Learning the Toolkits

I see myself sometimes as a programmer &/or a worker who has all these options available–that there are all kinds of options available for interesting improvements in my life. Options that require practice and learning.

When I was a young programmer the most exciting thing was when I had some new programming toolkit to learn. Being younger, I didn’t really pay attention to time constraints and thus there was no associated stress. Now when I am presented with some new toolkit, my first thought is “how much time is this going to take and is it actually something that is going to be of maximum utility in filling our needs?”

When I was a young programmer I didn’t really think about the practical side of things–it was just exciting to learn something new.

There is room for improvement within the vein of operation, the toolkit I’m already tapping–this is mostly where I get excited about programming nowadays.

. . .

Programming is such a useful metaphor when it comes to my striving for personal improvement, my being. Being as operation, being as being in an operating system.

I operate in this vein of life, this domain of life. I operate in so many domains. I operate in a vein of marriage. Domain, vein… a vein is like something one might already be tapped into or might find. If one is tapped into a vein, if that be good, one should operate well in it.

I frequently see my marriage as some toolkit I’m participating in as a coprogrammer. My role as coprogrammer is to appreciate and use the good options available to me within this toolkit.

The immediate feature I conjure up is the accessibility of the comfort of skin. A lot of my thinking about marriage is about the tactile experience of it. It feels so good–it’s emotional nutrition–to touch my husband’s back. His skin is so smooth and warm. I hold him in long hugs. I feel healed and absorbed.

I recently asserted more features of the marriage toolkit by asking my coprogrammer husband if he would do some physical volunteer activities with me, fun things to help the world and our relationship at the same time. So now we help the APL’s dogs and explore streams for the Metroparks’ Watershed Protection program.

There are recreational options in this toolkit, too, like watching movies and the enjoyment of talking about them together. Like listening to music together, talking about it and learning more stuff about each other.

Learning so much stuff about each other. I love learning.

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Come, thee, and suffer less

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Sometimes, sometimes

Our local public radio station plays a program Saturday nights, “Jazz All Night.” The jazz rolls from Saturday night into Sunday morning. I think about that jazz being really Saturday-nightish jazzy when people listen to it before going to sleep in the party kind of atmosphere of Saturday and the jazz lasting even after they go to bed, and being there on Sunday mornings, sounding somehow different in the Sunday-morningness of it. I wonder at what point other than midnight Saturday night turns into Sunday morning, what psychological point. Maybe it depends on the person and the rhythm of their routine, that the filter isn’t just the collective night/day transition but also filtered by the person and that rhythm of their routine.

Little slices of heaven all around, like Kris Kristofferson singing “Help Me Make It Through The Night.”

Little slices of heaven all around if you allow yourself them, like realizing that your arms are the arms of a woman, a woman still youngish but mature. A woman in her forties with a certain patina of skin, texture, articulations of veins in her hands. That being a woman in her forties is a kind of glamour. Glamour. You can even wear a bracelet if she likes.

Ways of being, little slices of heaven all around if you allow yourself them. It’s not consumption–it’s more like you allow yourself to marinate in them, to steep. Like you let yourself be in that moment, sure sure. Turning on enough light to see well, bringing out all the ingredients, your husband sitting at the table watching you cut the ingredients on the table, the table maybe 70 years old and rickety. Your cat companion wandering pensively between the legs of the table, you and your husband and then softly into the shadow of her not-so-secret hiding place, the cupboard, pearing out from the soft and she’s feeling so secure, knowing her humans making warm noises, that they are being fed and that they like each other and that they let themselves relax. Sometimes, sometimes.

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Mother Goddess in a Halo of Grandma’s Yoni

First, the Oneness… this Thisness, the Ness, the Thick and Thin of It, the Swim, the God we swim in and Who swims in us, the fabric lifted up by the percipient, the fabric examined by the percipient, the fabric beheld and cast by the percipient, the fabric coddling and cuddling the percipient, the fabric of God influencing the percipient. Here now, here now, it coaxes. Do this here now, for a better there then and here then, for a better here now. Hear now, it says more open, and here now, it whistles. Hear and here like the thick and the thin of it in the swim.

Mother like something softer, mother not like smother, but like recovering, like falling like a stone plopped gently into that pillow, gently into a blanket of velvet. Or even a feather floating softly into that blanket, the feather and the stone together, sure. Both allowed to fall and float as they please and to recover gently into her pillow, her something softness, Mother God.

Mother Goddess in a halo of Grandma’s yoni. Grandma’s yoni of light, and Jupiter’s yoni of light from his head, Athena arrowing outward. Mother Goddess in soft robes, swaddled and swaddles. Mother Goddess unpeeling herself back to virgin on a Venus. Like how a flower closes up for the night and blooms again in the morning, how a flower closes up for the night and blooms again in the morning, some of those flowers. Some of them staying open all night, blooming all night until their petals fall off and seeds are thrown.

Never a crone, never a crone. These lovely mothers and nonmothers aging into their robes. I am catching them all. No one is to be a crone, not one is to be called a crone but rather a mature woman aging into her robe. Her robe can be flying, flapping gently, floating. Her robe can be in repose, all gravity laden. What we see as kind maturity in a man’s face, as handsome maturity—when we see it in a woman’s face, we will also think—oh, yes, this is what I saw in a man’s face and I saw it as handsome, therefore this woman, too, is beautiful. And when we see something that we don’t see in a man’s face, we can also recognize this as beautiful. We do not have to be neotonous in our later years. And when we are plump we too can be recognized as beautiful with the potential to be healthier. Everyone is beautiful, it’s just a matter of peeling back the thoughts and healing and letting the healthy be recognized as well.

Everyone is beautiful, and everyone is poignant. Everyone has the capability to be out in the sun or rain on the sidewalk or in a park or in the wild. Or inside on the hard wood floor, or on a carpet, or on linoleum, tile, a rug. Whatever one is on, one is on. We are all in that velvet yoni loam.

When you see Mother in her Yoni it is the explicitness of expression that is poignant and how everyone has a mother. Even a clone has a mother. Even a cell in a petri dish has a mother. And they all have father, too. And it, the loam, the spread, the ness, the consciousness, this This, this That, what’s now and what’s next—it’s all through the extent of it. This is all through the extent of it. It is all through the extent of it. Productivity is all through the extent of it. The womb of the natural city is all through the extent of it. The womb of the agrarian folk, the agrarian life is all through the extent of it. The agrarian landscape concentrates and pops up a city so that people live more efficiently. It pops it up and it sorts, and we are sorting through this. We are sorting through the assortedness of this to find ourselves through better ways to work through the extent of this. Finding better ways to unwind and wind the hay through it. Finding what to lie fallow and what to make of it. Finding what to let loose, relax and run through it. Making reservations for the reservations. Making reservations for the conservation of the length of it.

~ Lady

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Jam like all the sweet stuff

Did Blue Sky Folk Festival yesterday. It’s at my mom’s church, East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirtland. The objective is to help foster folk music appreciation and participation in Northeast Ohio.

In addition to scheduled acts, anyone could bring an instrument to the festival and play. So there were four areas where people were jamming. Not just a couple people, but like, a dozen, maybe, in each spot. At one jam spot a dozen guitarists strumming along together… other spots with people playing the fiddle. Some dancing and dulcimer. I’d not seen anything like it in my life before, so many people just coming together to make jam.

Jam like preserves sometimes especially when recorded. Jam like all the sweet stuff. Jam is like honey. Jam is a honey, too. Jam can have honey in it. Bees make honey and bees make fruit, and humans make jam from fruit from bees.

Jam not being jammed in terms of not being impeded. Jam rather something about taking the fruit of the moment and making it last a while. Making it so that you can open it up again later. Music recordings. Opening of the talents into the jam like opening a jam jar and tasting it together.

I mean, there might be some impedance  too, in that. But not like something being stuck. Not that kind of jam. Unless being stuck is like taking the muck and doing something good with it, that kind of stuck. But not like your truck stuck in muck. Not that kind of jam, not a jam that blocks, not a jam that shuts, not a jam like that.

Jam like something that is cultivated, too. Like you bring the bootstrap of yourself up to the community, the thing that flung you here, and the thing you’ve been working on, which is your proficiency in your skill, whatever that skill might be, and you make jam with it–you blunt it up and strum it up and jut it up–that’s jamming. You harmonize and synchronize, that’s jamming, too.

. . .

I was tired… I stayed for half of it. I felt guilty as I left the festival, feeling that I should have stayed for the entire day to better support what we’d worked so hard on (our family business did lots of volunteer work). Which makes me think of the pace of modern life. How are we to do these things, these folk festivals, etc., which are supposed to be emblematic of a slower, richer lifestyle, and really be able to relax at them and get to the marrow of what they are about? That marrow jam?

I felt like a toe dipper, like was was in heaven but as a tourist. Here were all these people with cultivated skills, and here I was with my ears and attention span and my ability to sit or stand or dance. I don’t really play a musical instrument anymore though… was this festival for me? Are ears enough?

How can I slow down and actually enjoy these uberly-heavenly spots when I encounter them? These jam spots? I would like to do that. I got a big brimmed hat for it.

You know what? I think all I need is a big brimmed hat, my husband and a blanket for these things. I can set a blanket by the musicians’ tents next year. I can set there and I can play my ears.

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Contemporary Country

Working on the Blue Sky Folk Festival is enticing me to learn more about contemporary Folk and Country music. I tend to like the sound of older Country music, Patsy Cline, Ernest Tubbs, some Willie Nelson. I am exploring.

I listened to some contemporary Country music yesterday on the surface at first, to me, it seemed so sappy and overly produced. I felt it too commercial. On the other hand, I don’t know the entire genre of contemporary Country music so well. Just like pop music, on the surface were I to randomly channel flip and listen I could easily think I don’t like pop music, that much of it is too commercial.

Some things I do like about contemporary Country music is that it typically is so much about honoring one’s relationships with people, with the land and being at peace with one’s occupation. And that’s important to me–that’s what I’m looking for, and that’s why I’m so interested in the idea of Country music.

What I don’t like is that quite often it has been used to sell trucks and the musical themes seem so similar in much of it, the voices so similar.

I mean, I kind of like trucks, but only if one really needs one for one’s work. I can see being emotionally attached to the truck. I think that’s OK. I’ve always liked cars, am very attached to my Prius, was very attached to my Hondas. Will be neat in the future to see electric trucks.

Electric trucking. Keeping on trucking. Electric trucks powered by stored up wind & solar energy. Somehow, it will happen. Imagine an organic farmer in his electric pickup truck looking up at the wind turbines slicing the sky, spirals overlaying the milky way. No monoculture crop fields, but fields abuzz with bees thriving on diverse pollens.

I also don’t like that Country music has been associated so often with being overly patriotic and unquestioning. Smith listens to Country, old Country. It kind of opened my eyes. I mean, what if I was incorrect about most people who listen to Country music being war-mongering? Maybe most people who listen to Country music are actually peaceful. Maybe they listen to Folk music a lot, too. I mean, isn’t Folk Country? What’s the different between Folk and Country? Doesn’t Country aspire to be Folk? Is Folk a kind of rarified Country? Is Country commercial Folk?

Can we step inside all stereotypical associations and instead of saying that, for instance, flag waving is typical of someone who wants to kill people outside the country, that instead it is about someone who is taking pride in their region, and not assume that the person would want to support militarism? That’s the kind of thinking I am interested in, stepping in, observing, reinterpreting, recontextualizing, healing, understanding, being together, approximating the Oneness that we are in more wholesome ways.

~ Lady

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Facebook & Proper Attentiveness

The thing that brings me “out of the now” and away from attentiveness most often to my Smith & Mandy is looking on Facebook. When I am overly concerned about seeing that people have validated me on Facebook, or even just relying on it as a first stop for entertainment, I am not looking as much as I need to on the inside and within my immediate family and not practicing slow entertainment enough. It’s compulsive and harms my emotions when I do that.

I am liking the Buddhist idea of “barring the door”–effectively making it very difficult to practice an unhealthy compulsion. I’m reminded of a cartoon from Heavy Metal Magazine in the 70s about a werewolf. The werewolf had his lady friend lock him in a room so that he couldn’t get out and harm anyone.

I refuse to condemn Facebook, but I do note that the use of it is like the use of alcohol. A little bit is OK, maybe even daily, but overuse not so healthy.

One can be very very creative on Facebook, and that is good. But if one is a “Facebook alcoholic,” the creativity tends to tangle, ensnare, leaving one feel a bit sour, a bit off, feeling like one has done something wrong.

Extending the alcohol metaphor some more, perhaps I can have one or two “drinks” a day, sipping the drinks a bit slowly, even, but if I do cocktail hour for more than a half hour, that’s a bit too much for me, at least.

I do make exceptions for the social media work and volunteer work I do… if I am on Facebook to promote this stuff, I generally feel healthy about it.

So, how do I bar the door, or do I? Is one drink a day OK? Two? Do I just drop in, post & go, or is that like dining & dashing?

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High Thread Count

What I find immediately accessible, and yet not often recognized or remembered consciously, is the miracle of the immediate, the miracle of material reality. There’s so much to this reality.

When I think of material, I immediately think of cloth, of that plant stuff that is woven. It used to be that the stuff was picked by hand, spun into thread by industrious people, woven in the loom.

In the olden days the druid folk would tear off a piece of their clothing and tie it to a celebrated tree during May dances. It was valuable because of all the labor that went into it, this cloth, and the folk didn’t have much of it, making the offering that much more poignant.

And now, if one is in bed or if one is sitting up on some upholstered furniture, notice: look at the cloth, see the threads, be comforted by the threads that are all around. There’s all this fabric, much of which was not picked up, spun into thread and woven into cloth by human hands. Rather, machines… and we are surrounded in abundance. But the cloth is miraculous anyways. It was harvested indirectly by engineers in a way, engineers and designers and business people, and now more people can wear cloth without fear of losing too much during May dances because we all have this abundance of clothes.

I am comforted by signs of use, too. The Mexican blanket we brought back from Oaxaca, vibrant memories recycled by being draped over the chair. And now that the blanket has holes, we’ll love it all the more thinking about the time that has passed, what has transpired. Perhaps I’ll collect a strip of it for my shrine.

The coffee stains on my armrest, the matting down, wear & tear of the upholstery and how this is loved as part of my nest… this is my nest going through time’s process, and there’s the care of our little maintenances, vacuuming what has dropped onto the carpet.

Some people say they see Jesus in cloth. And I think on one level what they mean even if they don’t consciously know it is that they see the holy in material reality.

That extends, you know. Your life extends. It’s not just here-now, and it wasn’t just in past-then. Your life is thread and if you’ve woven it into cloth, you extend everywhere. And you have woven it into cloth–everyone does, and you do extend everywhere–everyone does and always has since there’s ever been anyone.

~ Lady

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Ways of being

I bombard myself with chores and “should be doing” and “should have done” thoughts and even my rigorous adherence to schedule, although useful, has still not alleviated worries about items I feel I “should have gotten done” by now. A couple months ago I assigned myself a writing & spirituality chore: write about “ways of being” twice monthly on Sundays.

The conventional implication of being able to write on this topic with authority is that one has found sufficient resources within herself to be an assured expert on the topic and that she should have accomplished at least a modicum of inner peace.

But I do not yet have inner peace. I have some self respect, and I believe I can accomplish anything I set my mind to, but I do not yet have inner peace. I have moments of inner peace, and sometimes even hours, and I’ve even gone for a couple rafts of days with inner peace. But I do not yet have continuous inner peace.

I ask myself if there are other lessons I have to offer under this banner, “ways of being.” I have not so much lessons as meditations that part of reality can take and use in productive ways for itself as it sees fit. I have perhaps 18 months’ worth of daily letters to the universe, this “ways of being” project and I recently completed Phase I of the “Plan for a Kind Ness” project. So there’s lots of material I wish to use in more creative and/or practical ways.

~

For a long time now I’ve planned on creating a blog for “The Church of Not Quite So Much Pain & Suffering.” This church is a concept that Smith found. The idea is that many churches have focused way too much on suffering, and that instead, it is better to focus on ways to not suffer so much. The slogan is “go thee, and suffer less.” And there’s a kind of cozy idea behind it as well. I am his beloved Lady in the church, and the church is for our family: me, Smith and Mandy (our cat companion). The concept of this church can extend to everybody but I appreciate the thought of our little loft of love being a church and that it is holy to tend to our immediate companions.

Even though I don’t yet have the graphic design implemented on this website, some feeling compels me to  publish on it anyways.

~ Lady

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