I loved this year.

 

 Sure, the political climate was stormy, and I have personally never witnessed so much shit hitting the fan, but the cleansing is on. I’m not much of a political analyst, and I do very poorly when it comes to discussing and writing about politics within the traditional framework. Actually I don’t do it at all. I’ve often met by annoyance and the proverbial “everything is political though” when connecting the happenings in the political arena to what is happening within us and within the Universe. I wouldn’t be much of a student of A Course in Miracles if I capitulated to the dominant narrative. I enter almost all dialogues in commitment to the “consciousness first” model, even if the context of the conversation is framed otherwise, meaning “objective reality first.”

 I find the “objective reality first” model a reconfiguration and regurgitation of everything that has contributed to the suffering and pain that we experience in our relationships on and with the planet. It is a reflection of the bankruptcy and wide-spread acceptance of the “objective-reality first” model that after millions of years on this Earth, we have something called a “military budget.” Imagine, no mass movement or grass-roots based tizzying about “tax” dollars (money paid for the privilege of living on a planet hijacked by an alien belief system) supporting the military, or government sponsored killing; oceans so polluted that when we dine on fish, if we eat it at all, we may be ingesting fish that have digested plastic. Decades of history should be sufficient to enlighten us about the efficacy of the faith that we’ve placed in any and all systems manufactured under the belief in separation; and all systems are the offspring of the “objective reality first” model. The condition of the planet and the life on it should be ample evidence that all these systems should be forgiven and laid aside.

On the other hand, there is a reason why the global shift in consciousness is called the “great awakening.” It simply suggests, as does A Course in Miracles, that we are in a deep sleep and the awakening from the dream of “separation” is occurring now. Big time. So all the stuff that I’ve said in those last two paragraphs are nothing more than observations of the dream world, an insane dream world. And what passes for insanity in the dream world has no impact whatsoever on Reality, the Subject of the “consciousness-first” model. This is how Jesus could say, as he experienced pain and suffering, both effects of the time bound “objective reality first” model, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”

We need to wake the fuck up!

Closets and Purging

I passed a couple of weeks in the summer cleansing and purging. A thorough sifting through of every item in two closets allowed one of them to be devoted to fabrics and quilting materials. Yarn is organized by color; tall knitting needles now have a new home in a vintage jar that never had a lid. Crochet needles, quilting and sewing needles can be easily accessed. No more guessing which of the five pencil cases they might be in.  In 2016, the cleansing began with seventy percent of the beads gifted to a local bead artist who immediately began offering new designs on her jewelry. The few that were left and the ones purchased for projects are organized, by color, in glass jars, so they can be easily identified.  

A needless collection of over 30 handbags is gone. Some were given as gifts; some sold, others donated. The leather from three of those purses will be recycled/reused in quilts, knit and crochet items or in mixed media collage or sculpture.

 Books, ones that have served their purpose, and whose contents are no longer believable, are stacked tightly together in 5 piles and now serve as an ottoman in the living room. The remaining ones have been colored coded, an idea from my daughter, and have left the first row of the two, three shelfed bookcases open. The photography books have found a new home on the hall staircase, easily accessible and easy to return, with a little discipline, after use.  Old gardening magazines were tied and sat out by the recycling bin for pickup. Old notebooks, journals and early Spanish class notes were tossed. 8 cookbooks are all that remain on the kitchen shelf next to a 1920’s clothes iron. The rest, books that I either picked up from the thrift shop or from a used book store, were donated to someone who loves to cook or who appreciates cookbooks.

Afro-Punk/Afro-Rock. Mixed media. October, 2017 At’Z

 Art work, packed away in the basement, has been released from neglect and procrastination, and now breathes freely on walls, in corners and on tables. Pieces that have been damaged or broken are ready to go in either garden sculpture next year, recycled and incorporated in new art pieces.  The stain glass part of the studio is now organized with three bins of glass, one for textured clears, one for earth tones and one for blues, greens and purples. Cutting oil, flux and stain are in their own box. Two soldering irons are cleaned and ready for the next stain glass project. The grinder has been dismantled and cleaned.

 A wardrobe minimalization that began in 2015 continues with releasing those items that have not been worn in over a year. Older jackets and some coats that are either too big or that have gone unworn close to 2 years were donated to the thrift shop; leather from some will be incorporated into clothing designs, mixed media tapestries and, of course, quilts. A September moratorium was called on shoe and boot purchases, tennis shoes, for working out, and house shoes excluded.

The Garden

 

Echinacea whose seeds I planted last year and didn’t think had taken root arrived sturdy in May and maintained their blooms until September

The garden and the yard are in progress. As I write, the landscapers are removing overgrown ivy, clearing dirt piled 2 feet high between my and my neighbor’s garage, an eye sore that predates the both of us. Shrubs and bushes that were dying and couldn’t be saved, no matter how much care was given to them, have been cut down and bagged. A cotinus bush awaits an early spring transplanting to the edge of the front yard, my third and my final attempt to grow this fussy bush; rue and catnip that had overrun the keyhole garden have been pruned down to the ground. Heirloom marigolds, gone to seed, are awaiting seed harvesting for next year’s planting.

 This year, I finally saw some berries. A blueberry bush that failed to provide blueberries for two years surprised me this year. Actually, I made some changes in the soil in April after discovering that berry bushes prefer acidic soil, and that was key. A new blackberry bush went immediately into acidic soil and I was awarded, in the first year, with quite a few berries. Not enough to make a pie, but enough to snack on. Unfortunately, no one snacked on the strawberries but the squirrels. I have been procrastinating on making some garden cages for them, and as a result of that procrastination I only tasted one strawberry this year.

 

This spring I made a commitment to walk every day, weather permitting, 1 mile. Often the summer evenings were muggy and hot, so I could only do a half mile. In walking I began to look up at the sky; something I can’t do if I’m driving, and I’ve been blown away by the beauty and the vastness of the heavens.

Now that I think about it, this photo was actually taken from the car. I was sitting on I-95 South, in bumper to bumper traffic, when I looked eastward. Mind blowing!
This view of the sky is from the apartment terrace in Oaxaca, Mexico. Those mountains!

All of these photos were taken with my cell, and I’ve decided next year I’m going to get myself a digital camera and learn how to take better shots of the garden and the heavens.

I discovered micro brews this year. Although I am not much of a drinker, the variety and flavors peeked my curiosity. I know micro brews may be just another one of the endless fads that cross the landscape of our lives. But when thinking of microbreweries I think of the Trappist monks who have been brewing under the “control” of the Trappist Cistercian Monastery for decades, since the European Middle ages. It was a way for them to have some type of financial income. I suppose that is why they continue to brew today. There are monasteries in Belgium, the Netherlands, in Italy, Austria and, surprisingly, one in the United States. I enjoy the raspberry Chimay, but I discovered some new flavors from some new microbreweries: from the Flying Dog Brewery comes, ready for this, “Raging Bitch,” with an alcohol content of 8.3%, and from Dogfish Head Brewery, in Delaware, comes “Namaste White.” None of these folks are monks.

I took this photo and sent it to my son while I was looking at the selection of beers. He told me that he stays away from those high alcohol content beers and so should I. Will take his advice “next time.”
What a mix of traditions, and I don’t think Buddha would pay “no-mind” to the photo.

I’m keeping with my tradition of No-New Year’s resolutions. When I did make a list, I would soon, often come January 10th or 11th, forget about it. Now, I simply become aware of unfavorable behaviors whose cause I should examine, forgive and release. It’s been a big year of acceptance, not the one that’s popular on the web; you know the one, the serenity prayer, “God, grant me the serenity…” but one that comes from A Course Of Love: “accept the present moment.” That’s a big challenge for me. I plan future projects and I think about those projects, and sometimes I belabor the thinking. Nothing is more of an obstacle to accepting and living in the present moment than “thinking.” But I’m on it.  

I’ve been streamlining those projects though. Some of them were created when I was over-thinking, and some, I’ve discovered, serve only to disrupt my peace, which I have accepted. Now the idea of starting a project that I know from the beginning is going to take three or four years to complete simply throws me out of whack.

Finally, when I was publishing the Shift in Consciousness Ezine, I ended the final year’s publication with a list of people whose ideas and activism had made an impression on me. Although I don’t have a list of names this year, I do want to acknowledge people who I have become acquainted with or who I have met, maybe only in passing, folks whose energy left an indelible impression. These are people who have made a commitment to be their “authentic” selves; no compulsion to follow the rules or color inside the lines. They know who they are; they listen and follow the guidance of their heart. They unabashedly represent the Eternal that resides in all of us. They’re not necessarily authors; they may not use Twitter, but their voices and their contributions are being made to create a New Earth. I believe that that is the highest form of activism, meditation and prayer that any of us can offer at this time.