Blossoms & Buddhas

 

rose chair

For the month of May,

I’ve decided to try to take and post a new photo each day of

a) a May flower (real or symbolic),

and

b) a Buddha (that is, an image of a Buddha), or any being as a buddha.

It seems like a simple enough task,

but as we know, little projects sometimes become big projects.

I first attempted this project years ago when I was living in Strawberry in Marin County (lying between Mill Valley proper — of which Strawberry is officially a neighborhood district,– and Tiburon, which is closer and more the real magnetic center for Strawberry).

Every week day morning, I would walk up over the ridge and down the hill to the bus stop and ride in to where I was working in Corte Madera near Book Passage, which my sweetie &I always called “Travel Books” for some reason. On my morning walks to the bus, I always passed so many beautiful flowers growing wild and in front yard gardens, and several Buddha images, either in people’s front yard gardens, or seen through their front windows, or in stickers on their cars, and also in the windows of shops next to the bus stop. And of course in and around Travel Books.

But the project became a bit much after a while, so I gave it up.

Here in the deserty regions, there are less flowers as late as May, and less Buddha images visible on my less frequent walks. So I’m focusing mostly on things around the house. Forgive all the dust, I’m not much of a housekeeper these days!

 (photo above: detail of embroidered fabric on chair in my living room)

happy trails

Here’s random little vignette that appeared in an earlier post, but ended up buried there under a lot of other items:

Santa Barbara: 100 miles north of LA with 41 sq mi of coastline and 90,000 residents.
I lived in “Santa Babylon” for a year, once.

Goleta really. Such a lovely place.
Years later my wife and I used to stay-over in SB fairly regularly.

Visited Goleta & SB on our way up and down the coast last time together in 2012.

So many wonderful SB & SB area memories…

One from long ago: My Sweetie & I were hiking up on the summit ridge-line trail. Lovely day. No one anywhere for miles in all directions. To the west, far down below, the town and the Pacific with the islands shimmering in the sun. Inland, ripples of hills roll away down off into the distant east.
Suddenly along the narrow trail, kicking up a trailing dust-stream comes a slightly beat-up little Datsun sedan. Stops.

Inside, a lovely 25-ish hippie chick with her trusty huge Alsatian shepherd—both warmly friendly, both wearing bandannas round their necks. She’s in bluejeans, hiking boots, a loose funky sweater. Long, loose hair. She & her dog have been on a back-country car-camping trip.

“You two are the first folks we’ve seen in days,” she tells us. She’s been bushwhacking in her car along dirt fire-roads and horse-riding trails for almost a week, running low on water, grub and gas now, though.

The ridge summit is only about 15 feet wide at this point, the trail only 2-3 feet wide.

“How’d you get your car up here?”

“Well, just haven’t wanted to turn around yet, I guess…Seems I’ll have to now, though.”

She doesn’t seem the least bit sketch. Bright and alert yet relaxed. Affable. No tent, a few good books, some literary, some scholarly, well-thumbed, in the back seat with her sleeping bag & water jugs. Long hair, lithe, very toned & fit but not really athletic-looking, more of a bookworm vibe, smiling clear eyes, good smile, sun-kissed, somewhat trail dusty & leafy-haired by now, she’s very pretty.

We chat for just another minute, before she gets back into her car.

We stand by to spot her while she makes an impossible three point turn-around, but she swivels perfectly somehow with each adroitly tight move, and seconds later is trundling back down the trail the way she came.

As she rolls and jostles on out of sight, we both say,

“Wow, now she’s someone we’d like to have along sometime as a hiking/camping companion…”

“Yeah, but all the food & water needed for that big dog would be a lot for everyone to help carry.”

barbara

 

Whether purity or impurity is permeating all over…

(This disquisition originally was buried in an earlier post) 

I never drink or smoke. Never have. Don’t smoke dope either, just no interest whatsoever; vastly prefer my own well-meditated mind. Pre-meditative and post-meditated mind. I’ve never been drunk, or even close. I’m basically ecstatically chill already. And drink or dope or smoke would just be such a downer, anyway. They obscure clarity of mind. Make consciousness cloudy. As in murky.

Cigarette secondhand smoke makes me acutely ill these days. So toxic! But I used to be able to tolerate it, though I always found it deeply distasteful at best. But in my early years I could handle side-stream smoke fairly well, some of the time. If necessary.

shy  shy

So, even though I’d been inside bars only maybe twice before my mid-twenties, at that point, newly living in Chicago where I’d initially gone for more grad school after being out and about in various parts of the world for some years—Europe and Beyond, mostly on long retreats, I found that everyone went to bars in Chicago. Well, almost everyone interesting I ever met during my years there. (Until I met Lady S and later Lady K, but that’s another story for another day. They didn’t hang out in bars, either of them, but virtually everyone else did, it seemed).

There was almost literally nowhere else to go. Many of the bars served a little food, and most of the restaurants had bars along one wall or were basically just bars, also. So, it being too hot and muggy during the summerish half of the year and too freezing cold during the wintery half of the year to be outside for long, everyone just lived in bars, at night, anyway. I never hung out in such places more than once a week at most. Yucky, silly places, mostly, but it’s where people were. Especially women to meet and date.

Still, for a non-smoker and non-drinker, how to solve (partly) the problem of the stench of stale secondhand cigarette smoke (and alcohol fumes) inside any night-time venue for social interaction? Burn incense! Yep, carry some sawed-off incense sticks and a little brass incense burner—a tiny brazier, or thurible, as it were. Get your side seat in the house, along an edge wall, not up at the bar-counter itself of course. Place your incense-filled brazier next to your glass of fruit juice spritzer. Light up.

Worked wonders. (Did nothing to cut the deadly toxic ill-health effects, but upgraded the overall smell considerably.)

And this was in the early days of the clove cigarette fad. So most everyone was happy with an even more exotic smell pervading the smoke-filled pub space. Those who couldn’t stand it, or were made nervous by this exotic odor, were cleansed from my little corner of our shared smoky public temple.

When some uptight owner-management types were a little freaked, I got a small new old-fashioned burlwood smoking pipe with a little wooden prop-stand so it could sit upright on the tabletop. Started using little pieces of incense-burning charcoal-brickettes for slowly burning powdered or granular incense. Frankincense-&-myrrh, Mysore sandalwood, aged Japanese aloeswood. Sometimes used tiny cone incense or sticks (pooja dhoop sticks) crumbled into the pipe-bowl. Good to go. Managers got it—”Okay, you’re smoking some really weird stuff, but it’s not pot, and the packaging you’ve shown us looks legit, so alright, then.” And of course I didn’t puff on the pipe stem!

The luscious good natural incense smells wrapped around my head, filling my aura-space with something tolerable. Attracted the ladies, too, though I hadn’t expected that! The only ones I’d care to chat with: those who also didn’t really like cigarette smoke & who were drawn to the subtle smoke signals hinting of something “better, spiritual-istic.” Ambience-purifying temple and church incense. In neighborhood pick-up bars. In Chicago. Quality Indian, Bhutanese, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese natural traditional rare incense goodness. Used as dispelling-agent against secondhand smoke demons. And as unsuspected chick magnet. If I was burning frankincense, it invariably reminded all the Catholic girls of childhood Christmas mass and they couldn’t resist coming over to say hi.

But after awhile I learned of the very, very few well-hidden places in the city where smoking was not allowed or simply not bothered with. I could sit there in such quiet places all day and read, write, sketch, or chat, drinking my own brew of rare tea blends. Bring my girl there for dinner dates any nights in the week. Maybe some very select good friends, too. Sworn to secrecy. Owners got to know me, took good care of me. That took care of my brief sojourn hanging out at icky deathly smoky dive barsdhoop

coat

 

Golden Oldies – ain’t got nothin on me!

faker foot two

There’s that terrible but true old saying: “I bemoaned my fate because I had no shoes, till I met a man who had no feet.”

I was inwardly bemoaning the pinch of some newly-delivered old karmic shoes I had once purchased for myself—who knows why, or how long ago such an unwise purchase was made? (This cramping pair came re-packaged in the form of a recent extensively standing romantic interest in someone who had no romantic interest in me).

Then I looked up from my own embarrassingly shod pinch-toed feet which had directed themselves down a narrow alley just off Heartbreak Boulevard. Gradually I saw from there past where I was stalled (as from time to time is eventually likely for us all, y’know), and noticed where and how a younger brother from another mother was suffering from a physically much worse shuffle of foot-damage fate (See photos & note below).

Kind of puts some things in some perspective.

Celebrated Aussie crooner Chet Faker has been forced to pull out of WA’s inaugural Disconnect music festival this weekend after succumbing to a serious foot injury. 

The 27-year-old artist has had a number of operations in recent times after damaging his foot, however he now has large holes in the bone which means he will be out of action for two months. 

If Faker was to perform at the festival, he would be risking serious damage as any pressure on his foot could shatter the bones even further. 

In a prepared statement, Faker said of the cancellation, “Disappointed that I can’t make it out to my Perth family next week, for Disconnect Festival.” 

“Sometimes life kicks like a mule. Hope y’all have fun without me. Break a leg.”

faker foot one

Heart-bruise, together with my own currently compromised-health status (an unrelated lingering prior condition), continues to keep me from literally or figuratively dancing & hiking as freely as once was my wont & again shall be. Nevertheless undaunted, I’m slowly training to build back up to my former quietly leonine emotive-&-bodily fine physique (rampant mountain lion king of the asphalt-&-cement jungle, pine-duff dusted trailheads, and rug-cut living room dancefloor).

Meanwhile, I’m still able to daily/nightly visit with a friend who is chronically bed-ridden, and in constant debilitating pain, so who am I to bitch-&-bemoan? Karmicly pinched toes and bruised heart, be damned.

As I write this, a young American scientist friend is in flight to earthquake torn Ecuador. Yesterday or the day before hundreds (more) refugees drowned while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to unwelcoming-but-safer shores. And on it goes.

Meanwhile, where I’m sitting today this (kindly Evangelical Christian-owned!) joint charges $7+ for a simple cup of jo and has no recycling in place. Holy land-mines, Hillary! The same obtains for the (Mormon Christian-owned) book joint down the street, with the terrible music-feed (sardonically happy to fill its coffers propheting off others’ tea & coffee addictions). My seat here taken also somewhat sardonically, be it said.

Having not all that long ago daily and nightly gratefully tended the side of my own bed-ridden true beloved through to her passing, I realize more and more that I’m still physically exhausted, almost three and a half years later. From time to time it becomes obvious that this is true at deeper bodily/ emotive/psychic metabolic levels than I tend to acknowledge to myself.

It never occurred to me at the time that I would, of course, need to pay for not sleeping during what became a solid year and a half vigil before my beloved’s passing and also still not sleeping during most of the next year and a half of nerve-jumble afterwards. At the time it was only one continuous Eternal Now-moment of unbroken loving attention, shared heart-melt/mind-meld, alert helpless concern, and of course unrelieved heartbreak, while I was able to tend to her. (She was confined completely to her bed only for the last three months or so but I had stopped sleeping for more than a year before that to tend & watch over her always.)

And then another year or so afterward of sleepless aftershock/wind-down that never really wound-down, while I kept up the daily schedule of my own other responsibilities and mostly inadequately distractive preoccupational activities.

Despite my heartbreak as she suffered so, I was of course blissfully happy to be with my beloved through her ordeal and to be able ceaselessly to offer some comfort to her though there was little enough I could do. A strange combination of elation and utter despair, of rapidly waning hopefulness and ever-deepening resignation, and of constant gratitude. Mutual unconditional Transcendent Love and mutually contingent embodied existence: a strange condition we partners all share while on Earth.

Though I sleep again a bit now and am definitely feeling much better as time further unfolds its always oddly smudged map, I keep setting aside a few hours, when & as I can, to slowly further pay off in small increments the backlogged debt of sleep still owed. But somehow that now-three-plus-years old debt continues to accrue an exponentially-taxing interest. (“The longer and deeper one owes a debt of sleep to one’s body and mind, the greater the sleep needed to pay off the debt”—my teacher Maharishi used to say to us many, many years before).

So I may not always be walking as unwobblingly & thinking as straight and clearly as I should wish. Feels like my psycho-physical “mean motorscooter” machine is still not always firing on all twelve pistons these days.

A few days after the end of those final three months of our shared journey together in these fragile bodies, I saw myself in the mirror & realized that I had in that short time suddenly physically aged about ten years or more. (C’est l’amour, c’est la guerre, say no more.)

Of course, it was all immeasurably more than worth every iota of such change, naturally; but also a startlingly sudden observation that hadn’t occurred to me might be the case. Much like when a ballet dancer suddenly realizes only after the concert curtain drops, that she’d shattered her ankle mid-performance; only then the pain comes flooding in, and the recognition, perhaps, that her dance career is ended. A small matter in the larger picture, but a change one must deal with. BOOM. Boom. and boom.

But while I have holes in my current karmic traveling soles and a gaping hole in my heart and soul just now, at least I don’t also have this bloke’s problem of holes and metal pins-&-lattice work in his actual foot.

I’ve been revisiting some of his music lately (indicates the fringiness of some of the moods that sweep past me now and again).

Of course I’d been too pre-occupied with much more serious matters than to notice any of his recorded songs when they’d first come out a coupla few years ago. There’s a sound-delay for me of at least 2-5 years of mostly-youtube play-back in general with current music and most of the rest of pop culture (I haven’t owned a TV in several decades, and never bought into netflicks).

I long ago quit following contemporary music. Long, long ago. Basically as soon as it ceased having any steady “message” of social-justice-&-consciousness-expanding concern to its lyrical content. (Register for a moment just how ancient a loss that is). Despite Paul McCartney’s annual millions of continuous sales-income capitalizing on the same, who really wants to listen to the same vapid new-old “silly love songs” played over and over again, as penned & recorded by mostly baby-faced &/or pinched-brow shallow ego-centric idiots? Yeah, obviously millions of folks do, bless their tender hearts. Go figure.

And of course even Ancient-Jaded-I still love a good-enough vapid love-ditty now and again, however goofily inane and callow may be the mind and life of the recording artist & even of the writers (writers & performer increasingly-rarely ever the same person these days.—One of Just-in-the-Beaver’s recent 2-minute love song [?] hits, I’m told, took 13 songwriters to construct; The Beev wasn’t one of them).

But my tolerance for mere musical cotton-wadding from-&-for the achingly empty headed is very low. Always has been. From a favorite 1963 hit:

…I didn’t pay my Con Ed [electric company] bill
So the radio didn’t work so well
Turned on my record player—
It was Rock-a-Day Johnny singin’,

Tell your Ma, tell your Pa
Our love’s a-gonna grow,

Ooh-wah, ooh-wah.”

          • Bob Dylan, Talkin’ World War III Blues
            copyright © 1963, 1966 by Warner Bros. Inc.;

renewed 1991, 1994 by Special Rider Music

It’s wonderful that Paul and Ringo finally in the past few years (beginning 2008) started headlining bi-annual charity concerts to bring Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation to children in inner-city schools around the world, combating the effects of drugs, violence, urban decay & debilitating general malaise. But after the 1972 Concert For Bangladesh by George and Ravi (and even, for that matter, John and Yoko’s 1969 angry drug-darkened concerts for peace and justice), & so much else that has come along before & since Bangladesh, it just feels like so little, & so very late. I’m happy and proud for any goodwill and creative contribution to our common well-being, even by love-song-only poets and players, but there is more to be said through pop cultural channels than merely repeating ad nauseum “our love’s a-gonna grow, ooh-wah, ooh-wah”, “Now, you’ve left me broken-hearted, boo-ha, boo-ha.”

27-yr old Chet Faker’s moodily smoky intensity is certainly charming at times, but I can only take a few minutes at a spell. Whereas I used to be able to sink into entire albums’ worth of uninterrupted intensity of lyrical brain- & aural aura- nourishment from even younger writer-singers with much more to say.

Yes, I definitely dig some of his stuff (and who would deny the sustained wood-fuel of that one video?!). But love-song-only poetry and music, and most electronicka dance tracks, generally hold my attention only for the space of 3 to 6 minutes at a time. I get the feeling the same may be somewhat true for Faker himself, as viewing and listening to all the youtube-posted live concert versions of “Gold” I can find, he seems a bit underwhelmed to be performing the song live, compared to the intensity captured in the studio take. It must be hard to perform the same stuff over and over again. And to be fair, maybe his injured foot was causing him too much pain, though he seems dancey enough most times.

I remember when the Beatles sang “Mr Moonlight” in their 1965 concerts I attended. As intense a delivery each time as such a song could provide (far better, more original & longer than their recorded version!) and they didn’t write it. John riffing on the electric organ with his elbows, yeah.

I remember the Animals, shortly after their electric violin-fueled, “When I was Young” hit the charts, riffing for forty minutes in concert versions of that simplistic-enough erstwhile 3-minute novella. It was moving. Conveyed to the lyrics an aura of having something at least momentarily significant to say. Combined with anti-war and anti-poverty and anti-racism songs, it made everyone feel something important was being shared together in the concert hall or arena, even if their love songs remained the best and biggest chunk of their simple if impassioned repertoire.

Compare the lyrics of Chet Faker’s “Gold” with those (below) of the traditional medieval bhakti yoga divine love song “Gold” by an anonymous Bangladeshi (Bengali) Baul mystic-poet. The lyrics were first transcribed and translated into English by 20th-century scholar-saint Mahendranath Gupta (1854-1932), and became a favorite kirtan bhajan of Gupta-Ji’s master, Shri Ramakrishna (1836-1886).

GOLD

How strange this transformation is!

Everywhere transplendent golden light

shines out from everything.

The garden glistens now, all of gold,

and golden, too, the peacock and the cuckoo gleam!

Everything around me here has turned to gold!

Naught else appears

But gold, whichever way I look.

What can it mean, this miracle, that everything I see is gold?

Ah, I can guess its meaning now:

for She, my Divine Beloved, has come to where I am,

and that is why everything, even my own skin,

has turned to gold.

For she has filled me and everything here with Her golden light.

In the twinkling of an eye,

everything here has turned to gold.

Have I become my Beloved by contemplating Her?

How strange this transformation is!

Everything within me and around me here has turned to gold!

 

GOLD

(by Chet Faker, as sung on studio track)

You gotta know, I’m feelin love

made of gold

I never loved another one, another you

It’s gotta be love, I said it

You gotta know, I’m feelin love…

hmm…

You gotta know I’m feelin love…

You gotta know, I’m feelin love

made of gold

I’ll never love another one, another you

It’s gotta be love, I said it

I might as well be in a garden

I said, a smell in the air is a drippin’ rose

(“You can be the one for me!”)

Another soul to be my warden

of anything there that’s made of gold

A physical kiss is nothing without it

And you close your eyes to see what it’s done

The body that lies is built upon lookin’

as all that remains before it’s begun

You gotta know, I’m feelin love

made of gold

I’ll never love another one, another you

It’s gotta be love, I said it

You gotta know, I’m feelin love

made of gold

I’ll never love another one, another you

It’s gotta be love, I said it

A heart’ll swell before it’s hardened

With a flick of the hair, it can make you old

Another hole to dig my soul in

I’ll do anything bare that keeps me sold

A physical kiss is nothing without it

And you close your eyes to see what it’s done

The body that lies is built upon lookin

as all that remains before it’s begun

You gotta know, I’m feelin love

made of gold

I’ll never love another one, another you

It’s gotta be love, I said it

You gotta know, I’m feelin love

made of gold

I’ll never love another one, another you

It’s gotta be love, I said it

You gotta know, I’m feelin love

made of gold

I’ll never love another one, another you

It’s gotta be love, I said it

Ooh!

chet faker Gold

Parvathy Baul Everything Is Turned to Gold!

 

bob dylan Talkin World War III

 

Dylan, another version

Beatles studio version Mr Moonlight

ancient animals not so young

 

 

Stones Everything is Turning to Gold

Some notes on early childhood

I’m copying and pasting here some notes recently posted to the BIO page, as many readers may not think to look for new things posted there….

Some autobiographical notes regarding early childhood…

tyke

I was born when I was just a tiny little baby, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area & San Diego area.

As a young child, I wanted to disappear from the modern workaday commercial industrialized world.

I wanted to be a forest wizard hermit saint &/or elven prince, who lived in a hollow tree or lofty tree house and was married to a beautiful magical sylvan dryad, a forest nymph. I wanted to subsist on dew and berries.

I wanted to be a gentleman pirate, sailing the tropical seas, fighting colonial empires & merchant robber barons, righting wrongs, freeing slaves, living free, & marrying an island native princess or rebel governor’s daughter.

Somehow I thought that even in these modern times, I should be able to sail away and discover an unknown or forgotten semi-magical paradise island, live on fresh tropical fruits, wear only a sarong and flower garland leis & marry a native princess.

Whatever else I thought I “would be when I grew up” and whoever I married, I always thought my future sweetheart & I would be hermits together, living in the forest and at the seashore, but maybe also sometimes visiting libraries & museums, or going to the movies. (This came true.)

I wanted to be an Iroquois or other woodland Indian medicine man, living in tune with nature & in communication with the spirit world, eating corn, squash, beans, acorns and wild fruit, and healing the sick with herbs, prayers and the help of spirit animals.

I wanted to be Robin Hood, or a combination of Robin & his merry men—Alan-a-Dale, Will Scarlet, Little John, & Friar Tuck. I was in love with Maid Marion, and wondered why none of the girls or women in my real world were as wonderful as she seemed to be.

I wanted to be the legendary wandering minstrel & prophet-poet, True Thomas the Rhymer of Erceldoune (c1200-1298) who disappeared for seven years, having been kidnapped by the Queen of Elfland to be her lover, reappearing thereafter among human society, only to finally disappear once again, called back to Elfland by his sweetheart Faerie Queen.

I learned to read when 3 ½ years old from studying hiking trail signs at Yosemite.

I thought cursive handwritten script was magical random scribbling, legible only to those who attuned their mind to what the writer had been thinking when he or she had made the scribbles.

I thought everyone dreamed lucid dreams, everyone remained awake deep inside, silently witnessing their dreams and dreamless sleep, just as I also assumed they inwardly witnessed their waking thoughts, feelings, and perceptions from an innermost point of lucid stillness always present at the source of thought.

I assumed the insane curse of deadly toxic car pollution would end before I was a teen. I’d been told that mentally ill adults sometimes breathed concentrated car exhaust to kill themselves, and here we all were riding around in cars, or walking on the sidewalks of busy streets, breathing this deadly poison in a somewhat diffused form. Every adult seemed to have a car and all of us constantly breathed the poison exhaust which was spread everywhere. Surely this insanity would end as soon as possible.

I thought all or most adults were mentally ill, semi-blindly delusional, as if hypnotized into a kind of unpleasantly zombified daydream sleepwalking state, and that many if not quite all were potentially violently insane. I thought if I was too sudden &/or too loud when close to most adults, I might shock them into dangerous subconscious semi-automatic reactive violence, like spooking a mad dog or horse.

I thought if I inwardly focused my silent attention and mentally directed my good intentions toward them, my kindly regard might subversively stir at least the best of adults into gradually or even immediately waking up from the horrid spell they suffered from. I thought they would then be joyously and peacefully grateful for this compassionate spell-breaking and its wonderful results.

I thought I sometimes understood the language of birds. Wild birds sometimes landed on my head, shoulders or hands. I was certain they & some other wild animals could mostly read my friendly thoughts. I thought I could see some neighborhood dogs and cats smile at me.

I assumed somewhere there was a unique group of sane, wise, kindly adults in charge of caring for the world and daily making it run as well as they could manage, and that’s what kept it from exploding into smithereens or descending into total genocidal chaos.

I used to lie on my back between trees by day and by night and allow my sight and mind to become absorbed within the sky beyond the clouds and stars. I thought all children, and most nice adults, did this regularly. I thought this was something sane people knew was necessary to do regularly, like bathing, to remain healthy. Though often it took several minutes afterward from me to come fully back from The Expanse enough to walk normally again.

Like most little kids well-off enough to own one, my bicycle was my wingéd steed. I thought if I learned how to ride it just right, mentally/emotionally as well as physically, we would one day lift up and fly through the air, able to go anywhere in the world.

I loved libraries & museums, was luridly fascinated by downtown department stores, but found school extremely trying. Returning home from my first day of kindergarten, my parents asked how I had enjoyed my first day of school. I replied, “It was a madhouse!

I was always extremely romantically-&-sexually interested in women. Even when I was still far too young to have any knowledge or imaginings of actual sex, I always recognized & loved female romantic beauty, sexiness, personal magnetism, and attentive kindness. Conversely, while I recognized that some men were handsome &/or kindly &/or dashing, especially actors in movies & TV shows, it never occurred to me to be attracted toward any men or boys as objects of romantic or sexual interest. I have no idea how or why any of this was the case. I was extremely “horny” (emotionally hyper-sexed) and swoonily romantic from the earliest age, but only toward the particular women and girls I found especially appealing in this inexplicable way.

My ever-present interest, both romantic and sexual, in certain women and girls didn’t necessarily always go together, but actually mostly did. And this is still largely the case. Of course I recognize(d) the mutual independence of both kinds of appeal (sexual and romantic), but most of the time the only women I (have) found myself feeling any actual personal interest in as theoretical/imaginary, potential or actual “girlfriends,” have appealed to both my romantic and my sexual interest/desire at the same time, as two aspects of one appealing interest. I really like it this way, but it has always made life as complex/complicated as it has made it simple/simplistic.

I always drew and painted pictures, and scribbled poems and stories, writing & illustrating my own “books,” even before I could read or write.

I drew my own male & female paper-dolls/action-figures, cut them out & played with them: various series of pirates, of Robin Hood & his merry men, of frontiersmen and Indians (including girlfriends or wives for most of the males), even paper-dolls of Jesus and some of his men and women and children followers. But my paper-doll Jesus mostly wanted to be alone with the birds in the garden or desert or just play with the paper-doll children.

As a young child, my biggest problem with history, mythology, literature, and with almost all the heroes I admired as they were presented in children’s books and through movies, TV, art, magazines, etc, was all the fighting in wars and the other brutality, including specifically all the hunting, fishing, and killing of animals including deer, birds, fish, etc. for the sake of sportkilling and meat-eating.

I found meat-eating repulsive and couldn’t understand or stand the fact that seemingly almost all adults and cultures all over the world from ancient times till now could & did engage in hunting &/or raising animals to slaughter them and then eat their dead bodies. It all seemed so grotesquely barbarous and bizarre as to beggar credulity. I think I have never gotten over the shock. I’ve remained a life-long vegetarian, mostly for aesthetic reasons.

Only slightly later (still as a very young child) did I realize that adults, and again almost all cultures throughout history, had engaged in torture, almost constant warfare, and other such like violence (I still didn’t quite understand rape, nor marriage-as-bondage). These constant, daily, ancient practices of violence — of war & torture, and of hunting/fishing/ranching animals for torture/slaughter/meat-eating, — and the fact that many cultures, including our own American culture, had also engaged in slavery (though again, I didn’t quite understand sexual slavery), made me feel as though I had taken birth on a planet of the most evil and murderously insane mutants imaginable.

I felt that I belonged to a wholly other species of creature, from an entirely other planet or universe. I felt that I was wrongly, bizarrely cast adrift and washed up upon this strangely beautiful but nightmarish planet Earth as an orphaned exile,—not as punishment, but simply as a shipwrecked castaway.

I didn’t quite understand karma, nor the mechanics of primordial ignorance (pragya paradh), I simply thought the denizens of this plane, including many children as well as virtually all adults were murderously retarded, ensorceled by evil magic, were perhaps themselves demonic in their acquired/perverted psycho-social nature.

It wasn’t the fact that we creatures all fell ill, eventually grew old, suffered horribly, and died, difficult as that was to comprehend; it was the gratuitous violence, hatred, anger, cruelty, indifference, etc. that made me feel I was in a world overcome by a deep, huge, extremely evil form of wrongfulness, illness of mind and soul, insane derangement.

I still feel this way, though I have retained & furthered much of my early childhood love for the natural beauty of this planet and throughout a long life have grown very fond of many of the people living on this planet in the past and present.

I had realized before that first day in the “madhouse” that was kindergarten, that on a very basic level I was on my own, that most adults and children were of little or no understanding or help, and animals, and even trees, were often no “better” in practical terms of understanding and helping. I wanted to see this world be much better, much happier, than it appeared to be. I wanted, desperately, both to escape and to help; to disappear and to provide healing. This may all sound strange, but I have since known many persons who felt this way as children, who had many of these same thoughts.

Although the forms and formats of all these things have continued to change many, many times throughout my life, the underlying experience and orientation has always remained basically the same for me. I have grown to appreciate the play and display of the manifest world, including the mostly-deranged ways of humankind, as partial (and partially distorted & distortive) expressions of that larger, unified Reality that is at once the true innermost identity both of my own somewhat still-bewildered personal self and that of all other human and non-human persons, the true self-nature of all animate and ‘inanimate’ beings and things.

Why I’m not for Hillary

Bernie can still win! But aside from Bernie and what he stands for and what his campaign hopes to achieve with Bernie as president, I find it extremely challenging to vote for Hillary, if Bernie does not receive the nomination. Of course Bernie himself has pledged that if Hillary wins the nomination, he will support her. And Noam Chomsky has said that “Hillary is twenty times better than any of the Republican candidates” and that he would certainly vote for her as well. So I guess, just to stop the evil Republican agendas, I would be forced to vote for Hillary as well.  But I just can’t stand to face that prospect. And here, in part, is why!  Thank you Abby, for all your amazing work.

Abby Martin’s entire series, The Empire Files, available on youtube, is astonishing. It will scare the weepin bejeezus right outta ya. And may rouse you to do something more urgent(ly) to make the world better, while we still have a chance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PV_PLCC6jeI

 

 

Bernie can still win!

I was asked the other day if I’m “still following the Democratic campaign.”

Yes! And I’m still supporting Bernie!

Here’s the latest from Reader Supported News – the best source for progressive news!

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/36421-focus-this-campaign-was-never-about-me

This Campaign Was Never About Me

By Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

20 April 16

hen we started this campaign, I emailed my supporters and said, “This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: ‘Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.'”

I believe that now more than ever.

We still have a path to the nomination, and our plan is to win the pledged delegates in this primary. Next week five states vote, and there are A LOT of delegates up for grabs. I am going to keep fighting for every vote, for every delegate, because each is a statement of support for the values we share. That’s why I have to ask:

The truth is that if we stand together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. We can bring hope to the political process. We can make real change. People should not underestimate us.

In solidarity,
Bernie Sanders


The first “Sanders for President’ Email, April 30, 2015

From: Bernie Sanders
Date: April 30, 2015
Subject: Are you with me?
Marc –

I am writing to inform you that I will be a candidate for President of the United States. I ask for your support.

For many months I have been traveling from coast to coast across our country, and have had the opportunity to meet with thousands of good, hard-working, and remarkable people. Like you and me, they are deeply concerned about the future of our country.

They wonder why they are working longer hours for lower wages. They worry about whether their kids will be able to afford college or get decent jobs. They fear that they may not have the savings to retire with dignity and security.

The challenges facing our country are enormous.

It’s not just that, for forty years, the middle class has been disappearing. It’s that 99% of all new income is going to the top 1%, and the grotesque level of wealth and income inequality today is worse than at any time since the late 1920s. The people at the top are grabbing all the new wealth and income for themselves, and the rest of America is being squeezed and left behind.

The disastrous decisions of the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case and in other related decisions are undermining the very foundations of American democracy, as billionaires rig the system by using their Super PACs to buy politicians and elections. And the peril of global climate change, with catastrophic consequences, is the central challenge of our times and our planet.

The middle class in America is at a tipping point. It will not last another generation if we don’t boldly change course now.

After a year of travel, discussion and dialogue, I have decided to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. But let’s be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: “Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.”

I run not to oppose any man or woman, but to propose new and far-reaching policies to deal with the crises of our times. And I run because I know we must change course now, or risk losing the future for so many to the interests of so few.

A successful national campaign is a massive undertaking, especially when we will be heavily outspent. It will require the active participation of millions of Americans in every community in our country. In fact, it will require nothing less than a political revolution which combats the demoralization and alienation of so many of our people from the political process.

Let me be very honest. It may be too late to stop the billionaire class from trying to buy the Presidency and Congress. The forces of greed already may be too powerful. But we owe it to our children and grandchildren to try. We owe it to them to make the fight and, through the power of our numbers, turn back this assault on the foundation of our democracy and our future.

We are at a moment of truth. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and we need a mass movement of people to fight for change.

I believe America is ready for a new path to the future.

On May 26th I will formally launch our campaign at the City Hall in Burlington, Vermont, where I served as Mayor.

I ask you to join with me in our campaign for President of the United States.

Sincerely,
Senator Bernie Sanders

Comments   

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

– The RSN Team

 

+11 # grandlakeguy 2016-04-20 11:08

Bernie, do not give up!
The basic fact is that Hillary Clinton is a neocon hawk with a terrible record of bad judgement.
The Goldman Sachs speech transcripts are still hanging over Hillary’s head. What YOU need to do ASAP is compile ALL of your tax returns for the last 30 years, call a press conference,hand over those tax returns, and DEMAND that HRC release all of the paid speech transcripts.
There still exists a smoking gun out there that can derail this dishonest fake progressive’s maniacal quest for power.
Flush it out and the American people will turn against this warmonger servant of Wall Street.

 

 

Misplaced affection

beatrice

Part One

Unrequited love—such a wretched state of affairs! one of life’s most painful and difficult emotional conditions (aside from those very few conditions and situations which might possibly be of an even somewhat more likely directly life-threatening or health-compromising sort).

Not long ago I was discussing such things with a friend (a platonic female friend). I confessed that I don’t always know for sure which I detest most: inadvertently, unavoidably wounding some innocent person through being unable to reciprocate their romantic interest in me (however rarely that happens), or being wounded through falling in love toward a woman who, however otherwise wonderful, happens to have no romantic interest in me!

My friend confessed that she found it much worse to have to turn someone down in such a way than to undergo having someone turn her down — “Oh! it’s ten times worse, at least,” she said, “to have to deliver that kind of rejection to someone than to receive it myself.” I remain slightly uncertain. In my own case at least, it has sometimes depended on just how much or little depth/intensity of feeling is or isn’t involved on one or the other side. Among perhaps other factors—such as, often, how little or well the other person and I may actually already know each other (at least outwardly, socially) before one of us begins crushing unrequitedly on the other.

Not that I’m aware of all that many persons, well-known to me or more often barely known at the time, who have conceived unrequited crushes on me! But it has been known to happen, and even continues to happen occasionally still—somewhat startlingly, & rather more frequently than would seem at all plausible. Often—not always, but rather often in such relatively rare cases—I sadly just do not happen to feel romantic responses toward these innocently appreciative and doubtlessly wonderful and admirable persons. But I certainly do sympathize/empathize to the point of pain & sorrow on their behalf and I always strive to be as kind and gentle and reassuring and uplifting as possible! To whatever inadequate avail.

Oddly, or not, the romantic love any two people feel is not always for each other! And this so often causes extreme distress. At least for some time. And so much of this distress seems unnecessary, though I have no solution to its seeming perennial ubiquity! Extreme delicacy of feeling and behavior certainly always helps in such cases, but nevertheless we’ve probably all been both hurt at times and at other times have been a source or agent of hurt to others, unintentionally and often even unknowingly. Life can be rough! Compassion makes a real difference.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. (saith Leo Buscaglia)

In my own life, I’m more often than not (?—or so it seems), the one who feels more-than-mild to, on relatively rare occasions, overwhelmingly-great crushing (& often utterly unsolicited/uninvited) romantic feelings toward someone who turns out to be not even remotely close to available and/or not even slightly romantically inclined toward me in return.

C’est la vie! C’est l’amour!

Cette bête noire damné!

Il n’y a pas de mots! Say no mo‘!

Unrequited love is always just terrible, from either side, of course! But all my empathic sorrow to the contrary notwithstanding, and unlike my friend mentioned above, I’m pretty sure the more acute and lasting pain I’ve felt has most often been greater when I’ve been turned down than when I myself have had to do the turning down of some poor woman who has innocently felt some greater affection for me than I’ve solicited or have been able to offer her in return. Still, it is sometimes heartbreaking to be unable to return someone else’s romantic love, perhaps especially when we do love the person but only in a platonic way, and know that our rejection of their affections will likely lead to the loss of an actual or promising good friend, a wonderfully good person in our life….

In any case, I’ve never sought to elicit any romantic interest I didn’t also feel from my side—of course! I’m not some ridiculous awful heartless or twisted cad! (What is the feminine for cad? b-word? other c-word?) Nevertheless, at the same time I’m always open, when not already in a relationship or on a scheduled necessary period of solitude, to considering most any potentially healthy, plausible romantic offer. I just don’t solicit them, or return them, unless of course I’m also feeling the crush myself! I would never exploit or take devious advantage of someone’s heart! Great Scott! Nor—to the extent I have been aware at any time of another person’s unsolicited tendre toward me—have I ever been unkindly indifferent toward anyone’s tender feelings, nor simply allowed such misplaced affection and/or related apparent misunderstanding to go forward unchecked! How could anyone abide any such slithery worminess?

Sometimes it’s just bald egos getting in the way of translucent communication. Communicative friction/failure is usually just inner/ambient ego interference. Communication and attunement are best and most spontaneous when egos are least puffy and prickly. Sometimes a lack of being on the same wave-length of communication is due to craven fear—fear of rejection leading to fear of intimacy leading to all sorts of shield-raising and distortions of perception & half-subconscious urges to weird reactive ploys and defensive dartings and corner-cutting incongruous segues. And I say, _ _ _ _ all that _ _ _ _.

I’ve encountered some alarming attitudes and behaviors! I have also sometimes simply but perhaps grossly misunderstood others as well as been inadvertently misunderstood by others. Yet usually (I hope & trust) through no indifference, heedlessness, or particular thoughtlessness on my part. While it can be an offense (innocently unintended and unavoidable) to feel romantic love for someone without benefit of their personal invitation to do so, emotional villainy (coercive or otherwise) on either side is disgusting.

Who has not been on both sides of unrequited crushes and far worse heartbreak? Like it or not, we are all innocent carriers of each others’ good and bad karma even when we have no wish to play such roles and/or little or no knowledge of doing so. We are all karmic postal carriers delivering each others’ own previously self-addressed stamped and mailed envelopes without knowing what’s inside each others’ packets, what’s in store for each other, for ourselves, as a result of our own past actions and words, mental and emotional intentions and communications of all silent and expressed sorts.

We all know that what we reap is only what we have sown. We don’t always suspect what karmic mail we are about to deliver or receive. Thrown for a loop again and again! “Why do I keep falling for such jerks?—do I not deserve someone so much better?” “Why do these sweet & earnest persons keep thinking I’ve been encouraging them? All I’ve ever done or said has just been to be polite and not to be some sort of bitch/jerk! Which of us is the bigger masochist, sadist, or sado-masochist?”

Still, it is sometimes hard to wear karmic shoes that justly “fit” just because we bought them, perhaps unwisely, at some point in the past and have brought them along with us today because “shoes are required” and these are now the only ones we have at hand. Nature does not play dice. The Law of Cause and Effect is not arbitrary.

In this macrocosmic-microcosmic universe, “The unity of cause and effect is adorable!” (Rk Ved 1.1.1). And it is sincere compassion, friendliness, fellow-feeling, empathy, goodwill, loving-kindness, and a great deal of patience and generosity—toward ourselves and others!—that is the key to transforming karma (automatic natural action/reaction) into dharma (conscious evolution, eco-social justice and peace, grounded in and nurturing of universal life-supporting and life-enhancing selfless love and mutual aide). When we live with loving regard and support for Nature and our fellow natural creatures, Nature works to support us. But sometimes Nature’s love is tough love, indeed.

(more later!)

thin