Monday, January 31, 2011

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

(Derek Walcott)

This poem...reminds me to be mindfully aware; aware of being right here in this very moment. Reminds me to let go completely, at least for as long as I can, of thinking and simply be with the authentic person that I am at my very core.

Thinking is a wondrous thing, don't get me wrong. I do an awful lot of thinking. Taking time to simply "be" though, to wrap my heart around my heart is often and quite easily forgotten. Life gets busy, brain gets moving, and I forget myself as I'm swept away from my core by my thoughts and doings. I heard a man once say that we people should be called "Human Doings" rather than "Human Beings". In my own case, I spend much more time doing than being.

As a child I read quite a lot of Philosophy. I was much too young for the physical whims of the 70's but instead I attempted to indulged myself in the literature of Eastern and Russian philosophers in particular. Yes, I was an odd child as you might have already suspected, but I was on a search for meaning, a search for answers in that tumultuous time. I should perhaps write more about that but later.

In my wanders through old pages of text and books I came upon the writings P.D. Ouspensky. While I don't attest to many of his ideas, he did have an excersise that has stayed with me these many years. He called it self-remembering. A way to hold ones own awareness of self. In short, it is a practice of holding and being aware of the "you" that is peering out ones own eye-balls. Being aware of occupying ones own body and head space for a period of time. He expounds on the idea that humans are asleep for the most part, simply doing the next thing in a somnambulist state. Sounds trite but I began the practice of looking out of my own eyes, holding that attention of occupying my physical form for as long as I could. Sounds easy, right? For me it was a struggle to remain wakeful. Even 5 minutes was a great feat before I slipped back into a "sleeping" state, back to simply doing the next thing.

Similarly, I learned to "breath" as taught by Charles Bates, a Raja Yogi I had the pleasure of spending time with when I was 15. For me, the teachings and practice of breathing from Charles seemed to arrive at the same place of awareness and self-remembering. It was simply another approach to arrive at the same destination. So when I remember, I breath :o)

I'm not saying at all that I'm self-aware in the fullest sense. I'm still woefully lacking for the most part. I've quit judging myself harshly in my struggle for wakefulness though. The poem "Love After Love" by Derek Walcott is a reminder to me to embrace my being. Reminds me to "remember" myself. Reminds me to peel off the thoughts and attachments to my outer world, even if just for a moment as they are a distraction from wakefulness like a familiar woolly blanket pulling me back into sleep. Reminds me to not struggle and simply be with the being who has been with me from the very start.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On branding your product and reputation

When I first started making the wee woolly Jacabobs, I was always at a loss for boxes to ship them in. I often went hunting for boxes around town and asking for them among my mothers old friends. After a while I had the distinct feeling I was bothering some friends and business people with always inquiring for boxes so I reverted to searching for them in back ally ways and dumpsters.

I'm quite a short person from a long lineage of rather height challenged people. My mother, also short, had one of those pincher tools on a long stick designed to be used to reach items on a top shelf. She loaned the tool to me for my box hunting excursions into the forays of local trash bins.

I will note here too that this is a tiny farming community filled with elderly folks, tight-lipped church-going Lutherans, gossiping government workers, snots and the underclassed. I will also note that I'm a hermitty sort of person, often dressed rather funny and who is not often seen in public with the exception of trotting round town with a set of long seen-on-TV pinchers in hand and a bag full of tiny boxes. The locals, not knowing me personally or where I had come from had begun to talk. Mostly in low whispers.

The best boxes can be found in this little dirt spot of a town behind the pharmacy in the ally between the post office and the local cafe. (don't ever look for boxes in cafe dumpsters. trust me on this.) Pharmacy boxes in particular are pristinely clean and most are just the right size for Bobbaloos although marked with words like Oxycontin, Darvon, Viagra etc... Not ideal for my brand but they worked.

So, there I was one hot afternoon leaned over the edge of the pharmacy dumpster , my blindingly white legs flailing in the sunshine. My toes had slightly lifted off the ground so I could pinch a perfect box near the bottom of the dumpster bin. I struggled, balancing precariously on my chubby hip bones, ass over teakettle. I had after all, been the captain of my high school gymnastics and track team many decades ago and dexterity was a thing I had great confidence in.

I might tell you too as just side information, that when ones head is immersed in an iron dumpster filled with cardboard and plastic, and you're tilted downward with blood rushing to ones head with great rhythmic whooshing noises in ones ears, that sounds from the outside world tend to be a bit muffled.

I didn't hear him stealthily rolling up the ally, creeping along in his squad car, warily approaching and sizing up the odd and perhaps dangerous sight facing him. A perhaps drug-crazed dumpster-diving lunatic. He got out, not closing his door and sidled up to the pharmacy bin where my legs and toes hung struggling and my heiney doing a salutation to the sun. "Hey there! Whatcha doin?!" he said. Startled, I went in fully head first to the bottom of the bin. Someone had called the cops! Really, who could blame them? He kindly helped extract me from the dumpster but has never quite looked at me in the same way again.

Since then, I buy my box making materials from a sheltered workshop here in town for the developmentally disabled, the mentally challenged. All the money goes to support their worthy cause for which I feel quite good about since some day, considering my sorely lacking sense of judgment, I may soon become a full-time resident.