Friday, February 22, 2008

Whimsery in Action--pay it forward update

Sometime last december i made an offer to "pay it forward"--make some delightful bit of whimsery and pass it on to someone willing to do the same for someone else. i finally came up with what felt like the perfect idea while browsing for just the thing. i found the idea here (you gotta scroll down one entry)and whipped it up with great personal delight. It was a neck warmer--not a whole scarf, much more time consuming and basically we've all been there done the long scarf thing. this was just a tiny little neck muff if you will; and apparently it delighted many others because i sold 3 of them right off my needles before i was able to make one to send for this blog.
Honestly, not trying to sell a thing, just bringing my knitting with me to work on and that's all she wrote, or knit as the case may be. Once i was even on the way to the post office with one of my treasures and my friend saw it and decided it was that exact "bit of fluff" that she must have. always one to oblige my friends, i let her have that one and started on another.
i must say, the efficient virgo in me is extremely pleased i am able to use up all sorts of odd bits of yarnas is evidenced by this bright little treasure, which is my own personal favorite and i have managed to keep it for myself--at least for the time being.(not the best of photos, doesn't do the colors justice)

This was the valentines treasure i made to give as a birthday gift a few weeks ago:)

So there's the proof of the craftiness in me and a reminder to my errant cousin, that she must post her pay it forward to receive her treasure.
Now playing: chicago soundtrack - When You're Good to Mama
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Desert Child

This one isn't by me, it was written for me this year by a friend on my B-day. it's sort of been appearing in my dreams lately, and i find that i'm craving another dream in the desert. With the full moon upon me, joined by the lunar eclipse, i am eager for the new energy this dreams carries with it. Nice how a moment taken by another to really see just a little part of me imparts so much meaning. i am as full as the moon...

Your home, you’re home

In the valleys carved by water and wind,

These dry bowls where all bones show

Veins flow and rush to the Great,

Where hewn wheels carved ruts in salt.

From cities of sins to one of saints

To dwellings abandoned save for Fremont ghosts

And Anasazi whispers

You find shelter in the desert

Solace in exposure.

Your skin sparkles of mica, cheeks of quartz

Hair twisting ‘round like gold Mohave’s devils

Heart found huge at a narrow’s end—a

Wide, sun-beating valley of fire.

Hardened like a those of walk-a-bout’s child,

Feet that have led and sometimes followed.

Clear like a nighthawk

Clever like the crow

Laughing eyes open to a long, long path

To depths back and beyond.

In the gorge where the wren’s call clings

Down the cliffs like water,

Where coyote hitch rides on Highway 6,

Your home, you're home,

Desert Child

Pamela Ostermiller 09/12/07

Now playing: Ray LaMontagne - Be Here Now

via FoxyTunes

Sunday, February 17, 2008

when the essence leaks right through

a little over a week ago i stood in a room of full grown adults; all of us looking sheepishly around at eachother as we began to breathe heavily through our noses...

and then ever so slowly some timidly began to dance. "was this the start to some strange erotic, orgy-like group ritual"--you may be asking yourself (well i suppose that remains to be seen)? but for the moment it was merely an experiment in "getting cooked"!!

"oh now she's gone off the deep end" you say, "i'm not reading any further", but lest you sign off this downright righteous tome without discovering my topic and going to your grave convinced that my soul will rot in purgatory i urge you to stick with me for a few more lines...there was a time in the history of the world that in addition to getting very still in prayer and meditation to invite a closeness with spirit, or indeed being bathed in spiritual guidance, people from wisdom traditions all around the world used to really get their spirit moving (cooking things up), breathe in and out as if their lives depended on it, and move their bodies like their souls had something to dance for.

"why in god's name would those crazy wisdom tradtionalists do such a thing"? you may be asking
i'm told and am now learning for myself that it was exactly that, in God's name--is why the Quakers did it, in Allah's for the Sufis, it is Brahma, Ganesh, Vishnu and Shiva (among many others) for the Hindus, and the "Big God" for the Kalahari Bushmen. and "what is it exactly everybody's doing?" you ask again. among the many traditions around the world it has been called
Chi/Qi—China Yesod--Kabbalism, Prana--India, N/Om--Kalahari, Tumpinyer Mooroop--Australian Aboriginies and Manitou--Ojibway and the list goes on and on and on

and it is ecstatic breathing, dancing, movement--what has been described by Bradford Keeny, author of Shaking Medicine as "sound poetry, and sound poetry then turns into singing. Shamans, whether they're in the Amazon or whether they're the Lakota medicine people or the Bushman healers, are all about "catching" the songs. Their belief is that the Big God who expresses the Big Love can only share love through the rhythm, the beauty of song."

for our crazy little band of experimenters it was just that, an experiment, a foray into the unknown(surely unknown to us) to see what there was to see. and what did we see there? well nobody fell to the floor overcome with the spirit, no one was immediately called upon to be saved, but what i like to think happened was that we were called upon to remember, remember and awaken to something our wise ancestors knew for generations, centuries and eons before we let our "big minds" get in the way. In the middle of feeling silly, breathing heavy and shaking our tailfeathers one of our number reminisced out loud about the best time he can ever remember being moved by the spirit when it came to music was listening to "in a gadda da vida" the long version. he and his friend danced like wild men for a full 17 minutes...two teenage boys unaware of space and time and self and self-consciousness for almost 20 minutes. As he painted the mental picture for us, for a few short minutes we all returned in space and time to the moments when music, dancing, breathing heavy have truly removed our attention from our physical space and put our attention on something entirely "otherworldly". these are the moments when our skin just doesn't matter anymore and true essence starts to leak right through.

Now playing: Iron Butterfly - In a Gadda Da Vida
via FoxyTunes

Monday, February 11, 2008

stars or diamonds? it's all good...

last night, after a long day of playing with kids in a very inspiring(this means mary poppinsish and equals extremely tiring) and ultimate 'auntie' like way i entered my brother's house with feet ever so slightly dragging for yet another family gathering. it was my sister-in-law's birthday, her 40th, not to be missed--a big day for anyone and because that number is getting ever so much closer for me, all the more real.

in a large family like mine, gatherings--especially on a sunday--seem to come around more often than not and sometimes my boundaries pull a full stop and require that i abstain from participating. a house full of children, siblings, guitar hero, jacuzzi water fights and any other number of fantabulous diversions can only go so far into the goodtimes zone some nights when all you want is a little down time, a hot bath, maybe a good book and solitude. but we all don't know what's good for us all the time do we? i really did want to go to the b-day party, i just wanted the downtime as well--and since there's always more time for down, off to the party i went.

i have to admit, i was a tiny bit excited. i actually had an awesome gift to give-- a little homemade delight that came straight from the heart and lifted my spirits just in the making. how great is that, to begin to shift the tired and overwhelmed energy--really just by thinking of someone else with warmth and love as you make them something tiny and thoughtful? why do all those wise sayings of 'find yourself in service' or 'get outside of yourself to find the love' begin to ring so true in this instance? when i gave the gift, my sister-in-law was delighted with it, but i'm not sure that's even what did it for me, it was really in the space where i imagined giving her spirit a gift of myself that i was able to warm the very cockles of my heart. (so funny, actually spotted a tray of 'cockles' straight from new zealand the other day in the grocery store. have you ever even known what cockles were? they're sort of like mussels--but the image is so much more complete for me now. kind of like,if you open them up, they are even shaped like a lumpy and imperfect heart).

the evening progressed, songs were sung, crepes were made, snow angels straight out of the jacuzzi were attempted and overwhelm returned to gray the edges. then a moment of transformation overtook me, and i abandoned my tired ego to the joy of the the room just off the kitchen, two little girls sang into their microphones with wild abandon!!! They didn't care that adults and teenagers looked on laughing, they didn't care that they had never even heard this song before, they only cared to wrap their arms around eachother and rejoice to 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' !! how can they even read the words fast enough to keep up with the song, much less imbue it with such real emotion? a momentary illumination took my own heart, i questioned this week about just what it is parents are teaching their children, the much more important and very life changing question is ..."what are the children teaching their parents?".

aha, notice taken, joy expressed, and cockle-warming diamonds dancing all over the sky.
Now playing: The Beatles - All You Need Is Love
via FoxyTunes

Friday, February 8, 2008

Now would you teach that to your children?

I have this line of inquiry running in my head that seems to reappear with some frequency. i really wonder about the shit we teach our kids and how aware we are of what we want to pass on to the next generation. sometimes my reason for the question is so obvious like "why in the hell is that child dressed to 'kill' at 6 months old, killing doesn't really match with her darling multi-layered pink bow, nor the bubbles that she continues to blow?" but we can't help it can we, the outfit was a gift, it was too precious to pass up, it's funner than playing with dolls...
or "is it really possible that mom and dad are not aware how disrespectful and downright rude their kid is? if he pulls my hair one more time over the back of this booth, i'm going to pull his back"

and "if the boy just wet his pants as you were trying to force him to climb onto the pony's back, is there a chance he might not want a ponyride today? just wondering"
but much more that these painfully obvious things we as adults seem justified putting our kids through because "we had to learn it as a kid and so should they", i am questioning the behavior of adults and wondering just what the lesson was their parents were trying to teach them, and what the le
sson was the kid took on into adulthood?
and what secret did this mom whisper to her precious cargo--to make him so eager to make his entrance into the world?(can i hear it next...)
mostly these are not extreme, terrible or obvious things--not things that parents may even be aware that they are passing on to their kids, it is really more like defense mechanisms, ways of rationalizing behavior or lack of integrity in choices--or outright fears that translate into dicey moments in all of our lives.
so i get it, there is no instruction manual to life, raising kids or being perfect. we are all just really doing our best, but i really do always wonder why we humans tend to shoot ourselves in the foot quite so often.

here's my point, at what place in human history did we learn to believe in our fears, choose life the hard way, let go of our inner guidance system--and then turn around and teach that to our kids as "that's just the way life is!"? i call total bullshit on this one--i really want to expose this practice for the bully that it is, the snidely local priest peering over half-glasses shushing the joyous children of the world, the bitter maiden aunt dried up from lack of proper care and feeding and insisting that those children be seen and not heard, the establishment or the "been there, done that" crowd...
rather why don't we teach our kids and ourselves that life is a tremendous gift, truly a puddle-luscious experience whose marrow we should spend our entire lives attempting to suck dry? this is my personal philosophy; there are unseen, unproven, whispered possibilities that circle our psyches all the time that i would love to hear trumpeted from the is so easy, you have an amazing power and gift and can create whatever wondrous dreams you conjure up, even when serious shit hits the oscillating fan it's because you asked to learn some stuff in this life--that doesn't mean it's not worth living--it means you were powerful enough to get what you asked pay attention to those questions, be clear on your intentions, view life with the joy and delight that it was giftwrapped to be.
(photo credits tim gibbons, photog and filmmaker extraordinaire)
Notice this little chica? utterly fearless, has she ever learned the strange lessons our western society tries to put on us? i think not!!! i embrace this stance to open and let the wonderment in.
i was really writing this in response to a few fears i noticed in others this week, but really it's my own best advice(some showed up to be great mirrors for me) and i'll be the first one to step forward for a little self-mothering.
Hear that lama? puddle-luscious!!!! so let the marrow sucking begin!!!
Now playing: Adam Green - Jessica
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

sense memory extraordinaire

for me it is gloriously self-indulgent and provides hours of nostalgic enjoyment to let the mind ramble through favorite memories. i always wonder what unlocks the brain from one memory to the next, how exactly does the brain filing system work? these mysteries are neither answered nor explored in this excerpt. i just do a little of that self-indulgent crap and invite you to respond with the same...

of lawn sprinklers going on with
seeing the full moon come up over mount olympus
--this means summer is in full swing because i am laying out on granny's lawn, it's summer so our sprinkler use is turned to nighttime, and the moon just perfectly comes over the peaks to the east, the grass is still warm from the sun going down. then we scramble for cover

Sound of U2's 'with or without you' with
sight of my old friend don merril playing air guitar and grinning like a chesire cat
--he was the first one to really introduce me to the band U2 and their music became quite the presence in my college years--joshua tree was the soundtrack to my entire semester in jerusalem

smell of pipe tobacco with
walking to gemco
--at an age when i still considered walking to the local grocery store an opportunity for some social interaction(picture hanging out in front of 7-11) rather than driving. i would have to pass our neighbor's house who was a huge pipe smoker, and i loved the smell-sweet and rich. he also had his lawn mowed into a small putting green which seemed so funny to me, i mean we really lived in middle, middle america and can you just picture this dude out front smoking his pipe and putting on his own lawn? who does that??

Feeling the heat of the sun on my goosepimply skin as i warmed my body after swimming for hours with
Laughing uproarously with friends playing pool games for days on end throughout the whole a kid i never thought vegas was too hot in the summer, what is too hot when you can swim for 6 hours in a row?

feeling so tired and falling into bed begging my mom to
tickle my back so i could fall asleep...isn't there something so precious about the slowly deepening breath of a child as they fall asleep? makes it worth laying by them for millions of nights in a row just to recall that safe and warm feeling as a child:) we would beg our mom to tickle our back in church--sitting through the long services, i'm sure she just hoped we would be quiet long enough to make it out without her killing us.

sound of music blasting out of seriously rated speakers and the
beat pulling your body right off its seat for all night dancing and singing fests. what songs, beats, bands did this for you? off the top of my head...stray cats, der kommisar, careless whisper/wham, housemartins, modest mouse, trio, violent femmes, psychedelic furs, janet jackson, madonna, new order-blue monday, squirrel nut zippers, cake, sinead o'connor, hippy chick, squeeze, jamiroquai, no doubt, dave matthews band, alicia keyes, yeah yeah yeahs, michael franti and spearhead/skin on the drum, prince, the strokes, the kinks, sondre lerche and, and , and....who's ready to make their own list?(consider this paragraph the "currently listening bit"--now i've got to go and make a new playlist