Monday, 26 September 2016

One for All

Formed in the crucible of the Gods
Subsequently the expressed underpinning of near fathomless creation
Formless, boundless, timelessly unrelenting
Endlessly misinterpreted - though never diminished by it's denial
Equally at hand through action and inaction
Premature forgiveness lessens the unfolding of it's objective healing capacity

Before it can be wielded skillfully by the hands of humanity
Humankind, while in awe of the heavens
Must come to see the pantheon of the mighty
Reflected in their own being
Destiny orchestrated much closer to home
Outcomes not to be scapegoated on celestial overseers

Love's universal alchemy has been railroaded
Often the illusory captive of spiritual bypass and egotism
Interminable patience will carry the day
Misguided power grabs, impotent to stem its flow
Impersonal objectives will outlive the most tyrannical will
No punishment meted out - rather, course revision invitations abound

Each human's refusal to accept his/her own worth
Followed by the pain of this rejection, blamed upon another
Continually stokes the fires of conflict
Beings created in the image of Love
First deny their own divinity
Allowing for capitulation to the powers of vengeance

 Oneness denied, ushers in suffering for giver and receiver
 Largely due to collective denial of divinity
 Choose freely then, your path to the Gods
Know that God and Goddess both,
Mourn the withholding of love
Seeking an alternative - is without blessing divine.

Friday, 23 September 2016

It's a Small Thing After All!

The late author Richard Carlson entitled one of his books: "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff." I know it graced my bookshelf at some point (maybe more than once). Off the top of my head, I don't recall anything that I could directly attribute to having read that book. In fairness though, books that impact me; whether it's the entire book or a few chapters or even a single idea, are then assimilated and "the source" long forgotten. I'm guessing if I picked up his book again now - something would catch my attention. Books of this sort, are like that for me.

The title springs to mind and while I concur in general terms, that there can be, as Shakespeare said "Much Ado About Nothing;" it occurs to me that ignoring "the small things" can be the proverbial "burr in your blanket." Ironically Carlson himself received his "ticket to ride" via an embolism which despite it's catastrophic result (in terms of the paradigm of "life and "death") the "embolism" itself, is an extremely, "small thing." Now, discussions of life and death, life after death, near death experiences; is not the scope of this post. For the record I don't believe death is a "bad thing" at all and neither am I in a hurry, to "break on through."

I began to ponder "small things" when I "finally" decided to replace my phone case. As you might recall, I lost a phone approximately a couple of months or so ago (my gifts don't include "historian" so in fairly short order, I can no longer track the time frames of events). I've been told that means I have increased my capacity to be here, now. Anyway, I replaced the phone and at the same time put out the extra cash to buy a protective case. It irks me somewhat, that at the cost of these "devices" they are designed and built to be so vulnerable to damage; however they are, so it seems prudent to me to cut my losses and protect the damn phone.

I decided to "save" ten bucks and bought a competitor's case (I had used an "Otter Box- "Defender" which does offer plenty of drop protection; however not waterproof. Don't ask me why suddenly "waterproof" became desirable. In all the time I had any of my previous phones I have not yet dropped one in the water. I simply lost the phone - it wouldn't have mattered if it was wrapped in tungsten steel; someone else acquired my phone, when unbeknownst to me, it fell out of my pocket.

The newly chosen case known as "Ballistic" was ten dollars cheaper and "water-proof" (story spoiler alert: my perspective on the chosen name, is that it describes ones general emotional state, the longer they try to operate their phone through that fricken' case!)

Maybe that in itself is an indictment of my being the equivalent of an emotional/spiritual lilliputian or  maybe, just maybe, sometimes "small stuff matters."

The first "alteration" I made to my new case; after a number of frustrating calls, was I removed the plastic film, that was installed inside the case that sealed over the speaker. This of course was one of the features that made case "water-proof." The case itself was sealed with rubber gaskets. This plastic film over the speaker may well have ensured the water-tight integrity of the case (I don't know I didn't through it in the pool) but what I can say for sure, is that when one tried to use the phone on "speaker" (which I like to do as much as possible; to minimize the electromagnetic energy of the phone, from giving me a lobotomy on the instalment plan) - rendered the flow of conversation the equivalent, of speaking to a brick; as the recipient couldn't hear me. I verified the phone itself was functional by removing it from the case and using the hands free function, which worked perfectly well.

The next attribute that turned out to be an ever increasing source of aggravation, was the "protective screen" of the case. Designed to prevent the phones glass screen from getting cracked when dropped; and again while I didn't test it, it's possible that it might stop bullets. The "down-side" of said force-field was that the "touch-screen" function of the phone was "hit or miss" - very frequently miss! What the hell is the use of having a "touch-screen" phone that you could touch with a mallet and not be able to type a text.

The third "feature" which made this case a complete dud (in my mind) was the external protrusion on the case that was supposed to toggle the phones ring tone silencing switch. As you know that switch on its own, normally can be smoothly and lightly moved from on to off; not once you enclose the phone in this short-cut to the asylum case! You could probably jump on it and still not turn the phone to silence.

I mentioned "finally" replaced the case as there was significant time spent, giving the case "the benefit of the doubt" (like maybe it will improve with repeated use), can't rule out the "I paid good money for this" factor,  a side of, "you couldn't just go with the tried and true, had to save ten bucks," and finally I've created enough suffering for myself,  there was never really any need for self-recrimination so then, it time to stop that and, my time and energy are worth more than taking the old case back and haggling over returning it, to a place that is not conveniently located; so I will just replace the case at a nearby outlet.

Such a simple thing (a "small thing") but when these small things are repeated again and again they exponentially take on a life of their own.

Another example I encountered was today. I walking a short distance in my immediate neighbourhood and noticed a discomfort on the back of my heel. It felt as though if left unchecked, a blister will be the result. The boots I was wearing are relatively new, but I have worn then longer and walked further, than this morning, without any problem. I removed the one boot and checked to see if there was a wrinkle in the sock (again a "small thing" but over the miles can be problematic as can be a pebble in the shoe). No wrinkle and continuing to walk revealed no improvement. I went home to drop off some stuff and again took the boots off, thinking to change the socks. On the surface of the heel that had been uncomfortable, it looked at first as though there was split in the skin. I had no idea how that might have occurred however, it made sense that it could be tender. Then I went to feel it with a finger tip and it turned out to be a small strand of hair! Surely that couldn't have been the source of the irritation? I brushed it off and pulled up the same socks I was wearing, put the boots back on and walked around. Voila, end of discomfort. This one I really found surprising; but it did go to show that "small" doesn't equal insignificant.

It has been said "dynamite comes in small packages," clearly it can "move mountains."

Perhaps it's the mindsets around what are deemed "small things," that is counter productive. "We" are told to "suck it up," "stop whining," in the case of men: to "man up," "grow a set," "be a man" etc. Culturally "suffering silently" and behaviour that is nothing short of martyrdom is embraced and even in some ways, encouraged and rewarded. Given this, is it any wonder that one becomes conditioned to "bite their tongue" amongst their peer-groups and social circles and even creates and maintains circumstances that involve ongoing suffering for oneself. Does it really matter, a "little" suffering or a lot? You don't need to be hemorrhaging before going to the doctor (or maybe you think you do - what's up with that?) A "small" continuous dripping flow of water can cut right through stone!

Ignoring the "small things" ultimately leads to resentment. Minor irritations more than likely call for truth to be spoken (boundaries to be set) in the case of social interaction and some sort of action in the case of situational or physical challenges.

It cannot be left to someone else to determine what is needed (or when) in order to restore equilibrium. It is up to each to decide whether a matter "is worth" attention/intervention. Certainly there is wisdom in "choosing ones battles." Consider the question of worth might well be a reflection of how one "values" themselves. If one mistakenly considers themselves to be insignificant then it might take a rather sizeable issue before they speak up or act (if at all).

So in this context "size doesn't matter." It's up to each to determine what matters to them, the quality of their lives, their circumstances and their interactions.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Season(ed) To Perfection

What will the fallen leaf count be,
Before you recognize it is Autumn?
Though you might create,
Through the power of visualization,
Even still to stem the tide of changing seasons,
Continued evasion will be your lot.
Whitened knuckles
Aching with the misguided veracity,
Nonetheless will come up empty-handed.

Escalating effort required to sustain the deception,
A mercenary, tasked with the assassination of acceptance.
Have you tallied the cost?

Potent energies seeking direction,
Speak in whispered hints,
Within the chambers of your heart.

Do you hear them?
Are you listening?

Do you care to hear them?
Have you heard from them recently?

What did they say?

Oh yes you can!
Let's be clear!

There is no "can't" - without your permission.

Therefore, welcome to "Won't"

Just the same, no "crime" has been committed.

A beneficial distinction to make is all.

There will be no eternal damnation,
Beyond that which you evoke,
From within & upon yourself.

Yes there will be change.
Indeed "everything" has its season."

Each will transpire with your curse, blessing or denial.

Consult your almanacs, barometers or magic eight balls,
None will provide a calendar nor GPS,
With the assurance of personal attunement,
That will better that of your heart.

Heed or Ignore.
Pass or Play.

Keys to freedom,
Possess the capacity to incarcerate.

No Ultimatum!
Though indeed consequences.

Will you allow your mind,
To Honour the call,

The season of your heart?

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Let There Be Music!

I have invited the dulcet tone of the nylon string back into my life. A while ago I found a used "parlour sized" guitar in a pawn shop. Cosmetically, it's been roughed up some; but it's small & light, perfect for travel. I offered them $100.00 less than the asking price - Sold! Best of all, it puts that nylon sound that I love so much in my hands again! A few days ago I took the guitar into a local luthier (it needs some adjustments) after his assessment, it was revealed that a couple of braces inside the body are cracked. Though not a structural issue (at least not yet) these cracks can produce an annoying "buzzing." So in a week's time that guitar will be going in for a little TLC and after labour costs, I suppose it will run close to the cost of a new one. However, set up properly and its structural integrity restored and some new strings - it will be better than new. It's got character and I will have resurrected a perfectly good instrument allowing for it to add another chapter to it's life.

The other additions to my nylon stringed posse are: a ukulele and most recently, (today) a beautiful classical guitar.

I hummed and hawed about the ukulele for a long time. I love the sound of them. Oh, but I don't know how to play one! (except for 4 chords  that I don't even know the names of - I just remember the positions from grade 7 music class). Ah, so what! I have an ear for music and the rest of my life to learn.

I got a couple of instructional books (which I haven't used much yet - I don't want to jump into the box too soon). So far  I can play most of two songs: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" &  "Here Comes the Sun." I trust that if Brother Iz is offended by my rendition, he and George Harrison can get together and haunt me!

The classical guitar is hand-made by a builder on one of the local islands (Saltspring); he's out of the country at present (Ireland, I learned to today when I was picking up my guitar); consequently I haven't had an opportunity to communicate much with him (except for a brief exchange on Facebook). I look forward to connecting with him when he returns . Maybe I could tour his shop and we could talk guitars and Ireland - he may never get rid of me given that prospect.

Until recently the only nylon generated music I had access to, was my considerable collection of tracks now stored on my computer; which stem from a period of life when I obsessively collected classical guitar cd's.

I studied classical guitar  for five years. I hung on to some of my music books from those days. I kept thinking, I may well play this repertoire again someday (even though I look at the sheets now and I can hardly believe I used to play them).

So, today is "someday."

Obviously some practice will be required to "wake the sleeping giant." However, I'm happy to have given myself the renewed opportunity for this retroactive, renewed, expansive gift of music. I see flamenco guitar in my future. Heaven knows when "seeing" will be "doing," making hearing possible.

I am grateful to be at a place where I can resume, pursue and ultimately I hope share, my passions once again. I am grateful to the universal vibrations of Source energy that manifest as music. I am grateful to all those that make music, create music, play music, connect through music, and love music, love through music and have left and contributed to the ever expanding legacy that is, music.

I deeply wish for each that you be blessed as you have been a blessing.

Now I must go, this writing is getting in the way, of making the music happen!

Postscript: Article written yesterday (September 18th, 2016) transcribed & posted today.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Inclusion - Colour Me Orange!

As I sit to write this I am in hot pursuit of an orange t-shirt. Perhaps oddly enough, I have never owned or wore an orange shirt in my entire life. Why then do I feel compelled to acquire and wear one now? Well, as it happens these shirt are being created and to be worn on September 30th to continue to raise awareness and forward the conversation, on "Residential Schools" and the impact that has had (and continues to have) on generations of First Nations people.

I sincerely hope when I say this is not strictly a "First Nations problem," it is not interpreted to diminish their ongoing need for healing, or the day to day challenges that predominate in so many lives. I'm saying that as a Canadian (who also happen to be "non-native," it behooves me to examine my own privilege as a "white male," in order to be part of the solution and ongoing healing.

I'm not sure I know how to articulate around this idea of "privilege," while at the same acknowledge, that those that have been advantaged by the same, can and still do have the need to heal what ever has been, the hand they were dealt in life. Perhaps the best way to address this is to view these matters as distinct entities, that in truth can't be compartmentalized entirely.

So then, I have been privileged - all the ways in which that has been the case are both known and unknown to me. I will come to recognize more of that which is unconscious, by being open to this discovery.

Where I'm going with this is that, (speaking for myself) I don't want to "deny my privilege" by retorting all the ways I have been emotionally/spiritually impacted during my life; but neither can I allow shame regarding this privilege, to become the reason to repress that which burdens my heart and soul. I submit that they are though, separate conversations. I mean I suppose one could lead to the other, however, in order to hold space for someone speaking of how privilege, discrimination, cultural genocide impacts them; it is absolutely disrespectful to deflect their pain with my story and/or become defensive.

I admit that no two conversations of this sort are apt to go the same way and it can be challenging to remain detached while someone shares how it is for them. This due to perceiving, that I personally am under attack (and frankly in some situations this is true). I guess the best I can do is know myself, know my limitations (at any given time) know what I can hear and know how, to look after myself along the way. That's a lot of knowing. I hope I live long enough to gain the tools and skill sets!

It boggles my mind that there is a need for "campaigns" that express "Every Child Matters!" Of course they do! You matter, I matter - everybody matters. Unfortunately or at least in truth, the world doesn't yet operate as though this is true. So therefore rather than sit here ranting - trying to tell you just exactly what is wrong with the world, my next affirmative action will be to don a bright orange t-shirt that states quite emphatically the view I am standing in. Where it goes from there - I don't know. As I said, I've never owned or worn an orange shirt (with or without statements of value) before. I feel called upon to do so now - so I will trust that any further directives will come to me when the time is right.

That children currently or have grown into adults, believing they don't matter I feel deep within my being. It 's not okay and "we" can and must do better!

Perhaps ironically I have come to know of my Irish Ancestry (on my biological father's side) somewhat late in my life. I'm supposing my ancestors may not embrace my wearing an "orange" shirt given what that symbolized in a part of the world that I am somehow linked to viscerally and energetically; without having been steeped in the culture. With all due respect to all the pain, anguish, suffering, bloodshed and devastation that my ancestors have endured; they will need to get over me and the orange shirt thing! (by all means take another 400 years if that what each needs for their process) I'm not telling anyone else what to think, believe or do. I also don't want any part in perpetuating the suffering.

However,  who I am, is standing in, "every child matters." I do not wish to water down this particular campaign by introducing additional unhealed global conflicts (except for me personally, I happen to believe the principle to be expansive and need be, in order to foster inclusiveness). So then, "First Nations' children matter, "white" children matter, "Catholic" children matter, "Protestant" children matter.

Inclusiveness and children matter, more than the forces that would suggest I align myself and wear the t-shirt of my alliance and renounce all the other shirts!

The bookstore called - my shirt is in!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

As the Wheel Turns

Onsetting seasonal transition
Splendid in its immediacy
Yet diminished, when seen in isolation
Stunning display presumed predictable and conclusive
Part of an extensive unknown mosaic?

Reap the harvest with arms of gratitude
Rejoice the fullness of a well spent epoch
Untold evolution even now,
Seeded in the decay of illusory completions
Pending darkened silence - incubator and, blank screen

Dog days muzzled - reducing their arid bite, to a toothless grin
Embraced in more hospitable temperatures
The season's technicolour mantle
Weaves a blanket under which,
One can replenish, on the heels of summer's inferno

Wind whipped foliage pirouettes earthbound
Outstretched limbs stripped naked
Strength juxtaposed upon apparent vulnerability
Maelstroms of chaotic energies open portals to change
Unseen potentials exposed through storms of a transformational magnitude.

What once was - sheer beauty
All of which set the stage for the present magnificence
Can Nature out due itself yet again?
It can and it will and in fact, it must - it is thus mandated.
Mourn then briefly, that which passes, on the way to celebrating, the grandeur of creation!

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


Today's blog post was inspired by receiving a email notification from a friend (thanks Tricia!) that gave an update on the next date for a prayer circle. The email contained a visual reminder of it now being "Mercury Retrograde" and offered a wide selection of actions one could undertake during this window of time. I know precious little about "Astrology" therefore even less regarding "Mercury Retrograde" (other than the common things people attribute to these celestial influences). I have no idea to what degree these planetary energies actually impact each person - particularly if like me, you spend no time thinking about it. I don't disregard astrology or the people that study and work with this paradigm, I just don't feel drawn to know it more comprehensively.

Anyway I thought it would be fun to weigh in and give my perspective/experience on the list of actions (which as it happens all begin with the letter "R" - after all, I'm clearly infinitely qualified to do so, as my name also begins with "R"ob). I will endeavour to be "brief" with each as I suspect that many (if not all of them) will overlap.

Review: A reminder that personal reflection can occur any time of year, not just something to be undertaken (or dismissed) come New Year's Eve. Of course the net can be cast broadly or more "localized." I liken it to something like a zoom lens, at the most broad field of view, one can look at their life as a whole. At the other end of the spectrum, "zooming in" they can get a more introspective/detailed view of one or a couple of areas, in particular.

Reflect: Seems a natural progression after reviewing. After I recall various events, circumstances, experiences, patterns etc. What is it that I can learn from each? What is my part? What are specifically, my lessons?

Release: What beliefs, feelings, mindsets are connected to what I discover within me? If they did serve me, do they continue to serve me? Am I willing to let them go? What is the cost of holding on to them? What would be possible with them gone?

Revise: If there was some goal or vision I had been working toward, has it been realized? If not why not? Does it still matter? If so, what needs to happen to get back on track? What was working/not working? Same approach/new time frame? New approach? Prioritize? What was being made more important that this goal didn't come about?

Revisit: To make a distinction, I will suggest with this one, that if "revision" has been undertaken, then, it could be useful to set a time at which point one could "revisit" the intention, and evaluate the efficacy of the "new approach." At this time a refreshing of the goal could happen; to breath new excitement, into the process.

Repent: As this idea so often carries with it an energy of "shaming," "remorse," "regret;" I'm going to take another tack. One could ask themselves (with regard to their goal or vision) how does it feel that they have given what they wanted, low priority? How would it feel to allow one's vision to be front and center in their attention and focus? If the vision was allowed to be derailed (various forms of "resistance") if for example there were found to be some form of self-sabotage at foot; rather than self-chastisement, some compassion and understanding could be undertaken and a commitment made newly (a "resolution" if you will) to self.

Redeem: The beautiful thing about examining where things fell short of the vision (even when the causative factors are my own) is that it begins to paint a picture, with more clarity of a more empowered approach and what that would look like for you.

Repair: Forgive - forgive - forgive (in particular and including self) having said that, I acknowledge forgiveness as being a process (certainly it is a "decision" as well - but it is up to the individual to determine when they are ready to make that decision and important that authentic expression of the myriad of other feelings not be by-passed; hastily trying to "achieve forgiveness.")

Rework: As I said there is apt to be overlap with these various "tools" which could result in "repetition" in an effort to avoid "redundancy" I will "refrain" from "re-hashing."

Remedy: A closer honest examination of the "problem"/challenge can frequently "reveal" it's inherent solution.

Recover: Consider that the "No Pain No Gain" crowd are misguided. So if you so choose, embrace for yourself some grace and ease. If you have been pushing to achieve something. Rest, relax, rejuvenate --------> resume. There is nothing to be gained from being the tyrant in your own life!

Reconnect: If my goals/life has been discovered to be in need of some "revision" then what better way to begin than to "reconnect." If scores of my "needs" are going unmet then me (as the principle custodian of said needs) has become "disconnected" somewhere along the line. No question a "reunion" (spoiler alert) will be very beneficial. What is important to me? What is true for me now? Who am I? What do I want?

Reframe: I would submit that anywhere in a "re-evaluation" process where one finds themselves "relentlessly" "redressing" themselves "ruefully;" it could be time for a new perspective, rather than self-defeating "re-runs."

Research: This has not always been my strong suit, however, there is something to be said for some "due diligence." It doesn't mean that one can't forge their own path; but while doing so, some foreknowledge of what you might encounter can be useful. It can also be helpful through "research" to gain clarity of what you don't want, which can then set you on a clearer path of what you do want.

Reunite: With apologies and a little "reworking" of Peaches and Herb's lyrics we get:

Reunited and it feels so good
Reunited 'cause we understood
There's one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
You can be so excited 'cause you're reunited, hey, hey!!!

Well there, I have effectively completed half of the list; a remark that speaks to what was accomplished; not necessarily the quality of what was achieved.
I hope what presents resonates for some - I certainly don't claim to have penned the renaissance retrospective on retrograde.
Perhaps I will offer a "Part Deux" for the rest of the list (unless I don't). In the meantime as is always true; your own perspective is invaluable.
Until next time I will leave you with what may well be as sound as any other strategy for navigating the interplanetary dance - the words of Red Green: "Keep your stick on the ice."

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Ride On!

Along with the leaves beginning their techno-colour transformation and daylight hours dwindling; incase you weren't sure autumn looms imminent; I got up early this morning and retrieved the quilt off the floor along side my bed and the electric fan has been returned to the storage locker.

In keeping with the seasons in transitions I wore a light fleece pull-over layer for my bike ride to the recreation centre; while it seems just a week or so ago, I was riding/walking there in a sleeveless shirt. After some maintenance for me in the gym I took the time to give my bike a little TLC at the centre's bike care station. I suspected that the extra effort I was required to exert lately was due to low tire pressure. Of course part of the point of riding is to get exercise; however there are plenty enough hills around Greater Victoria to kick up the intensity as desired, without making it more difficult with under inflated tires.

Once I had topped up both tires to around 100 psi. I was on my way. What a difference! It's like a completely different bike(ride). The softening of the tires is an insidious process (unless you were to encounter a nail in the cycling lane - now where would that come from?) So gradually, almost unnoticeably, there is more resistance created by the soft tires and one is working way harder than they need to. I suppose, if they were to be allowed to get excessively soft, then you run the risk of damaging both tires and rims. So then, to avoid unnecessary premature repair bills and to keep the ride optimally enjoyable, a little routine maintenance is called for.

Yup you guessed it; this would be the segue from cycling anecdote to life metaphor cue. I believe you could apply this to most any area of one's life.  Just like the bike you can keep right on riding on those soft tires; it doesn't just suddenly render the bike inoperable. But eventually the lack of maintenance will take its toll. Take nutrition as one example, you won't just up and die if you eat junk food. However, if this is a habitual practice; it can contribute to low energy, weight-gain, can be a contributing factor to various disease processes and generally can lessen ones quality of life. Conversely a diet that is predominantly healthy can most certainly be a contributing factor for a life packed with vitality and zeal. (note: I said factor, not a magic bullet in & of itself).

To confirm what I already suspected regarding my tires - I lifted the bike up and hung it in the maintenance rack. This allowed me to more closely assess the tires. So it is with those various aspects of ones life. A closer examination might be required to determine why the lack-lustre undesirable results have become the "norm." Could be that complacency has been allowed to slowing creep in (just like that gradual tire softening); the next thing you know you're working way harder for mediocrity. I left the recreation centre feeling most self-satisfied. After all I rode to the centre, exercised, took care of my bike and was going to continue riding to my next destinations.

Interesting to note, I can't think that I have ever encountered the bike racks being full; however the automobile parking lot can often be nearly filled to capacity. Just observing the irony - not an indulgence in judgment or self-righteousness. Okay, occasionally I find myself "going there;" I do my best to nip it in the bud, and just be grateful that at this time, I am able to enjoy cycling (I am not the gold-standard).

The next stop after all this morning maintenance was to the food court at the mall for a snack; I had most certainly worked up an appetite. I chose a nutritious smoothie and tuna wrap which I was happy to be able to enjoy at an outdoor table.

Somewhere along the line as I'm enjoying some music and my lunch, the idea to continue with some more cycling presents itself. Even it I were to just return home it was a foregone conclusion "there would be more cycling." No, this wasn't that at all, the idea began to percolate that I ride from the mall to a local "mountain" in the area and enjoy the view, maybe meditate a little; in general just relish in day without obligations and a pleasant respite from a couple of days with intermittent showers. The location (Mount Tommie) is not very far from the mall (I don't know, maybe 5K including the road up the mountain). I felt all fortified by all that had transpired this morning and was looking forward to the reward of the view from the top.

The thing is, the visualization and anticipation of that view, does diddly-squat to get you to the top. That will only be achieve with some leg-generated pedal power and taxing of the cardiovascular system. As I said earlier Victoria has a fair amount of hilly streets. No matter where you might be going you will encounter a hill somewhere in the route (unless you go well out of your way to avoid it).  The longer approach road had numerous gently sloping ups and downs. This led to the road that would take me to the "park" entrance. This access road is quite a significant uphill grade. Great, I'm having to ride uphill to get to the mountain road; upon which, I will be required to ride uphill; some more.

Today's experience tells me that while I am making progress at the gym; I can feel some increases in strength on many exercises; this isn't necessarily translating directly into my cycling stamina. If I want to indulge in spontaneous rides with varied intensity components; I had better begin to more specifically train, for said rides. The other thing is those "IronMan" sunglasses I mentioned in a blog post a little while ago; aren't worth sweet tweet when it comes to powering up a mountain. Though I was sporting those very glasses - they didn't suddenly transform me into Victoria's answer to Lance Armstrong. Though their wrap-around style could come in handy; if I should I happen to break into tears half-way up the mountain. At least I'd be "incognito!"

As it happened there were no tears - though there was considerable sweat in my eyes. Coincidentally, a steady flow of perspiration in the eyes, feels much like crying anyway. I figured the worst case scenario, I end up walking my bike up the hill. But then, something else took over, "There's no way I'm walking up this hill, I came here to ride up and that's what I'm going to do!!" (who the hell is that - and who invited him anyway?)

When I got to the park entrance (having ridden the hill to the hill) I stopped there to catch my breath and have a drink of water. I should have remembered from my running days - all the distance and speed intervals etc. don't prepare you for hills (in fact it is the other way around - a day of hill training /wk not only builds some chutzpah for running hills, it gives you extra power and endurance to run the flat roads as well). Hills, are there own special variety of hell!! (I can still hear one of the run leaders from a group I used to participate with, "hills are our friends" - was her mantra. My retort, Barb, and "with friends like this, who needs enemies?"

As it turned out - I took three more "rest intervals" on my way up the mountain. I did hold to my resolve and didn't walk, each time I started again, I rode; until my heart was once again pounding in my throat, my lungs felt ready to explode and my legs turned to jello. Despite the apparent physiological shortcomings I made the summit. It was as I was leaning on the perimeter railing having just locked my bike up; that I realized I had never "ridden" up here before. I had always been in a car. That made the view that much sweeter. The air was fresh, there was a nice cool breeze. The sun was for the moment, behind a patch of clouds; so the temperature up there was most pleasing to my work-ladened body, so refreshing!!

I looked down the bank and decided I wanted to be there so I could sit and be away from all the parked cars (again that repeating theme, cars far outnumbering cyclist - in fact I was the only one). Not surprising - it's not exactly just a "walk in the park," even though it is a ride in the park.

Again as in life, it is my experience that the good stuff is always on the other side of the fence (which is not to say the "grass is always greener.....) I mean outside the lines, on the other side of the walls, that's where life's sweet nectar resides!!! So under the railing I go....... Well except I had my back pack on and nearly got myself wedged between the railings. Okay then .... retraction, the sweet nectar of life is on the other side of the railing, once you take your back pack off so that you can slip through!

I made my way down to the slope and found myself a perfect little seat-like rock outcropping and there I sat. Oh I almost forgot to mention, before I went through the railings I saw the tiniest little baby bunny. So for the record, baby bunnies don't just present at Spring ("Easter") apparently they are quite oblivious to the calendar and arrive when they are good and ready (though this one could have fit in a "Kinder egg."

As I sat on the hillside I enjoyed watching dozens of crows riding the air currents and putting on quite a display of aerial ballet. Then as I laid back and absorbed some of the warmth of the sun that broke through the clouds, two hummingbirds shot skyward from the canopy of a small oak tree. What amazing creatures they are!  Looking out across the straits I could see the Port Angeles ferry making its journey over. After a quick look away; when I returned my gaze to try and relocate the ferry, it had disappeared into the haze (as though it had been swallowed whole).

A three hundred and sixty degree view demonstrated clearly the different weather zones around the Greater Victoria area. Some were ceilinged with a clear blue sky, other regions veiled in a thin myst; others still, where shrouded in dark clouds and appeared to perhaps be getting rain. As this darkened region seemed to be consuming more real estate and coming in my general direction I decided to end my mountainside vigil.

The ride down the mountain was exhilarating! I decided to "go out of my way" with the selection of my route home; so as to avoid any further hills. I'd had ample "rewards" for one day. This was not the Tour de France - just an afternoon bike ride!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Musical Musings

A sun soaked Sunday; combined with cycling to my all my various destinations today, was like music to my ears. Though the previous statement is patently true; what wasn't made clear, was that there also was, "music to my ears." Sometime ago now, I lost my portable MP3 player and though I thoroughly enjoy music - most any kind;  I didn't go about replacing it until this weekend. Due to ongoing efforts to generally simplify, I also no longer had anything in the way of a stereo. All my music still resided on my laptop; but I really didn't enjoy listening to it on the tinny sounding little speaker. (first world problem ..... I know).

I now have a new iPod and a small blue-tooth speaker. I love to ride my bike; wind in the face, sights and sounds up close and personal. Today was the perfect temperature, we did have "a cooling trend" toward the end of August. In fact I remember recalling regarding my birthday; (August 28) it used to present as a "mixed blessing" as it was of course, my birthday; but it also meant the end of summer and return to school. (clearly, I wasn't one that was excited about that prospect).  Right on cue my birthday rolls around and not only did it cool off but we got rain. That's the first precipitation in quite sometime. And then it appeared as though the grey, cooler (intermittently wet) weather was getting a hand-hold.

Today the sun was out, devoid of that "dog-days" intensity and accompanied by what to me is the optimal in temperance; some cool air that hinted at the approaching autumn. Contrary to those that long for those "hot summer nights;" my whole being is enraptured in the cooler climes of spring and fall and the hub-seasons.

Combine with that,  a mixed bag of music (iPod on random shuffle) and it's nothing short of sublime. At those times when some epic orchestral overture kicks in; I feel as though I'm unstoppable. It's like being airborne (recall E.T. riding across the sky, silhouetted by the moon).

It's such a joy to have my "playlist" back! There's so much music on there, I have never heard it from beginning to end - so it pretty much always has the ability to delightfully surprise me with something new.

For me this has nothing to do with "consumerism." Of course I did cue up at a local retail outlet. For me this is restoring something in my life that brings me such pleasure; music uplifts me, inspires me, holds me and never fails to meet me, where I'm at. Having said all that, I wasn't willing to throw myself under the bus financially; to replace my gadgetry. So I waited for the time, "to be right."

 This was a great reminder to honour myself through the things that bring me immense pleasure. Is that "self-indulgent?" Well it certainly "serves" self; that in itself, is way of being in the world that has taken quite a beating. There still exists a meme that imprints with the idea of "self-sacrificing" and the needs of others always being place first (it is thus proclaimed virtuous). The thing is this idea taken to extremes becomes "self-abandonment" and is a fertile ground for breeding resentment.

One can have what they want; that which they enjoy, and still be of service to others. First of all it might just inspire someone that has constantly been willing to accept the short-end of the stick to reach for "more stick." In keeping with this theme of music restoration (or expansion) I also bought a ukulele yesterday. I sat outside a local coffeeshop just around the corner from where I had purchased the uke. Aside from two or three chord positions that I remember from grade seven music class; I have no idea, how to play a ukulele. I just sat there with my muffin - strumming, plucking and finger-picking my way around the neck; allowing it to "teach me something." Then literally a few bars of George Harrison's "Something" flowed. I was both entirely absorbed in what I was doing and entirely somewhere else, all at once. When one of the coffeeshop employees brought me my tea; I thanked her and she actually thanked me. It hadn't really occurred to me that I was doing anything for which someone else was grateful for. After all, I had just sat down with this instrument - I hadn't considered that anyone else might enjoy my "noodling."  I guess someone sitting outside the shop; enjoying plucking out some tunes, provides some visual and auditory benefit. So then, even though I'm doing something that is specifically pleasurable for me, others receive benefit also.

If one can hold to be true that we are all connected (that there is no separation) then naturally, my joy is your joy. The opposite is also true, everyone has been "served" by someone that; at best, present as being in a "bad mood," at worst; they really don't like what they are doing, but they are forcing themselves to do it.

So I'm not talking about a hedonistic existence that doesn't consider the needs of others at all. But neither am I advocating complete self-neglect. A principle that could be an influencing factor while "plotting a course" might be; "do no harm." (which includes to one's self as well). I just wonder, if more people spent more time, energy and focus on things that they enjoyed how might that shape their day to day interaction and relating? Wouldn't there be less need to "escape" and therefore less unconsciousness?

A hint may be held within the idea/teaching: "you reap what you sow." If considered from that light then, it may behoove one to spend more time being aware of what they are sowing?