Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

where is there?

Given that there are actual geographic locations around here called things like “devil’s portal” and “devil’s parade ground”, and knowing as we do now that the Truth is pretty much always right in front of you? It begins to stand to reason that the place is so often so much like Hell itself.  Fire, flood, huge winds….all manner of obstacles and snares for both the wary and the unconscious.

Anyway.  People up here are sitting with bated breath, wondering about snow melt and more rain and what’s going to happen next. Are we going to drown? Just a few months ago we were sitting with metaphoric wet cloths over our noses wondering just how close the flaming fires were going to get.  Are we going to be burnt at the barn? I take  huge comfort when I drive past pastures dotted with sheep, goats, cows, horses, working dogs….all so calm, so dignified, so eternal and so….emblematic of a Bigger Reality.  When things like this  happen it is terrifying to think of them all, not to mention the wild life- the deer, big cats, foxes, bears, eagles and bluebirds.

I was quite struck this morning when I actually heard a county supervisor say that CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL and should be taken into account in water and other land management.  It didn’t go so far as to give me actual hope, Gentle Reader, but it did make me think that perhaps we are getting close to the end of the beginning.  Maybe? Attention will be paid to what IS instead of what the power hierarchy throws down and says is “real”.

In the midst of all this I finally understood just what has been happening in our own little household.  It struck me that, in fact, both the Partner and I have been struggling through simultaneous PTSD  which has not been a good thing at all, what with everything that’s gone on so far this splendid year.  PTSD is not a fun thing and it doesn’t ever really go away completely.  It is something you have to manage.  You cannot always “see” it coming, and it takes a long time to get to the point where you can at least recognize it before the hole you’re in goes all the way to the end of the earth.  Anyway.  It was some comfort to realize that in fact all the spiky times of late have been because we were both reacting to our individual, lurching forward, mental godzilla heads.  Another review of contributing issues ensued, and progress has been made.  So the good news is, it can be done.  You can survive these things and move forward stronger.  You have to be willing to sit with some pain and sorrow to get to this point but I can say one does come out the better for it, somehow.  Certainly it intensifies compassion.

Which brought me to the next realization.  Kathryn Shulz wrote a wonderful piece in the February 13-20 New Yorker, called “Losing Streak”.  It’s about grief, essentially.  One issue she discusses is the “thing” of forgetting and misplacing things.  So.  When the Partner said, this morning, upon being presented with coffee with whipped cream on top (left over from butterscotch pudding- I’m not completely insane yet and we had a whole bowlful, so….) that he had “already forgotten” about the whipped cream, the article hit me with a bang.   Ever since that damned election, we’ve been immersed in thick, deep grief.  It’s hard to remember things or get up the energy to pursue anything.

So much has been shunted out of view and so much has been trampled already that it is breathtaking.  We have watched, essentially, our country die. Not to say it was in perfect health before, but now? Circling the drain at an ever increasing speed. It is amazing that people think you can go backward in time when it is so clear that you really cannot.  To try and go back to the beginnings of this country, reinforce the land theft and racism that built it, glorify the capitalist impulse above all else, and behave as though everything is working just fine? Not a workable plan.  There is an ever larger group of people who are like the “boil” they found on the “emergency spillway” in Oroville last night.  In essence, a place where water and things sink through and down and then get pushed back against the wall of the dam,  to roar up and move forward again, crushing everything  in their path.  There are too many people pushed to the brink on every level and sooner or later it’s going to blow.  The blindness it takes to condone this is breathtaking.  And frightening.

So.  What this feels like is this.  We’ve been through a long, long period of combat, lost everything just about- at least that’s US.  We come “home” and find no home.  It looks very much like having to go back to war again, but we KNOW that won’t work.  Also, we know we’re not up to it.  Another way must be found and it surely exists.  Pretending LPV doesn’t exist won’t work (believe me, I’ve tried) but perhaps out thinking- and out-FEELING-  all that (which shouldn’t be that difficult) can be done. A different perspective, view, line of sight.  And it must be done.  It feels, then, maybe just maybe, that hope has been restored even though we’re still in tears.  We will carry on removing Godzilla heads, in any case.  The Dog is a marvelous assistant in this endeavor- I’m starting to think that if I’d been accompanied by a Dog earlier in my life? Things might be quite different.  Just another reminder, if one were needed: LOVE, dear friends.  Always the way.  Darkness never lasts, and love never stops.

Blessings and thanks!

running on fumes

And, you know what happens when you do that, Gentle Reader.   Eventually you hit a wall of some sort.

It finally came to my attention that ongoing crying jags mean I Need A Nap.

I mean: after the mammoth power clusterfuck, after the serious Dog injury, after spending literally my last dime on the clusterfuck thus having to Fix Dog Ourselves (and may I say? YAY SUPER GLUE!), and after the Partner got ill again? I found myself at the sink with tears literally squirting out of my eyes.  More than once. The fact that I made absolutely zero money in the last six weeks is not a happifying thing, either.

So.  I said, SELF? ARE YOU IN THERE? to which the response was a muffled whowantstoknow? YOU DO, I said.  Let’s just walk ourselves through this spot we’re in, whaddaya say? Gurgling sounds happened, which I took as an OK to proceed.  As we all know, I said, getting my selves gathered round the inner podium, it’s been way, way above standard high soul destroying impact lately.  We’ve all done really well.  Especially considering we’re doing some fairly heavy lifting on the healing and rebuilding frontier of ourselves while contending with rampaging Godzillas everywhere else.  What have we learned?  Speak UP! and, it turns out that a big thing we learned is not to take things personally.  Please sir, may I NOT have some more? if you will.

Part of not taking things personally is not coming from a place of fear.  It’s realizing that that pounding in your chest is composed of many things, and the only one you can do anything about is your own concept of what that pounding is.  Undifferentiated anger permeating the atmosphere isn’t necessarily directed at you.  Even if it is, you actually don’t have to pick it up.  When people do things that cause you difficulties, you can say what that is, and let them carry their own trash out.  This takes a lot of practice and I am far from mastery of the technique.  But just realizing it as a possibility, dawning into a reality and a Thing, has been huge.  In a situation involving a lot of manipulation? You do what martial artists do.  Use that energy against itself by deflecting it back from you.  Calmly and with intent.  And love of course.  No, you say, thank you but no.  It’s this way.  Of course you have your training to fall back on in case more incoming shows up, bob, weave, shoot arrows.  But it has at least partly to do with not feeding whatever it is that’s eating you. So to speak.  We’ll see how this works in upcoming discussions with….well, the people lobbing the incoming at the moment.

I’ve had several occasions in my life that have shown me that once someone realizes you are not afraid, unless they’re totally crazy or wearing battle dress they back off.  For me of course this is a tricky balance because I have huge fear in me.  But as I go on, the fears rise up and reveal themselves and mostly? They go.  Of course we all must have food and shelter and warmth and the getting of these things seems to get more difficult exponentially.  That’s scary.  But the reality is we don’t always see things the way they actually are, and the good thing about that if indeed there is one is that the very mis-seeing creates what we might think of as wiggle room.  It’s not cast in some indestructible substance, this thing we’re viewing.   Anyway.  Not taking things personally actually frees up space in the cranium, and once you calm down, it’s possible to progress.  Anyway I shall entertain that as a possibility.  Loser of the Popular Vote notwithstanding.

In the meantime, as we proceed further into what really does appear to be the end of time as we have known it….the challenge is to balance the necessity of a future, in the sense of yes I’ll plant this garden and feed myself and others, with the collapse of the present and all of the things of the past that seem no longer to persist- like money, and infrastructure, and common courtesy.  How can I plant my garden when I don’t know where I’ll be?  Or, in ever more evil frequency, if I can’t use seeds that aren’t fake? This leads you into the metaphorical winding paths of,  plant it wherever you are, blahblahblah, which while of course being true is also a bit sophistic leaning as it does on various concepts of what that garden might actually be.  Other than a physical squash or bean plant.   Even the Dalai Lama says it’s tough to have equanimity when your physical survival is challenged.

Still.  What I think now is this.  So much of the fear we all experience is literally fomented by the powers that be. It comes from outside us, actually.  If we are not afraid and off balance, we’re not as gullible and liable to abdicate our own authority.  The “resources” like money, fuel, water, food are controlled by the tip of a hierarchy.  They’re held at the top and in some very important ways none of us lower down have any of them.   This means that we need not fear not having them, actually.  Since we kind of don’t.  We can make our own structure, however humble it may be.  A structure that relies on energies and beliefs from a time way before ours.  This is true of more personal emotional issues too, naturally.  So what if your family didn’t support you in any way? That was THEM, not YOU- it isn’t a measure of your actual worth, altho the lack of support and resources to be magnetized to may mean your social position is more or less non-existent.  Still. That is not YOU.  Admittedly it takes some stern stuff to forge ahead in the midst of such things.

When we get it reasonably and consistently warm in here again, I’ll be baking bread.  Lately, however, it being cold and all,  I found myself immersed in the mysteries of whipped cream.  We had blood oranges that needed to be used, and I found a recipe for a gingerbread upside down cake with caramelized blood oranges.  Spectacular if I say so myself.  The Partner requested whipped cream.  Not something I think of much since I’m lactose intolerant, still I always have at least one of those sterile paper packaged long life whipping creams on hand for emergencies.  Thank you, Trader Joe’s.  So I made the whipped cream, and, as with the fried chicken episode, a whole new world opened.  It is in fact fantastic stuff.  So I am focusing on the amazing properties of cream instead of the still present, looming large challenges strewn hither and yon.  What is important, after all? You gotta keep your strength up to keep going on.  And now is most definitely not the time to give up however much one may wish to.

Blessings and thanks.

anatomy of meltdown averted

Ye GODS and effing little fishes, Gentle Reader.  Once again we see that there are even more previously undiscovered circles of Hell than previously supposed.  However, even in Hell you can keep your cool.  At least a bit.

So.  We had a bangup start to the year.  The person we rent space, water, and power from, Madame Entropy hereinafter referred to as MmE, caused just a bit of a snarlup right from the jump.  Maintenance not being a strong suit, somehow “her” power pole (as designated by the power company who puts poles out here but then makes landowners put their “own” poles up for boxes and whatnot) actually….just….disintegrated.  Yes there was snow.  And then torrential rain.  And high winds.  And 29 degree weather.  But the power pole just collapsed before all that because it was, essentially rotten.  AS it has been since we arrived here.

So, OK.  While it was in fact something of a miracle that it a) got fixed at all and b) within a ten day period? Seven to be precise? We had no power, no water, no phone, no nothing for all that time.  No place to go. No chainsaw for wood, either.  Twenty nine degrees, people.  Forty mile an hour winds.  I won’t bore you with the details of All the Excuses I Heard etc., but net net? I’m down about $700 clackeroos.  Which I didn’t actually have to begin with but bartered a stretch out for a portion thereof thanks to the good will of a friend.  The Subaru is probably going to smell like gasoline for several months from all the trips back and forth to fill the portable gascan to fill the gas guzzling generator we THANK GOD were able to use- for a price, yes, but that does not lessen my total gratitude. Not to mention the gas the CAR used because of course the creek was at flood stage and we had to Go the Long Way.  I found myself slogging through what was eventually about half a mile more than once  what with all the trips to and fro with 10 gallon buckets of horse trough water so we could flush the toilet.  After it essentially overflowed. (Snow melt and rain, ya know.  Filled septic up briefly.) I got a bit of a charley horse from yanking my mud caked boots off ten times a day so as not to have the yurt be an impersonation of a barnyard. We have not yet reached agreement on the central current issue which is that since I had to do amazing things to get through this, and the causal responsibility is squarely on certain shoulders, there will be no money forthcoming in that direction until I’m out from under the $700.  Which, technically, is the law.  However this intelligence has been greeted with dour dismay.   Not a surprise but still.  One more Thing.

A few other gruesome events transpired during this festive period and I admit that I came within millimeters of just….giving up.  Enough already.  I felt like I’d been shot but hadn’t yet fallen down.  Am I dead yet? NO????? WHY THFUCKNOT?????AAAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! sort of thing.  But then.

I thought about the larger reality.  Even when this morning, the Dog tore off down the “driveway” seemingly never to return? I allowed myself a brief strangled cry and then thought, the only way out is through.  And the only way through is Love.  So I beamed LOVE toward his little doggy brain, trudged into the underbrush, and eventually all was restored to its current dull roar.  He’s also managed to nearly cut his paw off which adds a level of zing to things since a visit to the Vet is not a possibility at present.  However, I suspect the Partner was a mummy wrapper in Egypt because he has battlefield level wound management skills with bandages.  So, so far so good.  More or less.

Love doesn’t mean letting people crap all over you, and it doesn’t mean pretending things aren’t happening when they are, but it does mean that you step out of the reactive radius of the ego into the slightly more spacious area of, in progression, WTF? and REALLY? NOW? and, actually beauty still exists after all! on to We can, in fact, do this.  People say, especially now, all sorts of things about the nature of things, and the nature of thinking, and the nature of money and all the rest of it. It does look, to all intents and purposes, as though we are on the express ride to hellish crappola.  Starting Friday.  But bottom line? You can only BE where you ARE, and on some level that is timeless, even though time flies while you’re there.  The thing about time flying is, of course, it’s a bit of a magic carpet if you allow it and before you know it, or at least before too many more moons have risen and set, you are BEing somewhere else than you were, even if in temporal space and time it is the “same” place.   For me this current somewhere else is largely constituted by its being something completely different, in every sense, from anything I ever thought I “knew”.  Nothing, literally, is as it was. I am truly not stepping in the same river.  It has become more imperative to explore and observe than ever.  Given my energy levels as a person, I find it better to devote the energy I do have to this exploration rather than staying in the utter despair and why?why?why?.  The big thing I noticed in all this, too, was: being nice and kind really DOES make a huge difference wherever it occurs.  So. Be nice.  Be kind.  It works.  It helps your fellow creatures.  And really, staying in internal muck just keeps you begrimed.  Breathing is the first step out.  Sometimes staying at least a tiny bit sane is the best you can do.  And even that radiates out for the good no matter how dire things are or seem to be.

We found ourselves in this, actually entire, situation through a confluence of things, which make more sense to me now than they used to.  I no longer blame myself for not fitting in, not subscribing to the prevailing belief systems, for allowing myself to believe all who told me I was basically nuts due to the results of items one and two, even though that has led me to HERE.  In many ways I really like it HERE, and wouldn’t go back even if it were possible which it most def is not. I mean, seriously. NOBODY regular can afford to live where we used to eke out our lives. The burndown of the Ghost Ship is just one example of that. But what I think I learned this trip down the rabbit hole is that you cannot continually accept other people’s ICK.  They aren’t going to be good and nice, and especially honest, just because you are or because you want them to be.  It is important to have clarity at all times and not pretend, and express that with kindness. As in, no thank you, that particular load of crap is not landing on me.  I’m sorry but you get to keep it, dear. That’s the next project anyway, and I hope it doesn’t turn into yet another runway to ?????!!#@@#!.  Still, even if it does? This time I think I can cope, at least for a bit longer.  I hope, eventually, to have snow pictures, too.

Blessings and thanks!

 

always learning

And yes, we are, Gentle Reader.  First, the animal report.  The pigs we’ve been watching grow are so big they collapsed their little shelter on top of them.  Now they’re sprawled over it whilst hammering out z’s.  The continuing dialogue between citizenry and police (cows and cow dogs in this case) continues, with outstanding stare downs and dogs slightly on the minus side in terms of Imposing Their Will on The Cows.  And, speaking of cows, a brand new crop of babies are suddenly, delicately, on their hooves in between being nestled in the still green grass like little pieces of obsidian, and having long philosophical discussions with their mothers.  Add to that the smoke trees blooming by the river? and it’s perfect.

So as usual,  the things of the earth are resplendent and wonderful.  Even while we’ve got solar activity pelting us all to the point of feeling like our heads may explode from the pressure, and while Nestle continues to bottle water here in California where they say we’ll run out all together in about a year.   It is sad to think that a company involved with chocolate, the food of the gods for mercy’s sake, is just so completely…well, evil.  Let’s us make a lot of money selling these poor fools their very own water back while they can’t flush their toilets for lack thereof.

But at the same time, it is spring, I just had a restorative visit with dearly beloved friends, it’s almost my birthday again (made it through another year! award time!), and although the amount of weed pulling before me is beyond daunting and our basic position vis a vis the World seems to be on a razor’s edge, I’ve learned something that will keep me going for a while.

To wit: It really IS about how you respond to things.  Especially now, when things just look so completely grim and hopeless all over the place- at the same time people are doing wonderful work and the light is made to shine in unexpected places.  We all do want to be happy.  Recognizing this just puts you on a, metaphorically, level playing field with everyone else.  We all want the same things, but the challenge arises in the manner in which we pursue these things.  Often people go after experiences and things  in an effort to find this happiness, but the problem arises when they haven’t figured out what really gives meaning to their lives.  Willy nilly, rushing around in pursuit of the external, perspective gets lost in the quest for gratification of whatever sort.  Everything really is connected- the business of a butterfly affecting things on the other side of the globe is quite literally true.  The fact that we can’t always SEE the ramifications of what we do in the moment, and the corollary that many aren’t even at the point of caring about those ramifications for various, numerous reasons, brings us to the world we have today.  Which is in truth a mess filled with human created obstacles and congestions and blockages.  A mess because of US.  Not “God” or space aliens or anything else.  Just us.

I think the basis for all of this is fear.  Fear is the big stick that keeps us coloring inside the lines even if we hate the drawing and crayon color.   The reality is there is so much more going on all the time than we can possibly take in that we should find relief in that fact, and focus on paying attention to what we truly see before us instead of confabulating stories about what we are told might be out there.  In time we can get to a place where we actually SEE what is there, and if one has the ability to tread lightly with that awareness, all sorts of things unfold.

Love is the motive force, but love is not an ego based deal.  Love is what happens when you unlock the gates in yourself and let everything go in and out.  It isn’t about “results” or outcome driven processes or anything like that.  It is like a huge beam of light that moves through everything and allows even the darkest, worst moments to shine with meaning and potential.  Love doesn’t mean you’re even going to “like” everyone you come in contact with; but you don’t actually have to worry about that.  Cleaving, as it were, to what really is true- and basically that is that we all want to be happy in an existence full of change and often of pain- what happens?

What happens is you can smile.  This is what I learned this week.  I found myself uncontrollably smiling at people (except, it must be said, the two idiots on the interstate who just about killed me by, respectively, tail gating behind and slamming brakes on in front while everyone’s going 85 mph- sadly I succumbed to non-equanimity and flipped them the bird) and my gosh.  Everyone put their shoulders down and smiled back.  If I can keep doing that until my time on this planet is complete?  I’ll have gotten something accomplished.  Now, on to the Great American Novel, and birthday cake selection, and continuing to behave as if ALL life matters- because it does.

do, be, do?

Spring came and seems to still be here.  The wildflowers aren’t out in as much profusion as they used to be, but the green of the grasses this year is extraordinary.  There’s a blue note to it that makes everything look almost flourescent, and the periodic flowering cherry trees look like angels or clouds dipping down to earth.  The two pigs on the road into town have grown exponentially; from the rear they look like a pair of wrapped sausages.  I don’t suppose they’ll be around too much longer but for now they look to be enjoying their life of eating, sleeping, and backtalking the ducks.

We’re planning on getting some chickens soon.  I’m pretty excited since we’ll be able to get a type of chicken that lays colored (blue, green, brown) eggs but is adapted to this area.  I’m really in almost everything for the color, after all:  Atomic red carrots, purple beans, brown peppers, rainbow tomatoes.  Green eggs are just a natural addition.  The Partner has also made some murmured references to perhaps having our OWN pigs.

While on the one hand, a supply of on hand good organic manure will be nice, on the other this venture into further raising of one’s own food brings up a big question.  Eventually, the animal is killed and eaten.  Which means one has to actually kill the animal one has raised and played with and bossed around and told one’s life story to.  In a larger perspective, this is completely as it should be.  We should have enough respect for what keeps us alive to participate completely in its trajectory and know what it has experienced and ingested.   Still.  I’ve never done anything like this before and it’s just the tiniest bit scary.  Killing something, I mean.  And really it isn’t going to be fair to stick the Partner with always having to wield the axe.

Still, I am getting ahead of myself here since at this point I have not even pulled weed one in the garden and the chicken coop still has to be created.  My fantasies of ready to hand chicken manure are still in the thought bubble phase, and our tenure on this land continues to be full of uncertainty, not to mention downright weirdness.

This, though, is the nature of life, isn’t it? At least now?  I was reading a text the other day and saw this sentence:  Comfort accommodates tension.  If we get too comfortable, which seems to be something of a goal which we are charged to achieve in life, we stop looking deeply at things.  We don’t pay attention to the headache or whatever it might be and then, things happen “unexpectedly”.  I’m coming to see the unexpected in this context as anything but- clinging to comfort can blind us to impending realities but that doesn’t make them unexpected.  The situation we find ourselves in here is clearly geared to non-accommodation of comfort, so I guess that’s a good thing.  We’re basically forced to evolve and become more conscious in this place, or  we simply won’t make it.  Balancing the need to have some dynamism in our situation (getting chickens) with the instability of our situation (we don’t own the property we live on) requires a constant assessment of what, exactly, is really needed.  That turns out to be quite a bit less than I originally thought, which is good.  But the vertigo attaching to letting go? Is really something else. We are all in this position whether we realize it or not, and our goals must be to keep our hearts and minds as clear as possible.  Some days that is easier than others.

Nonetheless, there will be chickens soon, I’m pretty sure.  The other thing that’s for sure is there will be absolutely no roosters and how we’re going to keep our hens in crickets and romance remains to be seen.

flashback

Every once in a while I remember what I was thinking during this or that debacle, freefall, or occasional triumph in times of yore.  Sometimes it is helpful, in that it shows me for good or ill what consistency there is in my character.  Like loving flowers, for example.

Other times it makes me want to throw things because it seems I am as deeply lodged as ever in certain– let’s call them misapprehensions.  Which I interpret in this case as seeing something that might or might not have been there in a given situation, because of my own orientation.  As in, being essentially unable to even swat a fly (ask the Partner about the octopus bathtub toy incident, for example) I can’t quite imagine that anyone else really can either.  But of course they can.

So.  There I was, mulling all the flies, swatted and not, and finally I think I understood what forgiveness is.  It’s kind of realizing that everyone involved in anything is, on some level, doing the best they can.  That best may be sociopathic, yes, but it is still in a way completely to do with THEM and their operating system, and not so much with YOU except insofar as you didn’t get out of the way in time.  Knowing this, you can begin to stop saying things to yourself like, if you hadn’t been such a FREAKING IDIOT you’d have….etc.  You were doing the best you could on some level too.   The core of it is really: How many more times did you find yourself in front of the Sociopath Express?  How much maintenance and repair do you do on your own soul so it doesn’t break down on the tracks?  You don’t have to have an opinion or judgement about it, after all.  You just need to observe and keep up the maintenance.

Part of that maintenance has to do with  seeing what your actual orbit or path or freeway is.  Gandhi said that even though whatever you do may be insignificant, it is very important that you do it.  This is pretty key to the whole deal, because for one thing, focusing on what needs to be done in front of you can allow you to rise above that thinking orientation to a larger perspective.  Then, at that larger perspective, you may have to make any grandiosity sit back down and keep doing whatever it is you were doing, without thought of a tangible, concrete thing-like reward.  This doesn’t mean dictatorial thought, compulsive busy-ness and all that sort of thing- those things often indicate someone is trying to outrun a devil.  Which isn’t possible if that’s how you do it.

Net, net?  I had a couple of work experiences over the past several days (which were action packed enough even without….) that raised a whole new series of questions for me.  Oh, Goody, I thought, more effing growth opportunities!  $#!^.  Anyway.  One thing that’s happened to me over the past few years is the severing of many personal ties, some of them very deep.  The bottom line has been that finally I can’t be anyone other than who I am.  Admittedly, between my incredible sort of luck and a huge tendency toward being accident prone and unable to, at times, see what was in front of my face, people may have every reason to think of me as a strange sort of semi-dangerous fluff brain.  But there is something that I am, have been, and most likely will be for the duration of my time in this “suit”.  That something seems to have to do with using my intuition to be of assistance to people, especially when they are sick.  This isn’t something that people necessarily accept much past lip service, although the validity of this kind of work has been, in fact, proven in clinical settings. So, as I say, I had these two instances where I saw my mind (while driving to a “house call”) swinging between the poles of the old me- doubting totally the worth and validity of what I was doing, letting the fact that we all die assume undue proportion in terms of what is nonetheless possible and letting fear get a nose poked in- and the poles of the actual me.  The actual me saw that there was positive movement in the things I did, that I DID help, and that actually my assessment of things was bang on.   Amazing, ennit?  Everyone has a part to play, the way I see it.  A contribution to what a person knows about their situation can be just the thing to move them forward.  You never know, and that may be the biggest point:  You can’t know, you simply must be present.

Ultimately I realized in the past few days that this thing that I “do” is actually what I “am”, and given that it involves big lifestyle choices, it’s inevitable that not everyone will go along for the ride.  Time,then, to go back outside and smell the flowers!  Especially now, since the first wildflowers are spangling the hills with explosions of color and grassy fragrance.   On some level I think we all tussle with the concept of who we really are and what we are doing here, and it is a long trip to get perspective on wants and needs vs ego and fear driven reactivity, especially in a world where everything is measured by how much it can be monetized and for how long.  And of course it’s all evanescent, a bubble, monetized or not.  Once again, a re-dedication to beauty and its truth- you really can’t go wrong with flowers.

 

the annual scorpion

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

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

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

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

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

river rocks

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

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

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

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

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

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

at the sea’s shore

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

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

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

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

on sleeping

The arms of Morpheus, Gentle Reader.  Those were arms I never really knew until, oddly, we moved here.  I was a bad influence in pre-school for the dual crimes of blowing bubbles in my milk carton (allergic but they gave it to me anyway and INSISTED I drink it.  After the Bubble Imbroglio, straws were never again presented to me.) and also for never, ever, being able to go to sleep at nap time.   This badness persisted into kindergarden.  Why did they care if I was being quiet? Always a mystery, that was.  After that it morphed into an overall sports inability and general misfit-ness, enhancing the insomniac tendencies until they ruled all.  I stayed up all night more often than not, painting or dying clothes or making complicated recipes.

A lifetime of insomnia, then.  But for some reason, since we’ve been where we are, I’ve been SLEEPING.  Ten hours a day is an average and I could, if allowed, do more.  It’s downright weird to wake up now and realize that the last time my eyes were open, it was another day altogether.  I like it though.  Even though at times I feel like I’ll never be “rested”.

The point of it is, however, that things really do get better.  We really do heal.  It would help if we could be a bit more careful about the injuries we inflict on ourselves in our travels, but on the whole things can be balanced.  The Partner sometimes has a rather avuncular approach to this sort of topic with me, like yesterday morning.  He was complimenting me on sleeping, especially since he’s had a front row seat to the other thing.  I was pushing hair out of my face and clutching my coffee, mumbling incoherently since I’d just got up after he angelically made breakfast.  Then he said, after I answered his question about whether or not I remembered a possible fall that created the eternally sore place in my back, which I did- all several of them- that really, I am pretty crocked up.  I just don’t acknowledge it.  He worries about me, it turns out.  I understood in that moment that…that time? when I fell down? and he screamed and clapped his hands over his eyes? it was because he was afraid for me and I am such a poster child for accidents will happen that it can be all too much for someone with a delicate constitution. And there I was, taking it personally.  Besides, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked.  I’m a very relaxed faller-down what with all the practice; if you don’t harden to things, they don’t hurt you so much, in that context anyway.

The thing that is interesting about this is:  The injuries, mishaps and cave-ins don’t have to dictate what happens forever.  You can change things in your own mind and the body will go along with reasonable proposals.  In fact, it really is possible to do a pretty thorough going restoration of self, no matter how scary the initial insult may be.   The big thing is recognizing that it needs to be done.  Then, things appear when they’re needed and if you can just get yourself to be quiet and do what you tell yourself, things change.

As I was reviewing all this in my mind, I thought of course about the state of the world.  For a change.  The same thought struck both of us at the same time, which was this whole business of the Caliphate Bringers, all of them.  What they are? Is a bunch of furious young men with nothing to do and no prospects.  A ghastly present and a non-future in a game that is rigged to the gills.  So they’re playing another sort of game where everyone seems likely to die but before that happens things will get the daylights torn out of them, and doing pretty well at it.  What would it take to shed some light in those raging corners?   How can you get someone to be still for the moment it might take to reach a hand out, with cogent tasks and self respect offered?  It’s the same way we have to talk to ourselves in order to heal, is what I think.   But in order to want to heal you have to recognize there is a wound.  And really, only you know what that is even though it is something we all share.   Then, you have to decide that you really don’t want to continue with that wound, it stinks, and where’s the iodine?

It seems ridiculous to me at times, but more and more it seems as though there might, just might, be a tipping point of sorts.  As grim as it seems out there in the world, as scared and angry and confused as things are and as stupid as the direction seems to be (as in, Polar Bears really are going to be extinct in the not too distant future because of what humans are doing), I still believe that if enough of us simply connect to the light inside us, the darkness will recede.  I know that happened for me, so it has got to be possible for anyone.  Sleep is a great thing.