Saturday, February 24, 2007

For love of Life, for love of Now: Wow!


Life is good.

Sometimes we forget, sometimes we feel bad, sometimes other people don't treat us the way we want to be treated, sometimes we have pains and "issues" and clunkiness and overweight in our bodies, sometimes our thoughts are gloomy and dark.

And this is all good, it's all food, as if it is compost for our minds to make beautiful soil for a beautiful life.

And how to make this compost?


Do the work of Byron Katie.

Come into the present.

Do Wake Up Feldenkrais , exploring and learning again as we did when we were a child combined with coming into the present,
via the wonders of the the Feldenkrais Method.

Come into nature.

Take a walk.

Follow our breathing.

Eat organic fresh seasonal food, slowly and with love.

Make or help in an organic, permaculture garden.

Understand what we can learn by slowing down and doing the work of Byron Katie, what we can learn by slowing down and doing the Wake Up Feldenkrais work, slowing down and recalling all that we are grateful for, slowing down and noticing:

What is it like, right now, to be alive and aware on this beautiful planet.

Right now: what is our life?

And then this now: what is it like?

Right now: what do we like?

Right now: what do we love?

If we are happy, great,
we can
love and enjoy it.

If you are not happy,
that's what all these blogs are for:
after years of sufferinga and learning,
I offer to you ways inward,
ways to learn
and transform
and heal,
wonderful ways and
pathways to ease the suffering and reconnect us to vitality, joy, health, happiness , awareness and learning.


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Friday, February 23, 2007

The Meaning of Life

Is it true life has a meaning?

I don't know.

Can I absolutely know life has a meaning?


How do I react when I rigidly attach to the thought: "life should have a meaning?"

Worried, annoyed with those who don't get "the" (= my) meaning, rating myself as to living up the "the" (=my) meaning, anxious.

Who would I be without the story: "life should have a meaning?"





Meaning to discover the meaning for myself, in each moment.

The turn around: Life has no meaning.

Better: thoughts about the meaning of life lead to no meaning, or less under standing of the real meaning.

Life is.

What a gift, eh?

(If this seems a "strange" line of questioning, please enjoy for a brilliant pathway out of emotional bondage and suffering.


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Tuesday, February 20, 2007



Today we got our winter back, and the rains are working
their way to us.

Today, the clouds started small and got bigger and bigger.

Today, as every day,
we all had the chance to be present,
to love life,
to be of use to ourselves
and others.

I had moments of present living
and moments of planning and worry.

I liked the moments of
being present

And those of being present
and being in love
with whatever
or whomever
was with me,
were the best.

In the mood,
to think

Whole Systems,
Then this is a good link.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pink Haired Boy Explains Grafting

Back in the wee days of my first times in Sonoma, say ten, eleven years ago, I'm a pluggin away at making the squalid patch of land out at East Seventh and Denmark into the beautiful garden, some pictures of which you can see if you take a bit of a stroll down the sidebar to your right.

Anyways, who comes by but a wee late, a Tommy or a Timmy, it took me a long time to get his name straight, but the little lad had bright whitish blond hair and a big love of nature. His Mom, Julie, bless her heart, knew this and living nearby, brought him around a lot.

And then, as he got older he brought himself around a lot, and spent some grand times in Mom's backyard, too, learning and playing with plants.

And then trees.

And now, all of 13 or 14 (eighth grade), he, definitely a Tommy, is now a bright and fun expert in Exotic and Normal Fruit. And Other Yummy trees.

And so, today, at the garden park, all's the more the shame I have not a picture just now, but I'll bike on by his near the garden house and get one tomorrow, he led a workshop in grafting trees.

And for the event, just to make sure that he didn't get lost, he'd died his hair a bright and shocking pink. I asked him if it was a wig, and no, it weren't. Was his hair, bright and fine.

And so, bright pinked haired, and young and bright brained and excited and in love with trees, he led a crowd of some sixteen or so adults through their paces of how to graft an apple variety to another apple tree, which cuts to make, how to wrap and facilitate the graft, which trees are easy ( apples), which trees are a bit tricky ( peaches), which don't even need to be grafted, you can just stick a cutting in the ground: figs, and grapes and kiwis, the last two of which aren't trees.

Roses, too, and at the garden, the entire grape arbor and all the roses growing out in the edges and not in the tidy little rose area were planted by just sticking a cutting in the ground.

Tommy showed us cleft cuts, and showed us whip grafting, and demonstrated a nifty and bit refined tongue in grove improvement on a whip graft. He told us about scions and root stock. He was fun, smart and entertaining and got a lot of information out. He showed some real grafting onto some real trees at the Garden Park and gave away some scions for the participants to take home. A good and educational time was felt by all.

So : next time the newspaper says a boy named Tommy's going to led a workshop in grafting, take it. You'll be in for a great treat.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love Yourself and Expand from there

When you remember to like yourself, what else is there to do?

Like what's around you, love what's around you,

Like life, love life.

So that's our Valentine's Day job:

1) Look in the mirror and like what we see.

2) Look in the mirror and love what we see.

3) Take our hand up to our mouth and give it a sweet kiss.

4) Take our other hand up to our mouth and give it a kiss.

5) Look out at the sky, and the trees and give them a big kiss from our heart and soul.

6) Find some Earth to stand on and give it a big kiss from our heart and Self. (And our soul and soles.)

7) Think of someone else we love. If they are up for it, give them a kiss. If they are not available, or don't know you love them, or any minor obstacle like that, give them a kiss from inside your heart and mind.

8) It's the loving out that's good for us.

9) Have an easy and loving day.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Glorious Day, Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, How , How:::: Now

sonoma view
Is good.
Now is good.
It's beautiful today.
I'm going outside,
To follow my breathing, sensing myself and enjoy the blue sky.
Hope your day is great, too.

flower in early spring

If you want, check out the interview in Sun Magazine on Nature Deficit Disorder in Children. And, I'd recommend subscribing. It and the New Yorker are a pretty good balance.

Add Yes magazine, and maybe Permaculture Activist and it might be too much,
but a very worthy too much.

(For reading on days not so beautiful as today.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Slow Sonoma, Slow Food, Slow Glow

Sometimes people ask me if I'm in the Slow Food movement because the main blog site I put on my business cards is

Well, yes and no, that's the answer.

Yes, in the sense that slow Sonoma started as my campaign slogan when I ran for City Council 2 years ago. This town, this small and wonderful and very asleep to the inner life town of Sonoma, is full of people who imagine they are living a life that is high quality. A big campaign issue is always Quality of Life. With caps.

And then, people rush around through their lives as if they have to get so much done that there is no time to stop and smell the roses, no time to stop and look at the sky, no time to walk down the block and see who's home and how their neighbor's gardens are doing, no time even to cultivate their own gardens, instead leaving the job to some mow and blow and go guys ( the lawn janitors, I call them.)

So my campaign was: slow down. Build less houses. Drive slower, slow down the speed limit. Walk and bicycle more, slow down the rushing around. Turn off the televisions and talk to each other and your family.

Slow down and know this great wonderful truth: this is our life, right now, and only right now.

All else is a dream.

And so food, slow down when you are preparing a meal, slow down while you are eating a meal, talk to the others, look at them, look at the food, be quiet and taste more deeply, take a breath between bites, stretch out the meal and the companionship.

And how do I differ? Eating raw food, the cooking isn't slow, because it isn't. A salad can be easily and sweetly made, a dressing smoothie can be easily made, food can be fresh and natural. Fruit as fruit is heaven, no need to ruin it in a pie. Go for the real thing.

Slow down and touch and taste the food. If you want to cook, cook as little as possible and slowly and with love. If you don't want to cook, savor the richness and the flavors and all those enzymes and the sun kissed water in your food.

Life is good. Food is good. Now is good.


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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Work of Byron Katie and the work of Moshe Feldenkrais

In the Work of Byron Katie, which we'll call BK work for now, you take your habit of suffering and apply the mind to undo the suffering that the mind is creating for itself.

In the Work of Wake Up Feldenkrais and the Feldenkrais Method we take our habits of constricting and disabling our abilities to move with ease and grace and we find options, that allow the brain to come to easier and more pleasant and efficient (which means less effort) ways of moving.

In the Gurdjieff work, Gurdjieff says the function of the intellectual center is to compare.

For anyone who's had rough times in life and looked at themselves a bit, it has become obvious that the comparing game is at the root of much if not all suffering: wanting to have as much money or sex appeal or youth or fame as so and so, wanting someone to not treat us this way but some other way, demanding that reality not be this but that.

In Feldenkrais, we use this ability of the mind to compare and click that in to learn: how does the right side compare to the left? How does it feel and work when we turn our head to the left and shoulder to the left, vs. how it feels and works when we turn our head to the left and our shoulders to the right. We compare our sensation and image of ourselves throughout a lesson. Each time we notice differences, we have given our brains and our Selves food to learn new and easier and more pleasant ways of being and moving and breathing and learning.

And the Katie work, as I've laid out many a time:

Judge your neighbor.
Write it down.
Ask four questions.
Turn it around.

So already, we are taking our suffering and doing something with it. We are judging and not hiding from our judging. We are writing down and slowing the mind to the actual accusatory words. We are asking four questions. We are turning it around.

And the four questions?
1) Is this thought true?

2) Can I absolutely know that this thought is true?

3) How do I react when I believe this thought is true? Or, how do I react when I attach to believing this thought is true?

4) Who would I be without attaching to believing this thought is true? .

Notice, that like Feldenkrais there is no: This is the Right Way vs. this is the Wrong way. It's comparing and discovering that set us free.

In the BK work, first two questions get us to compare our thought as if we considered it set in stone reality and if we realize it might or might not be true, i.e. that it is a belief arising in our mind, not in reality. If we believe gravity will pull a rock toward earth, we are in pretty safe grounds. But if we believe our spouse should be more friendly to us, this is a construct from our own (very human) mind, wanting a more pleasant world.

So the first two questions begin to undermine the Righteous certainty that is always part of our suffering. Is it true? Can I absolutely know it's true? These allow us to separate the thought out from the world, separate the world as we want it to be, from the world as it is.

And the third question, this is our brain on the belief. (Recall the TV commercial, years ago when I watched TV: this is your brain on drugs, this is your brain off drugs. Similarly, question three and four are: this is your brain /mind/self on the belief. This is your brain off.). We write a list of all the consequences of believing say, that so and so should like us more. Say: we feel sad and angry and hurt and weak and like attacking them, or ignoring them, or gossiping about them. This is how we are when we attach to the thought.

And then question four: who would we be without the thought? Again, no rule to give up the thought, just to try it out, what are we like without the belief, the attachment to the thought?

Thus our mind can compare and without forcing and effort, just like in a Feldenkrais lesson, the system naturally picks the more easy and less stressful pathway.

And to give ourselves a full upside down option, we do the turn around. Girlfriend should listen to me more, turns around to , I should listen to girlfriend more. Husband should be more considerate of me, turns around to I should be more considerate of husband.

What can we learn from that?

And how many Feldie lessons blossom when we do a movement in a way totally contradictory to the "natural" way? Moving head to the right and eyes to the left, we give the brain a chance to discover something, to rewire, to learn, and suddenly: our neck is softer and easier. We didn't "try" to soften our neck.

So, we don't "try" to be nicer to others in the BK work, but we begin to get way free when we realize: Hey, I'm thinking so and so should lay off the criticism and I'm criticizing them right and left, what's wrong with this picture.

So freedom by taking habits and running them through variations and options and new ways of feeling and seeing and understanding the world. What nice paths these two offer us.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Porpoise of Life


The days come along, the sun comes up, and we are alive one more day. What to do? How to live?

Obviously, we are things to do, jobs to go to, families to raise, friends to see, and then: what is it all about?

Well: the short version: being good to the Earth and ourselves and others. And at this point in history: beginning to clean up the mess humanity has made and pull the species back from its almost blind lunge to extinguish itself.

This seems like a daunting job, and it is, and that's a part of the Really Big Job: to be happy and self loving and other people loving and to save the Earth. Which is a misstatement, really, the Earth will be fine if we humans wipe out ourselves and many of the living species, it will survive and evolution will create something new again, hopefully a little more heart and nature smart (as opposed to brain smart) than we are.

The Earth will survive, so what we really mean when we say Save the Earth, is to bring the balance with nature back to a livable point where we don't wipe out the human experiment.

So, here we are. Life is short, or long, and we have the challenge: to wake up to this glorious moment.

To be happy.

To be good to ourselves.

To be good to others.

To "Save the Earth" (as a place that humans can survive and thrive).

These seem like pretty good porpoises of life.

And I guess: to have something like a sense of humor, which a statement like "porpoise of life" may or may not qualify as.

Oh, well, that's part of the good life:
to make an effort,
and if it fails,
take a happy breath
and move on.


(And do check out: Desk Trainer to undo neck and back and shoulder and stress stuff from being at the computer, or Life. This is one step toward happiness: less feeling bad.)

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

the Hospital and Civility and Lessons to Learn

I have two sets of comments about the hospital issue, and they relate deeply to each other.

One set goes like this: If you want a hospital on Broadway: vote for the Parcel Tax.

If you want a hospital in town: vote for the Parcel Tax.

If you want the Cirrus private hospital and medical spa: vote for the Parcel Tax.

If you want a small downsized approach: vote for the Parcel Tax.

Without the tax, the hospital can't keep operating, and all the above options are years from being up and running. They can't take place if we have no hospital that is transitioning to the new hospital, whatever it will be.

Though the temptation is to cast negative feelings about one aspect or another of the hospital's troubled and sometimes bizarre history into a negative spin about the Parcel Tax, don't. I too had my temptations and see the folly.

In short: if you want a local emergency room, vote yes on the Parcel Tax.

The Second set of comments is a refrain that many have heard from me before, and will probably hear again. The refrain is this: if we disagree with others, that's human; even disliking others can happen to the best of us; but to get personally wrapped up in dislike or anger or hatred toward another is, as the visiting folksinger John McCutcheon's father said: "Poisoning ourselves and hoping it will hurt our enemy."

What's this got to do with the hospital? I won't go into all the hospital's troubled history of variations on the theme of attacking your opponents rather than standing up for what is good and positive in your own approach, but want to highlight my disappointment with the resignation of Bob Kowal. He has done tremendous service to this community and this hospital and he seems victim to me of the ancient and regrettable practice of scape-goating, wherein primitive folk would choose a goat and send it through the village to be flayed and attacked as if it represented the sins of all the villages inhabitants.

Frustrations are normal. The attacks of the Measure C days were, to my mind, reason enough for doctors to want to leave a community so little able to restrain the wish to polarize and attack. Now Bob Kowal seems to latest victim.

I, for one, commend his service and am sorry to see him go.

And, don't let this sorry state of affairs be an excuse to do what I spoke of above: take it out on the Parcel Tax.

To learn to love one's enemy is the big human work, and one I've commended people before to study the work of Byron Katie ( she's coming to town Feb. 6, c/o our own wonderful Readers' Books.) This is the big work.

But even before we figure that one out, and we must if life is to be truly civilized, we need to see through our petty fears and confusions and get one thing right: if you want a hospital of any size, stripe, approach, or shape: Vote Yes on the Parcel Tax.

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