Sunday, October 31, 2010
I'm still riding high on the energy of yesterday's rally. I think even Jon Stewart, ever ironic, ever sardonic, was a bit taken aback by the response to his call for sanity. Though I spent a quiet evening at home, I could feel the par-tay buzz all over DC last night. The energy felt exuberant but not crazy. I could not detect a hint of the usual apres-demo smugness that usually attends these things. It was not an occasion that encouraged or created smugness. Fantastic!!
It's a beautiful Halloween morning, enhanced by the beauty of the energy from yesterday, at least it seems that way to me. I'm outta here - first to work, then afterwards to the house on Tennessee Avenue where I intend to hide from trick or treaters and ghosts, where I know I will drink a ghostini or hauntini or Hallowtini (aka martini) and celebrate with my old neighbors.
Honor your ancestors, today, people. Dance with the dead and the living. Drink a toast to those who have passed beyond the veil, yes? I say yes. Happy Halloween and L'chaim, y'all.
The cat does not look happy.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
It's still going on of course - the Rally to Restore Sanity. I was there for a couple of hours. I stuck around until my head started pounding, at which point I made a hasty retreat. Was the rally as big as the inauguration? It FELT as big. Wow.
Though on the move for the two hours I was there, I didn't see anyone I know, which is incredible since everyone I know was planning to go.
Even in the most congested areas, everyone was so polite. "Excuse me!" "Sorry!" "May I get past?" This is not the kind of behavior I'm used to in DC. I had a nice chat with a very young guy from Cummings, Georgia, who described himself as a conservative who supports gun control. It was a mixed crowd of regular Americans. Though I'm sure there were a few folks there ready to get on a soapbox, everyone I saw was relaxed and friendly.
The signs were fantastic! Here's a link to my FB album. It is heartening to realize how many other Americans want calm, intelligent, bi-partisan conversations. We're not really as polarized as it always seems on the news.
Thank you, Jon Stewart! Salaam, Shalom and Peace!
Facing north on 7th Street NW. Where I was standing was several blocks north of the mall. The crowd of those arriving stretches as far as the eye can see. Whoa.
Friday, October 29, 2010
People say you can't go home again, but I'm not sure that's true. I'm referring here to the homecoming I've just experienced, in Missouri where I grew up, with people I knew waaayyy back then.
I love the midwest. I know the seasons are harsh, I KNOW. I grew up there! But the landscape of Missouri (at least) is so beautiful. The smooth flatlands, gentle hills and Ozark "mountains" are simple and powerful. The land provides stability for the beings who live there. The weather is crazy, but you can count on the land beneath your feet. Missouri is very unlike the west coast with all its seismic faults and volcanoes, also very unlike the east coast, such a melange of various landscapes at the edge of the moody Atlantic.
During my 57 years I've lived in every American time zone. Here's what I always say (I apologize if you've heard this already, I say it all the time.) If you get a cold on the west coast, you try to figure out WHY. You haven't been eating well or maybe you've skipped your yoga class too often. If you get a cold on the east coast, you don't have a cold. You take over-the-counter meds and go to work. If you get a cold in the midwest, you get in bed, eat chicken soup, watch movies on TV, read magazines, and recover.
Of course it isn't that simple, but it's a pretty good description of the difference in attitudes. Common sense is highly regarded in the midwest. I love that!
One thing I found marvelous about Branson, Missouri is that when I asked people, "How are you?" they all responded by saying, "Fabulous." Wow. Fabulous?? How cool. In DC when asked How ya doin'? the correct response is Alright. 'Nuff said on that, eh?
Nevertheless, it's good to be home. In a little while I'm going to go put my hands on people. Tomorrow is the Rally to Restore Sanity. EVERYONE I know is going, including me. I'm expecting some very interesting collective alchemy, oh yeah.
I love my work, my village, my city, my life. I am very grateful. Shalom.
That's the DC city symbol carved into the pumpkin on the right.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I think my beloved Sir Isaac Newton was even more of a genius than we generally assume. He spent a lot of time observing the world, thinking, and writing while all alone. He saw the world so clearly. Though perhaps not a shaman outright, he was definitely shamanesque.
Late in life, Sir Isaac got way into alchemy. His title was "Master of the Mint." Cool, eh? To the modern sensibilities of western culture, it seems weird, like he went off the deep end or something. I get it, though. I know alchemy isn't a "hard" science (whatever that means), but it's a true science, even if its truth can't be explained except as a metaphor.
I love Joseph Campbell's take on alchemy, that it is a process by which we come to know our true natures. Anyone who has ever been through the ordeal of personal transformation can easily relate to the metaphors of being cooked, poured, putrified, purified and clarified, oh yeah. All of the people I love most have lived the alchemical lifestyle at some point or another.
Lately I've been thinking about collective alchemy, a term I might have just made up. Sometimes when people come together in community, as friends, or at work, something inexplicably miraculous happens. The coming together produces a whole that is much greater than a sum of its parts. It almost doesn't matter who the people are individually (I mean the individuals do not necessary need to hold the same world views or values) though there does have to be a willingness on the part of each person to be fully present, fully authentic.
This is my very very very longwinded (and perhaps circuitous) way of saying that I have just returned from a three-day gathering of women I haven't seen since high school. We stayed in a house on Table Rock Lake in southwestern Missouri, up in the Ozark mountains. We didn't do anything that was particularly remarkable: we ate, drank LOTS of wine, danced our asses off, laughed our asses off, told stories, listened to each other. There was no agenda, we did not try to do anything except have fun. Even so, the collective alchemy was exquisite, producing a healing mojo so powerful that each of us walked away renewed, reglued, and resplendent. Wow.
I am in collective alchemical awe. Sir Isaac, you were on to something, you really were. Thanks, brother!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Usually so elusive, my Very Strange sister Luna posed for the camera last night.
I had no vivd dreams last night. But the influence of the full blood moon is still palpable. What a moon! Though crazy-making (as the full moon almost always is), I've enjoyed this year's blood moon. You never know about our silvery sister in the sky. Her most prominent attribute is her changeability. Under some moons I flop around. This moon? I'm perhaps a bit too giddy for my own good, but at least I'm having fun.
If I had time, I could write a big ole post about the moon. But it's a crazy day for me today between working, preparing for a quick nip out of town, and attending one of the Literary Feast dinners here in my village of Capitol Hill tonight.
Perfect that under the full blood moon my day will be insanely busy; also perfect that the book theme for the dinner party I'm attending is Alice in Wonderland. I'm down the rabbit hole, y'all. Catch you on the flip side (Wednesday or Thursday).
Artemesia, associated with the moon. Part of the wormwood family, artemesia is the main ingredient in absinthe. It figures, doesn't it?
Friday, October 22, 2010
You, some dogs, and a lobster are all under the influence of some really heavy shit.
I laughed when I saw the "Innappropriate tarot reading" on FB yesterday. But as sometimes happens, the digitized, random, irreverant divination was spot on. I had the most vivid dream this morning. It was so detailed, so crystal clear that it was (still is) literally palpable. I know what the dream place smelled like, felt like. In the dream I kissed someone. I can still feel his lips. Whoa. Or should I say wow?
A noise I've never heard before, coming through my bedroom window (and therefore from the back of the house) woke me up just after the dream kiss, guaranteeing that the details of the dream would stay fresh in my memory. I said, out loud, "That was intense!" I meant the dream of course but also the noise that woke me up suddenly. It sounded like an metal, extending ladder, but who would be setting up a ladder at 5:45 a.m.?
Now I'm up, drinking coffee and trying to pretend like I didn't just have some sort of numinous experience. I'm still in awe even though I've been up and about, doing "normal" stuff, for awhile.
It's the full blood moon today. That moon packs a wallop. Oh yeah.
Here's a picture of the moon card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck.
I saw guys all over the national mall yesterday, repairing things, setting up scaffolding, also putting up tents for something or another.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I was talking to a friend yesterday about the chateau and the process of discovery that continues to unfold as I make myself at home here. "Some parts of the house are settled but it's not perfect," I told her. She said, "Perfect is tension. You can't keep it up. Imperfect is so much better." Whoa. Or should I say WOW? How right she is.
There is so much wisdom in what she said that I'm still thinking about it. What is it with we homo sapiens anyway, striving as we do towards perfection? Is it part of our idealism? Does that pursuit increase our tendency towards dissatisfaction? Is it a control issue? Why do we expect the impossible of ourselves and each other? What makes us expect perfection within our environments? What gives?? What do you think?
Perfection (here in the manifested realm) is fleeting, ephemeral. The God I worship is perfect, but here on planet Earth it's a different story. That said, it's true that I've enjoyed so many perfect moments during my 57 years, and yes yes yes I remember fondly those perfect experiences, perfect moments. I long for MORE PERFECTION. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
But - imperfection is spacious, it allows us some wiggle room. Imperfection makes possible things like evolution, growth. When a situation is imperfect, that phenomena gives us a chance to DO something about it. Imperfection is fertile ground for worthy endeavors. Perfection is truly overrated!
Thanks Susan. Brilliant. Wow.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I love all the English words I know about that refer to laughter. Chuckle, giggle, guffaw. I like chortle, cackle, crack-up. I even like snicker, though that implies a slightly less than straightforward merriment. There's an edge of mean connected to snicker.
The people I prefer to hang out with these days are friends who like to laugh. When we get together, we always find lots of things to laugh about. Sometimes we howl. Oh man, I really love these people. Y'all know who you are. Thank you!
A big ole belly laugh serves to empty all the lymph nodes in the abdominal cavity, a Very Good Thing in terms of promoting good health. Actually, a gut wrenching, sobbing cry will do the same thing, though it certainly isn't as much fun.
Is laughter the best medicine? Lots of people think so. Some healers are methodical about it; there's a modality called "laughter therapy," something that sounds a little bit forced if you ask me. A few weeks ago I read about the giggling guru who cures through laughter. When I googled "healing power of laughter", 213,000 sites came up within seconds. There is even a blog called Healing Power of Laughter. Wow.
This morning I'm feeling so grateful for my friends, for their great senses of humor. I'm smiling just thinking about how much I love them. The people I surround myself with these days are so good. Cheers, y'all!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
When I talk about the stoner ghosts, I'm referring to your run-of-the-mill spirits, those who somehow never figured out how to find the light and move onwards to a place of healing and renewal.
Pauline mentioned in the comments yesterday that she senses her father visiting her on occasion. Her father is not one of those lost souls, but rather another kind of spirit, a loving ancestor.
According to the cosmology of Reya (and a whole bunch of other people, should say), some spirits return from the place of healing and renewal to help us. As Donald Engstrom would say, the ancestors love us beyond all reason. They hang out behind the veil in order to guide and help us. If there is any society now or ever throughout history (other than current western culture) in which the help of ancestors wasn't/isn't regularly and sincerely sought, tell me what culture that is. It's uniquely human to connect with our loving ancestors.
Donald says it's their job to help us. In return, we must remember them. That's why so many people all around the world (and here, too) build ancestor altars. Sometimes it's just a picture and a candle, sometimes these altars are much more elaborate. Some folks put together ancestor altars specifically at this time of year, others among us always have an ancestor altar. I gaze daily into the faces of my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and reach back farther through time in my heart to all those who came before. Thanks Murray and Elizabeth, Tom, Grace, Rebecca and Hannah. Thanks all you Rices and Melikiers who crashed and burned in the Holocaust. And thanks too to all of you whose names I don't know. THANK YOU!
I honor my ancestors of blood, karma and spirit. Unlike the stoner ghosts (who I'll admit are amusing, also sometimes rather annoying and in that way not so different from the living), my ancestors offer wisdom, insight and love. They always have my back. Shalom y'all.
Monday, October 18, 2010
It's mid-October and the spirits are stirring. Oh yeah. The ghosts are keeping me awake at night, I hope not for long. I've been talking to them, explaining that when I lie down in my bed, that ordinarily means I'm sleeping, not the best time for them to tell me their stories. I believe that ghosts are kind of like stoners who can't quite get a bead on their own condition, and aren't terribly perceptive about the living either. For instance, I think they can't really tell if we're awake or asleep. When we're sleeping, at least we hold still and are quiet, which is why (according to the cosmology of Reya) they come to us at night.
Just as with a career stoner, I have to remind them of this again and again. Everything seems to go in one ghostly ear and out the other. I am mostly patient with ghosts, though I tend to get a little cranky when sleep deprived which is why I was snapping my fingers and clapping my hands at 3 a.m. last night, yelling, "DUDES!! Back off! I need my sleep."
They seemed startled, but they did leave me alone after that.
Unlike my usual "lifestyle" (really dislike that word), time will not be my luxury for the next couple of weeks. My social calendar is jammed, my work calendar is overflowing, and I've got a bunch of extra projects I feel compelled to finish before the Day of the Dead. I might not have time to think, which means the blog may either be boring or maybe I'll skip a day or two (gasp).
In November, things will calm down. Happy Monday! Shalom.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,
the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back
from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere
except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle
of unobservable mysteries - - -roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This
I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn
flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - - - how everything lives, shifting
from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
During an ordinary summer, I spend so much time outdoors that when the light begins to decline in fall I'm more than happy to tuck myself indoors for the winter. Last summer was anything but ordinary (on so many levels). Not only was it way too hot, but the air quality was terrible, hence I spent a lot of time hiding in the air conditioning.
Now that fall is here and the weather is absolute perfection, I find myself disappointed at the early sunsets. It's just not as much fun to walk around after dark. I hate the orange-y street lights so much; they're so harsh and glaring. Though I am not in favor of guns in almost every circumstance, I'll admit I dream of shooting out those lights more often than I probably should.
For the next couple of weeks, if I shove my last client out the door sooner rather than later, I can catch a bit of the sunset on my walk home. When they switch off daylight savings time, though, it'll be dark long before the end of my last session.
The longer nights and shorter days of autumn are a part of what makes this season so deliciously precious. In spite of all my complaints, I love fall. Happy Saturday!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Casablanca is a perfect film. I've seen it a dozen times; there isn't one moment in that movie that's a waste of my time, even after viewing it again and again. What a movie. Wow. It's an ethical lesson, that movie, about doing the right thing. Of course Ingrid Bergman must stay with her husband. Of course Humphrey Bogart must give her up. Both of them struggle with their feelings for each other, but in the end, they see the forest for the trees. It's WWII, for heaven's sake.
Roman Holiday is another great film. I would not call it perfect, though its charms make up for any imperfections. I love that movie. In the end, Audrey Hepburn goes back to being the stiffy formal princess of some unknown country that needs her, and Gregory Peck, down to his last dollar, decides not to publish the story about her crazy day in Rome. What real life newspaper reporter would ever behave so nobly? Oh well, it was just a movie after all.
In "real" life, the decisions people make are not always so cut and dried. We follow our hearts, which sometimes means we can not see the forest for the trees. The greater good is elusive sometimes. Our heartfelt desires can be so overwhelming. And, too, behaving ethically sometimes involves doing the "wrong" thing. Sometimes the wrong thing leads the the greater good. I knew a sculpture professor who left his wife in order to marry one of his students. It sounds wrong, but it was right - they lived happily ever after, as did his ex-wife who married someone much better suited to her than the sculpture professor.
Lately I've been thinking about Lincoln, doing everything in his power to hold the U.S. together. That was the right thing, but perhaps he should have let go, let the south go. The north vs. south thing never truly resolved itself. Even now the U.S. is trying to pull itself apart; ideologically we are a brutally divided nation. Maybe if we were two separate countries, we wouldn't be so angry. Do you think?
I try to figure these things out until my head begins to throb, at which point I stream a film from netflix, like Casablanca, like Roman Holiday. Recently I watched a five hour mini-series of Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy? YUM. He starts out as such an ass but Lizzy changes him into a loving, open minded, noble man, and marries him at the end of the story. What a beautiful dream! Everything is so much simpler in the movies. Oh yeah.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
What is a sensible death? I hear the term senseless death all the time. If there are senseless deaths, then surely there are sensible deaths as well, yes? What came to me is that a sensible death would include scenarios in which the dying person is old, has lived a very full life, is ready to go - and the person's nearests and dearests are ready to let go. A sensible death is one in which the dying person is in his/her own bed, surrounded by the people who can be of most help with the passing. Also sensible is a death for someone who is riddled with disease, in terrible pain, without a chance for improvement.
How about senseless deaths? I decided, walking among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, that accidents create senseless deaths. Car crashes, accidental electrocutions (while working on the wiring of one's house, for instance), falling off ladders, roofs, falling off cliffs while hiking - all of those kinds of situations create senseless death. All executions, for any reason, are senseless (and cold blooded, if you ask me.)
I used to believe that soldiers who died in the line of duty had suffered from senseless deaths. I'm not so sure anymore. Unless a soldier is fighting completely against his or her own will, that is. Assuming a soldier is doing something he/she believes to be the right thing, surrounded by like minded troops, I'm thinking that death in the line of duty is not senseless. Tragic, YES, but senseless? I'm not convinced.
We are eternally bonded, says the stone commemorating veterans of the brutal Khe Sanh engagements during the Vietnam War. It also says, "Remember all who served, sacrificed." Though quite somber, the words on this stone convey (to me at least) a sense of cohesiveness among those who fought, a well-earned pride. Soldiers understand the risks involved, yet they gather their wits about them, walk shoulder to shoulder with their brothers onto the battlefields. Wars themselves? STUPID. I am such an anti-war person. But the deaths of those who put themselves on the line? I no longer believe this is a senseless way to die.
It was a lovely day yesterday, perfectly gorgeous Colorado weather: dry, cool air, warm sunshine, shocking blue skies, the trees just beginning to turn. I walked for hours around the cemetery, completely content and peaceful (THANK YOU SUFI ACUPUNCTURIST!)
It was a sensible way to spend the afternoon, oh yeah, strolling through the rows of headstones, thinking and wondering, whispering back and forth with my beloved dead soldiers. Just as I turned a corner to leave the cemetery, an Army guy drove slowly past. He said, "Ma'am, are you hoping to exit the grounds?" When I said yes, he pointed out that I was headed towards a dead end, that I needed to walk a bit further, then turn a corner. I thanked him sincerely. Those Army guys are, for the most part, so polite. They take care of us as best they can. I am very grateful. Shalom.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I almost feel sorry for the Sufi acupuncturist. I'm about to place myself on his treatment table, you see, and I'm kind of a mess.
Yesterday was one of those days when a powerful emotional storm appeared from out of the nowhere. The first signs of the impending storm centered around a foul mood. I felt angry and self-righteous, outraged. I bitched and moaned endlessly to dear friends who are always gracious listeners. Y'all know who you are. Thank you!
As the internal storm raged, I lapsed into a cleaning frenzy. Sometimes I can blow off steam this way, and the results are always pleasing. But. It didn't work. So then I decided to cook something very complicated. I made chicken korma. The process was very labor intensive - and delicious - but did not help resolve my inner turmoil.
So I invited a couple of rowdy friends over for dinner. We drank. And though we laughed and ranted and raved, ate too much, drank too much wine, stayed up way too late, I was still in a mood.
In spite of a hangover and the inevitable remorse that always accompanies the metabolization of excess, there is even now much more energy stirring around inside my heart than I know what to do with. If my body had a car alarm, it would be going off right now.
The trip to the acupuncturist is timely, oh yeah. But where will he start? Like I said, I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I enjoy the gentle interactions (not collisions) of the people at the Matchbox bar.
There are intersections at which worlds collide. I'm thinking this morning of the history of impact craters on Earth, thinking about the big ole asteroid that, when it crashed landed on terra firma, kicked up enough dust to kill almost every living species including (most famously) the dinosaurs.
On a more personal level, I remember the day (February 1, 1979) when that Southern Pacific freight train crashed into the Datsum B210 I was driving at the time. That collision changed my whole life - eventually for the better, should say.
On September 6, 2001, I was on my way to a coffee meeting with someone I had once upon a time considered one of my best friends. She and my partner fell in love, my partner dumped me, and the two of them moved in together - all within the space of about three months. Though in slo-mo, that sequence of events still feels like a terrible crash, not literally but definitely in terms of destiny. Ouch! Though this event, too, lead to a happier life. Go figure.
On 9/6/01, I was determined to lift my chin, put my shoulders back, stand tall and look my ex-almost-best friend right in the eye, to acknowledge what had happened, perhaps. I wanted her to see that I was fine, just FINE, even though I'd lost not only my partner of five years, but one of my best friends. For heaven's sake. Que es mas macho?
Just as I entered the intersection at thirteenth and U streets, I heard the siren. I must have a hell of a survival instinct because although I didn't see anything, somehow my body knew to press down hard on the gas (rather than slam on the brakes). Sure enough, the fire truck, running a red light on its way to some emergency or another, would have crashed right into the the driver's side of my car, had I not suddenly speeded up.
As it was, the fire truck clipped the very back of my car, knocking out a tail light but otherwise causing no damage. The overarching effect of that collision was beneficent. It stopped me from making that coffee meeting. (We had to wait around for the fire chief to come check out what had happened. While we waited, I called the cafe, cancelled the meeting.) Five days later was September 11, 2001, after which everything changed, hence the idea of a sit-down between she and I was scrapped, permanently. Thank God.
Sometimes engaging with one's fate includes these collisions. In the case of the fire truck and the coffee meeting, one minor crash helped derail what would no doubt have been a very unpleasant (and I'm guessing non-productive) encounter.
I think the Sufi acupuncturist is correct when he says that we experience angelic interventions more often than we can begin to imagine. Thank you, lovely angels, for saving me from my habit of tilting at experiences that would not be good for me. Thank you so much!
This morning I'm thinking of the near misses, the almost collisions that occur perhaps in alternate universes, but not right here in consensual reality. I wonder how many near misses have been a part of my own destiny. Since the collisions never actually took place, how would I ever know how many, or in what ways, they might have changed my life?
You know there are asteroids out there right now, passing very close to planet Earth, yet not crashing here. Perhaps the angels deflect them for the greater good, ya think?
Summer has collided with Fall. Fall is "winning." Oh yeah.
Monday, October 11, 2010
It's kind of hard to celebrate Columbus Day. I mean really, what exactly are we celebrating? The arrival of Europeans onto this continent was not great for the landscape or the people living here at the time. Things went downhill fast.
The book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by Charles C. Mann, is incredible revisionist history. Wow. What a place this was once upon a time.
Ah. But what's the point in getting all sentimental? Shit happens, I guess. We are, after all, a migratory species - we always have been. Our survival instinct is powerful indeed. We humans have always done everything we could to prevail over the land as well as over other clans. And then there was the smallpox, too. Yikes.
It's another lovely day in DC. The kids are out of school, the government is closed down for the day. There will be no trash pick-up, no postal delivery. But many of us are going to work as usual, including me. C'est la vie.
We Europeans and Africans have been on this land for hundreds of years, so maybe it's time to stop celebrating Columbus, and instead figure out how to become indigenous - which would mean (to me) connecting in a deep way with the land so as to inspire in every one of us a desire to nurture and care for this beautiful continent and each other. I know - I am such a dreamer! But I'm not the only one! (xx oo John Lennon.) Shalom.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I read yesterday that the numerology of today is perfect, according (at least) to the people who know about these things. 10-10-10. Nice symmetry, yes indeed, but perfection? To be honest, I think the calendar (any calendar) is somewhat arbitrary.
Lots of people are getting married today. Babies will be born. Other folks are celebrating their birthdays (always on 10-10, but never before or ever again on 10-10-10).
Here in DC, it's supposed to be another spectacular day weather-wise, in fact you could say it's going to be perfect: clear deep blue skies, warm in the sun, cool in the shade, with nice clean, dry air.
I'm drinking a delicious cuppa coffee after which I'll take a shower and go to work. After work no doubt I'll take a walk, have dinner, and stream a film from netflix. Is that a perfect day? Not bad, not bad at all.
Wishing all of you a 10-10-10 kind of day. Shalom!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Brother Sun is racing across the sky these days, such a different journey he takes compared to just a couple of months ago, when he wandered north and then south again before setting in the late evening. These days when I walk home from work, the only visible sunlight is the clear gold on the highest branches of our tall trees, only the turrets atop the houses on East Capitol Street are still illuminated.
This morning is chilly, which reminds me I need to dig out my Hugh Grant movies (where did I put them when I moved?) in preparation of the holiday season. Unlike previous years, I look forward to the holidays this year. I foresee a lot of gathering and feasting with people I adore. Everything is so good here at the chateau - even the holidays seem promising!
Even more than the heart of any season, what I really love, what thrills me, is the shift from season to season. Though autumn and spring move in serious slo-mo here in the American midatlantic, fall is leaning hard upon us. It'll be almost hot today, but then tonight it will cool down to chilly again. How exciting. (You see? I am easily amused.)
Happy Saturday, y'all. Shalom.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Buckle your seatbelts, people. Today Venus goes retrograde. According to all the astrologers who make sense to me, the next few weeks could be exciting - that is, if you don't mind shining light into the dark corners of your heart.
As if anyone enjoys mucking about in the shadows! For heaven's sake.
I've been toying with a variety of different mantras to keep myself centered as I navigate the twists and turns of my own labrynthine heart. Once upon a time I would have adopted a strategy best described by that old cold war phrase Duck and Cover, but I'm braver than I used to be.
In addition to the dramas being played out among the planets, the spirits are out and about as they always are in October in DC. They are so vivid this year, particularly the ghosts of soldiers who died in battle. The consensual reality manifestation of this year's hauntings includes the fallout from last summer's discoveries that, at Arlington National Cemetery, there are a number of soldiers who were buried under the wrong headstones. Last spring, a bunch of discarded tombstones were found lying in Rock Creek. The Dead really like being remembered and honored. It's a problem.
When energy moves, there is inevitable chaos, but also possibilities for growth and healing. It really helps to remain grounded if you can. I plan to keep my feet on terra firma, my heart well centered in the middle of my ribcage, and my crown open to divine love and wisdom, repeating a gentle version of my friend Donald's words:
May I dwell in beauty, balance, and delight
May I see with clear eyes and an open heart
May I dare to walk the path unfolding before me
And love beyond all reason.
May I? Do I dare? We shall see! Happy weekend, y'all. Shalom.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
In honor of National Poetry day ... thanks B.K.! What a poem.
Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring
a farmer was ploughing
the whole pageantry
of the year was
the edge of the sea
sweating in the sun
the wings' wax
off the coast
a splash quite unnoticed
--William Carlos Williams
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I am just now getting used to seeing my reflection without Jake at my side.
Based on yesterday's thoughts, here's a list of seven virtues according to the cosmology of Reya. (These are behavioral and attitudinal, most effective when applied to the self as well as to others):
What a stainless, smooth, guilt-free life it would be if I could always, in every situation, embody these qualities. I am not always true to my personal ideas of virtue. In some situations, I behave in a distinctly non-virtuous manner, oh yeah. I have a temperament of excess in many ways which rules out the classical virtues. Chastity? Temperance? Whoa ... these are not qualities I can relate to in any way. I set the bar perhaps a bit lower - making respect the bottom line. But I can't even muster respect sometimes.
I try not to berate myself too much when I figure out I've been disrespectful, stingy, greedy or thankless. I believe we humans are built to "make mistakes" as well as to behave beautifully. If we don't trip and fall every now and then, how will we ever learn to stand up again? If we don't suffer some indignities, if we are never wounded, how can we learn to heal?
In fact there are some situations in which transgressions into bad behavior act as a catalyst that breaks up stuckness, that actually helps awaken all the parties involved, which can lead to the more fully lived life. "Mistakes" can be so enlivening. I've seen it happen again and again, as the eventual result of my own mistakes and transgressions.
My list of sins includes qualities that keep me from evolving, also from gathering wisdom (always hard-won if you ask me) from the technicolor experience of being human. Here's my list of sins:
6. Paralysis of Opinion and Behavior
We humans try so hard to be good, to do everything "right" - whatever that means. Our expectations of ourselves are ridiculous. When we fail in our idealistic attempts at perfection, we expend a whole lot of energy punishing ourselves and others. Many times we exhaust ourselves with guilt and blame, for instance, leaving no energy to actually learn anything from our experiences.
The one thing I believe separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our tendency to second guess ourselves. In our hearts we are each of us so good, we mean so well. And yeah, we make mistakes. So what? We're not the first people to make mistakes, nor by any means will we be the last. Mea culpa. Onwards & upwards. Shalom.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I'm thinking about the seven deadly sins this morning. Well, not all of them (though I definitely have suffered from all of them at one time or another). Should also say that in Hebrew, the word for "sin" means "miss the mark." So - I'm not thinking I'm doomed. My thoughts are more about what works and what doesn't.
Today's featured deadly sin is greed. Oh yeah. There are somewhat noble forms of greed I suffer from, like the greed for understanding: of the world, God, my fellow humans, etc. Actually these forms might be more about pride than greed, but whatever you want to call it, it's not the most heinous sin, eh?
Less noble, but still rather innocent (according to the cosmology of Reya) is simple greed. For instance, I want an ipad. I really do. I don't need an ipad. But I want one. I'm talking here simple greed for stuff.
The worst kind of greed involves wanting something that, if attained, would cause harm or suffering for others. I think of my feelings for Prince Charming as a great example. Once upon a time, long ago, Prince Charming was my boyfriend. I stupidly moved away from the city where we both lived at the time, relegating our passionate love to long distance friendship. What was I thinking? Oh yeah I was young, immature, fearful. Oh yeah.
Prince Charming is suave. He is debonaire. He has a great voice, looks fabulous in his incredibly beautiful clothes. He is smart, funny, sexy, manly - yet sensitive. Oh man. He works in the food/drink business, so whenever he visits DC, we are wined and dined by restaurant and bar owners as if we were royalty. I'm Cinderella in my glass slippers when he's visiting. When he goes home to New York, my coach turns back into a pumpkin, and I become a gray haired, middle aged lady again. Le sigh! He is also a very happily married man, hence my feelings of greed about him fit more into the heinously off-the-mark category of greed. Or maybe lust is a better category of sin for this particular attachment. Ya think?
Over the years I've figured out ways to manage my feelings of greed for Prince Charming, a Very Good Thing! You see, I think the seven deadly sins as well as the seven virtues, and many other qualities, too, are a part of being human. Both the "good" and "bad" qualities are there to help us become more fully realized, more compassionate. All of them offer us juicy opportunities to become more ethical.
Sins and virtues are grist for the mill, the stuff of our complicated humanity. When I'm doing or feeling something that misses the mark, eventually I need to adjust, make changes so as to not cause more harm than necessary. Of course, figuring out how much harm is necessary is a whole other kettle of fish, yes? I say yes.
I think about things like this all the time. What do you think?
Monday, October 4, 2010
Everyone is a shaman. It's true. We all move and dance to the visible and invisible rhythms of the world. We all sense and react to the flows of energy, to the eddies and currents - and sometimes the riptides - of this crazy river of energy in which we live.
How else do you explain the phenomena of everyone rushing to to the cash registers at the supermarket all at the same time? I watched the rushes of people when I worked for Whole Foods - there was no correlation to time of day, nope. It was all about the energy.
Some days, everyone is cranky. I hear horns honking, people yelling at each other. Other days people smile and make way for one another. You know that experience of walking into a room and knowing, instantly, what's going on? I bet you do! I know it isn't conscious for many, but I pay attention to these things. We all feel energy, even if we don't admit it.
Autumn is traditionally the time of the harvest. (Thanks to Dan Gurney for explaining that fall is the most generous season. It sure is, Dan.) Not so long ago, stretching back in time literally for thousands of years, fall was the time when our species was extra busy, bringing in the fruits of the field. We depended on this busy time for survival - literally.
Though no longer a time when we have to be busy, (unless you're a farmer), the truth is that even we urban folks get extra busy in October. I think we are dancing in shamanic alignment with the season and with the long-held habits of our species, consciously or unconsciously. I know that my month of October is frantic with social engagements, big weeks of work, visiting with out of towners and such. All of that activity builds through the month to the final weekend that includes the Rally to Restore Sanity followed by the insanity of Halloween on the street where I live.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Do you remember your dreams? I do, as best I can, that is. Sometimes weeks will slide by during which I can't remember even a snip of my dreams. But then something shifts and suddenly I can bring them up through all the layers of un- and sub-consciousness, into my frontal cortex.
I love my dreams. They are very weird, even the recurring dreams that I know so well I am lucid within them. Have you ever had a dream in which you thought, Oh god. It's THAT dream again? Happens to me all the time.
In October, in addition to the surreal, technicolor dreamscape, I do a whole lot of talking to the ancestors while I sleep (also while I'm awake, should say). According to a lot of traditions, October is a time when the veil between the living and dead thins. By Halloween it is so thin that the dead walk among us, barely distinguishable from the living. That's why we hand out candy on Halloween - because you never know who you're dealing with on that very powerful day.
Halloween on East Capitol Street is a Really Big Deal. In fact the neighbors are scaring me, telling me, for instance, that they spend $300 on candy, all of which they hand out before 9:00 pm on Halloween. People here on E. Capitol hire folks to pass candy since one treat dispenser is not nearly enough to keep up with the demand. They say there's no time to admire costumes, they don't even bother to wait for the doorbell to ring; they stand out in their front yards or on their porches, with bushels of candy at the ready. Halloween on East Capitol is hard work!
Sasha and Malia trick or treat here, they say. LOTS of people come from other neighborhoods. One of my neighbors said that, just for kicks, he decided to count the number of trick or treaters last year. The count was 1,500. Yikes!!
Living on East Capitol is a responsibility; it is a public thoroughfare, such a different vibe from Tennessee Avenue where we had some, but not too many, trick or treaters, mostly the neighborhood kids.
In fact I've applied for, and been granted, asylum at the house on Tennessee Avenue for Halloween. We will close the pocket door so that no lights are visible from the street, sit in the back of the house and drink martinis, hunker down with the dogs until the hubbub dies down.
I love living on East Capitol but I'm still a rookie, hence not yet up to the challenge of Halloween. I will definitely take pics, though. After 10 pm I'll sneak home, light some candles and whisper to my ancestors, so as to not draw the attention of late night trick or treaters.
At least, that's my plan.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Ah Fall. Welcome. The drakes flew through the midatlantic on the last day of September, sweeping up the last vestiges of summer, making space for the sweet, gold, crisp, sad beauty of autumn. Yay!! It's so chilly this morning that I had to close my windows and turn on the heat for the first time here at the chateau. I believe tonight I'll light my first fire in the chateau 'fireplace.'
It won't surprise anyone to learn that I have developed more than a few theories about why the dance of shamanic alignment with this season involves feelings of sweet melancholy. The declining light is a major contributing factor, of course. My guess is that the chill in the air and the earlier sunsets trigger an instinctual emotional reaction. Ya think?
Autumnal daylight is so clear. It inspires, brings into my heart many feelings of awe. Brother Sun shines so delicately in fall. His light is so sweet now, such a pale gold, tinged with blue. (At the end of summer, Brother Sun beats down on us with harsh orange heat and light, producing in me at least such different feelings!)
Getting in touch with awe is a beautiful thing. When I'm in awe - for whatever reason - I feel simple, do you know what I mean? When I'm in awe, the love I feel for family and friends, for this precious existence, is as clear and tangible as the clear blue/gold air. My heart overflows with gratitude on days like today, washing away all the inner dialogues of this and that. I feel quiet inside - simple. Such a delicious feeling.
We'll have some more warm days in DC. It doesn't really cool off completely until November, doesn't actually get what a midwesterner like myself thinks of as cold until Christmas. In the meantime, the leaves will turn slowly (fall lasts for months here in DC), the light will diminish while I will curl up with a book, cook stews and soups, play the bass and purify my heart with the blue-gold light.
Man. I love fall! Oh yeah.