Posts Tagged ‘right action’

pits, stakes, live tigers

No pictures yet, though, Gentle Reader.  We’re working on it but Technical Stuff appears to be in the same spot behind the barn door as everything else right now.

Not that it hasn’t been exciting.  A dozen fire trucks raced over our dirt road a few days ago after we heard a loud explosion.  The Partner saw smoke, and all of it was less than a mile away from us.  Seeing as how we were already surrounded by fires it was, as I told a friend, just the tiniest bit unnerving.  However, the fire people around here are probably stuffing their wings into their fire suits, is all I can say.  Once again they saved us.  Once again I felt exactly what it’s like to have overwhelming fear just materialize like a giant fug in your face, and also exactly what it’s like to say, not right now, fear.  I’m still rattling around a bit but ….oh well.

Shortly after that I found a frog atop my anti-depressant meds, and I thought, oh, my.  Even the frogs need help around here.  Or perhaps the frog was just saying, I’m coming with you.  FROGS PANIC TOO.

Meanwhile, though, the gardenia has bloomed and we’re already casting around for the hundredth zucchini recipe, which is all wonderful.  Beans are flowering and there’s a chili on the way.  The rhubarb plant appears to be on its last legs, but you can’t win them all- it’s been over 105 here every day and probably that is just more than a rhubarb can take.  The garden continues to be what keeps us all more or less sane, I think.  The Dog loves to eat mint and rose petals, the Partner manages and creates magnificence, and I find myself roaming around in it when my mind is so unsettled I can’t sit still.

Which, let’s face it, has been the norm of late.  I had to make a very difficult personal decision which, while the correct course of action, broke another piece of my heart.  Reality bites, in short.  But, I made ice cream (successfully caramelizing sweetened condensed milk in the microwave, miracle of miracles for me anyway) and salsa and marinades and zucchini 800 ways (new favorite: slice zucchini, place in oiled frying pan and let caramelize, about four minutes a side.  You put inch long pieces of scallion and a bit of salt on top.  When it’s all brown and great, remove from pan, remove oil, and place a tablespoon of red wine vinegar in the still hot pan.  Put squash back in, make sure it is mixed completely with vinegar, and toss with shredded fresh mint.  Let come to room temperature.  Eat.  Heaven.).

It’s not enough to keep the World at bay though and once again I am really, really wondering what to do since periodically it seems to me that all the meditating and right mindedness attempts are not even close to enough.  I don’t know how it is other places in this country but here? It couldn’t be more unfamiliar if one landed on a distant rock in space.  People are behaving beyond badly, and of course are given the example and go ahead by an individual who pretends to be President.  And we all know all the rest of it, of course, and how ANYONE can sleep knowing what is going on at the border (however much the doers of this resort to the Bible), how much money the for profit prisons are making both on incarcerating terrified refugees and the other huge percentage of American citizens they house, and how many people are about two weeks away from being out on the street, how the very air we breathe is being poisoned….   it is like a continuing gash in one’s entire being.  This is not OK, not any of it and I am at a loss to understand just why it continues.  This country is now being “run” by a crew of individuals who would probably be better placed in Pelican Bay.  And, yes.  It’s change, the cosmos is moving and shaking, shi/f/t happens, what you detest in someone is present in you also. Still, one really must not collaborate with what is poison, thinking it will be OK.  Even the Buddha said that.

The comparisons people make to the 60’s and 70’s  make me wacky too.  It is not the same and pretending it is seems to me to be the worst sort of magical thinking .  People had some heart in those days overall and were prepared to take a stand when things were clearly wrong even if those things didn’t seem to immediately affect them personally.  And there were consequences for those stands.  But things did change: civil rights, environmental rights, women’s rights.  Abortion, for example.  If you’re opposed to abortion then one must assume you’re opposed to the death penalty and war as well?  Roe v Wade showed that it was reasonably clear that a woman should not have to die either figuratively or literally (which DID happen) because she becomes pregnant unintentionally or unwillingly.  No other person really should be able to say what remedy is available and what isn’t based on their supposed reverence for life, or assume that all women are fluff brains who don’t know what they’re doing- along with all those miscreants in the hood who clearly need to be put in custody.  And why do we even have to call being treated with a sense of dignified equity a RIGHT?  How has it become a right not to be shot by over militarized police because you don’t straighten your legs out on the curb?  Or a right not to have your boss overcome you physically? And while we’re on it?  What the hell is sexual assault?  I looked up the words rape and assault in the dictionary and roared.  Assault is taking something (note: THING) by force.  Rape is “illicit carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent.” ILLICIT CARNAL KNOWLEDGE? Consent? Consent is not  saying yes so you won’t be killed. And, rape is not about sex aka carnal knowledge, which is a first step in dealing with it in a cultural context. It  is about power, control, and pain. Just like capitalism turns out to be for the most part unless you’re part of the tip of the pyramid.

Oh, dear Gentle Reader.  I do hope the zucchini recipe balances the excess verbiage.  And after all.  Mexico lost out in the World Cup, but the recent elections look most promising- even if you have, up to now, had to listen to Telemundo to find out they even happened.  Meanwhile, we pin our hopes on Uruguay, maintaining some level of balance and common sense, and send you blessings and thanks as always!

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the good news

And in spite of it all, there is good news, primarily that Sam has made enormous leaps in healing.  There’s going to be a bald spot there for a while but he seems much calmer overall and the gruesome injury now is a marvel of restoration.  He actually relaxed into my hand when I petted him today instead of frenziedly leaping around wiggling.  The Dog vs Cone bout ended badly for the cone, but otherwise all seems well.   Also, I made an above standard creme brulee.  I know this because we both sat there inhaling it and remarking almost simultaneously, gee that didn’t taste like much did it but is there more?

Meanwhile the ongoing quest to live one’s life continues.  Having recently changed my ways, from being the Tasmanian Devil of Anxiety Doing it ALL, to someone who at times simply sits still and does NOT get it all done, it’s a pretty different world.  Things seem simpler- until you get outside.  Then of course it’s like a raging storm of weirdness and maybe that is just the way it is, has been, and will be.  It all depends on how you look at it.

It isn’t so hard to see that we here on this planet are at a very pivotal point which may be tipping toward our extinction.  Fishermen up here are bitching wildly because one five mile section of the Sacramento River may be closed to salmon fishing from April to August.  This is a nearing last ditch attempt to save the Chinook salmon, which to me at least seems to be a pretty big deal.  But the fishermen seem to think that tourism and getting rid of whatever salmon actually make it to this point are both more important than having salmon into the future.  Never mind that the water temperatures are at times too high for spawning to occur properly so people need to be careful and at least try not to make it worse.  Oh, no, we gotta drive all five of our half ton gas guzzling pickups to the bank of the river and fish to the death.  I mean, I get it.  I love fishing.  But I also recognize salmon as Big Medicine and that is always going to be more important than one’s personal desires.

Our world has been centered on money for a long, long time. ( At least 2,015 years if you believe what you read in the Bible or see on TV programs about it of which there were, let’s just say, a plethora of late.)  Clearly this isn’t going to work out in the long run but the adherents to this system don’t seem to be capable of reflection, much less stopping what they’re doing.  There’s enough oil already out of the ground to last for a long, long time.  NOT TO MENTION WE SHOULDN’T BE USING IT ANYWAY.  But, gosh.  We’ve got to go up and drill the daylights out of the arctic, then proceed to the antarctic for final cleanup.  I wonder where they’ll put it all?  Perhaps they can use the dried up riverbeds as storage- after all, there probably won’t be salmon there if this all keeps up.  Maybe they’ll figure out how to water lawns with it.  Anything is possible.

Otherwise?  As I plan where things will go in the garden I can’t help seeing in my mind’s eye the picture of a man being shot in the stomach in the street in Kiev, and in the back in South Carolina.  Sometimes you really do just have to keep going on and one should indeed hope for the strength to do what needs to be done.  Still, we’re watching the antics of Tyrant’s glittering hummie offspring as they hover and zoom around the yurt, chasing each other away from the feeder only to float down on it like fairies seconds later.  There is always hope, and good news too, if you know how to look, and maybe more importantly, how to appreciate what you see.

 

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.

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?)

frozen, maybe bullet proof

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

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

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

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

 

still raining still dreaming

The world is oddly green around here now: Flourescent, almost.  It is incredibly calming, uplifting, and when one thinks about it, confusingly unseasonal.  The oak trees shot out a few new leaves during the week or so of “fall” we had, like emeralds in the midst of a fire, and now that all the brown dead leaves have blown away they linger uncertainly.  It’s hard to know what day it is, in short.

However it is December, this year is drawing to a calendrical close, and I feel oddly both bullet-proof and mangled beyond recognition.  But it is the nature of love that has been revealing itself to me of late.  I realized the other day that being cursed (we were drinking Maudite) and being very close to the divine often amount to the same thing experientially- what sets them apart is knowing that love is real.  When you feel cursed, you doubt and collapse.  When you are just that teensiest bit too close to the divine, the pain is similar but somehow you know it will shift and in the meantime there’s incredible stuff to see.

At long last it dawned on me that acting from love does not mean allowing things you don’t like or want in order to keep another person happy.  What is, is, how you feel is how you feel.  You simply have to develop your own beliefs and live in your own skin, whatever others may say about that.  You might ask, well, what about mad bombers or raging capitalists or…well, all of that worldly mayhem.  To my mind such individuals are living under the curse, believing they can control things and there is no limit to their actions.  Therefore in the long run success will not come from that direction.  It can only come from love. Everything really is an invitation to begin again- the difficulty we humans have is precisely that.  It’s hard for us to put down whatever we’re holding in a death grip and start over.  That start-over really does mean you start completely over.  How can this be made better?  How can this serve everyone involved?

Love really is the answer.  Perhaps acting from love means you refrain from injuring yourself.  Perhaps it means letting things move in their own time and accepting all the myriad realities existing around us without feeling the need to “do” something.  Love may not make you feel better the same way you think you feel better when acting under old patterning- but it does give you a way to turn the lights on and see how spacious things really are.  Love isn’t about changing anything except your own perspective, in a way.  It’s a force like light or wind, I think, which we can learn to flow and fly with.  It is amazingly easier to let people be who they are- but then you have the responsibility for your own actions as the north star.  No resentment, no rage.   Begin again.

In an important neighborhood piglet update: They’re getting slightly bigger and now they’re mostly covered in mud with tiny specks of pink showing through.  The chickens are hogging the heatlamp, and one piglet engages in daily duels with the rooster for a spot in front of the treat dispenser.   The pigs who had staged the daring escape on another part of the hill have now proceeded to being made into sausage, which is the ever present reminder that death and life contain each other all the time, every day.  With that basic reality check going on, things do start to make more sense.  In that general vein, we’re researching chicken raising and seed catalogs are winging their way here.  When you don’t know what to do, do what you know, right?  Green eggs and purple carrots should do the trick.

previously undiscovered circles

And those circles are you know where, Gentle Reader.   Honestly, at times it is overwhelming, this life we’re all living now.  Mine seems intent on demonstrating to me that every bridge is already burnt and there’s no use crying over spilled milk.   Which of course is excellent advice but not altogether pleasant.

I balanced the early morning sight of two brand spanking new tiny pink pigs, eating breakfast in their yard with the two white ducks down the road, against the experience that followed in an official setting of a sort of concussingly boring ritual humiliation.  Which had followed a couple of other similar experiences in completely different settings.  Plus a LOT of technical difficulties.  So, yes.  I felt as though a gauntlet had been passed through and I maybe had finally been hacked to pieces.  I made the Partner take me to the salmon hatchery  to recuperate.  It’s really one of my favorite spots around here.  Earlier in the year when we were there the fish were present en masse, going up river. It was maybe the most astonishing thing I’ve seen.  Those fish were so majestic, so incredibly beautiful, so powerful- it was totally clear that they are indeed the expression of divinity that the native peoples who live with them see.  So as I stood over the metal grates above the living, rushing water, I breathed them in, in spirit at least since they’re all gone for another year now.   It led me from the unreal to the real, although there was a rather horrendous lag time of a day before the goodness kicked in, so to speak.  Fortunately, there was vodka.  I guess the thing of it is: You are going to feel everything in a given situation or experience if you are alive in it.  But the feeling moves on and no matter how great or difficult it is, it’s temporary.  A true matter of perspective- one day you can feel as though nothing is worth the effort.  Give it a minute and you come around again, back in the dance.  What is, is, and always shall be.  What isn’t, is not, and never will be.  Upanishads, I think.

As usual, to assist the climb back in off the ledge, there was cooking.  While watching a program on the recent space mission to that comet and learning that it cost almost two billion dollars, taking ten years to get to a place where they already knew what they’d find and moreover? might explode at any minute and not be there when they arrived- a ridiculous proposition demonstrating today’s corruption of science – I pondered the simplicity of what I was making for dinner.   Which was that heavenly Persian chicken dish, in a sauce of walnuts and pomegranates (ours!) and onions (also ours!).  Salt and pepper and butter.  Simple.  But wonderful.  And EASY. So that’s the current goal.  Simple and wonderful. I can’t help thinking that it is that basic connection every day with the what IS that provides the wherewithal to live- the real food, the rivers and skies.   The fact that culturally people seem to think they can’t be bothered or don’t have time is one of those things that will shift, maybe unpleasantly for a while especially given the current parameters.  But I really do think that the more we all get back to the basics of being alive, the joy of recognition of beauty and assuming responsibility for our selves, the better off we’ll be.  It seems to work every time for us, anyway, when we remember to focus.

Thank you!