When Spell Check Fails To Recognize Cheech

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“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.” ~ Maya Angelou“

I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” ~ Hippolyte A. Taine

“The life and passion of a person leave an imprint on the ether of a place. Love does not remain within the heart, it flows out to build secret tabernacles in a landscape.” ~ John O’Donohue

First light arising from the mountain summits. It felt cold earlier, though the temperature is right around 60º. The daily temperature swing has been 30-35º. And, of course, too friggin hot in the afternoons. I am always skilled and siesta-ready, since I have lived with a cat for 16 years, and who knows better about naps and sleep patterns in general. And cats are like all “Patterns? We don’t need no stinkin’ patterns!”. Cats are so weird. Though often coasting, my mind has been going from a tectonic-level shift in consciousness to a potential win for Trump, and then is when, after 4-5 years of WTF, it is now, “Oh, shit”. Hey, did ya hear there’s a new Bill & Ted movie coming out?! For my money, Bill & Ted are right up there with Cheech and Chong. Just sayin’. Wow, just wow: the name Cheech was not recognized by SpellCheck. No wonder this world is so messed up. Meanwhile, I can surmise by the light that there is a significant though light level of smoke in the air. I’ve been nearly craving a little photo expedition but there hasn’t been enough clarity of late. Yes, I’ve been way slack with the camera for months, picking through the vaults for my daily blog photos, looking for that shiny one. Kind of a Raven thing to do – dig down into the shadows in search of the Light. Yeh, that works for me. Ciao.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

What the Tortoise Said

“Often, moreover, it is that aspect of our being that society finds eccentric, ridiculous, or disagreeable, that holds our sweet waters, our secret well of happiness, the key to our equanimity in malevolent climes.” ~ Tom Robbins

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it under his feet.” ~ James Oppenheim

“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.” ~ Bessel A. van der Koch

Slow and steady wins the race? Isn’t that what the tortoise said? I’ve got slow down pat. Steady? No hurry; winding down is perhaps the hardest part of my working life. The nervous vibrations take a certain amount of time to slow down. That’s physics, biology, whatever. My conscious desire and efforts toward calming down . . . well, let’s just say that it takes a certain amount of time. Calming down without first calming down just ain’t good for a person. The cat has it down, zonked out on her bed. The chickadee that was dancing and chirping in the apple tree has flown on. Wow! The coyotes last night were intense! Obviously on the hunt, their calls went on for a long time. Thrilling. And that’s about all I can rustle up in the logey mind this morning. See y’all next time.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Palliation and Emotion Mongering

“I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.” ~ Roger Ebert

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self’s own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.” ~ Jonathan Franzen

Monday, Monday. Sleeping cat, good strong coffee. I went out earlier to find that Venus was rising over the summits of the big mountains. The beauty, no words. It is a good way to start the day. The usual mildly agoraphobic trepidation is upon me. While I was out gazing at the stars something mysterious reminded me of the empathic strain and attrition that comes from being out in public and facing a couple of hundred people each workday, especially since I am strongly empathic. I watched a video clip of Nancy Pelosi earlier in which she used, in reference the president, the term “emotion mongering“. Let that one sink in. It’s what bullies do. I have long called such people energy vampires. They get you stirred up with negative emotions then dine on the darkness they have stirred up. What I was so blessedly reminded of was that my accelerated need for rest these days is not only natural, it is healthy. On some days off, like yesterday, my afternoon nap becomes my major sleep of the day. Yesterday in was six hours, then another four long toward midnight. Lots of dreams as well. From a shamanic point of view I am beginning to see how deeply and unprecedentedly disturbed and disturbing the World Dream is these past few months. And I am reminded as well that some essential healing work, both for oneself and others, can be done in dreams. Such reframing of my personal plight is comforting; good ol’ down home palliation. Now . . . I’d best get started in bringing my being up to speed for some serious doing.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

A Basement Apartment in a Sketchy Neighborhood

“Most folks with a terrific sense of humor know that loneliness, anxiety, depression and comedy share a basement apartment in a sketchy neighborhood.” ~ Regina Barecca

“If you are someone who tends to ruminate, or who suffers from anxiety and depression, it’s important that you don’t judge yourself for this way of being.” ~ Kristen Neff

“I don’t much like my life, but for some dumb reason, I want to be alive, because sooner or later, I figure it will work out.” ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel

“And I was scared, and I was stuck. It was ridiculous, laughable: sometimes anxiety is. Often it is. It doesn’t make it any less real, or any less difficult to manage.” ~ Ella Risbridger

A chill pervades the morning, enough so that I may have to turn off the ceiling fan before long. At just short of 9 AM it is 65º and holding, under the reassuring overcast sky. Reassuring? As I am feeling moderately to severely depressed these past many weeks the sight of the brilliant August Sun gets nearly unbearable, more often than I care to admit. My eyes are hanging heavy, the left one even more so from still being in an active physical healing cycle from the head injury. If the Sun does indeed have the pluck to emerge from the clouds I will be forced the draw the curtains and get all cloistered.

I just went out for a smoke. By the time I was ready to come back in the Sun was starting to break through, but now the clouds are pushing back. The narrative of my morning runs deep while I bob about on a turbulent pool of deep blue anxiety, adrift in a pale and rickety dinghy. I feel good humor floating just below the surface so I will watch a few episodes of The Librarians later on, to make sure that the humor comes out to play. A drive up to Arroyo Hondo for beer and a smile from the sweet young woman who works the counter at Midtown Market. I’m feeling serious this morning, tired from a wringer of a day at work yesterday. I’ve got no lack of rationality, that I know of. Rationality is one of my key tools in dealing with anxiety and depression. The bottom line is that you are going to have to ride it out, so get some good vibes out of the ride anyway. I’m with Elizabeth, in the third quote above – I don’t like my life these days. That’s another thing to ride out. I was thinking about Ms. Wurtzel just yesterday, and how she credited “the best cat in the world” for pulling her through the depression, anxiety, and subsequent addiction. Rosie the cat is also one of those good cats. At the moment she is sacked out on her bed. The sight of her makes me sleepy but I don’t want to snooze iffin I don’t hafta, dude. And on that note I’m going to ramble off into the day. Ciao.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Warm Heart and Itchy Scar

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“It is important not to suppress your feelings altogether when you are depressed. It is equally important to avoid terrible arguments or expressions of outrage. You should steer clear of emotionally damaging behavior. People forgive, but it is best not to stir things up to the point at which forgiveness is required. When you are depressed, you need the love of other people, and yet depression fosters actions that destroy that love. Depressed people often stick pins into their own life rafts. The conscious mind can intervene. One is not helpless.” ~ Andrew Sullivan

“In any relationship in which two people become one, the end result is two half people.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Yesterday I saw a woman I know, of whom I am quite fond, and I don’t see her near enough. The meeting was brief. At one point I showed her the scar from the head injury a month ago. How metaphorical can you get, right? But I wanted to share what’s been up with me. The day had already gone strange when I got a whiff of some big changes in the air. That she showed up after so long was certainly auspicious. This morning I realize that it was good to open up, however briefly, and let out a bit of muck. It reminds me to not let the injury flutter down like a dead leaf into the shadows. It also reminds me how beautiful she is. It also reminds me of a brief chat I had with a friend, just days after the accident. The colorful swollen eye was still quite visible. He said to me, “Don’t worry about it, chicks dig scars”. Yeah, maybe. Dude made me laugh. That’s what counts. Now, going forward, there has been internet trouble on and off for a couple of hours, but I finally rebooted and all is well. I almost used it as an excuse to not post today. Frankly I’d like to go back to posting daily, so there ya have it. Geez, seeing her again is going to stay with me a while. Heartwarming, it is for me. I hope she feels the same. I suspect she does. But mystery is good. At the moment it is just about sunrise so I’m going out to look at the mountains, then take a shower. Workday, don’tcha know. My grandpa Ebert usta say “don’tcha know”. He walks with me today, and I could use the company, in spirit or in flesh. Luckily it’s my short day at work. I feel a nice evening of escapist Netflix perusal coming on, complete with ale and lap cat. For now, my heart feels warm and stimulated and my scar itches. Go figure.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Depression and Cheap Metaphors

“In every human being there is a child who only wants to play, and the most attractive game is mystery. The mysterious content of the human soul wanders through the meandering corridors of a mythical labyrinth, with underground congregations with candles (or illuminated by candles), secret passages in the double walls of castles, and treasures hidden in the halls!” ~ Kurt Seligmann

“He told us that nations of men fell into disorder, so nations of law were set up instead. He told us that nations of law then forgot justice and let the law become a Game, a Game in which the moves and the winning were more important than truth. He told us to seek justice rather than the Game.” ~ Sheri S. Tepper

A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.” ~ James P. Carse

One thing in abundance these days is a plethora of opportunities to get outraged. Clunky sentence, I know, but it’ll have to do. It is 5 AM and the coffee seems to be slow in acting. In my usual morning perusal of the news there is one story that gives me the most hope: Michelle Obama publicly admitting that she is in a low-grade depression from all of the madness of the age. As an advocate for increased awareness of mental health and mental illness, I applaud her sharing. Michelle is using her status and stature to increase public awareness of the issue. Note that I say she is in depression. You can say ‘in depression’ or ‘I have depression’, but never ‘I am depressed’. It is not who you are. Not now, not ever. From all of these years of practice I can ride out some pretty serious down-cycles without getting too dysfunctional. Some of these cycles, all up and down the spectrum of severity, are even rich in creative potential. Clinically speaking. Ms. Obama is talking about situational depression, which can affect a clinical state. Bottom line: I feel more hopeful just from hearing this fine woman admit it. One of my favorite definitions of depression is “anger turned inward”. I sense that she knows that well.

This is all important stuff to me. I’m feeling a tad weepy just from facing the fact that it is a workday and I have to go into Taos for the day, work super hard, and then come back home to all the palliative measures I can muster. No, I am only slightly nervous about catching the virus. But the truly bizarre vibes in society these days can ruffle and rankle to no end. Enough of the conspiracy theories already!!! Just wear the fucking mask. You will have the rest of your life to try to figure it all out, but I can give you a clue right now – you, in trafficking in conspiracy theories, are . . . well, it’s like getting your metaphors at the Dollar Store. Nuff said – he said inscrutably. Oh, one more thing. Wearing a mask is my choice, and none of your business. Now I’ve got that out I can start my day a little less pissed and breathing a tad easier. That’s how it works.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

How to Do Without Zen

“Children know perfectly well that unicorns aren’t real, but they also know that books about unicorns, if they are good books, are true books.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

“I knew we were not alone, but there was something in the air, something good and pure that reassured me. It’s a beautiful energy, and has been with me ever since.” ~ Caroline Mitchell

“To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” ~ Oscar Wilde

So how’s the pandemic goin’ for ya? Hmmmm? It’s been wringing me out like a dishrag. To my regular readers – I apologize for writing posts less frequently. It’s a time and energy and willpower and sleep sort of thing. Yawn. Maybe about 8-9 hours last night. More this afternoon. As usual. I’m not complaining; seems I need it. Soooo . . . the coffee is good, the cat as well. She’s the one who taught me the finer points of sleeping. She’s actually giving a lesson as I write. Talk about home schooling! It’s good to have a resident master. Eckhart Tolle said that cats have been the only Zen masters for him. And I’m like dude cats have taught me how to do without Zen. That’s made all the difference dude. Their lessons on stretching are far more valuable in the long run . . . I’d say ‘in my humble opinion’ but iffin I gotta tell you I am humble then I ain’t. Luckily I have two days off in store, out of the store, whatever. That’s retail cashier humor. Speaking of that, I had a couple of brushes with wing nuts yesterday. Hey, I work in a hardware store. Ya gotta expect such things. No, really . . . one was a Texan lady tryin’ to tell me how we shouldn’t be sellin’ no masks made in China, and I was like all listen lady that is above my pay grade. The other was one of those Taos cast of characters fellas. Nice enough guy, but even more serious than yours truly. Now, that is scary. As he was making his purchase he pulled his mask down and told me that they have established a curfew in Victoria, Australia. I let the mask thing go due to the ‘don’t fuck with me’ look in his eyes. But I told him I have a friend there. He said “A curfew! Where are all the men?!”. Ummmm . . . I don’t know what that means and I don’t want to. Now, going forward . . . I’ve got to go into Taos to pay my phone bill and swing by the dispensary, which is right around the corner, then it’s back home, where I might spend some time wondering if the president might have killed off that dastardly aphorism “it is what it is”, ’cause, dude, it ain’t. Just sayin’. Ciao.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Simply What I Want

“To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or, at least, the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology, or in states of mind that allow us to travel to other worlds, to rise above our immediate surroundings.” ~ Oliver Sacks

“Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” ~ Vaclav Havel

“Don’t despair: despair suggests you are in total control and know what is coming. You don’t – surrender to events with hope.” ~ Alain de Botton

Kind of a status quo morning. Cat, coffee, stuff like that. The Moon is full and the light has been intense. Lots of mammal noises in the dark, though none of them too clear. The neighborhood dogs told of silent coyotes about an hour ago. All I heard from the yotees was the barking of a lone animal, and that was fleeting. Sleep is still tugging at me after three waking hours, and I’ve had plenty of sleep over the past few days, so I have no clear explanation. Last night’s sleep was quite fitful, according to the chaos of my hair. But I don’t feel a need for an explanation other than a basic need for extensive dreaming.

I just took a break to go out for a smoke and a look at the mountains. Clear sky, big orange Moon sneaking down in the southwest. Brilliant Venus, high in the northeast, retrograde in Gemini. I won’t go into it, but this is an auspicious aspect for me, according to the stars and planets. I’m not feeling hopeful these days, yet I must remind myself that some of the best times in my life have risen during dark times. Haven’t a clue why this is (karma or something like it, maybe?) but it has a lot to do with my disdain of positive thinking as the only and/or best way forward. Whatever. I’m gonna take this aching body and trudge into the shower, then to emerge refreshed and perky for the day. Yeh, right, maybe. It’s going to be a good day. That’s not positive thinking, it is simply what I want.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

Pinball and Cotton Candy

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“There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything’s got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.” ~ Terry Pratchett

“What breaks in daybreak? Is it the night? Is it the sun, cracked in two by the horizon like an egg, spilling out light?” ~ Margret Atwood

“At sunrise, everything is luminous but not clear” ~ Norman Maclean

Back and forth. One minute it’s like pinball and the next it’s all cotton candy. Such is my mind this morning. It’s time to pour a second cup of coffee to address the issue. Additional caffeine will part the clouds and serve as a surrogate for Adderall. I’ll be alright after all. Not that I doubted it for a moment. Now, the sunrise is upon us and the sky is clearer than it has been these past few mornings. If the forecast holds up the rain should unfold from the sky to provide that lovely lullaby as I indulge my afternoon nap. I lied. It’s not really an indulgence at all, it’s a necessity. The nap is gravy after a trip to the laundromat. The other portion of the day is unclear and may remain that way. An episode or two of the Librarians. That has become a habit as well as a tradition, chiefly because it has such a palliative effect on me. Star Trek NextGen is much the same in that respect, and both feed the nutritional need for copious fantasy and entertainment. NDE luminary Dr. Raymond Moody wrote a sweet and provocative little book about the spiritual aspects of entertainment: The Last Laugh. When it comes to NDEs I will take a giggling goddess over a radiant Jesus on a horse any day. And that is exactly what I got as well. I can see through the window that the Sun is cresting the mountains to the east. Time to go take a look then feed the cat, who is remarkably well-behaved this morning for one who is faced with the dilemma of having breakfast served late. Later y’all.

All is well. Goof gloriously.

The Wild Within and the Bridge Across Forever

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“Waking consciousness is dreaming – but dreaming constrained by external reality” ~ Oliver Sacks

“It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny… It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your destiny. It prepares your spirit and you will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.” ~ Paolo Coelho

“There are only two lives we might live: our dream or our destiny. Sometimes they are one in the same, and sometimes they’re not. Often our dreams are just a path to our destinies.” ~ Glennon Melton

One of the best sounds of Summer, one that I have been sorely missing, came this morning around 3:30 AM: coyotes on the hunt! That’s enough to make my whole day – but I am in no way adverse to more. And yet I will enter my workday as I almost always do, by putting on my best Taoist monk approximation and walking in like I know what I am doing. The coyotes remind me of the wild within – and a good reminder at that. Do you ever get that thing where a quiet and unexpected sound comes from nearby and your ear twitches momentarily? That’s the wild within. Our bodies remember what we used to be, and can make use of that knowledge should the need arise. That ear was trying to pivot to identify the source of the sound. They probably have an app for that now. I haven’t gotten that far with my smartphone, because my smartphone is kind of a moron as far as that goes.

Ya know, today would be a good day to find a nice quiet tree somewhere, park my body, have a puff, and begin re-reading Richard Bach’s Bridge Across Forever. Fine piece of writing, and a heady tale at that. But, no. I am actually looking forward to work today. It’s my whole social life, and I do get to see people I like to see, and several I love to see. There ya have it. It’s time for me to go have a look at the mountains before I take a shower. Ciao.

All is well. Goof gloriously.