Tuesday, March 31, 2020

We can do this -- 1 / Cesar Chavez, anonymous, Allen Ginsberg, another dream in the time of social distancing

You are never strong enough that you don't need help.
(Cesar Chavez -- who would have been 93 years old today)

In Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kasantzakis describes an encounter between his principal character and an old man busily at work planting a tree.  "What is it you are doing?" Zorba asks.  The old man replies:  You can see very well what I'm doing, my son, I'm planting a tree."  "But why plant a tree," Zorba asks, "if you won't be able to see it bear fruit?"  And the old man answers:  I, my son, live as though I were never going to die."  The response brings a faint smile to Zorba's lips and, as he walks away, he exclaims with a note of irony:  "How strange -- I live as though I were going to die tomorrow!"
(The person who wrote this wishes to remain anonymous)

The thing is not to cling to thoughts but to let them go.  By letting them, go, they are replaced by other thoughts until you become aware of thought following thought.  As the immortal bard, Shakespeare, said at the end of the last play, The Tempest, when Prospero goes home, having burned his magic books of ego and thrown away his magic wand of power, "to Milan [I'll go] where every third thought shall be my grave."  You become aware of your thoughts in that sense.  Shakespeare was aware that there's one thought, and then there's another thought, and then there's another thought, and there's a space in between.  So you become aware of the mind thinking and the thoughts passing through.  That gives you a profile on your thoughts, so to speak.  Not that you have to think of them, or inspect them, or grab them by the tail.  You become aware that all those thoughts are passing through your mind.  You look at them from the outside almost.  You become the observer of your own mind, which is useful for an artist.
(Allen Ginsberg)

More progress on Mandala #47:

From another dream in this time of social distancing:

R appeared out of nowhere on a street in Bellingham near downtown ... I was not surprised to see him because something in me never stopped hoping that he would return from Vietnam unbroken ... with a few more steps, R and I were standing face to face ...  I said, "We are much older now"... we hugged for a long time and I felt the warmth of him.  We stood back and looked at each other again.  I said, "We can do this." R said, "Yes."

Where do dreams come from?  I trust the mysterious giver of dreams and know that my deepest feelings, wanted and unwanted, are guides to balance and wholeness.  Often I need help in identifying what I am feeling.  I need to try on different feeling words until I find the ones that fit.  What I felt in this dream was "energized."

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Happy 101st Birthday, Lawrence Ferlinghetti! / "Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late"

Little Boy, a novel by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

On the book jacket is a quote by Tom Waits:

"When I first came out to San Francisco and heard the name Ferlinghetti, I thought it must be a large geographic area.  Turns out, it is."

There is a quote by Bob Dylan, too:

"A brave man and a brave poet."

Ferlinghetti does not talk falsely at age 100.  The book begins:

"Little Boy was quite lost."

I read Little Boy twice before it was due and then because our public library is closed and does not want us to return our books until the COVID-19 situation changes for the better, I will keep it safe until then.

On my first reading, I was carried along through perilous ups and downs by the vitality of Ferlinghetti's voice playing with words in all seriousness, talking about the past, the present and the future and then I was stunned by the way the book ended.  The stream of consciousness reminded me very much of  To The Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf, and I naively expected to be taken to a similar conclusion.

On my second reading, I paid attention to the details that foreshadowed the ending.  There were warnings that I had missed or discounted. By the time I reached the last page, I saw the ending in a different light, a different context.  I saw a balance.  I saw everything about the novel in a different light, as the COVID-19 virus situation has changed everything.  I saw his book as the poetic novel it is rather than an autobiography.  Running through the book is a recurring dream:

     BUT I keep having the same dream over and over 
always the same with a disembodied me wandering
around some huge city which after a few dreams 
I recognize as Manhattan, yes, it's always Lower 
Manhattan and I'm always trying to get back 
somewhere uptown or just north of the city like Van
Cortlandt Park over toward the Hudson and it's getting
later all the time and there seem to be fewer and fewer
buses or taxis or people on the street as I keep walking
uptown through the gathering dusk hoping to come
across some subway station or bus stop or taxi stand
but I don't seem to be advancing anywhere as if I'm on
a moving treadmill always carrying me away as the
night keeps closing in on me far from some home place

In the last few weeks, my dreams have been vivid and perhaps it was my two readings of Little Boy that resulted in a breakthrough variation for me on a similar dream theme.  In my recurring dream, I am always alone walking home as the sun is setting.  Suddenly it occurs to me that home is so far away that I will never reach it before dark because it is a thousand miles away.  I become philosophical about this situation and then I wake up.  In the recent dream, the world is getting dark but I am no longer traveling alone.   Night comes.  I am traveling with a man my age.  He builds a small fire to keep us warm on the beach.  We are companions traveling together in peace.  I trust him.  He falls asleep first.  I am closer to the ocean.  We do not sleep side by side, but I don't feel rejected.  I need room of my own and he does, too.  I take my red comforter and place it over my pillow for extra cushioning.  I'm surprised by how warm and comfortable I feel sleeping outside on the sand.  I am home.  I sleep easily.

I'm grateful for Lawrence Ferlinghetti's brave book.

Although I'm not on Facebook, it is fortunate that one doesn't need to be on Facebook to see Ferlinghetti on his 101st birthday:


Lawrence Ferlinghetti said, "Bravo for Dylan, Nobel Laureate!"

Sending love and gratitude to John Prine

Dear to our hearts

Friday, March 27, 2020

Bob Dylan's message: "Stay safe, stay observant and may God be with you"

The title of the song offered by Bob Dylan yesterday is a quotation from Hamlet, where the Ghost comments about his own death: "Murder most foul as in the best it is / But this most foul, strange and unnatural."

From the Bob Dylan website:

Greetings to my fans and
followers with gratitude for
all your support and loyalty
across the years.

This is an unreleased song we
recorded a while back that you
might find interesting.

Stay safe, stay observant and
may God be with you.

Bob Dylan

Here's what Bellingham looks like with people ordered to stay home:

A message from Seth Fleetwood, Bellingham's mayor:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Meditation for March 24, 2020 / "Please Stay Home" / Birds singing before dawn

Spring Meditations with Native American Elders

Our religion is the traditions of our ancestors -- the dreams of our old men, given them in the solemn hours of night by the Great Spirit; and the visions of our sachems, and is written in the hearts of our people.  (Chief Seattle, SUQUAMISH)

Our spiritual ways have carefully been given to chosen people.  Slowly, through our past generations, through past conflicts, our Elders prayed for guidance, which the Creator provided.  Then it was passed down to the next generation through culture, ceremony and oral traditions.  Our Indian religion has been tested and is about how we should behave and treat other people, animals, and earth.  This knowledge is written in the heart of every person.  We can find this knowledge by looking inside ourselves.

My Creator, today, when conflict occurs, I will look inside myself for the answers.

(March 24, from Meditations with Native American Elders:  The Four Seasons, by Don Coyhis, p. 5)

The following is from the Lummi Indian Business Council:


Community Update 

Siam e ne schaleche siam 

My dear people, as we expected, today the Lummi Indian Business Council accepted the Lummi Public Health Team's recommendation and unanimously passed a Shelter in Place resolution (Reso #2020-055). This resolution is in response to mitigating the COVID-19 crisis by providing a mandate for all individuals living on the Lummi Indian Reservation to shelter in place. The resolution takes effect today, March 22, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in place until April 5, 2020, 11:59 p.m. Please do not panic; we are prepared for this. Be assured that certain fundamental activities will still be allowed. Individuals may travel from their homes to: 

 Provide or receive certain essential services, like taking care of family members or to obtain medical services; 

 Engage in certain essential activities such as going to get groceries, medications, fishing, hunting and gathering; and 

 Work for essential businesses, essential infrastructure, and vital LIBC functions. 

LIBC will continue to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the Nation during this Shelter in Place Order. Commodities and the student lunch programs will continue and the Lummi MiniMart and the Cove store will remain open to serve the community. All LIBC employees will be contacted by your direct supervisor with direction regarding your work schedule. 

We recognize that this shelter in place order may cause confusion. Our objective is to take every measure and to ensure the health and safety of our families during this COVID-19 pandemic. We love our people. This resolution is a mandate for our people and families to stay home. It further emphasizes the necessity to protect our elders and youth and prohibits all gatherings of individuals within the Lummi Reservation. 

When it is necessary for you to leave your home please practice good Social Distancing, take great care to protect our elders, and Wash your hands frequently. We cannot stress enough the value of each and every one of our Lummi members. Please join us in taking every precaution to mitigate the impacts of the great flood of this virus that becomes more of a threat to our community every day. Please stay home. 

Clarifying information about the Shelter in Place Order will be released this evening. For more information please visit our LIBC websites or our  outlets. 

It is important to have Sxwolowen at this time, one heart and one mind and one spirit for the work. Che Shesh Whe Wheleq Sen – we come from survivors of the great flood. Sqweshent-lh tse Xwlemi Elhta-lng-exw – we protect the Lummi People 

Hy’shqe Siam ne shcaleche siam Hyshqe xwian ne quol quol 

Chairman Lawrence Solomon

(Note: The following is from the Shelter in Place Order and is am's addition)

1. Background.

Today we are in the same position as our ancestors when the Great Flood arrived. Like our ancestors, we are doing everything possible to ensure that our children have everything they need in their canoes to survive. We want to make it clear that our children need the teachings from their elders; we refuse to give up any of our elders during this flood. On March 3, 2020, the LIBC declared a State of Public Health Emergency due to the novel infectious coronavirus (COVID-19). COVID-19 may cause respiratory disease leading to serious illness or death. The World Health Organization considers COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports COVID-19 is the most contagious when the person is most symptomatic, but may spread before symptoms appear. The Lummi Tribal Health Center has been actively monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and recommending self quarantine to individuals that may have been exposed to COVID-19. However, the number of potential contacts with COVID-19 has grown exponentially that the Lummi Nation must order shelter in place to protect the Lummi community.

2. Intent.

The intent of this Order is to mitigate the impacts of the great flood of this virus that has already reached our community. To be successful we absolutely need your help. We need all Lummi people and all Lummi residents to be leaders and ensure the safety of our vulnerable populations. The maximum number of people must shelter in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible. When people need to leave their places of residence, whether to obtain or perform vital services, or to otherwise facilitate authorized activities necessary for continuity of social and commercial life, they should at all times possible comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined below. All provisions of this Order shall be interpreted to effectuate the expressed intent. Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this Order constitutes an imminent threat and creates an immediate menace to public. Violations of this Order could subject a person to criminal penalties and/or civil fines.

Always sending love to blog friends near and far. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Beloved Community

G                  A chord diagramC majorC
Living in my beloved community
A chord diagramG MajorG                    A chord diagramD MajorD
Take a look around and what do I see
A chord diagramG MajorG                    A chord diagramC majorC
See a lot of trouble, see a lot of tears
A chord diagramG MajorG                         A chord diagramD MajorD
See a lot of beauty and I see it right here
Thanks to robin andrea for giving me 
one heartening song that led to another.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Mandala #47 (unfinished but moving along well)

I've had a common cold for the last 9 days.  No fever.  No cough.  No shortness of breath.  Surprisingly, I had the energy to begin a new mandala.  Nothing happening here that is not happening everywhere now, although the last few days have been sublimely beautiful with clear blue sky during the day and a good view of the moon and stars at night.

Sending love to blog friends near and far.

Friday, March 6, 2020

"To Fall In Love With You" / Mandala #46 (No Title. Yet.)

Here's the first mandala I've completed this year.  I started it in mid-November of last year.  I've decided not to buy another printer/scanner and instead have my art work scanned at a local graphics company and have them print anything else I need to have printed.  I need to be creative with my limited income, as I am living on just under $1000/month since I retired in October 2017.  My needs are few.  For the time being, I can only show you what my digital camera can capture, photographed in the light of this overcast day on my porch.  This is my 46th mandala since I started this series in September 2014.  I don't have a title for it.  Yet.

when asked if you care about
the world's problems, look deeply
into the eyes of he that asks
you, he will not ask you again. 

(Bob Dylan, 1964, from "Advice For Geraldine On Her Miscellaneous Birthday")

As I was about to click on "Publish," I looked out the window and saw this beautiful afternoon light to the east: