Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My moon, my venus

Sunny day
Cool breeze
Cloud cover
Coffee buzz
Pain in neck 
Fresh eggs
Flour tortilla
Hmm Breakfast
Up, down
All the same

That poem was inspired by the following Satori Astrology, as I begin my time (Day Two) of satisfying my Capricorn Moon's craving for emotional security against the weeks of Scotch broom's siege now present ...  "I'd like to be out and about," that's Venus talking. Woods-bound I am stalled, but appreciate 'Up, down all the same." (Thanks to the one hundred and four year old Zen nun, again.) 

"So Venus desires are based on aesthetic appeal while moon desires stem from a craving from the emotional body." Satori

Monday, April 25, 2016

When I wash my feet ...

"When I wash my feet
May all sentient beings
Attain the power of supernatural feet
With no hindrance to their practice"

Jiko's prayer in A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The influence of a good re-read toasted my dreams to a delightful state. Crisp, satisfying even without the garment of clarity: I don't maintain the details but remember how I felt. The prayer here is from Ruth Ozeki's novel A Tale for the Time Being. The Japanese school girl Nao has written a journal. The details of her summer with her Great grandmother Jiko are part of her journal. Jiko is a hundred and four year old Zen nun. Part of what young Nao learns is every experience is an opportunity for gratitude, and ceremony.

The girl writes to a stranger she knows will become an intimate friend, across time. The reader, Ruth, Ruth Ozeki, steps into the novel to become the time being to become that intimate friend.

As I re-read, and re-member how to walk again it was a gift to find the prayer above. A way to thank the writer, the Zen Nun, and the dreams that remember my name when I forget. A way to recognize I am a time being.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Live the metaphor "Stand on your own two feet"

Several years ago I found a TedX Talk featuring one of my favorite teachers, respected elder and cultural practitioner, Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele. The YouTube records Aunty Pua's presentation "Living the myth, unlocking the metaphor." If you have visited this blog before you know I refer to this presentation often, I revisit it, fold it in posts I write, and feed on the style of storytelling as I learn new things (or remember lessons not yet pa'a). 

The story Pualani retells in the YouTube presentation below has become one of the first-aid medicines I use when I am forgetful, or confused, or arrogant. The story of Pele's initiation regarding her kuleana (responsibilities) and her Uncle Lono's passing of knowledge resets my password, so to speak; I remember to remember. In my way, I create ceremony that puts me in the correct frame of mind to hear my Ancestors', and, open my heart. Ask for the lesson waiting in the wings for me. Make room for new information. Clear the way of old habits, images, beliefs. Give thanks.

Yesterday, I was applying Kanaka'ole's wisdom. But, with a slight tweak. Rather than live the myth, unlock the metaphor, I spent an hour feeling what it is to live the metaphor "Stand on your own two feet." Let me back up and give you a slight rerun to bring the experience into present time. Back in January, I was blissfully enjoying being in my boots, with my feet on the trails; a solution to the dark winters in the woods being sedentary and sullen. I was out and about and breathing deeply after what seemed such a long time. For six weeks in winter I was dressed for all manner of weather, and in the driver's seat for a drive to the walking trail with Salish Sea views to the left and right under open skies. The trails included gentle but definite hills. I relished being able to climb them with increasing comfort.

But in February I noticed old sensations in my lower legs, painful and bulging Achilles tendons. Old pain. In times past when the tendons would hurt, I simply lived with it, backed off from activity, wore a brace. When the pain and bulging persisted, I suspected there was something more to the pain. In place of 100% panic, the name of someone in our community who shared her practice of Somatics  with Pete came to me. Somatics helped him to recover his ability to walk without a deeply angled gait. What is Somatics?

Wikipedia says:
 Somatics refers to practices in the field of movement studies which emphasize internal physical perception. The term is used in movement therapy to signify an approach based on the soma, or "the body as perceived from within,"[1] and in dance as an antonym for "performative techniques," such as ballet or modern dance, which emphasize the external observation of movement by an audience. Somatic techniques may be used in bodyworkpsychotherapydance, or spiritual practices.

In my first hour-long session I became familiar with foot, fascia, and the faulty use of my feet -- a practice that was never corrected, nor recognized as erroneous. Basically, I have been pounding on my heels for decades and after all that punishment my body just wouldn't put up with it any longer. Now, those ancient pieces of me (the Achilles I was told are an ancient body part, like the ancient brain) are going through a remembering process. I waited for two months to see N. the Somatics practitioner, but the wait was just what I needed to appreciate the gift when it came.

In my first hour-long session I was:

given lessons on the many bones of the foot, leg, and connecting tissue (fascia)
became intimate with the tip of my big toe
was introduced to the fact that I was almost disconnected from 'knowing' how my toes work
was coached into awareness by a strong, and enforcing teacher
listened to a voice of power
felt my feet grow into a lifted arch
looked at how the bulge of tendon softened
learned about using the second toe (the one next to the big toe) as the center of my foot
practiced sitting with my knees, ankles and foot pointing straight ahead and over my bones

If these 'lessons' are incorrect they are my errors alone. I am writing from the memory of my first hour. My brain has not yet made the functional changes, yet. "It's not like using your left brain to learn to read words," she said. It's more like learning to use my body, my physical body, differently as I would if I was recovering from a stroke.

The keys to my first hour with Somatics:

  • subtle not forceful, 
  • slow rather than fast
  • don't 'try hard'
  • Beginner's mind

To stand on my own two feet there is one other piece necessary. Footwear. Actually, barefoot would be ideal. Since it's a warm summer here in the Pacific Northwest I go to the muliwai, the beautiful estuary connected beach not far from our home in the woods. I walk barefoot in the sand for fun and for the exercise. A friend and I meet once a week for girl time and beach time. Fun!

But, when my feet need to be covered the issue of shoes is a puzzle. So far I have e-shopped for three pair of boots/shoes and will be returning the last two in the next few days. When you rethink how to walk, the old same-old same-old boot/shoe doesn't do it. As close to barefoot as possible is what you aim for now. 

The other issue is the toxic stew and material most boots/shoes are made of. I'm chemical sensitive. The feet are home to the nerve endings of every little system in the body. To put my feet into a toxic stew makes no sense at all. I tried though, going into temporary lapse of memory. Until my feet started to tingle: the telltale sign of toxic invasion. (I discovered that reality when I was first diagnosed with MCS, and would notice I became very weak, and it always started with my feet. Doc said, "Nerve endings in your feet." Everything collects there.)

So this is my story, and I'm sticking to it. There is more to come of course, The journey continues. And to conclude, I've attached a wonderful second YouTube for "Making Moccasins Part I" (Part II comes up if you just let it...) I may try to make my own moccasins, if all the pieces and supplies come together for the project. Or, there is this link to a shoe company that seems to be catering to healthy feet, if you can afford a $125 pair of shoes. Not an uncommon full retail price. I haven't tried a pair, so can't vouch for them. But heard through the MCS grapevine that the were the only pair of shoes that didn't need to be seriously off-gassed before use. Here's a link to Soft Star Shoes, DYO Moccasin.

I'm sure more will show up here as the metaphor lives. Thank you N. that hour shook my world, and woke me up.

Oh, one last thing. About the YouTube below. I love that the script, and the narrator clearly states, "Don't steal our ponies!" (or in Appropriation Language: if you choose to bead the tops of your moccasins don't steal the Traditional Designs, they are not yours to take. For more about appropriating another people's culture read "Destiny: another visit to The Wing Luke.)

Any experience with learning to stand on your own two feet?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


"Having resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die." - Malachy McCourt

The caption found on a photograph "Resentment Resolved" in the Street Art Archives of Jean-Jacques Montagnier. Thank you Jean-Jacques it was fun to visit your site. It has been a long time, and it enlivened me to see you continue to live your philosophy, Travelosophy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A pattern worthy of attention

As seen from the N. Hemisphere, the 5 planets arc across the southern sky, shortly before dawn.The last time we saw all five visible planets together was from about December 15, 2004, to January 15, 2005, over a decade ago.
The 5 planets can be seen from around the world. Their orientation to the horizon is different from one part of Earth to another. Denis Crute in Australia caught the 5 planets and the moon from the Southern Hemisphere on February 2, 2016.  Earthsky.org

Spring in the Pacific Northwest has brought a jumbo serving of pollen, Everyone is talking about the high pollen count, and I shift my daily travel plan to accommodate the yearly Scotch Broom in all their ramparts. They do become a wall of bright yellow that is a pollen sufferer's thang to deal with.

We also have the first week of warm to hot weather here, and we put in my tiny time garden yesterday.
Lettuce, chard and cabbage starts. A ring of oyster shells sprinkled around my Pele-influenced garden shape. The caldera of shells is meant to make it difficult for the Slug Nation should they sniff the scent of juicy greens. My two wooden kitties are there to play, and give me a smile when I need one.

 In the orchard, the English Daisies and Dandelions are flourishing. Each morning I ask permission for a few of the bright green Dandelion leaves, and munch them after washing them of all the golden pollen. We put some of the leaves into our blended green drinks yesterday, for a bit of bitters. Then, I collect a few of the sunshine Dandelions, asking first, and left at least half. After a good wash-off, the flowers are going into a canning jar filled with organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Left to mellow and age the rich brew can be sipped by the tablespoon in a glass of water, or drizzled over vegetables. I remembered the apple cider vinegar 'diet' being the first one I ever tried when I was chubbette-size, and a pre-teen. My Ma found the idea in an old book. I helped me at the time ... the thought hadn't come to me in a very very long time.

From my vantage point as a time being the sky chart allows me to see the bright lights, the planets, if I am awake once the sun has set and the sky is clear. Through the incredible Tall Ones Nation, the nation of White Pine, Doug Fir, Hemlock and Cedar I have seen the planets. But, since there is no place from our wooded place to see a horizon's worth of sky at one time, I see at most two or three planets at once. Some things must be left to the Akuas, to faith, to Mystery. Simply believing, because it just might be.

I am re-reading Ruth Ozeki's novel A Tale for the Time Being. I thought to reread the book because she included footnotes. Footnotes aren't usual for a novel, but, the practice came up when a friend and I were emailing about our latest writing projects. We're both in the process of hybriding; evolving the kind of writing we do. I'm not quite sure how my writing will evolve, yet, but re-reading A Tale for the Time Being was one of those messages that clearly was meant for me. Somehow, the many entries and post here on Makua o'o and the dozen medicine stories is part of a search party, a magnetizing pattern that is aching for a 'next'. I'm enjoying the unfolding, less anxious about what, and more interested that it does.

Ozeki's mythical ride of a story came in hardback form. I reserved it a week ago. I love libraries! It was already hot when I got into town yesterday and climbed the stairs to the library door. 'Thrilled' fits as a word, when I saw the paper reserve slip with my name on it. Ozeki's is the only new book in my stack. This time through I began by starting at the back, in old-style Japanese protocol. Let me backup just a tad. I did open the front of the book just to confirm the footnotes. Part I, page one. Three footnotes. Ruth Ozeki, writer, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist Priest begins the novel this way:

An ancient buddha once said;

For the time being, standing on the tallest mountain top,
For the time being, moving on the deepest ocean floor,
For the time being, a demon with three heads and eight arms,
For the time being, the golden sisteen-foot body of a buddha,
For the time being, a monk's staff or a master's fly-swatter, 1
For the time being, a pillar oor a Lantern,
For the time being, any Dick or Jane, 2
For the time being, the entire earth and the boundless sky.

--Dogen Zenji, "For the Time Being"3

Three footnotes! The bonus though did come from my inclination to read from the back. There I discovered (or forgot after two years) the Appendices. There the writer, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist Priest includes signals and sightings to appease the quantum physicist in a humble reader, or potential hybrid-writer looking for a layered platform from which to leap. I, the reader/writer was tickled silly with what Ozeki left.

Thanks to the technology of the computer, I find out about the 5 Planet Alignment that has been happening since January -- Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter. Then, I discover that this alignment hasn't happened since Pete and I left Kuliou'ou Valley on O'ahu to move to Hilo (2004-2005). How fitting to be celebrating our sixth year here on this Salish Sea Island, where an orchard of Dandelions flourishes without fear of being sprayed with Roundup. Instead, the lion-heart power-packed plant is honored, asked, and included in our food choices. Now that is a theme and a pattern worthy tracing.

Add to these two celestial kilo (observations) the 5-planet retrograde about to happen later this month and I see a growing pattern worthy of attention. Just what have I been doing with the trillions of moments in my life, as a time being? How have I lived my gifts, my kuleana my Hawaiian ancestors would say. How have I been responsible with these gifts, or these curses?

When we left Kuli'ou'ou in 2004, the influence of chemicals, those same ones that people use to kill dandelions, had created the final shove to my decision to sell the homeplace. Hard decision. Harsh decision. One of those curse, or gift things Elsa wrote about.

If I'm reading the sky properly, this retrograde period where Mercury, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto appear in the sky as going backwards may be a great time to use the slowing down to re-read my life. Maybe it's a time to pay attention to the footnotes, the small and potent explanations, the details left unnoticed or forgotten. Or, maybe the simple Japanese protocol of reading from the back to the front will be a practice in editing my style, and uncovering grace and hope (Jupiter) in unexpected places.

The retrograde period is not forever, it ends in late May when Jupiter goes direct. In the mean time I have a garden going, and a fence line that will serve as trellises for Long Beans and Straight Eight Cucumbers. I have the whole of the novel A Tale for the Time Being to savor, re-reading with a different eye and an open-heart influenced by the Dandelions, and will let those footnotes have their way with me.

Are we a species who seek patterns in our life? Do you?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Be the app(lication)

Shortened form of 'application.' Popularized by Apple Computers Inc. with the introduction of the iPhone
An edited definition from Urban Dictionary 
My friend shared a link on FB this morning, thanks jt. This link introduced me to the 105 year old Aboriginal artist, Loongkoonan. The article on Jumble Joy by Regina Young states,

"The esteemed artist took up the art of painting in her 90’s as way to keep busy. Her art is inspired by her Aboriginal upbringing on a ranch, and the many years she spent exploring her country on foot."
The art is beautiful, inspiring, and trail blazing. With each dot of her paint brush Loongkoonan takes me on her walkabout. The process is not immediate. The journey is her song lines. I am a visitor as I view her song, her lines, her story; and I am at the same time reminded to keep exploring my country on foot. Loongkoonan's creativity inspires me, reminds me to be the app. Her art is one based on living it, and like my ancestors of the tatau, I remember to "Research my roots, and water my own tree."
Image Source: Mashable 

This is a short and sweet bit of posting, as my body takes time for rest as the whole of me goes through deep internal work. My friend Donna Cunningham described what Pluto crossing the ASC in your life means; it's what's going on for me. With her permission I leave it here, in case any of you, dear readers, are going through the same experience. Thank you, Donna.

 "A transit through the 12th is an underground process of self development, then as the transiting planet crosses the Ascendant into the 1st, you're ready to show it to the world" 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Beach Magic

A very short picture story filled with medicine
Yvonne Mokihana Calizar

I was in need of a vacation yesterday. Some very very VERY big adult stuff had passed through the dreams, and out into the PrecessionThe New Moon in gogogo Aries was defining my mood, offering up, 'Boring' as a description. I felt the irritation, the tightened skin ness the itching feet ness. I shouted to him "I need a vacation." He tried to soothe her, "Your life is a vacation!" 

Explanation wouldn't help, I knew that. When he went out to play in the dirt, I went back to sleep, woke at near noon, and started my day over. I took myself to the water's edge, and later -- while truly 'on vacation' -- me and the little one had a time like this ...

The picture tucks into the cold steel beam, silent as the night, trying to be quiet. But, of course, some nights are meant for magical journeys, vacation time with all the right pay a yearning to be where the child can really play.

 A bit of sand came home with her, evidence. Out from the clam shells they sprinkled onto the stilled beach. "Remember your roots!" the glittery grains could not contain their jolliness.
 The girl in the photograph had come to play and that was the pleasure of Beach-ness maximized. 

The Others crept closer, wondering how they could join in the silliness. Story messages imagined the path, considered how to become part of both sides of the world. How to slip through the slot between definitions, between time and solidness?
"Ah, clever Beach Stones! Your secret is safe with us. We will return again and again to play at all ages, all stages." Until next time. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Uranus: The other way around

Uranus sextile Uranus: The other way aroundBeginning of July 2016 until beginning of March 2018: Now, at the age of around seventy, you experience a time when you can gain great insights into your relationship with the larger world, but the emphasis is different. Instead of learning about the outside world and your place in it, you are likely to focus on what you have got from your life. You will reflect on your encounter with the outside world and what your personal values mean in it. Throughout much of your life you may have been so concerned with making your business, professional and social life work out as you wanted that you haven't paid enough attention to your inner life and needs. Insights gained at this time will cause you to reevaluate your goals and give your personal needs a higher priority. You are no longer bound by the obligations that prevented you from doing this before. Now you are free to explore your own inner world and come to a better understanding of who you are and how your life has fitted your needs. - Robert Hand 'Short Report' Astrodienst

More Freddie Aquilar to regroove, tattoo Anak ...

anak • tagalog
  • child, son/daughter, offspring ipanganak (ipang-)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Pinoy Friday!

Where was I when Freddie Aquilar first recorded ANAK? Where were you? I love this. I have a lot of catching up to do.