The Whole Point of the Exercise

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“Anyone who believes what a cat tells him deserves all he gets.”  ~  Neil Gaiman

“Mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what’s happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening, stories that get in the way of direct experience. Often such stories treat a fleeting state of mind as if it were our entire and permanent self.”  ~  Sharon Salzberg

Dashing my pre-conveived notions, and my expectations, against the rocks of actuality Winter comes in as she will; I love it that Winter is here. The real thing, not just some overnight flirtation. I came home during lunch hour yesterday and the scenery, with fragments of storms throughout, and a good healthy snow storm up on the high slopes, was simply stunning, gasp-worthy, whatever. I ain’t gonna brag to you how lucky I am to live here, I’m just gonna tell you. And express my gratitude. As crappy as my headspace so often is I am always so delighted and thankful when Nature hacks my firewall, or cleans out my cache, or debugs my browser. The view of the mountains, and snow, and storms, and light and shadow, and sagebrush  .  .  .  well, let’s just say that I got rightfully smacked back into my senses. The opening photo in today’s post was taken on 2/7/2009. I found myself struggling with true breathlessness as I watched the big snow squall come skirting up from the south, hanging tight to the mountains, awash in brilliant sunlight from the west. And when the phenomenon began to devour a mile-high mountain right in front of my eyes my mind went all silent and stuff; but then I remembered I had my camera, so I skeedaddled out of cosmic Oneness and snapped a few good ones. One has to sometimes make sacrifices to remain in the mundane world, the world of Muggles. But the magick in which we are immersed at all times sometimes just will not let you go without noticing. It is perhaps why birds sing to greet the rising sun. Here, try this. I’m imagining two coyotes sitting out on a dark night. The Full Moon comes up over the ridge and one of them stands, tosses his head way back, and begins to howl. The other coyote remains seated, and says, “It’s really pretty, but wasn’t that there last night?”. “The howler stops howling only long enough to give his companion a side glance and reply, “That’s the whole point of the exercise, you nitwit”. Sigh. Gotta get ready for work. It’s ten friggin degrees out there! It just takes longer to prep for work when the temps get so low. I’m still adapting. I think I have behavioral inertia.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

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Braunschweiger and the Big Ugly

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Snow over Taos Mountain behind the buffalo pasture

“Art does not exist only to entertain — but also to challenge one to think, to provoke, even to disturb, in a constant search for the truth.”  ~  Barbara Streisand

A beautiful, fluffy snow is falling. I find comfort in this. About a half hour ago the coyotes were yukking it up over by the neighbor’s house. Shrill but uplifting sound, balm for a fearful state of mind this morning. By the looks of the radar and forecast the snow may continue on through the rest of the morning. That’s fine with me. The deep freeze comes as well. I’ve waited patiently for Winter, now I have it. It will take some adjustment. Bring it on. Admittedly I have been feeling suppressed by the political climate in this country. The hatred that has arisen from Trump’s new America is deeply disturbing. The worst part for me is to have to bear witness to a shift into an alternate reality, one where truth has nothing to do with itself. Let’s not get into details, here and now, but the fact that Trump seems to think that the sole purpose of the press is to be his personal scribes. These times are the result of the dark side of the “you create your own reality” thingy that became so popular back around the turn of the century. A shift in consciousness is crucial right now. Just sayin. It is small acts that will undermine the Big Ugly that stalks this land. Things are a gettin froggy out there. I am grateful that my world is close-knit and tiny, and that I live in a place where the level of diversity serves as a support against the kind of ugly that seems inevitable at this point. Sigh. Moving forward, it is a simple workday. My state of mind is not good but I feel some assistance from the Ancestors, or maybe it is other spirits, I don’t know. Coming to terms with a “not good” state of mind isn’t the same thing as accepting it somewhat as furniture, which is where I am at for now. Things unfold from the plenum. Some are foreseeable, some not. Our reality is full of surprises these days, many of them appalling. WTF, right? It’s just that kind of morning  .  .  .  too much input and too little clarity. I’ll stick with the Nature thing, and with the pleasure I find in my job. That and a nice braunschweiger with creamy Italian dressing sandwich for lunch oughtta be enough. Heck, that’s a lot in my reality! Today is about gratitude and mercy. Self-mercy is like all cool and stuff dude. Yeh, I think so.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

An Excerpt from My Book

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“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”   ~  Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

Quiet now, and still, it was a cold wind that met me when I first stepped out the door this morning, early. The cat had woken me up for an earlier than usual snack. I couldn’t go back to sleep, and I couldn’t get warm. A little better now, but I feel weak and ill. Since I never got to the laundromat yesterday I’ll be forced by necessity to go this morning. The likely a long afternoon nap. Seems I am sick enough to get my head clear enough to rise above the mundane details and write something of substance this morning. Oh well. Here’s an excerpt from my book. It’s a description of my adventure in the NDE place, the magnificent beyond words valley, written after 20-some years of research, recapitulation, and reflection. All that time and I still didn’t get it right. It was an experience of unspeakable beauty. That’s why.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Still flying, I emerged from that dark place into a strange valley. Colors and sounds were what made the valley so strange. The colors seemed to be as essentially important as the forms. Instead of being a quality of the surfaces, the color arose from deep within the features of the valley. Light itself bore these colors to the surface, for the light itself suffused everything I could see. The sounds were much the same. Everything I could see seemed to depend on the sounds. What had been the sound of running water was now much more.

I saw that the water was running as a river through this valley. It’s course meandered a bit, but it generally cut straight through the scene below me, down the center into the distance. To both sides were magnificent mountains. They angled sharply up from the valley floor, almost like the walls of a gorge. Their color amazed me, deep, rich redness like burgundy wine – crystalline masses, teasing, as if one could truly gaze into their depths. All between these two walls of mountains, the valley floor was slightly rolling with hills, emblazoned with a greenness that rivaled the blueness of the sky in its brilliance. I felt that everything was alive and joined together in song, and that song was sung by voices which cut through the roaring sounds of the wind that enveloped me as I flew. Maybe it was a welcoming song, or maybe a simple expression of the place itself. 

I was passing through, toward a destination beyond all of that. It was visible in the distance, sitting right in the center of the valley. Somehow, I felt it was too far away, yet my velocity of flight betrayed that feeling as I flew on. The valley itself was too far away, as was the sound. Everything that I could see and hear seemed to be emerging from some impossible source, yet it was already here. The distance I felt was some strange kind of value, for it was only silence and nothingness I carried with me. The rest of this wondrous place was, by its very existence, a brilliant mockery of an unwilling traveler. Where the mountains, the river, and the sky all converged in the distance, there sat a spot of brilliance. Light emanated from that spot, yet did not illumine the surroundings, for they had light of their own. That this spot was brighter by far than all else within my field of vision indicated that this was my destination. It appeared to be a domelike thing, though I could not truly call it a structure. Whatever it was, it was most certainly summoning me. Once my sight focused on the dome, I could not look away. The valley snapped out of view. I had been pushed into this experience and now I was drawn into the light.

Fear could easily have overcome me at that point, but my feelings began to accelerate as I came to a stop at the threshold of the light. The field of color before me shifted fiercely from white to yellow and back, with whispers of other colors as well. The motion within the light was so intense that it soon had me lulled into acceptance. I felt welcome there. My strong desire to cling to panic went to calm. When the panic failed I was able to enter the light.

A sense of supreme intimacy was my first sensation upon entry. However immense the place seemed to be, it felt small and exquisitely personal. I definitely felt I was inside of something, and the intimacy of the space was emanating from the woman who met me there. She was not flesh and blood. At first sight she was simply a swarm of energy, brilliant light as the dome itself was, shifting at such great speed that it enchanted me to stillness. I truly wanted to see her as an angel, but the sensations that she embodied, and the feelings that arose in me from her presence, told me that “angel” was an incomplete and inadequate label. This woman was magnificence manifested for my needs. She was also, quite simply, human.

No words were spoken. When communications began it was almost as if the feelings we both already had were somehow becoming more dense for the purpose of connection and interaction. She was quite concerned about me. But she was not afraid. There was a tone of faith in my abilities and well-being which is, to this day, impossible to understand. I can only say that it felt as if my very existence was dependent on her belief, that her faith was a source, without which I simply would not be anywhere at all. An intense blue aura appeared around her as I came to see that I had become agitated to the point of fatigue. It was quite clear that this was not solely from this strange journey. The fatigue was an ongoing thing which I had carried with me to this celestial place, as a security measure. Another thing that became very clear was the choice she offered me. I could go back or stay there. And there was a powerful sense of levity in her admonition that I should go back.

No way did I want to go back! A mood like a whiny adolescent protested going back. It was too far. I was just too tired to go anywhere, and too far away from home to even know where or how to start such a journey. But I did not plead. Her radiant humor reached out to me and held me in place. This is where it all became dreamlike.

Following on the energy of her extended, shimmering humor I saw her hands coming my way. Now the place looked immense. I had been so certain that she was right there beside me that I was shocked to suddenly see her at such a distance. Her arms stretched to accommodate the great distance. Those arms stretched and the hands reached my face. Those thumbs came to rest at the corners of my jawbone, and her fingers lightly dug into the sides of my neck. An overpowering wave of ecstasy burned all traces of tension from my being. Then more came through those arms. It was sheer, unbridled power which originated within her and flowed my way through her arms. As the power flooded into me it became information.

I gave her a rough go of it. With a wall of tension that could stop a hurricane in its tracks, I had resisted her from the first moment she called me forth. So it had become necessary for her to push me as well, to force movement. This troubled her deeply. Once the summons had been set into motion it had to be completed, and I fought her every step of the way. Because of the strength of our connection, I had been able to draw from her own power; to use it against her in a fight to resist the disruption of my secure, tense little life. I had failed because she needed to see it through. She needed me to let go of my tension. The touch of her hands against my neck had secured that goal and fulfilled that need. Upon relaxation I understood all of that in a flash. There was much more in that flash of clarity, including the call to write this book. That done, the information burned into my very soul, it was then time to return to my earthly life.

 

Corn Flakes and Marshmallow Fluff

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“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”  ~  Neil Gaiman

Rain and thunder, light and magic. In Celtic tradition the mist, the rain, is when the worlds of Spirit and matter dance closely, slow and intimate. The Veil between the worlds is pulled back for safe passage. The brilliant physicist, Richard Feynman, said that “all matter in interaction”. It gets deep, right? The rain comes and goes, the radar shows it is mostly north of El Prado, up yonder, San Cristobal, Questa. It is said that snow will come when the light of the sun comes, and that veiled by thick clouds. It’s going to be a sweet, wet day. The thunder has since passed. That last peal sounded to be out near the Rio Grande Gorge. The Gorge plays with weather, sometimes sucking clouds right down into the 650 foot chasm, where it hoards them for a while. Although there is no hurry it remains that this is laundry day. How will this day unfold, what will be my focus as I pull myself, dragging through the fear, forward into the future? Or is it backward? Stephen Hawking said that there is no reason we cannot remember the future. Maybe we do it all the time but we are too encultured to realize what is going on, much less knowing what to do with it. How would I know? At this time of the morning I am mostly interested in remembering to put some OxyClean into the wash. Get those worn old clothes as clean and as bright as can be, which ain’t much. Still they are comfortable, as only old clothes can be. This afternoon it will definitely be a movie. I so often fail to treat myself to a movie I vow to watch. There’s some kind of discipline issue there. Lately many of my issues have been stepping forward and forming gangs. Imagine that. What’s up is that a pivotal, seminal time in my life is only 24 days away, and counting. That’s when I receive the first of my monthly Social Security payments. I’ll first take myself out to dinner. You can bet on that. Italian, please. Ample red wine and garlic breadsticks. Maybe a dinner date? I cannot foresee that, but, then again, maybe Dr. Hawking is right, and I need to open up my friggin eyes and get with the flow, remember what’s coming. I can almost see her smile. I’ve seen it before, and the last time I saw it I was dazzled for a spell. Whatever. First the snow, then the laundry, then the movie, and then I can sit down and whittle away at a fantasy to see if it is actually a dream instead. You see, dreams can come true, whereas fantasies are all marshmallow fluff and corn flakes and stuff. I like that image. Imagine a bowl of cornflakes nestled into marshmallow fluff. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts, drizzle with raspberry sauce, douse with Lemonhart 151º rum, and spark it up. It’s like Bananas Foster, except for breakfast. Mimosas would be nice as well. Hey, settle down, I’m just playing here. It’s a rainy Sunday morning, and I have the day off. Anything is possible. Yesterday was THE most anxiety-free day in recent memory, which goes back years. The world became awash with light. It was really cool dude. Boy howdy I gotta go now. I’m havin’ a memory. Gotta get to it.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Path Out of Darkness

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“Hey,” said Shadow. “Huginn or Muninn, or whoever you are.” 

The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes.

“Say ‘Nevermore,'” said Shadow.

“Fuck you,” said the raven.”    ~     Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Here at Eyeyote blog  .  .  .  well, once in a while we go dark here, all in the name of the Light. Make sense? Yeh, it does. And once in a while I refer to myself in the second person. That’s when we get confused and return to a proper first person point of view, where I regain my senses and carry on as if nothing has happened. And, yes, I play with words and grammar as well. It’s not like I have anything better to do. Poor me. As a recap for new readers, I have both Bipolar 2 disorder and PTSD. That’s where the “poor me” comes in. I’m not one to wallow in self-pity. I’m more likely to scrunch up in a tremulous “WTF do I do now?!“. When it gets bad, I mean. When it gets really bad. What I am getting at is that it has been a rough few days, k? Clinically speaking, I am quite successfully medicated, by professionals; in fact I am lucky in that this success is greater than most. I can only imagine. Lucky, thankful, that’s me. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the concept, but what I am coming to see is that the two mental/emotional/physical issues I mentioned need not be viewed as illnesses, not for me anyway. My stuff is moderate. For those more severe I can only sigh and encourage you to fight the good fight. It won’t be easy. It never is. For me it’s like some dull-witted hulk, crouching, looming, bereft of all but one purpose, that being guardianship of the Gates of Devastation. Dude like I ain’t goin in there dude so don’t even try. The Fool, he never listens; he knows the ‘right’ way, that’s all. He’s like Donald Trump. Dark, claiming light. So, as I was saying, it doesn’t have to be viewed as an illness. What then? It is simply the way my brain works. Like go all Buddhist and stuff dude. Get used to it. Yeh, I know, it gets complicated. I write early in the morning, before dawn. I’ll step outside on occasion, to watch the stars, to breathe the air. This morning’s air is ripe with early Wintertime. It is now two days after Thanksgiving and the last vestiges of Summer have finally been successfully wrestled from its post. Life is a circle. Season after season, year after year. The Circle Game. This Holiday season is a tough one for anybody, more so for we who wrassle with depression and stuff. As a Pagan I know that this is the time of the year when the God has died, and in time will be reborn. The God is a bright fella. When he is dead it is stone cold friggin dark. Come the Solstice he is reborn, and things begin to get brighter again, in increments, day by day, breath by breath. The Circle Game. What goes around comes around. When darkness falls I like to take up, totemically speaking, with Raven the Trickster. He is also a Creator. Raven enjoys, by his very nature, journeying into the darkness to find and retrieve the Light. He’s pretty good at it. Some people call him a totem animal. I call him an ally. That’s where I am this morning. Clawing my way out of the darkness, a jewel of light clenched in my jaw. I’ve been here before and likely will be again. And I remind myself: do the work, and don’t forget to play. Keep your heart’s eye out for the princess, and keep a troubadour’s song in your heart, just behind your eyes. It’s simple. And simple does not mean easy. Now, as poetic as I feel I must now get prepped for my day job as a retail cashier in a hardware store. Home repair and improvement. Yeh, I get it, metaphor. I still feel, after several days of inner darkness, like shit, but I’m goin anyway. Retail cashiering, as I practice it, is performance art. The levels of subtle joy I feel at times on the job make it all worthwhile. There’s beauty in the whole thing. Again and again. Day after day. And then again. The Circle Game. Yeh.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Bending Time With Ginny

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“What is life without incompatible realities?”  ~  Ursula K. Le Guin

“Nowhere is it writ that anthropoid apes should understand reality.”  ~  Terence McKenna

“I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won’t get us very far.”  ~  Niels Bohr

One thing about writing this daily blog is that I too often feel pressed to write something productive, or wise, or influential. It matters not that my own chosen reason for this blog does not at all require that I do so, nor does the small audience I have require anything of the sort. There is no puzzle here, not about this unnecessary expectation. It’s a superego thing. Yesterday was case in point in this regard for I consciously chose to spend Thanksgiving alone. Superego says this is no way no how good. Yet superego says I am not good enough, or right enough, at any given time. It matters not. I took two naps yesterday! Not planned, spontaneous like a cat would; just kinda sorta give in to nodding off. It served me well. However well-rested I am I still feel exhausted. It’s that thing I call “life tired”. Today I am in just the mood to go gentle on myself, have mercy, compassion, that kind of stuff. This attitude flies in the face of superego. It is not my intention to offend. I just need a chance to unwind, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post. I actually look forward to work today, to the smiles and the laughs, and the touching moments  .  .  .  and the achingly mundane stuff as well. I’m of the inclination to go all spiritual, or philosophical, or intellectual, or mystical, and I suspect that the discomfort I feel in taking it all down to the mundane level is exactly what it feels like to fly high. I’m at risk here, on the verge of slipping right into the Be Here Now continuum. It’s not where I want to be today. Conceptually speaking, of course. I’m in the mood to bend time and weave dreams, to pull through whatever rather than quest forth, onward, whatever. Yeh, whatever. My old girlfriend, Ginny, used to call it “let go and let God”. I think that’s an Italian saying. We had a good thing going. But she was stolen right from under my nose by a car thief. No, really. I find great humor in that. He was soon after extradited to who knows where, and Ginny moved back home to Cape Cod, then out to the Monterey Peninsula. I went out to see her only weeks after my head injury and NDE. I never heard from her again after my departure home, back to the islands, yet to this day I can see her eyes. That’s the kind of mystery today shall be. I haven’t until this very post was begun thought of Ginny in a long, long time. And that is part of what bending time is all about. That and getting to work on time when you are objectively and actually running late. Let me give you an annoyingly obscure metaphor here and I’ll just run along, k? Do you really think that people who buy an Apple Watch use it to tell time? Or let’s get really really obscure – if there are aliens living on some planet a billion light years away from here are they the same as they were yesterday? Hmmmmm?

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Fates In the Frog Pond

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“Luck is a goddess not to be coerced and forcibly wooed by those who seek her favours. From such masterful spirits she turns away. But it happens sometimes that, if we put our hand in hers with the humble trust of a little child, she will have pity on us, and not fail us in our hour of need.”  ~  P. G. Wodehouse

“Mankind accepts good fortune as his due, but when bad occurs, he thinks it was aimed at him, done to him, a hex, a curse, a punishment by his deity for some transgression, as though his god were a petty storekeeper, counting up the day’s receipts.”  ~  Sheri S. Tepper

The temperature seems to be stuck at freezing this morning. I guess that’s okay. I’d like something more dramatic, but a steady air temperature, I suppose, indicates some kind of balance is at work in the world, so far today. Who can argue with that? Balance seems to be a rare quality these days. The sordid results from the Presidential election are filtering down into the collective American psyche; clear signs of further disturbance are beginning to show, but the shit ain’t really hit the fan just yet. And when it does it ain’t gonna be pretty. It’s a sorry state of affairs, I’m sorry to say.

I just had to step outside for a few minutes. The banality of Donal Trump was getting to me as I was writing about it. Would you question my usage of the term “banal” to describe Trump? The friggin guy is trite.  That said, moving forward  .  .  .  while outside I saw, to the southwest, the slowest falling star I have ever seen. Mr. Science (me) here would usually stick with the technical term “meteor” except this one was headed straight down. It reminded me of the falling star in Neil Gaiman’s lovely novel Stardust. That star was seen by the protagonist and he felt compelled to investigate further. Turns out the thing hit the ground, and it turned out that the star was actually a beautiful woman from the heavens. Imagine that. Claire Danes plays the star woman in the movie version. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the evil queen bent on destroying Claire Danes. Great movie, especially if you want to see Robert Di Nero dance in a tutu. No, really. So how am I to take the falling star I just saw? Is there a star-born princess out there somewhere, and I am supposta go find her and do the happily ever after thing? Is it a sign? Well, I know of one woman I’d like to be the falling star, but I am prone to fantasy anyway, so how the heck would I know? Leave it to the Fates. That’s what I say. Now, once again, moving forward (geez I simply hate that term; I mean where else would you go!?). Our opening photo today is of the odd sight that greeted me when I arrived at my usual lunch site yesterday. There in the wetland frog pond was the nine of diamonds, floating above the muck, face up, just as steady as you please. Now that I took, take, whatever, as a sign. I looked it up, and consulted a witch friend, and the meaning of the card is basically that I have earned a much needed rest, after a long struggle, and better times are a comin soon, so I can give myself a break, relax, and let it all flow for a while. I suppose that the coming better times begin when my first SS payment arrives. Or when that woman I know turns out to be a star come down to Earth. Stranger things have happened. Yeh, leave it to the Fates. I need a rest, breather, whatever. Yeh, whatever. I can’t be bothered.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Wisdom In the Wilderness

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“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”  ~  Mark Twain

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”  ~  Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court

Winter stars. They were brilliant earlier, but the humidity is 98% and a haze has dampened the gentle light of the stars. Moonlight has shown up, cutting shadows with sharp edges in the yard. A single meteor flashed, so fast that the tail, of some 5º of arc, shown all at once; a flash of a straight line of light. Lovely, and breathtaking.  Temps just below freezing. A pretty good morning so far. In this new world it is hard to know. The election of Trump opened up the gates of hell. Just you watch. This guy is a loose wheel. The slightly crazed dreamer in me sees him as a vehicle for some truly daft demon. No, really. Calling him a dark spirit would not be totally inaccurate. Hey, have you ever seen a coyote dance? I have. I have a friend who has witnessed this as well, and she said that the animal had its sights on her dog as it danced. Foxes do it to. The motivation behind the dance is to look so crazy that the intended prey lets its guard dow, then loses the game. Just sayin. But my eyes are tired, stunned. I noticed that this morning, early, as I perused the news. My eyes are stunned. I repeat that to make my point. At 62, now retired, though working still, I feel lightly offended that things of great interest are happening in our country. I just wanted to get some rest, to look at all of the beautiful things I can find, but I see business being hoisted up to the highest importance of what homo sapiens can be and do. And that simply ain’t the truth. The good health and prosperity of the population is what counts. You don’t get that by denying affordable health care and education. It’s a no-brainer. Business needs people who are at least competent. If they are well-educated and in somewhat optimum health  .  .  .  well  .  .  .  more the better, right? Nah, not even. Ya jest squeezes them babies and skim their financial keepings, then remind them repeatedly that you not only want to help you are helping by keeping the moochers at bay. The trouble with this approach is that to quash the moochers ya hafta quash everybody. Because if you are not rich you don’t deserve to have more money, or even a working wage, a living wage. So, good buddy, I’ll just take your money and hold it until you evolve  .  .  .  no wait, evolution is bunk, right? Science sucks, right? Now, moving forward, I had no idea I was going to rant there. My bad. It shows how worked up I can get. But today is another workday and fun it will be. I have simples plans for Thanksgiving Day. I will stay home, in solitude (except for Rosie the cat), and watch a couple of movies, and drink a couple of beers. And eat some good food, and be thankful that I got to retire just under the wire. I am thankful for way more than that. My meeting in passing with that bighorn ram in the wild the other day is exemplary; it is the beauty of the natural world, the mystery of existing at all, and the sweet companion we call consciousness. That kind of stuff. No neckties. Please. Not that. The ram and I just nodded at each other and went about our business. I did take the opportunity to say out loud, “Hi buddy!”. He smiled only slightly, as if to indicate that my little sculpted primate mouth noises were maybe not so impressive as I might think. I will leave you with that to ponder. The wild sheep was not impressed with the language, but he likely did get the vibe of loving intent that I shared with him. Yeh, he was like all whatever about my words, but the intent is where it is at. I think I grokked that. He was just telling me something, then we nodded and walked on. I found wisdom in the wilderness. Wild sheep rock!

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

The Ram Along the Trail

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“A body ‘as to move gentle an’ speak low when wild things is about.”  ~  Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and love for a time in the wilderness.”  ~  Loren Eiseley

On my way home from the laundromat yesterday I was thinking about where I could take a few photos of the storm clouds engulfing the mountains tops. It’s always fun to share photos on Facebook, to share the beauty of the land surrounding Taos. The beauty here is so often stunning. It is perhaps the main reason I choose to stay here. I have no stock in much else here, none that would anchor me in any effective way. Friends, yes, but friends do not always have to be in proximity. Within my musings and schemings there came a news flash that I had not been out west to the Rio Grande Gorge in quite some time. That is where I ended up, by choice. It’s about a mile out from the visitors center by the bridge (it’s a National Monument along with miles of land along the river), along a rocky low-impact trail, to a park bench somebody donated as a memorial to somebody else. The bench provides a place to sit and enjoy a breathtaking view of the full span of the bridge, which crosses above 650 feet of air over the river. That was my destination. I sat on that bench and wandered around a bit as well, snapping some photos and basically grooving on the place. There were quite a few people passing in both directions along the trail. That’s the thing, out along that wide open wilderness trail most everyone you meet looks happy. It’s that kind of place. As I walked along the trail in returning to the trailhead I saw something headed my way, headed out along the trail, out where I had been. It didn’t take me long at all to realize that it was a ram, a fine looking bighorn sheep. He was a casual fella. I stepped slightly off the trail and just waited as he approached. He adjusted his path slightly as he came upon where I stood silently watching. But his course correction was only slight, his path maybe only 15 feet or so from me, and his demeanor did not change at all; he remained calm and unassuming. Of course I snapped a few photos. That’s him in the opening photo. Cute guy. When I got back home, about a ten minute drive, I soon fell into a deep sleep. When I awoke I was full of anger. Why? What had I been dreaming? I have no idea what that was about, although I have strong knowledge of some of the deep undercurrents in my unconscious mind that conjure up those dark moods when they come. But those moods and those currents are vehicles, conduits of sorts. Filters. The source, the pain, is a soul thing. I still feel it this morning although the crippling part of the mood has abated nicely. After awaking I had to go out to my ex’s house to pick up some stuff and drop off some stuff. I was basically in and out, my lingering more about playing with and hugging the boisterous dog than anything else. When I was headed back out she commented on the heavy rain that had fallen. I’d been sleeping during the heavy part, in fact I didn’t even know it had been so intense. So I was stuck for words, in part because I didn’t know what she was talking about, but mainly because I was frozen within an angry mood. That’s what I mean by crippling. Sometimes, no matter how strong my rational mind is being I just can’t break the spell of a mood. It is simply stronger than rationality, which must relegate itself to being no more than an observer. Tears of frustration over the emotional stasis could easily have occurred, but one does not show tears in this world anymore. It’s a bad rule, a crippling rule, but if people see you cry it is perceived as an effect of weakness. You don’t go there. You just don’t. Yeh, I admit that one strong reason that I do not go out into the wilderness much is that I don’t want to come back. But I have to. And the anger and frustration? Hmmph, I’ve said too much already. Dude I don’t want to look all weak and stuff dude. It’s just pain; ya gotta be tough, like that ram. Time for me to shower, dress, and go to work to have some fun. The Holiday season is upon us. It is going to be a long one. Yes.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

On the Other Side of the Train

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“In the high country of the mind one has to become adjusted to the thinner air of uncertainty, and to the enormous magnitude of questions asked, and in turn must ask, what is the truth and how do you know it when you have it.”  ~  Robert Pirsig

Earlier it was slate gray sky and silence at play. No animal noises, no traffic, air still as can be. I had only the ringing in my ears and the familiar, comforting noise of my thoughts. It’s kinda cool to watch those thoughts go by like a train in the night, watching to see beyond to what is on the other side of the train, rather than actually focusing on the train. It is an image exercise I learn from the late great Stephen Levine. Vipassana, mindfulness, whatever. Much needed, much appreciated, a treat I give myself when I remember to. Images that came up beyond the train gave me a glimpse of where my soul is looking today, and these images are like doors of sorts, opening into the vast unconscious realms within  .  .  .   you know, like subjective stuff  .  .  .  and stuff. One image is of mom, only months away from death, and she was well aware it was coming. Sitting in her recliner, food pump hanging idle on the IV rack at her side. Floral print pajamas, American Spirit non-filter in hand, ember active. Cappuccino on the table at her side. Cancer in her gut, working away. Eighty pounds of tough. The amount of Light I see through this memory is immense. Then, at the break table at the animal shelter, a few of us hanging out, cigarettes burning, stories being shared of the morning’s pain and hope and shit. Zach with his feet up, shades on. Anthony, Juliet, Janet, Lori, Savvy; early on, sometimes Dr. Gene. There were many over the course of my time there. Animals, all troubled, 200, give or take. What we went through there is beyond words. The amount of Light I see through this image is immense. See, I’m all about Light this morning. I think it was the Templars who liked to say that “All things are Light”. That’s pretty much the case, if you ask me. In part my focus today, on Light, comes from the realization that our national political dilemma is somehow a failure of consciousness. Things are going downhill. I won’t get into details. Trump is just the prop. An improper prop at that. Then you have the Lightworkers, peacemakers, wisdom keepers. And then you have the Bilderberg watchers, those who see shapeshifting reptilians behind the masks of the powerful, Matrix fighters; then climate change deniers, gun lovers, abortion haters. I just don’t know dude it’s like all messed up and stuff dude. Division alright, we’ve got it in spades. What’s a guy to do? It just started to rain, a smidgen so far. Tonight, they say, will bring 1-2 inches of snow. I’m gonna do laundry this morning. What I’d like to do later on is to raise my arms and shout out to the heavens to please stop all of this shit that culture hath wrought. Shout out to God that I don’t want to be Christian. Shout out to the Goddess to help her children heal. Maybe that’s what is really going on. Maybe these are birth pangs our American psyche is experiencing. Shout out to the Ancestors. Tell them what? What?! Whatever. Just friggin shout. But I’ll enjoy the laundromat. And then the snow. I’m all tremory this morning; anxiety waves, that kind of stuff. I’m writing, which is hopefully a doorway leading into the collective unconscious. Art can take us there. Yeh, maybe. Ummmm, maybe tomorrow. All told though, it’s a sweet morning and hopefully I will be sweet throughout the day. Hey, listen, you can be sweet and shout at the same time. I think that is what I see beyond the runaway train. Sweetness and Light. You may say I’m a dreamer, right?

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.