Posts Tagged ‘sanity’

the never ending reveal

The Partner just showed me a piece of wood he’d brought in for the woodstove.  The tree it was from, which had fallen, looked to be from the rings about as old as we are.  Sobering thought in a way but also just totally amazing and also,  a kind of proof of interconnectedness and the flow between all things.  I don’t know, maybe it was watching the young turkey mosey on up the driveway last night with a hummingbird escort, or maybe it’s the beauty of our Very Short Spring, but everything seems flooded with a kind of light and beauty, even in the most austere spots.

For example, on a recent evening it turned out we’d both, as kids, seen the film The Hunchback of Notre Dame at about the same ages, and both recognized, with a start, Self in the Hunchback.  We’d both been dragging virtual hunch backs around with our respective Histories, and the memories of walking down hallways in school and people leaving a few feet of space between them and us, as though there were a contagion of some sort we’d been exposed to and they wanted no part of, were the same for both of us. I was quite frankly shocked.  YOU? I said? Handsome and kind YOU?  Well, he said. Yes.  And YOU?

It really made me think about what we go through as humans, and how some of it is so hard that your possibilities can be shrunken, in your own estimation, to the size of a grain of rice.  How much effort must go in to stepping around that obstacle, that possibility, and how much further effort into not carrying that sense of alienation along with one for the duration.  How all those hardened faces you see in life, all the issues and ailments arising therefrom, the narcissists and the shooters….all of it is about that beginning salvo of you are not OK.

So, ok, fast forward through the wending around all that.  I recently re-read THE DIVINING HEART, by Patricia and Richard Wright  (a companion book to THE DIVINING MIND, by T. Edward Ross and Richard Wright).  Both of these books came to me when I was first learning how to dowse, which perhaps not coincidentally is Another One of Those Things I don’t talk to most people about lest they be sure I am a nut.  Dowsing, popularly thought of as what some strange individual does with a forked stick, announcing in a creaky voice where you should dig your well, or where your car keys are, is actually a way of focusing your mind and all the energies therein on investigating the Universe.  Theta brain waves floating out from you with a question, coming back with an answer.  The question, of course, is most important, and one of the many great things about dowsing is that you actually learn how to formulate and ask proper questions.  It changes the way you communicate across the board because superfluities such as One’s Very Important Story are not part of the equation, nor is any sort of brow beating or Proof of Currently Existing Concept to the Exclusion of All Else.  In other words, it is a kind of ego-free way to learn.  Also, you find your car keys a LOT sooner.

Anyway in rereading this book I came across a part about the power of focussed intention on healing, which is sometimes referred to as prayer.  TCM refers to this, in the preparation of medicine, as Bao Zhi, which is simply (or over simply maybe?) the power of the practitioner’s awareness and loving kindness being passed in to the preparation.  Prayer has many connotations, I suppose, especially now, but I think of it as what another teacher called it: Unencumbered communication with Creator.  And, since I agree with the Buddha that all beings want to be happy, what I understand this as in a healing framework is the practitioner smoothing, so to speak, the electric and magnetic and emotional waves of another individual, with clarity and love and no preconceptions of what anything will look like, so that person can themselves reach into their own still point of this communication.  That is where healing happens and this, I believe, is HOW it happens.  We always heal ourselves, if we are willing, but we often need help from another in holding, so to speak, the space where it all happens minus fear and expectation, and with the provision of whatever other elements may be most appropriate.

SO.  The other day someone suggested I write up a sales flyer for a short weekend fair about my “stuff”, being careful not to step on the toes of another person in the situation who works with essential oils in a fairly traditional way, which is to say, eucalyptus is good for colds and muscle aches, lavender is calming (in small amounts), etc., i.e. the commonly known and already conceived “knowledge” about these substances. I realized that the situation was not appropriate anyway, and I certainly didn’t want any fur raised anywhere, but beyond that it came to me that I had absolutely no idea about how to simply describe what I do, since it is not “that”.  Because in a way it “sounds” crazy and this, Gentle Reader, is where the whole Hunchback Quasimodo thing comes in.

What I realized, the moral of this story thank you Bob Dylan, is that in fact one SHOULD never be where one does not belong, and if you can’t explain something simply without pretense and inhalation it’s perfectly fine to smile, say no thank you, and carry on.  People can clear a space around you or come calling, it’s their choice.  The distractions of current cultural imperatives, money, conformity, appearances- are just that.  Distractions from the work at hand, which is to do the best one can in any given situation, whether it involves wide open solitary spaces or hands on someone’s forehead when they’ve just tripped and fallen and are bleeding in front of their propane tanks.  I’m not a religious person, do not denominate myself, oppose patriarchy in its many guises….but I’m coming to see that quite often doing the best one can involves the prayer, the open question to the skies which takes into account what is already known and elicits what is not, with a humble and open heart.

Blessings and thanks, as always.

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flashes of light, bits of beauty

Yes, Gentle Reader, some wonderful things have been seen and heard.

I don’t have the pictures yet, but the Dog took his First Public Walk last week and it was splendid.  We got him a brilliant green harness, to which he took like a fish to water.  We then went to the Sundial Bridge- an odd piece of farsighted beauty the City of Redding commissioned Santiago Calatrava to create.  It is a bridge with a glass and granite walk way, lit at night from underneath, and in the shape of a, yes, huge sundial.  It works.  It goes over the Sacramento River and while we walked we looked over into the river.  There are all kinds of water fowl, and of course at times fish.  This particular day there were a pair of fantastic ducks, with dark brown heads and brilliant orange feet.  We watched as they dove completely underwater and paddled around extended to their full lengths.  The water was so clear we could see every detail, and it was really just….transfixing.  Joyous, in fact.

And, of course, EVERYONE we encountered was all over the Dog- so handsome! so pretty! so cute! a PUPPY! (yes, still, at 18 months), so charming! and he just smiled and posed and licked the daylights out of anyone who’d allow it.  He walked nicely, didn’t bark or growl at other dogs or chase anything or anyone. He even pooped in a proper place and I got my first Dog Mom poop pickup in public job.  His rather piteous quietly strangled sob, emitted when a pretty girl walked by without attending to him, made them all come back and smile at him. He’s way beyond ham stage, evidently.

Another thing was this.  I learned that two people in rather far flung places on earth, who I am lucky enough to call my friends, are doing wonderful things.  One is providing meat, which she raises in a conscious, caring, ethical way, to a food bank serving quite a large population in the Rocky Mountains.  Another is making remedies for the refugees on the Greek Islands, working with a naturopath who goes there and volunteers her skills.  For some reason this made me feel so hopeful, in a way I hadn’t for the Past Longish Time, that it seemed like the most wonderful gift ever.  We can, really,  be and do good..

So.  I’ve typed a paragraph here four times, and four times this ancient laptop (kept alive by prayer and hope the ship comes in soon) and ##@#@!! internet setting have deleted everything.  Best, then, to say,  Peace, Love and Happiness to all!  We can be what we want to see in the world, starting…..NOW.   Blessings and thanks!

Quotidian Dilemmas

I WAS going to not even look at, not open, the laptop today.  Call it cafard.  But I woke up thinking about Chris Cleave’s novels (LITTLE BEE, INCENDIARY).  Things don’t work out so well for his characters, who live rather firmly in the real world (Nigeria, London, Osama bin Laden-influenced everywhere) even though we might prefer not to think so.  (That would mean that’s the world WE live in, after all.)  People are driven mad by the injustice they encounter, fate in a larger sense carries everyone in its’ torrent, and we can see that the larger energies in the world- even if and perhaps especially when they are unleashed by what we might call “politics”- do have some large and controlling power.  How, indeed, do we live in such a world?  Art, Craft, philosophy, actual thinking about things can help us stay afloat, I think.  In essence I think we live in such a world by digging deep into ourselves for sustenance and guidance.

We had been talking yesterday about Freud, the Partner and I.  You have to remember, said the Partner, that Freud was a GUY.  A brilliant, deep thinker who had something that had to come out of him- not something he particularly formulated.  What came out of him was basically a description of twentieth century man, not necessarily a key to human behavior. ( The Partner is a pretty smart guy, yes?).  I’m thinking specifically about Freud’s linking of almost EVERYTHING to sexual repression.  Guilt.  I took a seminar on him in college and thought, basically, if I had to read about how Dora “fingered her reticule” under therapeutic questioning just one more time…I’d go crazy.  But it did make me think about how this sort of characterization has become an accepted analysis of things in many ways.  And it may not be correct at all, or certainly not to the extent that our society has absorbed it.  The hierarchy of values Freud implied has manifested in the free for all, greed driven, unconscious motives to the front semi-catastrophe we call the world today. ( In my admittedly grossly oversimplified opinion.)

So, fast forward to this morning.  I’m thinking about the enormity of the things Cleaves writes about, and thinking about the enormous variation in people, things, EVERYTHING, that just is by nature.  It’s a bit of the luck of the draw what can happen to you, really, even though as humans I suppose we all want to feel more or less inviolable.  (Which is laughably and sadly not the case.)   Everyone is not, actually, equal and those who are “less equal” suffer the consequences- what happens. for example, to the baby who is born with gender disarray? or in the Sudan?  It’s a long road to the top if you want to rock and roll, Gentle Reader.  And we can find ourselves doing whatever we have to, to maintain our sanity.  Even if it makes us actually crazy. (the Partner, again.)

WHICH REALLY DOES LEAD US TO THIS MORNING.  We, the Partner and I, may be suffering from some dystopian dysphoria, as I suspect anyone would if they’d spent the past two years as we have.  But wrestling with reality every day is rigorous.  I thought about people who are imprisoned for their views or way of being, and of those who are able to come out of that experience ALIVE, unbroken and functional.  So these periods of being in the dark are, I thought,  in a way like involuntary confinement.  And seen in that light, keeping it together, ourselves together and sound to the greatest possible degree,  is a revolutionary necessity.  If we are to inhabit a better world, we have to make it so ourselves.  That can involve some tough sledding.  What we have to offer may be rejected regardless of its merit.  But we cannot give up what we know to be fundamental truths- about justice, fairness, equity, not violating everything that moves just because we can- under even the most challenging situations of pain and duress.  There is always a way.  That way may not be the one that gives the immediate reward, the sense of accomplishment, or even a sense of belonging to anything anywhere, and it can certainly be a way that causes those around you to perhaps Not Be Very Nice.  But there IS a way, there is a path, there is a tide, there is a time.  The patience required, and the surrender, is big.  But we’re doing something new, and also tremendously old, here.  Not reinventing the wheel, but finally understanding how to use it.

Won Ton W/rappers

Yesterday was a blur of difficulty, let’s just say.  Emotional instability reared its ugly head, dueled with logistical nightmares and potentially lethal snafus, skidded on muddy roads, and eventually baked cookies.  Today started off with telemarketing calls from the moon ( no, I didn’t buy any),  and then the real fun began.  My glass supplier called to say the jars I’ve used for the past several years and just reordered are no longer available.  Period.  Nyet.  Not making ’em anymore.  So, this is getting into real fun, here.  I make and sell a product that, up to now, has been a SPECIFIC SIZE, right?  Because I’ve used the same jars FOR A LONG TIME.  A jar is a stable little thing, isn’t it?  Who’d’a thunk that such a small thing could turn into such a big deal?   Except of course that it is always the things you don’t think of that suddenly afix themselves to your posterior with all the might of their pointy teeth and strong jaws.   Because, see, we have labels that have to be very specific about what is in the jar, including size/amount. The labels have to FIT a certain size jar.  Plus, it’s a certain price for a certain amount and size of jar.  So, basically, this jar isn’t a negotiable item.  We use amber colored glass and not clear or blue or green or purple  for preserving purposes;  plastic is of course totally out of the question.   Glass is essential, versus plastic, for preserving purposes and non-chemical contamination issues.  Why make an organic/biodynamic product and then package it in —– ? However much the petrochemical industry would like you to.  Heck, you can use the lotions that have all their petro stuff in them as preservatives, put it in plastic made from the same lovely stuff, and voila.  Toxic immersion, a concept we’re all swimming in.

My supplier was struggling to maintain composure through the many calls she had to make to tell people their orders weren’t going to happen. It made me feel terrible.   I called another source who reminded me that, as small businesses, manufacturers don’t really give a flying whizzbang about you.  They decide what to make, what not to, and you as the tee tiny business person out there get to, essentially, retool on a dime.  It took a huge amount of tooth gritting determination to keep my mind from completely exploding (again) when I think about the TOTAL FREAKING HYPOCRISY that is rampant, about “small business”, “job creation”, “support for entrepreneurs”, “getting America back to work”, blahblahblahblah….BLAH.   As a small business person, I have not found that support or help terribly available.  I couldn’t get a Small Business Loan at the startup because….I hadn’t been in business long enough.  I really liked that.  The bank wouldn’t lend me any money unless I essentially bought my car over again.  Once per car is enough, don’t you think?   I’d love to be able to expand and JEEZ, maybe even hire someone to help us.  That is definitely out there in fantasy land at this point, as the Partner and I toil on here in Biodynamic World.  But anyway.

I’m trying to maintain a calm, easygoing, upbeat attitude about all this.  It’s just change! A shift in direction! We’ve been thinking that we should raise our prices a bit.  The only jars I can find that are remotely acceptable now are  bigger than our current ones and a fair bit more expensive.  It makes sense to raise the price on something when you’re getting more of it, doesn’t it?   So we get to ponder this price point stuff too.  There’s a whole ecosystem for that, too.  At this point, my products aren’t expensive enough for people with  money to be too interested in them- they are lovely, they work, they’re good for you, but sadly no Swank Factor it would seem.  If we raise the price,  current customers are going to think twice, and we hope continue their purchases but after all.  Things are dicey and money is funny.   This is the life, Gentle Reader!

On a positive note, at least SOPA and PIPA, those two mutant darlings, are off the table at present.  Probably to be..retooled! and brought out again but nonetheless, something good happened there.  Tonight I’m making ravioli (hence today’s title),  another guided meditation to  keep everything loosely connected while we fly through the air hoping there’s a trapeze out there somewhere.  That tree branch I got stuck in last night wasn’t, in the end, all that comfortable.