We are relaxed, at peace with ourselves. All is as it should be in our projection/interpretation of the universe.
We are relaxed, at peace with ourselves. All is as it should be in our projection/interpretation of the universe.
Today, we give pause to ourselves as states of energy in motion and focus on the preconceived notion of set as self.
For many years I pondered who I am, who I was and who I was going to be/become.
Seemed difficult at times in those moments of self-reflection, self-condemnation, self-doubt.
Self-destruction ruled many a thought for years.
But we, our many iterations of self in the moment, outlived ourselves, iteration upon iteration accumulating junk in our cells, our skin losing its elasticity, our organs aging appropriately given the input and stimuli we/I subjected them to.
Which brings the currently running iteration of my self to this moment, an impossible to capture snapshot in time, the air passing into and out of our lungs, the gaseous exchange in our blood feeding all the many parts as we drink tea, turning our stomach on and slightly altering our brain processes as we attempt to meditate unencumbered by outside influences.
We (or I) continue on our (my) journey unto death, a path we once thought was taken alone but years of accumulated observations we call wisdom have taught us that nothing is alone in the universe, all of us connected to the atoms bouncing around, the wavelengths intersecting, the gamma rays and cosmic waves passing through and around us without end.
So it is I sit here now, in familiar surroundings that change imperceptibly, the same piles of abandoned art projects reflecting visible wavelengths to our optic nerves, wondering not who I am but what I will do next.
I am the set of states of energy that I am, no worries about purposes or causes or origins or endings.
I rejoice in my temporary status as a labeled being recognisable by others like me and other living beings which react to me, from the cats in the house to the mosquitoes in the backyard.
What will I do next?
Today, the choices are limited by my imagination. I will continue to build the backyard writer’s cottage (at my wife’s urging), spending some portion of the day brushing wood preservative onto pieces of pallet wood which I will use as the lower walls of the writer’s cottage, later fitting them together like jigsaw pieces into the foundation flooring up on a rock shelf in the woods.
The experience building and completing this cottage I will apply to the next building I construct in the backyard of our new home, a pallet wood garden shed, assuming all goes well and we get the house and property we’ve laid our eyes on.
Tomorrow, I meet a home inspector who I hope is as impartial as can be hoped (favouring neither the seller nor the buyer) to give my wife and me a true assessment of the house we think we’ll move into next.
Tomorrow, I will not be the person I am today or the person I will be in a few seconds.
I do not exist except as a concept but a concept that most people can readily react to as all of us are taught to react to each other as if our selves from moment to moment are continuously the same if not contiguous.
I mentally look at the rooms of our house and see the decrease in their usefulness as we accepted furniture and personal belongings of our dead relatives:
The point being that if we continued down the thought path of decluttering our current house, we’d have the room we needed, the only exception being my wife’s wish for a single-level home with parking spaces for her friends to come over and work on their handmade card projects together, many of them older and unable to easily walk up a flight of stairs to get to our front door, let alone park on the street and walk up the driveway to get to the sidewalk and flight of stairs at our house.
No matter what, I keep writing, starting many projects, finishing a few. It is the story of my life, a good story, solid, quiet, a few thrills along the way, hardly earthshaking, not globally historic, fun, relaxing and approaching the last years of my life, satisfied.
What once was a rocky knob in the landscape, too hilly for farming, a higher point on the landscape traversed by deer and other animals, (some of them hunted by thousands of years of our human presence), full of fossilised seabed, converted to suburban estate tract, with a small backyard patch of mowable grass, became an herb garden….
…then a flower garden…
…and slowly but surely returns to its forest roots…
The frogs remain the same…from 2004…
Can we tell you with these images how happy we’ve been, living the childhood dream of a full-length adult life centred on a cottage in the woods near a town full on intelligentsia?
Would you understand we’ve too often let others temporarily convince us that two people quietly living their lives for each other and no one else can’t possibly be true happiness?
On this, St. Patrick’s Day, whilst we wear a Munster rugby shirt, drink Earl Gray tea and burn a bit of peat turf, our wife at a friend’s house handcrafting note cards, we recall this day 12 years ago when we and our spouse stood on O’Connell’s Bridge in Dublin with work colleagues, snow falling, and watched the Americanised version of the Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We drank quite a bit in those days.
We don’t consume fermented beverages in the quantities we used to, giving our set of states of energy the opportunity to live and die without the poisonous effect of alcohol pickling.
In our mid-50s, we’ve survived our midlife crisis years that extended from age 39 (when we jumped out of an airplane) to age 55 (when we bought a motorcycle).
Now we settle down, childless, free of the pursuit of a reproductive mate that included seven years of dancing, drinking and sleepless nights.
We return to our core set of beliefs that include this cottage and the near celibate life of a woodland hermit monk.
We give up pleasing others, reduce the need for chameleon personality traits, disregard our adolescent contrarian ways and meditate on relaxing, no expectations, no deadlines, nothing but the pure joy of meaninglessness.
We’ve written the text we needed to form our own personal creation myths — poems, short stories, novels, skits, plays and sketches, including photographic essays (“a picture’s worth a thousand words”) — removing the need for creation myths and organised religions of others.
We wonder, other than this ongoing set of dispersed blogs, if we’ll write a fictional narrative tale that’ll take on the traditional book-length novel form.
Should we? Do we need or want to?
What if being here is all we want?
Food for thought…just in time for lunch!
Spent the morn measuring and testing the platform for the writer’s room portion of the backyard meditation space in the woods…8’x8′ the simplest base size…
Will precut and predrill the pieces after the greenhouse is finished.
Speaking of which, it looks like the greenhouse rock foundation idea will win out, which meant scraping dirt until we hit solid rock outcropping…
We want the greenhouse to be 8 feet high at the center, motivating us to build a two-foot tall foundation.
The greenhouse base will rest on 4″×4″ posts secured to the concrete footings and the rock foundation built around that.
Something like these images from the Web…
Can hardly wait to pick out and pile rocks but we must sleep, too.
But first, we pause to meditate whilst staring at the treehouse…
Forcing ourselves to say “we,” “us,” and “our” takes practice and a bit of patience.
Even so, we’re here trying to adjust to the habit of seeing the body typing these words as more than one human but rather an amalgamation of conglomerations of perturbations of possible living beings traveling together mainly on one planetary body, itself a mixed bag of rocks, liquids and such.
But we digress.
Instead, we must confess.
Whilst redesigning the backyard meditation/writer’s studio, a play space/work shop, we find ourselves in such a quandary because we can’t decide the final look and function of the base/foundation for the greenhouse.
Making a skirt of pallet wood would create an air gap between the rock ledge and the floor of the greenhouse, a small but steady influence upon the greenhouse ambient temperature within a few inches of the floor. The skirt might keep larger creatures from hiding and living beneath the greenhouse, if we want such.
Making a rock foundation all around the base of the greenhouse would prevent wood-chewing animals from munching their way under the greenhouse, and offer the same passive cooling benefits as the wood skirt.
Leaving the space beneath the greenhouse open to all creatures, regardless of classification due to size or predator/prey status, would be the cheapest solution in the short term.
We like the idea of stacking our own stone foundation, building a set of skills we don’t have.
The next week or so will show what we decided in this matter.
Using both available material (new, recycled and natural) and inspiration from others’ innovation to assemble a greenhouse kit, we want to add a bit of originality to the repertoire of backyard meditative spaces.
Years ago, we planned a backyard writer’s cottage comprised of four sections tied to four compass points:
Its shape gave tribute to our subcultural upbringing:
Back then, our construction capabilities were limited if not nonexistent.
We couldn’t find or develop the confidence to build the original design.
We have changed, grown confident, and now build what we want, giving ourselves a limited budget to force ingenuity.
The new design generalizes the meditative qualities of organised religion, removing specific symbology, wrapped up into the prefab greenhouse kit.
As for the rest, you’ll see soon enough!
In a world where members of our species rush to release the latest product into the marketplace in hopes of making a change, whether a change to their personal wealth or a change to sub/cultural practices, we sit and watch the trees slowly open new leaves, wonder about the life of a mistletoe bush growing on a tree limb high in the forest canopy, smell the little turf fire burning beside us on this cool Sunday morning.
Insects have hatched and bounce through the air in the backyard again.
Our life partner nurses a head cold brought on by seasonal allergic reactions and watches fictional love stories on the tellie.
What is meditation?
Meditation is getting out of our thoughts, out of our inner world, and existing as simply as possible in this moment, taking the phrase “at one with the universe” into unintentional practice, without agenda or purpose, letting our senses (our interface with external stimuli) exist without cultural interpretation.
Smell a new odour or fragrance whilst sitting and do not guess its source, only notice its effect on our olfactory system.
See everything taking place between us and an object in the distance, including the surface of our eyeballs, the dust floating through the air, the spider webs on the window and the insects flying through sunshine.
And when we let go of the labels, removing our interpretation of rainbow-coloured reflective lines as spider webs, we find ourselves deep in meditative trances.
= = = = =
Yesterday, after we left the house on our solo motorbike journey and stopped at the petrol station a mile from our house, ready for mindless meditation upon riding the road, our life partner called to ask if we’d check to make sure she’d unplugged the curling iron after she’d left the house for an all-day workshop of handmade notecard crafting. We topped off the petrol tank and rushed home to unplug all devices in our bathroom so we could get back on the road. Life is full of moments like this, happily giving ourselves over to our social connections and responsibilities that define partnerships.
= = = = =
Despite riding a motorcycle a few times in our lives — a minibike at age 10, our first adult-sized motorbike at age 22, a larger motorbike at age 36, and now an even larger motorbike at age 55 — we have much to learn to increase our confidence whilst riding.
Yesterday, we followed our Google Maps GPS-based directions to lead us to a mountaintop waterfall. The directions took us on some mountainside road we were most definitely uncomfortable riding on, scaring us in fact.
Riding on the outside of this road in winter, seeing the sheer dropoff to the right, no guardrail, no cover of tree leaves to hide the view, meeting a motorcar veering out into our lane in the curve ahead…well, let’s say that we burst into a sweat, despite the morning chill, keeping our throttle steady and our eyes focused straight ahead.
At the top of the mountain, we missed the sign for the waterfall and turned down the wrong road, due in large part to our nervousness. We pulled into a gravel driveway to reverse our direction and, for the first time on this motorbike, because of a momentary lapse of confidence, fell over in the loose gravel.
Slo-mo it was, like in a film, the motorbike and us keeling over as we felt the gravel give way, using our left leg to ease the motorbike down rather than fall over.
Quickly, two motorists stopped to render aid but we waved them off as we used our motorcycle safety course training to shut off the engine and lift the motorbike back into a standing position, straightening out the leftside mirror, brushing the gravel dust off our leg and getting back on the road, our pride a little scratched but none the worse for wear.
We encountered one of the motorists at the waterfall and exchanged knowing nods, no reason to say anything.
= = = = =
Although our lives are brief in relation to the age of this planet, we see the insects outside and know a few of them have only a day or so to spend in their adult stage, seeking reproductive mates before they die, contributing much to the cycle of life of this planet if they can reproduce before being eaten, their sets of states of energy recycled no matter what.
In our morning meditation, casually recalling yesterday’s long motorbike ride from 0830 to 1530, with stops for petrol, sightseeing and hiking, we gladly know that the insects which died as they splatted against our motorbike helmet windscreen contributed to our time on this planet and we thank them for their anonymous contribution.