop your preconceptions (or glasses), release attitudes (the I wants or I thinks or….well, you know) and take the ride.

Lately the field of opposites for me has been, on one end of the teeter totter: Things do work out often far better than your wildest dreams, and the Dalai Lama IS right, there’s no reason for too much worry.  On the other side of the totter? Are so many people who seem completely beyond rehabilitation.  The US Congress appears to fall in that category but what really made me stop and think was a documentary we saw about the Yazidi women ISIS has captured.  How can anyone become so entirely debased and degraded as to do the things these guys do? (Or, for that matter, Bill Cosby.) So many affected by their dead end vileness, so little help for their victims, and such lasting pain.  For everyone.  I really don’t get it.  As a woman and experiencer of many such vilenesses in the past, it makes me really angry and when I find myself thinking, well, that creep definitely needs to die,  I’m stuck in that vast space between the stars, my own sense of powerlessness and inability to DO anything, and knowing that violence really does just beget more of the same.  So my project now is to develop an Enlightenment Spray!  A few shots of this stuff and you step away from the bad behavior.  A few more sprays and you start thinking about good things to do, like planting gardens and keeping things clean and being NICE, DAMMIT.  It’s worth a try.  You, my dear readers, will be among the first to know how this Quest goes.