Sunday, December 31, 2006

Musings On The Road To Portland

The guy in the truck next to me is reaching for something waaaaay in the back, his more than ample posterior plastered against the passenger window. I remember a particular trip to the national horse show in Manhattan. As the driver frantically tried to keep pace with the other car in heavy traffic and Karen croaked, “brakes!” from the back seat at every brush with disaster, Trish and I mooned the other travelers on the George Washington Bridge. That was the same night I was going to get Anne Kursinski, a long time hero, to sign my copy of her book. Instead, she broke her collarbone in a fall in the Grand Prix.

Musings On The Road To Portland

“The Secret” has been coming up in my life a lot lately, sometimes in the strangest situations. "The Secret" is a movie about the law of attraction, which states that like attracts like. On a practical level, we attract what we focus on. Focus on your optimal outcome, your optimal outcome will unfold. Focus on your current situation and you’ll attract more of the same. Focus on your fears or the worst possible scenario and *presto* what you think is what you'll get. The principle is timeless and cross-cultural. In my opinion, the movie is a great summary in a package which appeals to modern day Americans.

I remember a translation of a Sanskrit text I read decades ago, "The Doctrine of Vibration." According to Abinavagupta, all reality, material or immaterial, is formed of sound waves. I consider quantum physics: everything is formed from discrete packets of vibrating energy.

I see a sign for the Lewis and Clark trail, and think what an amazing trip that must have been. An infinite eyeful of wonders. As if cued, Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” comes on the radio. The music paints the sweeping vistas, the dangerous beauty, the glory of being fully alive and immersed in unknown and infinite majesty. Metaphorically paralleling the adventure into the wilds of consciousness, bringing us back to….

The law of attraction. I’m not going to argue its validity here. Psychologists have given it their scientific seal of approval. Research has nodded its assent. Self-help gurus have monetized it... and their students employed it with predictable success. If you feel like disputing it, feel free to email and I'll happily point you in the direction of those with far more credibility-- and interest in arguing--than I.

As a Christian, I am particularly interested in the Biblical references to the law of attraction. Though it took until the 20th century for science to get with the program, the Bible told us over 2000 years ago, “As a man thinketh, so he becomes.” And here’s where things get really wild. Here’s where the doors open to spine-tingling possibility. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God is a creator, therefore our very nature is creation. God spoke the world into being, therefore, we too have that power as our birthright. Regardless of our acknowledgement or lack thereof, our words create our worlds. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

The first step of faith is stepping into that unseen created reality despite the apparent contradictions in what commonly masquerades as the real world.

I blow past a cop and realize I’m off on a tangent, but that tangent has filled in another piece of the puzzle.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Northwest Coffee Obsession, Revisited

I see this van parked outside Office Depot. It pretty much sums it up.

As I take the picture, a woman explodes from a nearby car. She looks like a cross between chicken little and a befuddled ostrich. Are you looking for someone to take you picture?" she asks. "I'll take one of you if you take one of me!" It's the best offer I've gotten all day, but it's early yet.

"No, but I'd be glad to take your picture," I tell her happily.

"Great," she exclaims with frantic urgency. "I have friends that keep pestering me for a picture. Make it look nice..." I pose her against some far-off green between the shops as she regales me with more than I ever want to know about her, in "life is a disaster waiting to happen" monochrome. As she goes to put her camera back in the car she gasps. "My keys! I was so distracted I locked the door!"

"Do you have AAA?" I ask, and she nods. She is not cheered when I point out she can now shop in peace, knowing she'd be able to get into her car eventually. She might even have time for a liesurely latte. As I drive off to my Alan appointment I muse, how accurately her perspective defines her world.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

After the Vanity

Clouds are threatening the now-lowering sun by the time we mobilize into the car. "Go, go!" I silently plead, chasing light in my mind.

Joy is taking us up to the headwaters of the Skokomish. We drive past racing rivers and
flooded fields as I add a few more rows to my scarf. "When the banks overflow, sometimes salmon swim down the road," Joy comments. I vow to be there sometime during the rainy season. Oh wait, I am! No fish crossing today, alas. As sodden cattle paddle through their pastures, it's easy to see why the Hood Canal is so polluted.

As we wind up logging roads, the light flirts with the landscape. Their tumultuous lovers' spats take my breath away. My sweet sister indulges me, pulling over frequently. The camera tries desparately to capture the raw and rugged emotion, made even more poignant by the desolate clear-cuts in the foreground. The results are but a reference, a buddhist finger pointing at the moon. "See this picture? It points to the moment where sheer majesty slew my heart."

Snow gathers as we ascend, and soon covers the road. Joy, anguished, turns around. Our little expedition is not outfitted for a wintry hike. We pull into a side lane and park at a loggers' landing site. Determined to get in a walk, we head out into the remains of the day and a once lush forest.

Sunshine and Vanity

This morning dawns, drenched in sunshine. OUTSIDE screams every sun-starved cell in my body. OUTSIDE promises the family...once we complete an inside project. Seems to me an inside project can be done outside this window of wonder, but we cheerfully tackle a vanity/sink installation. Mac is a wizard with sawzall and drill. Holmes eyes the vanity, and promptly sets up an imaginary mocha stand.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve Cheer

My bro stuffed his belly last night with raw dough making babushka... boticelli... borealis...some kind of traditional Polish pastry with Todd (who is an amazing chef, especially around the holidays!) After spending some quality time in the bathroom, he's flat out. We try to ascribe his malaise to his indulgence, but Todd sagely relates the tale of the 24 hour stomach flu that had lingered amongst their walls for months.

I explain away the fatigue, the nausea I feel: I'm just jet-lagged. I say I've just eaten too much Christmas chocolate.

My presents remain unmade, unwrapped. My Christmas cards are yet blank. I'm achieving union with Todd's la-z-boy chair and watching more TV than I've seen in a year, but motion is somehow out of the question. I'm grateful that my guts, unlike my brother's are remaining intact, however tenuously.
This is shaping up to be... an unusual Christmas.

Quote of the Day

"When the sun gets really upset, the laws of physics change..."

The DIscovery Channel re: sunspots and the aurora borealis

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Only 48 Shopping hours 'TIi Christmas!

Still procrastinating? Here're some tips!

Frankly My Dear....

Joy and Todd are dogsitting Heidi's rescue Brussels Griffon (pronounced with a hoity toity French accent) while she is galivanting around Egypt. Now, Frank is everything everyone except elderly ladies can't stand in a dog. She was abused in the past so she skitters away from strangers and fast movements. When she decides she likes you, she jumps up and tries to lick you on the mouth. She creeps into empty rooms and poops on the carpet when you leave the doors open to let in the heat. Her nose looks like it was guilloteened. Worst of all, her little nails TIC-TIC-TIC across the hardwood floors and set your teeth on edge.

Heidi adopted her because she felt that no one else would take her. When her name comes up in casual conversation, no one just says Frank. No, the name is drawn out, inflected like you were discussing a particularly nefarious crime or revolting infection.

I am appalled. Here I am, a supposed animal lover. How can I feel this loathing to a creature so innocent of all that repels me? (Granted, she could control the pooping and mouth-licking.) I decide Frank and I are going to be best friends. It will take effort. It will take intention. I LOVE FRANK!!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Solstice: The journey begins

Standing in line for a blessing. My flight is delayed--nothing to do with the Denver situation sending flights into a nationwide frenzy. No, the engine threatened to fall out or something, but the end result is the same-- I would need to employ teleportation to make my second flight, and that is banned in airports thanks to Homeland Security. The ladies in front of me have been in line for 3 hours just to talk to someone. I bemoan rushing past Starbucks, and consider the fortune they could make if they sent a roving barrista, thermos in hand, down to this end of the terminal in times such as these. As I ponder how I could pull it off and monetize my wait, the 4 year-old behind me gets wound tighter and tighter until he is in a full-blown tantrum. Two stewardess magically appear plying him with candy. I'm blown away: yeah, let's positively reinforce his abysmal behavior AND fuel it with a sugar high. But then it's my turn in line.

I leave the counter with a handful of possibilities covering all foreseeable contingencies, including a night at a fancy hotel in Texas on the airline's dollar. I beeline for Starbucks then happily browse the Borders next door. I see some old friends rubbing shoulders with new titles. John Maxwell just published a new book. It amazes me that he keeps cranking 'em out. Then again, it shouldn't. He's so proficient he could probably write a book in the bathtub by now. David's book isn't there, but Eat that Frog is, which surprises me. Naked Economics: Understanding the Dismal Science grabs my attention. Finally, an economics book written for me!

The Starbucks book catches my eye (seems an ongoing theme this morning!) It claims 5 principles which will turn ordinary into extraordinary:

1. Make it your own

2. Everything matters
3. Surprise and delight
4. Embrace resistance
5. Leave your mark

I mosey back to the gate and the indeterminate wait, pondering how I can apply these even better in my own experience...especially #3!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Horse Tamer's Daughter Lyrics

By Leslie Fish

My father was a horsetamer on the edge of Halley Plain.
His work was good and his horses fine, but he got little gain,
For few folk come out of Halley Town; the trade is gone away,
And the distant glower
Of the ruined tower
Makes few folk care to stay.
So poor we were, but free we were, as the wild herds on the plain,
And I was a child
As free and wild
As the wind in my tangled mane.

My grandam told me cradle tales of the great days long ago
when the wizards ruled, and the land was taxed, and the Lords would come and go.
But the land was torn by war, she said, the tower was broken down,
And the Lords appear
No longer here
To rule over Halley Town.
And neither do the wizards come, take our children, one in ten.
So grateful be
That we're poor but free,
And you are not living then.

My father had no sons at all, nor could he pay the fee
Of hiring men to help his work, so he turned to mother and me.
We helped him run the wild ones down, to catch and tame and train,
And we lived thus free
And merrily
On the edge of Halley Plain.
So well I loved the whispering grass and the children of the land
But in time I learned,
As the seasons turned,
To call them into my hand.

As I rode out on Halley Plain, I would set my mind to fly,
'Till I felt the grass below my feet and the birds high in the sky.
I'd feel the wild ones running, and I'd bid them turn again,
And a few I'd see
Would come to me,
About every one in ten.
I never called them to the rope, for the trust I'd not betray,
And willingly
They would carry me
On the plains to run and play.

There is a lake beyond the town; the tower stands on its shore,
Close by, the holy castle looms, where none may pass the door.
But I always chose that ruined tower as my favorite place to play,
And I daydreamed long
Of my grandam's songs
And the tales of the ancient days.
The stones breathed wonderous tales to me of the powers within the ground,
'Till within the stones
Of the tower's bones
A magic mirror I found.

The mirror in its iron frame was bland as the winter sky.
Never a sight did it show to me 'till I set my mind to fly.
Aye, then it showed me wonderous things; a window on the world,
The plains, the town,
The land around,
For as far as the oceans curled.
I wore it tied about my neck, so to keep it always near.
Besides the land
And my wild horse band,
'Twas the treasure I held most dear.

But, I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ruined tower stands abandoned and alone.
But when the moons are high and the wind is roaring free,
When I send my silent call, wild horses come to me.

As we rode down to Halley town one summer market day,
I saw the folk in turmoil run, and I heard an old man say,
"Go back, go back, you horsetamer, the wizards come again.
They come, I fear,
For the children here;
They're taking one in ten.
Go back, go back, you horsetamer, and your daughter hide away.
Go conceal your child
Where the land is wild
'Till the wizards have gone away."

Back I rode to Halley Plain, as fast as a horse could run,
And I hid myself in the ruined tower, away from wind and sun.
I gazed into the mirror's depths to see what might befall,
And close at hand
Saw the wizards' band
So fierce and fair and tall.
Then one of them raised up his eyes, and he said, "Who can this be?"
And he turned his head
With its hair so red,
And he looked straight away at me!

"What is this power that I feel," said he, "so clear and raw and strong?
Ride up, ride up, my sisters, all, my god, we've been searching wrong!
More power's here than we thought to find, the gods so jest with men.
It may be still
That within our will,
That tower will awake again.
'Twas an ill-trained keeper's mind I met, but I've rarely felt such power.
We dare not wait
Lest we come too late;
Make haste for the Halley Tower."

As soon as I thus heard their plan, I turned my mind away,
And I sent it flying o'er the plain. To the wild ones I did say,
"Oh, come to me, my free friends, all, oh, come to my right hand,
We must prevent
These Lords' intent
Of the claiming of our land.
For if they should rule the land once more, we shall all be servant men,
And you, my dears,
Will be captives here
And will never run free again."

I bound my mind to the wild ones' minds, and I called as I never did call,
'Till seven mares and a stallion bold came into the ancient hall.
Just seven mares, a stallion bold, a magic mirror, and me
To stay the hand
Of the Lords' command
And keep the plainsfolk free.
So I bound my soul to the wild ones' souls as I'd never done before,
And we raised our might
In a ring of light
To fight in a wizards' war.

For I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ruined tower stands abandoned and alone.
But when the moons are high and the wind is roaring free,
When I send my silent call, wild horses come to me.

We raised a shield about the tower, all made of wind and thought.
With hooves of might through the mirror's sight, we battered, thrust, and fought.
The wizards flinched, the wizards fell, and they cried up from the ground,
"Have done, have done,
Ye nine and one,
And tell us what we've found.
How did your starstone hold intact when it should have burned away?
What kind of men
Can stand up again
Through the fires that we threw today?"

"I have no stone at all," said I, "just a mirror like the sea,
And you fought with never a man this day, just eight wild horses and me.
I am the horsetamer's daughter, the defender of the land,
And I know my kind
Never were inclined
To live at a Lord's command.
So it is my wish ye shall go away and shall leave us as we've been.
Leave us free
As we choose to be.
We will never be ruled again."

Up then spoke a wizard Lord, "It shall be as you have said,
Better to make us an eighth domain than to duel 'till we all are dead.
With a symbol made of wild beasts and a plain-purse-level screen,
You've all the power
Of any good tower,
Much more than many I've seen.
You are the living matrix, then, that's all that you can be.
It's clear your breed
Is of wizards' seed.
Oh, child, keep away from me!"

So, Halley Tower is tenanted now. Fresh straw lies on the floor.
Tall wild horses come and go, free through the open door.
The Halley folk bring corn and cloth and wood for the winter chill.
The tales they tell
Are spreading well,
And I fear they always will.
I'm just the horestamer's daughter, but they love me for my power;
They've made of me
What I fear to be
The keeper of Halley Tower.

But I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ancient tower stands no longer quite alone.
But when the moons are high and the wind is roaring free,
When I send my silent call, wild horses come to me