A Love That Lights The Sky

There is no hell if God is love and love is unconditional. And love must be unconditional or it is not truly love. If your love comes with conditions, then what you are expressing is not love.

To love unconditionally, we must accept others as they are, for who they are. And not just some others, all others. If we limit who we love, we are placing a condition on our love. That is not love. Unconditional love is boundless.

Hafez captured this idea beautifully:
And still after all this time. The sun never says to the earth, “You owe
me.” Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky.

But to be able to accept others as they are, for who they are, we must accept ourselves, as we are, for who we are. And how many of us are really comfortable with that? How much time do we spend shaping an image or persona that we present to the world? And how many different ones are we trying to simultaneously maintain?

Not always easy answers to our questions. Must life be this complex? Love is unconditional. It is a simple statement. And it is a concept that I know and feel, at the core of my being, to be true.

Is it easy? Probably not. But the beauty of life is every moment presents us with a chance to begin again.

The better question is does this idea resonate deep inside of me and if I begin the practice of loving unconditionally, will I come closer to knowing the divine spirit that lies deep within?

For me, there is only one answer to that question. So now the practice begins.

 

Be well, live well.
Namaste

Surreal Truth Is Everywhere

So what does it say about a person that you can walk into a tiki bar that you frequent (I was going to add regularly, but I think frequent implies regularity but not of the digestive kind), and you sit down at one of your regular tables, because there are only three that are fully in the shade during the height of summer which starts in mid May around here and the waitress wanders over and starts chatting and after a few minutes says, “So you want a couple of beers, Miller Lights?” and I reply yes and she hangs around a bit longer and chats before putting our order in and in probably the fastest turnaround time of beer order to delivery she is returning with our beers, and I say (mostly because I haven’t yet completed the opening thought)), “That was fast,” and she answers, “The bartender had already started pouring your drinks?”

Of course, the waitress wasn’t asking me a question, I was completing my opening thought. And oddly enough, I thought that might be my longest opening run-on sentence ever, but at 155 words, I think it might have been short by quite a lot. My ninth grade English teacher would be horrified that I used “a lot” when I wasn’t referring to a piece of property. I still have a difficult time saying “hey”  often opting for the more traditional “Hi” mostly because this same English teacher upon hearing one of us say “hey, whoever,” would always say “Hay is for horses.” I always wanted to say, but they’re spelled differently, but I never did.

But she did instill a love of language with all of its nuances in me. I type the way it sounds in my head and I like seeing it take shape on the proverbial page, though today that page is digital. Sometimes, I find it easier to write long hand, but every now and again it flows on the digital page.

And sometimes it comes out in weird ways. On the same evening that I had my opening thought, I was talking to this random guy at the bar. He was 69 and probably still is, and had a long white beard and was telling me some story that he visited all 50 states while he was still in the womb and I said, “So your mother was in the circus?”.  I don’t think he was expecting that, because he didn’t know what to say but he did give me a belly laugh.

Now, in rereading my first two paragraphs, I realize I could have used a few more periods and my decision to use quotation marks seems random. I’m not quite sure what’s going on with the random use of quotation marks but I think I could attribute my lack of periods to the fact that I haven’t had a period in almost eight years and I really don’t miss them. Though recently I began seeing a man and knowing him has given me a new appreciation for punctuation.

He’s great. Intelligent, funny, lots of interests, great kisser, wants to learn yoga and likes to dance. Neither one of us is big on texting so we don’t often engage in it. I’m a language purist and feel the need to spell out words and use punctuation. (I know, that whole leaving periods behind thing is more theory than practice.) He rarely spells anything out and uses no punctuation.  Sometimes I don’t know how to respond to his text because I’m not quite sure what he said.  And that always makes me laugh.

We spend a lot of time laughing so it’s all good although it often seems a bit surreal. Kind of how life seems most of the time when you just stop and observe. And I recently observed that I seem to have lost my way from my original thought but I’m sure you can figure out the answer to the question. After all, truth is everywhere. You just have to recognize it when you see it.

What Makes The Super Bowl Super?

So I hear there is a football game being played tonight. I’m not watching it. I’m not sure which teams are playing.

Nor do I care. I haven’t cared in a few years.

Not long ago, or maybe last year, I was talking to someone who asked me if I was going to watch “The Game.”

I said, No.

And then she said, “I’m just going to watch it for the commercials.”

And I said, or perhaps asked, “Did you hear what you just said?”

There was no reply, so I felt the need to fill the silence with words, “You are going to watch TV just to watch paid advertisements. Advertisements that companies have spent millions of dollars on for the sole purpose of inducing you to spend money on something you probably don’t really need. (There’s a bit of a dramatic pause here.) Just so they can make more money. (And this part is a bit quieter or more quiet if quieter isn’t   a word, and it may not be.) Capitalism has won.” (I’m shaking my head slightly at this point.)

I don’t remember how the rest of the conversation went.

But we’re still friends. Though I don’t hear from her as much as I used to. But it’s probably not because of that conversation.

And really, if you’re like most people, and let’s face it, I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, most people are like most people, you will probably see these commercials 1000 times in the not too distant future. So why the need to see it the first time it appears?

I think it’s a little weird, but I chalk it up to societal conditioning and a general lack of interest in giving much thought to most everything,

I don’t think I’ll get to the end of my life and look back and say, “I wish I had watched more football.”

And I know I won’t look back and regret not having seen the premiere of a commercial.

But that’s just me.

So instead of football and commercials, I’m drinking a little wine, listening to some favorite tunes and sharing my thoughts with the universe.

How are you spending the evening?

First Draft

We had another of our great conversations last night. We have them almost every night. I’m only telling you this because you weren’t there. Not really. Some might say I was talking to myself. But that doesn’t capture the essence of what transpired. I could see you slouched on the couch, beer in hand, smiling that smile that makes me smile just thinking about it. And I admit that I did most of the talking which is so unlike our actual conversations where you carry the conversational load, but I could hear your voice when you asked a question or commented on my commentary. And we laughed. Quite a lot.

Not healthy. That’s what most would say. Not healthy to have imaginary conversations with someone you will never see again. ‘Not never’ is what you said. Never is what I felt when you told me you were leaving. But that last day we spent together, you really wanted to know if I thought we would see each other again. You kept asking me that question.

“Seems unlikely,”  was my answer which works in more situations that you might think possible. And still you pushed me for a more definitive answer.

“Depends.” This works in almost every situation because almost everything is relative. Of course, you didn’t like that answer. You sometimes view the world in black and white when I tend to see it in shades of so many different colors. And it’s not possible to know what the future may bring while we are still in the present. But still, you pushed. You had to know.

Sometimes when you replay the past over and over again, the details start to blur. You know the gist of it, the mood of the moment, the guts of what was exposed, but the little nuanced details that took you from the start to the end, those start to blur, just a bit. The exact words get jumbled up and then you think you know what happened, but maybe you don’t. Not really.

And sometimes, you see the exact moment when the mood shifts, the momentum changes, the players realize you can see right through them. You know the world has shifted on its axis and you know your life will never again be the same. Those moments stand out.

 

I know I’m a day late and probably many dollars short, but this is in response to the daily post writing challenge of a twenty minute stream of consciousness writing exercise.

 

A Free Safety Meditates On The Redundant Way

So, about a month or so ago, I last posted and in that post that last I posted I said that I was back. Apparently, that turned out to be less than true. This, of course, is assuming that true is not an absolute. I like to think that it is an absolute though there are times when it seems a bit ambiguous and I am always surprised when I like ambiguous truth.

In my defense and it bothers me a bit to think that I feel a need to offer a defense, so maybe there should be a better phrase than ‘in my defense,’ but since I can’t think of one as I’m typing this, I’ll stick with the ever so popular defensive position, but not the safety position I played on a college powder puff team, but the one that goes something like ‘at the time I wrote it, I really had every intention of writing more…..’

I’m sure most people have figured out I’m not great with intentions, though again, the free safety in me feels the need to add my intentions are typically good or well intended which isn’t the same as well attended. If I had been attending to my intentions, my intentions would have become actions because I would have been attending to all those things one must do to turn an intention into action. Of course, one must know what all of those things are and I don’t, so that’s a problem. I think I may have Intention Deficit Disorder. I’m going to start telling people I have IDD.

It’s possible that the problem is I’ve been so very busy with all of the things I do when I’m not writing that I haven’t had time to write. It’s also possible we won’t be bombing Syria but I’m not holding my breath on that one. Let’s just say I’m having difficulty accounting for all of my time.

I took a class on meditation because I wanted to see what it was about. It was about meditation. We did a bit of it. My left foot fell asleep. I did leave the class with the intention of meditating each and every day because that’s the redundant way. And I did meditate for about fifteen minutes the very next day. Of course, that was about six months before my last post so that was one well intended but not well attended intention. Like I said or wrote, I’ve got IDD and I’ve got it bad.

Or maybe not so bad, because I did acquire a DVD course on mindfulness and meditation though not because I want to be mindful about how I’m not meditating but because I want to be more mindful and thus meditate more or maybe I want to meditate more and thus become more mindful. (I should probably figure out what I want.) I’ve watched 6 lectures so far and those of you who might recall I don’t always do things in order will be pleased to know that I am watching them in order because I will do things in order when it makes sense to be orderly and in this sense it did. Of course, lecture 6 was the one that told us to actually begin daily meditation. It suggested that one not proceed with the lectures until a daily habit has been established. I watched lecture 6 three weeks ago. I haven’t watched lecture 7 yet.

Again, the free safety in me wants to add that the lecturer in lecture 6 who is the same guy in all of the lectures but you couldn’t know that for sure which is why I told you said that establishing a daily practice might take some time. Clearly, he has known some IDD sufferers. This IDD sufferer meditated three days in row after watching lecture 6. SInce then it has been a day here and a day there, but not everyday and the last day was at least a week ago though I can’t remember the exact day. I really have no excuse or explanation though some might argue this post is some sort of an explanation. And they might be right about that.

So clearly, I have not been meditating. So what have I been doing? I fed a hot dog to a great blue heron. Twice. Though it really only took a few minutes each time so I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it except that it was cool or frio  if you speak Spanish and I don’t though I know ‘frio’ means cold or maybe cool. Do Spanish speaking people saying ‘Es frio’ the way we say ‘It’s cool?’ I don’t know. But I’ve spent time wondering about it.

I’ve also been shooting the next door neighbor’s cat. With insulin. The cat’s diabetic. But again, it only takes  a few minutes every twelve hours. I only have to do it one more time. Until the next time my neighbor goes out of town. And I’ve only done it a couple of days so, again, not a huge amount of my time.

And while I haven’t been holding my breath on the Syria bombing thing, I have been calling my congressmen (and yes, all three of them are men) and sending them and the White House emails asking them not to involve us in someone else’s civil war as nothing good will come from it. Yes, I think the use of chemical weapons is deplorable though I think the use of ALL weapons is deplorable hence my reluctance to lob bombs. At some point we need to stop the perpetual war machine that we have created. And now seems as good a time as any to begin that process.

I seemed to have gotten off topic and don’t really know how to end this post so I’ll just say thanks for reading though I didn’t say it so much as wrote it.

Happy trails to you……….and thanks for reading.

Observant Goat Didn’t Find Chicken Tender’s Freshness To Be Inappropriate

So I’m back from goat herding and cat sitting though I didn’t sit on any cats. There were also a couple of horses that demanded my attention twice a day or three times really because this year unlike previous years they received the added treat of beet mash with their evening oats and chaff and the beet mash had to be soaked in water for about an hour before doling it out because apparently beet mash is best consumed in a wet state which would be Florida the last few days or weeks. The weather guy said we’ve had about 15 inches of rain since June 1st. That’s probably why the ground is so wet and my backyard sports waterfront property but not water sports because it’s really just a bit of standing water which will be gone after a couple of sunny days.

Some of you may recall that whilst herding goats and sitting with cats, I was to experience life as a chicken tender but not the deep fried kind, but the scatter chicken feed and collect just out of the chicken fresh eggs kind. Sadly, or happily, depending upon how you feel about my getting the chance to be a chicken tender (I remain ambivalent), there were no chickens to tend as they failed to reach full chicken status. Coyotes are suspected in the murder of all the chicks. All that remained were feathers and a bit of blood. Happily, in this case though I was sad for the little chicks, I never had to see the evidence.

My only regret in not being able to list ‘Chicken Tender’ on my resume or curriculum vitae if you want to get all Latin about it, is I didn’t get a chance to sample a fresh out of the chicken egg. I wonder if it tastes different from the ones in the carton from the store. It’s hard to know how fresh those eggs are. Sure, they put an expiration or ‘sell by’ date on them but we have no way of knowing when that sell by date was stamped on the package and I think that would be useful information. Maybe they should have a ‘stamped on’ date as well as the ‘sell by’ date so we would know just how fresh those eggs are.

Of course, the really observant observer would note that not being able to list ‘Chicken Tender’ on my resume was also a regret so not only was ‘only’ inappropriate in the previous paragraph, it was untrue. Of course, the really observant observer would have to be a longtime reader or maybe have just read whatever post it was where I said I was looking forward to being able to list ‘Chicken Tender’ on my resume because not everyone can claim to be a professional Chicken Tender. I could embellish my resume anyway with my Chicken Tender claims because people often embellish their resumes but I tend not to do that.

While I was in the land of NO cellphone reception and intermittent and slow internet access, I celebrated a little blogaversary. The previous sentence is untrue. Not the part about the NO cellphone reception or the intermittent and slow internet access or even the blogaversary part, but the celebration part. I didn’t celebrate. I didn’t realize it had even come until it had already gone. There was no sexual innuendo in the previous sentence though I’m sure some of you were thinking it and apparently so was I or why would I even bring it up?

I did celebrate my birthday yesterday. I turned 29 for the 27th time or 39 for the 17th time or 50 for the 6th time. Yes, I’m thirty twenty-six! It’s how I like to think of it because forty sixteen doesn’t have the same ring to it, probably because it used different words or in this case numbers which happened to be words. You might not think thirty twenty-six is a real number, but that’s because I spelled it out with letters instead of using the Arabic symbols for the numbers. I wonder if Arab phobic people will ever insist we stop using an Arab system of numbers and go back to Roman numerals. I don’t think most people could cope with that.  Not to mention all the calculators would have to be changed. And phones and computers. I have difficulty keeping the ‘L’ and ‘D’ straight not that they are in constant need of straightening but I can never remember which is 50 and which is 500 and that might make a difference in a calculation, though I don’t pretend to be a math wizard which is why I often spell numbers instead of using the symbols. There is some sort of style rule that applies, but I don’t pretend to know that either.

Instead, I celebrated the anniversary of being expelled from a warm safe space into the harsh cruel world by robbing other creatures of their lives. It seemed fitting. Yes, I went scalloping yesterday. We endured a brief downpour in the river on our way out to the gulf, but once out there, the sun appeared and the water was warm and we collected bivalve mollusks. Then we anchored outside the channel near the mouth of the river and separated bivalve mollusk meat from the shells and tossed the shells and guts overboard to be eaten by other sea creatures which may even include other bivalve mollusks. Sea creatures are not picky eaters and sometimes practice cannibalism. And you thought this paragraph’s opening sentence’s use of harsh cruel world might be a bit harsh. Sadly, it was not though it was a bit prophetic and sad. But only for the scallops.

I guess what I’m trying to say and it took almost 1000 words, or M words if you’re feeling all Roman numerally, to say is, I’m back.

This is my best scallop picture ever! And yes, the ever is redundant. There can only be one best. And this was it and it happened on the last day of summer.

This is a picture of a scallop. I didn’t take it yesterday because I didn’t have an underwater camera yesterday but I took this last year when I went scalloping with an underwater camera. There were people there, too, it wasn’t just me and the camera and the scallop.But it’s not a problem that the picture is a year old because scallops still look like this. Evolution isn’t relatively slow, it is extremely slow.

 

 

Big Pile Of Dirt – Last Of The Dirt On Cousin Unrelated To Squirrel Edition

So some of you may have been wondering about the status of my big pile of dirt.  And one of you inquired about the status of the elderly, blind slightly senile cocker spaniel I occasionally watch.  Happily, the big pile of dirt is no more. Sadly, neither is the cocker spaniel. Fortunately, the dog’s demise did not happen under my watch. That would have been awful.

I would have updated you sooner on the big pile of dirt, but I got sidetracked by the dog death which freed up my Memorial Weekend allowing me to head out of town. Of course, I would have been out of town on the holiday weekend if the dog had not died because the dog lived out of town and I was supposed to watch him that weekend.  But instead of getting paid fifty bucks a night to watch a blind dog wander around a house bumping into things, I got to eat homemade though not made by a home, but made by me from ingredients that did not come premixed in a box coconut cake with seven minute frosting with my cousin and her sister who is also my cousin and her (the first cousin mentioned) child and grandchild. It wasn’t nearly as confusing as it may have sounded. But it was deliciously fun.

But before I left for the big weekend, I concluded my dirt shoveling. I had been wondering what to do with the last of the dirt as I had more than I needed when a friend called and asked if I had any dirt left. I said I did and she said she’d like to have it so I said come and get it. She and her husband came over and her husband and I shoveled the dirt into the back of his truck. It just about filled up the bed of the truck.

I have some post-dirt pictures of the completed beds. Now I just need to repair and extend the drip irrigation system. That’s my next project and I got the stuff I need to complete the project from the Drip Depot on Friday, so I hope to get that done before heading off to herd goats next week.

And in other though not completely unrelated news, the Friday morning of the Memorial Weekend I saw the bobcat kill a squirrel. It’s Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom out there with there being my backyard. I told my cousin (the first one, not the second one) and she was sad for the squirrel but I pointed out that bobcats have to eat, too.

So here are the pictures of the last of the dirt but not the bobcat because I don’t have a telephoto lens, but if I did you would be looking at a picture of a bobcat carrying a dead squirrel in its mouth as it headed back to the swamp.  Sadly, or happily, depending on how you feel about dead squirrels, all I have is pictures of dirt and flower beds and an egret.

IMG_0651

This is how it looked at the beginning of its last day. I had shoveled a bit of dirt between my last post and this picture but didn’t relate the details because there is just so much you can write about dirt.

This is what it looked like after all the shoveling was done. The shovel has lost its purpose. I'm a little sad for the shovel.

This is what it looked like after all the shoveling was done. The shovel has lost its purpose. I’m a little sad for the shovel.

This is the largest of the beds I created using the shoveled dirt, edging, mulch, plants and other stuff.

This is the largest of the beds I created using the shoveled dirt, edging, mulch, plants and other stuff.

This is the other side of the bed in the previous picture and yes, I know the side of the house needs to be cleaned. It's on my to do list. I hesitated to even show you  my dirty house but this post is about dirt and I like the palm shadows.

This is the other side of the bed in the previous picture and yes, I know the side of the house needs to be cleaned. It’s on my to do list. I hesitated to even show you my dirty house but this post is about dirt and I like the palm shadows.

This is another bed I added along the side of the house, plus you can see the bed I created around the palm trees.

This is another bed I added along the side of the house, plus you can see the bed I created around the palm trees.

This is a better picture of the palm bed. I planted a couple of tiny bougainvillea. I'm hoping they grow big and climb up the palm trees.

This is a better picture of the palm bed. I planted a couple of tiny bougainvillea. I’m hoping they grow big and climb up the palm trees.

This is a picture of the egret I took on the morning the squirrel met its demise in the mouth of the bobcat. I took this right before the squirrel killing. Sadly, or happily, depending on how you feel about photographers capturing the natural order of things, without a telephoto you wouldn't have been able to see the dead squirrel.

This is a picture of the egret I took on the morning the squirrel met its demise in the mouth of the bobcat. I took this right before the squirrel killing occurred. Sadly, or happily, depending on how you feel about photographers capturing the natural order of things, without a telephoto  lens you wouldn’t have been able to see the dead squirrel.