Monday, November 23, 2009

Should I?

Long time since my last posting, and Ms. Sparrow hasn't written anything for a while. Granted she is traveling, perhaps there will be a summation of her trip.

In the mean time Charles Tart is asking for submissions for his YouTube series about his consciousness research. I was saying to a friend that it would be interesting to know the origins of the idea of 'should,' the feeling that one 'must,' 'has to.' She echoed the Buddha: 'let go.' Yes, of course, it is about letting go. That isn't the question.

My question was stimulated by that one of Ms. Sparrow's: 'Why can't people fully let go?' So my question about 'shoulds' is explicitly about expectations. Just telling one not to have them is redundant: don't have expectations, let go, don't should, etc., -- all the same thing.
Let me rephrase it so as to be absolutely clear.

What is the mechanism of sticky, expecting, shouldy, non let go-itivness?!

Why does it happen? Saying shouldy non let go-itiveness happens because of expectation, is like saying that rain is caused by precipitation. If you say 'desire,' as a blanket cause, what about hunger, and needing sleep? Ah, but those are natural, it is just the sticky desires, you say: ergo 'stickiness.' See above question.

Anyway, I have an answer to this. The chakras are ways to 'see' the world. I put 'see' in quotes because each chakra is rather more like its own unique sense, as sight is to smell or hearing. Now if you hear a tiger from a recording, you have trained yourself to not need the congruity of having to see a tiger as well. Think of each sense as an opinion about what is happening. A sense of what is happening, we say. So it is with the chakras. You have seven different opinions about everything you experience. Because they all channel through the feeling-mind we think they are the same. Our brain makes the experience seamless, just as with our other senses, giving us a 'whole.'

Just like the physical senses, the energy senses can encounter circumstances which are not coherent. So while your first chakra may enjoy the hollywood blockbuster, your third-eye sees it as boring. So was the film exciting or boring? It was both, and five other senses of it as well.

Where 'shoulds' come from is the chakras trying to get each other to agree with them, or the attempt to sum these into a coherent picture. Why can't the world be bittersweet, full of love-hate, and dangerous-opportunity? Agree to disagree with yourself. You contain different worlds of experience.

In ecology, the greater the number of 'ways' that different species of plants and animals can co-exist is the system's strength. In economics, having greater numbers of producers allows for choice, without discrimination. The strength of democracy is having many people see an issue from many sides, its weakness is that it leads to arguing instead of agreeing to disagree and a celebration of our differences.

This ecocracy starts with our own inner arguments. Each chakra has an equal say about any experience. Even in the most horrific there can be the beautiful, even in the most beautiful there can be darkness. If we can't agree to disagree with ourselves who can we?

Yet there is something beyond tolerating our own difference from ourselves. I do not contradict myself, I contain a divergence of valid opinions. Multivalent cohesiveness requires more than tolerance, more than putting up with what you don't like. It is easy if we all agree; if we disagree then there is tension so long as I think that you are misguided.

Reiss would suggest 'self hugging,' as the problem. Our motivations, what we want, are the right ones. In other words, "What I like is erotica; what you like is pornography." Remember I am talking about ourselves' desires, the desires that become 'sticky' when they are trying to implicate that another way of our loving is getting it wrong.

Walk on Walt Whitman, walk on.

Mr. Kingfisher

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You are what you own.

Do you own it?

Most people don't - some examples:

1.  The gaping hole.
    All you need is some duct tape... and there! I fixed it.

2. The prepackaged fix (or Get someone else to do it for you).
    Sure they bill you lots of money, but hell you can put it on your credit card.

3. Working for that pension in thirty years.
     Just keep your head down, somewhere between your knees is probably good.

They don't own it. They don't have the guts to try. Try what?
Whatever it is. You know... "It."
You've been wanting to do it since you figured out what it was. Usually in your teen years.
Some people as soon as they realise it, hide it from themselves. They know they won't do anything about it, so why torture themselves about being a failure? That they never went for it. They didn't even try to do it.

And you want to know why I think that is? It's because you need to own it. Other people have expectations of you: shoulds and should'nts. It's just easier, or rather lazier, to do what they want -- what we think it is that they want. When you own it, any of it, you are responsible. Not in the good boy/girl, pat on the head, way. In the existential, acting without a net, totally adrift in autonomous individuality, way. It is yours. It isn't like everyone else's.

It is unique. And we are too afraid to be that -- What would the neighbours think?

And if you can't admit that "it" is yours, how will you ever admit that "it" is you?

Mr. Kingfisher

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Shadow passes away

At five, at the end of the hour of the dog,
she wagged her tail, and was gone.

On El Dia de los Muertos, and Samhain
summer's end, and the year's beginning

our beautiful girl, died at home
with her loving parents attending.

Light a candle if you knew her.

(May 1997 - November 1st, 2009)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Trouble with Tribals

I have taken to watching the Tribals: the neo-hippie, eco-aware, university drop-out, ripped designer wearing, soon to be yuppies in 4WD suburbans, loaf around public lawn spaces together. I wish I had a tribe. If we could find our tribe everything would be fine. My personal affections would I think lean toward the neo-victorian, loft or old house living, esoterica collecting, arty, technophile crowd. But sadly there is no Mecca in North America for the purchase of such a lifestyle.

Silly thought really: lifestyle. Do I mean livelihood? Do I mean political values? Perhaps I mean community and perhaps I just mean cool stuff. Even if I had all the cool stuff, I'd still have to live next to Buba. Or Singen-Smythe. So in my dream I find a whole city with my aesthetic. I find my tribe.

Sadly, I am a pessimist about human nature, and realise that no matter what group you join, artistically, politically, socially, geographically, that the Pareto Principle 80/20 law applies. Shit! I've just joined a bunch of idiots. Worse, I also represent a bunch of creeps and looneys.

Maybe I'm just the kind who doesn't get along with anyone.

Mr. Kingfisher

Strange Attraction

My good friend Edward told me once, "They will try to put it on you: don't let them put it on you."

I have always lived a more alternative lifestyle. Alternative in the sense that I did what I thought to be right, and tried not to be concerned about what others thought of me. Usually this works fine, but sometimes prejudice still hurts. These are wounds that carve memories into the heart: to be called lazy by someone who beat you down, by someone who has benefitted from your free labours, to be considered to have less moral fiber by someone who follows the pack without thought -- the betrayals of hypocrisy. Then when even a casual faux-pas from someone...  touches these wounds, the reaction is out of proportion to the situation, but not the feeling -- betrayal.

Our ego personalities ultimately lead us to happy success or wretched failure. Good luck and bad luck certainly play a part, but I think most of what befalls us comes because we were outgoing or not; cheerful or not; kind or not; and so on.

Our personalities, our egos, are like the tracings of a chaotic system. While there is no solid thing at the centre (and hence the spouting of sages that the ego is nothing) there is a tendency for the pattern to stay mostly in the centre. We are not block of stone, we are clouds. It is my opinion that the strange attractor at our ego's gravitational centre is our attitude. The emotional state we choose to tend toward. What in days gone by they would have called 'character.' Therefore, change the attractor: change the life.

Now anger is not the best feeling for me. It's a terrible strange attractor. It is a chosen self-flaggelation. Why stay a victim of another's opinion?
1.) To not have to try.
2.) To justify your failures.
3.) To be right.
So why be mad at their hypocrisy? Surely if they want to be right so badly that they will bend the universe into a pretzel, your chastising them will lead nowhere. Am I looking for thanks? Gratitude?

In fact they will be mad at you for being mad. Emotions are infectious. It is amazing to me how some emotions are so easily transfered. Petty people make you feel like being petty. Angry people get you angry. Bad strange attractors. Being angry is my own undoing. It will eventually make me sick, I suspect. I think I'd rather let go.

The question is how. We are angered by many things. Siddhartha in Hermann Hesse's book of the same name has a son who is angry with him. Why? Because of the constant good deeds done toward him, make him feel indebted. And the easiest way to be free of that, is to blow off the debt. To get angry. And then to put that upon another.

The strange attraction of being angry is enticing. It involves me in way I cannot just say, "O, it's nothing." It is my view of the world that is askew. A world view that has expectations of reciprocality, fair-dealing, mutual interest. Does this put me on the road to the even stranger attraction of bitterness, if I expect the opposite? Perhaps this is why the Buddha said we should expect nothing, hold on to nothing. This rings with questions of right livelihood, and what one needs in the way of possessions. But even the hairshirt crowd has expectations of what holy disinterest should look like. Why let them put that on me?

Be kind, do in the world what you feel is right, and don't let them put in on you.

Mr. Kingfisher

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Then I'll Feel Better

I realize I can't buy my non-mainstream car for my non-mainstream life.

Presently I drive a VW bus with a gash on the side. That, at least, sets me apart. I can't get a tailor made car, "Make sure no one has one of those, then I'll feel better."

Cause this is what we are trying to do: figure out who we are. A car seems like such a shallow thing to put that expression in. If it were a work art, then it would be easier. But it's manufactured by someone who isn't me. So I'm reliant on some factory somewhere that gives me a mass production car. I want to be an individual. And that's my dilemma.

I like old things. I like old buildings. Things that aren't around anymore. I like to believe that old things don't have to be cast off, that they still have value. But apparently it's not so with cars. Unless you have lots of money.

It's such a small part of who we are. There are more important parts of what we're about. It's just a small thing.

 "If we don't get the car, our life won't be the same..." -- It's a f*ckin' car.


Ms. Sparrow

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How much? Too much!

Going to the storage locker yesterday to extract some of our stashed treasures - Ms. Sparrow taking her daughter out to get a bookshelf and bed - the piles of paper that still surround us - having dinner with a friend who, despite having financial difficulties, won't part with any of her possessions - it makes me wonder whether we are men or magpies.

I appreciate beauty. I love beauty, if truth be known. The idea of a beautiful house, with a beautiful garden (well I've already left that), etc., it draws me, haunts me in some ways. Oh, yes, I have been thinking about making houses more environmentally neutral: choosing renewable building materials, refitting instead of rebuilding, considerations of multi family residences, neighbourhood structures that encourage, well... neighbourliness. These criss-cross my architectural noodlings. But the trump is always beauty. Super-green brutalism is not sustainable for me. Uber-hippie, organic blob houses do nothing for me aesthetically either, sorry. And I consider suburban mini-mansion developments as egg repositories designed by subterranean, telepathic, alien insects, who's young feed off banality and boredom. Obviously.

But am I so shallow that I have to have the perfect place to live? Worse, am I so infected with green-guilt that I am considering the hair shirt? Or is it just the money that I am worrying about? How much am I willing to pay for this beautiful life? Too much.

Sometimes we talk about not having a house at all.

As a more immediate example, Ms. Sparrow is looking for a new vehicle. The funky VW bus she has driven into the ground with our renovations is to be retired. She suffers from practical/beautiful vacillation, "A station wagon has more room," "I want a car that helps me envision a better life." She means this environmentally as well, of course. She also doesn't want to pay too much. The newest, cleaner diesel-hybrids (Toyota can see the writing on the wall) better one's odds in a world with contested resources. Especially in a place with ample hydro-electric power, plus bio-diesel fanatics. But she is not willing to buy one new, just to loose half its value as it's driven off the lot. And besides she says, the new cars are all unappealing. "How much would it cost to retrofit an old diesel to be a hybrid?"

Sometimes she talks about not having a car at all.

Mr. Kingfisher

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This Way

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. At least that is our intention.
We have decided to discard some of the more unhealthy routines that we have slipped into, the ones that support our tendency more towards those of sloths than humans. And so the foods we chose will alter, and our bodies will have a chance to renew their connection with nature.
Today we managed a 45 minute walk, sans old dog who slows us down, around our new neighborhood. I was all decked out in my thrift store walking outfit. Lime green yoga pants, blue windbreaker and more than enough extra pounds to make the hill that much more steep.  We discovered an old underground building on the University grounds. Something to investigate another day!
Mr. Kingfisher (the chef in our family) is making a wonderful carrot soup to keep me from sneaking out to the local cafe for a latte and goodie. My great downfall.
Last night, I along with a friend, went to hear Starhawk. It was inspiring, especially the Spiral Dance at the end of her talk, out in the big field at the University. I think it was good for the energy of that institution. Introducing something organic back into its mainstream ways.
I have a sketch that I scribbled up as she spoke. I will try and get that scanned in today.

Ms. Sparrow

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Which Weigh to Way

It's been 21 days since we left our home of two years.  There are days that I miss the garden, and miss our 6 girls that we left behind. It was a difficult decision. But considering that it was almost impossible to find a place that would accept our senior, deaf dog, Shadow, we figured we would definitely be out of the running if the landlord got wind that we were harboring urban chickens. We hope that they understand that it wasn't personal.
We just ate the last of the few eggs that we collected from the coop as we left. It was a sad day when we had to go to the grocery store and face the wall of styrofoam egg cartons. Whatever box we chose we knew they'd just never measure up. Mr. Kingfisher suffers more that I. I have two upright human girls that I can email, phone and harass when I get teary.
From the day our house went on the market to the day we left was a mere 31 days. We marvel at how we managed to swing it, but we both are now facing the long days of recovery and healing. We have a storage locker filled with all the treasures we couldn't fit into our 2 bedroom rental. Our task over the next month is to incorporate or discard the contents of that locker. At $170 a month, our new frugal budget says "No!" Along with that is our desire to travel lighter on this planet. The burden of stuff weighs heavily on our shoulders (that's why my back has gone out apparently).

Ms. Sparrow

Monday, September 28, 2009

Which Wei to Way

Recently, Ms. Sparrow and I decided to liquidate all our assets; we cashed out.

Why? Because we were not fulfilled. We have been struck by a dream of the perfect downsized, orderly, aesthetic, sustainable, creative and yet tranquil domesticity.

To be more precise, we'd purchased an abandoned 1890 wreck of a Georgian Revival house, tossed in six figures plus two years slavery and made it out with our shirts as the market tanked. Lucky us.

Now we are taking some time off to recover and are wondering if their isn't a better life available. A reasonable translation being: we are sick of our idiotic habits which get us into trouble (like the purchase of dilapidated houses) and are willing to remake ourselves in order live better lives. Are you too ready to cast off the tyranny of your own mental chains? Are we?

Who knows, but at least there will be a blog about it.

Mr. Kingfisher