Posts Tagged ‘survival’

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!

 

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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!

 

in which feeling returns to the limbs

Yes, Gentle Reader, semblances of normality are peeking out from under the dog fur bunnies under the TV.

I have to say, Telemundo has helped, even though my Spanish is not always up to the task.  One weekend a couple of weeks ago they showed an entire Saturday of: The Mummy Returns, Snow White and The Huntsman, and Indiana Jones and the Cave of the Crystal Skulls (or whatever it was called).  Today we’re watching Salt, and I read this week’s New Yorker.  The section on Sixteen Writers on the Election is well worth your time.  I’m in love with Junot Diaz anyway but his piece is wonderful.  Highly recommended from the Rehab Wing here.

Otherwise daily life continues to remind me that Truth and Beauty are still with us.  On one day I saw a HUGE rabbit bound up our “driveway”, with four white paws and a very tall stature.  Then, I saw about 24 wild turkeys and a few feet up from them, a HUGE covey of quail.  They all seemed to be looking at me (especially the rabbit) and saying, hey! you can’t accomplish anything THIS way! Lighten up!

This lightening up was duly accomplished at the end of a long day of cooking.  Although the Partner and I both are unsympathetic to the Pilgrim version of Thanksgiving, I have managed over time to impress him with the fact that the FOOD is wonderful.  I usually bake whatever bread we’ll use in the stuffing the day before, and this time it was sourdough.  Quite the endeavor this bread, taking an entire day to proof and all.  I was really happy to see my now almost 25 year old starter is in tip top shape, too.  The bread gets baked in a dutch oven (Tartine recipe) which is, admittedly, heavy.  I had struggled with removing the whole shebang from the oven for the first loaf and the Partner said: I WILL DO THE NEXT ONE.  YOU ARE NOT SUPERMAN.  I huffed a bit but at the time of doneness, I said, OK.  As I watched him, with one expert swell foop, remove the heavy pot from the oven and turn the hot loaf onto a rack, suddenly from the television came the William Tell Overture.  Somehow it all converged, how I’ve always thought I had to do everything myself, ‘specially since nobody else ever stepped up, and how ridiculous that is.  And how good the Partner is at so many of these things and what an excellent thing cooperation is.  It’s good to receive as well as give.  And it all struck me as supremely funny.  The crescendo of the music occurring at the precise moment loaf hit rack, for example.  I laughed so hard I cried and pretty soon we were ALL laughing, having our now mandatory group hug with the Dog.  See how easy.

Then came the actual day, and more cooking.  (Although simplified from the days of yore I can hardly imagine doing, but there it is. I used to even cook my own pumpkin for pie.  JEESH.) It all went easily, actually, and well.  The Dog ended his Thanksgiving by retiring to the couch (after his small bits of turkey meat and baked squash) and snoring.  Loudly.  And Longly.   He was exhausted, of course, by his day long patrol of the kitchen area and relentless are-we-there-yetting.

I felt, almost for the first time, a profound sense of Belonging.  My family is here, so now, in a way, I know where my house is.  I decided to let the happiness and joy from that inform whatever else it is that may come, whatever may require doing.  I still feel a huge pain in my heart but I also feel far more equal to the task of simply being a decent human being and standing for what is true, for beauty, for hope.  And for love.  Somehow I am not so afraid as I was.  I guess I can endorse a course of Telemundo action films and some turkey as restorative measures when all seems lost.

I leave you with some of what Junot Diaz wrote in the November 21, 2016 NEW YORKER.  I do believe that a non-violent person with a base in Nature and Creation can resonate with this and move forward with strength and capacity.  There are many ways to deal with darkness, after all.

“….For those of us who have been in the fight, the prospect of more fighting, after so cruel a setback, will seem impossible.  At moments like these, it is easy for even a matatana to feel that she can’t go on.  But I believe that, once the shock settles, faith and energy will return.  Because let’s be real: we always knew this shit wasn’t going to be easy.  Colonial power, patriarchal power, capitalist power must always and everywhere be battled, because they never, ever quit.  We have to keep fighting, because otherwise there will be no future- all will be consumed.  Those of us whose ancestors were owned and bred like animals know that future all too well, because it is, in part, our past.  And we know that by fighting, against all odds, we who had nothing, not even our real names, transformed the universe.  Our ancestors did this with very little, and we who have more must do the same.  This is the joyous destiny of our people- to bury the arc of the moral universe so deep in justice that it will never be undone…..”

Blessings and thanks for reading, as always!