“What TV show would you pick to watch forever in hell?” And other banter.
This could be the title of the series featuring Caitlin and I as we danced back and forth through the morning rising routine regularly on Fridays and Saturday mornings.
I’m in the office, a little earlier than usual on these particular days. The recent saga of my sleep “irregularities” continues, last night sleeping mostly soundly with a number of points shallow enough to be aware both of sleeping and waking. The printer is humming in the background as I roll in to the study. A subtle reflection of the “all but calm” quality.
An oriole, to my eye smaller than usual, just landed in the tree outside the window. After all these years spotting the bright yellow and black bird as a sign of spring, could this be the first time I’m seeing the result of a brood?
Yesterday was the eighth birthday of my little brother from another mother and we celebrated in the strange style familiar to so many weathering the weirdness of this pandemic time. Caitlin and I ventured out for a drive, stopping by the ice cream store like a bandit in a mask to pick up the goodies before venturing on to the drive-through birthday party at Elliott’s house.
Curbside was cleared with orange road comes to ensure visitors could stop right up to the fence and mother, son, and new puppy were busy decorating the fence with chains of little paper hearts and painted rocks celebrating love and friendship and other sweet birthday themes. We stayed and visited for about 15 minutes while Elliott unwrapped his present (following the rock theme, a little tissue paper bundle filled with amethyst crystal shards, larger quartz crystal rocks, and miscellaneous other “semiprecious” stones, a few of them even cut.)
In what felt like elegant time, a white minivan pulled up, smiles beaming from inside, apparently some of Elliott’s peer age friends arriving. We said our goodbyes and final happy birthdays and pulled away, our happy meal intact.
Later in the day I would also attend the zoom video candle ceremony where friends and relatives from out of town gathered to sing a cacophonous rendition of happy birthday over the slightly delayed and somewhat software mediated voice priority protocol translated instrument of the Internet. I looked for, but could not find the “confetti button.”
In other news, I found, or rather Caroline and I found, that Argentinian ants have decided to call the garden home. Not exceptionally good news, as they both attend and nurture aphids as a feed source livestock, as well as consuming or just bullying the other insect friends we hope to have flourishing in the yard.
“Diatomaceous earth.” Said Eliana in reply to my alarmed text of concern.
“I’ve got 50 pounds of that at home.” Said Caroline, “I’ll bring a jar on Sunday.”
If you follow the link to the video above, you’ll get the sense of enormity I might’ve felt at the potential scale of the invasion. I’m relieved to hear we have recourse. We may nonetheless eventually have to replenish our population of lace wings as the video did suggest them as a primary target of our new friends.
We finished the day after a little sports viewing and dinner with a short interview very dear to me. My meditation instructor, Dan, and a close collaborator of his, Geshe Sonam discussed in this very recent short introduction, how they came to meet and to be doing the enormous translation work with which they’ve been engaged over this past many years.
Where the “Western mind” has looked outward into nature, the skies, and down into subatomic particles in our search for meaning and truth, the “Tibetan mind” took a different route, instead of focusing on the phenomenal experience, they turned the lens inward to study the process and nature of the “looking” itself.
By following such a research injunction, one more acutely understands one’s own process, nature, and influences when it comes to observing oneself, one’s life, and the world and wider cosmos beyond. This process of looking inward is foundational to any truly integrative process of actualizing self-care.
Here in the “modern world” the absence of this, or shall we say immaturity, or not yet mature, skillfullness can be found at the root of many of our most egregious symptoms – separation of self from self (exemplified in climbing suicide rates, addiction, and morbid obesity), separation of self from other (exemplified in vociferous political, national, and social functioning), and separation of self from nature (exemplified in inhumane livestock practices, pollution of the oceans, and deforestation and desertification of the lands.)
The latter frame is drawn directly from the work of Otto Scharmer and beautifully illustrates the fundamental importance I feel when it comes to hearing these ancient refined observations, working to understand them, applying them in practice with the intent to master, and preserving them for others in the world.
The translations mentioned above combined to create an incredibly rare and important body of work, as they not only translate the original descriptions of some of those “Eastern” observations, but have been wrought so by perhaps one of the best translators in terms of understanding how to bridge that Tibetan cultural way of seeing, knowing, and saying that knowledge, into the “Western” mind.
With a little more peace in our hearts and some slight smile to our face, Caroline and I adjourned the evening, a quick shower on the schedule, and wound down for the day. We made good time and so spent a few more minutes on the backend just chatting lightly before she would make the 30 minute drive back up the mountain in the dark to home to finish her day.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…