Gratitude Sunday: A Delicate Balance

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Dandelion breaks
through the rocky aggregate,
weedy warrior.

Sunday Musings
Astrologically, most October birthdays are Libra, with a few Scorpios thrown in to spice up the end of the month. Libra opens with the autumnal equinox on September 22 plus or minus a few hours and honors the balance of light and dark hours of the day being nearly equal. I know, math, right? The balancing scale represents the sign; it is the only inanimate object representation in the zodiac. I am not an expert on astrology; my research on many occult subjects started in my early teens, when my mom insisted I needed a library card.

Isn’t it interesting how we can take days and years and cycles and assign them names and numbers and degrees and representations and symbols and even mythical stories? Humans are such clever people we can make a story about anything, including math, and nature, and the workings of the natural world around us, not just what happens to us while we travel in it.

The assumption about Libras is we are balanced, even-keeled, stable. Reality is far different, if I am any example; balance is a constant struggle. The scale is always tipped to one side or the other. I am strong, no, I’m weak. I’m intelligent, no, I don’t have a wit. I am beautiful, no, I am ugly. I am savvy, no, I am naïve. I am productive and industrious, no, I am lazy. I’m right, no, I’m wrong. I am kind, no, I am mean. I love, no, I hate. I surround myself with beauty and squalor in unequal proportions. I don’t quite achieve that middle ground where all my feelings and possessions come together in harmony and strength. It’s a great day until all hell breaks loose. My hell looks pretty bad until I weigh it against the hell others have experienced and the atrociousness of their hell often far outweighs mine. At least my empathy levels remain more or less in balance.

Most of us (of any sign) have our own personal hell. And our own personal heaven. We have a duplicitous nature; we are two people inside ourselves, much like the sign Gemini is represented as twins, and I suspect people born under Gemini have similar struggles as Libras. Some of us only listen to one clear voice: the good, or the bad. Some of us mis-hear the voice, telling ourselves we are much better or much worse than we really are. Some of us honestly listen to both voices and weigh the advantages of one over the other. For some of us the self-dialogue is constant. I suspect that dialogue is largely based on fear, facing the “bad” or negative parts of oneself, and the positive voice is trying to save the self with survival cheers. Another part of that voice might be resistance to imposed shame, that is, being shamed or blamed for something entirely out of our control, such as poverty or appearance, for which other people think we are supposed to feel bad.

My voices – yes, I’m admitting to having internal voices, that cranky inner dialogue; my inner voices rarely tell me to do crazy things; if they do, I shut those suckers down fast – usually start with the negative voice. Goes something like this:

[contemplating whatever, and easily distractable]
You can’t do that.
Why not?
You’re too ________ (insert whatever you like, old, fat, dumb, unable, so many choices).
Nah, not, what’s that got to do with anything?
Watch out! That idiot driver nearly sideswiped you. Why do people have to be in such a blankety-blank hurry?
Maybe he’s late for work. Maybe he’s just getting off work. It’s not like you’ve never come close to a car crash yourself.
Maybe he doesn’t care. Maybe he’s a jerk.
Maybe he’s not. Maybe you’re a jerk.

That’s when I realize the positive voice has deteriorated into the negative voice and now I’m hearing two negative voices and only far away echoes of the positive. When the voices reach that low-point I have learned I need a break. Change something. Stand up. Sit down. Do the dishes. Open the window, step outside, get the wiggles out, anything; nature is a great mind-distractor. I have squirrels and birds in my yard, trees to watch the wind do air magic on the leaves, and lots of little corners to putter around in. Occasionally I have to reach out and engage another person to make sure all my parts and voices are intact and at least partly socially acceptable. I still have not gained the confidence to believe myself, and I see so many people like me. Does not surprise me one bit our world is off-kilter. We fail ourselves.

Break time. Negative voice. Double negative voice.

There is a current out there, I feel the energy, I know it’s out there, because it’s in me as well. A wave of love, of compassion, of non-aggression. In the years to come the elders who used the old ways of exploitation will be leaving this life, and the youngers, the star children, will finally be having their (our) nation, their (our) world. We have brought new generations into this world and taught them in our ways and how to honor the honorable old ways, or they have discovered their way in rejection of the old ways. We honor their intellect and innovation. We see their beauty, our beauty, in words and art and spirituality and technology and reverting to the ways of the earth with green energy and humane animal husbandry and real food.

Oh, that pesky scale. The unequal weight of one voice against another, instead of the harmony of two voices balanced together. I don’t see much progress in society (negative), but I know it’s there (positive). In pursuit of balance I hear the negative voice, but as I grow older I pay it less mind; I listen to the positive voice, tipping the scale with purposeful intention. It’s a delicate, fragile balance.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I love the shade of grape leaf green, and the purple surprises hiding underneath. White pickets and triangles of yellow, green, and red. Little white blossoms and burgundy leaves of autumn oxalis. The original meaning of golden arches. Let the decorating season begin!

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Wiseguy (1987-1990, TV series not rated) surprised me twice. In the third season one of the characters mentioned the photography of Diane Arbus, who is one of my favorite photographers. Interesting to note when the series aired in 1990 (before university), I’d never heard of Arbus, so if I watched this episode I would not have recognized the reference. Arbus was noted for her presentation of the freak and/or the freakish, which is what the character is referring to. She photographed circus workers and drag queens and ordinary people and captured the incredibly unique individuality of each. In the 4th season, the series changed character and changed the main character, when Ken Wahl, after suffering the effects of an injury in season 2, declined to go the direction the producer wanted to go with the show. Steven Bauer takes his place, and he also is a main character throughout the contemporary Ray Donovan series. Nice to know he’s still working as an actor, as Wiseguy quickly lost steam in this final season. Glad to be through with this re-view of the past.

Currently ReadingHouse of Leaves (2000, fiction) by Mark Z Danielewski. This is a long novel presented in an unusual style with footnotes that have footnotes, appendixes referred to, and in full color; it’s a fiction about a fictional documentary, many classical Greek, Roman, and Latin references, plenty of physics and math science, and entirely quirky. I might have to give up on it as even though it is 17 years old, people who read science fiction are still discovering it, and there is always a queue at my local lending library. The story is not straightforward or linear by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just challenging enough, I might not finish in three weeks. The premise? Space and time are different inside the house than outside it. Measurably. Maybe in the novel as well. * Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery (2009, Buddhism) by Chogram Trungpa. Meditations on listening to and understanding those inner voices.

New feature this week:

Quote of the Week – “The way up is difficult but safe, while the way down is easy and dangerous.” Rebecca Solnit quoting Prem Dorchi Lama on a recent trek in Tibet. In the picture that accompanied the quote the way did not look easy or safe, either way.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • The aquatic center supervisor who gives me the kindness of a few minutes unhurried conversation nearly every time I’m there.
  • How industrious my neighborhood sounds: one property owner is building a grandma cottage; one is replacing everything after residents of more than two decades moved on; another re-shingling a roof; kids playing after school before they go home to homework (playing is important).
  • The bits and pieces of family history that are still known and shared in my family. So many stories gone now. I learned this week my great-uncle passed away. Sadly, I didn’t even know he was still alive.
  • The son behaving in an adult manner, re-capturing my heart again. My love for him is constant but once in a while it blooms a little bigger as he shoulders responsibilities.
  • Getting to enjoy video of my brother’s mother-in-law, who was a Homecoming Queen in 1954 (the first year the school had a homecoming queen), crowning this year’s queen.
  • Knowing many of my siblings’ in-laws.
  • Old movies where the violence was implied not graphic.
  • Mister Kitty aka George Murphy enjoying his favorite plaything: a big paper bag.
  • Food vendors who make smaller items like bread, donuts, sweet treats, containers of fresh soup or stew. I often crave these comfort foods, but I want a small amount and don’t want to waste or freeze the rest.
  • The squirrel who boogied across 6 lanes of traffic right in front of me and made it safely to the other side.
  • Another new fig: Oregon Prolific. A bit bland, but go fig.
  • A sweet mixed basket of red cherry tomatoes, yellow cherry, and tiny red pear tomatoes. Likely the last of the season. I love the farmers who give out those tips as you shop so you can buy a bit extra.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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3 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: A Delicate Balance

  1. piratesorka says:

    I think Air signs in general fight with what they see is a dual nature. I think LIbrans have it the worst of the three. Gemini’s are pretty fluid but I think they are far more firm once they decide to decide. Aquarians….not my favorite sign, I think they just are duplicious in their behavior. They treat friends better than family until the friends get to familiar.
    The last of the tomatoes! Alas alack! We had such a short season this year. I parked in front of the church veggie garden and noticed how many tomato plants had big green tomatoes on them. Booooo.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Gratitude Sunday: Addlepated? Get Moving! | Sassy Kas

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