Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for December, 2006

Here’s what I’m going to do to make my intention real:

  1. Be myself. If I want to say something, don’t censor myself (unless what I say is mal-intended or harmful to someone else)
  2. Notice when I am myself. Reflect back on my day. Not every day, but make a point to reflect as much as possible and to positively acknowledge when I’ve broken through the confines I place on me.
  3. Wear my hair how I want. Straight if I want straight. Curly if curly. Don’t worry about having straight hair around people who normally see me curly and vice versa. Don’t let my hair be the great segregator of my life.
  4. Talk to someone each day who I otherwise would not have talked to, even if it’s a person riding next to me in the elevator.
  5. Laugh often and open-mouthed.
  6. Don’t keep secrets. Be the same open person to everyone I trust and love.
  7. Understand this isn’t something I achieve like a Girl Scout badge. It’s more like sitting practice. It’s there in one moment, gone the next. Be present to the moment and chances are I’ll stop fretting.


-from Topic post, Do Or Die Triangle

Read Full Post »

NUMB3RS

14 – the number I wore on my back when I was a field hockey halfback at Red Land High. Ancient history. The days of our home hockey games, I wore a red plaid kilt to classes with a bright white, short sleeved shirt, dingy white T-shirt underneath with navy ribbing around the neck and sleeves, and #14 in 10″ red block lettering on my back.

12 – my basketball number because #14 was already taken by an upper classman. Back then women’s basketball was played differently than men’s and 2 of the players could sometimes not go out of the key or past the ½ court line. Do I hear full court press?

50 – the number of pages in Cat-e-gory, 50 drawings by Edward Gorey, all illustrating a number. Liz got the book for Christmas from her Mother; the original was released in 1974.

3 – the number of cats I live with every day, 2 boys, 1 girl – Kiev, Mr. Stripeypants, Chaco (for the canyon)

52 – the number of birthdays I’ve celebrated

5 – the number of twists in a candy cane, big vats of syrupy sticky goo, pale yellow, then mixed with giant blades, air bubbles turning the stew candy clean white. The first candy canes were ALL white. The red stripes were added later. Come on Baby, let’s do the twist. Roll, roll, roll.

12 – months in a year

4.2 – weeks in a month

2080  - hours in a year

26 –  letters in the English alphabet, derived from Latin

13 –  cookies in the bakers dozen I bought from Sarah Jane’s Bakery for Christmas: Snickerdoodles, date stuffed, sugar, and peppermint twists.

1,000,000 – the number of $$$ I want to make this year

24 – the number of Sharpies in the variety pack I got from Liz for Christmas

8 - the number of plants in our living room. Green – the color of Liz’s thumb.

4 – the number of Beatles, the number of corners in the Southwest, the number of seasons (and once it was the number of years since I’d had sex)

2 – the number of eggs the female Sandhill Crane lays on a mound of vegetation. Cranes mate for life; 2 parents feed the young colts. The Sandhill Crane does not breed until it is 2 to 7 years old. It can live up to 25 years in the wild; in captivity they have been known to live more than 2wice that span. Mated pairs stay together year round, and migrate south in groups with their offspring. Nearly 450,000 a season migrate through the Platte River area of Nebraska.

############################################

NUMEROSITY X 3

WordNetCite This Source

numerosity

noun

a large number [syn: numerousness

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of LawCite This Source

Main Entry: nu·mer·os·i·ty
Pronunciation:
“nü-m&-’rä-s&-tE, “nyü-
Function: noun
: the requirement that members of a proposed class formed for a class action be so numerous as to make joinder of the members impracticable

Webster’s Revised Unabridged DictionaryCite This Source

 Numerosity \Nu`mer*os”i*ty\, n. [L. numerositas.] 1. The state of being numerous; numerousness. [Obs.]
2. Rhythm; harmony; flow. [Obs.]
The numerosity of the sentence pleased the ear. –S. Parr.

######################################################

NUMB3RS - a CBS program that airs Fridays at 9pm CST and I’ve secretly watched and coveted for quite a while. My favorite character is Charlie Eppes, played by David Krumholtz, a genius professor of mathematics at a Southern California technical university, who uses math to help his brother Don solve perplexing crimes for the FBI. I heard in a People-type TV rag that he’s become a new cult figure of mathematicians and geeks – he has made math cool again. An actor, not a mathematician, he’s become kind of like the fake Einstein of his time. He’s been invited to come and speak at math conventions across the country. NUMB3RS also sponsors a program designed to help kids love math – We All Use Math Every Day. 

WRITER’S EPILOGUE

Math is not my strong suit. But I have come to appreciate and embrace the structure of numbers and the way they seem to easily record the methodology behind day to day activities or show logic in its best light. I love the symbols, the essence of the numbers themselves. But I’m too hopelessly romantic to love math. 

Except for the mystical ideas of Quantum Physics (let’s hear it for details), general relativity (or maybe you like big picture), and (hey, what’s the connection?) string theory.

Or the trigrams and hexagrams of the ancient I Ching.

 

Trigram Figure

Binary Value

Name

Nature

Direction

Elemental

1

||| (☰)

111

Force (ä¹¾ qián)

heaven (天)

northwest

Lingam

2

||¦ (☱)

110

Open (å…Œ duì)

swamp (澤)

west

Water

3

|¦| (☲)

101

Radiance (離 )

fire (火)

south

Sol

4

|¦¦ (☳)

100

Shake (震 zhèn)

thunder (é›·)

east

Fire

5

¦|| (☴)

011

Ground (å·½ xùn)

wind (風)

southeast

Air

6

¦|¦ (☵)

010

Gorge (坎 kǎn)

water (æ°´)

north

Luna

7

¦¦| (☶)

001

Bound (艮 gèn)

mountain (å±±)

northeast

Earth

8

¦¦¦ (☷)

000

Field (坤 kun)

earth (地)

southwest

Yoni

Or the Zodiacal birth and solar return maps of Astrology which, for most medieval scholars, were often connected to the Divine. Check out the Zodiac painted in a 6th century synagogue at Beit Alpha, Israel.Zodiac in a 6th century synagogue at Beit Alpha, Israel. Photo public domain.

No, I’m not a big numbers gal. And I’m suspicious of rock solid solutions to the myriad of problems life can throw at us. But if you leave that little gateway of uncertainty in the equation, I can get into the A, B, C’s of NUMB3RS.

Solar return natal chart - public domainSnap, Crackle, Pop, 12 Noon. It’s exactly time to eat my 1 course lunch, take my 6 vitamins, and go shovel the 3 inches of crusty snow off the 100 foot driveway on the 15th block of the million avenues in 1 of 50 states in north Somewhere, USA.

Read Full Post »

Write anything that you learn or that you know or that comes to mind about numbers, about counting, about adding, subtracting, all the interesting things we do with numbers and what are numbers really anyhow? Numbers are one of the first things we learn about in grade school, but are so very very abstract when you think about it. What is numerosity? Make a list of numbers. 1 is the loneliest number. Two’s a company, three’s a crowd, four on the sidewalk, not allowed, four-square, the chalk sidewalk game, five, pentagrams and pentacles and pentagons and magic and such, six, the star of David and 666 the mark of the devil, 7, the 7 wonders, Seven Brides and Seven Brothers, 8, ocho, the 8 nights of Hannukah, etc, what numbers are special to you? Why do we have lotteries and numerology? What is it about numbers that has fascinated mankind over the centuries? Butterfield 8, 77 Sunset Strip, the phone number you grew up with. The sizes of the digits, their unique ambiences. What couldn’t we do if we didn’t have numbers? Can dogs count? Can cats count? Is base ten really a result of ten fingers?

Read Full Post »

I’ve been putting off this leg of the assignment. For one thing, which of my 27 items to write about? Some of those wishes are so deep, fostered and fermented for so many years, just saying them out loud brings tears to my eyes.

The bulto. I’ve dreamed about carving those wooden statues. I have a fantasy about my life if my father had been an artist, not an accountant. Who I’d be in my core. I’m sad that for this life I’ve been born into my vocation, my father’s vocation, my mother’s blind trust in doctors, my father’s lack of savvy and surplus of responsibility. Sad. Sad the way you can be when you miss the ideal mark. Not regretful, not depressed. Not ungrateful. Just sad. I could have had longer legs and a longer waist, more pronounced eyebrows, darker skin, thicker hair. Then I would have marveled at myself in the mirror, walked taller, literally, been happier. In my dreams.

Something concrete. Mom doesn’t care any longer what people think of her. She’s not at the end of the journey. I imagine she cares plenty, yet her plenty is a thimbleful compared to another person’s. And you know, I don’t even want to write about this. Not the hum of the loud refrigerator or the sound of water moving from the water heater in the entryway closet to the far bathroom. Not the clothes tumbling in the stacked dryer, not the tile under my left foot too hot. Not my gratefulness for socks to keep my skin from burning. Not my chagrin for having worn the same pair four days out of four days this week. I’m sock poor, wine glass poor, coffee mug poor, house poor.

When will I realize my dreams? I give myself to my 50th birthday to have my house done, walls painted. And what? Another ten years for the compound? Isn’t this antithesis to the direction most people move as they get older? Don’t they divest? Buy condos. A condo. Travel. Get light?

And me and my dreams. Some are silly, and that’s OK. My affirmation. What does it ultimately matter whether I make all or one? I will get to the Lightning Field in Quemado next year, for my birthday. Jim’s present to me. I will eventually stop caring about how I look. I’m letting the gray go wild, like dandelions in grass. They’re too many to pick and I’m tired of poisoning the earth to get rid of them. I will let my teeth yellow a few more shades but then I will employ strips to bleach them. I’ll lose those five pounds, gain them back, lose them, gain them. Each time I gain it will be one pound more than I lost. The net effect will be gradual weight gain. I will let my face go, stop washing it every night. NOT! Won’t let my teeth go unbrushed any night, although I will give up flossing except once a week. (Is this what it means to stop caring about how you look? I don’t think so.)

By the time I’m dead I will be tired of friends who get torqued because I say what’s on my mind. Although I’m self-aware enough to know I shouldn’t judge friends. A spouse or partner is simply a friend with whom you eventually learn not to get too bent out of shape with when he tells you something you’d rather not hear. Friends expect to be above that kind of reproach. Why, I don’t know. I’d like to make a friend who doesn’t freak out on my actions. I’m human. So are you and you and you and you and you. What’s the point in seeking ideals in every facet of life?

And then again, if we don’t seek some ideals–how to be in the moment, how not to waste this precious life–then what?

Read Full Post »

flat substitute snow
in cracks outside dave’s window
falls behind fake panes

caw of the raven
vibrates lower than the crow
on the bare oak branch

winter solstice sits
snowless on grassy great plains
degrees from freezing

lynx & snowshoe hare
dance the 7 year tango
starving for substance

holidazzlers walk
down bone dry hennepin ave
lights bounce off bare glass

watching sun set west
i long to shovel the drive
in deep december

squirrels skip on the rail
under black millet feeders
suet melts beige gray

freezing weather hides
behind hard global warming
no one gives a wit

standing in the sun
ghosts of mabel dodge luhan
stare at Taos Mountain

afraid of shadows
growing under starry ice
the magpie flies east

hardcore treehugger
yells minnesota winter
dies a long slow death

the mountains cry out
build your home in desert grass
above the snowline

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Read Full Post »

RAW WP – Build an open Prairie-style home somewhere out West. – 20 Minutes Go!

Building a Frank Lloyd Wrightish Prairie-style home was #2 on my 25 Things I Want To Do Before I Die list. The list is not in order. I chose to write on this topic because I realized, at this moment, I believe it’s the least likely to happen. It’s not a rational thought. It’s just a thought.

Liz and I went to FLW’s Falling Water in Pennsylvania on our way to Ocean City, Maryland to visit with my family in 2004. I loved the way the rocks, earth, and water were incorporated into the design of the house. I hated the low ceilinged, dark, cave-like bedrooms. Yeah, I think I’ll leave those out.

I recently read an article in Minnesota Monthly that talked about how families are going back to the smaller, wide open Prairie-style houses of our youth. Well, some of our youths. Photographs were posted of a few of these 50′s homes and I loved them. The kitchen opened up into the living room which had a small stone fireplace and large floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out on the grasslands and nearby lake.

The bedrooms and den were private, a place where you could take personal space. Paint color choices were used to make spaces appear to be larger and the lines of natural woods, cabinets, windows and tiles ran from one room into the next.

Ah — I can breathe easier just thinking about it. But why don’t I think this will happen?

The idea of architecting and building my own house has been a long time dream of mine. But I’ve never believed I’d be able to save enough money to afford it. I do believe I can find the right architect. I know a couple that fit the bill to a T. Model T? Or T-Shirt? Green. I want solar and to incorporate the earth and nature around me. That doesn’t seem like a hard sell.

Do I deserve it? Maybe that’s the deeper issue gnawing at my bones. Intellectually, I say, “YEESSS!” I want to live a big life. The smaller mind is doubtful. But I persevere. I have more confidence in my writing and the structure I’ve built around that part of my life than my long term goals around retiring and building a second home. This home would be a second.

I like the idea of Oregon, somewhere up, up, up like Sea Ranch. I’m not opposed to living in a community of like-minded people. I love western Montana but have lived there before for about 8 or 9 years. And I know the shortcomings. Mountains are grounding. Can I do without the ocean? I choose mountains over ocean. Water is harder to find in Montana. There are a few glacially carved lakes.

A few. I’m used to over 15,000.

Cool green Vermont marbles and I do like tough, clean stainless steel, though some find it cold. I warm up any environment with linens and the hues and values of color and art on the walls. I’m not worried about warmth. I carry it inside. I want clean lines and grand views. But simple.

Where?

New Mexico is beautiful. But it’s my spiritual haven. I don’t want to live there. It’s too dry. Second home there? Maybe. No, I think I’ll stick to the Pacific Northwest.

I went to an astrologer once that told me the crosshairs of astrogeology for me hit the bulls eye in a small town in western Washington state. I had once travelled through that town. And lived not far from it in Missoula, Montana. I wouldn’t live in Missoula again because of the 5 valley inversions. Though I love the town. It’s like the Austin of Texas or the Savannah of Georgia. It’s open and doesn’t judge. It leaves you room to breathe.

I’ve got a lot of work to do if I want to make this happen. Money is the least of it. But, yes, it’s a big factor. Then I’ve got the problem of living in Minnesota while I build out West somewhere. I do love the West. And I’ve always planned on retiring there. I spent the first 5 years I was in MN wishing I could move back out West. But now I love the Midwest, too. It’s very grounding. And what if I decide I want to build in North Dakota?

How is this going to happen? If God is in the details, the details are grounded in the small steps I take each day to reach my goals. The more I write about making this dream a reality, the more it will become one. Live into your dreams.


Fears:

1) not enough money
2) my partner and I won’t agree on the same location
3) not enough money
4) i don’t deserve it
5) i’ll get ripped off if I’m not present during the building
6) it will take too long and I’ll die first
7) what if I never start?

Okay, where do I start? I’ve already started. I’ve set my intention. I’ve done a first writing. I’ve listed my fears. Next, make a list of how to make it happen.

Details. Things happen when rooted in details. And structure.

Make a list of how I’m going to make this happen. A, B, C. It’s easy as 1, 2, 3. I heard Michael Jackson singing Santa Claus Is Coming To Town in Sears last Saturday as I was trying on my Land’s End shoes and waiting for Liz’s new tires to be mounted in the auto center. It struck me that I probably bought the 45rpm when the Jackson 5 first released it in the late 60′s. Or was it early 70′s? I contributed to his millions. Minus the latest lawyer fees.

Okay, he might be a little messed up (gulp) but he’s reinvented himself a thousand times. And so has Madonna. They didn’t start out knowing they were going to make it.

One practice I’ve begun is to begin to emulate people I see as successful. I wouldn’t choose the two above as an overall success. They just popped into this raw practice. There are better names who live more whole and sane lives. But you get the picture.

I learned the same thing in a writing retreat a few weeks ago. If you hear someone read a piece of writing that knocks your socks off, don’t drop your head, wallow into self pity, or want what they have. Become the fierce warrior you are and buck up, “GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!.” Then steal a good line to start your next writing practice. You are just as good.


-posted on red Ravine December 19th, 2006

-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – DO OR DIE TRIANGLE

Read Full Post »

PRACTICAL LIST – How To Build An Open Prairie-Style Home Somewhere Out West


START UP
1. Write it down as a goal (DONE)
2. Repeat every day: “I’m building an open Prairie-style home out West”
3. Narrow down “Out West” (it could be ND which is technically “west” : -)
4. Decide what I’m willing & not willing to compromise on
5. Keep a journal specific to this dream to log information
6. Write down every time I do something toward this goal

RELATIONAL
7. Talk to my partner about my dream. See if she’s on board.
8. Talk about timing of project in overall mutual life goals
9. Compromise. Be willing to bend. Not break.
10. Keep my support communities in the loop. Solicit feedback.
11. Talk to people who have done this. Listen well.

$$$ – INTENTION
12. Set up a new savings account for this dream
13. Name the account, Funds for Open Prairie-style Home Out West [State]
14. Add $$$ every paycheck, no matter how small the amount (even $1)

CREATIVE RESEARCH
15. Brainstorm, treasure map, blog, do writing practices on the goal
16. Locate magazines with photos and articles on Prairie-style building
17. Visit other FLW homes. Like a Julia Cameron “artist date.”
18. Take vacations in states where I can look at possible sites (geocache)
19. Take into account rainfall, sunshine, seasonal changes, wind, ice, snow
20. Take photographs of homes I see in my travels that I love (don’t limit)
21. Get specific about what I love about these homes (details)
22. Check out current magazine articles on natural landscaping
23. Do some sketching of sites in a journal
24. Start researching furnishings

$$$ – PRACTICAL
25. Do some long-term financial planning with a professional
26. Talk to good friends with good business acumen
27. Create a spending plan
28. Set goals of $$$ I need to bring in each quarter to make this happen
29. Break it down into $$$ I need to make each day
30. Work toward that amount of $$$ in my business ventures

MAKING GOOD CHOICES
31. Research green architecture & architects that know it
32. Start talking to architects I want to work with
33. Consider remodeling an existing house. Might be cheaper.
34. Choose a trusted architect to work with. Meet with them.
35. Talk about timeframe & estimates of the project
36. Don’t be afraid to say NO
37. Decide if buying/remodeling or building

BARE BONES RESEARCH
38. Decide on the square foot size of the house & number of rooms
39. Talk over materials with the architect and price them. Be realistic.
40. Get specific about colors and styles of marbles, tiles, stone
41. Look at appliance color, style, durability
42. Check out roofing color, style, right for the climate
43. Consider porches, indoor, outdoor, patio
44. Choose window style, size, convenience, light

$$$ – ACCOUNTABLITY
45. Revisit financial plan once a month (or as many times as it takes)
46. Keep meticulous $$$ records around the project
47. Compare records to spending plan once a week
48. Pay all invoices on time
49. Remember the pro’s I hire work for me. I don’t work for them.

DETAILS
50. Draw up final blueprints after critical decisions are made
51. Research contractors. Talk to my Uncle. Hire the best.
52. Find out what I need to learn about building processes to avoid pitfalls

DO IT
53. Break ground
54. Celebrate
55. Keep a close eye on the details
56. Live nearby until building is complete (included in financial planning)
57. Work with inevitable frustration of late timeframes. It will pass.
58. Purchase furnishings during build phase

LIVE IT
59. Inspect completed home
60. Add furnishings
61. Celebrate
62. Move into home with partner
63. Celebrate again with a housewarming

[Hmmm. 63. The year before my 64th Birthday Bash in Minnesota. That seems like a good year.]


-posted on red Ravine Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – DO OR DIE TRIANGLE

Read Full Post »

We chanted The Heart Sutra again in December. This time it was for joy. The teacher was wearing her rakusu, the one her teacher before her gave her in 1978. She said she doesn’t wear it much because it’s old and she wants to preserve it. But she used to wear it all the time when she taught her writing classes. She talked about sewing the rakusu, Buddha’s robe, and referenced when she wrote about it in one of her books. She talked about the symbols, the rice fields and insects and all of life.

All of Life.

She told us about the Square Papers, the bloodline. And that she never knew what her papers said because she was afraid to open them and unravel the intricate folding. But then a friend of hers who knew the way of creases and folds, opened the papers on the mesa in Taos and told her what was written. It was a few years to the day her teacher died. It wasn’t planned. It just happened that way. Some larger unfolding.

She said her name means One Who Embraces One’s Life and Others with Magnanimous Mind.

She talked about being ordained at Clouds in Water Zen Center in Minnesota. And then she said this was the first time she had signed anyone’s rakusu in a Jukai Ceremony. Jukai is a Lay Ordination, a ceremony of giving and receiving. She said she didn’t feel right about signing for anyone – until after her great failure. Then she knew it was okay.

That night she asked her student to talk to us about The Heart Sutra. The student spoke on the history of the sutra and about Hakuin and the sound of one hand clapping. She referenced him as one of few who accepted women of the cloth. She told us The Heart Sutra was The Great Mantra and that it had been distilled down from the tens of thousands of verses that preceded it. Then she had us each draw a verse from a bowl and do a 7 minute writing practice on the words we had drawn.


Here is the verse I chose from the bowl. It was written on a neon pink Post-it:

in emptiness
no taste
no touch
no dharma


Here is the 7 minute writing practice:

In Emptiness – No Taste, No Touch, No Dharma – December 6th, 2006

Emptiness – a glass bowl on an empty table. Nothing but sparkle snow. That’s what Harlequin said – sparkle snow. No taste. No touch. No teaching. No teachers. There is nothing left but me. Small on the cushion. Long in Spirit. High in mind. Walking to the white cross along the Morada. Carried on the backs of those that came before me. They walked for me. And now I am free. In emptiness, no taste, no touch, no dharma. If my Soul cries, I can relieve it. A single flake on the toe of my boot. An ant crawling along a purple sky – the rhythm is haiku 5-7-5-5-7-5.

5 Say No Taste No Touch
7 In Emptiness a Night Jar
5 Cries Itself to Sleep

5 I Heard The Silence
7 And I Thought It Was The Sun
5 It Was Only Rain

After we wrote a practice on each verse, a few students read what they had written. Then we chanted an old version of The Heart Sutra while our teacher kneeled on the floor and signed the student’s rakusu. They each stood and hugged. And the cloth was passed around, hand to hand. If memory serves me, it read, Kanpo Kazan Taos. Kazan is Mountain.

Before we left the zendo that night, our teacher told us to meditate on the meaning of the last verse before falling asleep. In writing as practice, we are making space to receive.


GATE GATE PARAGATE
PARASAMGATE
BODHI SVAHA

Gone, gone, gone beyond
Gone completely beyond
Praise to awakening



THE GREAT PRAJNA PARAMITA HEART SUTRA


AVALOKITESHVARA BODHISATTVA
LIVING IN DEEP PRAJNA PARAMITA
CLEARLY SAW ALL FIVE SKANDHAS EMPTY
CROSSED BEYOND ALL SUFFERING AND MISERY
LISTEN SHARIPUTRA, LISTEN
FORM IS EMPTINESS
EMPTINESS IS FORM
FORM IS EXACTLY EMPTINESS
EMPTINESS EXACTLY FORM
THE SAME IS TRUE OF FEELING AND PERCEPTION
THE SAME IS TRUE OF INTELLECT AND CONSCIOUSNESS
LISTEN SHARIPUTRA, LISTEN
ALL DHARMAS ARE MARKED BY EMPTINESS
NOT BORN, NOT DESTROYED
NOT STAINED, NOT PURE
WITHOUT LOSS, WITHOUT GAIN
IN EMPTINESS NO FORM NO FEELING
NO PERCEPTION NO INTELLECT NO CONSCIOUSNESS
NO EYE NO EAR NO NOSE
NO TONGUE NO BODY NO MIND
NO COLOR NO SOUND NO SMELL
NO TASTE NO TOUCH NO DHARMA
NO SEEING AND SO ON TO NO THINKING
NO IGNORANCE, NO END OF IGNORANCE
NO OLD AGE AND NO DEATH
NO ENDING OF OLD AGE AND DEATH
NO SUFFERING, CAUSE OR END TO SUFFERING
NO PATH, NO WISDOM AND NO GAIN
SINCE THERE IS NOTHING TO GAIN
THE BODHISATTVA LIVES AS PRAJNA PARAMITA
SINCE THERE IS NO HINDRANCE IN THE MIND
THERE IS NO FEAR
FAR BEYOND ALL DELUSION
NIRVANA IS ALREADY HERE
ALL PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE BUDDHAS
THROUGH THE BLESSING OF PRAJNA PARAMITA
AWAKEN TO PERFECT ENLIGHTENMENT
THEREFORE KNOW THAT PRAJNA PARAMITA
THE SACRED AND BRIGHT MANTRA
THE SUPREME AND UNSURPASSED MANTRA
BY WHICH ALL SUFFERING IS CALMED
IS TRUTH, NOT DECEPTION
GATE GATE PARAGATE
PARASAMGATE
BODHI SVAHA


Monday, December 18th, 2006

-related to post, WRITING TOPIC – TAOS

Read Full Post »

Here are the 25 27 things I want to do before I die:

  1. Publish a memoir
  2. Take Dee anywhere in the world she wants to go
  3. Learn how to play the banjo
  4. Go back to Granada for a month and retrace all the places I haunted when I lived there
  5. Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with pack animals
  6. Go to the Lightening Field
  7. Do an all-day silent retreat
  8. Learn (really learn) how to play poker
  9. Carve and paint a bulto
  10. Take a full-moon walk along the river with Jim and girls
  11. Paint the walls of my home with faded pigments that remind me of pomegranates, quince, and violet morning glories
  12. Create a compound where I love to be always and where people visit but don’t want to leave
  13. Tell my father’s story
  14. Renew my vows with Jim
  15. Build an horno or maybe a private chapel
  16. Baptise my daughters
  17. Take Em anywhere in the world she wants to go
  18. Learn calligraphy
  19. Stop worrying about how I look
  20. Make a mosaic of a saint
  21. Be accepted into and show at the Spanish Market
  22. Become proficient with internet technology and tools
  23. Really learn how to use a digital camera
  24. Be absolutely secure when I call myself a writer
  25. Stop worrying about what others think of me
  26. Know in my heart who my favorite authors are and read all his/her/their works
  27. Mine from my sisters everything they know about me and my life


-from Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – DO OR DIE TRIANGLE

Read Full Post »

Very mouselike, me, sitting in my cubicle at work.
I choose to break in this space
but timid and all
I place a package of Saltines
on the floor and with the heel of my boot
I stomp.
There is a crackling, not quite a crunch.
If I hold the package by a corner and jiggle I can hear a
shakeshakeshake
crumbs against plastic.
But even so
there is something tame about smashing crackers.
I want to break out
break free
of corporate hell hole
my cubicle
cubiclepubicle
Where has work taken me?
On a train from Agra to New Delhi
India, 2006
Second-class section in a cabin with five other people
We stop to pack on more passengers
They fill every nook
Stand in the aisle so it feels like we are all suffocatingsweatingshittingpuking
Only a small tiny window with bars
outside hands offering chai in small earthenware cups
the indians closest to the windows drink
and then as the train moves throw the cups to the ground smashing on train tracks
car-a-a-a goes the cups
car-e-e-e goes the train
car-aacar-eecar-aa
Children wearing no bottoms beg at my side and get swooshed away
Traveling circus family that got on last stop
boy and girl linked together at legs and arms does human wheel act down the center of the aisle
smash-smash-smash go their faces-chests-tummies
A boy of six pretending to be Michael Jackson
hand behind one head
other on pelvis
Faaa-faaa
with his lips as he thrusts-thrusts his little pisser at me
And I sit scared but trying
to be brave
How my work world has shielded me from life
real life.
And now
a break in my day
Reee-eeep
Reap the benefits
Reap the harvest
Reap the seams, man!
Break fast
Break falls
Break away
Break habits
Break screens
Break a nail
Break a leg
Break neck
Freak break
BrickStickPrick
Crack
Work’s a dick
Frick off
Sign off.


-from Topic post, Shiva

Read Full Post »

Dart of a scissor-tail kite, splash of cracked glass, cutting edge of wind-wisped Superior, tear of corduroy feathers, rusty brown
orange red

blue
sky accents.

Ripping the stems from their moorings. I packed boxes of old paints and watercolor pencils. I packed slippery porcelain paint mixers. I packed old wax 45′s and ancient letters from my grandmother.

I packed up all those old broken dreams.

Snaking through the facets of a cracked mirror, my reflection haunts me. There is a bright fear of having to choose – me in the mirror – pathology. The name escapes. A holding pattern, a wrinkle in time.

Basting a turkey,
the gravy in a molded Ball jar.

Bell Jar.

Sylvia, my hands smell like Clementines
and gently pull the skin out from under

California labels, “Supersweet” and “EZ Peel.”

I want to frost your lemons with icing sweet spatter. Fruitinize your phobia. Instead I keep slow walking toward home, along brambled beaches and tiered satisfaction – a hole in a tree that cracked off long ago fell into the lake.

Shatter-thawed ice patterns
swirl into river maps.

You stand on a booted heel,
I boost your curved heartshaped butt
up the rough ridged bark.

Woot!

Cables and wires and antennae. How is it people can’t seem to connect? Frozen splashes of $10 water bottles with ice crystal patterns. The painting, lifted mariposas in the upper left corner. You strummed your guitar, sans makeup.

All down to zero here. Hollow bone.

It was the spectacles that spun out,
that stood out, when I told you her name.

Then we were in Perkins and that song came on, “You Said”
“Hey, isn’t that….”  I blurted out, standing still in the green isle after
fried shrimp bacon cheeseburgers & mashed potatoes.

I’m not ashamed to say
I eat my favorite foods,
sometimes in combination.

Wretched memories. Why can’t I let go? The frozen gravy spread eagle on the plastic tarp. I nearly tripped and fell over myself. Fell off the tricycle in the carport and slit my hand. The Brown Creeper.

I had dreams wrapped up in that corduroy shirt. Cracked, broken, gone the way of the Firefly. A measly short life that I love to write about.

Fire of any kind lights the world.

The insects, I’d collect them in jars just like you. I’d exclaim gleefully in that Ya’ll Georgia accent and study the shape of their wings in bed (surprise – squeals of glee sound the same in Minnesota).

In Taos in December there was a fat-bodied spider that loved to climb out of the flowery wash basin when I was brushing my teeth or spiking my hair. I let her be. She wasn’t bothering me. Spiders eat flies. And spin yarny webs of sticky safety.

Webs. Connection.

The moon stood still over the shower stall. I stared up, water droplets navigating peacefully between each hair on my arm. Doing what water drops do. My legs, let’s not talk about them.

I stopped shaving in September.
You wouldn’t believe

the length.
The softness.
Like Kiev’s raven fur.

There was that slice to the finger, a cat’s cradle claw. I yelped in pain like a kicked puppy. Was it the Scooby or Pooh bandaide that saved me? Or the Vitamin E you carefully rubbed along the torn punctured skin.

There is a flap where the slit comes together.
And I wear a healing band -
green yellow orange leopard cloth
over the wound.

A pet in the morning.

It’s glassy on the deck. I can’t stand without grasping the rail. Purple lunch pail in tow. And the Adidas black sling pack. The December dark morning hovering at 35 degrees – feels like late September.

Did you ever look closely at O’Keeffe’s painted blacks? They contain 700 colors of chocolate coffee bean brown. I stood close, next to ribbons of oil. Silent. Watching.

Watercolor nudes.
Muggy. And saturating my senses.

The car starts right up. Even though the doors crack with icy rain when I open them. Rubber stuck to metal. Rrrrriiiiippppp.

Splayed out is my anger. I lost it somewhere. I foster compassion. And hold my head high. You left me a million times. And this time for good. That tattoo, the Chinese character? I missed it in the juices. I find Home in a Valley of Gold.

It’s so quiet, my solitude quakes.

I misunderstood. I may not be cut out for making money. I hold myself back, learn to boost myself up. A scarecrow in a golden pond.

Mainstream I am not. Airstream. Chuckle.
Yes. Airstream.

You said you wanted a shiny RV. To travel the world, tootle along, you say, and diddle around. I think of
Milton, blind as a bat, shunned by his Universe, shattered, broken, writing his best work ever in the twilight of his life.

Humanity’s fall from grace.
Who knew it was in him?

Political hack they yelled.
He showed them.

I want to say I will never be broken again. But every time I sit, some pain comes up. Rising, I skim off the top. The insecurity of that old ripped shirt. I moved boxes and boxes, frayed edges unraveling, covering my treasures. And I remembered how thin and trim I used to be.

How naive.

One cold fall day we cut the wing off a Great Gray owl. Roadkill. It’s worth being buried. Then the talons – crunch. Stolen moments in the freezer, years go by. How could I forget her? Broken, headbanged raptor. I’ve felt your pain.

When I moved from Ulysses after 14 years there was only one thing left in the abandoned 5 rooms – a dim gray bag of frozen body parts. Lying in the dark. I wanted to photograph the sifting light through the tertiary bands.

I wanted to set it up
all the world’s a stage
you would have looked beautiful.

But you chose to disappear. Poof, just like that. And leave me fractured, disjointed that last day I closed the door, turned out the light, wept at the happy ending. Closet boxes of memories. And fierce wet talons vanquished into thin air. Vanquished?

The mask of a thousand ages fell upon my wrinkled face.
I wasn’t there to receive it.

I flew off to Taos.
And wondered what I was doing.

Climbing out from under Masonic clouds
or tripping over a raised crack in the sidewalk -
“I hope I’ve made it right,” you said, shaking my hand.
I smiled & shook back.

the floor boards don’t creak anymore
they are bleached blond and hard as a rock
shake a tail feather. break a leg.

Home.

What is it?
Where is it?
Why can’t I find it?

Because there’s no where to look
It’s all here. Inside.

here

inside

the spaces between

broken dreams
broken hearts
broken bones

the smell of Clementines oozing off of my skin
the soaking rain in December
the hard freeze in October

swimming in the Rio Grande in August
which face am I?

the manic joy of falling in love
the printed word on the muted white page

what did Dogen say?
when you walk in the mist
you get wet

not original
but genuine

pulpy & alive

shatter
wet pieces
together again

melt
white heart
puffy lips

money
it’s not worth
fighting over

under, around
or through

let go
drip with satisfaction
let the good stuff in

break structure
build strong bones
mend broken hearts

shatter your dreams
the sky’s big enough to hold
the juicy fractured pieces

and you.

if not,
then silence.
 

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Read Full Post »

1. Drive to Alaska - spend a month there, motorcycle around, hike, see the wildlife and sights of one of the last pristine wildernesses.

2. Build an open Prairie-style home somewhere out West – sans the FLW dark cave-like bedrooms. Open spaces inside and out. Oregon or Montana, high up, looking out over the ocean or spanning long layered mountain vista. Work with a little-known visionary architect who understands my dream.

3. Buy a home with my partner in Minnesota – big enough for us to both have large writing and creative spaces within our home. Floor to ceiling libraries. Open windows and community space. Bathrooms are important – I take long showers and baths. Lots of light. Darkroom space.

4. Make an excellent, abundant living from my creative writing & consulting – Relative, I know. Two million is enough. I’m not greedy. I want to love my work and get paid well to do it. I want to make a lot of money – not so I can buy more things – but so I can have the time and space to do what I love.

5. Be financially well off enough to help my Mother retire and live the rest of her life without worrying about money – Travel with her to all the places she’s always wanted to see. Spend quality time.

6. Write my memoir – Structure time and space for writing in 2007 and beyond. Accept the 3-5 year process of writing a book. Accept that writing takes:

 a. Time
 b. Commitment
 c. Practice
 d. Perseverance
 e. Money To Live
 f. Discipline
 g. Follow Through
 h. Space Inside.
 i. Space Outside.
 j. Silence.

7. Give something back to everyone who has helped me along the way – Particularly with the art and writing. Emotionally, spiritually, mentally, financially – from grade school to middle age. This includes blood family, teachers, mentors, friends, community who push me to my personal best. And adversaries – who push me to be a better person.

8. Write a letter to my blood father whom I haven’t seen since I was 6 – Maybe see him. Seeing is not always believing. This needs more thought.

9. Make amends to anyone I have hurt along the way – as long as it doesn’t harm them.

10. Geocache with Liz in nooks and crannies all over this country – Take her to my favorite places. Have her meet my favorite people. Land is spiritual. Good friends are priceless. Share the wealth.

11. Drive the entire length of Route 66 on a Harley – (or any other bike I have a passion for) It’s got to fit me comfortably. I want to do this with other motorcycle friends and enthusiasts. It’s a family thing.

12. Build a writing space or retreat on a big chunk of land - where other writers and I can meet and write together. This might be combined with my retirement plans or the homes I create or a shared dream with my partner.

13. Have a show of my photographs in a great and well-known museum or gallery – Maybe a group show with other emerging photographers.

14. Have my name be instantly recognized (and big enough to be well compensated) – for my writing, photography, teaching, visioning, sense of wonder, and generous spirit. And also for my love of the arts and the wild creatures that make it.

15. Teach other writers and artists about the great writers and artists that came before us – share the lineage - Feed the passion.

16. Travel to a few select places of sacred geography in Europe – See the wild places, cathedrals and art. Need to get more specific and map it out. Geocache along the way.

17. Own 3 modern, dynamic modes of transportation – with the means to store, upkeep, and replace them when they age – Red or yellow Mini Cooper convertible for Summer. Hybrid medium-sized SUV for Winter – this one needs more thought. Chrome plated, shiny motorcycle – Honda, BMW, or Harley for Spring – this one needs more research. For Fall, I will alternate between all three!

18. Be consistently published in well-respected magazines for the compelling essays, stories, poetry I write – (oh, and I’d like to add, well-paid) The Sun. Poets and Writers. Shambala Sun. The New Yorker.

19. Love The South again – Visit where I grew up, spend quality time with family members still living there. Photograph family history, cemeteries, old haunts, schools, teachers, write about my experiences. Publish what I write.

20. Plan and attend a huge outdoor reunion in western Montana – spanning a whole weekend. Invite the people I grew up with there in my 20′s and some of the people in my life now. Remember the good stuff. Do a river raft trip. Hike in the mountains. Photograph. Document. Honor the process of living. Love.

21. Have a huge 64th Birthday Bash in Minneapolis – Rent a rooftop condo for a weekend. Invite everyone who has ever been anyone in my life. If they can’t afford to come, have enough money to pay their way. Provide huge amounts of food, space, music, dancing, love. Celebrate life. And the fact that I’ve made it that long!

22. Let go of any resentments or ill feelings I have – no matter the shape or form. Stop clinging to the past. Open to what is.

23. Let go of any and all material things I don’t absolutely love living with – I don’t need inanimate objects to fill me up. Cultivate a sparse, clean, but warm living space with little clutter.

24. Before I die, I want to live every day within my means – I buy nothing on credit, I owe no one (not one red cent), and I am debt-free – for at least 30 years – or the whole second half of my life, whichever comes first.

25. Recognize and know in my heart that I am enough. Just as I am. – Live every day like it is my last. Keep jumping – the net will appear. I am enough. I have enough. There is enough for everyone.
 


BONEWRITER DISCLAIMER: This is a list of 25 things I want to do before I die as of Thursday, December 14th, 2006. I reserve the right to change or expand this list, as I change and expand my life. Merry meet. Merry part. Merry meet again. So mote it be.

-posted on red Ravine Thursday, December 14th, 2006

-related to Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – DO OR DIE TRIANGLE

Read Full Post »

THE VALUE OF PROCESS


Blog #1 - Make a numbered list of 25 things you want to do before you die. (they don’t have to be in order of importance and don’t labor over it) Go ahead and post the list as a blog entry.

Blog #2 - Choose 1 out of your list of 25. Do a 20 minute writing practice on that 1 topic. Time yourself. Stop after 20 minutes. Post your raw practice as a separate blog piece.

Blog #3 - In a 3rd blog entry, list the practical details (in numbered order) of how you are going to make that 1 dream happen (the one you wrote about in #2) before you die.

 HAPPY WRITING!      )


-posted on red Ravine Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Read Full Post »

It was a Friday morning in late July, 2004, when I left for Taos. And it was my birthday. I spent the whole day travelling. I blasted Joni Mitchell out of the Alpine as I drove down I-35 through southern Minnesota, tipped my hat to the Hawkeyes in northern Iowa, and bowed to the sandhill cranes as I hurtled across the Platte River plains of eastern Nebraska.

I travelled all day Saturday, too. shooting under a vibrant sunrise near the Hampton Inn in Kearney, Nebraska. And I sat paralyzed as metronomic wipers slapped time to a vengeful thunderstorm south of Denver. Blinding sheets of rain pelted the pavement so hard I had to stop under an overpass until the turbulence died down.

The storm made me late to meet Wordraw.

I remember sitting in the Camry behind torrents of streaming water, fanning my breath away from the steamy glass. Since I was stuck, it seemed like a good time to call Wordraw. But instead of a soothing connection, his deep voice was barely audible, buried under crackle and static –

“Hello, this is Wordraw….crakcakcak, ssssshhh, or leave your number and I’ll call you back as tickkkpoptic soon as I can.”

Beeeeeep.

I lost service after the 10th word and stared helplessly at the phone. It was worthless. I threw it in my leather bag, then turned to wipe the window clear with my sleeve. Cars slowed to a crawl, nearly hitting each other as they vied for position to get off the road. Hail the size of melons hit the highway in a fury and pingponged 6 inches off the macadam.

Aroused, the Over and Underworld gods exploded in electric tension between thunderous cracks. I jumped high off the seat. It was time for a rumble.

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared.

Storms on the passes in Colorado put the fear of god in me. They strike in every season. And seem more violent than the disturbances I remember in the 70′s when I lived in western Montana at the geological point where five valleys collide. Or the swollen summer sky that broke open in 1992, flooding our campsite (swallowing my Eureka dome tent) near an arroyo in New Mexico.

The No. 9 cloud is the culprit, the fluffy cumulonimbus.

People speculate that the saying “walking on cloud 9″ may have originated from the National Weather Service’s fanciful and popular No. 9 cloud. I rather like to think the phrase was inspired by the Beatle’s Revolution #9. Or the Norman Whitfield penned, Grammy winning 1969 rendering of the Temptation’s Cloud 9.

You can’t grow up in the hometown of James Brown, Godfather of Soul, and not be inspired by late 60′s funkadelic. I can hear the backbeat now – “Cloud 9! – ba boom ba ba boomp ba boomp ba boomp boomp ba”.

Music to my ears.

When I arrived at Taos Plaza late Saturday, I didn’t know it was Fiesta. It was dark. I took the back way in and found my way to the La Fonda’s pock marked parking lot and chain-link fence. The Taos De La Fonda Hotel is the only hotel in the Plaza. That night it was packed with restless people and rust-less vintage cars.

In Minnesota, auto bodies are eaten away by ice-busting winter chemicals and salt. The corrosive action melts through paint like battery acid. You don’t often see Minnesotans driving models older than 10 years. That’s what I love about going to places like New Mexico and Montana. You’re more likely to see a 1962 VW bug, ‘72 AMC Gremlin, or Ford Pinto than you are a Lexus or BMW.

I turned the corner to park in a tight muddy spot by the cable wire barrier, muttering to myself, “How in the hell will I ever find Wordraw?” The next minute, there he stood, big as life, tapping his knuckles against my window, wearing a brassy shit-eatin’ grin. He had seen me coming.

That night after dinner, Wordraw and I sat on his twin bed by an open window in a tiny room above Taos Plaza, peeked out from behind the curtains, listened, and watched as hundreds of people shouted, cheered, and danced along the covered sidewalks under the cottonwoods. They seemed happy. In fact, jubilant. All of Taos was there.

Friday, July 23rd, had been the beginning of Fiesta.

Las Fiestas de Taos is a celebration of the Patron Saints, Anne (Santa Ana), a model of virtue and grandmother to the Messiah, and Santiago, the man who rose from fisherman to warrior. Mother and Father. They are holy days. And it’s a community celebration for all cultures, of the people, by the people. That’s what I read in an article in The Taos News by Larry Torres. The Saturday I arrived was the second day, the day designated to celebrate Saint Anne and the children.

On Sunday, after walking around Fiesta in the Plaza, Wordraw and I visited the D.H. Lawrence collection of “forbidden paintings” on display by permission only in a small temperature regulated room in the back of the La Fonda. If I remember correctly, that was the same trip we visited the 160 acre D.H. Lawrence Ranch on Lobo Mountain, formerly Kiowa ranch. Mabel Dodge gave Lawrence the 8,600 foot perch for a song.

More like a story.

I heard from a historian that Mabel gifted the ranch to Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, for free. But then Frieda didn’t want to be beholden to Mabel. So she gave Mabel Sons and Lovers as payment for Kiowa. And Mabel later gave the manuscript to a friend in New York as payment to her psychiatrist.

This is what happens to writing. You create it. You let it go. You never know where your writing is going to end up.

The Bonewriters met that fateful weekend in the dining room at Mabel Dodge. There was a birthday cake. I huffed and I puffed and I blew out 3 fat candles. I remember how embarrassed I was. And how excited. Both, at the same time. I knew it was going to be no ordinary writing retreat. And it wasn’t.

Ybonesy came up to me the last day and asked if I wanted to write across the miles, from South to Midwest. Wordraw and I ended up looking at New Mexico real estate outside of Questa where the estimated population in 2003 was 1,927. The 3 of us went swimming with other writers in the Rio Grande. When we sat in silence, I could hear the Fiesta drums pounding from the Plaza into the Zendo where we wrote, hungry, beating skins flying through summer air, down my fast writing pen, and on to the page.

The next 4 days, I wrote in the spaces between reverberating squeals of laughter and pounding toms – present, listening. I didn’t understand what I was listening to. Or for. Only that it had been passed down for generations. It was tradition. A time for celebration. The music was free. You only had to stop what you were doing and pay attention. All you had to do was listen.

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

-related to post, WRITING TOPIC - TAOS

Read Full Post »

A dust of rose blue floated off Taos Mountain. It was hard to see the stars for the full light of the moon. I slushed along in $16.99 calf-high boots I purchased from Walmart after I arrived in Taos. The gray-haired woman bustling around the shoe department seemed harried in her dark blue smock. She wasn’t happy to be working. I resisted the urge to swoop her away. New Mexico in December. I was grateful to be in Taos.

The writing retreat was everything I imagined. Even more. The “more” part is important. Because sitting in silence means making more room. More space to receive. Writing rises out of silence.

I set my alarm for 6 a.m. and got up every morning for meditation. My routine went something like this:

wake up five minutes before alarm goes off, turn the black switch on the Westclox travel alarm to off, plant two feet firmly on the floor, peek out the window to see if the morning light is hitting Taos Mountain, turn on the wobbly brass table lamp beside the twin bed, head to the high ceilinged bathroom, rub the sleep out of my puffy eyes, flush the toilet, stand up, walk to the carved oak dresser and gather my clothes for the day: a pair of Jockey For Her underwear, Hanes cotton bra, a pair of SmartWool socks (made from New Zealand’s specially bred Merino sheep), baggy flannel pants with loose waist, and a long-sleeved cotton T-shirt from Target washed 1000 times.

The shower was one of my favorite parts of the day. I could feel the water hit every cell of my body. The last dark morning of the retreat, I looked up through the slit of window below the adobe ceiling and saw the full moon high and shining between blowing branches of cedar spread low and wide along the outside wall.

I showered by moonlight.

Moisture is what I crave when I go to New Mexico. Water – inside and out. The 7000 foot altitude gives me headaches and dehydrates my body. Or maybe it’s the Taos Hum. I took a long shower every morning. Then I brushed my teeth, slapped Crew Fiber in my hair, dressed, donned a corduroy jacket and Liz’s “Itasca State Park – Mississippi Headwaters” sweatshirt (that smelled like her), and crunched over the frosty ice, across the gravel parking lot, up the wooden stairs, by the black and white sign tacked to a post that said Silent Retreat In Progress, past the Mother Ditch and the giant cottonwood with seven heads, and over to Mabel’s log cabin.

At 7:30, the meditation guide for the morning would say, “Sitting.” And I’d sit for 30 minutes before breakfast. Some days it seemed like 10 hours. Other mornings, I was disappointed when the bell rang – three taps on the rim to start meditation, one to leave the Zendo. Then breakfast.

Breakfast at Mabel Dodge Luhan House. Don’t get me started.

I’d have a large helping of Jane’s scrambled eggs, 3 pieces of sausage (the bacon is too crispy and overdone for me), 2 tablespoons of sweet applesauce to balance the salty meat, 5 to 8 quarter cuts of  honeydew melon, fresh strawberries, a 16 ounce glass of whole milk, a juice glass of OJ, and a medium cup of coffee with half and half.

If there was a special Southwestern breakfast dish, I would add a taste of it to the plate, picking out the bits and slices of mushroom. I love the flavor but hate the rubbery texture. Otherwise, I stuck to my purist routine of scrambled eggs.

After breakfast, I’d slow walk to my room, staring at Taos Mountain against the clearest cerulean sky, unlock the two latches to enter Door 6, use the bathroom, tidy up, floss and brush my teeth, and get ready for the 9:30 sit, walk, write and the dharma talk that followed.

That was my morning routine from Monday to Friday, December 4th to 8th, 2006.

Heaven. It felt like heaven. But Buddhists don’t believe in heaven. There is only practice. Anchoring the mind to breath, tip of tongue, soles of feet, sound, hands.

And emptiness. 
 
Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

-related to post, WRITING TOPIC – TAOS

Read Full Post »

Silent in Taos
Silent in Taos, map of Taos, NM, doodle © 2007 by ybonesy. All
rights reserved.




Bent Street: The quaintest street of Tourist Taos.

  • Dwellings Revisited: A couple talking. One the proprietor, the other an old friend. I can tell this is their daily custom–sitting, talking, gesticulating as if building a castle in the air. I am grateful for their consumption of one another and not of me. I walk to every section of the store. To the table with carved wooden fruit painted brightly. The section where Day of the Dead objects convene. Skeletons prefer other skeletons. I come upon the tin ornaments, religious icons, bags with Frida images. Each thing I come to slowly and stand, “Let it come to you” reverberating in my heart. My hand reaches up as if guided by a force, picks the purse off its hanger and places it on my shoulder. A store without mirrors yet I can see myself, bright and odd. I feel so new, so Mexican with Frida at my side. I touch her cheek. She is inside the bag, a small Frida wanting to see some of Taos. Adios, mujer. The words hang and I’m not sure whether I uttered them to her or her to me.
  • The Parks Gallery: Mr. Park is like any gallery owner. Assured and handsome. He wears a crisp white-blue striped dress shirt and gray slacks, his wavy hair swept back as if he just stepped off a biplane. He asks, “How can I help you,” and I can tell by the way he looks me toe to head that he thinks me not to be serious material. I wear a faux leather skirt, which could have been accessorized in an ethnic voluptuous sort of way, except I am layered for warmth: black leggings, ankle boots with wide rubber soles, a loud ski sweater from the 1950s, and a light blue down jacket soiled at the wrists and neck. It gives me pleasure to tell Mr. Park that I want to buy the Georgia O’Keefe pull puppet in the corner.



Paseo de Pueblo Norte: The main artery of Taos.

  • Artisan’s: A thin, caved-in man waits on me. He is medium height, my age but older looking. He has dark hair sprinkled gray and bad breath. As he leads me to each product about which I inquire — a watercolor paint set, paint brushes, white and black gouache, a portable paper tablet, permanent ink pens — I make up a story about him. He lives alone in a detached converted garage. It is cold in the winter and his wages barely cover rent and gas heat. He worries, and even though he eats well and has good hygiene, the worrying turns his stomach and breath sour. I once had a dog with horrible breath, even as a puppy. He was a blue heeler named Rudy. We used to say Rudy was a worrier and that he had “Broody Breath,” like brooding. After a while we called him Broody instead of Rudy, and we always said it in a high voice. As I wait for the man at Artisan’s to ring up my purchases, I say to myself in that same high voice, “He has Broody Breath.”
  • Taos Gems and Minerals: I walk the entire store looking for individual specimens — clear quartz or amethyst — to take home as souvenirs but I can’t find any. A stout man with a potbelly approaches. “Can I help you find something?” “I’m looking for crystals in the six-dollar range for my daughters,” I tell him. He walks to the center of the store, kneels before what looks like a big table and starts opening thin, wide drawers. Each drawer houses boxes and boxes of minerals. He opens one drawer with nothing but clear quartz. A few feet over he pulls out three drawers in succession, one on top of the other. The items in the boxes start at $1 each and go up from there. I eventually pick six from the $2 drawer. Later, at the cash register, the man says, “You have six daughters?” He looks at me from behind the counter. His eyes are round now like the rest him. I know what he’s thinking. “No,” I say, “six dollars per daughter.” “Oh,” he says slowly, “you have two daughters…OK…I was going to say…that would have been monumental for you to have six daughters.”

Ledoux Street: Tucked away from it all, as it should be.

  • The Harwood Museum: Someone is playing the piano in the next room. It is heavenly, the sound music makes in this gallery. Like a church or a concert hall. It’s a classical piece. Small keys and big, deep ones… I wish I had words for music. I’m conscious of a desire to close my eyes and rock my head left and right. I don’t want it to stop. Not the music. Not this moment. Not the silence. I want to stay here. I want to come again and again. And now twinkling notes. They remind me of snow falling. Winter in Taos yet it’s still fall. Now it’s over, the music. Soon it will be over, the music of silence, of acute noise in my head.




-related to post WRITING TOPIC – TAOS.

Read Full Post »

Shatter, the word I heard today when one of the founding partners was talking about pottery and porcelain.

Shatter. I think of destruction. I think of Shiva.

Shiva is the Destroyer. It is said that when the Day of Brahma comes to an end, we will hear the swish of Shiva’s feet across the sky. As he dances, the whole creation, universes upon universes, will contract back into itself. (Jaya Shiva Shankara/Vroom Vroom/Hare hare vroom vroom)

The assignment: Break something. An old jar, a piece of uncooked lasagna noodle. If you cannot bring yourself to the shattering, rip a piece of paper, a faded t-shirt. There should be sound, and the more that the resultant smithereens manifest a far different state than the original object, the better.

Do not go overboard. Do not break something that belongs to someone else.

Write. Break grammar, break syntax, break form. Write from brokenness. Write about destruction, broken hearts, broken dreams, broken bone

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,205 other followers