the lottery

i am an annoyed woman this morning, and it’s not because i’m up at 6:30 a.m. on a sunday morning. the last two mornings i’ve had three dreams having to do with winning large sums of money from the lottery. the dreams seem so real that all three times after waking up, i’m pissed because they were dreams. yet, i probably shouldn’t be pissed, because the universe is trying to tell me something (and i don’t think that it’s literally that i would win the lottery if only i would play!). this last time, just now, i’ve asked the universe to show me somehow during waking hours what the meaning of these dreams might be.

dream 1: details are kinda fuzzy at this point, but i’m doing some sort of work that i enjoy. i’m carrying a large folder containing a number of checks i’ve received for my work, but most of the checks are for small dollar amounts. (i remember one check being for something like $14 and another check for a little over $3.) i then see a check for a little over $23,000, which to me in the dream is an indication that i’ve won this amount of money. i go to find my sister, who is shopping in an eclectic boutique a couple of doors down from where i’m working. we have a conversation which unfortunately i no longer remember, and i wake up.

dream 2: i’m in some sort of studio with my sister where she is designing clothes. she lets me know that she’s won the lottery and that i will get a  huge share of it, because she won off of $1 that i gave her and using numbers i provided. i joke and say that it’s all mine, but don’t really mean it, and am happy for her because she will finally get the house that she’s wanted. there’s a discussion on whether it’s the ‘missouri lottery’ vs. ‘the lottery’. she shows me the winning ticket and it says ‘the lottery’ across the top. she tells me that she’s won $20 million, but is not going to announce till the press conference on wednesday. meanwhile, she has to continue working like nothing has happened. we talk about what we will do with the money, and i’m excited because this means i can quit my job and build an off-grid cabin in the woods.

then i wake up, and boy am i pissed! :) but i fall right back asleep and into dream 3 (which may or may not be a continuation of dream 2): i’m in sedalia in a car with my sister, and my (deceased) mother is driving. we pull up in front of our old house on pettis street, which in this dream is still standing. my sister and i are happy because we have  plans to tear the house down and build something useful there, like a community center. we’re also happy because we’re thinking of the good we can do for family and friends still living in sedalia. and of course i’m thinking again of the off-grid house on want to build and trying to determine if i should just have work done on my current vehicle or buy a new one. then we are riding in the car again, with brenda still driving, but she is turned to talk to me on the passenger side. i say something about hating having to act normal for a few more days until we get the money. i then say to brenda that the only other time i’ve felt this way is right after her funeral, when i couldn’t understand how everyone around me could go on like everything was normal when my world had ended after her death. she takes my hand (something she’d never done when she was alive) and says, ‘frank says that sounds about right.’ i ask her if she can talk to frank from the other side, and she replies yes. inwardly i am impressed by burgeoning psychic ability.

and i wake up and i’m pissed off once again!

really, pissed is probably too strong a word. however, even the $23,000 from the first dream would go a long way in helping to extricate myself from this system. (i guess i’d be using money to get out of the monetary system. go figure. that’s why the current monetary system is so fucked up.) but, more importantly, this may have nothing to do with money. however, having these dreams so close together feels like the universe is trying to tell me something, that some good, some sort of abundance, monetary or otherwise, is perhaps coming my way. we shall see. meanwhile, i’m going to go back to bed, maybe sleep for a couple more hours, then enjoy my sunday, preparing for another workweek as usual.

review: derrick jensen’s ‘dreams’ and ‘a language older than words’

back in mid-july i wrote that i would soon have a review of derrick jensen’s latest book, dreams. however, somewhere along the way, i got a bit distracted by what is probably his best-known work, a language older than words. i first read language back in 2003, and i remembered that it had had something of an effect on my worldview. i remembered that he basically showed that the sexual and child abuse that he had suffered growing up was not dissimilar to the way our culture is treating the planet. however, with so many words and books and thoughts between then and now, i felt that, after completing dreams, it was time to go back to the work that first introduced me to his writing.

so i’m just going to say first off that i’m of the opinion that dreams is basically a rehashing of language. honestly, all of his books seem to be a rehashing of each other. however, this is definitely not a bad thing, at least in his case! what he writes is simply the truth: industrial civilization is incompatible with life on this planet and needs to be stopped. each of his books just focuses on different aspects of the destruction we are taking part in (whether we do so intentionally or knowingly, or not). a section of page 262 in language seems to me to be the point of what he’s trying to get across in all of the books he’s written over the years:

We need to learn from egalitarian religious and especially extant indigenous groups that the emphasis of our society must be on process: not on the creation of things and the accumulation of monetary or political power, but on the acknowledgement and maintenance of relationships, on both personal and grand scales.

that’s it, pure and simple. dreams focuses on the acknowledgment and maintenance of relationships between humans and what jensen calls ‘other sides’. part of the way the other sides attempt to communicate with us is through dreams while we sleep, but there are other ways, subtle and not-so-much, that other beings (for lack of a better word) try to get through to us humans. however, most of the time we write these things off as coincidence or flukes or as products of our imagination. or, we view these communications as being evil, because of some old testament verses that basically write off any extra-biblical communiques of this sort as being forbidden and of the devil. anyway, jensen’s main message in dreams is that these other sides are more than willing to help humanity bring down civilization (and that it’s going to happen regardless, whether or not humans choose to participate or just ‘let it happen’, as we so often do).

personally, what he wrote in dreams about this topic fully resonates with me. i’ve kept a dream journal off and on for a number of years, and can clearly see where some ‘other’ has been guiding me, giving me messages about what i should and shouldn’t be doing, or about my motivations, blatant and subconscious. and even outside of dreaming, from time to time i’ll get ‘a feeling’ about something, or do something that i initially find inexplicable, but eventually it makes sense why whatever event happened the way it did. for example, the morning of march 11, 2011, i woke up with a feeling of deep dread in my chest. the thought ‘something really bad is happening right now’ went through my head, and i lay there in bed, really scared. eventually i fell back asleep, but upon waking up later that morning, of course the first news i heard was of the massive earthquake and tsunami in japan. (actually, a local news station is the alarm on my clock radio, and what i woke up to was the announcement of a tsunami warning for hawaii.) the worst was (and still may be) yet to come, with the meltdown of the fukushima nuclear reactors. we still don’t know the full effects of this, effects likely made worse due to the attempted (and continued) suppression of information by japanese (and world) officials regarding this event. i’ve heard that every person in the northern hemisphere has been exposed to radiation from the fukushima event (sorry, can’t currently find a link to back this up, but will continue to look). who knows what long term effects this will have on our health? so, yeah, ‘something really bad’ happened that morning, and i was told about it by some mysterious other as it happened on the other side of the world.

dreams is an amazing book, and should be read by everyone, although admittedly if you’re not open to the idea of there being reality beyond what is seen with the human eye, you’re gonna think it’s all bullshit. however, while dreams should be read by everyone, i believe that a language older than words must be read by everyone. i think (and, as much as i understood what i was reading, i didn’t get this back in 2003) that this is the most important book i have ever read. and it’s not even for the abuse angle, which of course is important. i just think language has the ability to remind people of what’s important, of why we’re here, of what the point is. and what is the point, according to jensen (from page 150 of language)?

What if the point of life has nothing to do with the creation of an ever-expanding region of control? What if the point is not to keep at bay all those people, beings, objects, and emotions that we so needlessly fear? What if the point instead is to let go of that control? What if the point of life, the primary reason for existence, is to lie naked with your lover in a shady grove of trees? What if the point is to taste each other’s sweat and feel the delicate pressure of finger on chest, thigh on thigh, lip on cheek? What if the point is to stop, then, in your slow movements together, and listen to birdsong, to watch dragonflies hover, to look at your lover’s face, then up at the undersides of leaves moving into your movement, to bring trees, wind, grass, dragonflies into your family and in so doing abandon any attempt to control them? What if the point all along has been to get along, to relate, and experience things on their own terms? What if the point is to feel joy when joyous, love when loving, anger when angry, thoughtful when full of thought? What if the point from the beginning has been to simply be?(emphasis mine)

read both books, and other books by jensen as well. i just started walking on water: reading, writing, and revolution, his views on the educational system in this country, and plan to reread the culture of make-believe after that (plus i’m also in the middle of reading his work with aric mcbay and lierre keith, deep green resistance). however, if you are only going to read one book of his, hands down it should be a language older than words. if nothing else, it will remind you of what you deep down already know. it’s dark reading at times, but who says beauty always has to be about sweetness and light?

trader joe’s in kc: it’s about dang time

trader joe’s is finally coming to kansas city, with two stores having their grand openings tomorrow. i’m as excited as everyone else is about this. there will once again be an alternative to whole paycheck, um, i mean whole foods (which was lost when whole foods bought up wild oats), with cheaper prices and of course the infamous ‘two-buck chuck’. i won’t be there this weekend because i’m sure the crowds will be *crazy*, but i plan to make my first of probably many visits sometime in the next couple of weeks.

as happy as i am about them being here, i have to say that although they may have for sale many organic and additive-free food items, they are still a part of the problem as far as the standard american diet (SAD) goes, and not a part of any real solution. just because something is organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for you. you can get organic potato chips at trader joe’s.  however, a potato chip is still a potato chip with all its attendant starches and toxins, whether it’s deep fried in soybean oil or canola oil or whatever conventional wisdom says is currently the healthiest oil. organic whole grain flour is still made from wheat, and whole grain or not, wheat is a prime contributor to the ‘diseases of civilization’, plus the gluten in wheat affects people more than we realize. organic packaged and processed foods, while appearing to be a ‘healthy’ alternative to conventional food options, are just a band-aid that doesn’t even begin to solve what’s wrong with the SAD.

what would begin to solve the problem? eating a diet consisting primarily of vegetables and fruits (found in the produce section of the store, not in the canned food aisles or the freezer section – or better yet, start growing your own or at least buy from local farmer’s markets and CSAs), grass-fed (if financially possible) meats, free-range poultry, good fats (such as lard and butter and coconut oil), and fruits. (in other words, a paleo/primal/WAPF based diet.) and obviously these items can be found at tj’s, but most people who shop there are probably going for the packaged goods, because of cost and convenience.

still, those points being said, tj’s in kc is a step in the right direction. i will check it out, and probably shop there regularly myself. but even when shopping in a regular grocery store (like cosentino’s downtown market, where one of the employees once told me they consider whole foods their competition – mmmkay), i usually stick with the produce and meat sections, venturing into other sections from time to time, but really not buying many packaged and processed foods. i do buy some things in glass jars though, like my coconut oil, but have no problem reusing those jars to store spices and other things. anyway, i’m looking forward to being one of many new tj’s customers.

however, if a place like this ever comes to town, i’ll camp out on the sidewalk the night before their grand opening. unpackaged looks like my dream grocery store, at least for buying spices and other staples in bulk.

dying and living and sleeping and waking

i feel as if my soul is dying a slow painful death and taking my body down with it. or vice versa. either way, i’m dying a slow painful death, or at least it feels that way monday through friday, from approximately 8am to 430pm.

i remember about a year ago, i was so happy to have gotten this position with my current employer. this current position started out paying more than what i earned at the last library i worked at, plus i thought it would build on the foundation i had created at the other job.  and truthfully, in some ways it has. i have learned a lot at this job, especially in areas of web development, and the intricacies of interlibrary loan and copyright law. this knowledge is something i may be able to take with me wherever i go next. (and i am going, somewhere, but that will be the subject of another post.)

and yet, today my work consisted of comparing a printed out list with the contents of a database. basically, this is bullshit work, as far as i’m concerned. much of the work i do in this position is bullshit work. i spend most of my days moving bytes of ‘info’ from one computer to another, in an ‘industry’ i’m feeling less and less respect for with each day that goes by.

there is so much real work to be done in the world, and i’m feeling as though my soul and mind are wasting away. just today i finished reading derrick jensen’s dreams, which is an amazing, amazing book,  and has made one hell of an impression on my psyche. one thing this book has inadvertently done is made glaringly obvious to me all the ways in which my job, and current way of life, are 1. bullshit,  2. pointless, and 3. evil. yes, evil. the building i work in is located next to, and affiliated with, a vivisection lab. plus, there’s this whole morality, or lack of, in the medical-pharmaceutical industry, a morality that revolves around little more than making money. it seems the purpose of the medical-pharmaceutical industry is not to get people healthy, but to keep them sick yet somewhat functional, and dependent on the industry. sadly, the work i do in an academic medical library supports this paradigm.

meanwhile, this country is literally on the verge of financial collapse, and this planet is on the verge of a far worse collapse. if it isn’t too late, i want to do something about the latter, at least in my little corner of the world, but am not doing a damn thing, other than going to and from my little cubicle every day like a good little serf. other than the plants in my cubicle, the closest i am to nature most work days is the contact made with all the paper i waste (although we do recycle – what good little stewards of the planet we are), paper that used to be in a forest somewhere. as of now, i’m still contributing to the problem (if you could call the planet dying simply a ‘problem’), and i want to do something different from that. i want something where i’m giving back instead of calling myself environmentally conscious while working a job that is in conflict with my soul, just so i don’t have to worry so much about keeping a roof over my head and sallie mae off my back. dreams has touched off an awakening in me where i want to work towards what is important and real. and these are all things i’ve thought about before, but jensen’s book about intangibles has shown me what is real and necessary and urgent. i won’t go into all that now because i do plan to write a fitting review of dreams sometime in the next couple of weeks. for now,  i’ll just say that this book is something of a catalyst for me and the upcoming changes i’m planning to make in my life. yes, i’ve known all along that collapse is imminent, and even if it isn’t ‘imminent’, it is going to happen probably in my lifetime (which i guess would make it somewhat imminent), and sooner would be better than later. it’s helped me to realize that maybe now is the time for me to extricate myself from this system, which i am in the slow process of doing. (also, more thoughts on this extrication in future posts.)

are you happy with the work you do (whether it’s paid or unpaid)? are you contributing to the demise of this planet or to the demise of civilization? (those ideas are opposites, believe it or not.) whom do you serve, Life or Death?

the opposite of fear

earlier this evening i had a friend ask if i was afraid of dying. i told him that i’d like to think i’m not. then i paused and said, i’m not afraid of dying; i’m afraid of not having lived.

love note to self: the opposite of fearing (i.e., being afraid) is loving. now do something with this.

the things we do to get laid

um, yeah, this might be true. unfortunately, it’s not working out so well for me these days.

(it could work out for me if i were able to overlook an 18 year age difference, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story. if only i were ten years younger…)

but i do, i do give a fuck!

in honor of ‘i don’t give a fuck day’ on facebook, here’s a link. check it out if you want to. or not. i really don’t give a fuck.

(actually, i do give a fuck, and that’s my problem. i care too much about things i can do little or nothing about. and that’s one reason why my rsvp for this event on facebook was a ‘maybe’. i probably do give a fuck, which is why i will be up at 6 am on a saturday morning trying to sell some of my shit in a yard sale. if i didn’t give a fuck, why would i even bother? the other reason i chose ‘maybe’ was that perhaps tomorrow morning i’ll wake up and really won’t give a fuck. not likely, but it could happen. so, i’ll play along, either way, because of my need, as a 46-year-old nerdy woman of color, to be with the in crowd for once.)

peripherally related, i use the word actually way too much (see the beginning of the previous paragraph), in writing and in conversation. maybe to break myself of that habit, instead of writing or saying ‘actually’, i’ll start saying ‘well fuck…’ it could work: ‘well fuck, i do give a fuck…’ i’ve tested it out in my head in other instances when i’ve caught myself using ‘actually’, and it worked then too. of course i couldn’t do it at work and other places where i might want to appear somewhat professional. the main downside would be that i’d be dropping the f-bomb more than i already do. i don’t have a problem with f-bombs, unless it seems that’s all you know how to say. and my saying ‘well fuck’ all the time might put me into that category of seeming to have a ghetto-esque vocabulary. so we shall see. (and i think the fact that i used the made up phrase ‘ghetto-esque vocabulary’ might prove that my vocabulary is not ghetto-esque.)

i use parentheses too much also. as a matter of fact, at one point i thought of renaming this blog ‘parenthetical thoughts’ but that name was actually already taken. well fuck.