Our George is sick. Today I made an appointment with the Vet after putting it off for a month hoping he would get over whatever is ailing him on his own. My fear is that he has feline leukemia. It is treatable if caught early enough but the thought of another major expense has caused us to try denial as our first option. I know PQ regards pets as an unnecessary luxury so I haven’t said much about it. This morning he asked me to go ahead and call the vet. He also misses George being his friendly high spirited, curious quirky self.
It has really been a remarkable year for things going wrong. I won’t say everything has gone wrong that can go wrong because I’m disturbingly aware more could go wrong and that we are vulnerable and fragile beings in a big world always a heartbeat away from being obliterated like a mouse in an elephant’s cage. Thus, I’m sending my imagination elsewhere. I certainly don’t want to manifest any more crises. I used to smash bugs without a thought. I’m more aware these days of our kinship with everything small, vulnerable and alive.
Time has been moving as slow as an hour hand, while life is running too fast to catch. The hardest part is having little control over our lifestyle. Yesterday was a good example of crazy busy starting with delivering the grand kids to their three different schools followed by a call from the eye clinic rescheduling an eye appointment for PQ to "as soon as you can get here". It seems the eye doctor had to leave early due to a family emergency. Then a call came from the oldest grand daughter saying they had to be picked up at noon for Pueblo religious reasons associated with this time of year. I'm not allowed to share any details which is one of many contrasts between the doings of the outside modern world and Pueblo traditions, one of the unique aspects of living in Taos.
A few days ago, I found myself blessed with a free day for cleaning house. After a winter of mud, wind and many feet moving in and out, both two legged and four legged, it raised my spirits at last to seize the opportunity. At present, any control over life is delicious and empowering.
Along with distractions and tired evenings when I have time to answer emails and pay bills, I’ve made some mistakes that are not easy to live with. I accidentally paid the Water and Sewage bill the amount of our mortgage and when I discovered the error, it was too late to cancel. Even a frantic visit to the utility company didn’t help since they are as unprepared for such mistakes as I am, and so we had some overdraft charges at the bank but our utilities are payed ahead for the next four months and we have little to live on for the rest of this month. A trickster spirit has been stalking me for some time. Maybe I’m supposed to quit trying so hard to cope and just let whatever happens happen. I accept that Life is uncertain but I’d love to eat desert first to paraphrase a famous Groucho Marks saying.
Here is a quote from Lao Tzu that is remarkably apropos. However, it’s discouraging to realize so little has advanced since he wrote it over 2,000 years ago:
Would you like to save the world from the degradation and destruction it seems destined for? Then step away from shallow mass movements and quietly go unto work on your own self-awareness. If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation."
After my recent glitch with online bill payment, (I began using this option when we lived in Arizona) I am more sensitive to the true impact of technology in our lives. I believe the propaganda about how technology makes our lives easier disguises a trap. Is life really easier, safer and more efficient, while wondering through the electronic jungle than it was in the ancestral days in a green jungle? Could it be that the hoopla about how technology makes life better and all of us more intelligent is only marketing, and has marketing become the meaning of life? It seems that there are some very clever predators out there disguised as service providers. Once the system has you hooked, it runs your life and you must step in time to it's demands. It has no mercy.
Taos is one of the more primitive locations in the United States and yet, the electronic jungle despite its wide-open spaces and semi-arid landscape taints it. Physical remoteness is no longer a protection from this takeover. Even money is about moving electronic data from one database to another. PQ doesn’t feel the reality of money unless it is in his pocket. Although he spends a lot of time in front of the TV, he gets confused when the TV behaves like the computer it is. One generation from the takeover and it may be as incomprehensible as flying machines to the South Sea islanders who made a cult out of alien aircraft during World War II.
PQ’s grandchildren and their dad walk through the door and immediately there are three tablets, two laptops, four smart phones and a TV sucking up bandwidth, and for the rest of the day or evening our house is a cyber café. Except for the occasional sit down meal, there is no person-to-person contact until they say goodbye and are out the door. Frequently I’m watching what PQ is watching or writing on this computer. Alas, I am one of the addicts. However, I am old enough to remember how it used to be and am a product of an earlier time. I like to believe that I’m not totally mesmerized. I have returned to writing on a paper journal to record dreams and insights with morning coffee. There is something about physically holding a pen and paper that is both stimulating and relaxing. I like to write in the margins of my books and holding a physical book and pencil is far more satisfying.
Long ago and far away, I once went to libraries and bookstores. I carefully selected each book by intuition as much as information and if it was pre-owned, and had a mysterious past, even better. Feeding the senses with the smell and texture was important. Each book had the ability to change my life and open a door to a new reality. The same was true for traveling. I didn’t travel very much, but when I did, it was a feast of ambrosia from the gods, a magical lifechanging soul food.
The constant bombardment of noise, color, movement and information creates over stimulation and then numbness. Finally, there is sensory indigestion and then paradoxically sensory malnutrition.