Friday, July 31, 2015

Manifesting Change

December 22, 2010, the first day of the new sun 

Up the Mississippi came the feeling over me,
that something more transparent and intriguing’s come to be.
That starting here today my interaction in the game
has dialed back the frequency and I am not the same.

Typical in lifespans as we move along the arc
that begins completely centrist and moves outward when we start
our swing toward intensity complicit and evolved
designed so well to maximize experience, resolved
to always always stay the same, the game with us as players.
Regardless of the curving time we all become naysayers,
determined to ignore the later angling of the sun
and resisting all approach to landing flat when we are done.

Up the Mississippi came the feeling over me,
of my future interaction for as far as I can see.
I no longer lie along the apogee of arc,
where full frontal focus is required for the part.
Instead I lie along the curve where angles fast reduce
and what I see this day is my trajectory is loose
and my eyes see with diffraction much more thinly through the veil,
transparency inveigled by the rainbow in the trail.

I walk more lightly, move like fluid, smile between aware
and the beauties my diffracted vision show me, easing care
of my lifetime’s golden arc into the fray so fricking much
I can taste the mornings, smell the love, and feel again the rush.

Not the same. From a place I’ll never be again,
but through a mirror lightly as I float down to the end.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A-Musing Yourself

I call what I practice "musing," really what some deprecate as "daydreaming." I have found that the once-removed state of mind that comes from repetitive physical activities such as are ubiquitous in especially the lives of women is like loosening my mind muscles, taking a long-striding walk, following my nose to a more relaxed and settled place. Belledames have known this always and have used spinning, weaving, embroidery, knitting, and all the "traditional" feminine arts to help achieve a peaceful patience with life's chaos. Most recently, coloring has become a popular way to a-muse yourself, and a plethora of coloring books has arisen, from mandalas to dragons. For the busy person, the person bored with any routine, and others who find it difficult to set aside even a daily 10 minutes, consciously practicing the mind-walk of musing whenever the opportunity arises (maybe doing the dishes?) is a useful and effective tool in your emotional repair kit.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Part 1: The Confusion of Connectivity

Connecting to the Internet: Services

Okay, now I am really lost. There are so many options for so many devices and so many apps and so many programs that I am completely confused when something goes wrong and I have to address an issue.  Just how things connect to the internet is fraught with wrong turns and double meanings. 
For one basic example, take the difference between cable access to the internet  and wireless access to the internet.  Intuitively you are correct to think one comes through a cable and one comes through the air. Seems simple enough.  I have a city wireless service as my home internet access and so I have wifi (wireless) service, just as the coffee shops do. It comes through the air. I am lucky to live in a city that developed this kind of network citywide, but I find that it is a little clunky and that any videos I try to watch on the internet, which are available through the streaming of bits and bytes to your computer screen from the saved version that is on the internet, are buffered (they stop and load more bits and bytes every few seconds before proceeding).  A movie would be impossible to watch, although a young expert friend says that if you order one to download (transfer to your own computer hard disk) and go away so the video buffers itself completely into your machine, you can then watch it because it is already inside, not outside on the internet any more. I have not tried it. I rent DVDs at Redbox.

            The result of this experience, along with my publishing background (i.e. big and eccentric graphic files) makes me cautious about sending things through email to others, so often I will ask someone what kind of connection they have. Several of my friends in distant locations have told me they have wifi and that they don’t experience any problems with buffering like I do. I was feeling quite sorry for myself and called up my service to come tweak me, but so far it is only better some of the time.  This is because the air is full of the signals, if you are not tuned well to the node where the signals are emitted you will get interference. I understand this pretty well as analogous to radio and television signals and I am old enough to remember endlessly screwing with the rabbit ears.  

But my friends had none of these problems and I was really feeling stupid, so finally during a visit to one, I left her with her laptop in the living room and went to her office, where I found the cable. It has become standard for cable services to put a modem (receiver/translator) on the end of their cable into your house that sends to a router (broadcaster), which is another piece of equipment that you must buy, that sends the information through the air to your laptop, so you have a private network that is indeed wireless, while your network service provider is cable. My network service provider is wifi. My friends to a person did not know the difference but thought they had wireless providers–and in a sense they do, but the definition of provider is a technical one having to do with the company that gets you access to the internet. My friends have cable providers, and the signals through the cables are not subject to as much turbulence as mine through the air are. The wireless private broadcasting does not have to go very far to get to the living room. 

            Adding to the confusion is the smart phone. These have, in addition to the phone service (also wireless), their own wireless internet networks, but they are called 3G or 4G or some such that has to do with their speed and not their connectivity. When you sign a contract with AT&T or Verizon, you are buying a network service provider to give you an internet wifi network. Smart phones also offer a Setting where you can turn this direct network off (as you are paying for how much time you spend on it) and the smart phone will access the internet through your local wifi that you are already paying for from your cable or through-the-air service provider.  If you don’t have an internet service provider at home and you only have a smart phone, all your connectivity costs are through that contract.

            The newer Kindles offer the same connectivity to a wifi network,  for yet another contract with Amazon, so if you have one of those you might have a third wireless network that operates from the tablet. These networks are always available to your device (if you pay your bill) except in very remote locations. However, other tablets can be purchased that offer no 3G or 4G networks (no option for monthly service for wifi networks purchased in addition to the cost of the tablet) but use your home internet connection, so you can Set it up to automatically jump on your wireless network (either cabled in to you or through the air) to get full access to the internet that you are already paying for. However, if you leave home and are riding the bus or the train or such, that signal will disappear when you move away from it and you don’t have any connection at all. You can use these wifi enabled tablets in coffee houses, airports, hotels, and businesses that offer free or inexpensive hourly access through their own wifi networks by choosing whatever local wifi network is in your vicinity in the Settings folder of the tablet (they automatically show up there). The same is true of your smart phone if you want to save money by disabling it’s own network access. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Grandma's Little Helper

I seem to be having much more trouble than I used to with packaging, packaging of all kinds:  cardboard, thin plastic, thick plastic–it doesn’t seem to matter, I am just not good at getting it open. I am pretty sure this is because of an insidious plan by the manufacturing cabal to make their products seem more precious because we can’t get into them, not because of creeping arthritis and waning strength! Of course, it is possible that manufacturers are just using sturdier packaging today. Whichever, it doesn’t matter when the grandchild is crying for the doll you can’t disengage from its plastiform case.

So here is what I think.  Keep a boyscout pocket knife in your purse, or if you are like me and don’t use a purse, in your pants pocket. (I know that doesn’t help much when you are without pockets, but that is another rant for another day.) The carry-along sharps-and-pointy-things holder is a time and frustration saver over and over. Did you know that you can order a boyscout knife with any assortment you choose from over 30 tools? What fun!

At home I keep a tool kit on each floor of my house that has a small scissors, a big scissors, a stiff knife or other sharp tool, a flat screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, a tack hammer, and a pair of pliers with cap grip (most useful for twist-offs that don’t). The biggest trick is remembering to get what I need before I have trashed my teeth again. Funny, they don’t seem to work as well as they used to either.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Abide with Me

A chunk of years just cracked from me
and fell away, leaving free
the face I knew when I was young,
the me that I remember.

Exposed and squinting in the sun
these bricks feel new with curliques
of frieze around my window eyes,
slanting into smile.

The while it's been since light got through
seems momentary now that I
bring memory to masonry and
animate my past

with present options, easy now
the choices free and flowing, knowing
now again what I did then

that this dudette abides. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Symboleering with Chauncey Gardener

The weeds grow up in my gardens every time I glance away. When I notice how big they are getting I feel pressured, overloaded with my own intentions and commitments, and my focus begins to suffocate, strangled in the vines. When I just can't take it any more, I kill them with a sweaty sigh, and I feel lighter and organized and ready to move on.

The tall thick ones with the little ugly flowers are the most noxious, needing to go first as they are the the most negative of thoughts, the Icants that spring up overnight to haunt me. As they disappear I see the exuberant morning glories, tricky because they are ideas. I have too many ideas and have to husband the ones I want to grow, and the tangled masses I DON'T want to grow need to be pulled up by the roots. I planted some deliberately along the fence, seeds the gift from a gifted friend; magical. These I want to grow, and I must trim a lot of wood from the overhanging life-maintenance trees to get them some light. The trees are insidious, growing so slowly they cover the sun without my notice. Some serious limb-taking here!

I consider some of the bigger ones on the ground to see if there is beauty in leaving them. This time not; this time they all must go because I am full up with ideas and need to tend the right ones, the ones I planted on purpose. The vines mat and twist around my good intentions, and I gleefully pull them up by the handful. My oh my, three bags full. No wonder I was so confused!

Now I can see the brick borders I put in place, the shiny bushes I planted breathing their new sun, the ground mercifully uncluttered, and I stretch my back and feel satisfied that this was a productive morning.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Musing and the Hazard of Forgetting

It is hardly surprising that old people forget who they are. 

Over and over I have experienced the AHA moment of remembering something I thought I would never forget: peak experiences, insights, knowledge of my inner self, whatever. In fact, I am amazed that after so many years of existence I can remember myself at all!  So many memories, so much time. 

Perhaps I am tethered to reality a little more loosely than most, but given the opportunity to let my mind roam around an issue or create a dialogue about an event, I am astonished at how often I find a nugget of myself, learning a personal truth that I swore I committed to memory and apparently did not. Because here I was discovering it all over again–I knew that!  

Themes and memes from the past remain salient now and in the future, but each time I  seem destined to start from the beginning. Musing will often find the shortcut to an answer that I worked out before, but why can’t I just start with the answer and expand on it instead of forgetting I already know where to begin? Why is that previous realization not part of my conscious mental arsenal? And how many other answers will I NOT encounter, NOT bring into the present with me? How easy would it be to miss some important element of myself, as in where my limits are so I won’t go over them again or where my joy is so I can have it once more? It is an easy step from here to see that it would also be easy to leave behind even my name and address in a serious moment of attempted recollection, an attempt that could fail in the confusing fog of so many memories.

We assume we know who we are and, in the scheme of things, so we do–as long as we have interactions that reinforce those assumptions. People call us by name, we live at an often repeated address, our children’s expectations shape our responses. But what happens when people who we have counted on for years disappear, when our living circumstances change, our children move away, our partners die? Certainly less contact with the pillars of our existence encourages forgetting.

Perhaps more important, it takes energy to sort all those memories and pick out our own thoughts from dreams, others’ stories, even movies and books. We need to be motivated to spend that energy, to have some purpose for continuing to know ourselves. Such purpose comes from intensities, from passions, from love now and in the future. If you have lived your life for others who have gone or as only a reflection of your culture and your surroundings, it will be more difficult to find that golden thread that is you. Not only will you have less motivation to “find” yourself, you will have less skill at deliberate recall of a “yourself “ that you never were very aware of to begin with.  So easy to get lost.

All this is not to say that collapsing brain cells will not interfere with even the strongest sense of self and passion for the future. Certainly this kind of deterioration is a wicked way to lose your self, a sad and despicable facet of physical decay that confuses, perhaps eliminates our memories. But these are exceptional circumstances and I am only now referring to the exigencies of living a typical life to a typical end–the difficulties in keeping it all straight in our minds.

And once more (for perhaps the hundredth time) I come to the conclusion that practice is the answer. That an examined life is the road to retention, no matter how often I astonish myself with my forgetting.  No matter how much longer it takes as experience piles up. No matter how much energy it takes to sort those piles. There is no other way.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Symboleering: The Pursuit of Symbols

Finding a name for what I do took a long time. Really, in an examined life, who can describe all the different approaches and techniques we employ?  In my effort to keep an eye on the golden thread, the path to balance and serenity through my tumultuous and emotional life, I have tried comparative mythologies, formal meditation methods, psychedelics, psychics, prognostications of every stripe, poetry, art, and quantum physics. I recommend them all (well, the psychics were a little iffy). But each one, to give it a chance, requires a lot of focus - and I am so easily distracted. Squirrel! and I am off again.  What WORKS for me has become an amalgamation of all those, the gradual development of a philosophy that assumes connections among and beyond the lifeforms I call reality. 

SYMBOLEERING is the active pursuit of synchronicity in my life - by watching for signs and symbols around me. When I view my surroundings thinking "like" or "as," a bridge becomes me crossing the river of time to another phase of life (The Bridge: Using Symbols to Build your Life); the building going up next door becomes the edifice where I imagine the basement as the foundation of my future and I can fill it with a list of personal necessities  (physical activity, community with friends, and so forth) that I want as the building blocks of that foundation. The analogies cause me to think about myself.

In the morning I stop and look into the sky for a sign about the day - birds soaring mean one thing, lack of birds means another, birds coming to rest a third. Is it a lone bird?  That is me. Is it a pair of birds? That is me and my partner. (A whole flock is too much trouble though and means "no message today":) I take what I get and relate it to tasks or dreams or issues or whatever is in my head to make some sense of it, making it up as I go. 

The thing is, humans are designed to make connections, to connect the dots, and the thoughts gathered by symboleering, regardless of whether you think they are messages from the universe or just silly frippery, can be analytical tools to use on your own psyche. Try out ideas, images, dreams. Find meaningful stories in what you notice and you will find you have a new perspective on yourself, and you may just have something to learn.