Thursday, February 19, 2009

Secret #7: Consulting With Guides

As a part of Jamie Ridler's 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, Secret #7 is Consulting With Your Guides. Here's my take...

I have been on the Shamanic path since age 1+, when Hawk announced his presence in my life by flying down to my playpen's edge and having a brief "conversation" (until my parents noticed and started screaming), and as such I have LONG consulted - more like leaned on - my various guides.

I rely on their help with my artwork a LOT, though I don't specifically ask for help any more. We have sort of a long-standing understanding that I'm open to their guidance. Thus, I get shown marvels and wonders that many other people might not see, from beauty in a pile of garbage to a hummingbird flying into my office from outside (the door was open) and landing on me! And all I have to do is stay awake and aware!

I promise you, from the esoteric to the mundane, there's an entire array of Guides available, 24x7 to help with ANY problem, no matter how large or small.

For example:
  • I have successfully asked for help in getting across town through completely snarled traffic both safely and on time.
  • When I need to make a good impression, I ask a very specific guide for help in dressing. I might add that although SCATHING in his opinion, he is ALWAYS right.
  • When playing solitaire, "Which stack should I choose from?" is always answered correctly, though if I get "It doesn't matter" - it either means I'm going to win or lose no matter what I do.
  • When I simply cannot make a decision, I ask for help and it's always there if I really listen.
My guides have shown me wonders I might never have found without asking for a little help along the way, they've saved my sorry ass more than twice, and they're always there when I need a loving arm around my shoulders or a kick in the butt.

Asking questions that can be answered by a yes or a no won't get you far with your guides. Nor will asking for any specifics regarding time. Time isn't viewed the same in the realm of your guides as it is in your mind, so although "soon" may mean next month to you, it might mean six lifetimes from now to your guides. I'm just sayin'.

The one piece of advice I can give regarding guides is to really pay attention to the answer to your query. Answers can come in many different forms, from audible words in your head to a gut feeling, from dreams to obvious signs. Ever see "Bruce Almighty"? If not, do...and watch for that part where the central character asks for "a sign" - an entire truckload of street signs suddenly pulls out into the street. Yeah, it's just that simple.

A Simple Equation

Peter's the tallest fellow, in the center of the back row

Peter's gone this week, off with his Highly Sensitive peeps at a retreat near Joshua Tree, so all the responsibilities of the household and the joys of being solo are mine for a week. Usually when one of us gone, the other takes the opportunity to put things to right around here, reveling in the pleasures of being allowed to pursue our own approach to tidying and cleaning. Unfortunately, this time it has gotten VERY chilly here again, and the house is icy. "Turn the heat on," you say? Well I would but for the fact that the furnace isn't working at the moment due to a snarl of reasons. I have a warm bedroom, bathroom, and office, so I shuttle between those rooms to maintain feeling in my hands and feet. "But what does the house being cold have to do with putting things to right around there?" you ask. It's a very simple equation. Me + cold = negative activity. So NOTHING is being put to rights around here. In fact, my bedroom, serving as it currently does as living and dining rooms, is by extension the place I watch a little tv whilst making art. SO my bedroom is filled with a tv and dvd player, a stack of dvds, books I'm either reading, hope to soon be reading, or use in conjunction with my art, AND a pile of art supplies that seems to grow exponentially rather like the virus in The Andromeda Strain. Not to mention the three cats who are every inch the comfort and warmth junkies that I am...they're sprawled across the bed. Such a mess surrounds me that my mind can't find a place to rest except when I'm down inside my virtual, computer world. *sigh* So as I'd LIKE to get out into my house and clean at it but for the chill in my joints and bones that HURTS, so I (over)use my personal spaces, and end up feeling utterly overwhelmed by the mess.

As I sit in THIS warm room and type, my hands have begun to feel like something other than icy lumps on the end of my arms, and my dinosaur brain tells me to just get up and go work on the house and the mess. My 21st Century brain, though, with its higher functions, knows how much colder it is JUST outside my office/bedroom/bathroom door. Still, I MUST get some work accomplished before Peter's return next Monday or I'll just be crushed by disappointment with myself. Peter's a sweetheart and won't say a word, of course, but having a cleaner space to return to than we left has sort of become a badge of honor for the one at home.
Meanwhile, I have art projects galore in process. I'm currently doing research (including watching some of the aforementioned dvds) on a Marie Antoinette piece for friend Malin in Sweden, I've begun allowing some ideas to accumulate for a "Nature Spirit" request from my bosom friend Ang, the little pile of jewelry and the three fleece vests for Pen still sit there, unfinished, and of course there's the NW landscape painting I promised Betty. Not to mention all the other work that's crowding to be released. It feels as though I have this huge seething crowd of beings - each representing an idea or project - in my head, and they're pushing and shoving one another to get to the front of the line. They're a noisy lot, too! Sheesh...

Okay, I'm thoroughly warm now and my dinosaur brain has convinced higher functions that the house isn't as cold as I remember it being, so I'm off on another attempt at taking a machete to the jungle that is my house.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Teeth and Age and Image

cToday I had my first tooth pulled. Well, not my first really. When I was seven, my two front teeth had to be removed when the new ones began coming in behind them, but that was more a quick yank and the shred of skin holding the baby teeth parted. My wisdom teeth went away back in the 70s, but since I was knocked out, I have zero memory of anything except the misery afterward.

But today's tooth was part of what I call "my original equipment." The baby teeth, though certainly original, had served their purpose fully and were scheduled for replacement. The wisdom teeth never actually served ANY purpose but to push the teeth at the front of my mouth out of alignment and even with all the jostling for position, they still didn't manage to make room for themselves.

Today's tooth, officially known as my 2nd molar (the 3rd is the so-called wisdom tooth), was removed because it was broken, right down the middle between the two sets of roots. There was no nerve, as that went away years ago when I originally broke the sucker. I clench my tight during periods of stress, and 12 years ago I was in the worst stress of my life...and I include my very dangerous childhood years, too. I was working for a hellish American Corporation, in a position that put a huge, glowing target on my back for all to use. By the time I decided to "cut bait," I had thirteen root canals to show for it, along with a "nervous breakdown." Yeah, I know that's not a real medical term, but it's certainly descriptive of what I experienced. I couldn't drive, I couldn't sign my name, I couldn't remember all kinds of normal, day to day stuff. I almost completely lost the two years immediately following the breakdown just sitting in my big soft chair in front of the fire, or outside on a bench in the garden, simply staring into space. I almost burned our house down by starting a pot to cook on the stove and then just wandering away, forgetting as I turned the corner downstairs that I had even been in the kitchen. A little later, I could NOT figure out why the smoke alarm was screaming until I came up the stairs and saw the flames licking the ceiling. Yeah...a good metaphor for my mental state at the time.

It was during the two "lost" years that I cracked my upper right 2nd molar. Because of pain, I had the essential root canal, but never followed up on the required crown as I simply couldn't fund it at the time.

So I lived with a partially reconstructed "tooth" in my mouth for six years. Pretty good mileage, all in all. And then I was suddenly in a LOT more pain, so off to the dentist I trotted, where it was discovered that the tooth had broken in two and the pain was from the inevitable abscess.

As the dentist I had gone to didn't do extractions with sedation, another temporary filling was put in place, this time with the stern admonishment "Don't let this must have this tooth removed." Yeah, okay, sure......I can't HEAR you.The thought of having it pulled frightened me at my core. My very deepest and most personal core. I was ashamed of having a tooth that was irretrievably lost to repair, simply because of my own neglect.
You know, your mouth is SUCH a place of external judgment by people. Snaggled or missing teeth almost always translate to someone either OLD or POOR. And so, scared beyond normal fear with the knowledge that I needed to have this tooth removed, I threw my head into the sand with blinding fast speed. Not me, nuh-uh, I'M not old or poor!

Four more years passed, and I knew I was living on seriously borrowed time. And then, about two weeks ago, during a particularly uninspiring meal, my old friend the filling decided it had had enough abuse.

Which brings us up to the moment. Post oral surgery. I hurt, and I can feel the stitches, but it's done. The last known remnant of that terrible Corporate Nightmare is finally gone. Somehow I feel as though I have finally closed that horrible door and am about to open a new one to a place of love and light. I have made my peace with the baggage of being Old and/or Poor. So what? I am who I am, and that's really quite a lot. That old Sword of Damocles has rusted and fallen away at last and I can breath again after so many years of holding my breath.

And all because of a combination of pride and fear, and the presence of one broken tooth...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

100 Years Ago Today

Dad on Rialto Beach, 2002
Olympic National Park, Washington State

My dad was born in Omaha, Nebraska on February 10, 1909. He was born at home, so there's no record left of the time of day, though I'm certain my sweet grandmother remembered that day very well.

Because of the dementia the last few years of his life, dad insisted he was already 100 to anyone he met. I'm sure his late 90s certainly FELT like one hundred years of living!

Dad and I used to go to the local mall for ice cream and people watching, two of his favourite things all his life. One time there was a club of cute nerdy boys from the nearby junior high school meeting next to where dad and I sat with our ice cream in the Food Court. Dad kept staring at the boys, asking me "Why do they like to wear their pants down around their read ends like that?"

A couple of the boys at the adjoining table were giving dad the eye, too, so when their meeting broke up I told them dad wanted to know why they wore their pants like that. "We just like it, that's all" one of the piped up. "You like to wear your hat like that, so I guess we're even." Dad grinned and said "Oh, we're not close to even....I'm a hundred years old!"

The two boys dropped their stuff and immediately came over, eyes wide. "You're a HUNDRED?" asked one in a tone of hushed awe. "Well, purt' near...I'm 94!" "When my dad was your age," I inserted, "he didn't have electricity in his house and no one he knew owned a car, either!" "Wowww... no tv?" Dad just laughed, "Nope, no tv, no radio, no computer, no electric lights in the house."

Silence reigned as the two young men tried to wrap themselves around such a foreign world. And then the younger one lit up with a question that it was clear he thought would help him understand just how old dad was. "Did you know Benjamin Franklin and George Washington?" "No," he laughed, "but I knew the first Americans in space, and Teddy Roosevelt was President when I was born." "Wowww...that is SO cool! I've never met ANYone as old as YOU!"

There was a wonderful meeting of like minds there. Dad may have been 85 years older than them, but they were three of a kind. I really hope those boys tucked that meeting away somewhere in their psyches, and that someday they pay it forward. Dad would've liked that a lot.
Dad, Age 97, one week before he Left The Building
If you'd like to read a little more about my father, and see a few photos, I have compiled a series I wrote about him on a single webpage.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Uplift: Horowitz In Moscow

In 1986, I drifted in sleep, dreaming of fairies and magical music in a perfect pastoral setting. As I gently, gradually awoke, I realised that the music wasn't just in my dream, but was coming from the television in the next room! Who was creating such rhapsody, such bliss to my senses?! Grabbing my robe and slippers, I dashed into the kitchen, where I was greeted by the sight of a wizzened gentleman at a grand piano on a stage in front of a rapt audience. After 65 years away from his Homeland, the political tides had turned, and it was safe for Horowitz to return to a Russia filled with extremely knowledgeable and adoring fans. It was an event to witness, and people stood in droves outside the hall, simply to be near the Master.

Almost twenty years later, I played the Horowitz in Moscow cd for my 96 year old father, who had always loved piano music. He drifted in and out as it played, filling the room as it had for me so many years before, and when it finally finished the sheer volume of applause opened my father's eyes, he looked at me and said "I didn't know music could sound like felt like I was in another world!" And I knew exACTly what he meant.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

True Love Waits

Prayer breakfast, Feb 2009

Love is a truly magical thing. No matter how hard the heart, a vision of true love somehow slips past the guardians at the gate. And so this picture of President Obama (I love saying still leaves me gobsmacked) carefully, studiously, lovingly helping his beautiful wife with her chair stole right in and hugged my heart. There are so many aides standing by who could have done this, but instead, this Man...this Gentle man wanted to care for his beloved with this small but telling chore. Look at the concentration on his face, the boy within making sure he got it right. I would love to have this couple as friends under any circumstance, and I'm simply thrilled beyond measure at having them as First Couple and primary representatives of our Country and its values.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Computer Blues

My NEW system has suffered a catastrophic hard disk error, so until I can sort everything out, I am limping along with my old system. Of course, using THAT machine will require tranquillizers or some DEEP meditation, but it's better than the library! Barely...

Unfortunately, being deprived of my quick little friend means I'm actually forced to watch the news again each night, and now I need someone to explain to me WHY the Republicans can't seem to understand that the majority of voters voted AGAINST their stupid economic policies. Seven YEARS of reducing taxes clearly didn't fix ANYthing, did it? So stop saying that's what we need to do! It's OBVIOUS that the game you're playing is to strip the stimulus package so that it will ultimately FAIL and thus you can point at Obama and the Dems and say "See? We TOLD you their way wouldn't work!" It's a great political strategy, but it really screws your constiuency. Even your fearful core is starting to wonder why you're being so frakkin' stupid! Get your collective and individual selfish heads out of the sand...or where ever they happen to be *snort* and stop pulling this partisan crap. See if you can give a damn about ANYONE but yourselves for a CHANGE.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Uplift: Herzog and the Monsters

Today's treat is of particular delight for bilbliophiles and typography phreaks and of course, participating people of discerning tastes (aka: art lovers). It took me more than one viewing to read all the words and understand the message, and more to soak in the interesting artwork, but maybe I'm just slow that way... No matter. I hope YOU enjoy this!