Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Gap



“What you think you become. 

“What you feel you attract. 

“What you imagine you create.” --Buddha


Well, well.

The Gap is the space between where we want to be and where we are. 

You’ve probably heard a lot about The Law of Attraction—that we draw to ourselves what we resonate with. The above quote of The Buddha pretty much describes it. 

Some days my resonating stinks, so it’s a good thing the Great Spirit is forgiving, or I’d be in deep doo-doo. 

Elon Musk is in the Gap with Starship Rocket prototype. That rocket takes off, a glistening silver sliver aiming for the sky, nose up, a blazing trail behind it. The rocket goes to its designated height, beautiful. It lays on its side and slowly descends back to earth, like a little flying squirrel with its side flaps extended. Right before touching down on the launching pad, Starship pulls itself together, turns its nose up again, and slowly descends. Unless it lands squarely on its feet, BAM! It explodes.

Four have exploded. One sat on the launching pad for about ten minutes after flying, with a slow burn happening around its perimeter, then Bam!

You see, each time a rocket doesn’t work, the scientists learn about what isn’t working.

Thomas Edison said he found 1,000 ways not to make a light bulb.

I’m in the gap with a little notebook I wanted to print. My thought was to Print a blank book, people like those little books with pretty covers. 

I do. I use bound booklets for my computer data. And they can be journals, or whatever you want to record, an address book, press plants between the pages, whatever you can think of. Add a few quotes, and they are more fun. 

I wanted lined pages, ha-ha. Trying to get lined pages formatted for a physical book is another story. I’m learning 1,000 ways not to make a booklet. Either the lines are screwed up, or something is wrong with a page, and the launcher shows that I have a blank page. 

Fix it.

I’ll get it. I’m determined.

I’m in the Gap.

On, I spoke to writers. If you’re a writer, you know what I am talking about. You have good taste. You recognize exquisite writing when you see it, but then you look at your own work, “Uh oh. Rats!”

You’re in The Gap. 

Keep on. Keep practicing. It isn’t all talent, and what in the heck is talent anyway? Einstein said it’s 90% hard work.

Apparently, people are interested in this old principle now called The Law of Attraction. The Buddha tried to tell us. Ancient scriptures said, “Ask, and you shall receive. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” The Secret tried to tell us. Justin Perry regularly talks about The Law of Attraction on YouTube, and he has over a million followers. 

I used to hate it if things were going badly when someone would ask me, “What did you do to create that?” 

“Well, if I could create my current situation, I certainly could create you not being in my face.”

That question was rubbing salt in the wound.

If The Law of Attraction was as simple as some make it out to be, we’d all be rich, beautiful, and abundantly happy. My twelve-year-old grandson scoffs if he hears us talk about it, for I think he has the idea that we mean just ask, and it will show up at your door. Maybe it will, perhaps it won’t. It is not as simple as that.

We’ve thought or asked or prayed for many things that didn’t happen, and a good thing too, sometimes we change our mind. And then we thank the great powers that be that that asked for something didn’t happen. 

Gaps help sometimes.

Contradicting thoughts, exist in the gap chasing away your desired outcome.

In the gap are subtle, unconscious, emotional components. That’s the reason attracting what you want is so tricky.

The Buddha said, “What you think you become. 

“What you feel you attract. 

“What you imagine you create.”

He said that about 500 years before Jesus, before Mohamad, before Krishna. Before, the new thought gave us the idea that thoughts create.


We know, stories become exaggerated over time, but perhaps there is still a kernel of truth. It is said that Prince Gautama, who become the Buddha, had a favorite white horse named Kanthaka, who it was said to be 18 cubits in height. (Eighteen hands in measurement is a tall horse—18 cubits would be outrageous.) No matter. Kanthaka and the Prince proved to be a formattable team in contests such as horse-rider ability, archery, and sword fighting—a prince had to prove his metal. Kanthaka pulled the chariot Guatama, and his servant Channa used to ride through the city while Channa showed the Prince the ways of the world.,

 The Prince had been sequestered in the Palace for 29 years, hidden from all misery, age, or ugliness. It had been prophesized that the Child Guatama would either become the most powerful of all leaders or leave the ways of the world and seek his enlightenment. His father wanted to keep him to be a leader and so imprisoned him. 

Who helped him escape?


Kanthaka leapt the gates and fled with The Prince from the imprisonment of the Palace. 

Further embellishment said that the gods held their hands under Kanthaka’s feet so the clatter of his hooves against the stone pavement would not awaken the guards.  

In this story, the role of Kanthaka illustrates the reverence, respect, and dependence between horse and human that has endured for centuries. 

(Hee hee, I got a white horse in here.) 

Although I ascribe to the idea of the Law of Attraction, I know we are still in a physical world. We still have a pandemic; we still have situations, not of our choosing.

We’re in the Gap.

All I can say is, “Be a person worth saving.”

 Astronauts made it home safely in a recycled rocket.

P.S. I have 17 blank pages in my booklet, augh!

*The  picture at the top is of Gautama riding Kanthaka with Channa running beside them.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Why Do Things Fall Down?

Dear Readers,


I’m struck with a need to appreciate life.


One might say we do, but mostly appreciation is not the most circulated sentiment.


There is a lot of complaining and fear, so it would appear that there is not much to be happy about. We’ve hunkered down for some time, and it has changed people. From what to what? I don’t know.


Let’s look out there at spring bursting with sunshine and flowers. 


Yesterday I needed to drive to Florence, Oregon and became so hungry, it seemed that a hamburger was the one thing that would fix it. It did. I relished every bite, as did Sweetpea, who ate a hamburger patty all her own. We sat under this magnificent tree so full of flowers I could almost hear it laughing. 

After my appointment, Sweetpea and I found a strip of sand by a bay—not the open sea, there were only a couple of other people there, and she could run leash-free. She ran in circles, laughing as doggies do when they are having fun, and chased balls of sand kicked up by her toenails. When we reached the giant boulders that marked the end of the beach, both of us sat and looked out over the blue water and blue sky and watched a border collie, the white tip of his tail flashing, down the beach running after a ball, and chase it into the water.


“Chasing ball, good,” said Sweetpea, “ball in water, not good.”


We were lucky to have been born.


I remember Ray Bradbury once said if after you die and you were granted a moment back on earth, which would you choose. He would say,” Any one.”


I say some moments are better than others, but I appreciated that he loved life that much.




You know how you will have a book lying around unread until one day you decide to read it and go, “Wow, why did I wait so long?”


It is a strange phenomenon with human beings. We often resist the very thing that is best for us. Maybe it’s “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”…or maybe it’s procrastination. 


I am talking about a specific book loaned to me by my nephew, and I let it sit until I was about to visit him and figured it was time to return the book. Driven by the desire to see what I was missing, I picked up the book, and began to read.


The book was Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli. It sounds a bit heavy, but it’s not. It’s fascinating. The lessons were written for those who know little or nothing about physics.


It begins with one way to create genius.


As a youth, Albert Einstein spent a year aimlessly loafing.


 How cool is that? 


He was in Pavia after abandoning his studies in Germany and joining his family. Einstein was reading Kant and attending occasional lectures at the Pavia University—for pleasure, not for grades.


Thus, are geniuses made.


He did eventually enroll at the University of Zurich to study physics. A few years later, he sent three articles to the most prestigious scientific journal of the period, the Annalen der Physik. The first shows that atoms really exist. The second lays the foundation for quantum mechanics. The third was his first theory of relativity which shows that time and speed are interrelated. All, according to Rovelli, worthy of a Nobel prise.


Einstein became a renowned scientist overnight.


Rovelli, the author of the book I was reading, in the last year of his university studies, spent a vacation on the beach at Condofuri in Calabria emersed in the sunshine of the Mediterranean Sea. He was undistracted by school, which, he said, was the best way to study. The book on his lap was mice-chewed, for he had used it to block the holes in his hippish-house on an Umbrian hillside. 


Every so often, he would lift his eyes to the glittering sea, and it seemed that he could actually see the curvature of the Earth. As if by magic, as if a friend were whispering in his ear, he understood that reality is not what it appears to be. Another veil had fallen.


He thought of Newton’s desire to find out why things fall down. Newton, in a moment of enlightenment, determined that space is no longer something distinct from matter—it is one of the “material” components of the world. It undulates, flexes, curves, twists. “We are not contained,” wrote Rovelli, “within an invisible rigid infrastructure; we are immersed in a gigantic, flexible snail shell. The sun bends space around itself. Earth does not turn around it because of a mysterious force, but because it is racing directly in a space that inclines, like a marble that rolls in a funnel.”


All things fall because space curves.


Have you ever thrown a penny into one of those funnels they often have at fairs? You throw it in, and it circles round and round, gently rolling down the walls of the funnel until finally, it drops into the hole.


See how magnificent the Universe is, and we are a part of it.


Remember The words of the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh:

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”


“When you were born, you cried,

And the world rejoiced.

Live your life

so when you die

the world cries and you rejoice.”

--White Elk

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Make Do and Make Better


”In the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

—Kahil Gibran


                                                                                                Ah yes, I remember it well.

My parents had a cherry orchard in Oregon, it was not a big farm, only a few acres of cherries, along with a couple acres of peaches and apricots. Most summers, I was sent to pick. (Cherries are too small to fill up a box fast. Peaches have a fuzz that sticks on moist skin and collects in the creases of the elbows. Peaches must be handled carefully as they are delicate, but are big and so are fast to pick. We had Elberta peaches that my dad said were the best, and I agree with him, for I have never tasted a better peach. Now Elbertas are hard or impossible to find. Apricots are just right to pick, as my mom thinned the green ones so the ripe ones were as large as a small peach, and they have no fuzz.)

I was not a good picker—but did make a little spending money. Other kids picked too, neighbors I presume, but we liked throwing cherries at each other more than picking. One summer, we let someone else do the cherry picking.  My parents hired migratory workers.

And I played with the Cherry Picker’s kids. The family was as nice as they could be, and one day, I don’t remember how many kids they had, three sounds about right, we were playing in an old pickup truck that my folks inherited when they bought the property. The truck was away from the road, not one of those horrid wrecks we often see parked on farms, but hidden amongst some scrubby Oak trees. We kids climbed into the pickup, some in the bed, someone was in the passenger seat beside me. I was the oldest, and decided to see if the truck would start.

It did.

I was totally shocked. The trouble was, it had no breaks, and the truck rolled down the hill and into a tree. Nobody was hurt, it was a gentle roll, but the jolt of hitting a tree scared us and we beat feet out of there.

Probably that truck stayed pinned to that tree until it decomposed.

 “What if” my daughter asks, “it’s all the way it ought to be?”

Well, that’s a radical thought.

Most of the world’s people would not agree with that. “What if, you might ask, I break a leg, or get in an accident, and why in the world did we have a pandemic? Why did we lose our job? For heaven’s sake, people are living in tents under the freeway.”

I just completed The Four Winds, a novel by Kristin Hannah which featured the Dust bowl of the Texas panhandle. Dust states included Colorado, SW Kansas, the panhandle of Texas, Oklahoma, and NE New Mexico.) A newspaper in Oklahoma on April 14, 1935, a day dubbed as Black Sunday, stated that approximately three hundred thousand tons of Great Plains topsoil had flown into the air that day. More soil than had been dug up to build the Panama Canal. The dirt had fallen to the ground as far away as Washington DC—which was probably why it made the news.

People from the dust bowl lost their farms, the old folks and children died of dust pneumonia, their animals filled up with dirt, and starved. Formerly rich wheat farms died, farmers were starved out.  Many of those former flourishing farmers moved to California where they became riff-raft and presumed to bring disease. Many sold their soul to the Company Store. Dumb me, I’d heard of selling your soul to the Company Store, but didn’t know what it meant.

Owners of large industrial farms would sometimes build cabins for a “lucky” few workers and their families. (For every one that got in there were hundreds waiting in line.) The farm owners would provide water, toilets and laundry facilities…and a store. The store’s prices were higher than any stores in town, but with no money, and no gas, how were the workers to get to another store? So, they bought on credit. This would theoretically be paid back after harvest…but not in cash, only by working for the owner. The trouble was, the people still needed food, and they couldn’t catch up as harvesting is only seasonal. They were enslaved.

 Little by little we clean up the messes.

I don’t know where the migratory workers are now in their plight. I know they were looked down upon even in my day. “Cherry Pickers Kids,” they were called. These people who by the sweat of their brow provided fresh food for the rest of us.

 I know Cesar Chavez fought for worker’s rights, and formed the United Farm Workers Union.

Chavez modeled his methods on the nonviolent civil disobedience of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. — employing strikes, boycotts, marches and fasts — to draw attention to La Causa.

Even in the face of threats and actual violence — be it from police or other unions, such as the Teamsters — Chavez never wavered from his commitment to passive resistance.

At the end of his first food fast — which ended in 1968 after 25 days — Chavez was too weak to speak, but a speech was read on his behalf:

“When we are really honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belongs to us. So, it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of men we are. It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness, is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice. To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us be men.”

I know we can go into the ills of the past, or the ills of the present, and it knocks us off-kilter. We wonder about the injustice of it.

And then someone comes along and offers a solution, “We Can Make America Great Again,” and some get sucked in believing he was the man to do it. 

Last night I watched the film, “Unfit, Is Donald Trump fit to be President of the United States? And it scared the pants off me.

Hate has popped up in our culture like I never knew was there, so I can’t say the world is as it ought to be, however, little by little we clean up the mess.

I have to praise the people who do champion the right to stay free, to govern ourselves, to speak their minds, and to try to do better.

I prefer not to be a protester, for I’m of the mind that the more we push against something, the more it pushes back, but taking to the streets, non-violently, does work, for it shows the world that people care and want to make a difference.

I wanted to champion the case of the little lady from the assistant living community, because she showed up on my trail, and I believe that she was, and still is, being mistreated.

You begin, you start doing what you have set out on your trail, and you fine tune as you go along, trying not to embarrass yourself as you do it.

I’m still alive, so I guess my mission on earth isn’t over. All along I have championed the idea of working on oneself. If everyone did that, the majority of the ills of the world would gradually soften their hold on our culture, and people would be happier.

Be kind to your fellow man—what a concept.

Do good to the earth.

Notice that however you were treated as a child–now much you were loved or not loved, isn’t who you are today. Accept yourself.

Think about how you can do tasks that will make you happy. Yep, as far as whistling while you work.

It’s okay for you to be happy in a suffering world. Suffering along with them doesn’t raise them up, as getting sick doesn’t help a sick person.

You are your own job.

How about finding that thing you said you wanted to be when you were a child?

Am I whistling Dixie?

“To damage the earth is to damage your children.”

—Wendell Berry, Farmer and Poet