(But not really)
(It only feels that way sometimes)
I was out of coffee this morning, so I had tea for breakfast. Ummmmmmmm.
Tea for breakfast
Let’s just say it’s a good thing I also started the day reading a hippie peace magazine. I had no idea coffee was so much of a factor in the outcome of my day, but around 3, after a pleasant lunch with a friend, I was pretty freaking irritable.
My mood was probably not aided by the fact that late afternoon I went out to the garage to clean it, and decided I need to wait until the next bulk trash collection. Mostly, it’s a bunch of large items (read: mattresses) that need to be tossed, and every empty box for every single thing my housemate owns. I’m not sure why he’s storing all of that, but once we get rid of all of the dead computers, mattresses, and old bicycles, there will plenty of room for those types of eccentricities.
For now, however, the garage is an impenetrable, uncleanable wasteland. Especially in the middle of a day without coffee.
So, I gave in. I thought I had a handle on my caffeine addiction, but clearly it has a hold on me. I took Tao of C out to get coffee and muffins, and we sat out on the front porch, enjoying the lovely spring weather.
The remains of my butter rum muffin
After that, I painted some patches of color on various walls of my room, to see how the light looked on them. I had two shades of green and a light lavender. I chose the lavender. It’s pretty close to this color (depending on your monitor, I guess):
The friend who was with me when I chose the sample colors was a bit put off by the prospect of a purple room, and persuaded me in the direction of the green, BUT…it’s such a lovely, subtle color I don’t think I can resist it. I kind of can’t wait to paint, but I have an awful lot of room cleaning/organization to do. And room cleaning/organization is making me feel like I need to do WHOLE HOUSE cleaning/organization.
One thing at a time, though.
I was talking to a friend about Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. I finished reading it yesterday. Several people have told me this is an amazing book. The book itself says that it “changes lives.” Truthfully, it just pissed me off. I mean, it wasn’t a bad story. Clearly, it held my attention for a few hours. I think the end of the book was the most dissatisfying to me. *Spoiler alert* (ish)
So, the book is about this man’s quest for spiritual enlightenment, and towards the end, the man gets married and he and his wife have a child, and he’s still not satisfied with his life, so he just takes off to find what he’s been seeking all of his life, ends up in the mountains somewhere and finally finds it.
Here’s the thing that pisses me off…how is it that anyone can just run off seeking enlightenment and leave the care of a child to their spouse (or even ex-spouse) alone? WTF, man? I mean, maybe they had some sort of agreement or something, but really? That shit doesn’t fly with me. Figure it the fuck out WHILE you are taking care of your responsibilities, please. You are no hero or positive role model or even moderately decent spiritual leader or teacher to me if you can’t at least be there for your family. Sorry. Most of us can’t just hide from our lives while we seek what we already have.
The whole thing made me feel blessed (again) for having somehow ended up in a philosophy class the summer of my 6th grade year. I’m not even sure how I managed to get into the class, but I do remember picking up the Tao Te Ching for the first time, and the fascination I felt for the concepts of Taoism. There were several passages that I copied down and kept with me always, particularly the one about the value of nothing:
Thirty spokes share one hub. Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have th use of the cart. Knead clay in order to make a vessel. Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the vessel. Cut out doors and windows in order to make a room. Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the room. Thus what we gain is Something, yet it is by virtue of Nothing that this can be put to use.
That passage defines my spirituality. My journey. I like to joke with people that Taoism ruined me for all other philisophical endeavors. Why bother trying to puzzle out the origins or meanings of the universe? It just is. I don’t need to freaking isolate myself on a mountaintop to figure that shit out. In fact, that defeats the whole purpose! Duh. If you aren’t seeking enlightenment in the context of your everyday life, then why fucking bother? What you need to do is create your mountaintop within that context. THEN you’re golden.
That said, the idea of escaping to a mountaintop to be in solitude for awhile is definitely appealing to me.
My other favorite Taoist principle is The Uncarved Block. I like the way Flux (one of my favorite punk bands) interprets it:
Nature knows no divisions / one field runs into the next / Having erected fences / I am imprisoned inside my head.
If you can picture me as a high school student, you should picture me carrying around a huge notebook full of bad poetry with that quote on the cover. Because, pretty much, that’s where my head was at.
The best thing is that both of those quotes have evolving meanings that continuously adapt to the circumstances in my life. I always return to them, and they always direct me towards my center. And soothe.
Here’s another favorite of mine that I go back to all of the time. It’s from Jack Kerouac’s Scripture of the Golden Eternity, which I guess is technically more Buddhist than Taoist, but whatever:
A hummingbird can come into a house and a hawk will not: so rest and be assured. While looking for the light, you may suddenly be devoured by the darkness and find the true light.
It’s all about ebb and flow, baby. Ebb and flow. And being that humans are more than half comprised of water, I don’t have to go to a freaking mountaintop to observe that. I just have to listen to the murmuring brook inside of me and everyone around me.
Today, there is some good news:
BREAKING: Today we’re partnering with the Mayors Innovation Project to announce that *nine* US City Mayors have committed to pursue divestment. These cities join Seattle and San Francisco, bringing the number of municipal governments pursuing fossil fuel divestment to eleven.
SHARE to help spread this big news! The battle isn’t over yet, even in these ten cities. But let’s give a big thank you to these mayors for doing the right thing by their cities and the planet. We’ll be watching closely to see where they take it from here.
*UPDATE: We just heard from the Mayor of Santa Fe, and they’re in too!* http://gofossilfree.org/
Crossing fingers on this one:
“Michael Bishop, who is fighting to stop the Canadian tar-sands oil pipeline from crossing his property, asked a U.S. judge to invalidate TransCanada’s permits and order public hearings on Keystone’s route through Texas and Oklahoma. The Corps of Engineers is the federal agency that issues construction permits for projects that impact waterways and wetlands.” http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/04/25/texas-farmer-sues-us-army-corps-of-engineers-over-keystone/
I like it when the State Department is rebuked:
The EPA has now issued a harsh rebuke to the State Department’s report, calling for a more careful study of the pipeline. The EPA questioned State’s conclusion that Keystone won’t have a significant environmental or climate impact, and slapped the overall document with the shoddy rating of “Environmental Objections Insufficient Information.” https://secure.sierraclub.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=10945#.UXnHR9l2NyA.facebook