Samain and the Holiseason Moon
Wednesday gratefuls: The Turkey Liberation Front. Stuffing. Family and friends. Clouds. Drought. Woolly Mammoth tusk found ten miles off Monterey Coast. 200,000 years old. That’s older than even Frank. Mark in Minnesota. Honey Baked Ham. In the frig. Ready. Safeway pickup after I talk with Diane. Jon, Ruth, Gabe. Coming tonight.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rigel shook off her hang dog look. (I think she had indigestion. From that glove of mine she ate.)
Tarot: Message of the three card spread from yesterday. We will have a joyful Thanksgiving. If we remember Kate (we will), and rejoice in our time together. (and I intend to)
Bit the quartzite bullet. Ouch. $$$. Not gonna settle. I want a beautiful kitchen. Jodi and Bowe came by. Brian, the Fairplay cabinetmaker whom we chose because my cabinets would be handmade and available in time to get the work done before Christmas, told Jodi he needs more time. Ah, the joys of remodeling.
I liked Bowe. He seems competent and confident. A good combination. The sticking point is this: Bowe can do demo and install the new cabinets in two days. Give or take. But he has to wait to finish the backsplash and the plumbing until the quartzite fabricators measure, cut, polish, deliver, and install the counter top. So, if he has to wait a week on Brian, that means a tight, tight schedule with the waiting time on the countertop.
All in all, not a big deal. With one exception. I have to empty all of my cabinets. I don’t feel comfortable putting things away in the new kitchen until it’s done. A long time to have everything in boxes. I can still cook, use the refrigerator, and the microwave though I don’t know about the sink.
As most of you already know, remodeling means people a large sum of money to inconvenience you in your own home. I don’t have the wherewithal, nor the desire, to move out during the work.
The end result though. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Decided I’m going to find a personal trainer who will come to the house. I don’t need a lot. A new workout every 6-8 weeks. Attention to form so I do the exercises correctly. I like Deb Brown and On the Move Fitness but I don’t feel comfortable going in with Covid surging. Especially, I’m sure, after Thanksgiving.
I do have questions about physical fitness and the aging body. What is my goal? I understand the cardio goal, I think. Work the heart hard, often. At faster and slower intervals. But in the resistance work I’m not trying to bulk up. Never was, certainly not now. How do I know when I’m doing enough resistance work? Do I really need to do three sets? Those sort of questions. Even the cardio. I’ve read too much and absorbed too little.
Trying to bring Kate in closer. Has resulted in more tears. But I expected that. Kate and I are still together, always will be. Unlike, for example, Raeone and me, Judy and me. Kate and I shaped each other. Not so much with Judy and Raeone. A bit, of course, but nothing at the soul level.
Had an insight about mussar. Jewish ethics it’s called, but it’s actually about practical ways to improve character. We learn about midot, character traits. Examples: joy, patience, judging another favorably (and, ourselves), loving-kindness, curiosity, courage of the heart. Each session we come up with a practice to help us “get” the character trait.
Here’s the insight. It’s not so much learning about the character traits that’s important. It’s the constant willingness to examine ourselves and pay attention to the ethical choices we make that creates a heightened awareness of how we are in the world. That awareness is the gift of studying mussar. One I imagine you could gain by studying Buddhism or Taoism with a similar intensity and regularity.
It is not, let me emphasize, a guilt trip. You could take it there, but that’s sorta silly. The core of mussar teaching recognizes our humanness, our flaws and our strengths. Work on one, build on the other. Life-long journey.
When you add tarot into the mix, another route into the development of character opens up. Archetypal work. Venturing into the collective unconscious. Like mussar tarot guides us into looking at parts of ourselves we might otherwise gloss over or outright ignore. Both tarot and mussar require unflinching honesty. That’s another psychic muscle that gets bulked up in both. Without honesty we fall prey to our prejudices, our assumptions, our too quick takes on the world.
Let me give you two examples. The first, about judging the whole of a person favorably. When I encountered this idea in mussar a month and a half ago, I realized in my thinking about Jon I had allowed myself to focus on what I found lacking in him. (note: by my standards, probably not his) When I balanced those things with the good parenting, no, excellent parenting, the long arc of his art teaching career, his own art making, his tender heart, I realized I had an unbalanced approach to him.
Since then, I’ve changed my interactions with him, trying to respond to those positive characteristics and reinforce them. To give him support in critical life areas that can reduce his anxiety. Result? I feel better about my interactions with him and he seems to be eager to interact. A positive change.
Tarot: Each card I draw for a daily oracle or the cards dealt for me during my Tree of Life spread reading with Mark Horn invite me to investigate areas of my life I might miss, or deny.
In the Tree of Life spread I had the Emperor in the Keter position and the 9 of Swords in Malkut. The Emperor suggested I look at how my organizational skills might help some as yet unidentified cause. I’m moving in the hermit direction but the Emperor suggests I should not foreclose any particular style of living. I’m currently resisting the idea of becoming engaged with or creating a new organization and might continue to. But even the resistance is a creative tension. Making me consider facets of my new life I might have pushed away.
The nine of Swords in Malkut, the opposite position on the Tree of Life from Keter, this world as opposed to the whole universe, suggested I had grief work to do before I could move on to the next phase of my life. Specifically, I have to bring Kate in closer as a blessed memory, as a daily helper, as a net positive in my psyche. This is to counter my remorse over feeling good when I wonder if I should still be feeling bad.
Continued feeling grief stricken will cripple me. Block me for a new vision. I sense my movement is in the direction of bringing her in closer. But, I’m not there yet.
Time. As Kate would say, the tincture of time.