Archive for June, 2006

Mema (with thanks to JF)

June 30, 2006

I have a friend in California I’ve never met. He writes pretty regularly. I met him through a customer service job I left in 1999. His grandmother died this week and I wrote him. I want to share that with you now.

I remember when my grandmother died in 2000 (Is that right?). She was a second mother to me. I wasn’t working much, so I drove to Texas to help my mother. I spent 10 days in my grandmother’s home, getting it ready for my mother to take care of her possessions, and eventually, move into Mema’s home.

The house was quiet. Everything was exactly as I remembered it from a visit a few months earlier, the last time I saw Mema alive. I started the task my mother asked of me, just pulling everything out of drawers and closets and arranging it so she could go through it. But just as I was beginning, I remembered that I would never ever see her home this way again. My mother would move in. She would remodel and update it. Change the carpet, change the kitchen cabinets, repair the bathroom sink.

With a now or never kind of feeling, I got a camera and took pictures of every room from many angles. I got copies made and sent a set to every member of the family. Of course, I still have them. And when I look at those pictures, I can almost smell Mema’s home the way it was for the 60 years she lived there. She was 93 when she died, a year older than we thought she was. It turns out she always lied about her age by one year, so that it would sound like she was younger than her husband, rather than older by that one year.

May your memories of your grandmother be rich and nourishing as mine are.

Love,

Stacy

A Fond Farewell To Gaiam

June 14, 2006

Wow, 2 posts in as many days. I'm becoming prolific again. Maybe it's because I can?

By the way, I sent out invitations to join http://www.tribe.net/  I'm new there, too, but I liked the consciousness that seems to be there. I want to help grow it.  

I wrote the following to my co-workers at Gaiam on Tuesday: 

Good morning,

Today I have decided to come out of the closet about something to you guys. I've added K, K, S & others to this distribution. I hope an email is not too impersonal a way to share this with you. I also know how busy you are.

I was going to wait and see what happens regarding my job there, but I don't want to see anyone work to get me back only to find that I am leaving anyway. That wouldn't be fair to K or to Gaiam. And K has plenty to do! I have a sense of integrity about notice and a loyalty to the practice of LOHAS that Gaiam exists to serve.

I'm not just going to Ireland for school. I am moving out of the country.

(I could go back to Gaiam. I would need for it to be part time and temporary.)

I did not know this when I first started the process. What happened was that my mouth started saying, "I'm moving to Ireland," while my mind was thinking, "I'm going to Ireland." It was pretty clear that I should listen to myself, as resources, contacts and intuitions began flooding in.

So, I started saying, "I'd like to stay for a year. Do work study, or something."

Then, total strangers started asking me if I was coming back.

I don't know.

Ask me a few years from now.

I have said for many years that I am not in charge here, God is. All I do is follow marching orders. I ask. I listen. I follow.

That's actually how I came to be at Gaiam in the first place. (This whole letter is clearly going onto the blog now.)

I was meditating one day around 11 am. I had just been back in Colorado after 3 months of lessons about my Saturn line in Atlanta and I had not found work yet. Hadn't looked too seriously. I came out of my meditation with  the strong feeling I should call the 2 temp agencies I was already registered with. So, I did. I called Office Team and Manpower.

An hour later, Office Team called and asked me if I could make it to an interview within the next hour or so. I said, "I'm in bluejeans!" Ellis insisted that it did not matter. So, swallowing my sense of propriety and interview dress codes, I met Kaedrich and Angila for the interview. I was thrilled. The customer service job of my dreams! And that it has been. We have the cream of the customer service crop. It may not feel that way when you get a hot call, but by and large, you will not find better on the planet. I know. I've been in customer service for 30 years. A little later that day, Office Team told me when and where to report for training. In training, I met E and found out she lived in L. I had no car of my own, but I had the use of one 3 days a week. She agreed to carpool and the rest is history.

E's a Godsend. She doesn't know that and she'll blush and demure when she reads this. Since then, I have been *given* a car, moved to my 7th home in about 18 months (practice for the journey, I am sure) and begun trading for rent and my airfare with friends. I'm writing a customer service seminar with one and organizing the very cluttered home of another, while giving emotional support for the process. (I am available for that work, if you know anyone who wants it.There's lots more to the story, but maybe you're tired of reading now and this is enough for the moment.

No, I don't know what I'm doing inIreland.

I could go, spend a week in class and be catapulted to China for all I know. I go where I am guided.

I will say that meeting Swami Vishwananda in May was a challenge. For the first time, I really understood why people drop their fishing nets and follow a teacher. I was ready to do that. My roommate did. But there was Ireland. Now what? A couple of weeks later, I learned that Swami is going to be in London in mid-October and in Ireland at the end of that month. www.vishwananda.com

My return ticket says November 1. I do not expect to be on that flight. Not for a long time.

If you want to keep up with me, I am going to endeavor to continue the saga here. 

Call, write, whatever. I'm around still. 

Even across the world, you can reach me through email. I'll probably start using gmail more.

I am meeting V at lunch to return a CD I borrowed. I'll come in and say hello/goodbye and maybe we'll break into singing a Beatle's song… or not.  😉

I loved Gaiam, loved the customers, loved the people I worked with.

May the Lord/Lady bless you and keep you
May S/He lift up hir countenance upon you
And give you peace, both now and forever.
 

Amen

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. . . Reclaim

June 13, 2006

Good morning,

I saw this bumper sticker last night and as I was thinking about my life, my room, my posessions, this morning, and wondering what to do with it all, I thought of the . . . is it Buddhist? concept of voluntary simplicity. Monk stuff, you know. From a Priest Scholar named Clark, this makes total sense if you think about it 2 seconds.

Anyway, then I saw the Word A Day for today. Great stuff if you're into words, but I actually subscribe for the daily quotes. This week's theme and today's word got me a little, well, nostalgic in advance.

Here's what it said, in part:

"This week's theme: fear and desire.

nostomania (nos-tuh-MAY-nee-uh, -mayn-yuh) noun

An overwhelming desire to return home or to go back to familiar places.

[From Greek nostos (a return home) + -mania (excessive enthusiasm or madness).]

You can consider nostomania to be an extreme form of nostalgia (literally, pain for home). For school kids, receiving a bad report card might induce nostophobia. A synonym for geriatrics is nostology."

Hmm. Hopefully, I will not reach the mania stage, although from another point of view, I may have already.

What if Ireland, the Celtic world, are a place of nostalgia for me? Well, they are in my mind. I won't know how I respond to the actual countries until I'm there. It will be fall and winter. I left Texas humidity behind with gratitude and now I'm running off to an island? What am I thinking?

I'm not.

I'm following my Next Step. I have no idea where it's leading. I just know that it's the next place to be. It starts as a seed thought, at least 20 or 30 years ago. If I ever travel off the continent, Ireland is the first place I want to go. Why? I always said I didn't know unless it was my Irish blood. I wish I could trace it. Mother & Daddy & both adopted. It's tricky.

But I know Mother's mother's surname was Wallace and she lived in Dublin, Texas. My father's father's surname was Naff, shortened from McNaff.

I do feel some nostomania for Ireland. I will also get to see London and Chartres, France, Lord willin' and the crick don't rise. Hmm, big crick you got there! (The Atlantic Ocean, ya know.)

So, I'm reducing. I'm sharing my unnecessary belongings with friends, giving it away on freecycle, taking it to the charity thrift stores.

Reusing? Naturally. Always, but now more than ever.

Recycling. Certainly. Freecycling, even.

Reclaiming.

Now that's where it gets interesting.

What do we reclaim when we give up nearly everything we know and journey to a distant land?

That, boys and girls, is another story for another day.

Love,
Stacy

Surrender? Oh, Alright. Thank you!

June 10, 2006
Jonathan Cainer Zodiac Forecasts

Your Week Ahead – Saturday, 10th June 2006
SAGITTARIUS
(Nov 23 – Dec 21)
Your week ahead: Some words, in some sectors of society, just don't go down well. Try for example, going up to a group of vegetarians and saying 'veal.' Or attending a meeting of entrepreneurs and saying 'bankruptcy.' An astrologer can get a similar response from an audience of Sagittarians, through the word 'surrender'. Surrender? You? At the essence of your ethos is the idea that, where there is a will, there is always a way. Usually it's a way that nobody else has seen or a word that conveniently turns up just when you need it most. So far, this week, there is not much sign of such a solution. Just keep looking. You will find it!

http://www.cainer.com/    Highly recommended!

 Hello All,

I have a deep respect for the astrological work of Jonathan Cainer. I have been reading his online astrological forecasts since 1997. I have purchased his annual transit reports and his audio forecasts. All have been very valuable.

So, when I read "surrender." I just ask, "how high?"

Wait, that's a different question! Or is it?

When we surrender, we ascend. We are unburdened. We fly.

My name means "resurrection."

Pluto, God of the Underworld, is conjunct the position of the Sun at my birth. Will be for a couple more years. I was discussing transcendence with my friend, Jared, a month or two ago. I remember saying, "Yes, you and I are looking to die before we die." He groked that.

Eric Francis, http://www.planetwaves.com/ often sits in for Jonathan Cainer, but that's not where I met him. I first read Eric years ago in a poly discussion group. I've followed his work for the past 10 years, as well. He has this to say about the current astrological climate:

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
What happens this month may feel like a test of faith, but really it's an affirmation of your integrity and will offer you proof that your real strength is spiritual, and from beyond this world. The stars are conspiring to help you build a long-term vision for your life, and that takes confidence and moreover a deep belief in yourself. If you lack that now, it's only temporary. Just under the surface is a layer of sanity and well being that will carry you through this month and indeed all through your life. Remember — that is the real you.

This morning I was reviewing some of Steven Sashen's Advanced Meditation ideas. One of them is about going deeply into the experience of the precise moment of our death. A class of maybe 30 people were in nearly unamimous agreement, as best I could tell, that the experience was one of release.

Maybe I should say more about why I write this tonight.

I was released from a temporary job tonight. Yes, I cried a few tears with a friend. We brainstormed several income opportunities that are here with me now in this space of openness and surrender to "what is." Oh, right. Katie didn't say "surrender to what is;" Katie said, " LOVING What Is."

I loved that job. I got to talk with some of the best customers on the planet at a company that sells organic clothing, solar panels, yoga videos, books on meditation, natural … well, you get the idea.

In a way, this job was like my latest lover. He was physically perfect for me. Unfortunately, we didn't connect spiritually. This job had that kind of thing going for it. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite a fit. But then, cocoons never fit forever. I learned more there than they will ever know. It's time for a spiritual rebirth. . . again. If you know me, and if you've read much of this blog, you are at least beginning to know me, you know that I am forever in the process of rebirthing myself. (Spider Robinson is rubbing off on me. I made a pun!)

So.

I am currently available for organizing work that is grounded in releasing the tensions surrounding the clutter and collections in our lives. In other words, we don't just organize, we release. We clear. We find emotional clarity as we go.

If you, or anyone you know, has anything from a small pile on a desk to a home or office that could stand this kind of TLC, with a dose of Feng Shui at the end for good measure and the continuation of the good juju we build there, please get in touch. I am available. . . for a small fee. I have references.

In all of these blessings, I feel the hand of my spiritual teachers. More on that later. I believe I'll have some time to write.

Thank you for prayers, referrals, and support.

Much love and many blessings,

Stacy

"To empathize does not mean to join in suffering, for that is what you must refuse to understand." 

                   A Course in Miracles, Text, Chapter 16, 1st sentence, Page 330"

You move totally away from reality when you believe there is a legitimate reason to suffer."                

                 Byron Katie, "Loving What Is" page 288

Reading Articles & My Responses to a NY Times Article on Whole Foods

June 4, 2006

God morning All!

Audrey sent me a link to a NY Times article about organic foods, and Whole Foods in particular. I wrote a reply and decided it was a blog post. 

She wrote:

Subject: interesting article on organic food

http://www.newyorker.com/critics/content/articles/060515crat_atlarge

They make a very good point about how many details there really are to food production, and how little of it we can know.

I replied:

Okay, so we've got some Artisan anything and Priest Scholar differences here that I want to share.

Most of this response is not about you. I hope I'm able to reply mostly without loading it with the baggage of a lifetime of having to defend my reading preferences to a mother and a father, and countless other friends and family who enjoy something I do not. I was constantly told that I was close-minded or self-centered when the truth is I'm just not interested in what they were interested in and they could turn that around.

(I notice that this letter would go well in a book of mine. Thank you!)

Anyone with Artisan loves a variety of facts, figures and details, I have noticed.

Me, I only want to be able to look it up. I'm ridiculously pragmatic about it. Reading an article is like shopping. I go for what I need, I hunt it down, I kill it, I drag it home. I'm done. The less time spent, the better.

I am thrilled that other people like to read articles and even read them on the computer screen, because I sometimes like hearing a little bit about a few of those sorts of things in one-on-one conversation with a person I care about.

I read the article in the spirit that you are a person I care about and you found something valuable there that you wanted to share. It started with Whole Foods, a company near and dear to my heart, so I was curious enough to see what you found there.

I read most of it, about 80%, and finally took to skimming the last paragraphs out of boredom and the need to conserve time. Start to finish, I've spent almost 30 minutes on one article and my responses to it. I don't like reading on the net. My name is "Stacy" and I am a hard copy addict. And for some reason, I've never cared for magazine articles, even in print. They are too time consuming and rarely tell me anything I didn't already know that I was already interested in, and deluge me with facts, figures and opinions that I would usually just look up if I needed them, and 99% of the time I don't. I get bored in the first paragraph.

Admittedly, the NY Times has good writers. I found a few well chosen allusions ("small planet") and intriguing turns of phrase (I think one was "farm to fork." I don't know if it was original, but I enjoyed it.)

Here is my book report 😉

(Remember, it was my personal preference to rarely read the books for school, and I got A's on my papers. This one I read.)

I am a Whole Foods shopper because their heart is in the right place for my preferences. I feel good shopping there. The people are friendly and remember me, chat with me. I almost feel like they are friends. They stock more of what I am shopping for than any other grocery I've ever been in.

I am thrilled that they are a huge corporation now and I think they do an exemplary job of it, based on their Top 100 Co's to Work for standing, the employees I know there (for 23 years in 3 states and at least 7 stores), their product knowledge, cheerfulness and phenomenal customer service. I get annoyed at those who try to tell me that big business = bad business. Is it true? (I'm not saying that you said any of that… just responding to the article.)

And no, we can't control every detail of food production. We can only do what we can do.

I've been keeping track of my grocery spending for a long time. I spend about $300/month. As far as I can tell, I don't spend much more as a WFs than I did when Kroger, Safeway and Sunflower Natural Foods (which just didn't have enough of what I needed) were my only choices. I may have spent $200/month in the 70's when I used to eat canned foods, frozen foods and bread, but changing over to fresh fruits & veggies would have cost me $100/ month anywhere. Yes, if I had more money to spend, I might spend another hundred each month.

So, that's my response to the article.

I love engaging you in discussion about things that are important to either or both of us. At the same time, I could have written the same opinion without reading the article. I didn't find anything there that wasn't pretty clear to me before I started even though it was well written and entertaining.

Call me anytime and tell me what you thought of an article and I'll enjoy the hell out of our time together!

Love you,

~ Stacy

"This* is how God is showing up now."

– Steven Sashen

* whatever person, situation or thought is in front of me