The one cup of coffee

 

Coffee Love

I’ve loved the taste of coffee since I was something like 4 and used to jump over to my parents’ cups before the table was cleared to take a sip off the last remaining drops.

In early adulthood I was introduced to fresh roasted coffee and beans and blends from many places.  Melitta pots then espresso machine and then stove-top espresso pots worked their way through my repertoire.  And I drank coffee all day, not knowing at the time that I was using it to ward off the growing fatigue born of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

Around the same time diagnoses and treatments began, I switched for some years to decaf.  Back when decaffeinating and reducing stress were in instead of trying to prove how hyped up and busy you can be…

Eventually I slid back to caffeinated but reducing the amount of coffee.  I refuse to give it up and I believe in the anti-oxidant boost of a freshly brewed cup but I also accept the down sides so I have been holding to a one perfect cup plan for some years.

On the Scribblings blog I’m going to put up a post that goes into more detail about the kind of coffee (La Coppa) and the preparation, but here I’m just contemplating that one cup each day and its sacred place in my day.

Some years back a post on the old Bardo group blog suggesting people find a “check-in partner” to text each day and say what you’re feeling and what you intend, led me to post about it.  A long-time friend immediately got in touch to say she’d like to do it.  Since I hate texting I said yes, if we could change it to e-mail.

We soon added “three gratitudes” to the daily check-in.  After a few years, in the midst of lots of suggestions about joy, I asked to add that, differentiating it from gratitude as a more vibrant emotion and one I have trouble accessing.  She felt the same, so we added an unspecified number of “joys” noted each day.  (I highly recommend this check-in practice, btw)

My daily cup of java almost instantly made the list and, contemplating it, I soon informed her to expect that one every day.  Having just the one cup of this beverage I LOVE means I look forward to it.  When I wash all the components of the pot and cup, etc. each evening I smile as they hit the drying rack, knowing they’ll be ready to go for that so-loved mug in the morning.

I wait until breakfast is over to fix it so I can sit and sip it as its own separate moment.  Each drink is savored and I’m never mingling in bites of toast or other flavors to sully the exquisite taste of the coffee.  It’s a moment in my day set aside from others.

To me that one cup each day is a sacred moment.  I really feel the joy and gratitude and mark the moment.  Simple, special, just one cup.

A meditation, insights and puzzlement

Several days ago I tried a new Steve Nobel meditation which both led to a couple of deep insights and left me feeling the meditation was incomplete.  When I saw the meditation I felt right away this would be a good place to try addressing yet again an issue that has dogged me for all the years I’ve been on this journey:  The Grace Transmission: Surrendering a Seemingly Irresolvable Issue to Spirit.

Prior to starting the spiritual journey I was pretty good at getting jobs with adequate pay — as long as I hated them.  Once I gave up on ideas like “work is hard and always a struggle” and “you can only make a living at jobs that are unpleasant:, etc. I started teetering between starting ventures doing things I loved that at best made no money and often wound up costing me and taking low-paying part-time jobs to get me through.  My financial status began a downward spiral that has never stopped.

Having addressed many many issues and seen things move, this one has been frustrating as I have thrown more at it than any other, from affirmations to visions to emotional clearing, to examining ancestral patterns, etc. and nothing has ended the spiral.  Every time I think I’ve broken through and things will change, they do.  For the worse.

Nobel has several meditations addressing abundance, etc. and I’ve done those too and definitely felt I moved some energy but something has still seemed stuck.  So I entered this new meditation with the intent to turn over this issue and see how his mind-blowing transformational talents impacted this.

The basic construct, after his usual opening of clearing and bringing in archangels, etc., is to look through three windows, the first of the unconscious, the second of the conscious and the third, the Higher Self view.  Not bad as a construct though I have a few critiques.

I guess he was trying to avoid making suggestions that influenced what we “saw” but from the first window on, I felt I could have used a little more guidance about what we were aiming for as we looked through the window.  Nonetheless, as soon as I looked through the first one I saw myself alone in a hot and desolate desert.

Moments later I realized I was revisiting a past life experience I’ve encountered before.  Usually it’s come up (or been”seen” by a psychic) in the context of me having had multiple lifetimes as a healer/seer and, more often, as one of many healer lifetimes in which I was tortured and/or put to death for my abilities — thus the shutdown this time around.

My late teacher Ellen Margron taught us about “daisy chains” of beliefs and how beliefs intertwine with one another and are deduced from one another, etc.  I’ve often found since that memories, whether childhood or past life, often have their own daisy chain of beliefs that arose from one powerful incident.  I forget that sometimes so this was a good reminder.

In this instance instead of feeling the terror of being punished for what I knew or saw, I experienced the end portion of being tied down and left in the middle of a desert to die a horrible death alone.  I felt utterly abandoned by every human, by the Universe and by God.

In other inner journeying, I’d realized long ago that as a very young child my reaction to some tough stuff going on was to feel abandoned by God.  Many times I’ve realized I live in an odd space in which I consciously believe in spirit and interconnection, etc. while on some deep level having no faith that a higher power cares anything about me.

I’ve worked on it quite a bit but looking through this window I could feel a tight hold from this past life experience and the resulting loss of faith has been at the core most of my life.  The surprising thing to me in the meditation was there was no guidance into something to shift or re-create the view through the window. He also left a REALLY long time for seeing this picture and I’d completed it early on, then felt like I was miserably held in this unpleasant space.

So I came to window two still feeling yucky from window one.  Window two was seeing into the conscious mind about the issue.  It was another scene of isolation, but this time based on fears of winding up homeless and living in my car.  I could feel the direct connection between the past life scene in window one and the feelings still being held in consciousness.

Again, there was no turn around moment and the hold in this unpleasant place was exceedingly long.  Then on to window three, the view of the Higher Self.  This time I could instantly see myself as an interconnected part of the web of all life and sense the flow of energy always available. I was also still experiencing the unpleasant feelings from the first two windows, so it didn’t feel as comfortable and freeing as it might have. I could also see the flow being blocked; I knew it was me blocking it and I could understand that me letting go of those feelings of being abandoned and lost would open the flow.

I gather the idea was the “higher” view would automatically heal the other two views, but since I’ve understood and addressed this issue before and clearly still have it, I felt like I could really have used a final piece in which all the guides and angels brought in assisted in shifting the first two views to align with the third.  I understand this stuff well enough to get that he figured the final view would do that on its own.  Maybe it did…

I do feel the series of views has had an impact and now that I’m hyper-conscious about it I’ve been regularly envisioning myself in that interconnected space and affirming my connection to the web.  I open to receive as much energy, love, abundance, etc. as the universe can offer.  I can feel energy moving.

So mixed reviews.  On the one hand, clearly there was power in this meditation and it guided me into an important revelation.  On the other, I didn’t find it as transformative as I feel it could have been.

 

People Power: Climate, Our Part and the Elephants in the Room

As the talk about climate change escalates I keep glancing at plans, suggestions, demands, etc. and making mental notes about what massive change would really entail.  The main things I keep seeing are (1) we the ordinary people have a much bigger role to play than most “change” advocates seem to acknowledge and (2) the massive shift we need will have much greater consequences to the world economy than is generally being discussed.

First, I see a world in which governments for the most part are broken.  Corruption and ties to big money have so infiltrated governments everywhere, I find it odd so many environmental advocates are still calling for governments to do something.  Really, what on earth about how they operate leads anyone to believe they would?

Until we can make sweeping changes in who is elected — keeping corporate money out of the electoral process altogether — democratic governments are not going to pass laws that hamstring global corporations.  And even if we can elect politicians with no such ties, let’s be realistic.  If global corporations are reined in to the necessary degree, massive economic issues, including widespread layoffs and falling profits will result.  No elected politician wants to preside over such a potentially cataclysmic shift.

I’m not saying the process doesn’t also need help from government, but because they’re unlikely to change so radically in the short time frame we need, I think it is going to be regular people working locally along with municipal and maybe state or provincial governments that will create the faster changes we need.

Politicians who discuss “the Green New Deal” or climate change more globally are by and large stepping around the issues of failing corporations and falling GNPs.  They don’t want to say out loud what the real impact of making radical change may have. The youth who are striking often seem to me to be a little naive when it comes to understanding the likely results of the degree of revolutionary change they demand — as did the “radical revolutionaries” of the Viet Nam era; the one sticking point that kept me slightly apart.  I’m not saying they’re wrong that we need it, but I also see you have to face this issue as a probable outcome.

I’m seeing a lot of movement toward more local solutions.  As I’ve mentioned, the world wide co-op movement is very heartening.  It’s been going on long enough I’m seeing studies showing they’re making profits, employing a lot of people and paying them better, etc.  They also allow women and people of color to get a fair shake.

Clearly there are already people who see this is the way to go.  I just think we need a wider-spread consciousness about the need to quickly form local co-ops (or similar) for everything from banking to manufacturing to farming to housing, etc. See previous post for more on co-ops.

What I don’t see is enough individuals advocating on how much WE have to change.  The U.S. is the worst as far as over-consuming.  Our citizens need to step it up more than most pundits are telling them and quit the constant buying.  The assumption that women need a 150 square foot closet and more than enough clothes to fill it needs to stop.  Buying a new computer or cell phone every time a small change in technology comes out needs to stop.  Driving gas-guzzling SUVs needs to stop.  Buying food you don’t need and throwing it away needs to stop.

In my lifetime we’ve moved from a society in which many families had one car and men formed carpools at work so wives and children had the car some days and not others to a society in which every body in the family has at least one vehicle.  We should be demanding expanded public transportation and driving fewer cars instead of more.

No one — especially no politician — wants to tell people they MUST dramatically change their lifestyles especially regarding consuming habits.  Generally speaking the population is resistant to being told big changes must be made .  But this time we have to be agents of change.  Part of that change is also to remake governments to serve the people, but till we do, we’re the best hope we have.

And if we all really start cutting back as much as we must, sales fall, profits decrease, corporations downsize and lay people off, etc.  Some will go out of business.  We should also be using consumer boycotts to express our wrath at their destructive practices and the same consequences are likely.

We need to have a plethora of local opportunities ready to hire displaced workers.  Some places are working on plans where the shift to more sustainable plans and programs includes many new jobs.  We’re talking about a shifting of business and jobs on a scale never seen by the world.

We need to shift to a Thrive Economy instead of one that always grows bigger:

It’s time for us to be poring through Project Drawdown to see which solutions we could support with funding, which solutions we could work on in groups or alone, whether new ideas can be spun from the many offered there.
Paul Hawken_edited
Government as it is constituted right now isn’t going to accomplish this for us.  It’s up to us.  What can we do to shift the mentality from grow to thrive?  How can we start businesses and co-ops operating to thrive while being sustainable?  What are WE going o do to save the world?

Schedule shifting midstream

My schedule shift efforts are slowly moving along and some changes seem to be holding, so I’ve been feeling pleased with the decision to shift.  The muscles in my eyes haven’t been quite so wild.  There’s often some disruption a couple of nights a week but none of the long endless nights of yanking muscles; without that change none of the rest would be happening.

Today I hit one of the goals in the shift.  Lots of friends from the old Unity church here joined a spiritual center called Ahava a few years after Unity closed.  I’ve been attending random afternoon or evening events off and on and volunteering with their God’s Pantry group but  their weekly 10:30 service has been way out of reach for my insane sleep schedule.

When I started shifting the schedule I realized attending the Sunday service — which I’d given up on doing — would become possible.  Today was finally the day I was both awake early enough and rested enough to conceive of getting up, dressed and out.

As soon as I walked in the door I was greeted warmly by Betty, one of the women very involved in the old Unity.  Then Patty, whom I’ve known through the God’s Pantry work hugged me and invited me to sit with her.  A beautiful service, greeting more old friends….  Loved it and it really gave the gargantuan effort of shifting every aspect of my schedule more meaning and purpose.

Other good news to report from shifting is I’ve been having more energy.  Some of that is because the DEEP stuff behind my eye that’s currently unwinding is freeing up a lot of energy. I also suspect in looking at the Chinese medicine clock that I’m now giving some crucial organs a rest during the best hours which then helps the energy.

For the first six weeks or more I got up earlier then was so dazed the rest of my plan for breakfast, exercise, shower and meditation before noon fell apart while I just sat in a fog but in the last couple of weeks, with energy picking up, I’m getting more things done every day– nowhere close to the kind of busy days my more energetic friends accomplish, but for me, significantly more.  And I’m finally growing less stupefied in the morning so am hoping to get the whole morning plan happening soon instead of just a couple parts of it.   When I finish shifting to the intended schedule, should be even easier.

Another great bonus has been running errands between 1:00 and 2:45 — in between lunch rush and schools getting out.  Turns out there’s a whole lovely time when traffic is light, parking is easy and stores are quiet!  I’m now addicted to getting things done in this peaceful time frame.  Given my night vision issues, this is going to be SO helpful when darkness starts arriving at 5:30.

Another view from my spot

Speaking of light, I’m totally enjoying having more hours of light and, again, will be so much happier in winter that I’ll be experiencing a fair portion of the hours of sunshine.  Being up and around so much more of the day has led to more time enjoying light and air while writing on our sun porch which always picks my spirits up.

It all feels like coming alive again after such a long journey of healing.  More about that in another post!

Meditation Potpourri

Ever since someone introduced me to Steve Nobel a couple of years ago I’ve been a fan.  He’s prolific and churns out new meditations at a pace I can’t begin to keep up with.  They’re all free on YouTube.

For me there are increasing numbers down the list I mean to get back and try but he keeps enticing me into another new one.  And I now have 6 or 8 I like to repeat periodically. So the list of the ones not yet done keeps growing.

I find his work so powerful I’ve learned it’s better not to do more than 2-3 a week and to make sure there’s a day or two in between–and I have a couple of friends doing them who agree.  Other days I generally do yoga nidra.

As I’ve been moving through a selection of Nobel’s posts there have been a number I thought were particularly good so thought I’d embed some here for anyone who’d like to try.

One category I’ve been craving recently has been what I’d call the healing/protection ones.  One of my favorites lately has been, Angelic Healing Light Temple Meditation.  It’s gentler than some and doesn’t leave my energy roiling as much as some of his:

I’ve found his Shield of Michael Meditation powerful and I also like that it’s only 17 minutes.  You’re literally placing Archangel Michael’s symbol, a sword, around you in multiple places for protection.  The second time I did it I had an appointment with Hanna the next day for body patterning.  I didn’t say a word about the meditation.  Hanna, as I’ve mentioned before, is highly intuitive and at the end of the session she mentioned the odd fact that she kept seeing swords of Michael all around me!

Another one that’s nice and quiet and doesn’t radically set my energy roiling is the Super Quick Alignment Meditation.  A little under 15 minutes and beautifully brings you into balance.

One of the really powerful, but oh so lovely ones is The Ultra Violet Fire and Grace Elohim meditation, which invokes all your guides and guardians, ultra violet fire angels and the grace elohim angels who join you with these higher energies, clear you and leave you calm and connected.

One of the super powerful ones is Green Tara Transmission: Invoking a Liberation from all Mental/Energetic Poisons.  This is one heck of a clearing of old stuff, so be prepared for some big shifts!

 

Getting Older and Birthdays

I turned 67 today.  Of course birthdays have long since not been an occasion for the giddy excitement of childhood but I continue to enjoy having some amount of celebration.  At this age, with no siblings, husband or children and parents in their 90’s, it’s been slowly sinking in for the last few years that before too long no one will be around on that day.

I don’t dwell on it much, but until now, when I’ve thought of it, I’ve felt sorry for myself.  While it WILL be sad just not to have my parents and their pleasure in the fact I was born, I finally have re-defined something about birthday.

Right now my mother and I live together so she greets me with something she’s ordered and a “happy birthday” to start the day and my father calls somewhere after that, having sent a card with a check ahead of time.  So I’m increasingly contemplating the birthday when they aren’t here and how I want to spend the day.

They’re both getting ever more frail and I’m doing my best to see to it that both are okay though I can’t get to my dad very often at all.  Most of the time I’m just worried about them, so birthday and Christmas are the only two times I confront the frailty and what’s ahead and feel uneasy about life without them around.

A couple of times in the past when I lived far from either parent, I put together a small party, specifying no presents, but had a general impression people felt dragged into celebrating and I’m not really into parties so that’s not something I’d do again.

So far one of the main things, since I love really good food, has been seeing to it some sort of treat or special meal is on hand.  But looking deeper into the meaning of birthdays — and not wanting to try to fill empty spaces with food 🙂 — and whether they need celebrating and what would be meaningful for me I’m starting to envision future birthdays spent in contemplation, drawing tarot cards, possibly a spa or massage visit, and meditating on spirit and purpose and why I’m here and whether I’m living my purpose.  Really sounds more like me than a lot of the usual birthday stuff.

Something about creating my own vision for a different kind of day that doesn’t require presents and cakes and someone who says “Happy Birthday” as soon as I get up calmed the anxiety about that future that isn’t here.  And right now I feel so blessed to have parents who’ve made it to 94 and still celebrate as they can with me.

People Power: Going local with water

The Kentucky River by Halls at the River, photographer Leigh Gaitskill copyright 2019

Environmental impacts on water have been of interest to me since the late sixties, when big water issues near me on the Great Lakes were in the news.  In recent years I’ve been following with great concern the conversation about clean water becoming scarce around the world.  Then when crisis hit my home town of Flint, Michigan, alarm bells started sounding.

Since Flint, there are increasing numbers of cities with lead problems popping up and eerily little media attention to the issue.  I’m pretty aware of a number of cases because I do a lot of poking around in environmental issues, but you’d have to be really looking to realize how widespread the issue of lead in water due to old pipes is.

Among those who are more aware of the water problem, there’s often a call for federal action  It’s another place where I think local plans from communities coming together may provide more and better answers  Given the many problems besides old pipes that are coming to a head about even having sources of clean water, I don’t think a giant plan to put in new pipes is our best answer.

Looking at Flint

For Flint, there’s an immediate problem of organizing enough drinking water for the populace.  There are a couple of passionate folks I’ve encountered on Twitter who are raising money for bottled water — Lance Cooper @escapedmatrix and Mari Copeny @LittleMissFlint; check them out and donate if you can.  But I can see the problem requires a bigger solution and something more sustainable.

I’ve been looking at rainwater collection as an interim possibility.  First, the technology already exists for both collecting and purifying it and it’s widely available.  Second, it would help them keep an ongoing supply of water.  Third, if you could throw holding tanks into the deal and a give-away of good-sized re-usable jugs, with a number of centers (probably churches and/or community centers), people could collect decent amounts of water as needed.  Not a permanent solution as rain fall is too unreliable, but possibly helpful while a better answer is sought.

It’s a poor community and this would cost a lot more than a fundraiser can garner.  The City of Flint is broke (thanks so much General Motors for abandoning the town).  So I’ve been looking at the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation, which happens to be located in Flint.  In fact, Flint is one of the foundation’s missions and they also have an Environmental mission, so I can see a grant proposal that ties these two arenas together.

Not every state allows rain water collection so not an answer for some places, but Michigan doesn’t have a law in place that prevents it.  I’ll be exploring some other technologies and potential drawbacks below.

A second phase would involve something like water purification systems for homes in the area.  Possibly the right person or group could get a company that makes them to give a break or make a donation and a grant could cover the remaining cost and installation.  Below I also look at a few other up and coming technologies for supplying water without using current sources or pipes.  Mari has started a fundraiser to buy purifiers.

I don’t have connections in the area any more (and was too young to have this kind when I lived there), so don’t know community groups who could put in a grant proposal, and I am not an expert at writing a winning grant proposal, so I’m hoping there are people who DO know who can step up.

Foundation support will likely not be the answer as the problem grows more widespread, but Mott is not alone in offering grants for communities and/or for environmental projects so the towns with immediate issues could potentially use grants to help create local supplies of water.

For an excellent analysis of the issues for Flint and why the community should take charge: Flint Water Crisis: The Importance of Building a Grassroots Environmental Justice Infrastructure

Keep It Local

Throughout this series I’ve been advocating a shift to local forums for everything from jobs to manufacturing to governance.  While many who are looking at the growing water crisis and demanding federal action on large scale infrastructure, I’m not so sure the feds are our best hope nor that simply replicating the current water supply system is our best long-term answer.

Given the scale of climate change, I think the current water crisis is a perfect moment to think in terms of sustainable answers.  And the means and methods of sustainability are going to vary widely with locale given differences in climate, water sources, etc.  As I continue explore the growing co-op movement around the world, I’m thinking that local and, in the case of large cities, sometimes neighborhood, co-ops dealing with water may do a better job.  At the least, local governments are better situated to work on the specific needs and possibilities of their communities.

In Texas, for instance, after the big drought of 2011, a number of cities instituted serious changes in how they collect water and their chosen means were very much suited to the local climate and how water is available.  See Six Alternative Water Sources for Texas.  See also: Alternative Water Sources: Supply Side Solutions for Green Buildings for discussions of a number of solutions being used in cities scattered around the U.S.

 Community Groups

Poor neighborhoods are particularly under-served when it comes to safe water and in some areas strong community advocacy groups have been instrumental in getting things done.  If your town or area is having trouble about water and you don’t have such a group, I highly recommend that you look into some of the already-existing ones and create a group that suits your issues.

I’ve read a few things about a group in L.A. which advocates for south L.A., where Black and immigrant residents are disproportionately harmed by environmental issues.  Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education’s (SCOPE) work for social, economic and environmental justice is impressive.  Other groups to explore:  Detroit, West Harlem Environmental Action, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice partners with various communities around the South to promote environmental justice.

Sustainable Water Sources

There is so much info, I can’t provide an exhaustive list but there are a couple of promising avenues to discuss and then I have a lot of links to articles discussing various alternatives to draining all the rivers and lakes, etc.  One thing I’m finding I want to emphasize is potential environmental impacts if some of these things are done on a large scale.

A number of inventors have created devices using solar to create water by drawing water from the air.  Sounds great if you’re talking about one or a few.  But I can’t imagine there’s not an environmental impact down the road if you put thousands and thousands in place, sucking all the moisture out of the air.  So far I’m striking out at finding any environmental impact studies on them at all.

Rain water collection systems are not legal in every state.  Particularly in places with water supply problems, rain water run off is part of the water eco system and states have outlawed it, claiming the state owns that water.  Michigan at the moment has a big supply of water so has not outlawed it, but as water becomes more scarce everywhere I can see potential for multitudes of rain water collection systems also causing detrimental environmental impacts.  Right now they’re available but not that common and it seems like a good solution but I’d like to know if there’s a tipping point where collecting rain would become more of a hazard than a help.

There are also a variety of desalinization devices, including solar, many already in operation in places where it’s suitable.  Again I’ve not seen an environmental impact assessment regarding widespread drawing on salt water sources and taking out the salt.  Seems like another spot with an eventual tipping point from help to harm.

There are other innovations coming along all the time for creating potable water so it’s worth snooping around on the web every now and then to see what’s new.

More info

The latest issue of the alumnae magazine from my Alma mater, Northwestern University, had a really good article about water and efforts being made by various professors in various departments to find solutions.  Solutions for Troubled Waters.

The whole article is worth reading but I particularly noted a couple of resources.  Chemistry professor Will Dichtel has a company offering some of the solutions, from home purifiers to waste management and more, CycloPure.

The director of the Environmental Advocacy Center of the law school’s legal clinic was highlighted and I was interested to note that the Advocacy Center offers help to communities in many places, not just Chicago, so a good potential resource in the U.S.- and apparently they’re working on becoming international.  Their solutions are not just legal, but include help in solving problems, sometimes in conjunction with other NU departments, so a good resource to know about.

The EPA also has a grants program that offers up to $30,000 to community organizations working on environmental justice issues.  Seems like a great place for people in a town like Flint or Newark to propose a program to help with the water crisis.  Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

And some miscellaneous articles on water issues:

The People Power posts: