Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

hope springs eternal

cake18

Upside down but there it is.  Hope, and cake.  A totally decadent Julia Child flourless chocolate thing, just chocolate, whipping cream, eggs, a little sugar and rum, vanilla.  A raspberry sort-of-coulis underneath with a honey simple syrup.  And yes, it was for my birthday.

WHICH I ONCE AGAIN SURVIVED.  Quotidian notwithstanding.  And even though I fell into a bit of a mood-hole today, all is very well, and we even got out of it without bringing in a backhoe for extra fun.  We’re clearly in a time of change, Gentle Reader, which is thorough going and leaves nothing untouched.  That can be a good thing when it’s the old callused habits that get scraped off, even though in the moment one is thinking, ouch? OUCH? THIS AGAIN? ANYTHING BUT THAT…..and if is of course yes this again because dear heart you did not deal with it before.  All those things we all become entangled with in life as we pass by that we shouldn’t dally with, old relationships, old shapes we wanted to squish ourselves into……not to mention the moving storehouses of everyone else steaming by with hooks, barkers, enticing offers…..  And of course it turns out that the way out is through, right? Oh, goody.  But it also turns out that a heart oriented personal system of not doing anything to someone else you wouldn’t want them to do to you does work.  Even if what it does is make that Other dump you like a hot potato, or alternatively make you realize that “one should never be where one does not belong”, or, perhaps most challenging, make you realize you’re here now and it IS what it IS.  And you, darling little speck of light and energy, are one piece of a very big thing, so do try not to be the tail wagging the dog.

There’s a lot to getting along in this life and a big part of it is not-doing.  So, it’s a good thing indeed that it is Spring and in my ongoing not-doing epic, the garden now needs attention and I can just say, well, kid! go pull weeds! later for all that other stuff and DO quit worrying about whether the whatever it is got mailed/done/answered/ordered/handled.  First project will be cleaning the Dog’s Bathroom which is now the entire garden area.  (Why is there nothing productive to do with dog poop???? This seems like a huge oversight on someone’s part.)  Second will be figuring out a less byzantine system of seedling organization than last year.  Not that the color coded pots weren’t fun but the handwriting on the “key”….well, it got wet and then Somebody Chewed It…..so it was the usual  I guess we’ll see what this is in a week or so……..the Partner was VERY not amused.  o-PHOTO-BOOTH-DOGS-570.jpgAnd, given the enormous amount of love and support and being there he provides? The least I can do is make it possible for him to know what…well, what it IS.  And, apparently the Universe is saying, what it IS? is go wash dishes and I’m going to insert this picture here no matter what you think.  It is a really good picture, sort of a words to live by thing, and now….off to it! Blessings and thanks.

the Dog has a bilious attack

Oh, Gentle Reader.  It would be, really, impossible to describe just how much fun we’ve been having of late.  A friend accused me of being a “fun hog” after hearing the most recent happenings.

Anyway, on Monday, the first morning I’ve felt even remotely OK for  weeks and weeks, before I had coffee, the Dog, who’d had a Big Day the day before at the farm supply where we buy his food and he has, essentially, a fan club whose members stuff him with treats and hugs, barfed all over his spot.  This included his just eaten breakfast and treats.  I  realized at once that he’d a) overindulged and b) been affected by the bone crushing level of stress around here.  This caused me to remember a song, whose artist I don’t remember, the lyrics of which are in part: “I smoke two joints in the morning/I smoke two joints at night…” This actually made me laugh because when I used to hear that song, I didn’t realize the truth of it, which is that cannabis is a powerful aid in dealing with intrusions, both unwanted mental ones and the more rude, intentional ones performed by humans.  Feeling thus bucked up at the realization that I’d actually made it through several more Scylla and Charybdis episodes with a bit of such aid (the Dog gets flower essences for same),  I further rejoiced at the finding that there IS a use for AARP magazines.  They are excellent at picking up dog barf.

But and so.  We had no internet or phone service for around two weeks.  This is special on so many levels but I maintained a sense of pride at not having screamed at anyone even once, over the three hours on the phone this caused (including the part at the neighbor’s where one person started shooting his .45 at rocks about six feet from me while I was talking to a young man in the  Philippines who promptly freaked out- and I probably did not exactly help by saying, Oh, it’s nothing, just a drug dealer shooting himself in the foot) explaining that no, I can’t be in front of my laptop now because I am 20 miles away from it, where I have phone service.  But when I WAS in front of the laptop this is the diagnostic code I got.  What part of off the grid don’t you get? especially given that NOBODY has Hughesnet unless they have absolutely no other recourse.  Well, my favorite guy said, I’m here to help!!!! Which he did by saying we’d agreed that I’d take a $10/month credit on my bill over three months to make up for the extra money it cost in gas, and all the joys of having an internet business with no internet and missing calls and orders.  Not to mention that I’d paid for service I did not get.

So in the course of one day, I got to:

a) begin wrestling Hughesnet to the ground about the non agreement with absurd offer and get a proper credit for non-service,

b) wrestle with my health insurance about how they sent me a request for information to avoid cancellation which I got the day before it was due back to them, so therefore it would not be “on time”, and

c) continue working on the Larger Issue which I can’t write about here since Actual People Are Involved, but which borders on being life and death.  The person I’m dealing with, in the middle of yelling at me, said, oh, you are just so ENTITLED.  At which point I started laughing, calmly restated my position (which happens to be the only legal one in the picture on some level) retreated to Yurt Central, and had cocktails.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  I hope progress has been made on this front, is all I can say.

In the meantime, as usual to calm my jagged nerves, I cooked.  Focaccia, squash lasagne, butterscotch pudding, and at the same time as my friend in Chile did, baklava.  Plus of course tacos, Thai style coconut fish curry, and a million wonderful ways with beans.  Also, my planted peach pit sapling bloomed after we had a week of 75+ degree weather.  Then we had several hard freezes, of course, but the tree is FINE.  I am thrilled.  I mean: PEACHES. !!!!!!!!!

And of course as usual I learned alot.  How dumb was I, is a frequent question these days, but…..I learned unequivocally that whatever you call it, faith is both indispensable and the lever with which you can move..well, whatever it is.  After four months of living in the pit of my stomach I was shown that good decisions do not emanate from that region.  You just gotta move up toward the heart.  You have no duty to accept abuse but must remember we’re all here together.  Solutions can be found, but at least one person in the room has to be coming from some spot other than the Democratic Republic of Ego.

There’s also a good bit of observing and letting go.  In the midst of all this, more of the typically upsetting news I get from my (in fact only one person) family of origin arrived.  Realizing that freak outs of any sort are strictly prohibited in such perilous times as we currently are experiencing, I reviewed the situation, which involves me having severed contact a few years ago, and realized that in fact the whole thing turned out, for them anyway, as well as it possibly could and that was something to appreciate.  FROM A DISTANCE.  It also meant that I could no longer kid myself about my position in line so to speak, accept it and realize that I am in many ways exactly where I ought to be, and faith is my…well, strength and shield.  I have something to do besides  chase worldly success and please people.  It’s a new paradigm, Gentle Reader, and those who can leave their matched sets of emotional baggage behind at, or close to,  the outset have my deep admiration.

notkidding

When reality looks like this? Who are we to question.  Missed you!!!!! blessings and thanks, as always.

 

 

 

everything must go

anotherrealsky

I kid you not: this is pretty much how the sky looked the other night.  It had been a kind of luminous glowing Presence for a few minutes right before this and then a display of color began, of which this was the only picture I got.

One thing this place does, up the kabonga, is produce so much immediate cognitive dissonance that you just have to slow down.  So much beauty right in front of your nose. So much mind boggling weirdness right next to it.  Putting that on top of regular life now is enough to make anyone blow a gasket, but the good thing is it DOES make you slow down enough, often enough, to realize that really nothing is to be done, beyond the endeavor to actually be where you are, however that is.

In the Harrowing Trifecta of the past three months, almost no ghastly stone has gone unturned in our lives.  On the one hand it gives one perspective about the Larger Picture, as in I actually feel sorry for the LPV, while of course being pretty much transfixed in horror concomitant with fearing any current replacement.  On the other, when the third bit of truly bad news hit the decks here, I thought, wow.  Is there a Ground to this? Is THIS where my head blows up for good? And of course, yes.  And, also, no.  It led me to understand at long last the Upanishads’ lesson about what is (it IS and always shall be) and what isn’t (it is NOT and never will be), and just how when you confuse those things for each other things do not come to a happy end.  Which is where I found myself, at long last seeing the reality of a big piece of my life- which was not at all what I had told myself all along.  So.  Ouch but no fatality.  Pick yourself up, breathe, go on.  Still hurts, yes, but it is a pain rather than a superating wound, we might say- so I know it will pass.  This really is important because even though I don’t think we really know what time is? it is something to pay attention to.

This was forcibly brought in to me the other day at one of my Spots of Challenge, the Laundromat.  Ever since the incident of the handless man, I have been somewhat apprehensive about the place.  However it is the only game in a town by us, so it is what it is. (yes!)  Prepare, breathe, go inside and remain calm.

This particular day the place was a total madhouse.  Many of the washers are out of order so the place was a literal tower of bubble babble, with people rushing hither and yon in search of empty machines.  I got there in the nick of time and secured three decent washers, so I was THRILLED and my pulse slowed down.  All of a sudden, someone who could only be described as a “hipster” walked in.  Pajama pants, hoodie, van dyke beard, clunky glasses, idiot phone.  He scanned the situation, and seeing no available machines, began a hissy fit right next to me.  I said, just wait 12 minutes and my machine will be open.  Hissying continued and he stomped out.  He returned 40 minutes later, just in time for all the machines to have finished and been re-occupied during his absence.  (Clear and total Lack of Laundromat Savvy AND No Sense of Time, either.  So.)  Something like the Son of Hissy Fit ensued, and he Stormed Out again, nearly ripping the front door off its hinges.  Clearly nothing good was going to happen to or for him, or probably anyone near him, anytime in the near future and the world was responsible for this travesty, in his opinion.  It just really made me think about how often that happens, everywhere, and how, while it is an incredible amount of work to pay attention? it is so much easier in the long run because you say to yourself, here I am in this Situation.  Let us look at this here situation and determine the best course of action,  which funnily enough is usually not storming out slamming doors or yelling after you’ve made some error in judgment or other.  Often not making a total ass of yourself is a matter of touch and go, which is amazing since it is generally such an unproductive act.  Why is it so hard to just shut up and pay attention for a minute?

It’s just amazing what we do to ourselves.  At least these recent events and crashes and news flashes have shown me that in fact, slowing down and being quiet pays off, if only at times in terms of not making it worse for yourself by thinking that what Is Not, Is.  I can actually do this now! Seems like something has finally been learned……

Blessings and thanks!!!!!

raisins d’etre

blue17Ijuneevening

Time is zooming by and at the same time, it’s like a big piece of amber in which we find ourselves closely held.  The seasons have changed, the one week Fall colors were completely different this year in shades of rust and copper, and there was a last group of lizards and frogs and bluebirds before it began to freeze at night.  The hummingbirds have taken to following us around on walks, bossing (or trying to) the Dog and Partner around in no uncertain terms.

A lot has happened, and nothing has happened.  As usual I suppose, but seriously, Gentle Reader, this has been a time in which the austere face of how things are in fact has shown itself in an irrevocable kind of way.  An adjunct to that is the realization that my lifelong effort to see the good in people may have….er….blinded me to certain prevailing truths.  Which gave a whole new cast to this life thing to be thrashed around (with AND by). So the masks have fallen, the gloves are off, and it’s more than a bit scary.  Then of course, there’s the “news” and the “world” and well.  Some days it is simply too much.  As usual I retreat to my Dharma (the kitchen!), my Sangha (D and P!), and of course the Buddha (to whom I address important questions like how much sugar do I really need to put in this glaze?).  A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words, which I do not have today.  So, above, we’ll say is the oft-consulted Buddha.  Below, and you can decide which is which, are the Dharma and the Sangha.fantinlatour

cuteoverload

BLESSINGS AND THANKS.  May we all weather the changing seasons and greet the flowers in spring with joy and heart!

well…….

Who knew that screaming would be totally out of the question so soon after I mentioned it here?  We became engulfed, enrobed we can say even, in smoke about three weeks ago.  Thus turning my life into one long Inhaler episode, removing any ability really to speak, or go outside. Or sleep, or breathe, or any number of things.   A bit of a fugue state, it has nonetheless allowed me to catch up on The New Yorker.

During which of course enough disasters have occurred to make a person wonder if it might not really be some kind of…something.  But what? Apocalypse? End of the beginning? Beginning of the end? We can see the fine hand of the forked tongue in the non-pictorial non-coverage of what’s gone on, at least on network TV.  The same pictures were shown over and over both for Harvey and Irma, but none that really showed what was happening and to what extent.  Nothing at all of the first earthquake in Mexico or hurricane information, either. The recent event in Mexico City is so big I guess it cannot be ignored but even so unless one watches Telemundo there isn’t much real information.  Likewise no film has been shown here, really, of all the fires that caused the above enrobement…because? Initially there WAS one news clip but OMG.  What was that in the picture there kids? It was a lot of marijuana plants, in an undoubtedly (due to size) illegal grow.  No aerial footage whatsoever after that, and barely even a mention of what was making the air yellow and solid either.  Ignorance is not necessarily bliss.

However, as usual, the kitchen has offered some solace from all this.  I finally may have gotten sauerkraut to work.cabbage1

And also, the butternut and other squash went insane to our amazement, and we’ve now got close to 30 butternuts stacked up for winter.  So that’s a good thing. Also a very good thing in that butternuts are something the Dog can not only eat, but goes cross eyed with bliss when he sees some in his bowl.  I also made a pickle from some of our never ending lemon squash so we’ll see how that comes out- curry flavor, and some prudently saved brine from prior pickles worked just fine.  It’s the Partner’s un-birthday tomorrow, so chocolate gelato seemed in order.  Fish tacos and homemade tortillas.  No singing but what can you do?  In other exciting news, we were reunited this week with the wonders of having a rear view mirror.  Readers may recall the funfest involved in obtaining Rear View Mirror Adhesive.  However, there was more.  This stuff could only be used between temperatures of 55 and 72 degrees F.  The people around here I told that to got hiccups from laughing.  So, they said, when hell freezes over, or February? Turns out it was 70! the other morning for about two hours so the Partner sprang into fixative action and I must say, it’s quite nice having that thing back.

This not being able to breathe business has, however,  made me feel even more grateful for all the good things in my life, and the ever present Bigger Picture of all of us on this planet.  Assuming, as I do, that improved functioning will resume sooner or later for both my lungs and the world in general, it’s given me an opportunity, lying flat and all,  to think about everything in our days with appreciation, instead of what was starting to loom which was more like $$%%!!!.  Still haven’t vacuumed but one task at a time, right?  I continue with redoubled effort to pray for some kind of sanity to envelop Washington DC at the same time as I think just how wonderful it is to have a garden and Nature to talk to, work with and in.  And a dog.  And a Partner who’s having an un-birthday.  Blessings and thanks!

because why

While I absolutely refuse to watch the “news” anymore (and the Partner is really tired of The Big Bang Theory reruns as a result), still it’s impossible to completely avoid the LPV and his incoherent, nasty, narcissistic expostulations.  I’m not ill over it anymore, like I was at first.  But now it’s like watching something horrible creep toward you- hoping it won’t Quite Reach You, also knowing that awful slime trail is going to kill a lot of stuff.  The awareness that this/it is an expression of things as they are, kind of like a gigantic pimple coming to a head, helps one to focus on doing what one can.  Given our cliff hanging fiscal situation, this may only be Thinking Good Thoughts for Aleppo and Houston with no donations included,  but somehow I am sure if we all did even that, it would accomplish great things.

ANYWAY. The other day after the usual festivities and great weather, I remarked to the Partner that I was, really, ready to scream.  He looked at me owlishly and said, well, that’s why they call these places HOLLERS.

This made me laugh for a very long time, daily reality notwithstanding. I found myself saying the word “holler” over and over.  Something finally made sense!  And a few other great things happened too, enumerated as follows:

  1. Having a pain in the wrist that kept me awake for two nights, I went outside and rubbed said offending wrist in the Nettle plant that is growing splendidly.  IT WORKED.  And not in the sense of, OK, you hit your hand with a hammer and forget your toothache.  No, it actually made the pain go away even though it was painful in the moment.  The historic use of this plant as a treatment for joint pain is something you can continue for yourself.  Easily grown from seed (just keep it away from DOGS), not only are nettles good to eat, good in beer making and biodynamic gardening, excellent as a hair treatment, but? pain relieving in the most extraordinary way.  Happy dance time.
  2. Tending as I do to overcommit and start things which then get buried in the dim recesses of say, the refrigerator….imagine my  joy when, at long last I uncapped a gallon canning jar of grape juice from last year’s harvest which I’d been Not Looking At in the refrigerator…and? it had become a fantastic fruit vinegar.  BOY WAS I HAPPY. (I admit to acting as though I had done this on purpose. *sigh*)
  3. A right wing group, “Patriot’s Prayer” (for God’s sake. really?) was going to have a demonstration in Crissy Field in San Francisco.  In response, the ever resourceful and humorous citizens of my home town carpeted the field where the event was to be held with dog poop:  The Turd Reich. (And, picked it up later as well.)  Fortunately the poop was not called into play, so to speak, since the Patriots decided it “wasn’t safe” for them to hold their event- tiki torches were banned.

Given the nature of the days now with daily apocalypti, I found all this very encouraging.  We even have mystery chili peppers coming in! The Dog’s spots are going away! Really.  What? Me Worry? Nah.  Blessings and thanks to you all.

poblano

 

those donald duck moments

Not exactly what I expected from the Eclipse, Gentle Reader.  But I guess there’s a good reason for the expression Live and Learn, right?

It’s been the usual fun around here, what with broiling heat, the oven dying mid pizza preparation (life saving surgery performed by the Partner so the bullet was dodged another day), the well pump appearing to die but having a resurrection (corroded connection on pressure gauge), and finally, in honor of the eclipse? The rear view mirror falling off the window in the car.  I did not take it too well in the moment, the mirror thing.

We’d already been through it, with the oven for example.  Turns out there’s a piece (a glow bar) that dies every five to seven years.  How groovy is THAT? If you didn’t have a handy individual present you could easily pay more in repair expenses than a whole new range would cost.  We went down to our local appliance store, where we purchased the part and also watched as the Dog ebulliently jumped on the store owner, raking his arm with a claw. This caused an Iguazu Falls kind of blood eruption from the guy’s arm.  I had a dreadful moment wondering whether this was where the lawsuit was going to be buried, but the man calmly said, Oh, I’m on Plavix, it always looks worse than it is.  I am still trying to figure out what to take him as an offering in thanks.

Then, there was the pump in the well.  This, of course, spells Major Disaster in enormous neon letters.  There I was, innocently minding my own business, reading recipes and petting the Dog, when the Partner bellowed in from the back that there was no water.  He and the landlady Do Not Speak so I trundled over to relay the exciting news.  As usual I was between Scylla and Charibdis, each with their own horror story that had, in the event, nothing to do with reality.  Fortunately. But there WAS a fair amount of hair pulling and yelling on both ends, let’s just say.  Fighting down a wave of  indigestible feeling, I thought, what’s going on here and got the distinct impression it was nothing serious.  It turned out I was right, even if nobody said thank you.  So, okay, two potential disasters averted.

Moving on to the eclipse.  This put the Partner in high dudgeon, partly correctly in fact about the commercialism of it all.  But he couldn’t see enough of it to feel it had any reality and was very cross indeed.  This led to some terse exchanges which led, in spite of my best intentions, to a major Donald Duck, well, donnybrook or ten.  So, yes, *I* actually raised my voice when after going out to the car, preparatory to running some needed errands, and finding the rear view mirror on the floor, I walked back to the yurt and enquired as to whether or not we had a proper adhesive to remedy the matter.  The response I received was that everything doesn’t have to be fixed the same day it breaks and oh, well.  I lost it.  This was at about 1 pm, and IT didn’t come back til about 10 pm.

There is a point to this, really.  The juxtapositions of things are revealing at this juncture.  First, I went to the post office and spent a half hour in line waiting for an unexpected package, standing behind a guy who was mailing a form in to get two free magazines and a carry case for his Superior Giant Rifle of Some Sort.  He described how much money he was saving by doing this and I tried to conceal my level of horror at just how many people there are with so many guns.  My package turned out to contain prayer flags.  Just saying.

Then I went to the car parts store.  Taking the errant mirror in with me, I asked the man there if he had anything I could use to fix the problem.  Yes, he said.  And it’s called Rear View Mirror Adhesive.  Suddenly everything shifted and the larger picture revealed itself. I mean, really- the actual LITERAL answer to one’s question? No big deal? Ask, receive, just like that? Then I thought about the significance of it being the Rear View that was cut off.  As in: Stop dwelling on the past and fears therein and of.  There is an answer to this whole cauldron of weird, so say thankyou and try and remember that for more than two minutes.  The poor man probably wondered why I was laughing so hard after he uttered the adhesive words, but gave me a look that said, WOMEN. CAN’T LIVE WITH ‘EM, CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ‘EM.

What I learned from this is that it is really, really easy to fall down into duality. YES and NO.  RIGHT and WRONG.  And depending on how sticky the surface is you fall down onto on your back? It can take a while to wriggle back up into the place where there is a View.  At the same time, we are still human, with emotions and funky brain connections so words to remember are: I am sorry about that extended duck thing. How about some delicious coconut coffee ice cream to make amends?  Things like this are going to happen and yes, it really IS about how you respond.  I reckon on the whole I got a B-/C+ yesterday but it was, most definitely, a learning experience.  Anyway, here is a picture of the eclipse, with as always, blessings and thanks:

eclipse

what persists

This morning’s brain storm involved Greek philosophers.  Who said, among others, two things.  (And, spoiler alert, we may have successfully inserted a picture at the end here….)

One: Resistance to what is causes suffering. (They weren’t the only ones to say this of course.)

Two: What we resist persists. (I think we all have this tattooed on our wrists, actually, and mistakenly think it is an instruction instead of a caution.)

So.  Suffering thus continues ad nauseam if we let it, by behaving as if we have no control over ourselves and thus none anywhere else.  Control is of course a relative term, since the only thing we can ever even hope to control is how we respond to things.  But our responses do have demonstrable effects and those can be positive instead of negative if we choose wisely.  It becomes more a thing of seeing the flow of things instead of the immobility of how we think we want it or how unfair it is that it isn’t the way we think we want it.

So, what I thought, Gentle Reader, was: If, and it is a largish sized IF, we accept what is as simply that- what it IS, we alleviate our suffering.  And we also can posit that while pain is, as they say, inevitable since it is what IS quite often, in not resisting that in the sense of non-acceptance and non-acknowledgement, we again alleviate our suffering.   And alleviation of suffering leaves room for process, change, and movement.   Flow.  Which is still flow even when you have a slight limp.

Things really are bloody awful in this country right now and look poised to take a dive into even further depths of the dumper.  It would be easy to become totally discombobulated, which a part of me often feels is Part of The Plan.  The speed of the digital world leaves no time for digestion, basically.  Also substance is often lacking therein, no matter what topic or level you choose- it’s thorough going from A to Z.  So everyone is malnourished while feeling stuffed and empty at the same time, and when you’re in that space you’re cranky.  You may even reach for something totally inappropriate to assuage that feeling, only to find it’s made things worse since it gave you acid indigestion.

Resisting this whole paradigm was causing suffering, let’s just say.  So I began to task myself with focusing on letting nothing that came from me, word, deed, dessert or salad, come from anything but love.  This is very easy in the abstract of course while one is pulling weeds or staring into space, but in the nuts and bolts day to day it takes a certain discipline to even think about how while, no, you don’t have to kiss this jerk you really want to hit with a two by four, at the same time the helpful thing is to recognize the divergences and not pay undue attention beyond that.  For me this quite often means keeping my mouth shut and my face clear and just skipping the exegesis about whatever it is. ( I’m expecting to see some significant weight loss from all this effort, too…) Another component is not letting one’s mind go amok with all the things that could go Terribly Wrong At Any Second, complete with all the embellishments that can happen when it turns unexpectedly into a novel writing episode.  I mean, really.  The things you can imagine going sideways can make you completely nuts, and are also completely unnecessary.

In that vein, I can report things are going better- only a third of my head explodes at any given time of late. It’s a fascinating experiment to conduct if nothing else, just seeing what happens when you give any situation, or thing for that matter, your positive and appreciative attention.  Somehow that energy returns to you, then goes back, and it circulates on.  And also? You feel better yourself.  So much of it is also about replacing all those self centered thoughts with doing something for someone else, however small.  Open a door, give a complement, do something for your loved ones you know they want done (like, say, picking up dog poo from the yard).  Simple.  In fact so simple it is easy to think it’s of no value.  And this can be extended to whatever is happening outside one’s immediate personal life.  Love, as Athol Fugard said, is the best subversion.

The Dog of course continues to be the constant instructor.  We had to do several business and anxiety provoking errands this week, and we all went.  The mere PRESENCE of the Dog made people smile, then laugh, then be extra helpful.  He smiled all day with enough wattage to power the yurt.  It really made me think long and hard- the simple fact of the joy inherent in living is what he manifests- even when he gets irritated about the density of Mommy not seeing that he needs a treat RIGHT NOW.  And that has a huge impact on everyone around him.  We had a good example of that, too, the other morning.  He went outside with the Partner for his morning rounds, and a hummingbird flew up to him at eye level.  They looked at each other for several seconds in an astonishingly companionable and communicative way.  The Partner asked the Dog what Hummingbird said to him and for some reason I hummed the tune from Close Encounters.  Dog? looked at me in a startled way then SMILED and I swear he also nodded.  That’s what Hummingbird said I guess- it’s a big cosmos and we should probably accept that and enjoy it.  There’s everything and more for us to see and experience and learn, no matter what the circumstance.  Here he is, probably pondering the Next Lesson if I know him.heavycrown

Blessings and thanks, as always.

understanding

I’ve been pondering the course of my life lately, Gentle Reader. And I have FINALLY gotten a bit of it. There was a fair amount of blood and composure loss along the way, but that’s life in the fast lane, apparently.

Anyway.  Not to belabor things, I grew up, as do many, with hardly anyone who understood me even a little.  I mean, of course, they THOUGHT they understood me.  This understanding  mostly consisted of an assumption that I would, given a range of possible behaviors, always pick the worst one.  It was pretty much a constant no confidence vote.  Bullying occurred.  Physical harm occurred.  If I was sick, the doctor always assumed it was “in my head”- which, as it turns out? Not the case. (Of course all of this DID create things “in my head”, but that was probably Creator going, hah, let’s make this interesting. We know she’s dyslexic, so let’s make this bassackwards to begin with!)  I took this, as do many, to mean that *I* was unworthy, had something wrong with me.  Understanding the psychological underpinnings of it all has been a life long quest.

This morning I understood something, at long last, and as a result of all of the above.  We know people are often hesitant to ask for any kind of help, lest they be judged.  And who judges someone who needs help? Someone who doesn’t understand, doesn’t WANT to understand, just doesn’t get the necessity of understanding.  Sometimes because of an attitude that those asking for help are less than, not good, and an endless string of words I’m sure you can conjure for yourselves. Or, alternatively, there are people who put their shingles out as “helping” – more often than not, they do not, and often project the things they actually don’t understand or need to know or evolve through on to you, expressing their personal situation as containing some kind of  found Absolute Truth, and yours fairly regularly as being entirely lacking in truth of any sort.  Of course as you go along through life it becomes more apparent that the old adage is true: those who know, don’t say (or at least they’re not SELLING it to you), and those who say, don’t know (because they often are kind of selling it to you).   We all often go along with this sort of thing. You think this person knows more than you do. (Or, in more political contexts, they have more “power” than you, which means they can exert that in potentially unpleasant ways.) Yet you know they’re not really paying attention to what’s happening in front of them- so there’s this kind of unpeaceful icky feeling that arises when you think…uh oh.  This might not be right.  What do I do NOW?

So, then, knowing.  What the heck is that? And how do you come to it?

The simple version is, shut up and pay attention.  Breathe.  Direct your attention to what things FEEL like.  You already have the equipment you need, even if it has been allowed to rust and fall apart a bit.  The mind is a wonderful tool, but it needs guidance.  The heart and soul reveal that guidance in the form of FEELING.  The brain then can do its job of sorting through those feelings, presenting the findings (probably to the gut, the third brain in TCM- and after all the stomach is quite a reliable indicator of how you FEEL) and moving on.  The tricky part is how much old habituation gets in the way.  If you were raised to be a blackbelt level co-dependent (thank you Ann Lamott!) this means that the brain actually has to step in and say, hey wait a minute.  That pull you feel toward that person or thing and the overwhelming urge to Do Something For/With Them/It? What is that exactly? Then you start thinking about what help really is, after all.  And who really needs it.  Often after the zillionth hair raising situation where it’s 24/7 drama, you realize it’s you who needs the help.  And you can’t be afraid to ask for it- but you do needs some tools to find the right source.

Which then gets you to what I think of as the crux.  Understanding.  Until you begin to move in the world with understanding, with the intention to understand what the other person is experiencing, you’ll never really know what to DO.  Real understanding doesn’t involve control, or power, or any kind of manipulation to a “desired” outcome, or any rule other than do no harm. More like simply turning the lights on,  it’s ultimately an expanded version of: if it’s on fire, don’t stick your hand into it without a damn good reason and don’t get an attitude about it, either. Understanding gives you a map, a picture, a way to move.  Following your feelings to understanding lets you not pick that THING that really isn’t good for you, whatever it may be and whatever anyone else says about it.  It can lead you to see so much more than you used to.

While none of this may be particularly rewarded by the culture at large? it makes life a lot more- a lot more everything.  More enjoyable, deeper, more beautiful.  The pain is still there because pain just exists.  But it is finite, and that may be the biggest thing understanding gives you.  The negative really IS finite, a piece of a bigger whole.  That bigger whole contains everything along with the negatives, and my view is, we’re here now.  We might as well look around and experience it, and say thank you, while we’re at it.

It’s funny how these “personal history” things feel so Big and Important (when in reality they’re more like gigantic, unsightly doorstops placed here and there, but almost never at an actual door they’re holding open).  I think that’s probably a function of where we were size-wise when we started looking at them.  It’s a long road, though, and really best and most enjoyably traveled without the baggage we THINK  we have to have.  Unencumbered is a good word, don’t you think?  Now that I think about this word, I remember that my teacher said that true healing is really unencumbered communication with Creator.  The feeling associated with that? is joy.  And we really can all have that.

Blessings and thanks!

 

another year older

We’ve been busy of late, Gentle Reader.  Mostly the Mental Hamster getting into Olympic condition, but still.  Things did happen.

It was, in fact, my birthday last week and I decided this year a different attitude was called for.  No shopping or thing coveting transpired (aside from an ill fated attempt to buy a copy of Moby Dick online), and the Partner baked me a cake this year- I decided not to do it for once.  I relaxed into it all and rigorously chucked expectations and preconceived notions.  And? it turned out great.

Our social landscape has changed drastically since we’ve been up here.  Some of it has hurt alot, and some of it has just happened. There are definitely fewer people in our world now, anyway.  Since this is the case, and birthdays are of course, like many holidays, times when we can go overboard into the past OR the future,  I did not allow myself that lapse this go round.

And what happened was that so many birthday wishes and lovely things came to me that I was absolutely overwhelmed, with surprise and gratitude.  The day itself was interesting, too.  After a year of, essentially, armed struggle, I FINALLY got a doctor appointment for the Partner.  On, as it happened, my birthday.  I’d thought about just taking a thermos of wine with me to quaff while waiting, but realized that the Dog would be with me so I’d be attending to him, and he DOES jostle in a most Tiggerish way, so it would not be cocktail time just yet. On the trek to the appointment we saw two amazing things which gave us both a jolt.  One, a peacock unfurling his splendid tail and vocalizing in that unearthly way they have, in a horse pasture.  The other was by the creek, an actual bald eagle.  Those birds are HUGE.  I figured those were both really good signs.  Anyway we duly arrived at the appointment and I experienced a fair amount of unease because I really didn’t want to leave the Dog, by himself, in the car for over an hour.  Nor did I want to be unavailable for questions during the appointment, as I would’ve been outside with the Dog.  And you know what? They let me bring the Dog into the waiting room! (Is he small? they asked. Er, NOOOOO, I said. Is he a service dog? nodding their heads? YESSSS!) Where he was, for him, exceptionally good and brought a noticeable calm.  Maybe people were just stunned by his Handsomeness, but anyway. That was one of the most interesting things, really, because I could actually SEE people relax just looking at him- elderly, kids, and everybody.  So when the Partner came out and I said, did the doc tell you what the plan is? and he said yes and I said, do you remember any of it? and he said no….I just rolled with the calm.  SO MUCH EASIER, really than what I might’ve done before which would have been the usual balloon shrieking up into the corner and quietly deflating in irritated futility.

The appointment itself went very well, all the paperwork got wrestled to the ground and worked, which in and of itself is almost shocking.  All my plant seeds came in the mail that day, I got a few Big Things accomplished thanks to my friend and New York Marketing Guru and Cab Driver Extraordinaire, and learned something.  Which is this.

Not that it’s altogether easy at first, but.  If you really make an effort and focus, cast out the what-ifs and shouldn’t-I-be’s and all the things you know are lurking under your mental bed waiting to leap out and scare the daylights out of you? and just say, this particular endeavor will go well, the highest good for everyone in the situation is what we want, and you smile? It actually moves in the proper direction without any of the normal pushing and pulling.  The challenges are temporary, like everything is, even if there are as many of them as grains of sand, but the moment to moment beauty and rewards are somehow nonetheless quite indelible.  It’s possible to feel complete joy no matter what.  And when you feel that it somehow affects everyone around you.  It’s magic.  And that, Gentle Reader, is what I got for my birthday.  Best ever, really.

And here’s the cake- His first, I believe,  a caramelized pear/peach upside down gingerbread cake.  The sky’s the limit!

CAKE

As always, blessings and thanks!