Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to draw, and WHY draw: Face to Face

I love drawing. I didn't do it very well for a long time, and I can still make some pretty decent mistakes, but drawing has brought me so much peace in my life. It's an activity you can do, putting aside whatever else is on your mind. It doesn't matter who draws better than you. It doesn't matter if you show it to many people. You could fill a lot of free time practicing its basics; that was the step I missed for a long time!

When you draw a person or character, you spend the time thinking about your subject. With each line---with each correction---the subject stays on your mind. You focus on providing the image with all it needs: its eyes, nose, ears...shading. When you erase and improve, you think of helping the image along. You have to be patient with yourself. You can enjoy the thoughts surrounding your subject, think of its essence. You can consider the drawing from different angles, turn it upside down; you can put your subject in any position you can imagine, or just faithfully bring a photograph to life!

If there's no energy left over for anything else, a blank page and your pencil are all you need to improve some tiny part of yourself. To really get the knack for drawing heads, for example, you should try ovals, over and over again. Heck, I should take some time today to do the same!

Let's say all you have handy is a pen: why not play along, anyway! Do you want it to look more like the person you had in mind? Was the anatomy a bit shaky? If there's something you want to correct, you can always try re-drawing it. You may really like the style of a drawing, even if it doesn't conform to the exact image you had in mind. The ideal is to let the drawing---the process of drawing---put you in touch with the essence of who you are drawing. All the time you spend on your image, you spend partially on the technical matters of placing this here, and this, like so; enjoy thinking about what who you are drawing means to you, what are they like---what is this person's life like? You don't have to concentrate on you, or your mistakes: make it about your subject. Take your mind off your self; let your time become the image.

Maybe you think you will never have the time to become really good at it---but I encourage you to put that aside. Do it for the sake of the task itself. It's just a mark at a time! Spend as little time erasing as possible. Start a new drawing as many times as necessary!

It's just: decide what face you want. You will find yourself trying the many expressions of human emotions. It's a great way of concentrating on a person you like, or even one you are trying to understand. Decide who you're drawing, then start up with an oval. Draw a soft line down the middle, where the nose is, then try another line across where the ears will be; that's where to put your mouth, too. Your eyes will be one eye apart in width, on most humans. They're positioned parallel with the tops of the ears, too.

Maybe you want a simple approach; I've told you all you need, here. It's the spirit of what you do that matters; see it for the fun of doing it, rather than worrying over the result. Just draw!

Just draw.

These drawings courtesy the Marc Kane, aka Angela Dawn. Here's my version:

It was a great way to spend some time thinking about my cousin Melinda...maybe it will make her happy, see her own beauty of spirit.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Limits to Growth


John Kenneth Galbraith has written a brilliant, mordant book, The Culture of Contentment, about the reasons why America is incapable of constructive change. He compares today's American political class (those people who vote and involve themselves in politics) to the French aristocracy before the Revolution. Everybody knew that the situation was insupportable, and that eventually there would be an explosion, but the immediate costs of doing something about it were so unpalatable that it was easier to do nothing and hope that things would somehow work out. His points can be applied equally well to the political class of every industrial country.

Thus in 1992, the same team that did the original Limits to Growth study ran the numbers again with current figures and pointed out that the industrial world was much closer to collapse than it had been twenty years before. Their book Beyond the Limits urged an emergency program to stave off disaster. They pointed out, however, that the level of cuts in energy and resource use necessary to stave off disaster would require the American people to accept a reduction of their average standard of living to that of Brazil. No politician or political party anywhere has advocated that, for obvious reasons. It's hard to think of a better recipe for political suicide.

--John Michael Greer


More to come.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What is the Long Emergency?



Caught between rising costs and shrinking resources, a society in overshoot faces an impossible dilemma: it has to feed, clothe, and house its work force, maintain and replace its industrial plant and infrastructure, and keep drawing down natural resources to fuel and feed its economy, all at an ever increasing rate, while costs spin out of control and resources run short. The result isn't the end of the world, or the sort of Hollywood apocalypse that features in so many fantasies about the future. The collision between an economy in overshoot and the limits of a finite world doesn't add up to a return to the Stone Age or a Road Warrior future; it adds up to what social critic James Kunstler calls the Long Emergency, a slow, difficult transition from modern industrial civilization to the sustainable civilizations of the future.---Aoda.org

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Anger, have a cup of tea

Stephen Levine’s essay on anger pops up in Ordinary Magic by Shambhala Press---a Christmas gift I tend to let fall open to wherever it falls open and read it. Specifically, the anger essay’s mentioned in a chapter preface, and like a medicated swab to a toothache, once I read it existed, I went straight to it.

I’ve found from personal experience one becomes less absorbed with anger when one avoids the need to be right; that is, you may still be angry, but you have room to learn from it. Levine says anger’s just one more emotion that deserves exploring---not repressing. He says there’s an underlying sadness to rage, a response to unfulfilled desires. It’s true that sometimes you can move away from the desire; losing the need for its fulfillment, we find ourselves free from the repeating loop Levine mentions. He points out how we can make a little room for our mind to have anger and see where it wants to take the story---but it’s likely we’ll see it as “on a maddening loop,” as Michael Stipe put it in “Country Feedback.”

Sometimes the unfulfilled desire relies on someone else’s decisions, in which case we may have to remove our expectations from their decisions, regardless of what we qualify as right action. However clearly you may see someone’s problems, it is our desire they see and resolve them, too, that makes anger. I think we are obliged to learn anything we can from our perceptions of the faults of others; in that space we develop compassion, even if it resides next to anger for a time. Sometimes, laying all fault at the door of another is a way of avoiding work required of ourselves.

I like what Levine says about exploring anger, not as thoughts, but as feelings, and diving down into the feeling body to see where anger manifests within us, become aware of its process. Where do you feel “what” when you become angry? When you become fearful, or joyous?

If we feel wronged by the judgment of another, perhaps in the midst of defending ourselves we can search truthfully: for why they may think a thing is so, for why we think a thing is so, and appreciate where an impulse of love underlies the entire situation.

“Before one thinks of ‘doing good,’” Levine begins, “one must first consider how to remove one’s self from doing harm.” This addresses the work of not reacting to anger, but reacting “with” anger, accepted and incorporated into our being. I realize we can’t suppress our anger, but if we build rationales too dependent on anger, we get trapped in repetitive narratives. Anger, he notes, has the qualities of resolution and determination; when it’s understood, it can go from being a reaction to merging with our motivation to make a thing in our control, better.

Someone wrote me something with the intention to anger me, “to offend,” but not, he said, hurt my feelings. I eventually shared the Wiktionary definition of “to offend” with him, as part of an end of the process of releasing him in any way from my expectations in my mind. The issues he wanted me to consider in myself were ones I’ve been working through over the past several years in the pursuit of my own bliss. Happily, as the year began, I was in a terrific emotional state, free from old hurts, to incorporate what I’ve learned into daily practice. I should continue on that way, for certain; I should take the resolution of anger, without bitterness, into the long hours ahead. It's enthusiasm, not shame or fear(though I thank them for their part) that's propelled me this far, to doorways of new things I'm excited to share.

I was so pissed to be attacked by this person, to whom I’d sent unconditional positive energy without every seeking to harm him, without resentment for anything he had in his life that I might otherwise envy. This, in spite of being abandoned by this person years before during great uncertainty. I was hurt by his resentment of me, while realizing it was based on a resentment of his own lack of fulfillment. I was hurt by his condemnation of my life, without either really being there to talk to me about what he didn’t understand of it, and by the frustration of seeing my life misinterpreted, as though someone told me my own child was ugly or stupid. He wanted to undercut the feelings and activities that have led to not only my own freedom, but light in the life of others---simply because, I guess here, HE wasn’t doing it, and easily could.

I was hurt by his lack of appreciation for my friendship, which could’ve been a weekly affirmation, a sounding board…an alternative to excessive drinking and drama. He would tell me he didn’t have time to be my friend, when then he would consume the time later being drunken and bitter. Initially, I wrote back calmly, feeling my reaction in my body but not letting it dominate either mind or body. For better or worse, I was driven to write back later and underscore how angry I was, how I was through with his cumulative repulsion that arose multiple times without warning as soon as we would exchange a few messages. It turns out, he took me sharing my life and commenting to friends---with ANY one, even over Facebook---to a dark place, as he imagined everyone got as put out with me as he apparently was…as though it were not filled with many other people, or could not recognize the character of it in any way beneficial to himself or myself.

I was given the opportunity to tell him some things I believe will help, which was the feeling he was looking for in his own actions, the feeling with which I wished to resolve my part in things---not the bitterness and punishment I wanted to leave at his door in righteous rage. Even though I decided to leave him with the resounding note that I had been there for him all along and he never needed to live in such misery, I knew I couldn’t let the matter go until I was kind, with whatever genuine thoughts were necessary for that to be so. Perhaps, too, I will never be disturbed by someone not understanding my ways, so deeply, as I have answered for them to myself. Even when I reach out to share something I worked hard on with others, I cannot take their reception of it personally, but do the task for its own sake. It’s never offered to suck energy away from others, but is a construction I’ve created, for expression and for others to generate their own energies from interacting with it. I’ve always known it may not mean that to everyone!

I realized somehow he had been taking my life---probably with some “help” by his wife---to feed his own misery and deliberately cutting himself off from whatever good I offered directly or through what I shared with the public, as if I should be deeply frustrated by the humility of my process, or as though I were unable to see the need to keep improving, remotely flashing my life on a big screen oblivious to the many improvements necessary to my art and business---putting on airs. He wasn’t giving me the benefit of his friendship or even constructive criticism, but he was stalking my movements, criticizing the moves themselves as if oblivious to the content, and being angry I am the way I am, as he is angry he is the way he is. He was feeling great shame and at a loss, which he thought I should also feel. Without the attack on me, he would’ve gotten all my encouragement; why not let that mercy reign then in my heart, and impart it to myself in critical moments?

Any efforts to “help” had the two-fold problem of possibly undermining him further, which could lead to undermining me, as I would become angry my help didn’t help, or attracted more attacks! Sometimes, you are not meant to help: you are meant to have faith in the other person finding their own path. Nor can I be emotionally involved in any way except true compassion, offended at the thought they’ve believed me to look down on them with one face and falsely praised them with the other, or have become the face of their own internal worst critic. All I need to put on this face is a smile.

If you are not dependent on said person (possibly because they have not been there for you anyway), why not let them go their own way? Yet, you need not feel separated or angry or abusive. Let those feelings come. Give them some tea...not the keys to the car. It can be very time-consuming to understand your feelings and the actions of others, but it can be damaging not to take that time, patiently.

It’s my conviction yesterday I finally had the catharsis over feeling so hurt, touching the underlying sadness. It was so strong, I found this morning my sensitive friend with whom I communicate almost daily said she felt a bad feeling for me, like something was up or not going well, even though we weren’t communicating back and forth about any of it. I’ve known all along, her well wishes and fun she’s brought to my life meet with the overall direction of my life’s efforts; I’ve been promising all along, I won’t let it go to waste. But I realize, no one expected me to deal with ending the cycle of abuse from someone I’ve long called a brother without emotion’s full complement, even as I did not want my life to become an ugly ensnarement and tiresome example of humanity’s insanity. How good it was, of the very few trusted people who knew, in them I could see truth from my life reflected. If I was being asked to question myself, even mercilessly, even for the seemingly selfish purposes of another, the value of that for which I've sacrificed my life shined brightly in watchful eyes of people with more investment in my decisions and attachment to my outcome.

Still, while you may need to emote, as Levine points out, you can never involuntarily emote away all your anger; you’re exhausted before the last bit’s gone, every time. In my case, I resented the sadness of the situation, its unfairness, its disruption, as I saw it, in my creative life. But giving anger space was the only way. It didn’t violate the loving person I’d cultivated from the love of others and myself.

Levine says something I really love about anger can be part of the flipside where you resolve to get on with the creative process; you may be angry you haven’t moved on, angry you have been so vulnerable to the negative intentions of another. Don’t let someone abuse you or undermine you, but don’t waste yourself, enslaved to the fear or anger. Have you found the path of mercy exists through the entire perilous journey? Keep coming back to it.

Don’t romanticize how you have the answers, when others must produce their own questions. See how inside yourself, you may harbor the same doubts and reservations the other person produces in judgment of you, and as you suggest humility to them, keep it close by yourself, like fresh clean water. Use your challenges as an opportunity to dispel lies to yourself and others; tell yourself not to take things personally, and always do your best! Your challenger will seem sometimes like a worse person for messing with you, but make the challenge your friend, to make YOU a better person than your previous self---strive to come what, in fact, you already are.

“As mercy develops, we see how painful it is to be in anger and we are reminded to soften, to look gently on it as it arises. And we realize we don’t have to hellishly react, impulsively putting ourselves and the whole world out of our heart. Sensing the power of non-injury, we begin to respond to ourselves as we would a frightened child, with a deeper kindness and care.” ---Stephen Levine, “Being With Anger.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Integr8'd Soul | San Diego, CA | Folk / Alternative/ Folk Rock/ Lo Fi/ Smart Rock | Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos | ReverbNation

Integr8'd Soul | San Diego, CA | Folk / Alternative/ Folk Rock/ Lo Fi/ Smart Rock | Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos | ReverbNation

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Features - Facebook Send - AddThis

The harmonious garden


At Woolly Pocket, our team took on the Norman Harriton Community Garden in Los Angeles to help build a vertical farm in a community garden using our high performance Pockets, Wally Fives. Now, the garden has the ability to grow over double the amount of plants on the same plot of land while saving half the amount of water. How sweet is that?

Wooly Pocket!
Soil of Prosperity is a small-scale farming experience that educates the city's kids about the history of the area. The program provides students with a foundation for careers in agricultural production, financing, processing, marketing, distribution and other related careers.

Leondre Camel, program manager of the Belle Glade YEC, praised the City of Belle Glade, U.S. Sugar and the Sugar Cane Growers Co-op for their support of SOP. He said that two key volunteers came from the Everglades Research Station of the University of Florida's Institute for Food and Agricultural Science . "Norman Harrison and Barbara Saddler of IFAS have tremendously helped over the year," Camel said. "They have been instructors, workers and visionaries. I take my hat off to them."

Soil of Prosperity grew from a partnership among the City of Belle Glade, Lake Okeechobee Regional Initiative, UFIFAS and Palm Beach County. The Regional Initiative is an economic partnership between the Collins Center for Public Policy and the South Florida Water Management District.
http://www.verdant.net/food.html has the following:

The quick and easy guide to getting started:

1. Stop applying all pesticides, fungicides, weed killers and sprays in and around your entire garden. No exceptions.

2. Start small, 25 square feet for example. Find the spot that ideally has sun all year in your yard. If it's shaded part of the year, that's OK too. Avoid the area next to buildings or fences because of possible contamination of the soil by paint, heavy metals or chemicals.

3. Remove whatever debris is covering the soil including rocks larger than a fingernail. If plants already grow there that you want somewhere else, dig them out with the shovel and plant them in the new location.

4. Cover your gardening area with organic material such as leaves, dried grass and fine plant material from your own or other's non-pesticide sprayed gardens.

5. Get a bucketful of good compost from someone else's garden or crumbly black sweet-smelling soil from under forest trees. Spread this thinly all over your garden. You will be inoculating your soil with all manner of soil organisms, little bugs, worms and other beneficial life forms that are going to do most of the work for you in improving your soil.

6. Use the pick or shovel to mix the top 3 inches of soil and organic material. Burying the organic material any deeper just kills the critters and wastes your energy because there may not be enough oxygen for them further down.

7. Keep the soil damp like a wrung out sponge, not soggy. Once again, you need air in the soil for life.

8. Never walk on your soil. Make a kneeling board out of a small piece of scrap plywood to avoid compacting the soil and use an old cushion to save your knees. Create the minimum width paths to be able to reach across a four foot wide bed from both sides.

9. Obtain vegetables in 4" square pots, a common size, or get plants from friends. Dig a hole slightly larger than the rootball, squeeze the sides of the pot to unstick the plant, moisten the rootball, fluff it's roots sideways and plant it. Mulch around it on the surface with organic material like leaves or straw to keep the soil moist underneath it. Water the root ball with a slow drip such as a bucket with a nail hole to allow air to be pulled down after the water.

10. Start your own compost heap in a corner of the garden. Skip the gimmicks, tumblers, boxes and devices. Just heap up all the clean organic material that you can get and mix it up occasionally, keeping it as moist as a wrung out sponge. Apply the compost periodically to the soil around your plants as a light dusting or use it to start your own seeds in a 50/50 mix of native soil and compost.

First and most obviously, you have to create a garden somewhere in your yard. This will involve clearing some space that is perhaps being used by something else in your yard, so if you have to get rid of a rock garden or move your kids’ playset, then that’s what you’ll have to do. You can’t get very far if you don’t turn up some soil and create some space, right? It’s usually a good idea to box in your garden with some kind of barrier, such as large blocks of wood or some kind of fence. This is to not only keep animals and other pests out, but also to help you have a designated space where you’ll grow your own vegetables.

HTML Tutorial - Introduction

HTML Tutorial - Introduction

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recon, from the Pentagon Channel

My video editor friend put this together with a paucity of photo reference, from days when people said "cheese" quite a bit less. Just some regular type people from a different era....courtesy the military's Pentagon Channel. The attitudes and ideas of my grandparents' generation pop out beside World War II history....including the most famous Women's Army Corp recruiting poster! Expect an every day, casual conversational tone, but just try to put together details of the era with the story and you'll find it quite colorful. Recon always goes for uplifting-type programming, so feel free to try another...and think of your brothers and sisters deployed throughout the world!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vision of the Machinery of the Universe

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Make your own miracle: The Almoner's Fund, Scottish Rite

Imagine getting together money to help someone …and helping that someone without letting them know! You may have done it yourself. Now imagine designating a person to take up the mission of looking for whom to help---and then as a body giving that designee carte blanche to help without your group ever knowing who you helped! That’s unattached giving. That’s unconditional love. That’s a practice of the Scottish Rite.

One of the Scottish Rite brothers gave me a pamphlet to check out; as his friend he wanted me to understand what the Rite is about and why it means so much to him, and because he knows I care what kind of man I turn out to be, and wonders what my life would be like surrounded by other people who grow, show leadership, and look out for those in true need.

As organized by its Grand Constitution in 1786, the Rite’s become a worldwide presence, governed by a Supreme Council, dividing in the U.S. into Northern and Southern Jurisdictions. The Supreme Council has been involved in childhood language disorders from its inception in Europe. Albert Pike, in the mid-19th century, reorganized the Southern Jurisdiction’s laws and degrees. Pike’s degrees are widely used throughout the world. They’re best known by the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospitals in Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. They have 135 Childhood Language Disorder Clinics. By the turn of the millennium they had clinics in each state. They award a number of scholarships based on essays. There’s really much more on the local level.

I am deeply interested in the life principle, the altruism, in this Almoner’s Fund idea, so I’m going to quote it directly for you from Grand Commander John H. Cowles.
“When the fund is collected, it is given over to the Almoner, whose duty it is to distribute it for the relief of the poor, needy, and distressed, with no restrictions as to race, religion or creed. There are two restrictions, however: the receiver must not know whence it came, and the Lodge must not know to whom it goes. This I call true charity, and it is the local Scottish Rite Bodies’ contribution to the public welfare.”

Application to the Ancient Order of Druids in America

My four reasons are Conservation, Imagination, Order and Best Friendship

Every since I was a child, I’ve dreamt the future is a better world based on caring, responsibility, and ingenuity. In dedication to AODA, I seek to expand and improve my service to my world through richer understanding and a benevolent heart.

I look forward to further creative discovery of my magic life through a progressive order of Druidry. I also learn so I might share the advancement of my spouse and best friend, as well as other fellow travelers, some of whom will be the best friends of any life.

Cecil Lue Shins

Why am I attracted to Druidry? Well, I could say it is because I am a seeker who has dabbled in spiritual studies without any formal training for years. It could also be because, from all I read of the Druids, they revere the Earth. And those things are indeed true, but that is not why Druidry in particular. My interests in Druidry derive from an experience that continues to shape my existence to this very day.

First just a bit of back story, my husband Cecil and I had just moved into a new apartment at Merrimac Arms in Tuscaloosa Alabama, near Druid City, which was just a name to me at the time, having never heard of the Druids. It was 1998 and we were starting spring semester at the University of Alabama. Well, being our first day in the Apartment we didn’t know anyone in the complex, so when our lock stripped that evening after 5:00 p.m. we had to knock on the door of a complete stranger downstairs to use the phone to call a locksmith. As it so happens, Rebecca was about to move out so she was unloading quite a few books to make her move easier.

She had lots of Fantasy and some Science Fiction, and a few classics from her studies. As avid readers, of course we availed ourselves of as many as possible. I recall scant few details of our conversing with our soon to be ex-neighbor, but I do remember that it was lively. Then the locksmith came and we took the box of books we collected upstairs, waved to our new acquaintance, paid the smith and went for that all important meal we had been planning for before our lock stripped.

I don’t know how many days it took to get to that box. When I did though, everything changed for me. I, no longer a Christian at the time (though I did and still do believe in the Christ), found myself at decision making point in my spirit life...did I believe in anything at all. It was a question I kept asking myself. I did believe in survival of the spirit, having lived in a house which was quite haunted I couldn’t draw any other conclusion than that there was something after death….how that something would manifest itself was up for debate.

So I started putting away the books, mostly fiction of some kind. Well, I decided to take a smoke break, so I grabbed one of the books to take to the bathroom with me to start reading out loud to Cecil ( I smoked in the bathroom with the door opened to keep most of the tobacco smoke away from him since he wasn’t a smoker himself). That was my intention, but it didn’t quite play out that way. When I picked up the book I felt a buzzing almost like a ringing through my whole body and I felt as I looked down not really seeing the book that this book was about me…queerest feeling I’ve ever had. When it finally cleared enough to see the book title, I read out loud The Twenty-one Lessons of Merlin.

And even though I read very little of that book that experience set me on my path to seeking and is why I am doing this today. I had been hesitant to join anything formal, not sure what or who to trust, having had an off putting experience with the Baptist faith. But I don’t feel so unsure of myself after all of these years and a friend of mine, Father Palamas told us that we might find it to our liking …and after reading about your organization, I know the universe pointed me in this direct again for a reason.

the Marc Kane


Monday, January 16, 2012

Thursdays at Winston's in O.B.

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Integr8d Soul bottles

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Help your head

Are you surrounded by negativity, or working through regrettable choices of your own? Do you just wish you could have a fresh start?

Well, here's what I say for my friends:

If you need any help or advice, just ask away! It's said if you ask the universe the question, the answer lies in the asking itself.

I hope you have at least one good person at hand---they needn't be perfect, lol---with whom you can make a stand for positivity...and a person like yourself almost certainly has someone who loves her very much who would boost you upon knowing of your need. Then, keep building that person, too, to maintain equilibrium.

Feed yourself a head full of healthy thoughts, and tell the negative reaction "shh...shh...it's okay" with the gentleness you'd show a baby---but sure, allow yourself to have it, without sinking in it. Have a thought...let it go.

My friend Dora says even your uncomfortable emotions are there to help you open a door, to align a path, if you will, for seeing the things inside you from some different perspective. But don't feel guilty for feeling bad...get curious!

You haven't chosen to drag others down to those feelings, but to reach for that invisible trolley strap to help steady your ride. And first I totally ripped off Deepak Chopra (my wife texted that to me one day), and the strap's from Wayne Dyer...they've both written helpful thoughts for the frustrated..."Helpful thoughts for the frustrated" may even be the book YOU write!

If you have time to meditate best you can, and/ or write, you will find yourself as your own witness. Stay in the moment and find your bliss in it! I am okay to contact privately, too. You will find your writing self suggesting what's true; write just a little while and see, it's already happening!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Out with the Old Ugly, Room for the New Beauty

Zeo, you inspired me.

Dawn had just completed a lovely art bottle, the first to really come together, ready for the world. I realized it should be sitting up on our shelf space above the bed. Then I saw what neglect had set up there in the months of dust, and have since been combing over the shelves for what we have I just put up there 'cause I wanted to hang on to it just in case.

Then I realized what an aesthetic lump of chaos and neglect my mind was registering, right here in my favorite work space, and remembered the brain starts to ignore that which doesn't change, and tends to notice any changes in familiar environs. What message then was I subconsciously sending myself? Then I thought of how you came back to the clutter in your house about three times and realized, "what therapy in trying to finish off unresolved emotional issues is quite like removing signs of neglect and disorganization? I will not let Zeo's message go ignored."

So I took the first hour of the day to prepare those shelves for the future. Yes, there's still some more that needs cleaning, but I put out some comics in the communal kitchen, gave things away we had extra.

I have to admit, having someone to give some of the excess things to made it more rewarding than merely trashing things alone, but I look at things like the back of a drawing pad I kept, just to remember the times, and found a post-it on it that said: "Remember to ask Josh to save a room for Mom" from a visit a couple years back. In this activity, I've found so many little things from the history of the process of getting to here, and realized why I wanted free of negative emotional entanglements with people unwilling to do anything but repeat the same cycles of self-abuse: there were so many other better, brighter ideas I had in mind before all that came along.

Memories of our times getting to this point mingled with our talks about what we want to do next!

I remember being excited about this, so why not think of it instead of what I consider a rut of thought? I've had circumstances that once could've filled me with self-doubt and depression and regret, but I've also had enormous generous energies sent my way through the whole time.

Why not honor that belief in dreams and inspiration by making something else that could pass it along? Why trap this song in me? Why keep the old neglect on display, when the new beauty needs a loving place to shine!

Living in the mess I ignored was really living in the past, and I could never add anything new like your wonderful ideas unless I deal with what I have gestated in myself. What better way to get in touch with that clean work environment in my head, than to fix up my living space---the very shelves just far enough out of way for me to ignore them---and let that activity also be the metaphor for the lingering disappointment I feel with those I thought might do better?

Your enthusiasm to call me and get my artistic support was the breaking ball, and I'm calling eight ball in the side pocket.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

“Sonny’s Joy”

I had four writing assignments and music rehearsal in the plans for the day, but I cut it in half after the mind-bending and disappointing night before. I made the time to stop in for a bit and visit Daniel at front desk of the hotel across the street. I often come by just to sit in the lobby and work, especially while my best friend’s got desk duty, but I brought no writing and just hung out for a few. I think it’s hard managing a low-rent hotel with some dignity and humor, but he does. I know it’s hard to throw people out when they’ve tried to work out their rent, made promise after promise, and stay behind. Unenviable. People come and complain about the most juvenile things sometimes. I told him about my interview with Steve and Janel, the Americans fighting for their rights against a crook protected by someone high up in Sri Lanka’s present government. They won’t leave to fight it from America without their dogs.

I spent a lot of the day stopping to talk with friends. I had a conversation about joy as an ever-present atmosphere, there to absorb as surely as the air we breathe, and different definitions for happiness and joy. We picked it up again when I sat down later in the lobby to start typing a funny story I’d still like to tell. She didn’t want the ideas written about as a conversation, and I just don’t remember it all right now, so there’s no essay pouring out of these fingers. I ran out of time because I got home and my friend was still trying to make some point, as if he hadn’t done enough, all for my own good, though he has a lot to learn about doing good. After twenty eight years, often spotted in the last decade with recalcitrance, the cumulative effect of trying to tear down my energy devoted to my work and friends---even couched as advice for my own good, still written to celebrate cruelty—made me realize I was tired of walking on eggshells. I might as well make a pet of a wild animal. You know they’ll bite.

The point I made she wanted to remember was this: “I want to live life with fewer expectations, and more accomplishments.” Is it a paradox? She thought so, yet found it rich in value. Hope it’s valuable to someone.

I don’t feel up to recounting that in essay form at the moment. I just decided over these three days to end the recurrent cycle of abuse from someone I counted a lifelong friend. More like I decided, then had to re-iterate, and now have to integrate. I wrote a reply with honesty, as devoid of the rage I felt as possible.
It turns out you can do that: you can let those energies dissipate without any outward show, especially if, upon reflection, the subject of your anger comes as no surprise. Unfortunately, I had not effectively communicated how much I do not want to hear from him anymore. He wrote back again and back again today, too, though this time I just filed it away without reading it; how can I trust it not to be more words to make me angry or sad? I simply didn’t feel so radiant today, but I’m recovering. I had a vivid imaginative metaphor and sought to enfold my three greatest psychic pains with loved ones into a single story told with mystery and suspense, and this empowered me. Without it I don’t know how I would live with these agonies, which I must claim and order in my mind so I might let go and embrace the future towards which we’ve sacrificed all.

Those doldrums---that’s why I thought about recounting some of yesterday, where one friend invited me to come out for a beer with him sometime, and another gave me a piece of lilac in condolence to the trouble I confessed. I listened to another, troubled by the value given to looks over experience in San Diego hospitality---too bad, she could really use a job and has education and a resume. The lilac convo meant I didn’t go finish off the t-shirt iron-ons Johnny asked for. I think he just wants me to come hang out, really. It was nice getting some of the crone energy; my grandmothers weren’t really there to know for the most part, but it’s never too late to have an older female friend and her active quest for enlightenment and fulfillment. The hand-picked lilac’s poised in the arms of my poseable Manikin, atop a tableau on our make-shift “altar” on top of the television.

Meanwhile, my friend Hellfire came by to unleash her considerable rage and humor in response to thinly-veiled life’s events, which I’d put into fictional form so I might witness it without being emotionally embroiled so. Comically, I was pretty sure she thought I meant some other friend, which speaks to a possible need to keep a clean house going forward. Her rebuttal, when I gave her the messages, was hilarious, loving, and perhaps insightful as to the deeper troubles, and this uncorked quite a few things I had never said to anyone but the Marc Kane. I would’ve loved to have put all that time into my old friend---that friendship was a prize. But it was not what I thought it was. I don’t trust that unopened e-mail not to be more words calculated to drag me into doubt and misery---which is not where I’m going for anything.

I no longer have self-righteous anger to sustain me---it has to be monitored so you do no harm, which is rule one. I also didn’t get out and have such a big day of errands and walking and visits to fill me up, but I worked on seeking peace, from the time I read his words and concisely replied to now. We came to see the need for this skepticism and cynicism and resentment to come from a meaningful source, so we might know the key to vanquishing it as it flows sometimes from strangers in the future. He had to assemble most every self-doubt I’ve faced in the past years to make me conscious where they may still lurk and by what motivation. He gave me the challenge between me and the summit. Thank his soul.

Meanwhile, Marc Kane worked on the first, creative, fun little bottle of her own inspired by Kudzu Mountain Gypsy Cave, who sent along their chilly, windy, snowy experience down South tonight. I enjoyed some wonderful music played for fun by Palamas from my phone inbox. I think I’ll sit down with the Litany he wrote, for Holy Sophia to grant us peace, and listen to my friends sing and chant words that will make a stout heart blossom.

I began this year with an emotional clean slate: no animosity towards anyone, all my dreams and ambitions lying ahead. How might I simply continue? What must I truly change? I’m ready to take on initiation in a challenging new group I hope will cause me to study and organize hidden strengths and lead to me being the most peaceful, genial person who can be made from my rough cloth. I’m pondering the application well before I send it, but it will be brief as possible. I’ve made my words here the visible portion of my search for things not seen, which surround us all. I want to bring you all along in the search for life’s hidden textures and knowledge, and I hope you will enlighten me, too, in the manner of friends in all times.