Street Zen and True Love

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“Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.”  ~ Dylan Thomas

By the feet of the dark moon I linger in a surprising mood, not meaning to indulge I do so anyway, and it seems to be just the right thing at the right time. I feel deep sadness from the loss, twenty years ago, of a woman I considered to be my soulmate. After all this time a tone of joy has finally set in with the sadness that abides. Lucky me. Let’s call it integration and then step forth to see what sadness has become. I loved her so much it seemed perfect, which of course it was. Fifteen years, our age difference made her appear to be wary but I could sense that she was not. I was only 40 then. She didn’t see it that way. She was scared. So was I but I had fifteen more years of practice than she had. Fear did not hold me back, especially when my soul’s fire wagged it’s glowing finger at fear and told it to friggin back off. Lady Di, my close friend, told me that Lori and I emanated an aura of roses as she and I sat at the bar with beer and cigarettes in front of us unattended. Such was the depth and power of our communion, of our conversation, of our eyes locked in and probing. Yeah, she loved me too. I never asked her to prove what didn’t need proving. I’m not daft however, I know that my good fortune is unblemished. I still feel her around at times. Whether that feeling is of the mind or of the soul my good fortune precedes me. Love stories are like that. Retrospect dampens a precious thing.

Now, about the opening photo. No, that cat ain’t dead, she’s just lounging. Isabella is the queen of the cattery. We let he out to walk around, leaving her cage door open should she choose to go back in. Sometimes she does. In the photo she is on our work table. Silly girl. I am so fortunate to work where I do. The love in the room is palpable. You can’t go wrong with that. Believe you me, it don’t get no better than that so don’t even try it. You detractors of cat prison stand advised to remove your own gates, those which seal you own objective assumptions into conceptual cages. Yeah. Don’t get me riled, I ain’t got the strength today to go all Zen and stuff. I have work to do. On my wages I can’t afford to go to a seminar or retreat. My Zen is street Zen. My graffiti comes through speech. I yak at them cats all day long. Lucky me.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

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Sixty Is the New Twelve

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“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Aldous Huxley

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I don’t know. I just don’t know. So sue me. I feel frustrated, I feel bamboozled,  and I feel, frankly, frank. So what is the bamboozlement? If someone is competent, why is it that they are allowed to be incompetent without corrective measures? Hmmm? Tell me. I’m not talking about any situation in particular, not in the present, but I can think of a past situation where this might well have been the case. I can go back even farther to find more examples. My point is best served by posing it as a question. Why is it that people who are totally capable of doing a good and thorough job don’t. Could be that they have, too often, their brain and face plugged in to their insular slab. An insular slab is a cell phone used in a way that takes a person away from their immediate material environment. Too harsh a term? My bad. People need their texts messages. Right now. Trust me. I know, I’ve seen it happen. But even people who leave their friggin phone alone as they work at gainful employment can and do refrain from impeccability. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

That’s Sammy(Sam) in the opening photo. That guy is so full of life that I sometimes start to think that he has stolen somebody else’s life force. But that notion is way insulting to an animal that I hold high in regard as to faithful friendship. I’m pretty sure that humans steal other peoples life force. I call that bad management and I have seen it before, but not in my present life situation, except if you consider strictly personal behavior. Come on people. There’s work to be done. Burnin’ daylight. Hyaah!

Whew. I really don’t like ranting so early in the morning. It makes me feel like Dennis Miller. Friggin guy still haunts me after two decades. He was that good. Where is he now? He’s headed out of my mind. Right now, and if the door hits him in the ass on his way out I will feel no compunction. There’s no need. Nor would I invite Ayn Rand to happy hour at the local saloon. I’m tired of selfishness. Do you think that she would buy a round? No. She’d fire the bartender then tell you to serve yourself serve, only yourself, and the bartender would mumble WTF as he walked out the door. Poor guy.

The above paragraphs were intended to be satire. The real issue on my mind is work ethics. Or so it seems. I just don’t know. But I feel assured by the fact that . . . oh, never mind, k? Dude I’m like totally done with this negativity. I’ll do as I please. I’m positive. Positivity rocks. Yeah.

“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.”  ~ Marcus Aurelius

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I met a true Southern gentleman four days ago, articulate, courteous, and intelligent. He’s twelve years old. I want to be like him when I grow up. This boy chose to serve a cat, via adoption, that I thought would never be adopted. Clinton is the cat. That’s him above. The boy promised to work with the cat. I explained the cat’s potentially difficult qualities and the boy simply said okay. Clinton was at one time scheduled for feral release, a program that neuters or spays a feral cat then lets them go back into the wilds of town to fend for themselves. But Clinton has now become a house cat with a fine boy who wants to serve a deserving animal. My heart sings.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Perseus and Brighid Just Hangin’

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Well it’s often
Something in dreams I’ve wondered
Right back, back to that cott again
And I feel and I feel her arms a huggin me
Just like she did like she did way back then
And I hear her voice a hummin
Just like way back in days of yule
When she used to rock me she used to rock me
Outside, outside the kitchen door
That’s why I’m singing tonight

More wintery weather? You betcha. Why does Spring seem so far away? It’s not far away, merely slowly growing, each day closer, each day but one step as Persephone emerges from the Underworld. She is perhaps my favorite goddess from the Greek pantheon. Now, about Perseus. As I first sat out on the deck, this morning, I was gazing about at the starry sky and I saw what I thought was Cassiopeia, but the constellation looked too shallow, too thin. When I came back inside I sparked up the iPad and called up the Star Walk app. This app is one wondrous thing. You face the pad in the direction of your choice and it shows you, in beautiful graphics, what stars, planets, or constellations are in that direction, a feat that is made possible through some clever usage of GPS. Way cool. It was Cassiopeia after all, and I found by looking that my perception was off kilter by 20º to the west, which means that true North was not where I thought it was. My bad. My whole world was askew to an uncomfortable degree. Ouch. Anyway, to the west of Cassiopeia is Perseus, a fact that made me giggle because I just recently, a few days ago, watched “Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters“, a Young Adult movie about teen demigods in modern times. Cool flick however cheesy and clever it may be. Escape through movies is my therapy of choice lately. It works.

Speaking of myths the 31st anniversary of the NDE that was triggered by that friggin terrifying bicycle wreck is only two weeks away. It fell – or I fell – within the festival time devoted to Brighid, the Celtic goddess of healing, poetry, and smithery. She’s my gal alright. I encountered her on the Other Side during the mystical journey that was the NDE. She watches over me, and that first encounter edged me into a more pagan worldview. Yeah, I have friends who are Wiccan. Their love protects me from any dark magic that may be cast my way. A guy can’t get too much help with that. I’ve been groovin’ on this aspect of magick these days. I sense troublesome and potentially dangerous vibes around me. I’d rather they go away. I’d be rightly pleased iffin they’d just friggin go away. But confront them I must. And they may even be a paranoid illusion. Who knows. It’s best to consider both possibilities while acting on the first. Prudence is the better part of valor, no? Boy howdy I’m hoping’ it is. Dude l’m like all edgy dude and the stuff I’m down with dude is like all messed up. Laughter and joy will make it right. That’s what I say. Feeling a tad jovial I am. Good.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Today Has a Sky

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“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.”  ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel,  Prozac Nation

Rarely do I open the drapes that hang behind my desk but today they are open. Today has a sky. Today has trees. Today has a utility pole. It’s time to go let the chickens out of the coop, and the turkey in to feed. Oscar the turkey roosts on top of the coop, regardless of the weather. That boy is one tough cookie. He is the sentinel up top next to the evergreen tree. The reason that the drapes are rarely open is depression, depression can do that to a person, depression can create a bunker, a safe place for defense against a world that seems to be at war, at war with you. Don’t try this at home. That’s what I say.

Today is laundry day. Going to the laundromat is something that I enjoy. Don’t ask me why. Just take my word for it. The rest of the day is without plans. I may make a couple of phone calls, maybe one to an old friend who just happens to be an old infatuation as well. She and I have enjoyed some far-ranging and vivid conversations in the past. I’d like to do that again. Maybe today. But for now I am enjoying a third cup of coffee. I’m understandably exhausted this morning. There is an effect that arises in performing caregiving. They call it compassion fatigue, and with good cause. But for me it is not so much compassion for the animals. Mine is mostly from compassion for the noble crew at the animal shelter. Of course there are many smiles to be seen throughout the day, but it is the scrunched up faces that impact me the most, maybe because my emotional inner pain is all scrunched up and I don’t want to see anyone else go to the place where I exist every day, all the friggin time in fact. So . . . it’s all like a beautiful day and stuff. Then there is also the shadowy periphery of influence that . . . oh, never mind. Did I mention that it’s a beautiful day? As the Brits say – bloody  brilliant! 

“What keeps you going isn’t just some fine destination but the road you’re on and the fact you know how to drive.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

I keep thinking about the future even though I’m not sure you can even do that. Thinking about thinking, that’s what it is. And even that doesn’t sound like such a good idea. I’ve watched several DVD movies lately, and I find that they are one of the only ways to yank myself into a place where my self-absorption doesn’t get a chance to play. I like that – a lot. So it will probably be yet another movie this afternoon or evening. I’m in the mood for fantasies these days. For me fantasy stories are not at all about escape, they are about reunion. Think about that, or don’t. Wow, what a sweet day.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Feral Release and Serendipitous Love

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“When the writer (or the artist in general) says he has worked without giving any thought to the rules of the process, he simply means he was working without realizing he knew the rules.” ~ Umberto Eco

Sam. My Sammy. A teenager of a cat if there ever was one. I love this guy. He’s been adopted. When he leaves the shelter I will cry, just a tad. Tears of joy. I’m a big fan of beauty, and of how we can use it to give meaning to life. Do it enough times and ya got yer self some pretty good times. Cherish those time. I do. That is one lovely and magickal animal.

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“The light in her eyes was beyond description, yet it did not instill improper thoughts: it inspired a love tempered by awe, purifying the hearts it inflamed.”  ~ Umberto Eco

Above you see the lovely Therisina, a domestic long-haired calico. Her companion, a lovely fellow in his own right, is Clinton, a gray domestic short-hair. Note that Clinton’s left ear has been cropped. That is a tool they use in the feral release program, wherein feral cats are captured, neutered or spayed, then release once again to go it alone. The cropped ear is so that when an Animal Control officer sees the animal he know to leave it be. There are several feral cat colonies in Taos. Clinton was going to be released but he somehow started to become socialized. Both he and Therisina have been at the shelter for over one year. Let’s fix that, k?

I’m feeling somewhat grand of mind this morning. My physical head is stuffed tight, sinuses moaning. My consciousness is on its way up. Friggin transformations are a pain in that growing pains are a pain. It’s that simple. But as a result of enduring said pain I am beholden to beauty and awe. It’s a pretty cool way to see things. I am surrounded by a situation that could go infectious at any given moment. So what? I’ll be okay, and the likelihood is that all smiles will gain passage, especially if they laugh as well. Trust me on that. Thanks, yer a pal. Meanwhile the troubadour in me is all tangled up in courtly love, and all that it entails. I don’t think that things are done that way any more. I think that yer supposta use internet dating sites? Really? My way is not so courtly as it is serendipitous. I’ve seen the right smile several times in the past few months, and some of those times I have seen the soul-shine, along with the aura, that tingles me deeply. Such tingling can make me giggle. I’m not sure if that is attractive but it likely is. My guardian spirit (read ‘angel’ if you like) giggles. It can be annoying at times, especially when I make the foolish mistake of trying to be serious when serious is not at all necessary. Boy howdy I abhor making such mistakes. Dude they are like all messed up. But back to the serendipitous love, there is one in particular. . . . . . nah, I’d better not go there. Discretion, don’tcha know.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously. I do.

Something In The Air

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“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public”  ~ Cornell West

It seems we will have another short post today. The brain is foggy, memories playing hard to get, and I have something on my mind that is nagging loudly. It concerns an event that I find to be disturbing yet I don’t care to specify it here. That makes it hard to talk about, and it might cause trouble if I did discuss it. I’ve no taste for trouble these days. Without specification I can only say that justice needs to come forth. This event impacted my life in a big way. It brought me sadness with a touch of rage. It also shook my faith, so hard, until my faith pulled back and then stepped forth, stronger. This strength let’s me keep the event I am unwilling to specify upfront in my mind without judgement. Justice needs to come forth and it will. It helps a lot to address the issue here regardless of the note of secrecy I sing. It also helps to sing. I’ll be singing along with the radio today as I work. Cats and music. It might even turn into a classic rock day. I think I’d like that, since for me classic rock plays, so often, to the mighty aspects of love. It pounds away at hatred with backbeat precision and power chord hammers. It turns disturbing events into music and justice. It makes sense out of things that don’t make sense except in the eyes of a fool. Being a fool has it’s good side but it is the dark side of foolishness that is haunting me today. I’ll work my way through it as I scoop cat shit and make witty comments to the cats. Rock on. That’s what I say, and I know what I am talking about. I’m talking about justice. Huzzah! So there.

“Call out the instigators
Because there’s something in the air
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here, and you know it’s right
And you know that it’s right” ~ Thunderclap Newman

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

My Existential Dude-Saying Musings

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“Strange, that some of us, with quick alternative vision, see beyond our infatuations, and even while we rave on the heights, behold the wide plain where our persistent self pauses and awaits us.”  ~ George Eliot

About thirty cats benefit from these facilities. I write about work but I have never offered a photo of my workplace. Here it is. It’s where I will go today. I always look forward to seeing all the cats in the morning. I’ll walk about performing a welfare check, during which I will do my best to not call too many cats dude. That sort of excess does not serve my best interests. I know that I need to toss in a couple of sweethearts or sweeties and the occasional knucklehead. All things in moderation.

It’s an existential morning so far. My first venture through the front door landed me in a friggin Christmas card. Snow on branches and glittery stars in the background. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful. But when the Goddess tosses sheer beauty in my face first thing in the morning I usually step back, figuratively speaking, and go whoa. This before coffee. Imagine that.

These days it often haunts me when I look at my life in a practical manner. My job serves an important cause, to be sure. The pay is low and I have no other resources. It’s yer typical “paycheck to paycheck” kind of thing. And I have plans to keep at this job, one because I pretty much need to have Medicaid since I have some conditions that would cost me an arm and a leg to have treated on a necessarily regular basis, and two because I don’t know if I could go back to any kind of “regular” job.  That second one could be just the persistent whispering of chronic depression. I don’t know. If it is I must bear in mind that transcending such illusions can be thoroughly exhausting since depression  wants to be in charge, and it will kick up a formidable hissy fit to do so. Now that I think of it the term “hissy fit” can not be politically correct. Why insult cats if you do not have to? Like calling them dude. You can only do that so much before someone comes back to bite you in the . . . well, I’m sure you get the point. I’ve heard many young people use the word dude like 3-4 times in the same sentence. That is the kind of field-leveling deconstruction that should never occur outside of a young adult dystopian fantasy. I reread that last sentence and go like huh? Most of our work staff are young adults. Maybe I’m just not admitting to myself some important existential issue. Wouldn’t be the first time. But as far as my own little corner of the existential world goes I am taking the day off from worry. That doesn’t mean I won’t worry, it just means that my worrying will receive no backup, thus it will dwindle and the flutter off into the cold winter air, where some dude-saying young adult can do with it as they please. We must, after all, provide our young ones with good examples. Sorry kids, it’s all I got right now. And while we’re at it – dude ya got any weed?

Peace out,y’all. Goof gloriously.

Kyrie Eleison

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“I am, as I’ve said, merely competent. But in an age of incompetence, that makes me extraordinary.” ~ Billy Joel

About an inch of snow so far. More on the way, they say. Good. Messy roads are a pain but I love the snow, having been a South Florida boy for so many years. I have been looking for some inspiration for this morning’s post but it is not coming to me as of yet. The Muse says  keep writing, boy, just keep writing. And She’s right, of course. One thing that has been on my mind is my being perplexed, instead of pissed off, at how easily some young folks can toss out a lie even though there is empirical proof that they are full of crap. I guess that doesn’t matter too much, but it does get in the way of having a trusting relationship. “If I say it it I true” isn’t exactly unseen in this country, case in point some right-wingers and Fox news. Or is it just me. I say it’s not just me.

The snow soothes me and the cat is being mellow and sweet. A good morning is at hand as a result. I’ve been feeling resolved to actually make my days better. That feeling has been absent from my consciousness for too long a time. Resignation has been a companion rather than aspiration. At least I still practice respiration. I’ve also been conscious of feelings of fondness toward others. The point here is that I have been too long without such conscious activity. All has all been abstract and analytical for me. It’s good to be aware of these feelings again. Like old friends they are. It’s the depression. And, in part, the meds. But now I’m seeing how the meds are like the plaster of a cast. With a cast the point is too keep a body part still while the healing progresses. It’s not about the plaster, or about the bright pretty colors of the gauze. So the meds keep some parts of cognition and emotion steady while the healing progresses. Unlike a broken arm a broken spirit will not heal on it’s own. Effort is needed, along with self-forgiveness and a healthy does of mercy for oneself.

Mr. Mister. Ya gotta love them hairdos! This is one of my favorite songs because of it’s message – Kyrie Eleison – Lord, have mercy. No wait – I like the music too. Yeah, but that don’t in any way get me off the friggin hook. I can’t let Him do all the work. That would would be a form incompetence. Like dude I would be all bogus and stuff. That would be bad luck, as is superstition. Bad luck. I want good luck. I shall create some  – when I have time. Wink, wink.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously, k?

Slow

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The brain ain’t doin’ it for me this morning. I’m not offended so much as I am simply pissed off. The internet is slow. My computer is slow. It’s a slow morning. Not up to it. So . . . above you see one of my old paintings – Coyote Vision. One of my better ones. Beyond that, I’ll see you tomorrow, k?

Peace out, y’ll. Goof gloriously.

On Worf’s Shoulders

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“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.” ~ Annie Dillard

It’s never black and white. Never. People, politics, belief, mercy, compassion. Never. The image you see above is of me. Life had beaten the living crap out of me, I was beholden to keep going anyway, and the beating wasn’t over yet. The experience I was enduring eventually became the mark with which I came to measure all things in my life, past, present, and future. If you left-click on the image above you will get a larger format with which you can see the light in the eyes of a beaten-down man. Yes, the actual light in my eyes is a photographic effect created by the flash of the camera. We’re not looking at that, we’re looking at soul light, and what it can do in a situation that truly sucks, and what it means to know you’re in way too deep. You carry on. Yes you do.

“Carry on, my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more” ~ Kansas

Now, I fondly refer to a concept which brilliantly describes what had me so beaten down. That concept was a gift to me from a beautiful woman named Ondrea Levine, who is well known as an expert in the application of care and counseling in regards to death and dying. I was helping my mother die. It’s a simple as that. But it ain’t easy. Ondrea supported my efforts through a mutual exchange of hand-written snail mail notes. I treasure her generosity to this day. I always will. The dying, from diagnosis of cancer to death, took place over a seven month period, beginning on Memorial Day and ending on Guy Fawkes Day. On toward Labor Day my employer added to the beating. I was a cashier at a locally owned supermarket. My performance was understandably taxed by my plight. Mistakes were made, discrepancies as well. Not many of these mistakes were reported to me. A single write-up, that’s all. But the hammer came down anyway. I was put on 60 day probation, so the specter of potential termination from my job hung over me as my mother died. When I formally protested the decision the head honcho asked my why I was making mistakes because, he claimed, nobody else was. I burst into tears and tremors as I spewed out an explanation, quite accurately. The point of my telling this all is to offer a form of contemplation upon the nature of both mistakes and consequences. There is no black and white. Never.

This past spring, when I obtained my current job, little known to me, I walked into the thick of a controversy. Eventually I took sides, which may have been a mistake. Who knows? When things turned and didn’t go my way I was like all OMG what about consequences? There have been none that I can see. Good for me. I have since taken to viewing my plight as a spiritual exercise. I could have taken the Klingon route and viewed it as “today is a good day to die”. Actually, all kidding aside, that’s pretty much where I stand today. Thank you Mr. Worf, I owe ya one, dude. Anyway, all the here and now stuff doesn’t quite do it for me. I like to look at it in an optical science sense, especially as a Law of Reflection kind of thing. The Law of Reflection states that the angle at which a light ray strikes a mirror is the same as the angle at which the light ray leaves the mirror. Angle I equals angle R. The angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. And if the light ray goes straight at the mirror – well, back atcha. So, instead of here and now I look at the point of contact, where the light actually touches the mirror. That’s where I stand. Now kick that concept up a few notches and we’ll talk about spiritual Light. But not today. I’ve been obscure enough for one day. I’ve already had my breakfast burrito so after my shower I’m going to hop on Worf’s shoulders and get a piggyback ride to work.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.