As Above So Below

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“We see in order to move; we move in order to see.” ~ William Gibson

WTF, morning again. What next? The third cup of coffee sits at my side next to a quart-sized red plastic tumbler from WalMart, which contains about one swallow of water. It’s hard to see that as abundance but at the moment it is. The fine feline in today’s opening photo is Violet. Violet came into the animal shelter with her head up and to the right, a solid immobile spasm that was determined to be from head trauma. Her eyes were closed as well. She came out of that immobility but there is now a dazed look in her eyes. She functions okay, but not with the usual grace of a cat. She is crabby with other cats, and it is amazing to see her instincts override her disability when she lashes out at her cage mates in the communal cage. That’s an interesting point for me, that her instincts override her disability. I relate to this girl on a soul level. I too am the receiver (we don’t say victim anymore, do we? The word lacks empowerment even when the victim does embody that quality) of head trauma. I wish people could understand. Sometimes it changes things in a permanent way. The brain has shifted in it’s functioning. The world is no longer the same for the victim. Dang! I used that friggin word again. Will I never learn the ways of the times? Move forward, it’s a new day, let’s put it all behind us. Well, ummm, I can’t put it behind me because it jumped on the bus one day and won’t go away. I know, I know, never say can’t. Oh, and by the way, the bus’s marqui  displays the word “Further”. (The author giggles here, understandably. Oh man ya jest gotta laugh. I’ll show them folks who ain’t been smacked silly in a permanent way. If they can see is another story altogether. Showin’ don’t always begat seein’.)

“That ain’t me, that ain’t my face. It wasn’t even me when I was trying to be that face. I wasn’t even really me then; I was just being the way I looked, the way people wanted.” ~ Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

In the photo Violet seems to be gazing up longingly at some unseen . . . . . oh wait, I’d already moved on. My bad. But the truth is, you see, that I see what she sees. Ya oughtta see it, it’s really empowering, k?

I was just outside on the deck, sometimes gazing at the snow, but mostly hanging my head because of my trepidation in general. I’m not whining here, about my mental illness nor about my brain damage. I do have to live with it day to day however, like Violet. Usually I must do it in silence, partly because of the fear of stigmatization but mostly because of momentum. Dude it like all Newton’s Third Law of Motion and stuff. Move forward, it’s a new day, let’s put it all behind us. Been there done that, still here doin’ that. That’s the rub. Good grief. How’d I get here? Bet you think I don’t remember. But I do. I remember because I can’t forget. I don’t want ever to forget. I’m a tad slow on the uptake, and I sometimes lose the word that represents what I know for sure I want to say, but I am always right here doin’ what I do. That, my friends, is called acceptance.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Is it Silly to Walk Through Walls?

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“It’s my duty as a human being to be pissed off”  ~ Eric Bogosian

I made the coffee really strong this morning. Maybe because the day promises snow? Heck if I know. Above you see the animal shelter where I work. The five quonsets are housing areas for animals. The cattery is the one in the back row center. The rest are all for dogs. I really cherish my job and of course that means that I would hate to lose it. Even on days that I don’t feel like working I always find joy once I get there. There’s a lot of drama there but it is in high measure all about the animals. I could call their behavior drama but I really see it as instinct. They’re friggin locked in, give ’em a break. Drama, as a term and concept, has been dragged through the coals for the past decade or more. This puzzles me. It already had a definition.  .  .  Oh wait! I don’t know what I am talking about. What got into me? Silliness? You betcha. A friend put me up to it. No, really. I often get encouraged to be silly. But this time it was not encouragement so much as it was inspiration which gave birth to today’s silliness. It’s better than being pissed off, and it is much healthier in the long run, and  .  .  .  . ummm, it’s really quite spiritual as well. I mean, look at how much the Dalai Lama laughs. That’s my point, if I have one, and if I do have one it is between me and the wall, and sometimes ya just gotta walk right through that wall. Let’s go. Boy howdy I ain’t had a good adventure in quite some time. Come with me, k?!

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Yoga, Coffee, and Smart Phones

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“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”  ~ Cormac McCarthy

I did extensive and devoted yoga after my head trauma, which happened over three decades ago. I’d heard it helped. Seems it does. I’m okay now. Sorta. This morning’s coffee is delivering one of those moments, which are rare for me, of total coffee satisfaction. Perhaps it is my focus on healing that has given this cup of coffee it’s punch? Boy howdy you’d better believe it! A focus on healing can work magic. And yet a mindful appreciation of the coffee helps. I almost put a superlative at the end of that previous sentence but my good sense got the better of me. Try it yourself; pay attention to your coffee, unless of course you are driving, in which case it would be better to curse compassionately at the a-hole who is tailgating you. We must have priorities, no? Don’t flip him off though, he may spill his coffee. Then what?


 

I just took a break from writing to step outside and around to the concrete floor at the side of the house. I could see the deep coral hue hugging the ridges of Pueblo Canyon. Inspiring. Then I was distracted by Oscar the turkey, who was taking slow dinosaur steps toward the edge of the roof of the chicken coop. He stopped to stand on one leg, as if he thought he was a friggin flamingo or something. Eventually he will take the fluttering leap down to the ground, where he will wait at the chicken coop door until I go back out and open it.

Today’s opening photo is of Isabella the cat doing cat yoga. She has a protective e-collar, a plastic cone which mostly keeps her from scratching a wound on the side of her head. The local Animal Control officer told me that she had been attacked by a coyote. If so, it is a wonder she is alive at all. That attack has been pert near a year ago.  She’s slow in healing, because she has repeatedly aggravated the wound, but she will get there. Isabella is the ‘queen of the cattery’ at Stray Hearts Humane Society animal shelter of Taos. Come get her, she needs a good home. This girl is as outgoing as all get out. Personality plus. That’s what I’m sayin’. Who wouldn’t be after a coyote attack?

And me? On the mend from a sinus infection that is kicking my butt, and from the affects of the powerful antibiotic that is also kicking my butt. I will get there. Such a minor affliction as a sinus infection, yet it has me in this life mode that celebrates the wonder of existence on this nurturing planet that will shake us off like fleas should we push Her too far with our infernal tech meddling. Global warming? Don’t you get all heated up when you are about to get pissed off?

Snow is coming, they say. I’m down with that. A barefoot walk in the snow would do me a world of good. Connect with the Earth before you connect with your smart phone, k? Why do they call them “smart” when they don’t even leave you alone in your times of need? It’s all good, homie.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Philosophy and Driving

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“A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.” ~ Hippocrates

The little fella in today’s photo is Ethan, an American shorthair tabby. This guy has an amazing amount of energy, he loves to play, and he is way funny. Come look.

Here in the haze of illness and drugs I struggle to pull together some semblance of clarity. Sinus infection, no worries, I’ll live. Neighborhood dogs speak of coyotes in the neighborhood. Stars fairly muted by some haze or other. Forecast for snow starting Friday then stretching across the weekend. I’m looking forward to the snow, it’s a soul thing. People complain about driving conditions, and I tend to agree with their assessment of the difficulty of driving in the snow, but I just had the epiphany that their are morons on the road even in the best of weather. The notion of safe driving conditions seems to be nearly apocryphal by now. That’s two biblical references in one paragraph. Am I a Christian now? Nope. Now, I tend to get all philosophical when driving. I think it tends to insulate me from the anxiety I get from driving, because if I intend to have a safe trip I then run the risk of getting disappointed. I can find enough of that without getting on the road. Case closed.


Puffy eyes, headache, seriously ringing ears, and truncated sentence structure. I’m a mess. Think I’ll stop writing now. Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

Prawns and Liars

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“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ~ Philip Pullman

It seems I have been more involved with reading this morning than I have with writing. I’m okay with this, at least for now. As I have said before, I like to write, if I can, daily on this blog. It comforts me to know that I have shared something that may help others to see things in a different way.  It’s also the story value that lures me into writing. Stories are formative, as far as I can tell. They reach down deep onto what is human in us and once there they sprout forth in ways that can either promote growth or corrosion. The corrosion is most prominent these days in the expressions of ignorance that are given for purposes of influence, that are regardless otherwise, and they impact people that don’t have a firm grasp on reality. Think right-wing dribble and you will have a supreme example of what I mean. Of course I tend to try to avoid political commentary in this blog but the shit these folks dish out daily just pisses me off. It’s gone way beyond politics. It’s a direct attack on what makes us human. Ideals run amok. They use society as a pawn, prawn, whatever. The shrimp is my choice. Considering people to be small and inconsequential is an insult, unless of course they truly are. The rich are growing richer while more and more folks are going hungry? What is all the fuss about hungry people? Let them eat fake (sic), which is what the right-wing folks are handing out for free. I don’t know about you but I ain’t bitin’.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Existential Cage

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Sam has a rare still moment.

Yes, I featured this cat before. It’s just that I love him so much, and I miss him since he went home. Good boy. That said I am thoroughly enjoying this morning’s first cup of coffee. The stars extended a healthy greeting upon my first venture into the outside world today. It’s an age old practice for me, to gaze at the early morning sky, or to gaze at the sunlit sky, both bits of gazing done for the simple reason that it satisfies my soul and soothes my mind and heart. Important things as far as I am concerned. Especially during times, like now, when I just can’t seem to get back up from the bipolar down cycle I have been enduring for a few weeks now. I am perceptive enough to know that becoming complacent toward a depressive phase is to give it a foothold that you don’t want it to have. You don’t want it, trust me on that. Yes things will eventually rise and you will feel better. But attend to complacency as you would a subversive scoundrel. It will leave the door open the next time you cycle down, so what should be a slow slide down is allowed to become a simple plummet. It’s dangerous. Don’t do it.

I’ve been thinking a lot, yet not compulsively, about subversion lately. Simple gossip or even a disapproving grumble can ease into subversion of someone’s personal life. Dr. Joyce Brothers once wrote that gossip is a community-building force. I agree, it can be. But I’ll go a little New Agey with this and say that intent can and will play a part, even subconscious intent, especially subconscious intent. Anecdotes morph as they fly. Harm can be the result. Why am I writing about this? One, because it is on my mind of late, and two, because I am nervous about some things in my daily life, about the potentiality around me.

The good news is that I got my Medicaid reinstated. I’d be screwed without it. But the continuance of Medicaid brought another dilemma to light. My yearly wages are so close to the Medicaid wage cap that I am obliged to remain in my job, and to refuse a raise should it be offered. As luck would have it I love my job, so I can cruise along for a few years, at which point I can begin too seriously examine what aging will mean to me socially and financially. That is another reason that subversion haunts me. But that could easily be clinical paranoia from either or both bipolar disorder and PTSD. My intuition tells me that I should be vigilant either way, actual or illusion, because subversion has neutral value if it never arises. Vigilance always has strong value. Dude like ya gotta pay attention dude or life can get all gnarly and stuff. That aside, it is one of the things I admire about cats: they have vigilance to spare. Friggin animals can sleep with one eye open. They are that good. Of course they can also see things that we can’t see. How cool is that! Boy howdy I can only pray for that kind of perspicaciousness.


We have a cat named Henry in the cattery. I can relate to the guy. He is in a relatively small cage and he is not happy about it. He’s grumpy as a result. He’ll let you touch him but he cringes, and holding him pisses him off to a large degree so we won’t do it unless it is necessary. The cat is scared and depressed. I am like that much of the time. If I were to go all existential I could point out that many of us live in a kind of situational cage. Making good of it is the right thing to do.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Life Before Laundry

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Bell Rock Vortex, Sedona, Arizona

Turns out I could use a good energy vortex right about now. I need some kind of new balance and it plain ain’t happen’. A situation of my own making? Of course. Destiny? Danged if I know. How could I know? Karmic recursive side trip? Ooo, I like that one. But the point of my rather, or better yet much too personal musings is that this past week has been much too awful, much too difficult to ride out, and much too annoying, all the way to the anxiety attack I had Friday morning before work. Ya ever had one of those, a real one? Don’t. I made it through the workday. If the attack had gone to panic I would have called in sick. But, all day long I had frequent rushes of anxiety, and I just had to ride them out.

It’s a sunny Sunday morning. I have to go blend some seed, feed, whatever, for the chickens and the turkey, feed them, then it’s off to the laundromat, which is often my church on Sunday. I’ll be reading from the Kindle app on the iPad while the machines spin my clothes until they are clean and dry. It’s a science fiction book I am reading and it’s light enough and good enough to distract me from the worrisome, paranoid, and morbid thoughts of late, and maybe I won’t be haunted by images of shadowy characters hiding behind boulders and trees. Now if those characters are actually existent I may be in trouble, but they ain’t real. Are they? Nah. How could they be? It’s the old run-away imagination thing. On we go.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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A Tale of Two Sweeties

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“To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wake up and go to sleep. Early nap. Whatever. I had a bit of star watching, some good coffee, and for some reason I had to sleep then for a while longer. It wasn’t hard to accomplish.  It’s bitter cold again. My exhaustion is no more a problem that it is a benefit. That statement is not Zen so don’t even go there. I’m in a rare state of mind these days. I think it is because my the 31st anniversary of my NDE and nearly fatal bicycle accident is approaching, not even two weeks away. Someone once told me that I should not assign such significance to the events. Their sage advice did not sway me. It’s just that something so impactful remains impactful. At least it does for me. There’s no harm that I can see.

The fine feline in today’s opening photo is Nora. She is the longest standing resident of our cattery, here at Stray Hearts animal shelter en qui en Taos. Nora’s a sweetie who is a bit on the skittish side. Come take a gander at this beauty, and she is a beauty, a predominantly black tortoiseshell. She needs to go to a good home as an indoor cat. Coyotes don’tcha know. Let them eat rabbits.

One more thing before I go. Taylor Swift, I re-extend my invitation to you to come visit the shelter. I’ll give you the tour, then we can do lunch. Burger and a beer. Hows ’bout it sweetie. It would be fun. Give it some thought, k? You’d make an old man proud. Dang it. Only old compared to you. This is getting awkward. I ain’t old. Never mind. Come on down.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously

 

To Learn From Cats

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“The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion.” ~ Richard Feynman

It’s compassion for myself these days. It’s been hard for some time now. No complaints though. That said, sometimes it is difficult to tell what comes from the illness (bipolar 2 disorder, PTSD, minor brain damage) and what is circumstantial reactions. For over a year now I have been beaten down and I want to rise from that condition. I’m not quite sure how to proceed, but it will come to me. I’m tired of relying on prayer alone. At least I have the company, each workday, of numerous cats. Cats are good for the soul. I wish they could talk. I’d do well to know some of their secrets. But watching them is all I get. Let’s leave it at that. But there is one more thing. Last summer I wrote an article for the newspaper. It was something that needed to be said but some folks took it as an insult. Now I am feeling trepidation, fearing that someone will try to cause me trouble in return for what I wrote. I suppose that I could pass it off, these fears, to paranoia, or to the morbid thoughts that are a symptom of bipolar 2. Whatever the source I feel the need to be cautious, to be ready if it does come to trouble. I don’t reckon it will. Maybe it’s just me? I can’t afford to think that. All should be well. We’ll see, hmmm? yes.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.