Monthly Archives: February 2017

Thanks for all the Likes and the Comments

Thoughts from   ~burning woman~    by Sha’Tara

That reminds me of Douglas Adams’ book title, “So Long, And Thanks for all the Fish” only this isn’t about fish, it’s about pink elephants, but I’ll get to that.

OK, I’m not saying, “So long” – at least not yet… I like blogging, such as I do it, and learning day by day by following a lot of other blogs and practicing the great art of flattery which is imitation.

First I’d like to say, once again, THANKS FOR ALL THE LIKES, AND ALL THE COMMENTS.  Hopefully by watching carefully, and engaging periodic skirmishes with Akismet, (and no, I’m not talking about the conquest of Jerusalem, just the fight over spam) I get most of your comments, and comment back in turn.  If I don’t return a comment, let me know, or fire another over the wall, I might respond with more alacrity knowing I’m under siege…  

That being said of first importance, here’s a secondary matter that needs saying… again.  Some bloggers get frustrated with me.  I think it’s the way I state things as if they were facts, written in stone.  You spend enough time in politics, whether environmental or social, and certainly in organized religion, you develop a certain amount of “declared certainty.”  When you are making a point on a public forum you can’t afford to be wishy-washy about it.  Either you know what you’re on about, or you don’t.  Most of the time, I do know what I’m on about.  Or, I do, but it’s only MY PERSONAL OPINION, ALL OF IT unless it’s a reblog from someone else.  All of what I write is wide open for re-interpretation.

So listen here, before you lose any more sleep over my fiats, I’m not stating, or claiming, that I’m right.  Being sure isn’t the same as being right.  Stating something in a way it comes out as if it was a fact does not make it a fact and I’d be the first to laughingly admit that.  Actually I don’t care if what I say is right or wrong: there is no right or wrong here.  There’s just a point or two being made using words as props.  Unless I’m losing my mind and memory I don’t recall ever defending a point of view, ‘cause one’s point of view is either self-evidently “right” or it’s out in left field.  More often than not when it’s more philosophical than “factual” the same point of view wanders happily from left field to right field to the open fields without being in the least bothered.  That’s true freedom of expression.  

So no need, or point, getting one’s thong in a knot on this blog.  This is an opinion/rant place.  Not just for me, but for anyone who wants to just “Like” or agree or disagree.  Just give me (us) a good argument for or against, hey?  But let’s forget the right or wrong of what we think about something.  I’ll tell you this, I believe that Unicorns exist, as do flying pink elephants.  I’ve never seen either, but then I’ve never seen Donald Trump either (maybe I should be thankful from what I hear?) but the point is we can discuss things that don’t exist in some particular dimension if we realize that when we mention these non-existent “things” we bring them alive, but in a different, usually a private, dimension and context.  My Unicorns won’t crap on your birthday cake if you fail to fight for their non-existence.    

I say flying pink elephants exist.  You say they don’t exist.  Philosophy goes one better and says, can either of you use the concept, pro or con, to make your own life, or your world, a better place?  Does the idea of a pink elephant help or hinder your life’s goal, or purpose, or are you just being childish by insisting such exists, or such does not, cannot, exist?  That’s the bottom line, isn’t it.  All our ideas, thought, verbalized and finally acted upon, should they not all serve but one purpose: to make ourselves, and our world, a better place for all?

That’s where the “right” and “wrong” comes into play: my (your) interaction with others.  To help or to harm.  To protect or abuse.  To give or to steal.  To take responsibility or act irresponsibly.

As Forest Gump would say in his inimitable simple way, “That’s all I gotta say about that.”

 

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Experiencing Wearing Down

   [thoughts from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

When we’re young it’s basically impossible to consider life past, say, the age of 50.  Now so many of us live in what was then called “old age” in better or worse financial and health conditions.  I just watched “The Notebook” movie again – probably for the 5th time at least.  I’ll never get tired of that story, it’s so well told.  You’d think that a love relationship with such stormy and crazy beginnings wouldn’t have any hope of succeeding.  But in this story, it does, and it’s ending is wonderful and perfect.

I like a line James Garner says in the movie: “I’m experiencing wearing down.”  Many people feel that way in my age bracket.  We are indeed wearing down.  A whole gamut of emotions follows this wearing down.  For some it’s a blessing, for most, I’d say it’s never acknowledged, and for others, it is feared and fought to the end.  It does mean that we are approaching our rendezvous with death.  However poetically one phrases that, it is not a pleasant thought – honestly.

I am of those, perhaps having been raised quite strictly religious, who not only believes that life goes on beyond the body, but that it does so in full consciousness and “I” continue to live my life, replete with choices and destiny.  Later, when I overcame the need for religion, and the need to be totally dependent upon the caprices of some god, the inner knowing that life is eternal and infinite did not go away with my religion.  It was, in fact, the one thing from my religion(s) that remained true, if only for me.  (I think that in the realm of eternity, such choice to believe or not is entirely up to an individual, a sacred belief that no one has the right to either deny anyone, or force on anyone.)

Does that awareness make it easier to face the reality of death?  Not for me.  I don’t like the idea at all, even if, being of those who remembers past lives, I’ve gone through the process before.  It is the place where one, alone and helpless, faces the ultimate stripping of attachments to this life.  

For those who cannot believe in continuance, death is the end.  The termination of all awareness.  That, to me, would be unbearable.  I think one has to be incredibly courageous to meet death with such stoicism.  

For those, like myself, who “know” (as in some sort of unshakeable awareness) that life continues, the passage nevertheless is fraught with questions and trepidation.  I know, for example, of the many things I did (in this one life) that makes me a poor candidate for any sort of, shall we say, graduation to something better.  Countless thoughts, words and deeds must be there, ready to accuse me.  Is there some balance, some way that thoughts, words and deeds of the non-selfish variety can outweigh the others?  I honestly do not know.  There must be justice, that I know.

So as I inevitably wear down; as I come closer and closer to death (of the body) I ponder such things.  I don’t know what to expect, not exactly.  I have some ideas, some thoughts, on the matter but where are the facts? 

There aren’t any.  So what do I have to offer, if indeed some sort of judgment is in the offing?  Very little.  I can offer a changed life, from selfishness to detachment and self-empowerment in order to practice compassion and develop empathy.  I can offer forgiveness, certainly, that having been one of the easiest lessons to learn.  I can offer my personal commitment to my chosen purpose of a life lived to serve others – however much that effort remains wanting.  Beyond that, I have nothing to give in exchange for some sort of pass.  Perhaps that “nothingness” is what is needed?

Life is truly short and throughout its meteoric passage it never stops from asking us to make meaningful and life-affirming choices in all things.  If only we weren’t so spiritually and mentally deaf to the teachings we are given so freely, and all the time.  If only such would suffice to turn us from our baseless fears and selfishness that make us such bad stewards of our world and of those who need our compassion now more than ever just to survive.  If only… 

Quotes: 

“Throughout history, empires and civilizations have collapsed once they degrade the environment below its capacity to carry the human footprint imposed on the environment.” – Paul Craig Roberts

“When you are small, if you reach out, and nobody takes your hand, you stop reaching out, and reach inside, instead.” — Amanda Eyre Ward

“Nothingness is a sigh of eternity, a casual avowal of the infinite.” —  Edmond Jabès, The Book of Resemblances.

 

Sunday Morning Sagan

Thanks to Carol A. Hand (https://carolahand.wordpress.com/2017/02/25/a-matter-of-perspective/ ) I visited this blog, and watched this wonderful little video. The message here should give any intelligent person cause to ponder, wonder, and think about the planetary future, now that man can decide what that future is going to be.

notestoponder

Pondering Carl Sagan – a Sunday morning post dedicated to the greatest visionary of our time.

Five Sunday minutes with Carl Sagan puts Monday morning in perspective. A dose of Sunday morning Sagan could be the tonic our world is searching for.

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A Killer In Your Fridge ~ Sweet Poison…A MUST READ

Another “sweet poison” from the corporate world. This needs to be passed around. How many people frightened of “the sugar curse” have switched to artificial sweeteners instead and are being quietly, silently poisoned?

Rhonda Gessner

In October of 2001, my sister started getting very sick. She had stomach spasms and she was having a hard time getting around. Walking was a major chore. It took everything she had just to get out of bed; she was in so much pain.

By March 2002, she had undergone several tissue and muscle biopsies and was on 24 various prescription medications. The doctors could not determine what was wrong with her. She was in so much pain, and so sick she just knew she was dying.

She put her house, bank accounts, life insurance, etc., in her oldest daughter’s name, and made sure that her younger children were to be taken care of.

She also wanted her last hooray, so she planned a trip to Florida (basically in a wheelchair) for March 22nd.

On March 19, I called her to ask how her most recent tests went, and…

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FIRE SPIRIT

[a short story   by Sha’Tara]

A restless wind whispers softly in the spruce on the edge of a small lake. Brightly shining stars and distant, paling northern lights cast eerie shadows in the late summer night. A great horned owl calls, answered by the howl of a timber wolf echoed over the waters. A startled killdeer gives its plaintive cry, repeated several times, then silence again. Glowing softly, a small campfire throws its own little stars into the night, their flickering, sinewy path changing to the mood of the breeze. A young woman sits near the fire, staring, unmoving, her dark eyes reflecting its dancing light. The minutes pass slowly as the stars trace their endless circle around the tail of little bear.

At a  chosen moment the woman stands and throws some broken branches upon the fire, watching intently as the flames leap up, crackling, hungry. She begins a slow dance around the edge of the fire, her bare feet moving through the drying grass, her footsteps blending with the lapping of wavelets on the shore and the sighing of the wind in the branches. She hums in a low monotone, unintelligible words passing her lips. Gradually, the song becomes more forceful. Proudly throwing back her head, her black hair cascading down her back, she lifts her hands up and starts chanting. The song rises and falls, hauntingly moving, echoes of ancient voices seeking words to an as yet unformed hope.

Her dance takes on a rhythmic pattern, her knee-length dress swaying as she approaches the fire then steps back lightly into the darkness of the trees, to reappear from another direction. Her voice rises above the trees, flowing through the rolling hills…

From the midst of the flame, a form takes shape, graying head bowed, hands held in blessing. The form addresses the dancer: “Daughter, what are you doing? Why dance with danger tonight? Why seek death? You are the hope of the people. Would you tempt the white man again and be accused of witchcraft? Would you die in his fire too? You summoned me… now answer me!”

Swaying gently, without looking at the flame, the song dying on her lips, she answers the vision: “I am your daughter. I cannot be otherwise and I have your heart also. You died to save me, mother, though I never asked it of you. Now, you are Fire Spirit. You live in the heart of the volcano at the centre of creation and possess the gifts of life and healing in full measure: would you deny me my own birthright and refuse me my homecoming?

There is nothing left here, mother. The people are ashes, spirits without homes. Those who remain are slaves eating crumbs from the hand of their conqueror. Should I fear a moment of pain and I too become a slave?

No, mother! Do not try to dissuade me. Tonight, I dance with the spirits under the stars. Tomorrow, I will dance in the fire. Then I’ll come to you and together we will prepare the medicine for the wandering spirits. We will rise with the breath of the sun in our mouths, awakening the land, shaking the ashes of the people in the winds until all becomes one and life pulses freely in the land again. I’ll see you tomorrow, mother…”

The flames died down and the vision vanished. She took up her chant and her dance, delighting in a myriad of physical sensations heightened by the knowledge that this was her last night on earth. In the morning, her relentless pursuers would find her. The angry new god would have his victim and enjoy a short-lived victory over the past. From his fire she would rise to become Fire Spirit and wrest the future from his bloody hands.

The Gift of a Life Changed

                                        [a short story, by Sha’Tara]

Oh, he knew her so well.  He remembered how she came and hovered over his crib when he was a tiny baby; how she fretted over him, and kept his rattle or soother at hand.  She was his “other” mom, and the older sister he never had.

Over the years she had come to him at different junctures of his life.  He remembered the glow of her presence at his first communion and later, his confirmation.  She encouraged him, and gently taught him to notice how other people, especially his elders, teachers and parents, lived their lives.  Don’t judge them too harshly, she’d whisper, but notice the hypocrisy, always notice that.  Don’t confront them, just note and remember.  Especially remember. 

Then he grew up and he didn’t see her during his time of rebellion, anger, chaos and confusion.  He saw girls instead and he lusted after them.  He did stupid things, boastful, ignorant, hurtful; things that endangered the lives of others.  It was as if he was possessed to do evil.  The girl he dated became pregnant.  He still had a sense of the old chivalry he’d learned from his childhood fairy tales and fantasies.  He asked her to marry him and she accepted.  Not the best start, but on their wedding day, she was there again.  He saw the glow and suddenly his heart opened and guilt filled his mind to overflowing. 

The moment passed.  Life was tough enough.  Wife, kids, a mortgage, car payments, responsibilities he was trained to handle, but nevertheless, stress.  There were other things to impede the good life: a growing awareness that the world was not a great place to be.  There was “the war” that needed protesting – he’d become a conscientious objector and tried to live by some personal code of non-violence.  There were draft dodgers from across the border to help find shelter and jobs.  Then environmental issues took priority and his life grew very complex and a darkness grew in his heart. 

The marriage failed.  He found himself, thanks to his losses, freed of a commitment he felt was complete.  But the darkness held him down.  He re-discovered religion and attended church.  It provided little.  He saw more of the old hypocrisy.  He saw how the claims failed to match the lifestyle.  Disappointed and discouraged he struck out alone looking for something, not finding. 

Lost in mid-life, he was walking along the river shore one cloudy day and sat on a fallen log on the bank.  Staring at the shining waters flowing past him, he formulated a prayer, or rather a request.  He addressed her and said, “You know, I’ve made a complete mess of things.  I wanted to do right, and did wrong.  I wanted to change the world and couldn’t even change myself.  The things I’ve done are horrible to me.  I’m sorry for my ignorance and stupidity, but most of all, I’m sorry for my pride. 

I need you to help me now, though I don’t deserve it.  I’m going to ask your for the greatest gift of all, knowing full well that it cannot be bestowed on anyone, that it can only be earned through experience.  I am asking you to grant me the gift of humility.  Only with that can I re-learn to live with myself.  I don’t expect to suddenly become humble, but I need you to guide my heart into this new and alien territory I intend to walk across until I reach the other side.  I’m going to proceed knowing that you are here, guiding me, and reminding me.  Thank you.

And so it was that he gradually changed.  He did not feel any more humble, rather the opposite, but others noticed.  Always he’d be shocked when they said something, or praised him for his kindness or gentleness.  That can’t be me, he thought.  Then he’d know she was there, calming his heart, softening his hands, making him choose his words with care, showing him how to proceed in all situations.  Over time he understood what it meant to be blessed.  He thought, I find it so amazing that the less I possess and the more I give away, the more I have; the more filled I feel.  And he learned to laugh. 

He lived long past his chosen time.  Those who knew him believed he’d discovered the secret of immortality but that was only their hope he’d always be around.  One day he left.  He walked away with only a small overnight pack on his back.  She walk silently beside him, then she touched him.  He was never seen again.  

A friend of his, having understood, said, we held on to him much too long.  We made him feel guilty about leaving but finally he allowed himself to hurt us a bit so he could claim his own freedom.  He’ll never be completely gone for he lives in each of us.  What he showed us, the wisdom he taught and the changes he wrought: those are the pieces of his heart we hold within ourselves.  He’s still here, giving us of himself when we emulate his burning joy.

Quote: Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it. Where is there a place for you to be? No place… Nothing outside you can give you any place… In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.” ― Flannery O’Connor

 

 

 

The Sense of the Greatest Emptiness

[thoughts from    ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

I know that most people have little time to engage another’s perambulations of mind in the worlds of various dysfunctions.  My own oft repeated inner voice says, ‘hey, come on, deal with it, don’t keep regurgitating it in your articles on your blog.’ and sure enough eventually I find that ‘enough is enough’ and I unfollow.  I can’t just “Like” something I really don’t like.

That being said, I’m going to do just that: talk about a feeling.  Here’s to hoping it isn’t just me, but that it will strike a chord with some who follow this blog.  If I do my job right, the words should express a communal angst, not a personal condition which I would not ask anyone else to share in, that in my opinion being a violation of another’s freedom.  If I feel “bad” while you feel “good” then that’s how it is.  I have no intrinsic right to impose “my bad” on “your good.”

Moving along, I gave myself a gift today: an entire day to blogging.  For a change, reading through the thoughts, articles and comments and attempting to engage honestly, commenting as I felt appropriate, and checking out offered links to related articles, blogs, etc.  I even ended up adding a couple of “Follow” to my collection.  Much was about our socio-political conditions and situations, specifically here in North America.  We could honestly say, “We have a situation here, please respond!”

The upshot of this engagement is that having “cleared” all my email traffic and blogging demands, I feel drained.  Empty.  Heavy, as if I’d been wrung out but not hung up to dry, just left in the laundry basket as is.  I remember going through the same feeling time after time when alone on the River, choosing to spend a longer than usual time between sunrise and sunset, or later, after sunset, to feel the changes in temperature; to hear the difference in sounds of the breezes in the coarse grasses and willows, or the wavelets lapping against the wet mud or sand of the shoreline; to notice changes in the calls of the gulls as they gather by the hundreds to flock upon islets to spend a night safe from marauding coyotes and other predators; to see the beavers emerging from their hideouts in the bushes and begin feeding along the river banks; to watch as the skies darken and high clouds dissipate so the crescent moon can shine…

It’s difficult to clearly express such a feeling.  It’s recognizing myself as a passenger on a ship; an alien and stranger made welcome but perhaps not entirely.  It’s recognizing I have no roots here, and experiencing, if only for a moment, that effect of alienation.  I’m a watcher; a collector of facts; an observer, not a resident; not a member.  A free lance journalist in a very foreign land entirely self supporting and at the mercy of local conditions.  This “land” doesn’t know I exist, or if it did it may well resent my presence enough to ensure I disappear.

It is more than that.  It is possessing something that the condition of the ship dictates I should not have packed with me: empathy.  Contraband, with its constant painful reminder that being empathetic on a world ruled by violence is not desirable.  It’s like a migraine headache combined with the flu.  To say it’s uncomfortable would be an understatement.

From Lisa Palmer,  The Otherhood of One, “Every time I tried to meditate, or lately sleep, I was assaulted with disturbing and/or terrifying imagery; “lost” strangers, animals suffering and dying, the Earth moaning under inconceivable destructive pressures, snipers taking aim at people, and most recently, babies being tortured.”

For the empath, this is what happens when we allow ourselves to absorb information without venting it out.  It creates a blockage within that translates as a bottomless pit of pain and would soon lead to despair if we didn’t deal with it.  Sadly there are many empaths captured within the densities of this planet who don’t know how to deal with feelings they have attracted to themselves through observation.

Earth as a destination of temporary abode is not friendly to empaths.  It’s not the actual planet, but it’s programming.  You have something here that is absolutely terrifying, incomprehensible and destructive to all empaths and of course to all victims of this thing.  It is called predation.  This world functions within an obsolete operating system that demands life for life.  Life on earth is split between being victim, as in food; and that which survives by killing and eating others.  Not only is man not immune to this but is the species that uses the concept more than any other.  Man is the king of predators.  Not only does he kill other life for food, pleasure, and entertainment, but makes a great show of killing millions of his own species for profit and often, for pleasure.  Sadly for the victims of the predator their only “defence” is to become prolific in numbers, thus exacerbating their eternal pain.

Any “starfarer” who happens to dwell for a time on this world would tell you this is a totally obsolete concept.  In fact deep down you all know this.  Yet it seems it cannot be shaken.  Somehow there’s always an excuse ready to be spouted to justify killing, whether it’s from the hunter, the “snagger” fisherman, the “farmer,” the butcher, or the spokesperson for the military industrial complex.  Predatory killing is part and parcel of this world’s modus operandi and those who rule it are not going to consider other ways as long as their way is profitable and feeds them power which they need not obtain through their own efforts.

For the empath, there is no comfort available anywhere on this world.  It’s sickness is ubiquitous.  The final solution is departure.

Meanwhile, one must process the information, store and divest the mind of its presence.  File and forget, day after day after day.  But in order to make sense of this before it goes in deep storage it is periodically necessary to stand and just feel.  Put up with the terrible discomfort of one’s mind residing temporarily in a small but intensely, excruciatingly painful hell.