Exploring the Human Condition: altered states of consciousness

Archive for April, 2012

Ginger Cats and Witches

There’s always a fine line, and people will always show it to you, dare you try to cross it.  But I think that line must totally depend on perspective, as in which pair of glasses you happen to be looking through at the time.

When I was just a very small child, movies that came on television were a very big deal!  Not silent movies, okay?  But nothing even close to Resident Evil or Ice Cube’s Friday Night.  I’m talking about the early 1960’s.

When you’re little, you don’t understand the many complexities of human emotion, you just know what you know.  But the first time something moves you, the first time something brand new gets the little wheels upstairs turning, I believe it is life-changing, whether you realize it later or not.

“Thomasina,” who was indeed a real cat, and a beautiful lady with flaxen red hair, take the lead, and the village folk called her a witch, so of course all the children did too.

She lived in a cabin tucked far away in the woods, at the back of a beautiful meadow, where one entire long room of her home was filled with boxes and cages, and there was a table with her supplies.  This “witch” had herbs hanging from string all around, interesting bottles and brews, which she used to minister to the wounded, sick and displaced animals of the forest.  There were numerous wild critters all hanging around, squawking and making a racket.

One day when she was out in the meadow, gathering wildflowers and other plants if you will, she happened across a stone pillar of sorts, the top of which was covered by a small piece of blanket.  As she lifted up the blanket to look inside, there lay a beautiful ginger cat, presumed to be dead, and thusly laid to her final rest.

She reaches in, to check, of course, and sure enough, the animal was not dead at all.  She was breathing.  So the beautiful young lady (crazy old hermit of a witch) retrieved the poor feline into her basket and away to the house they did flee.

Well, as kids will do, these adorable red-haired children returned to the scene of the crime… (who knows what they were doing) but they find that poor Thomasina has gone missing and they are confounded.  Shocked.

This was so many years ago, and without watching it again, they somehow happened upon the witch’s cabin and saw her in the infirmary, sleeves rolled up, sweat on her brow, tending some unfortunate bird’s wing.  Being a witch of course, she knew they were there, and the short version is that the children finally got to meet the hideous vile creature of a witch, that lived alone like a hermit in the meadow, in a cabin with only candles, and pitchers with bowls to clean in.  And surprise! They liked her very much.  Especially when she revealed the slowly improving Thomasina, to their bright and shining eyes.

At some point in the movie, the repugnant witch was no longer, and in her place stood the authentic and true image of a pleasant and kind young woman, who took care of herself and any and every animal that might end up on her doorstep.

We may never know why the lovely and skilled Mistress of the Meadow chose to live by herself, far from the prying eyes of the staunch conservatives in the village.  But I think it is pretty clear.  She was a free spirit, of generous heart, who lived life on her terms, regardless of harsh scrutiny and condemnation.

Right then, and right there, I related to this person, and everything about her obsessed me and guided my tiny little brain.  Not my mother, nor my father, but a character in a Disney movie, showed me what love is and could be.  For the first time I saw persecution and prejudice, and the harm it can do.  But I also saw a woman, alone, simply retreat back to her cabin, with not so much as a “bite me” towards the old women of the village who would seek to cause her harm.

Of course, this also being my very first “romantic” film, the story ends with the pretty girl falling in love with the children’s father and totally transforming the guy from a sad and unreachable parent, to a calm and very happy fellow, if memory does serve me right.

So, back to that fine line.  We all need companionship, no doubt about it.  I would even venture to say that even the most vindictive of women probably has some old man stationed at her table, throwing down the days’ offering of porridge and artisan bread.  And if we are lucky enough to find a partner in this life, I would say “enjoy it while you can.”  Because that’s about how life can go, “one minute you’re here… ” and well, you know….

I am often paused to study people, and sometimes I too wish I had the “social” gene.  I love to visit, especially with older folks, and very young children.  But put me in a room with “normal” adults, and I will sink into the background, and find some unsuspecting feline, and give her the attention of her life.  And this exact thing has happened too many times for me to count, sadly…

I used to think it was such a very sad state of affairs I was in.  No children, no husband, (he left when he hit the mid-life re-evaluation thingy)…  yet luckily, there was one thing that fired up my passion and motivation, and that was to take care of the pets and myself, and to reclaim and secure the “Deed” to my property.  To make money, I could type and I could clean.

Today, there’s an old funky witch, that lives at the back of 4 tree-covered acres, and she is surrounded by nosey neighbors and nare do wells, not even a hint of a wave at the mailbox, no fruitcakes at Christmas.  I’ve taken in many sad little orphans, left sitting by my gate.  I’ve made some mistakes with them along the way, but by and large, my efforts and good intentions brought love and happiness into my life, and theirs, and my little farm transformed with the years, into an amazing and safe sanctuary, despite the obstacles, which in many cases, felt almost crippling.

I think most people respect the line.  And they usually stay on their side of it.  But me, I like to cross the line, any time I get the opportunity.  Shake things up, a “boat-rocker.”  During my struggle to survive, I am sure I upset many a pinched-mouth inflexible elder, but it’s not those people I really want to think about.  I like to think about the nice people, who didn’t make fun of me, the ones that didn’t see divorce and turn away.  I am devoted to the few that remained available to me and gave me time when I needed it.

So the happy ending here is obvious.  Maybe the moral of the story is, follow your own dreams, never give up, or, don’t let your unsupervised neglected children watch weird movies.  They just don’t make ’em like they used to!

Tragedy and Hope for Change

Today I found a young man, that goes way beyond what is required, and he does it with such sensitivity and understanding, I believe he has changed my life, today.

He has a first name I have never heard before.  Eldad.  He handles crisis and danger like the total calm professional that he is.  I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, some that will haunt me deeply till the day I die.  But today I saw even more than I bargained for.

Of course, Eldad is the hero in this story.  He rescues innocent, unwanted, abandoned, abused, neglected pets, from the streets of a savage city to places hours of driving away.  Whenever he gets the call, he comes.

But beyond Eldad, today I witnessed the rescue of a battered and abused pit bull dog, almost beyond recognition for all his wounds and injuries, most obvious and savage, the ones to his precious face.  In all my days on this Earth, I will never forget his eyes.  They were so big, and shiny, so compelling, and so so scared.  Even as the vet caressed him tenderly, as he sat on her table, your heart cried out for him, at least mine did.  His face was so sad, a huge part of his nose was missing, his mouth was swollen and destroyed, he had lacerations and broken bones.  But he only whimpered and cried out once, as they examined him, trying their best to know what to do.

This was a big heavy dog.  They said he had been fighting for his life during a session that must have lasted for hours.  Clearly he lost.  He was thrown away like yesterday’s garbage.  But he was still alive, still holding on, still an innocent and helpless animal.

I’m not a real intuitive, and I’m certainly no psychic.  I left that business up to my predecessors.  But I believe that some people are so lost themselves, they can’t be helped.  I’ve read that when we pass, our spirit takes a journey, of reflection, and then we possibly await another chance. A chance to try again, to improve things, to get it right.  But some people tell us that there are dark spirits right here on Earth, people that will not transcend into spirit.  They have reached such a dark and indescribable place, that there is no coming back for them.  The very thought of this sickens me and puts a big knot in my chest.  It is why I don’t open any doors that can’t be shut.  I have no time, nor any need of such battles.

My time is now, in real time, here on this amazing and beautiful planet.  I too have fallen victim to the prejudice and misunderstanding that prevails whenever you mention pit bulls.

I made a terrible mistake I will always regret.  I rescued a 5 week old puppy from a busy country road in the rain on a Christmas Eve night.  He was almost incoherent, and stayed that way for almost an entire week.  I don’t know how he ended up there.  I know he was starving, covered in fleas, too young to see well.  He was exhausted from this traumatic beginning.  Of course, I had pets at home already.

The mistake wasn’t that I rescued Henri, it was that I didn’t know what it would take to raise him properly.  You see, Henri turned out to be some unknown mix of a pit bull.  He required intense socialization and training I was just not qualified nor able to give him.  Love him, oh yes.  I totally bonded with Henri in every way.  But it didn’t stop him one day when he was two years old, from escaping through an accidently open gate, and he bit my neighbor lady on her calf as she was getting her mail.  Henri bit her hard.  It was a severe wound.  I was at her side in a moment, and my roommate recovered Henri before any more damage could occur.

My neighbor will never forgive me.  All I ever wanted was a nice neighbor that I could have coffee with, a friend, and to be a good neighbor back.  But now that this has happened, and it’s been almost three years since, she has done everything in her power to run me off my land and my home.  She’s called every Health Dept. in the county out here, and she’s sued me in court.

Yes, I had the dog, and I take full responsibility for what happened.  I live this nightmare everyday, and this woman makes it clear, every single solitary day, how much she despises me.  She hurts my heart, perhaps more than I think I deserve, but the real hurt lies in my final unchangeable mistake.

I let the County Animal lady come out the next morning and take my Henri.  That whole night I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t face Henri.  I couldn’t even look at him.  He came inside and went to sleep on his ottoman, just like always, and my roommate told me that Henri wouldn’t eat, and wouldn’t move from that ottoman.  When the County woman came at the crack of dawn that next morning, he carried Henri out to the truck and placed him in the cage, and she took him away.  I couldn’t move, I couldn’t look, I think I was in emotional shock.  And I’m usually a pretty tough cookie.

People and animals can get along just fine, but pets and their owners don’t always make that indelible connection, that undeniable bond that just happens sometimes.  But when it does, you definitely know it.  I understood Henri, insofar as we loved him at home.  What made him attack the neighbor was my lack of understanding, my laziness, my complacencey.  I was in complete denial about Henri and what he was capable of.  Perhaps I deserve all the grief now.

Henri was killed at the shelter.  Before he could live out his beautiful life, they took it from him.  This poor guy never stood a chance.  Even with the best of  my love, care and attention, his fate must have been sealed.

Today I read where this rapper guy named Chris Brown has put up multiple pit bull puppies on a website for sale, and as much as ABC and the world tries to stop him, there will be people that will no doubt purchase these innocent creatures to fight, as they were so obviously bred for.  His website is almost like a taunt to the world, that he can do this and get away with it.  Like I said, I’m no spiritual intuitive, but this guy is one of the dark ones, the type I try so hard to avoid in my life.

So what did I do, I put this crime all over my facebook, I emailed him and really gave him the business.  I told him he should be in prison for a long long time, that dog fighting is a Crime!  And I’m not scared one bit and I’m not sorry.  I would go to battle in an instant with this person, and any other that would exploit innocent little animals, for personal profit only.  Maybe in his “culture,” if you could even call it that, this sort of activity is accepted.  Maybe he thinks he’s really cool.  It makes me madder than hell, it makes me cry real tears, and I commit to help people like Eldad out on the West Coast, and his Hope for Paws Organization, with every extra tiny cent I can scrape up after all mine are taken care of.

I don’t know who’s right here.  People against pit bull dogs, people who think they should be banned in every state, or people like Tia Maria Torres, who has devoted her life to giving second chances, for this unfortunate breed of dog, and for grown men who make terrible mistakes, and end up in prison.  I know for sure that breeding these dogs for whatever reason has to stop.  We need to take care of the ones dying a slow death in the shelters, only to greet death head-on in a needle.

I’ll end this story with a couple of pictures, so you can see what I saw, and a final framed mental image of my memory of this precious innocent dog, the one I keep near and dear to my heart whenever I think of Henri and the amazing bright spirit that he was.

One day I looked out in the driveway to see where he was and what he was doing, and there he was, with a little ball in his mouth, throwing it high into the air, dancing around and prancing through the air, playing alone, being happy beyond reason, with bright shiny smiling eyes, mouth wide open, his tongue to the side, the most innocent creature I have ever known.  Henri died for my failings, and I guess for an accident bound to happen eventually.  Maybe you can tell me.

I don’t know why we humans fail at so many things, we cause so much pain and suffering, all over this world.  But I for one, will pick myself up, hold up my head again, and walk bravely down my driveway while the neighbor does her worst, and I will fight to understand the problems, I will write however it comes out, because truth and naked emotion may be the only way we learn, the only way we can change.

Just Another Puppy...

I dedicate this post to the poor pit bull in the video that had his face so badly chewed up that no amount of vet skills could save him, and to my Henri.   I only pray he can forgive me, my mistake.

House of Sticks

She was totally unexpected.  At the end of my rope, functioning on my last frayed nerve, I went to a depression site for support.  My first real experience with public blogging, my first experience with on-line friendships with strangers.

Was I lucky, open to most anything?  Yes.

Before I met Bea, I had a very limited view of Central Asian people.  I found out that speaking English is not at all uncommon.  That actually, many people in the urban areas live very similar lives as we do.  Despite their traditional religious views, they have many common concerns as we do, they like many of the things Americans like, they are just not so different.

She’s just a girl of course, just turned 21.  She lives in a very nice, very large home with her parents and brother.  She is independent, very educated, works in a bank now, and I have learned so much from knowing her, that I never would have known otherwise.  Their house is made of concrete and stone.  Her mosque is just feet from her front doorstep.  She prays several times daily, down to the floor each time, but she watches modern shows and films regularly, and she is generous beyond imagination.  She is also hip, cute, fun, very interesting, honest, humorous, kind, and she has grown up very very fast.

Her mother said she likes our “wood” houses.  Houses made of sticks.  I’ve heard that phrase before connected with framing – stick houses.  Despite our huge age difference, I am never less than surprised and delighted at her insights, her ideas, her art creations and her ability to sift through the bs and move forward.  She is very fortunate to be born into such a good family, generally speaking in her country.  But most of the time, she transcends her good fortune as a true and authentic individiual, worthy of great respect.  I try my best to give her that, I hope she never leaves me, and I count myself extremely lucky to have known this incredible woman-child.

So the next time you think in stereotypes from the media when it comes to other nations across the oceans, don’t.  I find that most people are remarkably intelligent, refined and evolved.  She is always open to my suggestions and advice, and will also tell me when it is inappropriate!  haha

I love my sweet Bea to death, and I will probably never ever even get to see her in person.  I won’t get to go to her wedding most likely, if she has one (not all Muslim girls are forced to marry their cousin), and I will most likely never hold her babies.  But I will “stick” it out, because that’s just how I roll…  If the internet and pictures are all we have, that will have to be enough.

The next time you feel down or blue, trust in yourself and the powers of intention and the Universe.  Go ahead and have an unplanned adventure, even if it is of the “internet” variety.  Trust in your ability to find a good path in everything, because they are out there, just waiting for you to make the journey to find them.  Peace world, good night, and God bless all the children of the Earth, every kind and color.  They are my children; they are your children.  There is no way that little Bea would be the person she is, were it not for her amazing parents and family, who have supported her, encouraged her, and taught her the correct lessons in life.  Like what is important, what is good and what is right.  I know all this because I have talked with her almost daily now for over a year, we have shared many difficult days in the life, even sad, scary and overwhelming days, and I never would have guessed in a million years that day I was feeling so depressed, that a young lady from a very foreign country, would be the reason I strive so hard to be a better person now.  🙂

Calamity Jane and her Buckaroo Beads

There is an old story from Texas about a cowboy who so loved a woman, that when he was out on the range, he was compelled to stop at times.  He would feel like a common school boy and laugh in his own embarrassment, as he thought of his girl and yearned to be with her.  He would reach out and touch the edge of shining rocks, which caught his eye, like the real gold he wished he could give her.

Sometimes, this cowboy would grasp a pretty rock, as much to remember the place as to create a connection with his girl.  Whenever he would return, sometimes after being gone almost a month, he would reach deep into his saddle bags and bring out a pouch of collected treasures, which he would hand over happily as presents for the object of his affections.

This lucky cowgirl would place them all out on a bandana, and then hide them away like real gems.  At night, sometimes her cowboy would take one of these rocks, and work on it, file some here, rough-out certain areas, making a smooth and pleasant shape.  Later on, she would add the carved bead to her polishing pouch which was filled with little treasures and sugar sand and tiny bits of rock.  It could take a long time, but when her finished bead showed the blue of the ocean and the greens of the forest, or the orange of the desert and the violet of night sky, she would tie them to leather bracelets she always wore, along with any small and shiny trinkets her cowboy might also bring forth from some far away dusty cowtown.

Maybe she didn’t have a lot of money yet, but she carried her treasures around her neck, and around her wrists,  a reminder of her handsome buckaroo, his idea first imagined and brought to life.  Even her beloved horse had some of her cowboy’s pretty rocks woven into his bridle.  All it took was an idea and a little love…    And a woman with a whole lot of style…     🙂

It might be important to remember that it is not the object, not the material gain, that should be desired, because it represents nothing.  Whatever gift we might receive, whatever small token of our relationships, the true worth is in the thoughts and effort that the giver put forth.  Given the choice between the most beautiful diamond, and the collected rocks and charms of an ardent cowboy, I’d choose the rocks anytime.

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