My Purring 20-Pound Sack of Potatoes

I had just seen the lion image shown with the Milarepa quote when Max, lion Milarepaquote689.pngmy not-so-little-anymore orange feline, jumped to my chest (whether or not I wanted him to do so) and settled in for his short-attention-span nap.

He is all stretched out across my chest and shoulder and purring and all lovey-dovey and nuzzling my check, and I’m thinking “My gosh you are SO heavy it’s like having a hairy 20lb sack of potatoes on my chest that vibrates and purrs.”

The Milarepa quote also applies well to him.

He does NOT fetch.

But he DOES attack the thrower.

He truly has a mind of his own, more so than any other cat I’ve ever shared a house with. You can call him by name or “kitty-kitty” and he will ignore you completely. It’s a head-shaker how independent and indifferent he can be to requests for his presence.

catpotatoebag34 (1).jpgBut open a small can of anything, even if he is in the basement, and within seconds he is right there at your feet reaching up for the counter.

After 1.5 years together, we have managed to coexist better than we had there for awhile. We both gave a little and accepted that neither of us would be exactly what the other wanted, so we simply had to adapt to the idiosyncrasies we each maintained.

We made an unspoken agreement: I feed him the best quality food I can buy, and he doesn’t bite me as hard as he once did.  I now have fewer bite marks on my hands and arms than previously, although mainly because it IS winter and I wear long-sleeved shirts now.

See?  At least I’m adaptable.

Clearly he views me as HIS property because I can’t go far in the house without him, and he naps where I am within reach of him, whether I’m on the computer or reading in my chair.

He still plays “ambush” and “kitty-commando” every morning during and after I make the bed. I’ve just gotten used to having him grab my leg in a take-down maneuver whenever I walk past it. (Also better experienced in sweatpants than bare legs!)

So this once wild-thing that shares my house has mellowed slightly during his tenure here, and I’ve grown to better appreciate his untamable nature that does make me laugh at his crazier antics.

We even dared to put the Christmas tree up this year, and he was pretty good—only chewed through (nearly stripped the wires off) the lowest light strand once. Fortunately it was attached to a power strip that was shut off at the time or the result might not have been so favorable for him.catpotatoebag34 (2).jpg

Basically it’s a live and learn situation.

I learn to have a LOT of patience, and he lives in the house another day.

 

 

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Growing a New life

I’m not trying to be a promoter of all-products-Alberto V. My intention here is simply to share possible impacting information with anyone feeling sparked by further interest over a subject mentioned. albertvillo893.jpg

I’ve read most of Alberto’s books, but not all—not the one he mentions here. I like his explanations of energy-related subjects and what some call “neo-shamanism” or modern shamanism, which simply means looking at ancient, indigenous philosophies/life practice perspectives and applying that applicable knowledge to our present society/living environment.  It represents a particular view of life and how we live it that appeals to me in many ways, especially since it recognizes how interconnected we are to all of life, including the earth as a living being herself. That appeals to me.

So to me this so-called ‘modern shamanism’ is a philosophy, not a religion. It pertains to how I view my place in this world, so it reflects more a perspective that I share, than a belief system. I choose to view my life a certain way because of that perspective; and my chosen perception on all those affecting factors in life is how I make sense of what I experience.

That being said, I like to read Alberto V. because he says interesting, thought provoking things. He is a trained psychologist (PhD) and cultural-anthropologist, not to mention all the actual life experiences with indigenous cultures that he has logged over the years. Likewise over the years, his writing skills have helped to shift my perspective on life.

logofourwinds456.pngI do receive his weekly newsletters from Four Winds Society (as can you), and occasionally there are some pretty interesting ones that I mention here. This one appeared this morning, so I’ll share it with you. To me the point of the entire newsletter message is this “…find tools to help them identify and transcend the guiding myths that keep them tied to a disempowering world view, and find a new, more empowering personal mythology that supports their ability to dream a new body and a new world into being.”

“New Mythology for a New World

The right side of the neocortex, the higher brain, operates on stories and myths, not facts. The success of TV series like Game of Thrones, and the Harry Potter books attest to our fascination with fantasy and myth. These affect us at a far deeper level than we realize. From a very young age, we fall under the spell of powerful fables that influence the way we perceive the world and, consequently, the choices we make every day.

The myths of the ancient Greeks centered on the antics of the gods on Mount Olympus and the exploits of heroes like Hercules and Achilles. A classic American myth is the rags-to-riches tale of the self-made man who rises to fame and fortune through determination and hard work. Along with that is the story of the plucky orphan who overcomes a challenging and loveless childhood thanks to her courage, dignity, and winsome charm. Like all good myths, these end in triumph, with virtue rewarded.

The Judeo-Christian traditions have left us with powerful myths that operate in the psyche like computer programs running continually in the background. We’re not even aware of them, but they drive our basic sense of self-worth and our vision of the world, coloring the way we live from day to day.

One of the first Bible stories we learn as children is that of Adam and Eve who disobeyed God, were banished forever from the Garden of Eden, and can no longer commune directly with the Almighty─or with the rivers, rocks, trees, and animals. But indigenous people, whether sub-Saharan Africans or Australian Aborigines or Native Americans, hold no such belief. In their mythologies, they were not kicked out of the Garden. In fact, they were given the Garden and entrusted with maintaining it, as the caretakers of earth.

Another persistent myth we labor under is a belief in evil as an independent principle in the universe. But far more compelling to me is the view that we live in a benevolent universe that will go out its way to conspire on our behalf─when we are in right relationship with it and when the hardware in our brain is able to sustain the experience of Oneness.

The values and beliefs contained in myths are so strong that once you find your personal guiding myth, you feel compelled to change your life to conform to it. Transform the myth and your values and beliefs are transformed─and the facts of your life change accordingly.

Just as the invention of the printing press altered our worldview in the centuries that followed, the world wide web and AI are a transforming narrative of our age. We do not know the new myths that will emerge in the coming decades, but we do know that the old myths have exhausted themselves.

At this point in our history, it’s clear that the human species needs to be more collaborative, creative, and cooperative─qualities that are aspects of the archetypal Mother figure. To bring balance back into our relationship with Mother Earth and with one another, we need to improve on the masculine mythology of domination, conquest, and hierarchical power. And on a personal level, we need to overcome the self-focused, power-hungry, battle-fixated, dominator mindset.

Changing your personal myths requires interacting with familiar stories in new ways so that you can use those energies more wisely. You could revise how you engage with your inner warrior, for example, by giving up judgement toward yourself and others─and reserving your adversarial energy for only the most essential battles and the athletic field.

Readers of my new book, Grow a New Body, will find tools to help them identify and transcend the guiding myths that keep them tied to a disempowering world view, and find a new, more empowering personal mythology that supports their ability to dream a new body and a new world into being.

You can pre-order Grow a New Body at https://growanewbody.com

 Warmest blessings,   Alberto Villoldo, PhD

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Defining Identity

Who are you?   Who am I?who are you pic.png

Does it matter who we actually are?

Not sure in one sense, but I am sure that it matters who we believe ourselves to be, because that is the defining subconscious program used for our auto-reactive behaviors.

I’m writing about this subject because I just listened to Kaypacha’s latest astrology report of “dying to our old self” which I will list if anyone wants to hear it: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3w5diSVxCY&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3XCCveJbdIsyVgIOnWqJQvdsKObh6osPnZpFf64wkfXgwp4G4ZQFt16fA )

Here are the more important points (to me) that I gleaned from it:  

“Our childhood gives us patterns, conditions, insecurities, fears that are challenging—(they are) blockages.  It is no mistake that few of us remember not only our past lives, but details of our first 3-5 years (of age).  This is an automatic psycho-spiritual survival mechanism.  We are so sensitive coming out of that womb. Vulnerable, open, unformed baby just emerging (into the environment) and into the energy around you. ….A lot of things happen to us (at that vulnerable time) that we suppress. We suppress the hurts, the wounds, the sadness, the grief, the losses, the fears that we felt in these early childhood years when we were beat up, or stepped on, or ignored, or neglected…”

(Next part is paraphrased here)  The world around you hits you all at once in your blank-slatedness—and some things that affect you early in your explorations of life are childseeingselfmirror56pleasant and make you feel good, but other things are NOT pleasant about those earliest experiences; and the NOT pleasant things during early brain formation from baby first emerging into the world until we develop that cause/effect reasoning at 3-5 years of age, are often the suppressed memories of early childhood that have affected us surreptitiously.

Those memories were so deeply buried that when something in the present happens adversely affecting us, we may react strongly with no visible basis for that reaction; meaning we can’t seem to match our automatic reaction to the affecting incident with a rational context for doing so.  Or in another example, we can’t see a reason for the discomfort we suddenly feel when walking into a room, or a rational reason for the deep-seated fear that might erupt in us over something in our present that seems to be so innocuous or innocent to others.

 “None of us were born into the perfect reality—the perfect family. And yet the early taboo is that ‘thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother’ where it’s not cool (allowed) for the child to hate or blame the parents for (the behavior s/he is experiencing from them).”

(Paraphrased) So if we, the child, think that if the parents can’t be to blame for his/her serious discomfort back then, then it must be US.  What’s wrong with me? Why don’t they love me? Why are they treating me like this? I must be bad. I must be unlovable. They can’t be wrong because they are the parents—so I must be wrong to feel what I’m feeling.

But in truth this present astrological time period that we are in, is the time to look closely at those suppressed early-childhood feelings and expose them for what they really are.

We need to honor our true feelings. Honor our inner child without being judgmental about why that child felt what s/he did at the time.  Honestly acknowledge that we are truly feeling what we presently feel, and allow ourselves to be who we truly are, despite who we may erroneously believe that we are. Only after this careful self-assessment can seeingtheinnerchild345we then shed our old skin to be the NEW being that moves onward from this day forward—leaving our old skin behind in the tall grass as evidence that we were once there, but we aren’t there any longer. We have chosen to move on with our lives.

Then from that place of honest reassessment for valid reasoning existing for your suppressed childhood feelings, you have to leave the ‘old you’ behind and nurture that NEW ‘baby-YOU’ into the person that you want to become with you as the loving parent that you may not have previously experienced.  You must let go of the old behavior patterns that you developed for whatever reason you once believed helped you to survive your past, and now choose a new mode of operation that matches your new vision for your life.

He says that this is the time of ‘karmic return’ for all of us—meaning what you have put out previously into the world around you is now coming back in your face.  It’s time to deal with your old behavior patterns—especially if they are not working well for you in the present.  Example being: If your life partner is saying ‘Stop doing this or that because it hurts me and it hurts us.’ Then they are really saying to you:  “Look at your stuff—you are making a mess here—stop doing that!”

So again I ask: Does it matter who we really are?

Yes, it definitely does.whowearequote34

 

The Return of Primordial Light

Holiday messages are nice, and many received reflect the overall appeal and optimism of the season, no matter the faith.rbuckminsterfuller67-2x.jpg

I am not religious. I do not follow or prescribe any particular recognized religion.  But I write about the many aspects of spirituality that personally appeal, because to me spirituality means our personal connection to the energies around us and from which we have emerged. And that is how I relate to all of those different religious philosophies.

buckyuniverse68.jpgYou can call those philosophical energies “Universe” as Buckminster Fuller did, or you can call them The Tao as ancient Chinese philosophers did, or you can call them God or Yahweh as Judeo-Christian traditions proclaim, or you can simply call them the Transcendent Still Point of All Being.

Whatever you wish to call them, many believers feel especially close to key tenets of those religious philosophies this time of year—sending peace, love and good wishes to all.

I would say that the philosophy of the Shamanic tradition is a very nature-based, direct connection to life and the cosmos we inhabit, and as I watched that beautiful full moon setting outside my window on this winter solstice, I gave thanks for the view and for my part in the whole of this present earth-based drama. A few days ago Alberto Villoldo of Four Winds Society, sent out his winter-solstice, holiday email to all who subscribe. I found it pretty appropriate to our current situation, so I’ll share it here.

“From the bottom of our hearts all of us at the Four Winds Society want to wish you a holy and joyous Solstice on December 21, 2018.

We invite you to light a candle or a small fire in your backyard and join medicine men and women around the world who are gathering on the evening of the Solstice to pray for the “return of the Light.”villoldoenergyquote

This is not the ordinary daylight we all wish we had more of in the Northern hemisphere (and a bit less of in the South), but the Primordial Light.

Primordial Light is the creative power of the Universe which is available to us to create beauty in the world, and to heal ourselves and others. But to work with Primordial Light we must remember the way of the luminous warrior. We must live and act fearlessly, know the answer to “Who am I?” and the ways beyond death into infinity.

Like the shamans of old, we are luminous warriors. We dare to speak the truth, uphold universal values that honor all life, and perform daily acts of courage.

This is so important in this age of cowardice where half-truths are readily embraced as real.

We wish you the strength and steadfastness to continue creating the sacred every day and dreaming a new and healthy world into being.

In Beauty,    Alberto, Marcela, and the Four Winds Society team.”

And to that I would simply add that during this holiday season and throughout the year ahead, be at peace no matter the circumstance, be love no matter the degree of hatred all around you, be as courageous as you were always meant to be, standing tall in the midst of such cowardice in our governing bodies—stand tall and speak your truth.

This is what we do—this is who we are. We, as Luminous Warriors of Divine Primordial Light, welcome the return of the Light—the return to TRUTH as a Universal Standard for governance.

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Blessings to you and yours, and may the year ahead be full of love and laughter for all of us.

Let’s make it a good year for everyone!

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Shoshin – The Beginner’s Mind

Sounds a bit paradoxical, but I can easily say that despite lessIknow45.pnghow much I’ve often thought that I knew throughout my life, or how hard-won that advanced knowledge came into being for me, the older I get the better I appreciate how little I actually DO know.

In truth it seems that with every passing day I feel this almost humorous certainty growing stronger within me: a certainty-of-my-own-ignorance—that jolting realization that what you once believed to be truth, actually wasn’t, and you may never know the REAL truth no matter how old or knowledgeable you become because that TRUTH exists in a realm that is incomprehensible to your present existence.

This body shock of awakening to our own innate ignorance can be scathingly honest and quite humbling.

It certainly was to my ego.

But to those who study Zen, this isn’t some new concept—some might simply call it ‘cultivating the Beginner’s Mind.’

What is Beginner’s Mind?  Here’s a good explanation first from Wikipedia, then from a Zen master himself.

Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning ‘beginner’s mind.’ It refers to having shozinbeginnersmind.pngan attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.”

Text source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin

Master Shunryu Suzuki can explain it far better than I can:

“People say that practicing Zen is difficult, but there is a misunderstanding as to why. It is not difficult because it is hard to sit in the cross‑legged position, or to attain enlightenment. It is difficult because it is hard to keep our mind pure and our practice pure in its fundamental sense.

In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means ‘beginner’s mind.’ The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind…

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our ‘original mind’ includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self‑sufficient state of mind.

This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

The most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner’s mind. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind.

You should not say, ‘I know what Zen is,’ or ‘I have attained enlightenment.’ This is shoshinmaster.jpgalso the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.

Be very, very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner’s mind. It is the secret of Zen practice.”

Shunryu Suzuki
from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

 

So I acknowledge that here I sit in my own ignorance while trying to make sense of our life existence.

These are the very things I often write about: What is reality?—What is consciousness?—What are we doing here? Why are we here? Who benefits and how do they benefit from our incarnating here during this time period or ANY time period?

All those unanswerable questions come down to the battle in our minds over the relevance between our DOING and our BEING.

Here is a basic truth as I presently know it:  I AM.  I EXIST.  I EXPERIENCE.  I OBSERVE.

And I try like the dickens NOT to judge the value of what I am observing because to do so implies a comparative knowledgebase that I do not have—at least not from my humble human perspective.

the-older-i-get-the-less-i-know-by-that-i-mean-the-less-i-am-sure-of-i-view-p-403x403-nkb3nfSo each day I open my eyes and wonder what this day will bring to me. I wonder what new realization will occur to my sensing abilities. I wonder what type of sense I can make of whatever is happening to me and around me, but knowing full well that ‘making sense’ is a judgment in itself.

However, I also know that only through shoshinbeginner’s mind—can I simply observe all and note those observances without judgment or expectation—knowing I must simply allow all occurrences (and not labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’) to flow along with the river of life into the great sea of consciousness that connects us all and patiently awaits our return.

This I also know:  Beginner’s Mind is not easily achieved nor sustained for long unless you willingly intend it.

Just Watching It All Play Out

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I would have commented on the midterm election results sooner, but I, like the rest of the country, am still awaiting the final tallies.

Clearly changes were made across the nation, with other changes still in the making.

And one thing remains the same for the time being: the insanity presently occupying the White House. The only difference is in how amped up it has lately become. Someone is definitely not happy there.

For the country and democracy in general, I think major progress was pushed forward, or let me rephrase that, major progress was retrieved from the garbage heap where it had been so flagrantly tossed 2 years ago when Obama left.

While we are nowhere near being out of the constitutional danger zone as a nation yet, I do think that some folks who were banking on voter apathy and inciting racial fears, were a bit disappointed in the election results. I also think those same folks will be even more disappointed when Mueller indictments start falling in the near future.furorpres18.jpg

You don’t have to like the guy in charge. You don’t even have to tolerate his tantrums and embarrassing displays of juvenile behavior around the globe. You only have to expect him to do his job in a conscientious and lawful manner. He is the President, after all.

And that is an expectation that is backed by the laws of the United States Constitution.

This isn’t a personality/popularity issue.  It isn’t a political hit job. It is simply a question of legalities that were violated and obliterated in some instances.

It isn’t even a morality issue because if that had ever been in play, he’d have been gone before he even started.

This is about violating laws. This is about trading influence for future rewards. This is about greed and corruption in the highest offices of the land.

meachumbooksoul.jpgThis is about taking back the soul of America—what we stand for—who we are.

This is about you and your family, and the kind of world you want your children to inherit.

This is about looking in the mirror across the entirety of the nation and liking what you see again—a diverse populace.

This is about getting real and serious on social change and helping others to make the best of their own lives. They don’t need handouts–they need hand ups. They need respect and acknowledgement of their basic right to personal dignity as human beings. This is who we are–this is what we do. We respect each other as human beings with shared goals for a better life for ourselves and for those we love.

This is the NEW America, we hope.

And this is our new agenda for moving forward with our lives.

For Christmas, get your new ballcap with the letters on it for “MAAA!”

Make America “AMERICA” again!capwithamericabeing.jpg

That’s what this midterm election just tried to do.

 

 

 

Sunday Chuckles

I am a fan of NASA’s Facebook page because they post such amazing images of our solar system and beyond.  So this morning, they posted this fantastic image of Jupiter up close and personal; and it got personal to a few folks out there which made for some much needed laughter.

nasalodo987.jpg  NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

 “Inkblot test!    What do you see in this image by NASA’s Juno Mission to Jupiter? We keep finding new shapes hidden in Jupiter’s swirling clouds. Look closer: https://go.nasa.gov/2qMt8ih

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To which the viewership responded in hilarious fashion:

  • Scott Dew I see our lord and savior Cthulu
    • ( according to Urban Dictionary: “A character in Lovecraft’s tale ‘The Call of Cthulhu’. Cthulhu is a monstrous entity who lies “dead but dreaming” in the city of R’lyeh, a place of non-Euclidean madness presently (and mercifully) sunken below the depths of the Pacific Ocean.Cthulhu appears in various monstrous and demonic forms in early myths of the human race.”)
  • Марио Колев Here come the religious people, even if their god is fictional….
  • Daniel Harden It’s a lady giving a Velociraptor the Heimlich.
  • Liz Gaffney Air quality in Los Angeles right about now due to fires. (So sorry California.)
  • David Jobling I’m not religious but I can see the full nativity here, which is a bit of a head trip.
  • Arun Krishnarayan A Bird of prey on the right and Gandalf with a bad cold.
    And at the bottom is a shark with a wide open mouth & woman lying face down in the middle.
  • Saranda Tessera The only true god is Zeus.  Scripture tells us so. Anyway the picture of Jupiter (Latin for Zeus) is breathtaking. What a chaotic creation.
  • Steve Parkinson Keep your sky pixie nonsense off scientific fact pages please.

At least the comments made me chuckle. 🙂

Our minds constantly associate familiar memories to objects and items that we are unfamiliar with in an attempt to identify the threat or safety of them before we proceed further in encountering them. And likewise, if you want to see something that others may not see in a burnt piece of toast, you will do so mainly because you are looking for it no matter where you look.

Unimaginatively I see an amazing image of Jupiter’s atmosphere with wild weather interactions.  (But I totally concur about the lady giving a Velociraptor the Heimlich–it’s clear as day.)