The Proof is in the Pudding or perhaps in response to a tricky situation.......
In the left hand picture we have a picture of Ramana Maharshi - a giant of silence and understanding, beyond the realm of a teacher. He wandered into my life many years ago and it is face that speaks to me directly, more than the words which were few and have been made noisy by his followers. I visited his ashram for a while but spent most of my time with a holy man on the mountain whose job it was to chase away goats from the newly planted trees. I happened upon him on my way to the caves where Ramana sat for many years and where today the holy one's continue to explore realms beyond pleasure and pain. Everyone kept asking me if I felt the Sage's presence, and my awkward response was always a guilty no. But then there was this simple being in a loin cloth - shining so brightly. He invited me to sit with him for a while. And then he showed his omniscience for he retrieved a straw mat from beside the rock and placed it under a tree. Wow - how did he know I liked to be horizontal in the heat. He folded up a cloth as a pillow and invited me to lay down. Which I did - he continued planting and chanting to Shiva and Shakti and in the blink of an eye, the day had absented itself. The next day the desire to visit the caves was replaced by the desire to just go and lie with the goat man. And thus my time at Arunuchala was spent lying down, falling into the deepest sleep, and in the background, worship and forestry were ongoing.
The only photo I have of him is on paper and I could copy it over, but then I would have to hunt for the card reader or the download cable oh and the camera - and let us face life is too short to be looking for what is not here right now. Suffice to say he was the beauty of this sacred mountain.
But my real reason for heading to India was as a gift to myself. I had recently had a miscarriage in the second trimester of pregnancy and started bleeding. Not being alarmist I took copious amounts of yarrow and other herbs reputed to stop blood loss. By the time I realised that it was not doing its job and decided to go to hospital hours had past. I had lost consciousness by the time we arrived and needed blood transfusions and such. How can I describe the lack of consciousness - it was not knowable whilst there it was only on returning to this paradigm that I could recall this space. And of course I am putting words here that did not exist there. It was no-thingness. A black void of complete silence. It was beyond any other description.
Some time later I received some money and instead of using it for something "sensible" I decided to go and feed my spirit. I had happened upon the teachings of Ramesh Balsekar who resided in Mumbai and thus I journeyed to the great unknown. A translator for Nisargadatta Maharaj for many years. Here was this man in a 83 year old body with the sharpest of minds. I would watch him tirelessly leading people to the truth of their desire. We all started off expressing how we were looking for enlightenment which he would quickly debunk. What we were actually looking for was peace and the way to get peace he advised was to ascertain who was the doer. Once that had been established then there could be no grief, pride, envy, blame. He repeated over and over again how all there was is consciousness - consciousness is all there is.
This being had a huge impact on my life. Through him the courage appeared to live this life as I wanted to. Beyond grabbing and avarice and without bowing to the god or corporate safety. A man so extremely ordinary and yet a teacher of measure. A few times I would write to him and a few weeks later a faded 30 year old aerogram would weave its way to my postbox with the words on it again expressing that events happened, deeds were done , but there was no doer. He would re-iterate how life continued to unfold its destiny and of course there was pain, but it did not define one.
Now it would seem that many of the teachers have had some sexual scandal hanging over them. And this is where this blog is leading (yeah, in a very convoluted fashion) - Four years ago or so he went to do his annual retreat in Kovolam - Germany - with a handful of regular devotees arranging it and bringing in some new faces. Ramesh was 89 at this time and in presence was an eagle, in body a sparrow. He had a young German woman who attended his talks daily in Mumbai and traveled with him as a companion and support. I can't recall her name. And then there were 3 other women who all had some claim to him. So one day they are on their break during the retreat, and his Mumbai assistant pops up with "I massage Ramesh in breaks to keep him calm - and often give him a happy ending" Ditto the others. But now for me the most interesting thing was they were all okay with what they were doing when they believed they were the only one's doing it. But upon discovering that others were also giving him pleasure it turned into a scandal. They marched upon the organisers and demanded action talking about the guru and the abuse of power. Now if we were talking about teenagers or vulnerable women I would question it too, but these were all mature, able capable women who seemingly chose to do what they do.
So the next session, beloved Ramesh was challenged in a totally confrontational way. Name dragged through the mud on every channel. And he stood still and poised and answered "yes what you say is true - these allegations have merit" Actions happened , deeds were done, but there was no doer.
His wife when questioned about it could not understand the shock - she stood by him.
Anyway 2 Sunday's ago Ramesh left his sparrow body for a larger flight plan/circle or his wave simply sank back into the ocean. And when I am struck by feelings of lack of self worth I am reminded that of 6 billion people on this planet, I was one of the lucky one's that got to sit at this beings feet.
And life in her infinite wisdom, seeing that I was still straggling and holding onto separation sent another teaching this way. Endlessly patient, clear, available, most gentle but not adverse to a rib nudging when necessary saved me deeply from myself the other day. Was trapped in the fury of earth and it's corrupt leaders and its cruelties and with that my own supposed flaws which need to be wiped out bla bla blah. You know the power of resistance. And so I wrote to Gilbert http://www.seeing-knowing.com about the greyness and the downward turning mouth and a lack of joy and where the hell was the inherent joy he spoke of . His reply which really knocked me into full fledged laughter was"under the mask your are wearing stupid". No words could have been more profound or meaningful.
I decided to poke my head out of the rabbit warren yesterday and happened upon some Sunday papers. The gap between the rich and the poor here has now overtaken Brazil. Our ministers loyal to their leader and not their people have been forking out millions on luxury cars. The trade unions are sharpening their blades and not a moment too soon.
Tao returned, taller with more knowing in his look. He is building a growing shed in the garden (isanga in xhosa), has refurbished the chicken hok, and is turning out some very inspired meals. The other babes roll out onto the sodden earth in the morning and return when hungry. Right now Sage has ventured up to the dam with a handmade spear gun - fishing with a difference.
My beautiful 15 year old son Tao had an altercation with his father. I understood the boy/man's sense of injustice. I have not seen him for 24 hours. He is on a train heading to Joburg. He says he needed to do this, get away see if he could survive the outside world. I know he needed it, but there is a tenderness arising and a concern. The full moon rises. The jasmine scents The dogs leap about in anticipation of a walk. Life continues as it always does...... And I ask your prayers be with him... this beautiful being learning to fly
Today a cold front moved in with absolute presence and the fire and I became intimately acquainted. Having stood on my reading glasses, less and less time gets spent reading. More and more time just being with what is right there. Found a huge bucket of fennel seeds. The plants thrive here. The wood was wet and was not taking so I scattered some of these seeds on the logs. It took a while, but they sort of exploded into life and fire and burnt for a surprisingly long time. And the sound effects were rather profound.
Looking out the lounge window, the almond and peach trees have slowly unfurled parts of themselves to become blossoms. It must have been whilst I was sleeping. The jasmine has reached out with such fierce abandon that she releases her aroma down every street, and across every field. It's an eternal aromatic feast. The amygdalas flip forwards in sheer ecstasy.
The swallows never left this year, as last year they might have sensed the huge transatlantic storms. It has been a mild winter and the mosquitoes have not died out this year as they have in the past. Likewise flies and ticks. They are still around, albeit less. So I guess that signals that there was no need for these birds to migrate because there was sufficient food here. It had nothing to do with storms. Just another story.
About 8 weeks ago , Siyabonga (Xhosa for thank you) appeared at our doorstep. And neither India nor Sunny objected. He had been in a squatter camp some distance away but wanted to return to McGreor. But he did not like the process of working as a gardener in different gardens each day of the week. Never actually becoming the space. No, he wanted to be in this garden daily and could we let it happen. Since he has been here, we have cleared, chopped, burnt, sawed, pulled, fed, watered, planted, sprouted, fed some more, and watched with delight as the energies returned. I swear this being is a creator. And life sent him this way.
The hok (chicken run)was completely rejuvenated. Became rabbit proofed as well. The hens started laying in particular places at regular times. We were actually getting eggs for the first time. The nettle was pulled up and used to make supercharge feeder with a cow pat thrown in for a few days soaking. Indeed it looked as if someone had come in with a wand. We planted sweetmelon, leeks, radish, basil, watermelon, butternut, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, shard, spinach, brocolli, grandilla, strawberries and of course the flowers to enhance Krishna's smile - calendulas. Oh yes and trying pineapples. Although it will take two years till the first fruit - it does not appear I will be going anywhere. And after all this work - of course there is the resting.
Today the kids decided that they wanted to try grafting. A spelling test had been lined up (just so that I could feel responsible and all that). But they know if they can originate an idea that will get them moving and creating, I will always forfeit lessons. A young pecan sapling presented itself. They informed me that unless it was grafted it would take 15 or so years to bear nuts. Yet if we grafted it from one of the mature pecan trees, it would bear nuts very soon. So they studied "Self Sufficiency" by John Seymour and discovered the techniques. They know where all the good fruit is in the village so they returned with pure potential and happily set about the splicing and joining.
We now have four guinea pigs again. I was preparing food one night and it pained me to put the parings into the compost. Whenever a meal happened we would always set the scraps aside for the eekers. There was a complete absence without them. They are for socialistation reason kept in the new refurbished hoks, except of course when they come into the fireplace for an evening visit.
So somehow there is this harmony and clarity in this space. And the beauty is that I can't take any credit. It just happened. For those who know the story, hear it afresh.... Now many years ago there was an elderly dame who lived in this ramshackle, rustic house. And this woman planted this garden. The fruit and nut trees. She had many chickens and geese. . Often when people walk around here they speak of the presence of elementals. It passes me by. Cynthia had a stick pile which used to serve as refuge to snakes. recall snake dreams). Many people in this village will opt to chop a serpents head off if they see one. Deal with fear by killing. They always say it is to keep the children safe. And yet the snakes keep the children safe. One day Iona and Tao went to get firewood from an adjoining plot. She got arms length away from a puff adder and Tao very calmly told her to come towards him as silently and smoothly as possible. And she did. And of course the snake did not strike, she knew they would not harm her. But alas they are fair game here. So here was a stick pile and cobras and others would harbour there. Many years later our guineas would inhabit and make tunnels in these piles. Anyway, I am rambling.
So Cynthia dies in her 90's. Her ashes get spread in this garden. And by the time they get scattered it has become a loved, productive space again. And the birds sense it because at lunchtime, I lie on the fucked up, falling to pieces couch outside and watch the light filtering through the various greens. And when I close my eyes, the birds come to attention. And each day there are new sounds and calls, and concerts. And yet today they had a visiting tenor, and several sopranos from fields afar. I am so totally entertained by this space that desire has become less and less scratchy and demanding. It hardly arises at all.
There was a lunar eclipse yesterday morning. Earths shadow on the moon. And on Sunday there was this massive sun dog around the sun. We were on the volleyball court and it was really like being in the presence of something so significant and profound as to make the experience mystical. And then we played and laughed under its luminous intensity.
It was just before lunchtime. Earlier on we had dug up all the weeds and devil thorns off the courts, and tidied up the lines. Things got a bit tense over line calls if the game was tight. So there are 12 of us on the court under the atmospheric dog when a black eagle starts circling around us. Right in the village. Enormous. Going round and round. Endlessly. His shadow falling on us.
And today suddenly the blue sky turned white and ice arrived. Outside my window it looks cold and bleak. And yet I know that out there in the darkness the jasmine and sweet peas are in flower. Everything is waiting to burst back into life. The energy withdrawing from the roots and moving upwards and outwards.
And despite the times being trying, and the systems collapsing, there is a stillness in our midst. It is in that space that our beauty and perfection is reflected.
And on a totally silly note: Piglet and Tigger meet up in 3 acre wood. And Tigger being his usual boisterous, bombastic self leaps up and down and tells Piglet that he is so fierce that all he has to do is roar and creatures run and Piglet tells Tigger "hey, that is nothing. I just have to sneeze and the whole planet shits itself".
And still we dance.......... And still he reappears off different memory cards.
Last night in the sleeping dream I was walking along a tree lined road. Magnificent old oaks in full summer splendor. As I was about to pass a tree and a low branch I became aware of a cobra on one of the branches. The situation was as such - if I moved either forward or backwards I was going to be in striking range of this creature. So I stood perfectly still. This elderly African priest (from my childhood) drew alongside me. I did not warn him about the snake. He greeted me with all the love in his heart and walked forwards only to be struck by the Cobra. I awoke horrified at my actions. I went to sleep and in the course of the night I dreamt the exact same dream and awoke with the same feeling of disbelief.
And this is the view to which I awaken to the waking dream.
The power which has been off for a day due to being in arrears on the rates and taxes is resolved after signing a pledge to make up the lack in my blood. But it is rather anemic today so hopefully the signature will fade into nothing. Like a chicken who suddenly has food I rush around the web consuming thoughts, ideas, despair and of course love. Each has a part. I am drawn to an article about the most spoilt girl in the UK at the age of 12. Won't even go into but should you want to purge your last few meals google it. And then downloading photos I found this picture of Iona's 8th birthday. As it was in the holidays only 3 of her friends were around. She had a cut on her foot (rusty metal - no tetanus) and so the party food had to be relatively body friendly. But these kids have such a blast - savoring the juice, the crisps, the carrot cake and then there was no games laid on or entertainment, they simply took themselves off to the dam and explored - just like every other day. But today more special because it was Iona's day. It made me realise again how totally unspoilt they all are. I sometimes wish I could be more generous with 'stuff' but on this particular day I welcomed the lifestyle and its simple pleasures and lack of consumerism.
And with this gratitude for the lifestyle, I took the dogs up through the nature reserve. As soon as we step out the door, I am witness to their total ecstasy as they leap upon each other, talking, playing, pure energy and joy. We walk upwards towards the dam. Although it is still winter here, the sap is rising and buds are forming. But as this is fynbos land, the natural growth is having an early spring. The colours contrast - never clashing, always complimenting each other. By the time I am halfway to the top, my heart is pounding and my face is flushed. Total aliveness is present. I look around to see if Nina is roaming out there as well today. And this is the village I call home. Probably the equivalent of 12 city blocks. No movies, no ATM's, no bowling alleys - nothing, nada - and yet see its beauty, feel its stillness.
And just before we got to the top of the dam I hear someone calling me. Being a grumpy anti social bitch most of the time I did my best to ignore it. Just not in the mood for chit chat. And yet this voice was persistent and caught up to me. As I saw who it was my gut lurched. Oh fuck no not you was the inner dialogue. And another thought was saying come on Su it is not going to kill you to be open and warm. And at that moment it could have gone either way and by grace, openess won. Not because of me being a nice person but simply because warmness arose. We walked and spoke for a while and as the path was narrow at that point I was ahead. And then we came to a huge boulder that needed to be scrambled over and I was very aware of a hole in my pants so I let him go ahead. As he got to the top of the boulder he said Oh shit. I climbed up and there was a cobra - who had just spat at him before I arrived. And yet he was wearing thick glasses and the fluid ran down the lenses. The snakes should still be hibernating. We became very bonded in that moment, in the presence of such power.
Coming home to a bowl of steaming polenta and honey, I looked at the downloaded pictures and guess who came back to life. George. In a slightly slow northern england dialect, he appeared and with him all the laughter that he ever evoked in me came bursting forth. How could he ever be gone.
Sage and his imaginary pet falcon. He feels if he talks falcon to it - why would it remain a chicken.
Ramana Maharshi receives a visit. Snakes, snakes, snakes.
So apologies for this not being a political, social commentary but hey when I think of what Life had to do for this particular expression to have these particular experiencings, I figured I would like to honour that.
Walking the dogs on full moon night nothing wrong everything right nowhere to go no amends to make nothing to fix no need for improvement moon doing her thing this heart not missing a beat in this ordinary moment my Self did I meet.
Well we have been particularly active in the unschooling. Sleeping later on the cold winter mornings, moving to the fireplace and eating steaming porridge slowly. Articles are read of late from "After Armageddon" whilst the kids draw, paint, sculpt with whatever is in the immediate surrounds.
This continues for a few hours and those that are drawn to text books make their way to them and spend several hours "learning" - those that are not inclined either start throwing oranges at me - we throw two at a time and see how many throws we can get in without dropping one. (What do they say about simple things pleasing simple minds) or simply move out into the village.
Our neighbour spent several hours weed eating his lawn with an incredibly noisy, industrial strength machine, which when finally switched off brought a stillness that was tangible. So Tao made a portable guinea grazer which he thought of hiring out as an environmentally friendly and delightful alternative to keeping your grass short. He also re routed the grey water to a french drain with a banana plantation on top. When I asked him how he feels about not going to university he says fine - I could not bring myself to study what is expected. I told him that there will be a certain class of people he will not be able to access without a degree and he looked at me with a huge question mark which twisted into a smile and said yeah, big deal.
On Sunday morning I closed the kitchen cupboards and told the kids there would be no food coming out of that room today and what could they do about it. Sage went out and with his bare hands caught a guinea fowl and prepared it for the pot. I swear he is a Koi San. Hunter supreme. He came to tell me with absolute awe what he found in this creature's belly: acorns, nettle, snail meat, and a few things I can't recall. He was so impressed with the variety of his diet and swore that this must be almost perfect food. Cian and Iona scavenged for some Moroak (wild indiginous spinach) and tulbaghia (wild garlic). Some tomatoes were found, a bit past their prime but cooked in a pot over the outside fire they blended in fine).
Read an article about choosing where you put your attention and although I did not choose anything it appears that it is going to a place of stillness as opposed to variety and strength. I guess it could just be winter and the journey within, hibernation of the human spirit.
Having read many many books on Advaita and having an intellectual understanding that was prone to flipping and flopping, I was graced by a book called You are Nothing by Randall Friend, published by Non Duality press. (Can anyone whisper in my ear how to do links) - whereby for the first time it became why this me was an illusion. So clear, and unlike so many books which just add concepts to the picture, this one challenges them and upon that investigation - dissolves them.
As I am looking less at the world out there, I thought it would be nice to showcase the creativity coming out of this space by sharing some of the projects undertaken. And thank you Nina for the inspiration.
Am heading off to the great city of gold for a few weeks to be with my daughter and grandchildren. In the past it used to be regarded as a challenge, now it will be a grand adventure into the complete unknown. Love to you all. And then some more.
Iona' horse and blacksmith
Cian's still life of winter fruits
Banana grove french drain
Sage's incense holder made out of beeswax.
Tao's earth friendly weedeater.
Sage harvested resin on full moon day. He then took the thread from the banana stem. He made a glue out of quince seed and water and rubbed it into the thread. He then heated it over the fire.
Iona drew this - she is the angel and I am the small child.
Alice meets up with the caterpillar and asks him which way she should go, he says well where do you want to be and she replied that she did not really know to which he responded in that typical fashion of someone with many many legs, that it did not matter which way she went in that case.
I have been in the salt mines of late. I am blessed with this amazing girl child who is the most spontaneous, alive, zestful, playful being imaginable. Once she went through a phase that lasted a few weeks where she developed a story about death. She started really experiencing pain. I mentioned to her that her pain body was taking control and explained what was happening. She understood immediately and now kicks it out before it kicks in.
So here we have radiance and here we have her mother. Her mother who perhaps spends too much time in front of this flat screen with changing words and images. And from these words and images, a world is created and it is a world that totally evokes the pain body into action. And not only that but it sort of flushes this mother with a vague sense of superiority that she is aware of things that her friends in the pub on Friday night are not. She is also unbelievably cynical and because the emotional roller coaster of keeping up with “the world” and it’s happenings are exhausting she tends to avoid taking up Iona’s offer to pick up pecan nuts, or to build a hide out. When this mother does (by pure grace, not by intention) find herself being together and baking or such, it is such joy that the question arises, why don’t I do this more often?
And yet the magnet switches on and I am sucked into this sphere which I consider to be as real as this table, but switch it off and it does not exist, remove a cable and that whole world disappears. So how real can it be? And how is my presence here benefiting anything. I mock the Fox viewers for their blind adoration and following, I just happen to have the same blind following to the alternative source of news. Does that make me a better human being? I don’t think so. Last week, or should I say when the moon was full and sleep evaded me I headed down to the lounge to stir the fire back into life. I found some pictures Iona had been drawing and then some writing that she had done. A seven year old wrote this, (translation to follow): sum peepil say that the woild will cum to u end. Wee ar bee coming cleveru bi maykin things bit wee ont uwar ubaout the plooshin for the woild when makin thins. And wee shod start wokin together lyk bees and the umerocins ur beeg priks. To hulp the woild hyuris ulitil sayn I madup. Work togeeth for ur world s hulth.
Some people say that the world will come to an end. We are becoming cleverer by making things but we don’t worry about the pollution for the world when making things. And we should start working together like bees and the Americans are big pricks. To help the world here is a saying I made up: “Work together for your world’s health”.
Okay so I follow the Waldorf principal and we don’t take spelling seriously at this stage. But what did surprise me was this child wrote this piece on her own initiative and what concepts had I placed in her realm. I made the older kids watch zeitgeist and write essays on it. . I also read to them a blog that Nina mentioned “After Armageddon” and they had to write essays about what they had seen and read and she obviously picked up on it.
And then it occurred to me that I had, through these actions led them to hold the belief that not only were the Americans arseholes but that they were also separate from the rest of the world and were single handedly destroying it. As I mentioned earlier remove the power from the computer and it ceases to be a source of information. Remove the concept of evil American and it ceases to be anything but a geographical phenomena rising from the ocean of untold beauty and potentiality. Some of the most beautiful, expansive people I know are Americans.
Here I am teaching my children, polarity, division, separation, superiority, inferiority and fear. And as hard as I tried to compact this into my pipe I could not get it to ignite. It could just not sit with me. I mean obviously it was not a mistake, nothing is. Everything that happens happens because it is meant to happen. It could look like a travesty, a crime, whatever, but it happens because it is the play of life. Arising from emptiness and dissolving into the same.
Tomorrow I can assure you I will loose this pink fluffy acceptance I will say fuck that it’s bullshit, it is a travesty etc. etc.
So not judging the situation but at the same time mind tries to find an alternative. How about I give up trying to teach the kids “about the world”. How would it be if I left them to directly experience whatever arises without trying to fit into my view of life. My tainted lens. Would it be possible? Is it their destiny? Who knows.
What has happened is that I have rediscovered the joys of picking up and discovering the pecan nuts as they nestle under the fallen autumn leaves. I have discovered the joy of putting mattresses on the lawn in the gentle winter sun and watching the clouds change character and dimension with the varying temperatures of the day. Watching the leaves dance their way to their deaths. Noticing how some will stay alight for just that much longer. Listening to the birds and their ever present calls to each other. Planting broccoli, parsnips, potatoes, coriander and lettuce (blessed winter climate that one can still grow). Tickle the kids backs. Make up stories. Discover how to make apple crumble with quinces. How to make cashew nut milk. How to ride my bicycle with no hands. Teaching the kids to drive. Drawing with Iona. Explaining to her that everything is perfect. That every person is completely whole and divine. That nothing needs to change. And in this space it is so completely true….
Until I come back to this Pandora’s box. And even that is perfect. You can’t get away from the fact that everything is exactly as it should be. How beautiful is that.
It has been said that if you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans.
In my own life this has proved itself again and again. More often then not what I planned becomes something completely different. It is just the nature of life.
Looking at the situation today, the parents of Madeleine McCann, who were suspects in their daughters disappearance, are honororay guests on the Oprah show. Boxes of tissues are placed under the audience seats so determined is Oprah that they will be moved to tears as Kate bears her sorrow. What Oprah does not mention is that the only place these parents searched was on their laptops, and indeed the mother refused to answer the 48 questions put to her by the police. But hey, they are all people of the lie. And just because Oprah reckons Ekhart Tolle is the greatest, does not mean she is spirtually evolved, it just means she has found someone to give her shallow existence depth via a philosophy which is hard to refute.
And then of course the million and one flashpoints around the globe from the Somalia hero pirates to the newly elected president Jacob Zuma (I am optimistic). Added into that an eerily quiet sun with no activity and we have set the stage for some fist clenching. Of course Les and others have been talking for some time about a happening starting in April which will be catacylsmic. Obviously it could not be another "terrorist attack" even the sleeping sheeple are waking up to that ruse. Well what do we have- hey how about a flu outbreak. And the mysterious suicides of the top ten microbiologists in the States within the past few years. In the past few days eighty people have died in Mexico and people are being popped into quarantine all over the world.
Google bless their compassion, are making possible maps following the trail of this deadly virus. So now let us say, that all of those people that have been making waves for the neocons are all known to Google - due to their searching and posting. This information becomes handy in setting them up as having the flu and incarcerating them in special facilities. And because you have once again upped the planet's fear levels thanks to Murdochs baby, the general population will not even utter a word when their human rights are violated. As long as they will be safe. It will be each man for himself.
And I think the plan that these people in charge have is very large, and basically fool proof. Except for one thing, they did not take into account the need for God's laughter. I dreamt last night that I was in a nightmare situation where I was swimming in a river of human limbs and everywhere there was screaming. At first I was struggling to get away from it, when suddenly laughter started in me which I could not stop and all these isolated limbs attached themselves to their respective bodies again and they in turn started laughing. And the laughter grew and grew in volume and depth, and where it had been murky, it became a brilliant light. And where there was horror there was this sheer, absolute joy.
We know that terrible things are happening, and yet we must resist despair or fear. We must laugh we must laugh........
The family awoke in a very insular space. It appeared as if the internal world had completely dissipated. For me there was absolutely nothing beyond the confines of the property. No politicians, no world crisis, just a very ordinary day with not much with which to play. We sort of met in the kitchen in a case of absence of intention.
Until someone found the paintbrushes and paints. The condition was everyone had to share the paper.....
A few months ago, I stepped away from the hearth for a few days and returned home to four hens and a rooster. Since then the numbers have increased somewhat. 14 adolescents and in the last four days 32 babes have hatched.
So of course all one needs to do once our inner artists had been satisfied was to step into the garden for some full on entertainment.
And still on this incredibly deep and profound day which captivates the clan so aptly we then have me spending the rest of the day on the couch under the vines (my office) nurturing an abandoned chic.
And allow me to introduce you to a creature who has been rumoured to be Obama's replacement - meet Baldrick. He just refuses to believe he is a fowl and when he sees a human flies up into their arms.
And for those calling for photos of me with buckets of manure on my head - well I don't know quite how to maneuver self portraits whilst carrying shit but here goes the results of the shit carrying. There should have been a before and after, before it was all red clay with zero ability to retain water.
And finally as a gift to you, members of the tribe - I gift you with this green.
Impossible art by Li Wei: http://images.google.co.za/images?q=li+wei&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=9VDHSbDSBuDDjAfT_N2CCw&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=4&ct=title
A few months ago, the kids and I went into town for library, shopping, fish hook removal from arm, that kind of usual town visit. Now the nearest town is extremely beautiful with a lot of original cape dutch houses and beautiful gardens, as well as the modern ugh. It is predominately Afrikaans and thus deeply conservative. The population here is extremely xenophobic, homophobic, dopophobic but apparently has a huge population of swingers. This has been confirmed to me by several sources. But I guess you can swing all you want as long as you head to church on Sunday for absolution.
So we are driving along, relief that the fish hook is no longer embedded in Sage's arm. No idea how many times I have told him in that sort of maternal whine not to leave hooks in clothing or wrapped in towels. This was the second barbed hook removal. There is a light hardheartedness in the car for the simple reason that someone we love is no longer in pain and everyone is buoyant and harmony prevails. And it is with this outer harmony that my vision is drawn to a light in a shop that for many years had been empty. So attention goes towards this light and immediately (astonishing the brain) comes up with Chinese Take Away. And it does this effortlessly. Now living where we do, there are no distractions. And I mean no distractions. No malls, no movies. nada. Just ourselves. So here is a novelty. This is almost like Christmas. Next thing the car stops and we tumble out to have a look.
It is very simply done. Everything is basic and clean. The fridges have a few drinks but even being an optimist, these are more empty than full and the shelves have a few packets of white rabbits spread along sparsely. (Hey ma, we survived melamine). The couple in their early thirties are standing there with much pride. I try to strike up conversation, but neither speak English and I am no linguist so it ends there. We continue by facial and hand expressions. We look at the menu and decide that we will support them with a basic meal, which we eat on the pavement over the formica tables. They offer sushi but that would have to be for another time. It is mid month after all. The food is okay, not great, but okay and in my heart I wish them well.
Now for the next few weeks this couple appear in this thinking, even when their shop is not visible. They have found a way into my memory and something about them activates this data flow a lot of the time. I tell everyone I know to try it out and even go so far as to tell them the food is brilliant. I am willing to lie for them. I don't know why. These people have moved so far from home. They have not to gone to Australia where they would be amidst their clan, they have come to Africa and a part of it where they are the only people of this culture. Pik snot aleen is how we would describe it here. I would wonder what they do with their evenings, how they managed to get permanent residence here (virtually impossible), what made them choose here etc etc.
And whenever we went there for a few months we would eat something on the tables and head off again to the library. But we were the only people that we ever saw there and slowly this feint waft of grief permeated the place so deeply that I was loathe to revisit it. One so often reads about moving to new lands, but this was the first context in which I felt the full pain of leaving one's mother land.
Last week we drove in, again to the library and shopping and again first call to the doctor. The boys were building a tree house and had a chain line of throwing bamboo sticks along. Cian got one just above the eye. He ran towards me crying with blood pouring. My heart stopped and I was sure it was his eye. Fortunately it was just above his eye and after stitches there was that same relief that everything had been sorted and that the emergency was over. And it was on this note that my eyes were caught by the lack of light shining from the Chinese Take Away. All there was left was a legal notice on the door and the formica tables still on the pavement.
I don't know where they went or how they survived the loss of what must have been a great dream. And of course the wish that I could have done more to make them feel at home in this strange land....
An inspiration of children decided to uproot me off my sorry arse and venture into the unburnt, misty mountains......
The most astounding bounty of treasures lined the way...
A paradise of pools and waterfalls with the sweetest water awaited our splashing bodies.....
The wizard children coaxed flames to life despite wet twigs and slow falling cloud juice...
and meals fit for kings were served....
in this majestic mountain kingdom removed from the thinking mind and placed in full experiencing gratitude arose from the depths of my being for our needs being filled again and again and again by the most simple yet profound gifts from nature.......
i am told that I am the seeing the pure seeing that is not affected by what is seen. in the same breath I am told that I am not the seer nor the seen. not the hearer nor the heard indeed I have been told so eloquently that what I am is unaffected by anything appearing on the screen of existence………..
so why does it feel as if this body/mind is imploding or melting into a pool of useless waste with no salvageable parts or any redeemable returns dissolving into the quagmire of humanity not to meet wisdom or clear seeing but to be another wasted life on a heap of billions of others……
why… because that’s just the way it is in this sordid play called life we play till we’re played out smoked out sexed out hoped out seen out tricked out lied out mothered out but eventually outed we are…. whose idea was this dream anyway…….. and can we ever wake up?
6 weeks ago to the day a series of events occurred that created a radical change of lifestyle.
The first one was in the sleeping dream. I was taking care of a child’s much loved corn snakes. They were on a table in front of me and the male, orange, brown and black suddenly pounced on his life partner, pink and white, and started swallowing her. I was too shocked to move immediately, they were after all life partners. By the time action happened all that was left was her tail sticking out of his mouth. I tried to pull her out to no avail. The child entered the room and gently pulled and sure enough she came out unharmed. He then flashed me a grin and left and sure enough the same thing repeated itself.
Then in the waking dream I went walking in the gorge. Came upon a pit, and in the pit were many baboon skeletons and skulls. Some large, some small but it was a mass grave. I went to Cape Nature but they told me farmers set traps as these creatures are incredibly destructive. Its not that they eat what they need they literally rampage and can destroy an entire orchard and vineyard. So the men who toil the soil kill them – what else can they do. I guess the baboons being here first has no bearing here, or give them no rights; after all they do not own the pieces of paper making them owners of the land. They have just become a nuisance.
Then there was a domestic dispute involving a man a woman and a broken bottle. Managed to break it up thanks to both parties severe inebriation and an inability for the man to lunge to far forwards without falling flat on his face.
I saw clouds of poison every day being sprayed on the grapes to keep them free of mould. I saw the drivers of the tractors spraying, with no masks, just breathing it all as are we all. It is thick in the air.
I saw pictures of children killed and injured in Gaza and pictures of grieving parents. And even in this village far from Zimbabwe, I see the Zimbabweans creeping in, starvation outweighing the fear of xenophobic attacks. And further afield people have become slaves without even knowing it.
The sleeping dream pretty much covers the current sense of being. Eaten alive, being sucked in and yet at the same time the possibility for regeneration is always present. And regeneration is seen to be needed direly.
This mind has slipped into some quick sand and thoughts were tending to obsessive, with a more then necessary dose of fear thrown in to the mixture. Life had lost its sweetness and I was projecting my stuff onto others with false sagacity intertwined with vehemence. (Thanks psychegram).
This was not a pretty picture. Catching a glimpse of myself in a window sent a shock wave down my spine. The smile that is normally the first thing you will see of me had changed direction and was edging its way to the floor. And the furrows between my brow had changed from lines of intensity to lines of insanity.
So lighting up a joint my 20 year old happens upon me and we sit down to talk. He asks how long I have smoked – “oh give or take 462 full moons” I reply. Take away pregnancy and breastfeeding. How often he asks –“ well one in the morning and one in the afternoon”. At that point the doorbell rings and I immediately dive into the bushes to avoid social interaction. Why would I want to talk to anyone is my immediate response. He raises his eyebrows and in the gentlest way challenges me to stop my life of devotion to the goddess ganja.
I had not even thought about it. Never beat myself up about it, it was just who I was, but in the few minutes following his challenge, neurons fired up and a decision was made (way out of my control) that it was time and that was it. For 6 weeks and a few hours the goddess and I have walked separate paths.
Unbelievable bursts of anger have appeared that I did not even know were harbored in this body mind. Lethargy reigns supreme and it is just a question of getting through the day. Still diving away from any social interaction, still looking for that sweetness which used to present itself with each inhalation.
Then an internal messenger informed me that perhaps if I lowered the toxicity levels of this body, joy would be forthcoming. So on day 4 of a grape fast (from an organic farm), I sit and write this, knowing that you beings out there in this particular sphere are a great gift and a smile of gratitude appears on these lips.
She arrives at dusk. That time of day that when you are travelling and it is all around you, transitory, itinerant and seemingly timeless. The time of day when the sky hovers for an eternity in the indigo phase. The day has left the sky blue stage and is preparing to merge into the blackness and yet is still carrying light.
The taxi departs. The birds preparing for sleep, the crickets preparing for a night of music. A magical time where it always seems as if one is on the threshold of something marvelous. The daily death of the day. Exactly when it happens is never noticed, always comes as somewhat of a surprise.
The stone building appears rather somber and cold . She stands at the larger than life wooden door. Shifting slightly from foot to foot as she awaits an answer. She views the antiquated bell she has rung and wonders if it works.
An owl swoops down and lands in a grove of trees just behind the house. She startles and when startlement has abated, her face gleams in appreciation of the symbol.
In a few moments her mind has jumped around a field containing a myriad of thoughts. Unrelated, non-relevant and extremely busy.
She presses the bell again. Her face tightens somewhat. Her lips clench, her eyes blaze. Anticipating that she might be observed she consciously relaxes her body and half smiles. After another eternity her attitude has changed from anxiousness to agitation and finally settles in belligerence. She finds herself muttering under her breath. She finds that the night is fully present with no luminous envoys.
Blackness surrounds. Her eyes flash on a white shutter, a stone wall and a single Moonflower, its scent divine and yet not bearing sufficient power to dissuade the rising disappointment which always manifests as anger.
Knowing by now that no one is home she rings incessantly, all the while raging.
Yet rage has a way of wearing itself out and makes place for a sense of futility to find a home. She heads for the grove of trees where she last saw the owl. She lies to the side of the circle. Something about being in the centre never did fit well with her. She places an additional layer of clothes on, and drinks from an emptying bottle of water. Deciding to do what she always does at times of uncertainty, she lies down. Her head uncomfortably high on her luggage, but unwilling to seek out comfort and remedy the situation.
Looking above her she sees the owl, motionless above her except that it is obvious it is watching the surroundings with such intensity as if to give it an appearance of imminent flight. She feels blessed. Life has put this magnificent bird above her head. The only other time she had been with an owl was a dead one that her youngest son adored for a day before the burial.
Just as she was pondering the importance of this, the owl flew off and suddenly the symbol became a past tense object and therefore lost its sacred awe.
She felt the first mosquito bite demanding a scratching. With a grunt she sits up and heaves her rug sack in front of her with about as much grace as a birthing hippopotamus. She has to pull out the bags stuffing until she can reach what she is seeking. Her eyes are not involved in the search; her hands have to do the task. They eventually touch something hard and smooth and triumphantly she pulls out a bottle of lavender oil. Smearing it on the exposed parts of her she ponders her situation. Then decides it is too bleak. Don’t contemplate the nearest town, don’t contemplate the failed arrangement. The only thing left for her to do would be to follow the path of self-enquiry. Life often creates situations where this is the last option. Never life threatening situations. Although sometimes these as well, but mostly mundane circumstances. No the only thing for her to do is to lie back and ask “who am I’. It is what she has learnt as the main tool in stopping the mind rushing ones emotions into an abyss of despair. The shift from minding to being.
It followed like this for a time. “Why did this happen”? “To whom did it happen”? “To me” “Who am I”.
This process of enquiry is ultimately meant to lead to the discovery that there is no me that can be found. The point to discover where the I meets the source. For her it had never produced feelings of anything other than exerting the question to the thought and chopping the thought down. The moments between thoughts supposedly become longer and more profound, but for her the thoughts came as rapidly as Bush’s revenge for the September 11 attacks.
So here in the dead of night, we find a somewhat resigned woman asking the same question again and again until blessedly sleep made its way through the minds battlefield. She dreamt that night she was driving a fire engine from the back seat. She found it rather awkward.
She awoke in the hushed dawn. Just before night surrenders and yet the birds have already started their day. She goes to the outside of the grove and has a pee. Returns to her rug sack and continues to lie down. From her horizontal position she surveys the surrounds. The house looks as uninhabited as it did in the previous night’s darkness. It is abandoned.
How typical of her to follow a whim. To take this journey trusting that things don’t change and that she will be received here as she has in the past. In her mind she was journeying here to have a break, in the presence of this remarkable teacher. It did not occur to her to check up on availability or the possibility of death or such.
Hunger gnawed, she knew with absolute certainty that she would have to walk to the nearest town, and that it would be long, and that her rug sack was too heavy with books etc. Angry and dejected she hoists the bag onto her bag, grunts and heads off into the sun.
The magician came to me today, between the thorn tree and the tree thorns. He spun a somersault and landed upright in the air. Greetings to you he said with an enormous grin, our journey together can finally begin.
He held a stone as soft as silk that flowed like mercury in all directions and yet remained contained in his hand. Do you see how this stone looks so solid? Do you not look at this stone, kick it in the dirt and not even begin to see its true essence. You have separated it from yourself by arbitrary labels that you assign to it, so you can never really experience what it is beyond the flatness of words. Do you see the cloud that paints portraits for your eyes to feast upon? The clouds whose shapes lull you into the eternal lullaby. Do you hear the wind, the spirit and voice of truth that speaks to your soul at all times? Do you see the sun throbbing with power and strength and see that your existence is his existence? Do you see the moon and feel her love shining in the silver luminous mist And the stars, do you see how they exist because you exist.
And his grin faded and was replaced with a loving frown, a frown that understood the reservations and behavior patterns. Do you not see that what arises are not who you are. And yet you cannot stop the arising. Do you see that it is suffice for you to simply see, simply be and within that realise the truth. That you have done nothing wrong. That you are not playing games. That you are nothing but innocence as is everyone else. And the lessons you create keep you into guilt. Because if you are not good enough then you must get it wrong. And to get it wrong means you must make mistakes. And that means that you are judged and therefore need to seek forgiveness. And above all it means you are separate.
His smile appeared again and still the stone flowed in all directions around his hand, forming, melting, forming. Yes you are beginning to see and that is why I am here stretched into the branches of this tree. And as this tree is shedding more and more clothing every day. So are you. And soon your foliage will be stripped and you will be standing entirely naked, vulnerable and yet trusting that ……………you are not sure what, but somewhere in the depths of your being and in rising consciousness you are aware that it is all as it should be.
And what will sustain you he hears you asking in the silence of the noise. He answers: The sun, the moon, the stars, and the earth. And for those who can look at you naked, unadorned and see the fruit in the barrenness – this is what will sustain you. For you shall hear music in every footstep, you will see Life in every face; you will see truth in every situation. So let me beckon you to awaken to the presence that is all pervasive. Let me encourage you to leave the dream you have been so intent on. Because you will always have something to defend, something to fear, something to love. Put is all down, all eons of defensiveness you have worn like armour ………….When it arises, don’t respond. Don’t defend. Smile, breathe deeply. Ask who am I? And ask and ask and ask until it becomes apparent what you are not.
And when I looked again, the magician had disappeared. On the ground lay a solid looking brown stone. Picking it up, the wind blowing my hair, the sun bleaching my hair, the moon pale in the daylight, the tree stretched to eternity. I put the rock to my lips and kissed its cold warmth and gave thanks for the opportunity to walk away from and disengage from the belief that anything needs to be different from what is right now. ………………………