Posts Tagged ‘survival’

the famous exploding head

Yes indeed, Gentle Reader, that would be MY head. Things have been so far above standard gnarly of late that about the only thing to do has been pray. However, when I got an email from an old friend who was concerned about my lengthy blogging absence, remarking that since my life has more twists and turns that seem humanly possible she was worried, I thought, perhaps an update would not be amiss.

Our living situation here has always been a bit…..tricky. Due largely to the fact that our landlady has been a bit…..tricky. In fact, we have just now learned HOW tricky since she is terminally (probably) ill and Stuff has Floated to the Surface at an alarming rate. A long, sad story and a big part of it has been me having to actually face the facts of the whole thing. (Partner: You see good in people even when it isn’t there. Me: Really?. Partner: YES) Plus figure out what to do so we don’t find ourselves living on a sidewalk somewhere. I look like I have Parkinson’s most days now what with the nerves firing on all cylinders all the time. HOWEVER.

There appears to be resolution in the offing and all will, we hope, be well. Nothing goes smoothly and dealing with County officials and Social Security applications and relatives who crawl out of the woodwork and all the rest of it…well. To be expected in today’s milieu, I guess, but it has been almost more than this bear could..well, bear. However, we still have a home and potentially a Permanent one, and while there will be more on this Incredibly Amusing and Horrendous Story, there have been some successes in the midst of all the Challenges, too.

There were horses living here, right next to us. I often took care of them and we always dealt with positively biblical levels of flies, and then mosquitoes from the above ground pool and horse troughs. A home, it transpired, had to be found for the horses in the middle of this Situation. In a place like this such a thing isn’t as easy as you might think since there are lots and lots of unwanted horses after people get them and realize a)it’s expensive and b)it takes actual work. But. I persisted and? found an absolutely splendid home for them. Pictures were duly sent and the two of them looked like totally different creatures, they were so happy. So that was good. Also? NO FLIES. Happy. Drained pool and troughs: NO MOSQUITOES. I am calling that a WIN.

Another striking thing that showed itself was that, like Camus, I found, in the depth of this horrible winter, an invincible summer in myself. While spiritual teachings have largely, in this culture, been turned into blunt instruments to keep everyone in fear and in line, the fact is that the Divine does exist. Everywhere and all the time. And it is there when you call it. You may indeed be at the brink, at the last straw, in despair and fear. But. The Divine is there to remind you that you take another breath, you step back, you allow things to reveal themselves and gradually, come to a higher point than ever seemed possible. And, hey. So what if you have to do this a thousand times a day? Which leads me to:

Pickles. The weather has just been gruesome this summer and the garden has not been the usual resplendent refuge. We have, however, had zucchini and the Partner suggested making pickles. I thought for a minute and then realized that a simple refrigerator pickle would be just the thing. We happened to have a jar of Trader Joe’s organic hot and spicy dill chips that had no pickles but had the pickling juice. Zucchini spears were duly inserted into said juice. Results in three days? Outstanding.

Otherwise the world seems to be mirroring the struggles we experience here (the irrational people, the bursts of Bad Behavior), and it looks more and more like full blown good vs. evil, which I always had trouble believing in, in the past. It is absolutely beyond mind boggling, and the fact that Bloviating Pustule thinks he can buy Greenland? Is so insane that it taxes one’s credulity that it has been…acknowledged as anything but completely psychotic. And when we go to the doctor now, they ask us if we take “a certain medication for a certain (x) condition”….naturally when I said, you really think some ringer is going to come in here for this fantastic non service? REALLY? and they say, well you MIGHT be an illegal trying to get a prescription refilled….we need to know you know what you’re taking….well. Let’s just say there are days happy hour starts Early. People are definitely crazy and things are definitely strange…but, blessings and thanks as always!!

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report from the front

Holy Moly Cow and Toledo, Gentle Reader. I feel, for the most part, like a figure in a Gary Larson cartoon most of the time these days, especially the deer who has a bull’s eye on his chest, whose companion remarks, bummer of a birthmark, Hal.

Two good things happened, of course. I found a hawk feather, and at long last met a truly like minded individual here. Politically speaking. Which was astounding enough, given that the chances of that are remote, for the most part. Anyway, we were in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, talking about politics and restorative agriculture, biodynamic farming, and generally making the other people in the room writhe in their seats. After all, when you speak out against Monsanto around here it’s tantamount to “get the rope” time.

These two events seemed to kind of illustrate the knife edge we’re all walking on right now: the transcendent is ALWAYS there, always available. The death struggles of the current way of things on this planet are increasing in strength and volume, and if one doesn’t remember the transcendent? Things get grim in a hurry. ( There’s a reason the two liter bottles of alcohol are always on sale at our local drug store, in short.) The fact is, NOBODY can stand things the way they are and the sooner we all start communicating the better off we’ll be.

But, back to quotidian reality. After another two week down time for internet and phone, which the Partner said I handled better than usual and seemed to demonstrate Mercury retrograde at its finest, I have had to deal with the current Dramatic Production in our lives. Having just crawled out of another lengthy detour through the swamp, this really was not what I “wanted”. While I can’t “write about it” just yet, it has most definitely been and continues to be the most in depth trip through fear and old attitudes ever undertaken by this bear. It turns out though that once you wade through the fear, you’re at a clearing where you can say, self? Hal? despite the birthmark let us do this differently, whatever that may mean. And whatever it takes. The aforementioned dismal state of affairs in the world doesn’t make this an easy proposition, of course, but that’s just it. We ALL have to do the hard things now, face ourselves and move forward. The options you think are all you have are largely the outlines of outmoded propositions which seem, upon looking at them, to have originated with the colonialist imperialism that has shaped our world at present. Non-starters. Making a new option is quite the endeavor, let’s just say. It helps to read some history at times like this so as to see exactly what it is you’re looking at, and it does appear that the greed and rapacity that mark the way this world is run came into a full bore, full court press, mode, oh, a couple thousand years ago. So? you ask. Well. For me, what this has meant is the dawning of an awareness that the crappy, nasty, life endangering behavior one encounters day to day is actually an extension of a long chain of such behaviors. It’s not PERSONAL. In much the same way I had to get over the shock I felt at how badly hurt, physically, I had been in the hospital that festive time a few years ago, the shock that anyone could be that way….I now have had to surmount realizing that same thought about my current surroundings and situation. Oddly, this has given me some confidence. Patanjali wrote a long time ago that someone who cultivated yoga in themselves actually gained a level of protection from the slings and arrows of outrageous individuals. I’ve decided that for now, what that means, is: if you don’t sling noxious material all around you, it won’t get tossed back at you. Others may be unsettled by this but it does confer a sort of Pass. And you get to do things a different way. We will report on the success of this approach, which I have decided is the only way it will BE, as more information comes in. Meanwhile, the garden is coming along despite various snafus, and I fully expect to have some home ground corn flour by winter. More on that, too, to come.

Meanwhile, blessings and thanks as always. Be careful, and take time to see what is being looked at. And, especially, be thankful for your friends!

life with weather

More time has passed here, Gentle Reader. AS usual it has been closer to the Hell side of the equation than one would like. We had gale force winds and 3-5 feet of snow a week or so ago- and generally speaking? it doesn’t snow here, and if it does it’s a matter of inches. So this was different. Fortunately the Dog LOVED it and provided some moments of joy and levity as he flew through the snow, sunk down into it, gobbled mouthfuls up, and sprang up for another flight.

But different it was. To say the least. We were snowed in, in fact, which was kind of weird. We had no power for close to a week. Did I say how cold it was? No water anywhere but fortunately we had snow to melt, and to pack in the refrigerator so that part of it wasn’t Awful. There was also rainwater (yes, that too) to use to flush the toilet. One day a few days into the experience I was in our local grocery store on a fruitless quest for water, which was open because they had a HUGE generator, and a woman who works there and I were laughing uproariously about the excitement of having a flush toilet again….some time in the future. People were walking around in total stress mode- expectable given that there were about 42,000 people without power.

Some good things happened of course. I learned how to cook effectively on our wood stove. It’s a Jotul, which is the kind of stove the guy on New Scan Cooking lugs around for his outdoor soirees, and it is really quite extraordinary what cooking on wood is like. It’s FANTASTIC. We roasted cabbage and meat on the coals directly and it was a revelation. I made a kind of coq au vin (leftover red wine from the holidays) which was incredible, since I just put everything in a pan, covered it, put it on the stove, turned the chicken once and 40 minutes later, virtual perfection. The fact that the smoke from the candles made my lungs crunk up was almost an aside.

The real thing that happened, though, was this. Prisoners are used extensively here to fight fires and do road work, and this storm tore trees up by their roots and pulled huge limbs across roads and it was…horrible. There was a lot of sawing to be done before the power people could even get in, thus the prisoners. We wound up finally being able to get out of here and went on quests for water about three times. I waved and smiled at the Guys in Orange each time, as is my habit. The first time they squinted back at me with their Game Faces. By the third and last time, I actually got SMILES and waves back. It was a real moment of communication and understanding and from that standpoint, mind boggling, not to put too fine a point on it. It reminded me that we don’t, in fact, have to do earth shattering things to make a positive difference. We just have to be here. Now.

As difficult as that has been for some time now, it still turns out to be the basic instruction for not going totally bananas. Things look quite grim in this country right now, really, and every reminder one can receive about how love and kindness are the bottom line is a very good thing. Even when they are punctuated by lengthy periods of tooth grinding.

As always, blessings and thanks!

Jose Andres was here

Oh Gentle Reader.  So much has happened and of course the more things change……

We will start with Part Two…… We were not too far away from another horrible, horrible fire.  Thousands of people displaced and many killed.  An entire town (Paradise) burnt to the ground.  Of note is the fact that of the 1000 or so missing people, and the 80+ deaths, a large percentage were over 65.  Let the fact sink in that these woods are full of elders living hand to mouth with absolutely no safety net of any kind.  There are many wonderful things about this area, but it is also full to the brim of poverty and homelessness.  And people who have no other place to go than their current roof over head situation.  And of course, it’s winter, and it’s the “holidays”.  The local community got together with the wonderful and intrepid and humane chef Jose Andres, who I have always loved and firmly believe has wings stuffed into HIS shirt too, and with the Sierra Nevada brewery, and fed hundreds of evacuees Thanksgiving dinner.  First responders, still fighting the fire and away from their families, served the meal.

In striking contrast to bloviating pustule who blew through here, couldn’t remember the name of the town that burned (calling it “Pleasure, and what a name!”), and suggested that if Californians raked their forests all this could be avoided.  The news footage of bp, Governor Brown, and a Cal Fire official was unbelievable: Cal Fire guy’s eyes were literally bugged out of his head, the Governor was looking at the middle distance as if wondering how much longer he could stand there before he decked somebody….I could say more.  But I will limit myself to two things: (A) pustule and your poisonous cohort and chain illegal immigrant family? YOU’RE FIRED.  (B) Another swell move by pustule was to authorize OUR military service people, sent to the border,  to use lethal force on people attempting to cross the border and seek asylum.  The Partner believes that for the most part, our service people would refuse to do that, and that no  authority exists for this action.  I certainly hope so.  I saw a meme today that also relates to this whole nasty mess:  If you believe that a fertilized egg is a human being, and refugee kids are not?  Then you’d better stop saying you are motivated by religion.

I find this all so….staggering and dismaying…that no sense can be made of the fact that all of this continues to go on, and expand.  What is wrong with everyone that they don’t stand up and say THIS MUST STOP.  I have periodic cry breaks, let’s just say.  Then I blow my nose, or what’ s left of it, and carry on.

And now on to Part One. Carrying on was already a bit of a challenge, and then? The day Paradise burned up, my mother died.  The for far too long unrecognized bane of my existence left this plane.  On my end, it was pretty awful and the Dog got worried.  But then I saw an excerpt from a book, Inner World of Trauma, and the kaleidoscope shifted.  Everything I experienced, went through, suffered? had, over the course of my life, become an externalized Thing which kept me in fear, anguish, doubt, and a constant quest for replacement baggage when the original matched emotional set fell apart.  So, in a way, all this torment was…not real.  It was a complex constellation of things that came together in my baby brain and just stayed.  And grew.  Not anyone’s fault, no blame, just kind of a massive Oh. My. God. Suddenly and at long last? I put it all down.  It’s a bit strange having all this space in my mind now.  But I am here to tell you it can be done.  So whatever your burden is? It can be transformed and so can you.  It takes work, of course, and a willingness to feel what you’re feeling and a shift in focus from My Very Important Story to the grandeur of life and the world as it is every minute and of which you are an integral part.  Perennial wisdom, as it is called in the many forms it takes, is an invaluable help.  Buddha is not the only one to say, the fear and attachment and attitudes that you have are not really yours.  The hike to understanding just what this really means is not easy, you have to do it yourself, and the weather on the way can be horrible.  But it is probably the most important walk you’ll ever take.  The love and support of one’s friends cannot be overlooked either.

During this festive period another really fun thing happened.   A spider decided to bite me on the cheekbone…and boy howdy!!!!!!! I went from normal to sci-fi experiment gone horribly wrong in less than an hour.  Swelling, pain, acid-like suppurations from the eye, and a very special red bull’s eye all around the affected area.  I very briefly considered going to the doctor, and thought again after the last visit where I had to wait an hour for a scheduled appointment because someone else was late for theirs and filled the entire office with yelling about how they were on psychiatric medications and we’d all better look out.  I even more briefly considered going to the oxymoronically named Emergency Room, but remembering how close they came to killing me the last time I went, thought better of it.  Here is what I did, with sensible input from the Partner.  (1) Sprayed affected area with Vetericyn.  Nobody should be without this stuff, which comes in both veterinary and human packaging.  Exactly the same, but if you’re human it costs twice as much. It can be sprayed in the eyes, in open wounds, burns, kills pathogens including fungus and MRSA.  The Dog views it favorably as well.  (2) Did Jin Shin Jyutsu on self.  Nobody should be without THIS stuff either. (3) In between sprays and JSJ, I came up with a new cocktail, which I call the Linus Pauling. ( He was a famous scientist of yore, who once said that if you had a shot of vodka and vitamin C every day, you’d probably be fine.)  I knew vitamin C would help and as miserable as I was, and since I always used powdered, I thought, heck.  WHY NOT.  So.  Powered vitamin C, vodka, and orange juice.  I actually look…uh….normal…now.  So it turns out venom can be dealt with, too.

Onward, in any event.  Blessings and thanks as always!

 

yet another palimpsest

Well, sheesh Gentle Reader.  The normal torrent of words flying around my brain has slowed dramatically of late and writing, which is usually fairly easy? has been like pulling teeth.

However, I decided to take the position that this is a Developmental Phase and inspect all the words that DID pop up along with their associated…associations.   All while fairly major things were transpiring, as usual.

I’m slowly investigating things now that make my stomach upset.  Realizing at long last that stomach upset is, guess what? a SIGNAL that something isn’t right, I’ve been thinking about how many times I’ve disregarded my inner voice, self, whatever you want to call it, in favor of the opinion of the Other.  And how in the process I internalized that Other Opinion.  Which has pretty much been a huge mistake every time.

It has been a mistake because in those moments I relinquished my authority over myself and set it outside.  This sort of thing always leads to the same place, which is nowhere you really want to go and often includes the permanent installation of that stomach ache.  You think, of course, at the time, that it’s a good thing and this other person knows more than you do and all the rest of the malarkey that goes alongside.  It turns out that generally not to be the case, and people who insist you take their opinion as Fact do not for the most part have your best interests at heart.  The sad thing is they may think they have THEIR best interests at heart, and that isn’t true either.

Net net, after all this sitting still and observing things, something big happened.  I accepted myself as IS, and yes, not a moment too soon.  Early in December during a massive flood of unpleasantness, someone came over to our house and proceeded to tell me in a very patronising way that the work I do, what I do…none of it works and it’s just silly.  This pretty much covered everything from gardening to my remedies. I looked at this person and thought, wow, you must really feel like crap to attack me like that for no reason.  Then I thought…whoa! this isn’t the first time at this particular rodeo, kid.  People have told you this over and over.  Intellectually I know it isn’t true and those uttering such sentiments speak from ignorance and limitation,  but….and there’s the but.  I saw that I doubt myself.  I decided to just try to nip that in the bud each time it poked out and wow, was THAT a full time occupation.  The way I spoke to myself for most of my life was in a manner continually anticipating some sort of ghastly failure.  Admittedly there is some historical basis for such a concept- but not all the time.  The countervailing force of “stay in the now” saved me but also caused a lot of cognitive dissonance, i.e. stomach aches.

Anyway, in taking the long view it became clear just how much magic and goodness filled, always, my days and how that, in fact, kept me afloat in a world that seemed not to wish me well.  Balancing the necessity of living in that world with the necessity of staying sane while so doing has finally paid off, however.  I recently had two powerful and really, incontrovertible, instances of where my work and remedies made a big and sustaining difference in people’s lives.  It was an amazing experience, like fireworks were going off all around me and I’d finally come up to the surface of a deep lake from the bottom, spluttering and shaking water from my eyes, to see….myself, waiting for me.  No division, no stomach ache.  Challenges for sure….but the knowing that they can be met.  So, it IS true.  Once you believe it, you  see it, and not in the sense of seeing what you expect to see, but in the sense of removing constricting information from your viewfinder and turning the darn lights on.  It can be done!

As a reward for your patient reading of this:

bloodoranges

Aren’t these AMAZING? Given the harshness of the climate here, the fact that this little tree produces this much magic fills me with joy.  Plus they’re totally yummy.  Blessings and thanks!!!!

abducted by aliens

That’s really the  most sensible description of the past..oh, nine weeks, Gentle Reader.  Somehow I seem now to have been re-deposited in the yurt, Partner and Dog are both hale and hearty and things seem fairly “regular”, possible stargate breach notwithstanding.

But what the heck happened in the interim?  It’s hard to remember……..anotherworld

Here is a picture of a very dear friend’s stellar canine companion.  It seems as though she is seeing into another world, someplace that used to be flat, familiar and solid, and now seems deep and mysterious even with that familiar sweet face peering back.   Embodying the whole recent experience,  this is an actual image, it seems to me, of the moment when one is about to step out off the cliff, in faith, feet seeking the bridge.  (Or, perhaps, gets abducted.  And who knew that those Aliens were actually in your head the whole time?????)

Let’s just say it didn’t feel nearly this pretty.  Those nine weeks ago something happened that looked as though it was going to end Life As We Have Been Living It.  It didn’t, of course, but as close to the edge as we always are it certainly LOOKED like just a few paces away from being curtains. Disturbing for sure,  it was as these things always are, an excellent learning opportunity.  In revealing how easily old patterns get activated whether they should be or not, and how these old patterns lead one to certain thought trains that go nowhere helpful, it turned out to be a life altering experience of surrender and trust that may actually turn out far better than one could hope.

Surrender and trust involves, of course, that Whatever It Is that’s so much bigger than we are, encompasses all possibilities, and often makes a person feel like Loki being tossed around by the Hulk.  The thing revealed was that in fact, it does make a difference what thoughts you carry around with you, what actions you perform, what Work you do- and all of those things matter a lot more than what anyone, or you even, says or judges or opines. The actual body of what we ARE has a real presence that influences things, and the clearer you can be about all that the better off you are. It turns out that what matters is all that work done on listening to the inner voice, the bigger Presence, even if daily life tends to imply otherwise.  Things DO follow a pattern of sorts, and a clear pattern that moves toward understanding rather than having, and on inclusion rather than restriction, is ultimately going to lead you in the proper direction.  It may be seemingly awful in the moment, or take waaaaaaay too long, but that’s where the trust part comes in.  Often it seems as though if things go the way we “want” them to, or think they should, we think everything’s fine.  And it isn’t, in fact.  That control is a total illusion, of course.  But letting go of all that and remaining as clear eyed as possible in moments of flux or inside-tornado-ness is at once easier and more challenging than pretending we are in control of it all.  Or anything.  And there’s always the I Ching if you need a stern talking to. (My personal favorite? “You already know what to do”. GRRRRRRR.)

So while I’m trying to not dwell overmuch on how much I fell apart during this Abduction by Quotidian Monster Experience, and think more about how the center did hold after all, it seems in the end to reinforce what I am coming to see is true- if you hold to the harmony, the compassion, the not-judging or giving up, you are far better able to see where you are and thus, where you are headed, which is of course to a place where things work out in the end.  Even if for at least a part of the experience you are a total basket case in a blindfold.  Love is the way, too, even if for at least a part of the experience you visualize yourself wildly slaying dragons instead of meeting them.  Blessings and thanks, and back to more important things like RECIPES, next time.  We had a small but excellent blood orange harvest, which is always wonderful.

 

 

things and how they seem

When the Partner is in his Zone of Pontification, he says things are not as they seem.  However, we are both starting to realize that in fact many things are exactly as they seem, just not as they are described in today’s ever meaning-shifting language.

Two examples are the Electoral College which we mentioned previously- a relic of Civil War politics which pretty much assures gerrymandering will prevail barring some extraordinary turn of events. Turns out the Second Amendment which every Tom, Dick and Harry has posted on his driveway fence here, is also a relic of those politics, an earlier (1780?) institutionalization of slavery in the form of saying “well regulated militias” can bear arms.  I always wondered about the well regulated militia part- I mean, how does that connect with needing to shoot poisonous snakes out in the country at times? AND! IT DOESN’T! It connects, completely, with slaveowners in the South being able to pick up a gun and go after any enslaved individual uppity enough to make a run for it.  So that discord in your head? Is because this particular thing IS what it seems to be- a rule ensuring that somebody will always be able to shoot you if you go against their wishes.  And this, Gentle Reader, is in the Constitution.   While this may be an oversimplification, it is not an untruth.

Juggling that bunch of indigestible information with recent events has been challenging.

Then, as usual, events conspired to show a bigger picture.  The medical care to which we have access is not wonderful.  Don’t misunderstand me, I am grateful to have any access especially given the vigor with which certain “legislators” are going after getting rid of it entirely.  But it means the care we get is spotty and not very personal.  SO ANYWAY.  I have had certain health issues which were largely precipitated by the Hospital Hell of 2015.  I went to get this evaluated recently, and this evaluation, in which I told the person seeing me exactly what I wanted because that’s how they do it…there is no look at my situation and ensuing diagnosis…culminated in an email telling me I had something quite serious wrong with me.  This happens to be the something that killed my father (even though I only learned about it by having his obituary sent to me in a Christmas card).  There I was all of a sudden in a hall of mirrors with a flashing neon light saying IS IT TIME TO FREAK OUT YET.   Which, upon reflection, I realized is pretty much the norm now.  You get told that something is the way it seems…to someone else….and that’s the end of it.  It is then your option as to whether or not to stew about it or enjoin the battle for further information.

I admit I was rather surprised at the unease this whole thing generated.  However, nils desperendum.  Insisting on seeing the actual test results, I was able to see that in fact, this issue is “stable”, doesn’t require MORE medication, and is something that I can do something about with the  tool box I have.  My own diagnosis, in other words, was correct.  I gulped down that food for thought.

This really made me think about everything from economics to the fate of fresh air.  And what I continue to see is that we are all being encouraged to disenfranchise ourselves from everything.  To accept top down word which seems designed to foment separation and fear more than anything.  To not, crucially, think for ourselves.  We’re encouraged to accept “solutions” from a prior paradigm which didn’t really work then and is entirely unsuitable today.  As long as we are fretting about the fact that things aren’t working for us we aren’t taking a breath, asking questions and trying something different.  Not that this is easy but no matter where you find yourself, it can be done.  It’s important to just stop beating your head against that wall for a minute. ( Finances especially seem non-responsive to head banging, for example.)

One thing that absolutely (to my mind anyway) has to happen now? We all must stop accepting and consuming crazyoverthetopcrazypants as sane instruction or information, wherever it may pop up.  The Emperor really IS naked for the entire parade snaking over our planet, and actually this is a great opportunity to design a new suit and parade route.  Of course this means giving up one’s own attachment to a Certain Sort of Button and folding chair (from which to watch the proceedings)  but inspiration does give a person wings.  Those wings usually are much, much better than any Button or seat you were ever given by other routes.  And after all buttons, and chairs, are utilitarian items that can also be beautiful, so there’s another stellar opportunity to CREATE.  Out of what may seem in the moment to be thin air, but…..what the heck.  Why not???  Blessings and thanks as always!