The Contemplative

The contemplative within me still asserts. Fall becomes especially potent.
Contemplative or warrior? I feel each is enclosed in the other.
The ambiance of autumn light, the timbre of crickets or a bugling Wapiti, the revelation of true pigment, the rush of one’s heart on a trail or cross country run, the essence of cedar incense or roasting chiles on the breeze.
Knowing the call of a wolf or rumbling of a Grizzly embracing the season is happening somewhere because I can hear it in my own heart if not my own wild backcountry.
I am called more to reading, hiking, climbing, hanging with huskies in crisp air than productivity. If it were not so, I’d lose how to live deliberately and why to. Thus, my primary teacher is Spirit, mediated by stone and sky.

A Challenge

next time you go to the grocery store… attempt this (and in your mind imagine what might be left):
•eliminate all and any foods which have transfat/hydrogenated oils
•eliminate all which have high fructose corn syrup
•eliminate all which have MSG (anything autolyze, like yeast, is the same as MSG btw.)
•eliminate anything in which sugar is in the first 10 ingredients
•eliminate anything in which enriched flour (wheat) is an ingredient
•eliminate anything in which salt is in the first 5 ingredients
•eliminate anything with additives or preservatives
•eliminate anything that likely has pesticide residue
•eliminate any meat or milk product which has incurred steroids, BGH, or antibiotics
•eliminate anything that does not come from within 300 miles (and that is stretching it)
and the list goes on…

See what we have left, if anything? That is about as close to real food as you are going to get. So if you want to talk about health care reform in our society you have to talk of this. Does it occur to anyone how insane it is that when you go into a grocery store you have to go to a special isle to get ‘natural’ food. So you see having an organic garden as we do is not some mere hobby. Seeking out range feed meat, if we eat meat at all, or wild game is not some mere interest.

And ya know what, even as athlete with a high metabolic rate I don’t have to eat half the food I normally might because I am getting a higher level of nutrition. People don’t need calories..their bodies are fat and starving for nutrients!

The Weight and Karma of ‘STUFF"

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. ~Henry David Thoreau

Thru the entirety of my life I have found less is more, that material possessions, clutter, all the stuff and things people surround themselves with to be burdensome, confining, and profoundly wasteful; that the accumulation and retention of possessions reflects psychological and even spiritual insecurities, not to mention a disharmonious relationship to the social and environmental realities.

It is a pathology folks. This past month as we again purge our own household a little deeper I am struck by a couple insights. One is that we really have been all deluded by this consumeristic society at a very deep level about the all the stuff we should have, and that it is apparently acceptable to have. That what has come to be considered normal and acceptable is in fact dysfunctional. We do have an obesity problem in this country and its not only around our waists. Nor is it restricted just to the rich or poor or middle classes. I see just as much ‘!**^! crap’ all about the homes and yards of those without as those who have.

Very few people truly know how living simply and with minimal possessions enriches one’s life, and how profoundly all that stuff disrupts and burdens. All the wasted energy and time and money that perpetuates this sick treadmill. Does anyone really realize how much of everything they are or could be or would be is sluffed off by the presence and care and restriction of all the stuff they have? Heck most people I know actually have more ‘keep sakes’ than people in the rest of world have total. Is it that bad… that the bulk of our good memories is defined by ‘things’?

Yet here is part of the challenge…it is hard not to get muddy when you are living in a swamp, a swamp with a lot of quick sand. What do I mean? We have created a consumeristic swamp in our culture. It is artificial and ubiquitous. I am increasingly taken by the reality that not only do we over accumulate we over generate. We are drenched by the advertisement industry at every corner of existence from one angle while our towns, cities, and communities are now 99% totally invaded by and dedicated to businesses all about selling their wares. Have you ever been to a community where this is not the case? Where it is just a community, a self sufficient one at that? I have. At one time they were as common and as natural as a football game without some frigging sponsorship. Some of you might remember those too.

We have too much stuff, everywhere, and we don’t own any of it, it owns us! Too many clothes, too many cars, too many books, too many dishes, too many toys, too much furniture, too many absolutely worthless gismos, trinkets, gadgets, superfluous shoddy made pieces of junk crowding us out and off of everything but the hill of Sisyphus while we remain under the spell that it all provides for our happiness, security, and entitlement. To hell with what it really does to us, the real economy that lays under the facade of wall street, or the planet from which ultimately it is all extracted and dumped upon.

Part II in the next day or so..”What are we/you going to do about it?”