Saturday, September 20, 2014

helping friend at her mother's funeral

An old friend of mine was the main organizer at a friend's mother's funeral today. It is an honor to be asked to perform this task, to be trusted with dealing with details while a friend puts her mother into the ground.  Reading this reminded me of the time Ethel, mother of my friend Peggy, died.

I know Peggy from Spirited Work which was a lively, highly active, ongoing experiment in open space community. Ethel had come to some of our four-times-a-year, four-day-residential weekend gatherings so I knew and loved Ethel. I loved Peggy more.

Peggy asked me to organize the post-funeral-service lunch. I invited another Spirited Work community member to help. I didn't need the help but I thought this person would like the chance to support Peggy in this role. This other person, who shall remain nameless, rejected my plan, which Peggy had suggested. Peggy had suggested we go to a store in the suburb her mother had lived in that specializes in providing food for Jewish funeral lunches, just buy a bunch of food and bring it to the house. This other person said "oh no, don't buy food. We'll put a notice on the SW community bulletin board and many will bring food."

Wanting to be collaborative and having invited this woman to be inclusive and collegial, I did as she suggested, with all my instincts screaming she was wrong.

I did bring food myself. I was the only person who brought food. I brought two dozen boiled eggs. It is a tradition to eat boiled eggs at funeral lunches for many Jews, I had learned.

After the funeral, everyone was hungry. A couple other Spirited Work women dashed out to buy food. In the meantime, Peggy's sister-in-law made coffee and punch and everyone gobbled one of my eggs. EVeryone was hungry.

I was sad, feeling that I had failed. I had been so honored that Peggy asked me to organize her mother's funeral brunch. And my instincts had loudly assured me the suggestion to just put out the word to SW folks and food would come. If folks had read the bulletin goard, they likely would have brought tons of food. But no one had checked the bulletin board.

it all worked out. Everyone staved hunger with my hard boiled eggs untl they ran out. Food soon arrived. And no one really cared about food, certainly not Peggy, her sister and brother. They were grieving their mother's death.

I think I was the only one who felt bad. And did I ever. to have been entrusted with such a high honor only to have blown it.

Thank goddess I brought those eggs.

society, as presently organized, needs continuous war

"The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they need not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare."
 George Orwell, 1949, from "1984"

The dude was brilliant, eh?  I sometimes wish he was wrong about something in 1984 but he nailed what is unfolding in the world.  Continuous warfare seems to be the norm these days.

Friday, September 19, 2014

the good in world is worth holding onto

  Sam: It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth holding onto.

Sam and Frodo, of course, are characters from Lord of the Rings.

may my heart be kind

May my heart


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Traits of an Empath

30 traits of an Empath

1. Knowing: Empaths just know stuff, without being told. It’s a knowing that goes way beyond intuition or gut feelings, even though that is how many would describe the knowing. The more attuned they are the stronger this gift becomes.

2. Being in public places can be overwhelming: Places like shopping malls, supermarkets or stadiums where there are lots of people around can fill the empath with turbulently vexed emotions that are coming from others.

3. Feeling others emotions and taking them on as your own: This is a huge one for empaths. To some they will feel emotions off those near by and with others they will feel emotions from those a vast distance away, or both. The more adept empath will know if someone is having bad thoughts about them, even from great distance.

4. Watching violence, cruelty or tragedy on the TV is unbearable: The more attuned an empath becomes the worse it is and may make it so they eventually have to stop watching TV and reading newspapers altogether.

5. You know when someone is not being honest: If a friend or a loved one is telling you lies you know it (although many empaths try not to focus on this because knowing a loved one is lying can be painful). Or if someone is saying one thing but feeling/thinking another, you know.

6. Picking up physical symptoms off another: An empath will almost always develop the ailments off another (colds, eye infections, body aches and pains) especially those they’re closest to, somewhat like sympathy pains.

7. Digestive disorders and lower back problems: The solar plexus chakra is based in the centre of the abdomen and it’s known as the seat of emotions. This is where empaths feel the incoming emotion of another, which can weaken the area and eventually lead to anything from stomach ulcers to IBS (too many other conditions to list here). Lower back problems can develop from being ungrounded (amongst other things) and one, who has no knowledge of them being an empath, will almost always be ungrounded.

8. Always looking out for the underdog: Anyone whose suffering, in emotional pain or being bullied draws an empath’s attention and compassion.

9. Others will want to offload their problems on you, even strangers: An empath can become a dumping ground for everyone else’s issues and problems, which, if they’re not careful can end up as their own.

10. Constant fatigue: Empaths often get drained of energy, either from energy vampires or just taking on too much from others, which even sleep will not cure. Many get diagnosed with ME.

11. Addictive personality: Alcohol, drugs, sex, are to name but a few addictions that empaths turn to, to block out the emotions of others. It is a form of self protection in order to hide from someone or something.

12. Drawn to healing, holistic therapies and all things metaphysical: Although many empaths would love to heal others they can end up turning away from being healers (even though they have a natural ability for it), after they’ve studied and qualified, because they take on too much from the one they are trying to heal. Especially if they are unaware of their empathy. Anything of a supernatural nature is of interest to empaths and they don’t surprise or get shocked easily. Even at the revelation of what many others would consider unthinkable, for example, empaths would have known the world was round when others believed it was flat.

13. Creative: From singing, dancing, acting, drawing or writing an empath will have a strong creative streak and a vivid imagination.

14. Love of nature and animals: Being outdoors in nature is a must for empaths and pets are an essential part of their life.

15. Need for solitude: An empath will go stir-crazy if they don’t get quiet time. This is even obvious in empathic children.

16. Gets bored or distracted easily if not stimulated: Work, school and home life has to be kept interesting for an empath or they switch off from it and end up daydreaming or doodling.

17. Finds it impossible to do things they don’t enjoy: As above. Feels like they are living a lie by doing so. To force an empath to do something they dislike through guilt or labelling them as idle will only serve in making them unhappy. It’s for this reason many empaths get labelled as being lazy.

18. Strives for the truth: This becomes more prevalent when an empath discovers his/her gifts and birthright. Anything untruthful feels plain wrong.

19. Always looking for the answers and knowledge: To have unanswered questions can be frustrating for an empath and they will endeavour to find an explanation. If they have a knowing about something they will look for confirmation. The downside to this is an information overload.

20. Likes adventure, freedom and travel: Empaths are free spirits.

21. Abhors clutter: It makes an empath feel weighed down and blocks the flow of energy.

22. Loves to daydream: An empath can stare into space for hours, in a world of their own and blissfully happy.

23. Finds routine, rules or control, imprisoning: Anything that takes away their freedom is debilitating to an empath even poisoning.

24. Prone to carry weight without necessarily overeating: The excess weight is a form of protection to stop the negative incoming energies having as much impact.

25. Excellent listener: An empath won’t talk about themselves much unless it’s to someone they really trust. They love to learn and know about others and genuinely care.

26. Intolerance to narcissism: Although kind and often very tolerant of others, empaths do not like to be around overly egotistical people, who put themselves first and refuse to consider another’s feelings or points of view other than their own.

27. The ability to feel the days of the week: An empath will get the ‘Friday Feeling’ if they work Fridays or not. They pick up on how the collective are feeling. The first couple of days of a long, bank holiday weekend (Easter for example) can feel, to them, like the world is smiling, calm and relaxed. Sunday evenings, Mondays and Tuesdays, of a working week, have a very heavy feeling.

28. Will not choose to buy antiques, vintage or second-hand: Anything that’s been pre-owned carries the energy of the previous owner. An empath will even prefer to have a brand new car or house (if they are in the financial situation to do so) with no residual energy.

29. Sense the energy of food: Many empaths don’t like to eat meat or poultry because they can feel the vibrations of the animal (especially if the animal suffered), even if they like the taste.

30. Can appear moody, shy, aloof, disconnected: Depending on how an empath is feeling will depend on what face they show to the world. They can be prone to mood swings and if they’ve taken on too much negative will appear quiet and unsociable, even miserable. An empath detests having to pretend to be happy when they’re sad, this only adds to their load (makes working in the service industry, when it’s service with a smile, very challenging) and can make them feel like scuttling under a stone.

If you can say yes to most or all of the above then you are most definitely an empath

Empaths are having a particularly difficult time at the present time, picking up on all the negative emotions that are being emantated into the world from the populace.

TRAITS OF AN EMPATH by Christel Broederlow
Empaths are often quiet achievers. They can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes. They are highly expressive in all areas of emotional connection, and talk openly, and, at times quite frankly. They may have few problems talking about their feelings if another cares to listen (regardless of how much they listen to others).

However, they can be the exact opposite: reclusive and apparently unresponsive at the best of times. They may even appear ignorant. Some are very good at “blocking out” others and that’s not always a bad thing, at least for the learning empath struggling with a barrage of emotions from others, as well as their own feelings.

Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs. In general an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker. Any area filled with disharmony creates an uncomfortable feeling in an empath. If they find themselves in the middle of a confrontation, they will endeavor to settle the situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it all together. If any harsh words are expressed in defending themselves, they will likely resent their lack of self-control, and have a preference to peacefully resolve the problem quickly.

Empaths are more inclined to pick up another’s feelings and project it back without realizing its origin in the first place. Talking things out is a major factor in releasing emotions in the learning empath. Empaths can develop an even stronger degree of understanding so that they can find peace in most situations. The downside is that empaths may bottle up emotions and build barriers sky-high so as to not let others know of their innermost thoughts and/or feelings. This withholding of emotional expression can be a direct result of a traumatic experience, an expressionless upbringing, or simply being told as a child, “Children are meant to be seen and not heard!”

Without a doubt, this emotional withholding can be detrimental to one’s health, for the longer one’s thoughts and/or emotions aren’t released, the more power they build. The thoughts and/or emotions can eventually becoming explosive, if not crippling. The need to express oneself honestly is a form of healing and a choice open to all. To not do so can result in a breakdown of the person and result in mental/emotional instability or the creation of a physical ailment, illness or disease.

Violence or emotional dramas depicting shocking scenes of physical or emotional pain inflicted on adults, children or animals can bring an empath easily to tears. At times, they may feel physically ill or choke back the tears. Some empaths will struggle to comprehend any such cruelty, and may have grave difficulty in expressing themselves in the face of another’s ignorance, closed-mindedness and obvious lack of compassion. They simply cannot justify the suffering they feel and see.

Empaths may be excellent storytellers due to an endless imagination, inquisitive minds and ever-expanding knowledge. They can be old romantics at heart and very gentle. They may also be the “keepers” of ancestral knowledge and family history. If not the obvious family historians, they may be the ones who listen to the stories passed down and possess the majority of the family history. Not surprisingly, they may have started or possess a family tree.

They are just as expressive with body language as with words, thoughts, and feelings. Their creativity is often expressed through dance, acting, and bodily movements. Empaths can project an incredible amount of energy portraying and/or releasing emotion. Empaths can become lost in the music, to the point of being in a trance-like state; they become one with the music through the expression of their physical bodies. They describe this feeling as a time when all else around them is almost non-existent.

People of all walks of life and animals are attracted to the warmth and genuine compassion of empaths. Regardless of whether others are aware of one being empathic, people are drawn to them as a metal object is to a magnet!

Even complete strangers find it easy to talk to empaths about the most personal things, and before they know it, they have poured out their hearts and souls without intending to do so consciously. It is as though on a sub-conscious level that person knows instinctively that empaths would listen with compassionate understanding. Then again, for empaths, it is always nice to actually be heard themselves!

Here are the listeners of life. They can be outgoing, bubbly, enthusiastic and a joy to be in the presence of, as well as highly humorous at the most unusual moments! On the flip side, empaths can be weighted with mood swings that will have others around them want to jump overboard and abandon ship! The thoughts and feelings empaths receive from any and all in their life can be so overwhelming (if not understood) that their moods can fluctuate with lightning speed. One moment they may be delightfully happy and with a flick of the switch, miserable.

Abandoning an empath in the throes of alternating moods can create detrimental effects. A simple return of empathic love–listening and caring compassionately without bias, judgment and/or condemnation–can go an incredibly long way to an empath’s instant recovery. Many empaths don’t understand what is occurring within them. They literally have no idea that another person’s emotions are now felt, as one’s own and reflected outwardly. They are confused as to how one moment all was well, and then the next, they feel so depressed, alone, etc. The need to understand the possibilities of empath connection is a vital part of the empaths journey for themselves and for those around them. (I added the bold to this paragraph:  this is very much like me).

Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and studiers of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where a problem is, so too is the answer. They often will search until they find one – if only for peace of mind. This can certainly prove beneficial for others in their relationships, in the workplace, or on the home front. Where there is a will, there is a way and the empath will find it. The empath can literally (likely without the knowledge of what’s actually occurring) tap into Universal Knowledge and be receptive to guidance in solving anything they put their head and hearts into.

Empaths often are vivid and/or lucid dreamers. They can dream in detail and are inquisitive of dream content. Often they feel as though the dreams are linked to their physical life somehow, and not just a mumble of nonsensical, irrelevant, meaningless images. This curiosity will lead many empathic dreamers to unravel some of the “mysterious” dream contents from an early age and connect the interpretation to its relevance in their physical life. If not, they may be led to dream interpretations through other means.

Empaths are daydreamers with difficulty keeping focused on the mundane. If life isn’t stimulating, off an empath will go into a detached state of mind. They will go somewhere, anywhere, in a thought that appears detached from the physical reality, yet is alive and active for they really are off and away. If a tutor is lecturing with little to no emotional input, empaths will not be receptive to such teaching and can (unintentionally) drift into a state of daydreaming.

Give the empath student the tutor who speaks with stimuli and emotion (through actual experience of any given subject) and the empath is receptively alert. Empaths are a captivated audience. This same principle applies in acting. An actor will either captivate the audience through expressing (in all aspects) emotions (as though they really did experience the role they are portraying) or will loose them entirely. Empaths make outstanding actors.

Empaths frequently experience déjà vu and synchronicities. What may initially start as, “Oh, what a coincidence”, will lead to the understanding of synchronicities as an aspect of who they are. These synchronicities will become a welcomed and continually expanding occurrence. As an understanding of self grows, the synchronicities become more fluent and free flowing. The synchronicities can promote a feeling of euphoria as empaths identify with them and appreciate the connection to their empathic nature.

Empaths are most likely to have had varying paranormal experiences throughout their lives. NDE’s (Near death experiences) and or OBE’s (Out of body experiences) can catapult an unaware empath into the awakening period and provide the momentum for a journey of discovery. Those who get caught up in life, in society’s often dictating ways, in work etc., can become lost in a mechanical way of living that provides very little meaning. All “signs of guidance” are ignored to shift out of this state of “doing”. A path to being whole again becomes evident and a search for more meaning in one’s life begins.

These types of experiences appear dramatic, can be life-altering indeed, and are most assuredly just as intensely memorable in years to come. They are the voice of guidance encouraging us to pursue our journey in awareness. Sometimes, some of us require that extra assistance!

For some empaths, the lack of outside understanding towards paranormal events they experience, may lead to suppressing such abilities. (Most of these abilities are very natural and not a coincidence.) Empaths may unknowingly adopt the positive or negative attitude of others as their own. (This, however, can be overcome.) Empaths may need to follow interests in the paranormal and the unexplained with curiosity so as to explain and accept their life circumstances.

The Mind Unleashed

raining today, a bit

Earlier this morning, it rained. It was a light sprinkle but in drought stricken N. Cali, it was rain.  Unfortunately it stopped but the sky seems filled with rain clouds. Hope we get more. I read that a hurricane on the coast of Mexico might push up some wet for us.  I hope so.

I like walking in the rain, in warm weather and in cold but not below freezing. As a former Minnesotan, I know that the key to winter survival in frigid winters is to keep dry. Once you are cold when it is below freezing, you get into trouble fast.

In the midst of winter in Berkeley, until the drought got going three years ago, it would rain most days. I have experienced no real downpours here. When I first moved to CA, it would appear to be foggy to me and people would say "it's raining!".  I see my definition of rain has shifted a bit.

I can enjoy getting wet, then feeling chilly. Then going home, taking a hot shower and changing into dry clothing feels so great. I feel alive.

I am recalling a former acquaintance who visited me in Berkeley several years ago. Rain was forecast for the evening. He lived three miles away. He had brought his motorcycle armor gear plus his raingear. But he had not worn it. He could have just put on the rain gear, right?  Anyway, over dinner, he repeatedly voiced anxiety that it might rain during is ride home. He said "What if it rains?" I said "You'll get wet."  I wanted to go on, to talk about enjoying getting wet and cold and then warming up again with a hot shower and dry clothes.  I didn't say these things because this acquaintance seemed so uneasy at the prospect of getting wet.  I guess on some level I recognized his anxiety because I dropped the subject of rain and getting wet when I wanted to wax on about it.

It feels great to put dry wool socks on cold, newly dryed-off feet. 

Getting wet, feeling cold, warming up again. These experiences remind me I am alive, a being. ALIVE.  Being wet doesn't last.  Again, I qualify that being wet in below-freezing temps is different. Dry warm feet used to be a central preocupation of mine when I lived in MN. My daughter, as a teen, would wear fashion boots with high heels. She wore warm, dry boots as a little kid but once she got into high school, she'd go out into frigid Minnesota winters with no hat, no gloves, dressed lightly. And fashion high-heeled boots.  I bought those boots because I know teens have to be teens.  I didn't wear sensible winter gear in high school either.

I think that former acquaintance might be challenged by more anxiety than I recognized when I still knew him.  I have a million issues, of course, but anxiety is not really one of them.  I think anxiety was also a significant issue for my daughter.  I knew she had anxiety issues but I wonder, with regret, if I failed to recognize the depth of her challenge, too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

nips of fall = soup time

I bought a bowl of delicious pureed greens soup. One can always find a gagillion recipes online. There are most definitely a gagillion recipes for pureed soup. I am interested in gluten and dairy free, which is pretty easy to achieve.

I am low on jars of homemade soup in my fridge. Tomorrow, I'm going to cook up all the vegies in my fridge, turning them into pureed green soups.

I might need to do a quick onion/leek run. Then again, I do have a huge organic celery, from a store that does not cut off all the yummy green tops.

And cream of mushroom with coconut milk returns to my soup roster.

Fall is here.

I do miss dunking good bread in soup. I know I can make or buy gluten-free bread but to manage my diabetes I avoid the carbs of grains.

Greens, however, have almost no carbs. Pureed kale. Pureed spinach. I'm going to use some Indian curry spices for my first batch.

happy is good

Happy is good and I am happy.

And I am happy to be happy.

Dopey?  Maybe.  I am mentally doing a happy dance. Just because I am happy. Easy as pie.

mushrooms --- mystery

Mushrooms are not a plant, not an animal. And we eat them. A fungus, which a mushroom is, is a kind of life form beyond plant. Actually I know nothing about mushrooms. With the possibility of rain returning to N. California, and it was supposed to rain today, I hope to take a mushrooming class to identify some commonly found mushrooms that are safe to eat.

In the meantime, with my long daily walks, during which I gravitate to green places, woods, paths in forests, I have been coming upon a few mushrooms here and there. I thought mushrooms need serious moisture. I wonder if the fog, which usually rolls in every night, might squeeze enough moisture out of the air to bring out a few of these elemental, fungal beings.

I have come upon mushrooms several times in the past week. Today, walking through a large patch of steep hillside covered in green gas, I smelled mushrooms before I saw them. I am pretty sure the ones I saw are safe to eat but, not being sure, I left them.

I remember all the places I have seen mushrooms. Maybe I just need to buy a book to identify some basic, safe ones.  I need something.

I regularly buy mushrooms at my farmers market but they are expensive. The cheapest ones are expensive. Mushrooms provide all kinds of awesome nutrients you rarely get anywhere else.

And their elusive, magical appearances, or lack thereof, make them even better.

Rain. Mushrooms appear. Knowledge arrive so I know which ones to eat. This I pray.

your own transformation is world work

verbally abused by a putative Christian

Walking home from my writer's group on Wednesdays, I usually detour onto the campus to get some extra steps walked.  I end my campus walk by walking the half ring of sidewalk that is part of the west entrance to the campus, on Oxford. On Oxford at Center, there is a steady stream of pedestians all day and evening when the university is in session. Folks walk from BART to campus, then back to BART at the end of their days. Others walk from the campus to the many restaurants along Oxford, Center and Shattuck.

I have not seen a Christian proseletizer at Oxford and Center before. Come to think of it, except for the occasional person selling the street newspaper, homeless people, I can't recall any politicizing, proselytizing or promotion at that corner. A bit south, where there is a big grassy lawn, occasionally i see some demonstrations, usually about peace. Usually baby boomer age. 

I am polite to all panhandlers, newspaper sellers and proselytizers, although i run into relatively few of the later. This is, after all, Berkeley. Berkeley doesn't seem to attract, not out in the open, anyway, bible belching Christian hypocrites.

I ran into a bible belching Christian hypocrite trying to hand out sheets of paper with quotes from the Bible. i politely declined and kept walking. And the pious, putative Christian said "It's from a book you've never read."  I kept walking but turned my head back to say "You have no idea if I read the bible or not."  He snapped back, "Yes I do know. I know you don't."

I was tired, a lugging my laptop plus hot creamed green soup from Poulet. I was very hungry. It was after 1 p.m., past my lunch time.  I could feel my glucose rising from not eating soon enough. I was tired and the computer was taking its toll. So my only retorts to the hypocritical bible belching were mental.

After I write this, and have finished my delicious soup, made creamy with blended navy beans so its dairy-free -- genius good, genius recipe -- I might, seriously, walk back there, see if he is still there and tell him some of what I thought in indignation.

I went to Christian school K-12. I attended Sunday service every year of my life until i left for college. And I returned to Sunday services, trying out different denominations throughout young adulthood and my parenting years. I reasoned I had to give my daughter some religious experience.

And I actually have read the whole Bible straight through, as well as having read parts of it for various classes. I had to take religion class K-12, plus in undergrad, I took a course on Judaisim and, yes indeed, we read some of the Old Testament. I also took a course on the history of Christianity.  I went to Sunday service with my daughter until, in the fifth grade, after I had taken to driving her to Sunday School but staying in my car to read the Sunday paper, she came out and said "I am done with Church." There, she had made her choice. That was probably the last time I have been to any church on a Sunday.

I wouldn't have told the bible belching, verbally assaulting jerk all of the above. I wanted to tell him that I have indeed read the Bible and I understand it. In my understanding, his comments to me were unChristian and, thus, suggest if he had read the book he had rudely accused me of never having read, he had failed to understand it. I am certain my Christian bible asks people not to judge others. I am also certain my Christian bible frowns on being unkind while supposedly promoting Christianity and the Bible.

I also would not have told him that for over 20 years now, I have studied Rudolf Steiner, who places Jesus Christ as the single most important being in the course of life on this planet throughout time. Through my study of Steiner, I have studied various sections of the Bible very closely. Bible belching Christians often refer to Anthroposophy as a cult. Fuck them. They know not what they speak.

Fuck that pig, eh?

He was wearing a t-shirt that said "Yahweh" on it. Fuck his vision of Yahweh, too.

I won't go back, although I need another 48 steps to hit 10,000 steps today. I am positive the guy would be even more unpleasant if I were to return and claim I had read the Bible.  I have. Really. Truly.  And I understood it. I know my Bible would not approve of me calling that bible belcher a pig and uttering fuck that pig.

I never said I am a Christian now.

Fuck that guy. He represents much that is wrong with this culture. I doubt that he could see that I had been polite to him, and that courtesy was a kind of Christian kindness, albiet Christian anything is not on my agenda.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

finally it happened to me

While out walking, with no destination, in a residential neighborhood in Berkeley, a man on a bike rode past me and said, quite distinctly, "Hi Tree".

I don't know who he is but I must.

When a person moves around as much as I have, even though I have lived in Berkeley now for over five years, it is not common to run into people you know, especially when moving through the world arbitrarily. An unfamiliar neighborhood, unfamiliar street. I could not find the spot again.

It was lovely.

An older man, because he had a bushy white beard.  I know many men with beards. I have no memory of this one.  He wore a straw hat, not a cowboy one though. White t-shirt, khaki colored pants, a basket in front and a bike that I did not look at. By the time I heard my name, he was a half block behind me.

How lovely, to be seen. To be known.

Maybe he was my guardian angel.

ending a relationship does not end it

Margli Matthews, an anthroposophical teacher and researcher at Emerson College in England:

Ending a relationship does not end it. It will find its way in time. Each circumstances of our past lives play into each incarnation. Anyone we have a relationship is someone we have had past life experiences with.  Relationships invariably have a karmic element, we share a past, we have met before. And the question is what are we doing now, what do we need to be doing now?
Steiner indicated very strongly that the purpose of relationships is to wake us up, to become more aware of ourselves and more aware of the other. It is time to let the other wake us up!!!!  We are initiators into the mystery of what is it to be human, to be who we are. We need others to awaken this way. The most challenging relationships, if worked with properly, become initiations for us, advancing our karma. 
What is calling me? Not about what one has actually done, but what is calling us forth? Relationships are where we learn this. Not just meditation alone. We need relationships.

Karl Jung called karma our story, just as an aside.

Challenge of Rudolf Steiner, documentary

Meeting Steiner's ideas and sending my daughter to a Waldorf School, which happened in tandem, has been the most influential learning path I could ever ask for.

One person in this documentary says some of Steiner's ideas seem a bit 'loopy'.  I have never read anything by Steiner that was loopy. Steiner's teachings make sense in every realm he worked within.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bucky Fuller: I am an integral function of universe

“I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.”
- Buckminster Fuller

I am bubbling with joy

I well and truly am bubbling with joy most of the time.  And nothing has happened in my life. It's the same old dull life. 

I guess one thing changed.  Me. I was very, very unhappy about a year ago because a friend I still like and love dumped me, has refused all contact with me since.  I internalized his choice for himself as a condemnation of my worthiness, like I wasn't good enough to be his friend so I wasn't good enough to be anyone's friend.

So I got stuck there a long while.

And then I started a new thing in my meditation.  I did my regular Vipassana meditation, of course, and then I'd do some of Steiner's meditative suggestions, such as contemplating a particular verse or trying to visualize with as much specificity as possibly every single things I did in a whole day. Ever tried that one? It's way hard.  It's hard to reverse, mentally, type all the stuff I write all day, much less reverse remember all the thoughts I had, the conversations I had, etc. It's a great exercise. It helps me be more present. I have to pay attention to details if I am going to be able to review every detail of my day in reverse at the end of it. This particular exercise usually leaves me happy.

But it wasn't that exercise that changed me, at least not directly. Who knows why I changed?

I decided to be happy.

And I decided something that is monumental for me.  I accepted that I am no longer a borderline.  It's a bit of a long story, one I won't tell in detail here. I saw a borderline expert last winter and he quickly decided that I had not been acting, as the friend who dumped me accused me, as 'such a borderline'. He said it sounded to him like I was acting like a human being who was hurt by someone she believed was a friend. It also sounded like I did not maintain perfect equanimity, I offloaded some of my hurt on the person whose behavior disappointed me. But that's not being 'such a borderline' either. That's being human.

I had no realization that I was like Jesus Christ carrying his cross up that hill, carring a heavy, needless, pointless burden, by framing myself to myself and to everyone else as someone with borderline personality disorder. Framing myself as damagead.  So then I had to grieve that ten year mistake. And I let others project their ignorance about borderline personality disorder onto me and I internalized their uninformed judgment. Few professionals really understand BPD.

And then I felt lighter than I have in years. I felt happy.

I am blessed. I have friends who listen to me talk about how the borderline aspect of me and my life has affected me. I have friends who trust what I say. Trust, after all, has been considered an essential element of friendship going at least as far back as Aristotle.

The person who did not trust me, who accused me of being 'such a borderline'?  He was never a friend because friends trust one another. His inability to trust is about him, not me.

I released myself from his negativity, his harshly negative judgment of me and more. Now I am starting to feel bad so I will stop.

I did not finish my canvas route yesterday. After walking in the Solano Stroll for my candidate, 6,000+ steps, I walked 12,000+ steps out canvassing. Suddenly I was done. Done done done.

And then magic happened. I'll write about that magic later. And more magic (or call it love or joy or happiness or golden tunnel -- fairy dust if you like). And more.

the earth is speaking: listen

it is the root of me I seek

As I dig for wild orchids
in the autumn fields,
it is the deeply-bedded root
that I desire
not the flower.
--Izsumi Shikibu, trans. Jane Hirshfield.

unleashing the hounds of hell

I have been canvassing in West and South Berkeley the past two weekends.

Last week, I canvassed around San Pablo Park. I discovered a delightful neighborhood. The park works as a well-used and, I venture to guess, much-loved commons. Games going on, lots of large group picnics, kids in the playgrounds. Neighbors congregating on porches. It felt like a little piece of Shangri-la. It was one of the warmest canvassing experiences I have had.

This weekend, I canvassed in what, I now know,  is the neighborhood the incumbent for State Assembly District 15 lives in. I know this now because Nancy Skinner, the now-termed-out incumbent, was on my canvassing list. I rang her doorbell before I saw her name. Her husband answered. He was as gracious as a person can be, thanking me for doing the work I am doing, even as he declined to take one of my candidate's brochures. His wife, after all, has endorsed the rich, never-held-elected-office-buying-her-way-into politics opposition. His wife, Skinner, is deeply embedded in the political power structure of Berkeley and so, apparently, is my guy's opponent.

One reason for vote for my guy, imho, is simply that he is not beholding to any political power structures.

The Skinner neighborhood appears to get more than its fair share of political canvassers. I say this because even the people who were nice to me, talked with me awhile and even committed to vote for Tony politely mentioned they often are approached by political canvassing.

I also say this because in this neighborhood, West of Sacramento, East of San pablo and a few blocks south of University, had signs on many houses that did not limit to "No Soliciting". I saw several elaborate signs that said "No solicitors, No fundraisers, No political canvassers".  I've been all over the distrct by now and this was the first area that had signs saying 'no political canvassing". And I saw many such signs. And these were not mass produced signs. EAch one was individualized.

My favorite?

One sign said:

  • No soliciting
  • No fundraising
  • No selling
  • No political canvassing
  • No political polling
If you disregard this sign, we will unleash the hounds of hell on you.

I left a brochure on their doorknob. I was mildly disregading their sign, tis true, but I reasoned they could not know who I was. I was safe from the hounds of hell.

I wonder how many times that neighborhood gets hit with political canvassing. Based on what some folks said to me, it seems like a lot.

It's so weird how unevent the world is. I live in an apartment building of 97. I offered to have a meet and greet for Tony in the community room of my building, suggesting we phone bank nearby large apartment buildings to invite folks from those neighborhoods. My offer was declined. So large apartment buildings get no canvassing attention and cosy neighbrhoods get inundated. An imbalance in putatively grassroots campaigning.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

a bit on Willa Cather, on being entirely happy & golden tunnel

I have always loved the work of Willa Cather. Then I lived in Nebraska, where she set her early novels, along with some stories set in N. Mexico. Being familiar with her work, I often 'saw' why she wrote as she did because of the way Nebraska and New Mexico are typographically and culturally. I dreamily loved her portraits of the slight past of these places.

Then she headed to New York City. The big city lights draws many. As a gay woman at a time when homosexuality was shunted into closets, I imagine it was easier to be a gay artist in NYC than Nebraska. Plus writers often have flocked to the big city, to gain a community or artists and to be near publishers.

Here is a lovely quote from Willa. Gosh, I love her name, first and last. I don't know the source but it resonates with me this evening:

I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep. --Willa Cather

I have periods in my life in which I am in an energy I call the golden tunnel. I think my golden tunnel might be similar to what Willa Cather describes as being entirely happy.

Lately, not 24/7 but for long stretches each day, I am both entirely happy as defined by Willa Cather and in the golden tunnel.

Last weekend, out canvassing on a hot, sunny afternoon, I suddenly stepped into the golden tunnel and I was entirely happy. I found Brigadoon, I got lots of commitments from people to vote for my candidate, I saw and heard a strolling violin player. That violin player was walking his dog yet turned the mundane task into the energy of classical music, vibrating his being and that vibration resonating to the space around him.  It was a perfect, magical day. Also hard hot work but the magic happiness outweighed the exhuastion and hot sun.

we are all worthy

everyone can find their own Brigadoon,

Duh!  Heaven on earth does not have to be an invisible spot in Scotland that only appears once every few hundred years.

Heaven is right here, right now.

Heading to heaven right now.

I know one of the most adorable men on the planet

But he won't talk to me.


I should be headed to my canvassing patch but I decided to eat a real lunch first. So I took time to make a real lunch. Now I am enjoying it. Insulin all injected, water loaded in my backpack.

Just have to eat, drink my cuppa and scan the news as I do so and then I am OUTTA HERE!!!

I feel a bit revived with each passing moment.

I would feel so much more happiness if the most adorable man I have ever known, a friend, never a lover, would be my friend again.

oh well.  Onward, eh?

I wonder if I will find a Brigadoon today? Or a strolling violinist?

I wonder what magic and delights will happen on this canvas!

I want a burrito

I want a super burrito with chicken, sour cream, cheesse, guacamole, pumpkin seed salsa, lettuce. Screw the gluten and dairy free. I want one so bad.

But I resist. 

I am increasingly amazed to see how much better I feel staying completely off dairy. My body can handle some gluten, and I will eat some once in awhile but wheat has been hybridized so much in the last century that it is not nearly as nutritious as it once was. Plus any gluten, for it is not just in wheat, is inflammatory. Most illnesses begin with inflammation.

My creaking arthritis knees can tell me that: no dairy, no knee pain. Dairy:  ouch!

Good bye burritos.

Whole Foods deli sells a gluten-free burrito but the tortillas are smaller than real burrito tortillas so they use two. It ruined the whole burrito experience. Fail.

I miss an occasional burrito and I miss cheese a lot.


I don't miss feeling lousy.

did the Solano Stroll for my guy

The crowd supporting my candidate, Tony Thurmond, was a great, fun crowd.  So many awesome people.

Someone brought some vuvalas, those plastic horns sometimes played at big games, esp., I understand, soccer. Turns out Tony's campaign manager plays the trumpet so he got great loud noise of of one vuvula.

The other vuvula was blown by a guy with a microphone. This guy is an amazingly gifted leader. Funny, delightful, quick as a whip. If you say anything to him, he has snappy, delightful come backs.

He lead us in cheers the whole length of the stroll, his voice growing hoarse but his high spirits never diminished.

Everywhere we go
People want to know
Who we will vote for
And we tell them
We are with Tony, Tony Tony Thurmond.

We passed out free high fives, trying to engage the crowds on the sidelines.

Now I have to find the energy to walk down to W. Berkeley and canvass 42 houses, then walk back. I'm pooped. I'll see how I feel after a quick nap.

I wish I might better portray the cheerleader guy. He as as funnily talented, magnetic and gifted as a person can be.

canvassing. . .. for a politician

I knock on doors, when canvassing for my candidate, based on addresses. I only look at the names of residents after I knock or ring the doorbell. Today, glancing at my canvas sheet after having already knocked, I saw that I was canvassing the termed-out incumbent who has endorsed my guy's opponent. Her husband came to the door and was quite gracious. He thanked me, actually, for being politically active. He suggested I not waste a brochure on their household so I didn't but he was warm and friendly.

If I had read the name first, I think I would have skipped that house, since I know she has endorsed my guy's opponent. I got many 'five' levels of support from many right on the same block. I couldn't help laughing as I continued to canvass, commenting on how 'why did I have to be the one assigned to canvas the incumbent?" It was a good ice breaker and many neighbors said "just because she lives on my block does not mean I have supported her" so they laughed along with me. See? Canvassing can be funny.

Another lovely moment while canvassing today: while on Acton, south of Allston, I heard violin music. At first I thought it was from a stereo with house windows open. Then I saw it was a man slowly strolling down the sidewalk on the other side of the street. I almost spoke to him, to thank him for his beautiful gift but I felt a strong intuition to remain silent, to leave him to his music and walking his dog. But as I climbed the stairs to my next house, my eyes stung with tears over how beautiful life can be. The people at that house were also fives. Five means they intend to vote for my candidate.

I hear so many lovely stories while canvassing. I hear so much caring for our collective wellbeing. And I see so many beautiful corners of this legislative district. Every time I go out, I see beauty, magic and love (love in people's eyes for kids, dogs or memories they share with me). Yesterday I met a woman born in Mobile Alabama. She's 87 now. She talked of how times have changed for blacks. She told me about working for the federal government for over 40 years. She was so proud of that.

A friend made a documentary called Big Joy about the life and art of a gay artist named James Broughton. I kicked in to a couple kickstarters for the movie and one prize was a t-shirt that has one of James' short poems: when in doubt, twirl. I don't exactly twirl while canvassing but I do little happy dances and joyfully thank folks when they say they support my guy at a 5 and when someone agrees to a lawn sign, I think I might give off sparks of happiness.

I never imagined canvassing could be so poetic but it is for me.

I had two strangers stop me on Shattuck as I returned home who thanked me for supporting my guy --- they saw my t-shirt. One woman, after thanking me for my guy, laughed at my surprise. I had forgotten I had the t-shirt on and must have looked startled. How did she know I support my guy? She laughed and said "I read your mind" but she also pointed to my t-shirt.