Posts Tagged ‘right action’

Daniel DeFoe

His book, Journal of a Plague Year, intrigued and scared me when I read it at age 11. Sometimes now I wonder if my concerns with plagues and what it might have been like to live, as just a regular person, in societies going through such things, or, say, in Germany as Hitler took power, were either a presaging of the world I find myself in now, or a line into such experiences. Not that it matters all that much, since I do believe that all knowledge is available to us if we Enquire.

Anyway, here we are in our very own Plague Year and as it becomes ever more terrifying and intense, at the same time the lessening of pollution on the planet has produced some rather immediate gains. We’re even seeing some plants- ferns in particular- here that we’ve not seen before. The Partner often accuses me of always assuming something good will happen, and in general I have to admit he’s right.

Notwithstanding, then, the complete absence of some supplies like toilet paper (I don’t understand why people stockpiled this but….) and bleach, and the fact that we’re supposed to stay home except for going to the grocery store (again, with empty shelves, one wonders about that too….) where things like milk and eggs have all but disappeared…and in spite of the even more terrifying reality of our government and its priorities and the lack of information one can believe…still. I decided that in every moment where I get blown out of sleep or concentration by anguish and worry and sorrow for all the suffering, and worry for my friends in Europe and elsewhere….I recite the all-purpose Buddhist prayer I was finally able to commit to memory. It’s been non-stop challenge and crap for us for some time, and when this hit I thought, ok, at last it is too much. So I made an effort to commit the simplicity of this to myself, and while at times it seems over the top to even conceive of such things, it helps more and more every day to provide perspective and refresh the ability to, as Buddha said, strive on. I naturally move on to the tree spirits and gods of the land and flowers, but the initial leap starts here:

May all beings be peaceful.

May all beings be safe.

May all beings be happy.

May all beings awaken to the truth of their own inner light.

May all beings be free.

SO now? The Dog requires my undivided attention. Yesterday I foraged out for his food, successfully which was a very good thing. He has a special friend at the place we go, who was worried about him not being with me…IS HE OK?????? I responded that he was sheltering in place as directed, and everyone laughed. I thought again how love really does unite us all, some how, some way. But I reaffirmed my solemn promise to spoil the dickens out of the Dog and now? he wants a snack and a walk. Luckily we’re in the middle of nowhere and can do that. Another very good thing.

Blessings and thanks, be well and mindful and remember we really are all One.

worlds within worlds

I remember the first time I saw a picture of water bears. It was like the first time I saw the Hubble telescope pictures of the universe- an opening of a door into the real grandeur of reality. The inside of a drop of dew! The distances in the night sky! The incredible song the body sings in sickness and in health, the twirling molecules…!!!! Then there’s things like paintings and souffles and Spring and gardens and……

SO ANYWAY. Recently I visited a world within a world and while it was challenging, it was also instructive and in the end kind of endorsing.

Among the many things the Previous Tenant left undone was paying the fees to the Homeowner’s Association here. Net net, HOA fees are pretty much cast in bronze, stone, lead…permanent. The figure was, to me, large. I commenced research on the pertinent laws, asked some questions, finally got a very interesting page of handwritten numbers from the Association. All this allowed me to make an offer to the Board of a repayment sum that, while not thrilling me to part with, would clear the matter once and for all. Labors of Hercules? piffle. In any event, the matter was settled and my offer accepted and my business- like proactive approach appreciated.

But, and there is always a but, right? The meeting occurred during last week’s State of the Union address. Which had to be watched with baited breath and approval, while I, praying for equanimity, cast my eyes over displays of confederate flags, heard things like ALL DEMOCRATS ARE AWFUL and WELL NOT ALL. SOME ARE GOOD PEOPLE, and HERE, HAVE SOME (****** ****), an old name for Brazil nuts that is beyond even being offensive it is so awful, and more of the same. Actual applause at the remarks about OD deaths being their lowest ever. I realized I was sitting in a room full of people who, while being perfectly nice, were very akin to the guys who surrounded me the last time I voted in a Presidential Primary and escorted me, roughly, out of the building because they saw I had voted for Sanders. It was, for a moment, quite scary. Also? What is to be done? There was clearly no point in discussing any of the opinions proffered from my point of view, as it would have been a divergence from the “schedule” not to mention potentially life threatening. ( Also my point of view involves things like plant medicine and energy and the actual oneness of all, and at this point I am not trying to prove anything to anyone, except that we ARE all here together and it makes sense to act accordingly.) It made me for a moment feel like a coward. However. As I sat there, breathing and hoping I had a smile on my face, I thought about how actions speak louder than words. I thanked them for their kindness and consideration as it related to my situation. The group appeared to have some awareness that I was not “one of them” and very painstakingly told me all about who Rush Limbaugh is. I said thankyou, I did in fact know about him. Neutrality in action. I found myself handing bowls of popcorn around to everyone. Finally the thing came to an end and we all trooped out into the inky, now late, night.

I got home and my heart rate was enough to make me feel like my head was going to explode. As I proceeded with baking bread, even at that late hour, chattered to the Partner about what had happened, and got licked to smithereens by the Dog, it came to me that actually the whole thing was a kind of success. I could see the bigger expanse of all of this, the water bears so to speak, and realized that yes, it is pretty awful right now. But as long as we can sit and speak to each other and act in a mindful way, some kind of progress may in fact be made. To demonstrate to someone who basically thinks you’re some kind of sub-species that in fact, you’re pretty much just like them minus some of the fear, turns out to be a fairly good sized thing. Then the questions about how one might have come to this understanding of x, y or z can be asked. So while I still feel the weight of the thought form around here, it doesn’t scare me as it used to. The power of love always wins; the thing is to see just how many worlds of love there are and how they may be bridged from what seems impassable and impossible to some kind of constructive action. I was completely and totally, and am still, blown away by the depth and breadth of the unconscious but complete dismissal of and contempt for anyone who wasn’t like these people, which is to say in this case White Republican Men. But I don’t feel powerless in its face, at long last. It is important not to ignore the realities of such things, but it is equally important to know that peace and love can work wonders in all worlds. Turns out that takes some grit and determination but one does have to get out of the pink paradisia calm shell some times! I did discuss this with a person who I like and respect and when she said she was impressed with the way I handled it, I was relieved.

Blessings and thanks, as always. Take care of yourselves!

don’t think it hasn’t been fun

how-it-is.jpg  This cartoon from The New Yorker pretty much says it all.  And yes, we HAVE been eating olives.

What with the over 110f temperatures every day for a long time, the state of the world and all, everyone’s been a bit Tense.  Barky, if you will.  So this past week kind of put it all over the top, completely, seeing as how we currently find ourselves a bit closer than we’d ever want to be to the south end of an 89,000 acre fire, complete with firenados and total murk as far as air goes.  The wind here is always like something out of some movie where you’d say, Oh, that’s not realistic!!! Wind doesn’t do THAT! so when there are flying sparks involved and the wind does THAT? It creates something very close indeed to apocalypse in spots.  This afternoon is the first time in days that there has been anything even hinting at blue sky and it’s mostly in my imagination, probably.  Anyway the other night we watched the City of Redding burn from our front door- the flames reflecting off the huge clouds of smoke.  The fire guys got on it quickly and the red sky dimmed in an hour or so but I very much hope not to see anything like that again.  It’s all kind of a stress blur, but yesterday it looked very likely that we would have to evacuate.  In this situation, what that actually means is you leave and know there will be nothing when you return.  So, what THAT actually means is you have to get over your sense of your entire body being ripped open, think it through and realistically assemble what can be taken- if you have, as we did, the…uhm, luxury…of time.

Seeing as how I have hundreds of books and bottles of oils and tinctures and essences and what not this was not the most fun I’ve ever had.  But, I was proud of myself because I actually was able to put things together in a pile by the door.  Leaving, of course, 99.9% in place.  A Kitchenaid mixer can be replaced.  An out of print copy of the only existing authoritative book about Yoruba herbology probably cannot, but there it is.  In the end, at least for yesterday and today, the fire line held and we are still here.  For which I am truly thankful.  While we’re not anywhere near the end of this, unless the wind does something totally infernal, even for it around here, we will probably be OK.

So once again I marvel at the workings of the universe and all its mysteries, and once again realize that you do create your reality with your thoughts.  No matter how awful the scene in front of you appears to be, it is always shaped by how you are reacting or responding to it.  I couldn’t help thinking about all the people who live with smoke and destruction all the time, like in Syria.  And what that kind of stress does to people- the grocery store yesterday was enough to make a person reach for Xanax, after a mere week of this disaster.  But also? There are the unimaginably angelic individuals, like the farrier who was helping people move their animals to safety just Because.  And of course, the firefighters.  I feel as though I have a lifetime debt to them- it’s going to be interesting to figure out how to get that in balance- aside of course from the daily work of kindness to those one encounters.  These people go directly into Hell and save places and people they don’t know, with everything on the line.  Just Because.   So in the end, and despite certain other things that transpired that sent me directly to the cocktail olives, I feel for the first time in a long time, a certain sort of hope…or maybe it isn’t hope. Maybe it is the sense of the Light that is always there, no matter how dark it appears to be.  There is a peace in that, and a peace in knowing that there always IS light, and it is us and we are it.  And, eventually the ash will stop falling, we’ll reorganize and move along.  All of us.

Blessings and thanks as always!!!!!!!

 

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!

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?)