Friday, December 21, 2007

A Trip to Mr. Hooper’s Bountiful Neighborhood

November is typically the month to review things I’m grateful for, but the spirit that wafted into the corners of Christmas this year reminds me that blessings come in all shapes and sizes, unexpected and sometimes preconceived as burdens. I am humbled and amazed by the blessings I have experienced this year, so grateful for the journey that has brought me to this place, and for my traveling companions who have been varied and unique, both from the bits of “road” we walked together, to the unassuming and simple lessons learned; unveiling glory in the very tiny moments of life. This is the gift I offer to those far and near, in search of their own peace this christmas season.


One crisp autumn morning in the not too distant past with nostalgia firmly settling into the corners of my mood, I set out for what promised to be a “real” adventure; returning to my roots and discovering some layers of meaning in them as well. Being the dutiful granddaughter I was brought up to be—feeling a little resentful that this duty had fallen to me—I had agreed to be the chauffeur for a day to my aging grandparents. Our journey, appointed to begin at 12 sharp on a fine Saturday afternoon late in September, began with the “pick-up” of the two elderly folks--my aging grandfather and his second wife, hazel, who for descriptive purposes is at the very least forgetful and generously speaking, known to repeat herself until everyone present has had a chance to memorize her each and every word. On this day we had planned a visit with grandpa’s brother arch and his wife Aileen, in Hooper, a town about 1 hour to the north where the Jones kids were born and raised.

At 85, my grandfather suffers from arthritis, among other ailments, which is centered, mainly in his legs, and he finds it difficult to walk at times and tires easily. Our trip that day was, as my grandpa put it, “what might just be his last chance to visit with his only living brother”. Uncle Arch is the oldest of the nine Jones children in my grandpa’s family and at 91, he and Robert E. are the last two Jones siblings still living. He also suffers from arthritis like my grandpa, but his condition is considerably worse, and he is unable to walk at all showing even greater signs of wear.

We established our rhythm for the day right off the bat as we made the trip from the house to the driveway. These two genteel folks slowly scuttled toward the car, a process taking 45 minutes, during which time we were beset with many roadblocks including two returns to the bathroom, one for a lost purse, several phone calls, a final search for the house key and a confirmation (3x’s) that a check had been written for the boy who was mowing the lawn (he was actually grandma hazel’s grandson, a fact that floated in and out of her memory so that he was simply referred to as “that lovely boy who mows the lawn”.) Two of the calls involved a change of plan. You see Aunt Helen—grandpa’s youngest brother Evan’s widow, would like to go and could we stop in bountiful to pick her up? Yes we could and stop we did, not just onceto pick her up, but twice; first for a bathroom at a nearby gas station, and then in bountiful for Helen.

A cheerful and lively woman, 70 some odd years young, Helen added a chatty flavor to our party and we finished our drive with talk of construction traffic and kitchen renovations. It seems Helen needed a new fridge but couldn’t find one that fit in the space that had all the features she liked. What do you think is more important, an icemaker in the door or being able to get into the kitchen when the door to the fridge is open?

As we finally exited the highway in the direction of Hooper, close to the shores of the great salt lake, my grandpa perked up and began entertaining our party with interesting tidbits of history about his first trip to Salt Lake with the high school debate team, and how one year his dad gave him a plot of land next to the house and told him he could keep the profit of whatever crop he raised there—sadly that was the year the bottom fell out of the tomato market and the factory offered him almost less than the cost it took to raise the vegetables so there would be no money made that year, and finally of each house in town—who had lived there, how they were connected to the Joneses and what had become of them (if he knew). I soon found myself a willing captive on this odyssey—willing to put up with the idiosyncrasies of age to learn the history firsthand of this wizened old patriarch, and in turn some of my own.

We wound our way through town, past the local market, and Aunt Addie’s cottage, to a pleasantly kept old farm house and garden (that I vaguely remembered from a childhood visit) set amidst the building of track homes and developments that used to be fields where the Jones children once rode their horses to school. Entering the farmhouse, I recognized a much older and thinner version of my great uncle arch seated in the living room. Unable to use his legs, he beamed a smile across the room at his brother bob who had come from the big city to pay a visit. Great Aunt Aileen (another second wife—a little younger—relatively speaking, with slightly more mobility) was bustling in the kitchen preparing our meal. She assured us she hadn’t gone to any extra trouble and in fact had simply pulled a roast out of the freezer; the rest of the meal was fresh out of the garden. Comprised of corn on the cob, two types of freshly pickled cucumbers, and the biggest and reddest tomatoes I’d ever seen sliced and eaten plain—Aileen later mused about how Hooper was once famous for its tomatoes and her experiences at the cannery, but technology had influenced a new and improved growth in California and Hooper had lost favor in the tomato industry. Hazel followed suit in storytelling and presented for our memorization through constant repetition, a story of how as a girl she used to take a salt shaker out to the garden and sit in the dust and eat tomatoes fresh off the vine.

The rest of the table was laid with cantaloupes and watermelon from the melon patch, baby peas sweet with ripeness (my own peas that year from my first attempt at gardening had turned out sour so I was thrilled) and fresh baked bread. this meal really “having been no trouble at all” for aunt Aileen was topped off by a delicious, and still warm from the oven, peach pie for which Aileen had spent the morning collecting peaches from the orchard floor because a great wind had knocked them to the ground the night before.

After such a feast, which was “no trouble at all”, you might imagine all involved were ready for a nice afternoon nap. After little more chatting and nostalgia over the past, including a review of all the grandchildren, great grandchildren and all their news and spouses, we set off once more for the return trip. Grandpa, showing wear from this journey, didn’t want to end his day without a visit to the local cemetery where many of the jones family had been buried--including his parents. Not a far drive from the farmhouse, we peeled our now sweaty and weary selves out of the car and stepped back into the afternoon sun to walk amongst the headstones of my ancestors. Over the noise of the rider mower, grandpa, our troubadour and guide, recounted stories of the names we saw carved in marble, and in his eyes I beheld a recollection of a life swelling with bitter sweet memories that kept him company when he was still. Tears formed in my eyes as I learned of my heritage and embraced the simple beauty of the moment. Soon our road weary company piled back in the car and passed a relatively silent and introspective ride home. With farewells bidden to Helen, Aileen and Arch, I safely deposited hazel and bob at their home and left them with a fridge full of tomatoes and squash from Aunt Aileen and promises of speaking soon.

On the drive to my own home and many times since, my thoughts have wandered back this Journey. My heart beats with gratitude and warmth for an aging and somewhat doddering old man, full of the eloquence of years; who shared with me on a warm autumn afternoon, part of his life story and part of himself. I am thankful for the rich heritage in which I proudly take my place. At the time I agreed to make the trip it was difficult for me to sacrifice the time and effort to transport a bunch of old folks to visit in their past, but I gained so much--love, understanding, a common bond from the journey. In retrospect, I realize an even more valuable lesson--In this life we all go through hard times, good times and meet many challenges, I recognize we are all just a bunch of old folks at different stages of aging--searching for love and understanding—creating a common bond, if we are willing to share it, on all of our journeys.

Monday, December 17, 2007

what is this "nation" of which you speak?

i'm curious about this state of the nation that has appeared
to descend on me with full force over the past month or so,
whether i like it or not. The "state" to which i am referring
is the "hiber--nation" and it has closed in on me like the frost
on a canadian wolfhound's muzzle in a snowstorm.

over the past few years i have grown much more conscious of so many things as they relate to the seasons, tide, cycles of the moon, resonance with the natural world, but this has really been the first winter that i have been conscious of my own inner cycling attempting to go into hibernation. i am struck almost daily with an inner conflict of the me that means business all the time, and the me that gets things done by setting the intention and moving in that direction. for years, and i mean a whole lifetime here, the me that means business has been the leader of the pack. (hey if we're building a nation, there may as well be a pack of us that live here right?) As i learn a few things about myself, and open my eyes to a more conscious me, i recognize that there are different ways to live my daily life--not by changing the things i do or really even say, but by changing the way i am, perceive, respond, feel, choose to recognize, risk, love and relate with those around me.

the business side of my persona--run by the ego--has a plan for absolutely everything before i even get up in the morning, even if i don't have anything on my agenda for the day. the ego side of me plans what to wear, how to fill the hours, where to go, what route to take, what kind of coffee to drink, hair up or down, up or down, up or down, boots or heels, boots or heels, boots or heels....etc., etc. etc. silly ego, sit, stay...stay.... this is the game i have now entered into with the ego/business side of me. to tame the rabid beast into moments of quietude. how full can one person's head be of all this minutiae and effectively live a life? let me rephrase that, i'm so damn grateful that somehow i became aware of the question "how full can my head be of such minutiae, when my intention is to be living from my heart?"

so this place of living from the heart is a new habit for me, and while i operate from that place with more consistency each day, the ego is a hard habit to break. this brings me back to my original query regarding the state of the nation. truly with the seasonal shift into winter this year, my heart and soul--responding to seasonal, emotional and perhaps spiritual cues moved into some level of hibernation. it was not a conscious choice that i made to settle in for a long winter's nap, but like the bear to it's cave, my self that creates the movement--whoever she is today--is answering a subconscious call to sit, stay...stay... it is a temporary cease fire, if you will, between the doer and the be'er inside of me (funny how be'er is really beer without an apostrophe, i do wonder about the significance of that). my ego me is so incredibly impatient for results, results of things just begun, or even imagined; while the soulself understands the nature of a time for "ebbing" allowing the universe to catch up with intention--allowing long flexed muscles to build and store energy.

if you sort of say the word hibernation with a french accent, the "b" can ever so easily be heard as a "v" and then things slide into focus. if the word is hiver(not hiber)--french for winter--then this pack of selves just shifted into winter mode. and "en hiver" one must do as the bear's do, and go into hibernation, the spring will bring such glorious surprises won't it?

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Now playing: Soul Coughing - Coffee Song
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Xander's land of the Tinies

This story is a little long for this space, but is an answer to a request for a young boy named xander who doesn't feel all that well too much of the time, is in and out of the hospital and who loves to hear stories about adventure.

Way across the sea, past the land where children’s dreams are the stuff of real life, in a the tiny forest of Woldenvale, lives a magical and wonderful people known as the “tinies”. The very tiniest member of this clan is named xander and he is the hero to all the land.

Not to very long ago there was an upset in the vale, so great—that
x
ander’s mother and father didn’t know what to do, his magical faery aunt didn’t know what to do, even the king of the land didn’t know what to do.

A dark and ominous cloud had floated over the vale, darkening the sky—almost so dark that daytime didn’t shine, and raining down sad and woeful thoughts over the whole land.

xander never even noticed the cloud. As the very tiniest of tinies, he didn’t often get to the top of the heap and wasn’t used to seeing the bright sunshine all that often. He carried a beautiful and shining crystal in his pocket that glowed so brightly, it was all he needed to light his way. He would wander the forest floor, discovering the amazing and brilliant secrets the forest held—secrets like where the faerie king kept his shiny magic stones, and how it was possible the woodland nymphs could sometime be seen in two places at once, and his best secret of all was why the great and dark cloud had covered the vale.

One of xander’s favorite places was all the way to the end of the forest where the mossy rocks led right down to the sea . .

One day while playing in the rocks, xander dropped his favorite shining crystal right off the edge into the sea. Now this did make xander just a little bit sad, and he sat peering deep into the water hoping for a glimpse of his powerful and shining crystal before it dropped out of sight.

Before it completely disappeared, xander’s eyes blinked several times in a row to see if he was dreaming. The glowing crystal began to rise back to the surface of the water, and as it rose it shone brighter and brighter riding right on the nose of the most wise-looking and smiling sea lion that had ever graced the shores of the vale.

Xander didn’t know if he should be afraid of the sea lion and he drew back from the water, but the sea lion began to sing, the music came up from so deep in his throat and was such a beautiful song, that xander began to sing right back.

This was the first time the sea lion had ever had anyone on land return his song and he began to cry. Xander reached out to wipe the tears away from his eyes, and as he did so they turned into tiny crystals themselves. Then the sea lion spoke in the most beautiful and warm voice you could ever imagine. Xander had been feeling a little unsure to this point, but when he heard this voice, he knew this was his long lost brother who had jumped into the sea years before when the voice of the mermaids had lulled him to the sea.

In the years since they had seen each other, xander’s brother, lucazia, had become the king of the sea lions ( in a story that must be told another time—because this is the story of xander’s triumph)

with their newfound brotherhood rediscovered, xander returned to the shore every day and spent time in the waves and the deep with his brother, never noticing that the dark cloud became darker and more threatening over woldenvale every day. Finally, one morning, xander’s mother told him she thought it would be best if he stayed home because the dark cloud was so frightening and so dark that he might not find his way home again. Xander gently began to cry and took his mother’s face in his hands and looked her right in the eyes. When they both had looked so long and so deep that all was silence in the room, xander told his mother that if she would let him go to the shore just one more day, he would bring the light back to the vale. There was no doubt in her heart that xander would do just that and so she let him go.

Xander quickly ran through the darkened woods, past the faerie circle of stones where a great council was meeting to discuss what to do about the darkness, right past the toadstool castle where all the forest creatures came daily to listen to music of the wood nymphs, down the mossy rocks and jumped right into the chilly and dark water. He dived so deep and so long that even xander began to wonder how deep he would go; but then he saw what he was seeking…it was his glorious and shining crystal, sitting right on top of a pile of sea lion tear crystals. The closer he got, the more brilliant the light became and xander finally stopped just to look at the beautiful rainbows of light that shined everywhere around this crystal tower.

Suddenly, lucazia appeared to xander and asked him how and why he had come so deep into the ocean world of the sea lions. With that xander began to sing, this was a song he didn’t know was inside of him; it formed as it left his lips and told the story of how the light of the world was dimming, and was calling for a gift from the sea to reignite it. Lucazia told xander that the gift was not possible and the ocean’s waters needed their crystals to empower the tides and waves to roll in and out in the moon’s light. xander took his brother’s face right into his own hands, they touched noses and breathed in each other’s breath until xander could feel the water of the ocean become the breath that he breathed.

Then xander knew that he must give a gift of much greater value to the ocean so he could bring back the light of the crystal to woldenvale. He knew he must choose to stay and live in the deep and peaceful waters of the ocean joining his song and his spirit to the power of the tides and the moon before the power of the crystal could be brought to the surface. Lucazia agreed this magical offering would be enough to bring the light of the crystal back to the surface and to burn the dark cloud out of the sky--allowing the light of the sun to join its sister moon in the powerful sky once again.

So this is what xander did, staying in the water kingdom with his brother--he sang his song stronger and stronger every day. He left the ocean just once more to bring the brilliant crystal to the toadstool castle. once there, its light and brilliance changed the song of the woodnymphs into a glorious choir whose song could not be contained. The dark cloud lifted and burned out of the sky above woldenvale.

Some evenings xander’s mother still wanders to the shore to hear the song of her two beautiful sons; the king of the sea lions and the hero of woldenvale. This brings joy to her heart and she sings her own song of peace walking back home in the light of the moon.


cc llama farmer 2007

photo credit for many of the nature photos goes to wayfarerscientista.blopgspot.com see site for these and many other amazing photos:)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

is it the beatles or something i swallowed?


Just a little prose from my current blogtag challenge. thought i would post it here, until i am inspired with another topic...


Jansen Bright had always been interested in saving lives and the sea--including seafood, in that order. It didn't surprise his mother when he joined the coast guard instead of going to college and was still the youngest man on his crew. For his youth and puppy like willingess to “go overboard” to do a job right, jan endured frequent verbal rib poking and practical jokes. Rather than going ballistic and ending up on some criminal science survey course list for “must study serial-killer psyches”, he would blow off steam crabbing in the early mornings to keep his head clear and bring in some extra money.

The bright family had always lived quite an austere existence and jan had not learned extravagant needs, the money he earned was tucked away quietly for a rainy day. The best opportunity crabbing did afford him was time to think and become quiet for a few moments each day. Not a luxury he found among his shipmatesin the guard , jan came to love the silent moments on the water, whalewatching and crabbing, as much as he loved the adrenaline rush of jumping into the drink to pull a waterlogged survivor to safety. Now reflecting on the silence around him, jan realized both the silence and the chaos in the water represented his fondest memories of love—remembering his deepest connections had come from time spent at the shore or sailing with his family. His spirit soared when he was allowed to express his inner nature while on the sea, in whichever outlet it took. In certain moments he realized when he expressed, what his girlfriends had always classed his-- "chewy center” through these labors of love, he was at his most joyful.

As he looked around him at the floating sea kelp and distant reef--out of the corner of his eye, jan thought he glimpsed his father coming in his direction. Long since gone from this world, it didn’t seem possible and the image faded as quickly as it had arisen. A whisper rippled through the water reminding him of how much he worshiped his father. Never having been very close, jan had always fought to earn the approval of his dad and had chosen a path that mirrored that of this man he admired so keenly. The “ghost” of his father quickly changed into a memory—one of his very few from childhood that didn’t include the sea—watching his parents swirl about the living room to the notes of yellow submarine. Typically his father would be dressed in a crisp, clean uniform and his mother just returned from the beauty parlor with a new up-do with some sort of waltz in the background, but on that far-distant day they sensually and almost casually circled each other in grubby jeans and t-shirts after a hard weekend day of clean-up and chores; the looks passing between them obviously the secret language of love that jan sought to decipher his entire adult life.

For a moment jan wondered what part of what he was seeing was real; the dancing parents or the breaking waves? He had spent countless hours gazing out at the sea already in his lifetime; watching whales pass by with their young ushering them to safety through treacherous waters, considering the migratory patterns of the waterfowl that appeared during high season each year, and imagining himself as a part of that amazing journey. Now jan’s eyes blinked back tears—if that was possible underwater—as he realized his imaginary life had finally returned to encompass his real life. As the storm raged overhead and finally bested his youthful strength, jan let go and took the water into his lungs. With his final, saturated breaths, jan recognized his father as he beheld him approaching through the water. How fitting to see him again here, in this lyrical, underwater garden where the arm of the starfish is magically re-grown and the eight-arms of the octopus, like the powerful, weaving legs of the spider; reach out to offer another life-giving safety net. As jan sank into unconsciousness his thoughts turned to regrets of moments in his own brief life that had not yet been lived; it wasn’t until much later, sprawled out on the deck of the search and rescue boat and coughing up saltwater, that jan felt he had finally opened his spirit just enough to realize he had always had the approval of his father, and his underwater apparition had been the liminal, lifesaving moment of the recognition and embrace of that love.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pay it Forward

(does used hat with old broach= "home made"?)


my wonderful friend, gabi, at www.thefeastwithin.com got me started on this one. at christmastime i get a little over ambitious about crafty items--so i am happy to pay a few of them forward.

The commitment is this:

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, which is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

I love this idea of sharing handmade items in the spirit of just that- sharing something you’ve created with the only condition being the promise of those you’ve given to, to then share their talents with others and so on and so on…. yes!

So I am making the offer, as stated above, to the first three people who post a comment on this particular post. I’ll make you a handmade item and send it to you as soon as I can finish it- a the very least in the next 365 days and you just have to promise to make the same offer on your blog. Let’s Pay it Forward with in this tiny way!
I’m not sure who started it but it seems to be going strong- let’s keep it up!

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Monday, December 3, 2007

blogtag 2: going to the show

i usually post my blogtag on my myspace account, but am having technical difficulties. you can follow the blogtag at www.myspace.com/baliunderconstruction . the assignment for the game was to use the 2 photos (to get the entire gist of things you must follow the thread of all the blogs of the challenger)

(to be read out loud with a childish british accent, as if you had a slight cold)


me before the show

Dear diary— Today was the bestest day of my hole life. Mummie told me way long ago that I could go an watch my favorite game at the show, not on the tv. Me an mum wach a lot of tv an that is my favorit, but going to the show is rilly my best favorit. The day did not start so good, mum made me eat nutrishunal biscuits agin cause she thinks I don't poop emuch—I hate pooping, it stinks.

Then the day got verie, verie, verie good when my girlfriend came round. She is calld penny and I laff al the time when I here that because she is not monie. But I call her penny now because she cryed last time I calld her carol. I like the name carol way more than penny, but mom said you cannot just call a different name to someone if you don't like there name. weerd, huh My name is Gordon, the kids call me gordo and I never cry about that cause they are rilly my best frends.

When penny got there, I got to stop eating those gross biscuits and finish getting reddy for the show. I love the show, I get to ware my best tennie runners cause that's the game. Evrywon wares there tennie runners, but theres are way more classic than mine. Mum says I can by classic tennie runners when I have a job of my own and no the valu of monie. I think mum is funny, I already do all the hard jobs cleaning the w.c. and I make my bed everyday, and she still dusnt give me the rilly good shoos—what kind of job is she talking about?

We got to ride the toob to the show and there were so many people, I almost wet my nikers when a big ugly guy sat rite next to me on the toob. Finaly we got to the place with the rilly big doors and the huge grass, where they play the game. Penny acted sort of stupid is you ask me, she acted like she had nevr seen so many chaps in one place and wanted to ring her mum. Sometimes I think penny acts like a baby, but she has soft boobies and smell like peprmint so I ignore the baby stuff. Mum says we all haff to do are part.

I loved the show, the chaps in the best wihite shortpants I ever saw were the ones who got to play for the tv. Only are seats weren't so grand. Mum said that thing about a job again when I asked her why we had to sit at the tippy top—why do I have to clean more w.c.'s just because we have stinky seats? then she said something about nosebleeds, but i havent picked my nose til it bleeds for a rilly long time.
Then the best thing happened at the show that I ever saw, and not just on tv—some one very fast in a big coat started playing on the grass. He was not supposed to do that, it was not his turn, but he brot decorations for his game and started putting them all over the grass—they lookt like big pink popsicles and I felt hungry. Me and penny were laffing a lot and so many people by us told mum we better shut it. Other people in blue coats (I hate the blue coats) started chasing the guy on the grass only he finished his game first and pushed the button before they could catch him. I guess he must have practissed so much to be so fast and his game was so fun.

Wonse he pushed the button, the fireworks went off—and then me and penny rilly started to have fun. the fireworks sent a hot spark that cott my hair on fire. Mum didn't think that was fun either. Old people do not no what is rilly funny like kids do—I want to go to the show evry day. One old gent said people do not no how to show respekt to wimble dome like they used to—I think he was crying. Was he talking about my new haircut that looks like a dome?

after the fireworks we had to stop on the toob stop where haircuts are—so I could get this new haircut, my ears feel cold, but penny thinks I look like corky from the tv, so I like it to. I'm hoping mum will let me go to more shows soon, I would like that for a job


me after the show

Sunday, December 2, 2007

shadow dancing

journal entry November 10, 2007 from the desert
--into the west, shadow work
i'm on a solo meditation on the broad, red-rock. the sun shines brightly warming the air, but not strong enough in its wintering zenith to heat the face of the stone. a very light breeze plays with the baby hairs along my hair line and the same playfulness is matched by the two courageous crickets that keep me company. clothed in their camouflage browns and greens they must feel a kinship as my garb is much the same.
one little fellow felt so kindly he hopped right onto my thumb and began munching. i never realized crickets had such clenching little jaws and quickly let him know i was not on the lunch menu this day. my stillness and observation call to mind certain moments in childhood when, at the end of a long hot day swimming in the summer sun, i would lay my tired body down on the warm cement poolside, its slightly tangy smell of metal would mix with the chlorine in water dripping from my nose and eyelashes. the long shadows cast by the sun as it set in the west painted a shadow of my profile on the sidewalk, and as my body dried in the sun, i would make faces in the shadows--noticing my lips, my nose, my long luxuriant eyelashes that dripped with pool water--and i would hum a little tune inside myself; pleased to be so still and breathing in my own essence so deeply.
now sitting here upon this rock i am called to wonder--is it that our shadow work frightens us because of the danger held within--or is it simply because we have lost contact with that "deep within"--the place which holds our heartbeat and hum--that would love to be held and warmed in the sun, hummed to and rocked, recognized for its own song, its singular reflection? this moment, this now of awareness is welcome--i do not jump to care for the shadow--my shadow--because it is in pain, but because i love it, i am grateful for the awareness it brings , the depth it creates, the song it sings.

Friday, November 30, 2007

this may be considered TMI, but i am impatient for perfection

o.k., for the past 24 hours i have been laid completely flat by the most fire-breathing dragon of a bladder infection known to man. i share this, not in an effort to gross anyone out, but the details become important to understand the frame of mind.

when you never went to sleep the night before because not only do you have to pee so badly you think there is no way you can hold it, and then when you try-every 3-excruciatingly, ant-like(both in pace of movement and pain of entire anthill's worth of them climbing up inside your urethra) minutes, it feels like shards of glass are exiting from your body--coping skills, including a sense of what is real and what is not start to loose any grip whatsoever on your brain--

that is a time when vulnerability stretches to an all-time high...around about 4:30 in the morning i began thinking of people that i could actually wake-up at such an hour, or that might already be up, or that wouldn't hate me because of their lost sleep. then i added insult to injury and began thinking about why i was all alone and i couldn't just lean over to wake somebody up to-at the very least run me a hot bath.

now i've had a little distance from those thoughts and a modicum of sleep...ahh, perspective. what does this "chance" for reflection give me? first i thought of what the hell does a bladder infection represent emotionally? am i not seriously, like, the most-fucking willing to deal with my emotions person that i know? do i not wear my heart on my sleeve with the best of them? what the hell is my body trying to tell me that i don't already delve into on a daily basis? and in the only tone that seems appropriate--that of chandler from friends--could i seriously be any more self-actualized and mature than i already am?

i guess the answer is no... no matter how aware, self-actualized, perfect, amazing and delightful a gal i think i am, it's all bullshit. this whole mask i adopt that somehow assuages my inner demons, does not dispatch them when i sit on the toilet all night long in agony--the demons reappear. someone asked me today..."do i believe that fear and shame based motivation are temporary and why?" my first answer was a resounding yes, totally temporary and possible to expunge the pain of fear and shame as a belief system. then i went into an internal review and questioned my own smug self...if i thought these beliefs were temporary, and then when i experienced my own crisis i returned to fear myself...just how temporary were they?

i don't have the answer, not even close, but i do have this...i never felt depressed or pitiful--and still don't, even as i share such a sad and pitiable story. i did feel grateful that i could draw my own warm bath, and that i had 4 or 5 people that i felt o.k. about waking up by 6:00 a.m., that at least that many people mobilized the next morning to help me get better immediately. and with perspective, i feel a tiny bit grateful that i have this amazing body that sends me an immediate wake-up call, or bullshit detector when i get too immersed in my own bullshit. it happily tells me that i am somehow not buying into to what fears are feeling real to me at the moment and that there is a part of me that is asking to be heard and nurtured, not ignored and toughed out.

i am impatient for perfection, but in the meantime i certainly don't want to be jesus christ, nor perfection personified on earth; and living this life sometimes punctuated with pain reminds me how mud-lusciously delicious the living can get.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Soul food—thoughts from the inside

Turkey stuffing, figs, and new ideas…

I have disliked figs since I was about 10 years old. I had never tried them before that, but that was the year that the fig tree in my own backyard bore ripe fruit. We had all kinds of fruit trees that my grandfather (an amazing planter of wisdom and trees) and father had labored religiously to bring to fruit; pomegranates, mulberries, apricots, peaches—we were truly spoiled when it came to summer abundance—a swimming pool and all you could eat fruit. But when the fig tree finally started to bare mature fruit I was one disgusted 10 year-old. When ripe, a fig will start to drip tiny bits of its luscious juice on the outside of its skin, to the ground and down the trunk. And when you bite into it, the flesh is almost meaty with its fullness and with little black seeds, almost like a kiwi fruit.

To my undeveloped and immature tastebuds the fig was quite disgusting—all that sticky juice, meaty flesh and obvious seeds—a little too much evidence of the messy, juicy, procreative ways of life. And I never even considered biting into one since then. Literal decades went by until my sensibilities entertained the possibility that it might not be the fig, it might be me. Happily, last summer as I dined with friends on a patio in bountiful, utah of all places—with chickens roosting in the trees, and the sun setting over the great salt lake, I was given the chance to revisit my definition of delight. My earthy hostess served a plate of ripe fig slices with brie and herbed crustinis—I hesitatingly bit into one and my tongue jumped in happy surprise. How mouth-wateringly delicious, what a jolt to my prior belief; how was it possible that this fruit of such offending history had made this miraculous shift in flavor?

Or was it me? …could it be that now from this place of experience and experiment, my tastebuds were finally ready to savor the deep and intense flavors the fig had to offer? Yesterday, as my family--extended, uproarious and exclamatory sat to enjoy thanksgiving dinner this lesson made its way into my conscious layers.

I had made the turkey stuffing for the festivities according to no recipe at all. I just started adding things that I knew should go in, and a few things that possibly shouldn’t—resulting in what I thought was a pretty good dish. Both my sister, who hated stuffing for years, and my brother-in-law, who treats it with a mild disregard, licked their plates clean of their turkey stuffing, went back for more; finding that our devouring party had made quick work of it and finished off the entire plate.

This morning in the shower it came to me, as brilliant thoughts often do, that sometimes we form an opinion or preference from a very certain frame of mind and we take that opinion on as a belief. Life will often present many opportunities to delve into our beliefs, see if there isn’t a different way we could look at them, or perhaps another opinion that might be formed if our frame of mind is different. And for myself, I often ignore those offerings, turn my nose with disdain, reject the experience out of hand because I know better. My beliefs will not set me loose to try something new, or something old from a new point of view.

Aha, but I will. With my newfound love of figs and excellent turkey stuffing recipe in hand, I recognize the chance to set loose my old beliefs, and try on each experience as if for the first time is a gift of sublime proportions. And for this I truly give thanks.

New Perspective Turkey Stuffing

  • 1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage (or Morningstar for the vegetarian inclined—might want to marinate this in maple syrup and chili powder for more flavor) browned and drained and chopped
  • 2 yellow onions finely chopped and sautéed in butter
  • 2 stalks celery--chopped
  • 4 fresh apples with skin (I chose granny smith for a sweet sharp flavor—choose your personal favorite) chopped
  • 1 pkg button mushrooms (can change to oyster mushrooms for truly decadent flavor) sliced
  • 1 cup pecans diced
  • 1 cup cranberries ( I was in a pinch and used a cup of granola with cranberries in it)
  • 6 cornbread muffins (from any old packet will do, just cooked and dried out)
  • 1 pkg. stuffing bread (not from a box, just the kind with cubes of bread from bakery section)
  • Ground sage, dill seed, celery salt, thyme, parsley, cracked salt and pepper
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 4-8 tbls. Maple syrup
  • ½ c. sweetened coconut
  • 2-3 eggs beaten

Chop and slice all but the breads in large frying pan, on medium heat, sautee entire mix with butter until warm and bubbling. Add in corn bread and bread cubes and pour chicken broth over entire mix. I always add heaps and heaps of spices, but you can start with 1 tbs. of sage, dill and thyme and maybe 2 tsp of the others. This is truly a to your taste experiment

Finally add in eggs, syrup and coconut and mix thoroughly. Stuff as much of mix as possible into cavity of the turkey and cook with bird, if you are overly sensitive to this approach, heat in a casserole dish until warm throughout—approx. 30 min. @ 350

Thursday, November 22, 2007

giving thanks

10 things for which i feel amazingly blessed, nurtured, seen, known and loved

  • hot, hot baths
  • books and authors
  • the crisp, cutting sound of the sun setting over the great salt lake
  • wood burning fires
  • toe nail polish
  • a 2 minute snuggle just before bed
  • waking up to the sound of a coyote chorus
  • help carrying in the groceries
  • the amazing scent of freshly mowed grass bottled for me
  • scads of family; laughing, chatting, crying, ignoring, playing, living, loving--as best they can

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

waxing gibbous

ok, so where the hell did the term "waxing gibbous" come from? i'm sure with just a bit of research the answer would be mine, but that's not the answer i seek. really i'm looking for something the other side of the gibbous moon. they say that accidents and suicides increase every full moon and there are some months when i can absolutely understand why.

i can't provide any concrete reason and all indicators should point to a thanksgiving-glazed over sense of bliss, but the ebb season has kicked in with a vengeance! this commentary in no way discounts the many people and experiences for which i am viscerally grateful, that sometimes makes the ebb all that much more difficult to be in with any sort of grace. when there is no real reason to be unhappy and malaise seems to haunt my every thought, it gets a little much to understand. when i really take this feeling out and poke it with a stick, it isn't actually anything resembling depression, i don't have a name for it, just a sense of square peg in round hole

so maybe that's it, i keep on trying to wrap my fucking brain around the situation and it doesn't have a thing to do with the thinking part of me. this is a lesson i seem to need to learn with some consistency of late, that i choose to live based on intuition and feeling, asking that my everpresent "figuring things out" ego/brain dynamic duo kick in really more as a tool than as the director of this one act play. this lesson takes discipline...and honestly, sometimes more discipline than i seem to posses. this is where the whole "lama school" thing really calls for some kind of guru.

maybe that's it, what i am looking for is someone to just spill this all out to and get the ultimate answer, what is this and how do i fix it? damn, even as i say it, my inner-guru is already shouting the answer while standing on a podium in some sort of very large hat...a la rick moranis in space balls. so since i have already spilled it all out to me a million times, the little man with the large hat is screaming get over yourself, you know this isn't real and it will pass so just ride the wave. that feels like a really good answer, but doesn't serve my current need for wailing and gnashing of teeth. ahhh, how do we ever break the terrible cycle of seeking drama?

maybe that's it, just a great big sobbing fest, mirror staring, zit-picking extravaganza. i seriously do think there is something to be said for the sobbing therapy. my mom and a friend of hers--both therapists--came up with the "sobbing therapy" the other day on a road trip, and as they shared their recent lives with eachother, they decided that it would be great to just cry it out even if the tears were crocodile. i like this crocodile drama idea, everything feels stuffed inside and just needs to come bursting out in extreme loudness, breaking of a little bit of glass and maybe just a little hard core dancing to very loud music.

ahh, and now i feel calm, the right answer just appeared in this rant, hard core dancing therapy. this will have to be further discussed in later blogs because now is the time on schprokets when we dance!!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

thoughts on the labyrinth

i wrote the poem below last year amidst a great deal of chaos in my life. i have been revisiting its themes of late and sensing a different approach. Feeling some pieces of my life to be in a bit of chaos at the moment i read into my own meaning and am a little put off by it. who is this girl and how did she sound so enraptured with absolutely everything around her? while i still love the message of truly entering the dance, boldly stepping into the journey knowing that movement is the direction which brings change, my mood right now isn't feeling all glorious and groovy about the path.

rather i feel quite unsure...what is in front of me, i honestly haven't the faintest idea. i have some pretty clear intentions for myself, and i have learned that specifics are where things can get sticky, so while there are ways i would like things to look in my life, i am feeling this deep underbroiling shift. wow, on the constantly rolling waves out here on the sea of life, how do i gain my sea legs before i drown?

i have this idea that life rolls by us in these patterns of ebb and flow. while it may seem desirable that things are always going my way, i have learned the value of the waves flowing in the opposite direction from time to time. that's where they seem to be flowing right now, not actually against me, just opposite from how they have been flowing. typically i would want to interpret this as just plain against me, but i can't really say that now. it feels more just like i needed some learning from another source or an awakening from alternate resources. so the universe starts to shake things up for me when that kind of learning is at hand. some days it really is just not so easy to embrace the big waves in the spirit they were intended, as some kind of thrill ride. (now i understand how silly i have been to speak the words outloud..."i'm a bit of a thrillseeker")

at any rate, the labyrinth winds on and i weave my way, i'd fancy a scooter about this point in the game for a few moments of leisurely cruising.

Labyrinthine Life

Winding in, gathering up, collecting all
Starting a journey, uncovering where healing steps lead
Do craftsmen commence their plan at its end or is it in beginning a craft that
paths bend towards reward?
Each step a choice that leaves a choice behind, no wonder shoes are so adored
Each pair marks a moment, an occasion, a fleeting glimpse of lessons learned and meaning gained, soul’s therapy revealed in pampering each precious toe
Feet set firmly on course; walking running tripping down, up and around.
Each bump in the road unearths a moment’s memory; how the wind blows, when children play,
Will there be dancing and singing—there is love and laughter.

Reaching center, becoming still, conscious and aware
Hand on heart to hear the rhythm beat its song—is it nourished, cared for, cherished?
Slowed steps at center, closer attention to soles, shoes, path—sticks and stones
Grateful for mercury’s thrumming wings guiding feet to halcyon heights,
And the soulful grounding of steps in guarded message and symbol’s gilded tongue
What a gift this place—right in front of us,
Life’s edges become clouded outside this moment;
And what gods we think ourselves in judging past and future by casting suspicion on the now?
In time, perspective shifts, mirrors reflect another image,
a story untold, a way not yet made known;
How now to learn the fairytale’s end, but to turn again and enter the maze

Arms open wide, wrapped around middle, raised in praise
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Dare we recline as Ophelia, blossoms upon our lips only in death?
We must not refuse to plough the furrow, gather the wildflower,
harvest the thistle and drink the blessed wine,
With fermentation, gestation, determination reaching unchallenged heights and countering blows in glorious song.
Life’s coil, poised to spring, unveils evolving plot
Light shone on fear reveals and releases its mystic power,
Urging us to leave known and familiar; embrace unseen and shadow
Choose a new path, conjure undreamed frontiers, birth brave new worlds
Grab your slippers and enter the mist dancing, rejoicing
A voyage is not sailed; passage not conquered,
way not made clear for those who will not begin the journey,
Paint each little piggy, thrust on your shoes and join the throng with those who run the race; not to win—but to run, to spin, to love

august 2006

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The gods of felicity

You may think that I’ve mistaken my title and perhaps meant to write “the felicitous gods” or “the god’s felicitations” or perhaps even “felicitations from the gods”, but no I am not even pretending to be a messenger from the gods delivering tidings of good hope and great cheer, etc. etc., nor cautionary reports of doom and gloom…I know what happens to the messenger—so please don’t consider paying any attention to that man behind the curtain (in this case I would be the man behind the curtain, but since there is no message from the gods here—feel free to take the curtains down and make antebellum dresses out of them or disregard them altogether). At any rate, I meant my title and here’s why…

I have this little game I play with my sister on occasion when she has gotten to the point on one of her own misguided pursuits that I have reached my limit of human endurance and assume the state of a regular christian martyr. For several years it was at this point that I would revert to my inner-child, 12 year-old response of throwing a fit and perhaps a punch or two to bring an end to the inane choices I was witnessing. Finally, when maturity and good sense (of course on my part) became the norm and not the exception, I moved towards a solution to my fit throwing. Often it was humor, or even just letting off a tiny bit of steam to relieve the pressure. For a time these two ideas have joined forces in the form of a prayer to god, right in the moment, right out loud. Now because this auditory prayer was not the proposed relief from the religion of my youth, and in fact seemed sacrilegious at times—I completely relieved myself from the guilt of my blasphemy by changing my “dear god” or “dear lord” prayer into a foreign language—then you see it sounded so cosmopolitan and pious at the same time that it was certain to be recognized for what it was—an attempt at levity to lighten the mood.

And so the “deus” prayer was born—this being portuguese for god and pronounced “dayoosh”, (not to be confused with doosh--a topic for an entirely different day altogether) one could not help but giggle at the reference. My sister and I immediately joined forces to see who could out pray the other when our frustrations became unbearable…when she asked for the 50th time if I would please help her clean out her closet, it was only a prayer to dayoosh that would calm my internal fuming beast. And when I had told her 50 times the right and proper way to organize her magazines—dayoosh swooped in to save the day…as in “deus, please bless my sister to learn the right and proper way to organize her magazines as only an amazingly trained organizer like her big sister can know, please bless her to see the folly of her ways with these madcap piles all over the bathroom, bedroom, even the kitchen. Heaven knows such piles are certainly the devil’s playground and we all know her ultimate goal is to be received into your warm embrace, if only taking a detour from time to time through the embraces of a few real “devils”. She might reply with her own emboldened plea at this time…”deus, please bless me not to strangle my blatantly brown-nosing sister to within an inch of her life. It is clear to me and I’m sure to the gods that all her praying is an attempt to ingratiate her way into heaven while we all know she has her own devilish pursuits and must be thwarted from her overly bossy and controlling ways”.

These prayers went on for a while, allowing sisters to coexist with minor altercations, but not extreme blow-ups for quite some time. It seemed deus was truly smiling down on the two of us and healing the deep wounds that only 12 year-olds can inflict. But then our prayers began to fall flat, they somehow took on the essence of “phoning them in”, our repentant spirits became muddied with the tone of the prayer and repentant tones often turned to holier than thou proclamations and our friendly interchanges soon soured.

At this point a healing gem of majestic proportions presented itself in our dilemma. Harking back to a time when things were kinder and gentler, my sister had long harbored a guilty pleasure for the show “felicity”—a drama of the 90’s based on a young woman in college seeking the lessons of life and a boyfriend to boot. My brother became aware of her penchant for oversentimentalized drama and gave her the box DVD set for her birthday. She immediately became a bit kinder and gentler herself. It seemed that the almost fanatical pace she had set herself for watching the entire 4 year series was reacting with her psyche as some kind of a drug and she was calmed and cheered by the stolen hours of guilty viewing. She was not alone in her viewing as she often turned the series on when both my brother and I were around—we became ensconced in the surreal existence of felicity, the heroine who went against her parents wishes to leave Stanford and move to NYC to a fictional university to pursue an art career instead of medicine and a boy named ben. Ben who personifies the concept of existential angst, had a rough upbringing with a drunken father and while any woman would love to take this man-boy in her arms as if he were james dean, the “devilish” pursuit could only bring unhappiness in the end. Noal—the dorm resident who befriended and then romanced felicity with his quirky and neurotic behaviors and finally, Javier, felicity’s bespectacled (in the manner of elvis Costello), homosexual and Hispanic manager at the Dean and Delucca where both felicity and ben slaved to make ends meet to pay tuition at their fictional college.

On the few occasions that we all watched the show together, we would laugh and cajole as one new crisis after another presented itself in the lives of these college mates. The phrase “we all have our issues” became a stand-by for us in respect to the unerring constancy with which the characters took turns in the dramatic limelight. It wasn’t until we had completed the series and I caught my sister starting to rewatch it immediately “just to refresh her memory” that I realized the impact these characters could bring to our lives. And so it was that I recognized the prayers to deus were unfair, we asked so much of just one deity, it might serve my sister and me if we spread out our requests, never abusing just one god, but allowing the “demigods” of the world of felicity to apply their healing balm to our most troubled interchanges.

So now when I have been asked just one too many times, “should I wear the boots or the heals, boots or heals, boots or heals” or “do you like my hair up or down, up or down, up or down” I utter a little prayer to felicity…”dear felicity, please bless my sister with the surety of a hottie college senior, to know which shoes will best accent her calves, and whether or not hair up or down will make a difference in attracting just the right looks from maybe even the other drivers on the freeway”. I’m sure you can immediately spot the wise choice of using multiple recipients for my prayers—the greeks clearly had this one figured out long ago--create a pantheon of specialized gods who can each one send specific intervention and blessings and allow for more “face-time” if you will in an already busy god’s life.

My sister will often reply in kind “dear Javier, please be kind to my sister, impart to her some of your amazing management skills—teaching her both how to accessorize the coffee counter with seasonal mugs and to keep all the quarreling employees happy with their tips for the day. Help her to know how to bring this wisdom into her tiny life and find a path to complete her own day’s tasks all the while learning that it does in fact matter that you wear the right shoes with the perfect belt if you want to learn to be complete in and of yourself”. Prayers to ben and noal will appear at the appropriate times as well depending on need and “the issues” that we all have.

And so our sibling issues have truly reflected such a concentrated effort at good will. All the blessing of each other to spot our own problems and cast out the beam in eachother’s eyes removes the focus from the nerve grating moment and casts a golden hue of humor and whimsy into what can become unpleasant interchanges. I offer this technique to those of you seeking a way to heal the difficult moments of any relationship. Select a constellation of powers that will do well in your environment, it might be politicians, sports heroes, maybe even car salesmen—imbue in them the power to intervene on your behalf when prayed to…out loud and in front of the offending other for which you intend the intervention to occur. Suddenly the power of the stuffed-up emotion is immediately relieved, the “other” in your relationship is made immediately aware that some disagreeable step has been taken, and the two of you are freed to speak of the elephant in the room with humor and sidestepping to relieve the pressure and identify annoying behaviors.

One cautionary note—do not allow this form of pious therapy to become a passive-aggressive attempt to control another. Allow it to serve you both in its purest solution—as comic relief and revealing the psychic or psychotic underpinnings of your “other” to shed light on how best to inform if her hair should indeed be worn “up or down”

Monday, November 12, 2007

desert dreaming


Our band of night weary travelers sits gathered by the fire in the warming morning light while a few of the group, unwilling to relinquish the powerful hold night’s vision still imbues, cling tightly to their rumpled sleeping bags. in sacred silence we each welcome the warmth and power of sun and fire into our own days.

what a strange sense of community, with no shared words--only shared space, each one taking on a task as the need arises, start the fire, make the coffee, lay out the breakfast food—until, finally the silence is broken and our dreams intertwine for the day.

the drum beats out the rhythm--arise, awake, come together--bring your spirit and attention to this place, this moment. Last night on the mesa i welcomed in the spirit of the dream for myself in ritual with tobacco, smudge and spirit; the clear chill in the air held at bay by a well-worn down blanket; the light of the stars, intensely singing their own night song, calming the cares of the day and lulling me toward my bed and dreams.

as mates and strangers, we band together on this mystic journey among the bold red rocks--with common history or newly gained common ground, answering a call that cannot be ignored--to step into the circle of this now, this here; to join the dance--awake to this dream and live.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

alchemical baking or life changing breakfast

in daily life i am a chef for a constantly changing and always craving group of lovable folks in need of food that feeds the belly and the soul. a little "soul food" ensues...

--alchemical baking
"...is it only isaiah of old that held the key to the mystic's secret art of transmutation, revealing that only a refiner's fire might distinguish the silver from the dross? What if it were possible that the steam rising from a mother's homemade breakfast were enough to transport the day from ordinary to blessed? Perhaps "a moment on the lips, forever on the hips" was really meant as a soothsayer's caution, reminding us that only the truly wise know it is what we choose to speak and hold in our hearts which becomes the burden-- or light we each carry with us to guide the way. And so it is in knowing the power of words and strength of focus, that we are urged to bless the moments of our day, much as we would assemble the ingredients to the perfect breakfast. In both ways we start our day with a blessing, an honoring, a transmutation of daily practice into sacred ritual; welcoming that which is godlike into the tiny moments of our lives..."

--cinnamon raisin french toast
-6 medium eggs
-1/2 to 1 c. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
-pinch of salt
-3 to 5 whole wheat cinnamon raisin bagels(premade/store-bought)
-waffle iron
whisk together ingredients of egg mix until liquid is very light and airy. cut each bagel in half and soak the slices in the egg mix for 1-2 full minutes to allow it to soak up a lot of the eggs. place both halves of the bagel in the waffle maker and firmly close and cook until light turns to green. cooking in the waffle maker changes the shape of the bagel entirely and now your breakfast guests will think they are eating the world's most delicious and entirely from scratch french toast/waffles.
Topping
-2 to 4 cups fresh or frozen sliced peaches (depending on how many people you are serving)
-1 cup of your favorite granola ( i can provide you with a killer recipe if you request)
-2-4 Tbs. butter
bring all of these ingredients to a sizzle in a sauté pan with a little bit of butter and a pinch of sugar if you like, and serve on top of french toast with warm maple syrup.
Please enjoy this delicious meal and take a moment to envision your biggest manifestations...the steam from this meal is guaranteed to make at least 3 dreams come true for the day!!!!:)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

it's all so relative isn't it

yesterday started so shitty for me--honestly felt like some kind of end of the world. i mean what the hell is this halloween business all about anyway right? but then, awareness--just to become aware of myself in that moment, the reality or nonreality of what emotion i had chosen to wrap around my shoulders for the day, what beliefs felt like concrete shoes at the moment brought a shift to the drowning and clawing sense that this was all there was to eternity. still shit, still concrete, and yet...suddenly the concrete blasters showed up to do a little work, and for one brief moment i realized "my shit really don't stank!"--whose does?

and then the magic--just allowing for the possibility, released the deathgrip of negative emotion and by the end of the day, serious bliss. i'm still a little shell-shocked by the ease when i just give over to it--so just wanted to throw a little gratitude out there for that gift. it's at that point that rumi's "stretchers of grace" come running into the scene i suppose. muchas gracias!!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

milieu

the translation of milieu from french is something like "neighborhood". it seems to have the feel of the word "environs" as well, sort of--whereabouts if you will. i have been giving a lot of thought to the idea of milieu in english of late. applying my own take on the definition, my interpretation for purposes of this blog, is the figurative water in which we swim. this applies not only in general application such as the people who we hang out with--family and friends and the things we like to do, but in tiny nuanced ways as well--these nuances arise all the time and in the most inane or innocuous ways. standing in line at an eating establishment to turn in your dishes and overhearing the kitchen staff talking about the coolest book they've been reading on only eating locally grown food, later hearing that same staffmember singing to themself a little creedence cleerwater and realizing i could really hang with this person whom i've never met; sitting at coffee on a sunday morning next to a stranger, a man, who for all intents and purposes could pass for a nineteenth century train engineer with hat and watch fob intact, then learning that he handcrafts classic furniture from that time with period tools--how cool is that?

so i've been looking at "the water in which i swim" of late and questioning some of my own preconceived notions about my own milieu. exactly how big is this pond i'm swimming in? is it fresh or saltwater, maybe iced tea? are we all just a bunch of salmon swimming upstream to our deaths or is there the occasional exotic interloper who refuses such a call of nature and is frequently satisfied with sunning on the beach? just how often does the water get changed?

it feels to me like my ego does this whole song and dance number to come up with the milieu that feels and looks o.k. to me, with experiences that are welcome and sometimes challenging, but generally within the typical realm of expectations. so what if i begin to shift my expectations radically? what if i realize that my ego has been in control far too long and i no longer care to swim only in safe waters? what if safe/unsafe waters is a bogus notion created by my ego to keep life manageable? and what if the whole notion of a manageable life is exactly what we make of it, not what our parents or compadres have taught us, but just exactly what we as individuals are willing to see in our own environs?

i'm not exactly sure how this applies for me on a day to day basis, what it feels like is that i have been doing this little glide along the lazy river thinking that the banks were way to high to get over and the water moving much too fast, when in another reality i can sprout legs at any minute, jump off my tube and onto the shore--"amphlibious"(ahhh-superpowers at last, walking on land and breathing underwater). the implications are vast and unsettling--my ego is on the run, computing and contriving to pull the plug on this line of inquiry. i get a little happy thinking about the expanding milieu that suddenly opens its way to my line of vision, there is a certain excitement in opening to new possibilities, recognizing new ways of being, opening parts of me that haven't been visited in a long time and finding a milieu for all of it. suddenly the idea of aperfect stranger humming "bad moon rising" is enough to make you want to howl at the moon or at least join the in the humming!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

how does a little lama get her schooling?

there should be rules right? or not? o.k.--so really not "rules" so much as an absence of them, more or less. and not really rules, but guidelines that aid us in the flow of things. mostly i am just talking about setting up/establishing the fact that i couldn't give a rat's ass about spelling, grammar, punctuation etc. and that i don't intend to use it here(at least not in any formal sense of the word), especially because i find that it sort of inhibits what i write if i have to stop and think about how to do so properly, how to best present my words and thoughts in a socially acceptable manner. funny thing, these rules, really just one guideline, sort of feels like it fits for my life as well. i mean, what is the deal with rules anyway? of course i totally get the whole mass chaos, life of wild abandon argument, but is that really what would happen? and why would it happen? how did it turn out that we as a planet full of human beings; touching, feeling, loving human beings should wind up so far away from our own centers, from paying attention to what our inner core, or spirit, or soul, or whatever you want to label it tells us feels good, not just good to me as an individual, but to me as a universal whole?

so maybe you don't agree with the premise, what is this "universal whole" business all about? but seriously, we don't exist in a vacuum people. and who would want to? living life all alone, without interaction with other human beings might quickly lose its appeal when we find that many of our motivations are exactly for interacting with others. so what would that be like, to act with no motivation for interaction with any other individual in the world? as for myself, i consider that to be a fairly lonely existence--and lonely is definitely not one of my motivations! what are my motivations? hmmmm..., in their simplest of terms...joy, love, fulfillment. i suppose we all decide for ourselves what brings joy, love and fulfillment into our individual lives--and my answers for that are constantly shifting. like right now fulfillment is often found in an afternoon spent with a steaming hot espresso, overlooking the west mountains as the sun sets, in introspection. this could be considered a lonely pursuit, but for me, the thought that i'm putting these thoughts out into the world somehow enters them--me into relationship with the world, perhaps to be seen and responded to in some way, by anyone at all feels like a choice for noticing and responding--or not, for expression, for relationship to begin. these are not specifically defined states of being, but rather very loosely held ideas that satisfy for now.

here's the deal--the whole "ecole" situe--i guess that's what this blog is about for me...a chance to air my opinions, try them on for size, decide if they stick at all or if they should be discarded as readily as they were contrived and make space for new opinions to flow into. what better place to do exactly that than in a forum where there is no reason to censure for associations, or community, or habit--there is merely free thought and flow of that--hopefully with some response at some point on which to sharpen my own sentiment--or not, just getting 'em out of my own head creates a space for stillness to enter, ahhhh and that's where the good shit is.