Thursday, April 30, 2015

my deep catch and release program

I am systematically going through all the stuff in my apartment, placing things I have not used in the past year into my Versacart to haul one cartload after another to Out of the Closet, for donation. Ultimately, I believe I'll be able to fill it with stuff to release several times.

Today I gave away a bike to a neighbor who had mentioned, at a community meeting in our building, that she wanted a bike. Over a year ago, I bought a cheap but brand new Target in-house-brand bike for $20 from a Mexican woman whose husband, a German, got a job in Germany right after she paid $100 for the bike. They were asking $40 and I was going to pay $40 but when I got there, I realized some cash had fallen from my backpack. At first the guy said he'd walk to a bank with me and then he said "F- it, just give us $20. We're moving to Germany in 36 hours. I just want the bike gone." Right after that, my neighbor said "I want a bike but I never manage to save up the money, my son needs things." She is Ethiopian, fyi. I immediately decided to gift her my $20 brand new bike right after I bought it but I p-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-e-d, with the bike in the way of my 510 square feet one bedroom.  I do not have an overly large living space. And I have let stuff pile up that I never use.

She was cute when I finally got it together to offer her a free bike. She wanted to pay for it. I told her I needed to gift it. Then she brings her son over to check out the bike because 'he knows a lot about bikes'. I had to suppress my strong impulses to say "what's to know about a new, free bike?" Out loud I say, "your son is welcome to check out my bike."

Whew! I made the sale. They took my free, new bike.

Why did I really give it away?  Because I am a bike snob. I'd rather have no bike than a cheaply made bike. It looks great. A high quality bike is, as bicyclists know,  much easier to ride, especially uphill.

Everywhere I look in my apartment, I see  stuff that does not fit in my cupboards or two small closets. I have just let stuff pile up. I am going through everything.

I attended a Unity church for a few years in late eighties. Our church, and, I believe, some other Unity churches, would have Circulation Day. Church members were asked to donate anything they had not used in the past year, to put it back in circulation. And then on Circulation Day, held in a large public h.s. gymnasium as part of the suburb's festival days (so we could use the gym for free), anyone could come and take whatever they wanted.  A few people used Circulation Day just to get ride of junk but, for the most part, all the stuff was good.

I spent all day every day for the week leading up to Circulation Day directing my volunteers. It is a ton of work to set up hundreds of clothing donations, hundreds of kitchen and houseware donations, etc. My kid was about five or six the year I organized Circulation Day so she was stuck, for it was summer vacation time (otherwise we couldn't use the gym, eh?!). She spotted the Big Wheel as soon as it was rolled into the gym. She rode that baby all day every day. Big Wheels, in case folks don't remember, have a clacking device on one of the rear wheels. One of my volunteers insisted on cutting off Rosie's clacker. He said he was happy to see her having fun riding that thing all over, in and out of the school halls and gym and outdoor sidewalks but he couldn't stand the noise. 

When I was going through my 'stuff' to find things to donate, I took our minister's advice dead seriously. He said to release anything we had not used within the past year.

At the time, I was sharing a home with a single mom who owned the house and her things furnished the kitchen.  My daughter and I had our furniture in our suite of rooms but we never used my microwave.  So I had not used my microwave in over a year.  I remember feeling torn about releasing the microwave. Then I caught myself fearfully thinking "I am not going to live with Mary Ellen much longer and when Rosie and I have our own place again, I will need a microwave." Then I caught myself, affirmed that if and when I needed a microwave, I'd have one. I ended up donating my microwave to the church itself, for our church kitchen had no microwave. And the one I had, selected by my ex, was gigantic. I had not wanted to own one. He gave it to me for Mother's Day the first Mother's Day after our daughter was born. I resented receiving a kitchen appliance as a gift for me.  I insisted I did not want a microwave. He insisted we have one. So okay, I argued back, but he ignored me and gave me a fucking jumbo microwave for my first mother's day. I pleaded for him to give me some flowers and just buy the microwave for the household, the family, but he overruled me, ignored my feelings.

And I'm rambling.

I have remembered those old Circulation days because when I pulled the microwave out of storage, I found a tea pot inside the microwave.  The teapot was a very cheap one that had come with a Mother's Day bouquet my mom sent me when I was a new single mom with a toddler too young to do anything for Mother's Day. It was a nice gesture from my mom. As soon as I saw that teapot, I decided to give it to Circulation Day. I had a strong instinct, however, to look inside the tea pot.

I resisted the instinct. I had never used the tea pot. Why look inside it? But my inner voice screamed her demand that I look inside. I found eight crisp $100 bills in the tea pot. My mom must have made some kind of arrangement with the florist. Or else fairies put that money in that tea pot. As a single mom, nearly always underemployed and nearly always skint, there's no way I put that $800 in a tea pot and forgot about it. $800 in the late eighties was a fortune. To me.

Yesterday, doing my private version of circulating stuff I don't actually use, I went through a bit of clutter on the surface of a small accessory table in my living room.  As I cleared away what was on that surface, and it was mostly junk mail, something shiny fell to the carpet.

I have a pair of simple, single tear drop, crystal earrings. I have owned them since the eighties.  I remember buying them. A year or more ago, I lost one. I have looked again and again to find the second one. I felt sure it would turn up. I didn't give up, I guess, for if I had given up, I would have let go of the remaining earring.  And I carefully checked on the remaining earring from time to time, almost as if to reassure the earring that its mate would be found.

I am amazed I found it.

And this is a little woo woo, but this is the second time I thought I had permanently lost one of these inexpensive earrings that I love. When I have both of them available, they are the only earrings I choose to wear. Once when I lived in Mountain View, I had lunch with a friend and a realtor she was interviewing to help her find a house down there.  Suddenly she noticed one of my earrings was missing. I stood up in the cafe, shook all my clothing, had my friend look all over my body. We all checked the floor, table top, dishes.  No earrings. A year or so later, that earrings turned up in my apartment. How did it get to my apartment if it had left my ear at that cafe downtown?  I actually showed the found earring, and its twin, to my swim friend Kay (the one hiring a realtor) and she was disbelieving that I had found it.

I love these simple earrings more and more. I think I paid $20 for them, a lot for the simple earrings that they are. $20 around 1985 was a lot for such simple earrings.  They are quality crystal but just one tear drop for each ear and a loop to dangle off my earlobe.  They are Swarovski (sp?) crystal, so nice tear drops but very simple.

Anyway, once again I have both earrings available to wear.  I missed them.

I am positive my current, private circulation drive will not yield $800. Gosh, I wish. I have need three grand for dental work that I don't have.

I am quite surprised by the deep shame I feel. I have felt very little shame in my whole life. I am ashamed, deeply deeply ashamed, that I am missing two adjacent molars, that I can't chew properly -- not at all.   I think the shame I am feeling is related to money shame.  I don't mind being poor. I don't mind not being able to buy new clothes, books, go to the theater or opera, etc.  I feel humiliated that I can't afford dental care.

Woe is me.

rambling. as i do.

Presence/Love


Presence/Love is the practice of giving the gift
of ones awareness, attention, understanding,
mindfulness, and compassion to one's Self, others,
and the whole.

To be present (to love) is to hear, see, and love
oneself; as well as to hear, see, and love
others and the whole.

Presence/Love is the intention, invitation, and
willingness to be available for the experience
of interconnected relationship. And it demands
that we be aware of and responsive to both
ourselves and to others.

Presence/Love establishes a sense of interconnectedness
of Self, others and the whole that expresses itself
as a capacity to trust, the courage to act, and a
willingness to commit.

Presence/Love is an alignment that brings one
into clarity and harmony with what one perceives as
the higher aspirations, expectations, and needs of
Self, others, and the whole.

Presence/Love is accomplished by: reflecting on ones
own views, intentions, communications, behaviors,
and impacts on others and the whole; discerning
and rectifying the gap between one's intentions
and one's impacts; paying attention to the verbal
and non-verbal communication signals and behaviors
of others and the whole; inquiring into the gap
between the intentions and impacts of others and
the whole — on one Self, others, and the whole;
and the aspiration to achieve clarity and
equanimity throughout the network of interrelationships.

In Open Space Technology, the aspiration to achieve this
clarity and equanimity is accomplished from trust,
patience, silence, and embodying and continually
demonstrating "The Law" — taking responsibility for
what has heart and meaning for you — and holding
others accountable to do the same.

In my life, I have felt most loved when I have
experienced others as being fully “Present” to
me — unconditionally giving me
their awareness, attention, understanding,
mindfulness, and compassion. And I have felt
most loving when I have chosen to give my awareness, attention, understanding,
mindfulness, and compassion to others.

When I am most present, I am most loving.
When you are most present to me, I feel most
loved by you.

Living in Open Space provides a constant
opportunity for me to cultivate presence
as an authentic expression of my love for you.

Presence invokes the opening of space regardless
of the forms and structures of the interactions — be
they OST, AI, mediated, moderated, “talking heads”,
pillow talk, Noble Silence . . .

For me, presence is the practice of Open Space, and
it is a practice of peace — collective unconditional love
and understanding and interconnection.

“Open Space Technology can be a practice for cultivating love (presence) if we choose to embody it.
. . . if we choose to embody it . . .

this is it: another last-day poem


The City Limits

The City Limits by A. R. Ammons

When you consider the radiance, that it does not withhold
itself but pours its abundance without selection into every
nook and cranny not overhung or hidden; when you consider

that birds' bones make no awful noise against the light but
lie low in the light as in a high testimony; when you consider
the radiance, that it will look into the guiltiest

swervings of the weaving heart and bear itself upon them,
not flinching into disguise or darkening; when you consider
the abundance of such resource as illuminates the glow-blue

bodies and gold-skeined wings of flies swarming the dumped
guts of a natural slaughter or the coil of **** and in no
way winces from its storms of generosity; when you consider

that air or vacuum, snow or shale, squid or wolf, rose or lichen,
each is accepted into as much light as it will take, then
the heart moves roomier, the man stands and looks about, the

leaf does not increase itself above the grass, and the dark
work of the deepest cells is of a tune with May bushes
and fear lit by the breadth of such calmly turns to praise.

a lesson learned, at last

I had a challenging interaction with a male friend today.  He misinterpreted my words, projected his emotions onto me, offloaded anger. When I tried to calm the interaction, he attacked me more. He actually said "You need to learn . . .."  What he said after that phrase is immaterial to me. When a man begins a sentence ordering me to do anything, I check out.

The lesson: I will continue to tilt at windmills, to challenge things that are hard. When it comes to people who misinterpret me, who do not experience me from a baseline assumption that I am kind, loving and well-intentioned, I let go of that person from my life.

Poof. Blown away like the fluff on a dandelion puff.

for some understanding of Baltimore

Watch 'The Wire'. I think it's on Netflix.  "The Wire" is probably the best television writing in the history of television. And it tells a very important story white Americans need to know. Step out of your white bubble and binge watch "The Wire".

It tells true stories rooted in how poverty, crime, racism and corrupt governance institutions.

I have urged many friends to watch this show and most watch a couple episodes and grow bored. I think white people get bored and will not invest easily in stories about nonwhites. Let's get over ourselves.

Another good example from the arts is Spike Lee's brilliant film "Do the Right Thing".

Once, while living on Whidbey Island in a friend's converted garage home (it was a great place to live -- I could see ferries on the Sound as I lay in bed and there was a deck outside that bedroom from which I could see the Sound and the Cascade mountains. Or I could walk a short distance to the water's edge and behold the Sound, beachcomb. . . but I digress. . .

My landlady and friend presented herself as extremely liberal. She had hired me to work for her at the Whidbey Institute. The Whidbey Institute is, more or less, a liberal institution.

I took advantage of the fantastic library system on the island. I had quickly learned I could request virtually any movie ever put on DVD or, maybe back in 2002, on VHS tape. Whatev.  The branch on the south end of the island was tiny but I could get any book, movie or music in the whole library system with just a couple days' wait.

When I learned that Sophie had never seen "Do the Right Thing", I suggested we watch it together, fix a nice shared dinner, then popcorn. Movie night!  I also suggested Sophie and I watch some of The Wire and she also refused to watch that.  I have had other white friends show little interest in 'The Wire" and some of these people really surprise me. Like I know a guy from a conference who presents himself these days as powerfully interested in Africa, African Americans. He works part time for a foundation that funds programs in Africa. He posts poems by African Americans on FB.  He writes somewhat incoherent essays about love from his idea of what constitutes the perspective of Mother Africa. Yet when I urged him to watch The Wire to gain some valuable insights into some black reality, he said the show was boring.

Just a few minutes into the movie, Sophie said "This is boring, I don't want to watch more."  I explained to her again,for I had already,  that it was a very importanat film, that it is very important for whites to have a better understand of African American reality. I told her Spike Lee is a genius. He certainly is.  So is David Simon, who wrote "The Wire" and also the also-awesome HBO series "Treme".  It was hard for me to politely accept Sophie's refusal to watch it.  In hindsight, I wish I had called her out on what I believe was racist disinterest.

So. Whoever you are, if you want to have a better visceral undertanding of AFrican American reality, begin with Spike Lee's masterpiece, David Simon's two master works, The Wire and Treme

springtime in Berkeley

Okay. .. I moved to Berkeley in February 2009. Moving is lots of work. Then I went out of town for three weeks. Then I was sick for two weeks when I got back.

Then a few days ago, it got hot and sunny. I was feeling well again. And I resumed my daily exercise, which had been getting pretty hit and miss for awhile. For anyone (ha!) reading who might not know, I try to swim an hour or more every day. And I ride my bike to the pool and back for exercise, too.

It's hard getting adjusted to a new pool, new travel to the pool, new lap schedule. Everybody likes routine, right? It is soothing to have things stay the same, maybe, sorta, kinda. Maybe?

Changing swimming pools has felt like the hardest part of my move. The pools in Berkeley are no where near as nice as Eagle Park Pool in Mountain View. A swimming pool, outdoors, with clean water and sunshine, is about the same, once you are in the water. But dingy, old shower rooms enervate me. The locker room at Eagle was like a private country club nice.

I've been at a few pools now, talked about pools. I have not explored all my options. There are lots of pools here. In MV, there was only Eagle so I guess it was lucky Eagle was very nice.

Anyway, I have more pool research to do. But in the meantime, I am so loving Berkeley.

I love everything about it. People here are different than in Mountain View. People in MV are friendlier than anywhere I have ever lived. I guess California is friendly country. But in in Berkeley, people in general are really awesome.

I can't wait until I knit myself lots of new friends and activities.

There are also way more homeless people. There are homeless in MV but they don't panhandle much and you don't see them much. In Berkeley, every block with lots of pedestrians also has lots of panhandlers. As i walk the same blocks each day, I see that most of the homeless panhandlers are 'regulars'. Many of the regular homeless have stopped asking me for money because, I have surmised, they know I am a regular, too.

But just as many homeless beggars ask everyone that passes by. And if I pass them ten times in one day, which I might, coming and going as I live my day, running errands, going here and there, some of these people will ask me ten times. I think many panhandlers block out people. I am imagining that it is easier to beg if they disassociate a little bit, not really paying attention to the passsersby, blocking them out of their consciousness. I don't mind being asked again and again, because I believe many chronically homeless have mental health issues. They aren't being obnoxious intentionally, I tell myself.

But every once in awhile, a panhandler is scary.

There is one old man that I am thinking of. I say old because his hair is fully white and he looks old. He almost gives off sparks he is so angry. I've seen him trying to get bus drivers to let him ride buses for free. I don't think this guy is homeless. Destitute, probably, but he has no stuff with him. I don't really know but he gives off the vibe of having a home base. He always seemed showered, clean clothes. And he always has a paper cup that he is always holding out. This guy has asked me for money dozens of times.

Today, as I emerged from an AT&T store, he came up to me and said "Can you help the homeless today?" And I heard his question literally and I said "No I cannot". I was a little stressed. My telephone line is not working and I went to the store to use a phone to call customer service. I am poor myself. I did not want to spend eighteen cents a minute using my pay-as-you-go cell phone to call AT&T on their 800 customer service number. My home phone won't work so I can't call AT&T at home so I went to AT&T.

Maybe this old, angry homeless guy concludes that everyone going into a store that sells cell phones has money?

Whe I said that No, I cannot help the homeless, this guy got angry. I am sure I was not the first person who said no to him today. He said "Kiss my black ass. Who do you think you are?" And he sputtered and muttered and said more stuff but I have forgotten it. One of my good traits is I tend to forget unkind comments quickly. Maybe it is denial. Maybe it is good coping? He kept ranting at me and just for a second, his anger hooked me. I said "I answered your question, I was polite, what else can I do?" I saw that he was gonna stay angry for awhile so I went on.

It was very upsetting. It seems to me that there is a bit of a bargain between panhandlers and society. It is okay if they beg so long as they are polite and do not scare people?

So. My day had a blemish.

Mostly, this was a super great day. It is hot. Many people are complaining about the heat but I am loving it. It is great to be in the pool when it is hot.

I lost the kryptonite lock for my bike today. It was on my handle bars when I left the pool, gone when I got home. I don't know what happened and I was a little spent. I didn't have the exercise to ride over the route I had traversed. Maybe I'll retrace my steps.

But I went to the Bike Co-Op in my neighborhood and bought a new one. And I got a lesson on how to put the chain back on my bike. My chain came off yesterday, after my swim, and I walked my bike home. Then, near my place I asked a couple of bikers if they would tell me what to do and a cute young guy fixed it. It is easy to rethread the chain: there is a release on my bike. Easy as pie. I feel so handy now that I can do it myself.

And I feel like such a jock when I am out on my bike. All my neighbors know I am the lady with the bike.

I am happy today. Yeah. Oral surgery tomorrow. Ugh.

to really know love


love and respect


we understand others with our soul, not our mind, not our heart

"It is with the soul that we grasp the essence of another human being, not with the mind, nor even with the heart."
-Henry Miller

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

if I had a sawbuck for every time

all things bring me to love

a poem by Roethke, not sure of the citation, or even if this is the whole poem


Under a southern wind,
The birds and fishes move
North, in a single stream;
The sharp stars swing around;
I get a step beyond
The wind, and there I am,
I'm odd and full of love.

Wisdom, where is it found?--
Those who embrace, believe.
Whatever was, still is,
Says a song tied to a tree.
Below, on the ferny ground,
In rivery air, at ease,
I walk with my true love.

What time's my heart? I care.
I cherish what I have
Had of the temporal:
I am no longer young
But the winds and waters are;
What falls away will fall;
All things bring me to love.

listen carefully when someone gossips

When someone denigrates another person, gossiping, listen closely. Someone describing negative character traits in another person is actually projecting their own negative traits onto the person they are gossiping about. A gossip is telling you more about themselves than about whoever they have chosen to denigrate to another.

becoming conscious


Friday, April 17, 2015

to think about love camps

http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-04-15/finlands-open-prisons-inmates-have-keys

these prisons in finland sound a lot like love camps.

also this story:  http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/why-scandinavian-prisons-are-superior/279949/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/magazine/the-radical-humaneness-of-norways-halden-prison.html

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

thank thank thank

THANK   THANK   THANK   THANK
PRAISE       PRAISE     PRAISE
THANK   THANK   THANK   THANK
CELEBRATE THE DAYS


A thank for mandolins and cheese
A thank for wine and honeybees
A thank for fellows deft and quirky
A thank for stuffing in the turkey

A thank for pixies trolls and faieries
A thank for Bloody and Holy Marys
A thank for angels and for knaves
A thank for rumors with their waves (a reference to the band Rumors of the Big Wave)

A thank for art and dance and words
For cooks and cocks and hummingbirds
A thank for queers and queens and cuties
and one for brawny hot patooties

A thank for those whose love is firm
A thank for hardon and for sperm
A thank for friends and food like this
and every taste of simple bliss

THANK   THANK  THANK   THANK
PRAISE       PRAISE     PRAISE
THANK   THANK   THANK   THANK
CELEBRATE THE DAYS

James Broughton 1992

Sunday, April 05, 2015

shadow of your smile

"The Shadow Of Your Smile"

The shadow of your smile when you are gone
Will color all my dreams and light the dawn
Look into my eyes, my love, and see
All the lovely things you are to me

Our wistful little star was far too high
A teardrop kissed your lips andd so did I
Now when I remember spring
All the joy that love can bring
I will be remembering
The Shadow of your smile