Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ya Think?

Jessica Lange’s four bedroom Victorian in Stillwater, Minnesota is on the market for just under $2 million. Speaking to the New York Daily News, Ms. Lange said the town where they had lived and raised their children had “yuppified” over the nine years they were there, with now too many gift shops and condominiums.

Is it just me, or does a complaint about the “yuppification” of your hamlet ruining your pleasure in your four bedroom, (just under) $2 million home sound a bit….ummm, what's the word for it?….yuppified to you, too?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Who You Gonna Channel Today?

I scoop my dog’s poop, and because I have poop bags readily available, I also scoop the trash people with poor home-training throw out in my neighborhood. For some reason I’m not bothered by the napkins and fast-food cups, but I do wonder about the folks who pitch the litter and why their mommas didn’t teach them better.

One day I took the dogs out to pee and saw a red car U-turning in front of my house while its passenger was busy ditching drive-through garbage out the window. I yelled out in exasperation, “Guys, don’t throw your trash out here. We don’t do that in this …….” I bit off the word “neighborhood” because I realized I was yelling at a black kid. Our little town is still fairly segregated, so I knew I sounded like I, the old white woman, was pointing out a great racial divide in public behavior, which was not my intention. I was merely intending to let these people know folks don’t do that in town.

The car straightened out in the road and stopped. The black kid looked out his window, then opened the door. I thought of all the horror stories in our local paper, the drive-by shootings, the kids killed at four-way stops. All of this was just a jumble when this kid sprung out of his car. Instead of lunging at me, he headed for the burger wrappers and the French fry box.

“You don’t have to do that,” I said. I had just wanted them to know not to do it again. “I would have picked it up.”

“She threw it out…I can pick it up,” he said, sliding back into his car with the trash. “No problem.”

I thought at his age I would have been embarrassed and thus angry if I had been reprimanded by some old woman yelling, and I might have considered bringing back some real trash, just to show her.

But that kid—he’s another one of those chance encounters I’ll remember forever. I knew I had become a trifle obsessive about litter, but somebody had taught that kid right. While I was channeling Lady Bird Johnson during her Beautify America stage, he was channeling Gandhi.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

From a Dream Journal--1991

She takes me to the hummingbird tree, where birds are flitting to and fro.

"I knew these birds were here," I said, "but I just never stopped to know."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ester, Jerry, Abraham, I Gotta Remember That Secret Thingamajiggy

Before I left town for a week, I did that thing I do....cleaned until I was snarly, which didn't get me very far because cleaning makes me snarly and I hate to inflict that piece of my personality on my beloveds so the dust and fur get out of hand, but I'm sweet, you know. There I was, down to the wire, the sink empty and clean, the dishwasher vacant, the garbage hauled out, the floors mopped, and all the clothes washed. As I was making the frantic dash to tidy this and that, I thought of other trips I had taken, or rather other homecomings, and how, no matter how I tried to leave the house in some semblance of order, I would return to overflowing, smelly garbage, and dishes piled in the sink and covering the counters. I briefly thought of pressing The Boyfriend not to let that happen, but since I was snarly anyway, I figured I would just smear him with a film of accusation, so that if he did what I asked, he would resent it, and if he didn't do what I asked, I would resent it, nobody really wins, so instead I told the Universe what I wanted and decided I would deal with what was what when I got home. I imagined my homecoming, the kitchen as clean as I left it, and how happy I was to be home. I only flashed on this vision, because I was snarly, and there still was much to do before I left.

Seven days later I was headed for my house, where the son of my 83-year-old traveling companion was to meet us, saving me a two-hour round trip to deliver her to her door. Only he didn't answer the phone two hours out of town. And he didn't answer the phone one hour out of town. And he didn't answer the phone as we pulled into town.

I thought of how tired I was. I thought of the week of being sociable. I thought about waiting for the son at my house, neither I nor my companion being able to relax until we contacted the son, and then there would be the at least hour's wait for him to arrive. I thought of the trash and dirty dishes of years past. I shot past my town and headed for hers. It just seemed simpler.

When I did finally arrive at home, the sink was spotless. The garbage was only half-full. I had to wonder if he took out the trash, or if I were the one who accumulated garbage? At any rate, my vision had come true, including the happy part of it. Without me saying a word. Without me indicating he needed a mommy to tell him what to do. (Okay, you feminists...if you wonder about the division of our work-load, ask me, but definitely, our division works for us, which is what feminism is all about. If this bothers you, just stick to the point of the story...that what I envisioned came to be.) "It was great to come home to the clean sink," I said. (I'm not above positive reinforcement, though it's best not to be condescending--a fine line--about it.) He laughed. "And I emptied the trash, too," he said as if we had actually had that conversation before we left, only if we had had (are you dizzy yet, with all those hads?)that conversation, he would not have been laughing....nobody likes being told what to do. "And washed the clothes and dusted the television. And the fan." He was happy, I was happy, we were all happy.

And I KEEP FORGETTING. This envisioning stuff, it works for me. Over and over and over again. Why does thinking about what I want seem to be WORK, and I let it slide. I certainly could have used it several times on the trip. Maybe even with the son being where we needed him to be when we needed him to be there. The possibilities washed over me, as they always do when I remember the Power of Visualizing. I must remember to ask, I told myself, I MUST remember to ASK.

So what did I ask for next? World peace? Food for the starving? Cure for terminal illness?

Nah. My brain's still occupied with the little personal matters-to-me. I asked not to spill food on my shirt when we went to the Mexican restaurant. And it worked. And when Mr. Neat dropped that bit of cheese dip, I didn't even laugh.

Krishmanurti said be the peace you want to see. Maybe that starts with the little personal things, the dishes and clean shirt.

But whatever you want, you've got to remember to ask for it. And feel the happiness, as if you already have it.

Okay, today's lesson's over. Bet I'm forgetting already.

No! Wait! I am asking to remember. Now I've gotta go and visualize those results, and how happy I am to get them.

Monday, July 14, 2008

When You're a Grump....

Today’s A Course in Miracles lesson is about forgiveness:

Let me not forget my function.
Let me not try to substitute mine for God’s.
Let me forgive and be happy.
Lesson 64

Easy to do when I’m meditating. Not so easy when my 79-year-old very tired neighbor (with cancer!) wants my help trimming her crepe myrtles during the cool part of the day which also happens to be MY WRITING TIME! !!!!!!! when I had spent the week-end cleaning so I could WRITE THIS MORNING.

Then I’m under the crepe myrtles with a saw and clippers, and my general mode of operation is the bull-in-a-china-cabinet one anyway, and Miss F's is precise and s l o w l y methodical, and I can feel the BIG NOT FAIR chemicals surging through my frontal lobes.

Let me not forget my function.
Let me not try to substitute mine for God’s.
Let me forgive and be happy.

Let me not forget my function.
Let me not try to substitute mine for God’s.
Let me forgive and be happy.

Let me not forget my function.
Let me not try to substitute mine for God’s.
Let me forgive and be happy.

Which for me at the moment means please, while Miss F. persnicketingly chooses which twig to remove to relieve the weight that has the myrtle drooping to the grass, please, please please don’t let me me saw this fricking tree off at ground level, and don’t let me sear this unusually cool summer morning with profanity. In front of this 79-year-old very tired single woman with cancer.

Let me not try to substitute my function for God’s.

Let me forgive and be happy

I don’t think that meant let me try to maintain. I don’t think that meant let me begrudgingly get through this task and without my g.d. irritation showing.

Do you get that chemical feeling in the front of your head, like clouds gathering before the storm? That flat desperate feeling like your brain is a fox caught in a leg trap and is fixing to start chewing until something gives? That bellwether feeling indicting your emotions are about to erupt, and you are going to be hateful, or/and you are going to burst out crying because of the unfairness of it all, and the residue will yuck up the whole day, year, the rest of your life? Because of the BIG NOT FAIRNESS OF IT ALL?

I don’t think that’s what the A Course lesson means.

I had to back up…recognize it wasn’t God’s function that I had to write this morning, at least not at that very minute if I happened to be down the street helping my neighbor. So if I was at Miss F.’s whacking on her crepe myrtle, and I wasn’t happy, there was something/somebody I wasn’t forgiving.

I had to turn the forgiveness matter over to the Holy Spirit, that’s what A Course calls it. Forgive her. Forgive me. Forgive my mother. Forgive whomever the hell needs forgiving. I’m willing. Just don’t know how. Show me God’s function for me.

And I noted the frontal lobe crap. Which began to recede.

“I don’t feel so tired,” Miss F. said after the proper branches had been sawed, the tree had been tied to fence, and the trash hauled to the street.

And I left with a bag of tomatoes, light of mind, light of heart. Happy. With enough time to write this and plenty more.

Why do I always forget what works?