Mysterious Homeostasis

Life is mysterious. And when I think of life, I think of organisms, even single celled ones, that strive toward homeostasis, toward a kind of inner balance between interdependent elements inherent in any living system. This striving is powerful and  mysterious and lies at the core of some touch therapies, maybe in truth most healing. But some modalities aim with more precision at clearing of pathways for that inner self correcting force. 

These days we have bodywork of all kinds available to us, few understand the difference, fewer even have an inkling of the potential inherent in varied touch therapy approaches. It is not my intention to offer an outline of such, or promote a certain type of bodywork here. What interests me, always has and always will and what I want to try and somehow describe is some of that mystery that happens in effective healing.

While all bodywork is somewhat non-linear, judged on a continuum, say against more traditionally western masculine trades, there are notable differences. Within the realm of bodywork some  approaches will fall on to a more yin or feminine, specter of sides. The manual therapies lend themselves to a hands on, active, yang, 'get-things-fixed’ kinda manipulative mentality. The kind we are so familiar with in our society, the kind of left brain, linear, 'got a problem-will solve it' masculine attitude. 

There are though some approaches that are more focused on listening and following and waiting for a response from within the receiver. There are some methods that avoid a goal oriented, forceful approach in favor of trusting the unknown, hanging with possibilities, resting in presence and studying the here and now. The Taoist art of non-doing is a challenge for us westerners. Yet, the Taoists really knew about life being a river and how not to obstruct the flow. I am thinking about approaches that seek to get out of the way and allow for the river to find it's own natural course. It takes commitment to refrain from making a riverbed, from making it happen. It takes trust in the processes of life, the mysterious, but powerful force in us all that seeks homeostasis. It takes presence and it takes focus. A kind of soft, inclusive focus.

As we are present to a body, any body really, ours or another, if we listen and observe we will eventually notice something, maybe a sensation like heat or cold, a tingle or a shudder, or a slight tightening. Maybe our attention might be drawn to  an old and familiar symptom, maybe some pain or discomfort. Just maybe we may notice impulses to move, maybe particular body parts may call on us. It takes some practice to discern which of these myriad of possibilities to follow and give our attention to. Always at first it is a wait and see and breath and relax, or nothing of note will develop.

Invariably though, after some sinking in to the present moment, something will want to hold our focus and we are well in giving that our undivided attention. Nobody can know what will unfold, but always there will be some movement. In general from sensation to feeling, on to experience, insight and integration. From the present maybe, not necessarily, but often, we may move to the past where we might recollect memories that will need integration back in the present. 

Not all of these stages are passed by everyone all the time, but in my experience I consider it best, if that is encouraged and there is sufficient time for all stages to be incorporated, so as to be able to reconfigure on a higher level of organization, or homeostasis.

I realize that I failed to convey the sense of magic and mystery that transpires as we follow those seemingly autonomic processes, as we give up our own will in favor of something deeper and a lot more mysterious. As this force gathers momentum and comes to a crescendo and we are flooded with insight, it is hard not to feel gratitude and simple awe for life's extraordinary provisions.

to be continued ...

Happy Harvest Full Moon!

This morning's loot: Flowers from the Community Garden and apples picked from the neighbor's tree, with express permission, as they have been overwhelmed with too much goodness. They are a bit over ripe and infested, but supposedly very good. 

By the afternoon a rainstorm had grown powerful enough to shatter my pretty boutquet and leave my tallest glass vase in pieces, so the flowers are in a holy mess now. But my new rain barrel that had been sitting there for weeks on empty is now overflowing. We need the moisture, the fall colors seemed to seriously suffer from our dry spell. 

So Happy Harvest Full Moon! The intensity of our weather seems to correlate perfectly with the current astrological symbolism (Moon, Jupiter, and Uranus in Pisces.) 

"Your glass-bottom boat that allows you to observe your own and the collective "sea life" is your higher mind--lower mind just rocks the boat! This Is how Astrologer Alan Oken puts it and he warns that relationship issues, often conflicts, are likely once the Moon moves in to it's fullness in Aries to oppose the Sun in Libra on the 23. tomorrow.

Meanwhile Astrologer Dana Gerhardt invites to a little moon magic and asks us to bath in this special Harvest Moon light and ask ourselves the question of what it is we might want to manifest in these coming 3 months. And then watch for the answers in what happens to the moon. If the light brightens we can take that as a resounding yes, if clouds are moving across we may reconsider. And according to Dana, we have always the choice to redo the whole exercise and start over as this powerful time is to last for at least 3 days. But what if no moon is visible as stormy weather reins?

9/15 Part IV - My Seventies

I wanted to give a bit more of a flavor of my seventies, so I dug up some old photos to share with you.
This is Alec Rubin in performance at The Theater Within in a very characteristic pose of his, focused simultaneously inward and outward, likely in process of making his artistic choices at that very moment; what feelings to follow and reveal, which to ignore.
Stoni, my Swiss buddy, friend and New York room mate. Later he would have his own dance company in Berlin. Together we were able to afford an apartment on the 'very lower east side' of Manhattan.
717 East 5th Street (Avenue C - D)
New York, NY 10023
A seriously rough and tough neighborhood.
This particular building resisted gentrification for long. 
Odd that later I would move in to 717 Manhattan Ave..
Out of the drab neighborhood, inside my first home of my own (Stoni, a dancer soon moved on to study Skinner Releasing Technique in Seattle) cheerful colors pleased me. 
I was happy in my abode despite the roaches that were aplenty, and one freaking rat next door.
What I left behind was my dear friend Joe, 
artisan, actor and painter 
with a truly artistic, sensitive soul.
Here he posed for me in front of his store
with one of his own, gorgeous carpet shoulder bags 
(so like the bag that held my belongings
when I first entered the US.)
Joe was able to create anything he put his mind to, so it seemed. Joe's Creations were masterly crafted pieces of practical art, be they furnishings, as he was so generous in gifting our The Stuebli with, or clothing as with his intricate vests and house shoes or acessories like hand and shoulder bags with secret compartments created with the use of recycled silken ties.

9/15 Part III

This was to be my account about my arrival to the US. Instead I digressed and lingered with what had come before. Why did I ever leave Zuerich and later Amsterdam?

Zurich has been named consistently as one of the world's most contented cities and certainly boasts one of the highest living standards. Why would anyone leave? I consider myself a cultural refugee and friends that immigrated like me to the US agree. We felt hampered in our development, stultified by Swiss social norms and expectation and the forever powerful push to achieve and play it save. 

I was hooked, line and sinker, in to the kind of unconventional art therapy we practiced. The idea of exploring the unconscious and bringing it up to the light in a creative, artistic, expressive form made total sense to me. What can I say, I am from the Pluto in Leo generation, the attraction was inevitable, a perfect fit. It was our anti-dot to the analytical, way too intellectual, divorced from the body, Jungian approach, prevalent then in Zuerich. It was this desire that propelled me on my search and got me, a Cancer home body to explore not the exotic East at a guru's feet in India (although I surely was tempted at various times) but brought me to Amsterdam and the US eventually. It was my conscious choice to stay rooted in a psychological, rather then a spiritual tradition and in that way to renounce the temptation of salvation through a distant exotic guru, like Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Hey, it was the seventies, temptations were many!

I longed to fully immerse myself in those transformative processes, and so I did for my first few years in the US with Alec Rubin's Primal Theater.

bouquet of the day

Gathered on today's walk through the park
from the Community Garden
after outright permission was given.

9/15 Part Two

We had listened to Krishna Murti in Brockwood, England, spent a few days in London and it was time for me to leave everything I knew behind and board the cheapest flight to America. I wore my  favorite Genie pants,  created by dear Joe just for me from old soft curtains that flowed wide down my legs and gathered around my ankles. The other pair was at the bottom of my carpet shoulder bag, another work of practical art from recycled fabric by gifted Joe, a former actor turned artisan. I had perfected the art of traveling light and had become a true carpetbagger! There were two convenient outside pockets. The front one held my money,  passport, pen, special color pencils and Chinese diary, the back one held my toiletries, no room for a  hair brush, but chopsticks and a package of Miso (Barley Paste.) Little did I understand that plenty of Miso was to be had in the Asian parts of New York City.

The stewardess would come around to offer drinks and food. I did not accept. I heard them wonder out loud if maybe I was afraid of cost and if maybe I did not understand it was included in the fare. True I barely understood English and was not sure if I was expected to pay, but I also felt snobbish, as I had been eating very clean, involved with the Macrobiotic Restaurant in Amsterdam for over 2 years and limited to vegetarian fare ever since I had moved out my parent's home. I despised conventional meat based meals. Of course I also was young and anxious, in no mood to eat. Now I am old and eat any time anywhere, although I am still a snob of sorts as to the quality of food. But then I often preferred to abstain from eating for extended periods of time, especially while traveling.

When finally I arrived in the US, at Kennedy Airport, it was after midnight and the buses had stopped running. Of course I would not dream of spending my money on a cab, much less would I have known where to take it to. So I settled on one of the benches in the back, prepared to spend a few hours until the first bus would take me in to Manhattan proper. This black worker noticed me and asked where I was going to and assured me he would wake me and take me right after his shift to the first running bus. This he did and as we were crammed in early morning traffic he inquired about where exactly I was going. No idea I told him, he insisted that I must know someone in New York. So I took out my address book and showed him my only New York address, the one of my mentor/teacher. I was not even sure how, if and when I would contact Alec, but this black guy decided this was where I was to go and he would bring me there safely. He got us in to the A train that of course would not stop on W 72nd street which did not deter him, we got out and right back the other way until he safely deposited me at the proper station. All the while he would comment on my incredible calm. And he was right, I was on alert, focused and present. Say what you will about New York and black guys, but that man gave me an impressive welcome. Talk about the kindness of strangers, specifically from a black guy to a white woman, with no strings attached! He did more then got out of his way and this after a long night's work.

I was Alec's guest for several months. Barely able to speak English, I took part in an extemporaneous performance series that kept us busy most nights in to the early morning hours. I practiced the slipping in and out of altered states. Form Follows Feelings was Alec's motto and we worked hard at perfecting our form at any given moment and were diligently in the pursuit of our feelings. I practiced my Mermaid  persona at the edge of the pond in Central Park. On my way I would pass the Dakota where John and Yoko had their home. (The night of John's murder we were attending a piano concert by the amazing Keith Jarret, only blocks away.) Alec had taught at the Actor's Studio, had been a Ballet Dancer and had developed his very own style of performance art. The man had charisma with a great sense of humor. Our rehearsals were adventures in to inner space. We never knew where it would lead us and if we would have the guts to follow - all the way. We practiced our emotional vocabulary and grounded ourselves in to our bodies.

I took up Contact Improvisation a form of movement that relies on gravity and a smooth, uninterrupted flow. I gave up on Tai Chi, Chinese martial arts, too boring in comparison, so it seemed to me then. Although with my Dutch master Joe Onvlee, Tai Chi had never ever been boring, but Joe with his beer belly, greasy hair and sparkle in his eyes was extra-ordinary and employed methods by Gurdjieff that kept us on our toes, or rather in our core or Tantiem. He would yell at us: "Relax, relax, relax" and then burst out laughing. He would tell us funny stories while we had to hold our space for what seemed an eternity, with no adjustments to alleviate any discomfort. He would have us practice in front of a mirror, confusing us. He would pick a senior student to invent a form we had to follow, on the spot, as if we always had done so. Joe Onvlee was phenomenal and had an international following and was likely the first to spread Tai Chi in and through out Europe and beyond.

Yeah, it was the seventies and I had the good fortune to have come upon some charismatic folks: Dear sensitive Joe the actor turned artist and expert crafts man, the one that made it possible to leave my parent's home while I was still a student, Dwuno, the powerful and mysterious Dutch/Indonesian puppet maker, bohemian and Taoist, Joe Onvlee, the Dutch sailor with his wicked smile, that introduced Chinese martial arts to us Hippies, Paulo Knill the Swiss director of the Lesley College Theater department, who gave us absolute permission to be ourselves, even sleep through his classes in order to please ourselves rather then him the teacher. Last but not least Alec Rubin, former ballet dancer turned therapist and acting coach along the lines of the Actors Studio. I had been deeply involved with each of those gigantic souls. They each transformed my life. And all of this happened outside any formal school or institution, with no need to pledge future income for decades. With no aspirations, at least on my part, to garner certificates or titles and letters behind my name. We were driven by our own excitement only.

to be continued ...

9/15 - Part One

Today, September 15th, 32 years ago, I left Europe for good, not knowing then that I would become a US citizen and would make my home in the United States. I was a reluctant adventurer, nervous about not knowing where, what and how. I had no family or friends in the US only friends that had been to California and had experiences I too longed to have.

In the seventies, in Switzerland, most of us in our teens and twenties, we considered ourselves the alternative, the cutting edge, of what, we did not really know. We had our own tiny tea room (The Stuebli) where despite rumors, no drugs were to be had. We all sat on the floor, on carpeted pillows crafted to perfection by my dear friend Joe. We sipped herbal teas, welcomed strangers and fed them brown rice with sauteed onion rings, for free. We were anti-establishment and anti-commercialism in general and on principle. And this in the heart of Europe, Zuerich, the center of banking and commerce, and high standard of style and living.

Likely because of it, we sought community and altered states, some with and some without the help of drugs. We took delight in spontaneous humming and chanting or silences. Some of us took part in Dwuno's "Under-intellectual Gatherings." Fritze had his own essential oil line even then. I remember how this big man, with his big heart, and his big nose, which afforded him an exquisite sense of smell, introduced me to the scent of Vetivier. This happened decades before essential oils would go main stream.

Dear Fritze, then 24 years old, was also the guy that introduced us to solar power as he showed us a simple water container painted black. From him I learned, in the very early seventies, of glaciers about to melt and communities, such as San Francisco, about to drown (timing may not have been his forte.) Global Warming is not a new concept. It has been on the horizon for many decades already. Al Gore has shown us how coastal communities will likely be threatened by the warming atmosphere that melts our glaciers and gives rise to higher sea levels. (One of the saddest and most shocking things I heard was recently from a light (not exactly white) pigmented South African photographer who considers Global Warming a myth perpetuated to keep the up and coming nations down so as not to permit them the same opportunities the western world already exploited!)

Fritze played an important role in Speak Out, an organization by youth for youth in trouble, with the law or drugs. Speak Out had it's outreach center in old town among the whores that then still were able to work the streets day and night. Some of those at risk youths got a chance at intervention in a therapeutic community setting in the country. It was the early seventies, a time for experimentation, for shedding social roles and 'jumping the system' (as we would say in Hakomi Therapy terminology.) 

Every New Year, for some unknown reason, we watched Easy Rider (of course I never ever dreamed that I would make my home near Taos where good parts of this movie were shot.) We read Carlos Castaneda's first book in it's boot legged print in German. Books on Massage and Bioenergetics followed. Carlos from South America showed up and with him we had our own  Bioenergetics Thearpist (young and sexy) that helped us breath right through our own personal blockades. We even took a workshop with an Esalen Massage Therapist given at our 5 bedroom apartment. Paulo Knill, Director then of the Theater Department at the liberal arts Lesley College in Boston would inspire us with his weekly Thursday morning classes, where I first learned the basics of Contact Improvisation, of trusting the ground we stood and rolled on. We learned to engage our core muscles and go with the flow while we were free to feel our feelings. Paulo had embraced the principles of Primal Therapy. Primal scream boxes popped up in attics and cellars all over. We were intent on liberating the inner hurt child by feeling our feelings and working through our primal pains. By embodiment of our  injuries we hoped to transform ourselves from victims in to empowered, creative, artistic, fully alive human beings.  Those were powerful and transformative and today I would say also strangely addictive processes.

We listened to Leonhard Cohen, Cat Stevens, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd and later John and Yoko, to name only a few, but most often engaged with spontaneous acoustic music wherever it erupted, often played on a guitar, with a sitar thrown in for good measure, sometimes accompanied by a flute that would soar up high and not to forget Bongos of all sizes to be pounded upon. Yeah, even I would wander those ancient streets of old town after midnight. I would softly play my little wooden recorder and felt an alienation that strangely suited me, that seemed to set me apart from main stream. 

We shopped, when we could afford it, at Mister Natural, our first alternative health food store. Dwuno would severely reprimand us when we brought conventional commercial brown rice to our tea room. In the early mornings I would walk down the hill with an aluminum (I am afraid those were the kinds used then) kettle of fresh whole milk in hand for our Chai of the day or rather night. I have fond memories of those very early and very late peaceful times on ancient, cobble stoned, narrow, rivulet-like streets.  I had been liberated only recently from an ordinary, somewhat stultifying Swiss childhood. Times seemed sweet and and full of promise. 

In search of further altered, exalted states I departed from Zuerich and later Amsterdam to eventually arrive in New York, the United States exactly 32 years ago to this day.

Continued with Part Two 

Street Smarts

This guy staggered up the road, it was already dark, cradling a bottle of something in his arms, he hollered and gestured towards my pups. Meeting the devil rather head on, then have him behind my back, I responded and we got to talking. Turns out this old man with light hair was born like me in the year of the horse. He looks shockingly old to me considering the fact that I am his age.

He offered to teach me Hispanic cuisine. This after I have been preoccupied with my pride in my own home made goodies. I declined his offer to teach me the making of re-fried beans, just the way his father had taught him,  but learned that he likes our community because he can make plenty of money, he says from tourists, without the need to attend to his business of window cleaning! So, well meaning tourists, as he called them, keep at least this one homeless, alcoholic street guy in our town with their generous donations. I always said that giving to beggars is not the wisest of choices.  

While I understand of course the motivation of wanting to do good, and can appreciate the gesture of offering some money to those in seeming need, it may in actuality keep some from getting their life in order and work for a living!  Giving money to addicts helps to fuel their vice, better steer them to a real meal, a roof over their heads, rehabilitation if so desired. Instead though I keep hearing of soft hearted (brained?) folks in support of giving to those asking. I say proper helping is an art. Teach them to fish, rather then dole out small fry!

Home Made

For breakfast I baked myself a Plum pie (Waehe) and for lunch - and dinner I made myself Humus for the first time since I was a teen, many decades ago. I have been buying so much Humus of  late from Trader Joe's, our finest and maybe most affordable grocery store, I figure it's time to apply myself and attempt to make it from scratch myself. 

It was not that easy to find Garbanzo beans which surprised me, but not being big on eating beans in general, it's a section in the grocery store I too often ignore, I let it slide. I found the beans at our local exotic Ziggy market. The recipes on line all started out with canned beans, how offensive and totally unacceptable. I am sure I did not spend enough time in research, or would have found more natural methods of making Humus. As it was, I ditched the on-line info anyhow, but soaked my beans for 2 days, until they almost started to sprout and it seemed time to get at it. Can't be too difficult, can it? The question first was if the sprouted beans really need to be cooked after  such a long soak? I am not sure, but in the end I put them on a very slow boil for 2 hours. The smell that emanated after a while was oddly familiar, yes, I have done this before. I managed miraculously without burning one single bean.

In to the blender: The juice of 2 lemons, more might have been better, a bit of Olive oil, freshly ground Black Pepper, several dashes of Cayenne, a piece of Hatch Green Chile (others might have added several at one time) Garlic, lots of Parsley, a bit of Brewer's Yeast, a bit of Wheat Germ, Braggs, a few pinches of Celtic salt, one batch with tomatoes and one without. All blended after which beans are added to the right consistency. The mixture lends itself to experimentation. More lemons, more parsley, more and different spices might all be desirable. But it is doable even for me who tends to burn water and often does not want to bother with food preparations.

2 cups of dry beans made so much I hope the Humus lends itself to freezing? It will sit up there in the frost among my apple - and crabapple sauce, the cooked down pears and the bright green Salsa. 

Home made cooking, a source of unexpected pride and joy.


Thinking about guilt and shame I wanted to mention that last week I was summoned for grand jury duty to District Judge Michael Vigil's court. I was not at all opposed to serve and do my civic duty. In fact I had been trying to get on juries of mock courts for curiosity. A bit similar as when I applied at our seat of government, in walking distance of my home, to serve as secretary to two House Representatives for two legislative seasons. I was curious and wanted to understand the process more. We also had a surplus, oh those were the times, so there seemed to awaite plenty of excitement in dolling out the pork.

The day before I was to appear in court I walked by with my two pups in hopes of getting the scoop, the lay of the land so to say. It turned out that only 2 hours later Judge Vigil was threatened with his life by phone and the whole court had to shut down, including the near by school for safety measures. By the next morning they had already apprehended this 22 year old man from Chimayo,  who had attempted to buy himself some more time from sentencing with his phone threat to our esteemed judge. 

Emotions were running high at our assembly room. We learned that certain things were required of jury members, things that are not obvious to too many we were told. Like requests to not arrive late and most certainly not inebriated and not dressed inappropriately, (probably has mostly to do with skirt and neck lines, I assume.) Further leaving another in place was and still is not acceptable, but tried many times.

Well I was willing, eager and able but - got rejected, I learned by the choices of a computer system. It was decidedly not my looks or lack of education, since that Los Alamos scientist that invented some kinda important part for wind farms was also rejected. I felt really disappointed, but I know that I will get over this kind of rejection soon enough and as always, we never know to what good may come from any one ball thrown our way in the end.

To Shame Or Not Is My Question?

I just happened to come upon this interesting article. It says Sweden cut prostitution in half over the last 10 years, not seemingly by further criminalization and neither by stiffening their penalties, fines have been kept rather low, but by public exposure of the buyers of sex services and economic support and education for the sex workers. Could or should public shaming be an answer? 

Locally, one of our judges shamed inmates with the wearing of color coded hats that exposed the nature of their offenses to the general public during their community service, like the picking up of litter along our main drag. The judge got in to hot water for keeping lousy records, maybe falsifying some, and steering income to her helper in court, so the hats did not last long enough to deduce their effect. The judge, not a lawyer, has since moved on to become a beautician and avoided a future as a check-out girl at Safeway (worries the lady expressed in one of her interviews after her fall from grace.) I like to add that this very same judge saved me from a steep fine, received during an all out effort to reduce speeding with traps, and instead got me in to a defensive driving course which impressed me a lot more then any fine ever would have and got me to watch my speed closely ever since.

Could or should a society resort to shame as a means of keeping it's members in check?
Up until now my understanding of shame was to drive whatever the it might be in to the psychological shadows, out of sight, but not necessarily out of mind (in the spirit of Bradshaw's toxic shame.) I am no fan of suppression or the splitting off of psychological aspects of one's personality. And I have little tolerance for the shame induced by religious doctrines, especially when their leaders lead lives too often of excesses and secrecy. 

But I wonder if today's modern society allowed boundaries of right and wrong to become too permeable? Could shaming offer guidance in the judgment of what is right from what is wrong? Craigslist took out their adult service section or sex ads and left a banner that says "Censored". Personally I was glad to hear that news. Human trafficking and child porn are wrong not to mention killing. The guy that killed a massage therapist he contacted on craigslist was to face trial, but suicided and yes, spared in doing so a whole lot of expense to society. I loath the proximity of such perverts, deviants, sickos when I scour Craigs listings. 

As a society how do we balance personal freedom with protecting the vulnerable? Of course there are those that want no one to interfere with what adults chose to do with other adults, least of all the government. Freedom reigns supreme to them, maybe to me too.

But I am reminded of myself in my late teens smoking downstairs, waiting for my audition with the guru, the teacher, yes, it was the early seventies. I was introduced to Asanas, yoga positions. The guy, the guru's helper, a ruddy, orange haired and rosy cheeked Austrian with bright blue eyes and freckles, expressed such dismay over my supposed lack of flexibility, mostly with his eyes and maybe a few disapproving grunts or some such, that when I walked away from that experience I had lost my appetite for smoking, just like that! Cigarettes were never mentioned. But somehow I was very effectively shamed in to making a very good and healthy decision and that not just for myself but the world at large. (Imagine the pollution from 1 pack of Gaulloise a day less in the atmosphere, not to speak of the likely health costs I might have burdened my community with.)

I hate making decisions, don't trust I can stick with any of them, so avoid them. But the humiliation somehow got to me, convinced me, to do the 'right' thing. I am so grateful that now as an older adult I do not have to struggle with the breaking of a smoking addiction. I am grateful to the guy that showed me his disdain. In fact I happened to come upon him a few years later in Amsterdam and we had a very amicable exchange, where I was able to thank him for the profound effect he had upon me.

I wonder if modern society just has lost a sense of accountability. Boundaries have become too permeable, right and wrong have become too exchangeable, wrong too easily justified, or tolerated. As an adult I am no longer welcome to connect to a kid of strangers. The saying that it takes a village to raise a kid has no meaning in our modern society. I am not to interfere with a parent's right. The effect must be that kids are never exposed any more to approval or disapproval from strangers and society at large. To not appear too simplistic I link this article, sorry in German, because it  laments idiotic statements of strangers to mothers and lists the 15 top annoying or weirdest ones in opposition of what I just wrote above.

I love my friend Emily, the only one that actually will respond to my dogs and treat them at opportune moments as if they were hers, corrects them, relates to them and does not wait for me to mediate between them. I love that. It is rare these days. Only today I came upon a young kid smoking a cigar while walking his dog at the park. In a friendly tone I congratulated him on choosing the open space to smoke (I endured cigar smoke from an inconsiderate jerk in a crowded small dance space.) I did want him to know though that I did not approve of smoking, that I knew and I hoped he knew about the ill effects of smoke to his lungs and health in general. Of course he has his choices, but I too have my opinions and I chose to express them. Partially in hopes that like for me, someone just may feel an effect, an impulse for the better for themselves and the world at large.

The truth is we do have an effect upon each other, we are so permeable and what we do or do not do causes ripples all around us. We can not escape our interconnectedness, cognizant of such or not. I believe in openness and  civilized expression of self to others.  

I am still not sure about there being a role or not for shame in a modern, psychologically enlightened society? Maybe my generation, us Hippies, threw the baby out with the bath water? In our attempt to cast the shame of our childhoods, off our backs, and out of our marrow, we may have neglected an aspect of social consciousness important to all civilizations?

My Indian facebook friend Manav contemplated along similar lines, at roughly the same time from the perspective of a different culture: .."guilt is a normal and natural reaction to us giving ourselves pleasure at someone else's expense..." That has the ring of truth, doesn't it?

Wanting to please ourselves is most natural to all organisms. While dogs may look guilty to us under our disapproving eyes, science has proven they feel no such thing. Guilt is not part of the canine vocabulary, and shame should not be part of the human experience. I guess because shame implies that we in our being, rather then in our actions, are bad. We can change our behavior, but we can not change who we are. We really have to eradicate this kind of toxic guilt. Good psychotherapy goes at the root of such, was made to remedy such and free us, thanks to Freud and Jung and all those that followed.

So how come the Swedes, a sexually liberated society we are told, feel guilty about paying for sex? How come public humiliation worked in the effort of curbing prostitution? Questions well worth pondering, what do you think?

Effectiveness Due To Kindness

What an effective day it has been, I really love it! I used to have such more often, but not so these days. But today besides getting my new sofa literally only minutes before they were to leave town, after I had only just discovered it after midnight on Craig's list, I got it installed with the able arms and hands of the prior owner, a lady now on her way to resettle in Arizona.

Next the tables turned and I was able to offer my help to an almost 90 year old couple who of course did not wait for my delayed arrival (due to my new sofa) but had already unpacked and gotten slightly irritated with the puzzle of putting together their new King size bed frame. One got to love those independent folks living on their own in nice homes of their own green design. Even if they tend to not want to listen to me and you. So they got the heavy metals unpacked and all lined up and then we fiddled, for hours, but got it done. In with the new and out with the old. It felt good to assist those so capable folks that can not quiet understand why their bodies are no longer the way they used to be. Why keeping a balance with limited eye sight can be so hard, why lifting what used to be nothing had become such a challenge. It's my guess that most old looking folks feel young and wonder what (the fuck) happened!

Back home with the help, not of a kind stranger, but my willing and able friend Emily, a handy-woman, I got my one day bed back up the stairs and installed to my liking. Amazing Emily immediately knew what was the matter with my sliding door, demanded a screw driver and matches to fix what had bothered me for weeks. She also helped me change my leaky rainwater barrel to a new one and fitted the top perfectly to the spout, a feat I had not had the slightest inclination on how to accomplish. 

Blessed are those that help others with their needs and wants. It is so great to share and make a difference in another's life, especially when seasoned with plenty of kindness and laughter. It feels wonderful to no longer have to rely on my X-husband for fixing this, that and the other. I am feeling more willingness to learn, but I also like a bit of acknowledgment in the fact that I must be genetically challenged on the matter of life's practical side. My Dad could not get rid of a spider, never held a tool in his hands to my recollection and seemed to have been born with utterly useless, if handsome hands. Yes, both of my parents had long fingers with well shaped nails, not at all like mine, but hey, at least I make some use of my digits in my profession as a massage therapist.  To each their own, but if we can share and help out each other - all the better.

Inequities Remedied

What an effective day it has been, love it! I got the sofa I had only just discovered around midnight on craigslist in by early morning, hours only before the ladies were to leave town. I love the warm wood of this futon frame and am particularly fond of the cabinets on both sides. I always wondered why those spaces would go wasted? My main motivation though for this acquisition has been the inequitable sleeping arrangements in our home of late. My little Sumo-boy insists on sleeping with me. The moment I lie down, no matter the time, he will race towards me in hopes of pressing his back against my side all night long. The kitty will join in the morning, but for Isabella-girl there simply has been no room, my daybed simply is too small and narrow for the four of us. 

For the first 2 1/2 years of living with my furry ones I had no intention of sharing my bed and furniture. I had done all my reading in preparation of Isabella's, my first dog's arrival and got her and each subsequent furry one a nice fluffy white bed of their own. When Sumo joined us about half a year after Isabella's arrival, I was rather harsh in getting him off the furniture, including my table. I started to lose my resolve with the arrival of our Pretty Kitty, our Black Panther, our independent spirit who will hear nothing of others boundaries and preferences. How could I keep my little dog off when the cat took over and made himself comfortable right on top of me? When I strained my back and had trouble moving and walking my pups, that is when I caved in and let Sumo sleep in my arms. While in so many ways he is a real guy, independent, fearless, eager to go out and explore, hunt whatever comes his way, and making cunning use of his small size and large spirit, in some ways he is simply a lap dog looking for the most comfortable spots, be it my or another's lap. I must admit though a little warm fuzzy, furry one can feel very cozy, even healing.

Once Sumo is settled the kitty moves in and I watched many a time with fascination as he keeps on sneaking up at Sumo, driven it seems by a powerful desire to cuddle and rub up against. Isabella almost the size of three Sumos is kinda left out in all this. From the very beginning she has offered her bed, her toys, her food to Sumo, willing to share all she had, but Sumo will have none of sleeping with girls, no matter how small she presses herself in to a far corner of her bed. Sumo seeks closeness to me, the Pretty Kitty and Isabella seek out Sumo. My heart hurts for those twos and this happened way before I ever let this little guy sleep with me, happened almost every night for 1 1/2 years.

So, it is my sincere hope that finally with a big enough bed for the four of us we will all be back in one pack with no seeming preferential treatments. I hold high hopes that this will address my girl's bad mood of late where she seems to have a need to assert herself and test her alpha status with other dogs.
Don't they look like they belong, 
like this has been their spot forever?