Soulshine

Full lyrics HERE.

There are some amazing live versions of this song by Gov’t Mule on YouTube, if you want to explore a little.

Tremendous Elasticity

“Do not let anyone tell you how you must look or act just because you are a man or a woman. You have boundless potential that can only be limited when you believe that your social identity is really who you are. Who you are is not a perfectly measured object. There is tremendous elasticity in who you can be. It is up to you to decide the shape you give yourself.”  ~Ogyen Trinley Dorj, excerpted from The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out, ©2013

Alexa, find me a comic

Cat and Girl is on the web at (of course) catandgirl.com.

they can seem like magic

Excerpted from The Power of Persuasion:  How We’re Bought and Sold by Robert V. Levine, ©2003:

Matisse, it was said, could create any color in a painting without touching the color itself. All he asked was to control the colors around it. Similarly, look closely at a Van Gogh or a Monet or virtually any other impressionist work and you’ll have a hard time finding an accurately depicted color or clean brush stroke. These paintings are populated by oddities like people with bright orange hands and green faces; with irregular globs of paint that represent flags and trees; and with what appear to be accidental brush drippings that pass off as stars and steeples. Every detail on the canvas, seen in isolation, is inaccurate. But it all looks right when you stand back and take in the whole painting.

In perception, context is everything. Colors and shapes are elastic creatures that change with their surroundings. A black picture frame will make a gray painting look lighter; a white frame turns it darker. Put the same gray painting against a green background and it becomes pink. If you want to see a total color change, place a strong blue up against a red and watch the red turn orange—not orangish, but actual orange. Now vary the size, the shape, or the placement of any of these objects and everything changes again. You don’t have to squint or make an effort to see the changes. If your vision is normal, they can’t be seen any other way. The changes are so dramatic that to the unprepared viewer, they can seem like magic.

Fixing a Flat

“There is a problem in thinking that you are supposed to be advancing in your practice all the time. You don’t have to constantly be on the road. If you have a flat tire, that is also part of the journey. Ambition makes you feel that you are not doing anything. There seems to be a hypnotic quality to ambition and speed, so that you feel that you are standing still just because you want to go so fast. You might actually be getting close to your goal.”  ~Chögyam Trungpa

Don’t you ever give up the fight…

Folk singer Hoyt Axton (who wrote the song) and Linda Ronstadt are singing in the background.

Full lyrics HERE.

Fake It ’til you Make It

“Why should I smile when there is no joy in me? The answer to that is: smiling is a practice. There are over three hundred muscles in your face. When you are angry or fearful, these muscles tense up. The tension in these muscles creates a feeling of hardness. If you know how to breathe in and produce a smile, however, the tension will disappear– it is what I call ‘mouth yoga.’ Make smiling an exercise. Just breathe in and smile. The tension will disappear and you will feel much better.”  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

The Gentleman

The first time I read The Gentleman from San Francisco by Ivan Alekseevich Bunin, I was completely unimpressed.  I tossed onto the pile to be donated to charity.

A few hours later I wanted to re-read a passage, so I brought it back, read it, then returned it to the pile.

The next day there was another passage I wanted to re-read, so again I brought it back– only this time put it on my bookshelf afterward.

It’s an odd little story, compelling without being particularly exciting.  It’s a strange length, a little longer than a short story, a little shorter than a novella.

It was written in 1917 in Russia, and translated into English by D.H. Lawrence in 1922.  It is in the public domain, and may be downloaded freely from Project Gutenberg, HERE.

(Project Gutenberg offers free public domain books in a variety of formats, including Kindle, Epub, plain text, and HTML for online reading.)

 

Never Alone

“Before this world existed, the holy people made themselves visible by becoming clouds, sun, moon, trees, bodies of water, thunder rain, snow, and other aspects of this world we live in. That way, they said, we would never be alone. So it is possible to talk to them and pray, no matter where we are and how we feel. Biyázhí daniidlí, we are their little ones.”  ~Excerpt from Sáanii Dahataa The Women Are Singing by Luci Tapahonso, ©1993 (via)

Stop Doing Terrible Things

“People like me, people who believe in animal rights, feel the same way about eagles and elephants, pigs and porpoises, as most people feel about cats and dogs. Don’t get me wrong. Animal Rights Advocates don’t want pigs sleeping in our beds or elephants riding in our cars. We don’t want to make ‘pets’ of these animals. What we want is something simpler: we just want people to stop doing terrible things to them.”  ~Tom Regen (source)

Clouds

Mona took these pictures of the sky showing the different layers of the clouds.  Not bad for a cell phone picture!

Oasis

I know I’ve lost a step cognitively. I’m easily overwhelmed, easily frustrated. I can’t do many of the things I used to do.

Now I’m the car other drivers honk and gesture at because I’m slow and overly cautious. I used to be the one who showed other people how to network their computers and peripherals, now I can’t do it for myself. I bought a nice camera, but had to return it because I couldn’t understand the instructions.

I don’t think this is a physical problem. I recently tried and failed to become a kidney donor, but I did pass all the medical tests. The problem was I couldn’t navigate the bureaucracy. Instead of helping me through it, they kicked me out of the program. I suppose that made their own lives a little easier.

So it goes.

I blame my decline on stress.

When my mother died a little over a year ago, I became my father’s caretaker. It’s been difficult. I loaned him a book I thought he would enjoy, and not only did he not like it, he marked the passages that particularly displeased him so he could read them to me. He listed for me all the songs Bobby Bare ruined by “not singing them properly.” He listed the National Parks he doesn’t want to go to, because they are likely to be too crowded. He does not like women who use cell phones, men who wear short pants, and anyone who is handicapped or obese. He used to watch the Texas Rangers, but he doesn’t anymore because the players are “too happy” when they win.  The lawn crew did a half-assed job, they always do a half-assed job, he guesses they don’t even care.  That’s just this week, and it’s not a complete list by any means.

The barrage of negativity becomes overwhelming. It’s a hard way to start the day.

But last night I played an old George Harrison record, and Mona danced with me in the kitchen, and for just a few minutes I felt like myself again.

Someday things will be different, but for now I have to hang on to those moments.

They keep me going.