2/27/2006

God Bless and Godspeed

Gladys shares the passing of Octavia Butler

I had hoped to meet her one day, since she lived relatively close by...perhaps in the Next Place.

2/23/2006

Got Junk?

Today's Starbuck's Coffee cup reads:

It's difficult for people to get rid of junk. They get attached to things and let them defind who they are. If there's one thing I've learning in this business, it's that you are what you can't let go of.
-- Brian Scudamore, Founder/CEO
1-800-GOT-JUNK

We moved into our present house about a year and a half ago, and like most folks I imagine, we managed to get all the stuff we absolutely needed into the house, then stored the rest in the garage. Seemed like a good plan at the time, until we found mice and mice in our part of the world can mean hanta virus.

So then set in the shock and denial, and we've been avoiding the garage for over a year, my Hubby the only one adventurous enough to go in to retrieve the lawn mower on those odd, dry days when we can get to trimming the lawn.

Finally after a couple of attempts at getting enough time to actually deal with The Garage, Hubby took a week off work to tuck into the project. He was very concerned that since he was doing this without me, he'd inadvertently dispose of something that I dearly wanted. It had happened before during a previous move - an entire box of manuscript notes and my 35mm camera somehow got tossed in the trash. I'd had one of my 'sinking feelings' and pawed through the bin just before it got hauled away. I managed to salvage the camera, but the notes were so spread out and mucked up, there was no getting them back. I was inconsolable. I couldn't know for sure what I had lost.

We made a plan - if it could be cleaned then it would be kept. Anything questionable but likely unsalvagable would be saved until I could get home to take a peek.

When I got home last night he told me that the majority of the stuff he'd found so far were well packaged books and keepsakes, and the only thing he really threw out was packing material left over from the move. We were both relieved that at least for now, it doesn't look like we lost much to the mice incident.

I hate moving. I hate having to face all the stuff I accumulate for "just in case" or "when I get time." Of paths not taken, dreams unfulfilled, hopes half germinated then left to moulder. It's such a fragmenting, fragmented feeling. And I hate it.

I yearn to have it all integrated, all have cohesive meaning and purpose, all remembered and honored. Not just stuffed in boxes for "later."

I guess, then, that what I can't let go of is who I was and who I wished I had become.

Yesterday I Realized

Without my family, I cannot do my art.

Without my art, I cannot take care of my family.

******

Now I just need to figure out how to pay my bills, so I can do my art and take care of my family.

2/21/2006

Meme-age

Often when life is flying by faster than my hands can type and my mind can form story, I find myself playing with memes. I find them oddly reassuring and soothing...

Gakked from Gura

Your Brain's Pattern

Your brain is always looking for the connections in life.
You always amaze your friends by figuring out things first.
You're also good at connecting people - and often play match maker.
You see the world in fluid, flexible terms. Nothing is black or white.

2/17/2006

Karma Chameleon

My iMac died about two months ago - video card just started failing. Due to economics, I've had to replace it with a second hand PC I bought from work after a recent upgrade of all the computers. After twenty years of faithful Mac use, I look forward to a day when I can get a Mac again.

I admit, I'm a bit disturbed that the new Macs will now have Intel chips. I talked with another diehard Mac-user who bought the best of the line that still had a Motorola chip the day they announced the release of the Intel Macs. He said it would be his last Mac and he hoped it would endure. The idea of having an Intel Mac was to him heresy.

Unfortunately, I have already been unfaithful, but I was saddened to hear about the change. I was bouyed, then, when Hubby brought this article to my attention.

“Apple confirmed Thursday it has included such a warning in its Intel-based computers since it started selling them in January.

The embedded poem reads:

"Your karma check for today:
There once was a user that whined
his existing OS was so blind
he'd do better to pirate
an OS that ran great
but found his hardware declined.
Please don't steal Mac OS!
Really, that's way uncool.
(C) Apple Computer, Inc."



The rhyme is poor and the meter uneven, but the heart of it is still all Macintosh for me. So maybe it wouldn't be so bad...once I can afford one again.

In other news, pot outstrips cherries in ag production for my state. My hubby worries that we'll now see a rise in snowboarder immigration.

Dude...we need more twinkies.

2/13/2006

Blarghhh

Sick with a head cold. Hard to think. Too many good threads goin' round, though, and lots of hard/positive questions to answer.

Leny wants to know the shape of the US Post-80's New Age identity...

Perla gives tools and healing balm regarding my relationship to Mabuhay...

Cheryl asks me to define what I feel is and is not part of my Christian path as well as how my art and my vocation dovetail...

Not to mention all the stuff stirred by RavenDreaming and good old Coyote as I put together more pieces of the Writing Workshop/Decolonization Presentation...

A little more time...a little more rest... then all will be revealed...I hope.

2/06/2006

Seven Means of Healing

One of my projects is to learn as much as I can about the healing practices and spiritual path of the indigineous healers of the Philippines. It's a long process, but one that is very worthwhile thanks to the many others who are interested in learning more about the practices also.

Last Fall I had heard about seven different modalities of healing, but the terms were all in Tagalog and I couldn't find good definitions. That is, until now.

This article notes:

Hilot is just one small part of the Filipino traditional healing method. There are other healing modalities that Tan pointed out and these include the paligo (that rinsing bath filled with leaves and flowers believed to have healing properties), the oslob (steam inhalation from infusions of air-dried aromatic medicinal herbs), dinalisay (decoctions of a mixture of indigenous medicinal herbs), kisig galing (biomagnetic energy healing), unang lana (virgin coconut oil), tapik kawayan (tapping of thin bamboo sticks to affected parts for circulation and releasing of energy blocks), among others.

It seems, then, that kising galing is the Filipino equivalent to Reiki.

*big grin*happy dance*

Cultural Sustainability

I've had this idea rolling around my head the last few days: Cultural Sustainability.

Living in the Northwest, we see a lot of stuff calling for Sustainability. It's a buzz word really, meant to invoke a grass roots effort to resist the barrage of products and services designed to make a select few wealthy while stripping the land of its resources. It's about recycling, reusing, reducing. It's about doing more with less. It's about supporting local small businesses rather going to Big Box stores for items. It's about making healthy choices in our personal lives and supporting healthier choices in our government policies.

Recently Since Sliced Bread announced the winners of their recent contest to find the best ideas in the US. Focused on the economy, SSB states:

Since Sliced Bread is a national call for fresh, common sense ideas. A call for ideas that will strengthen our economy and improve the day-to-day lives of working men and women and their families. It’s also a place where ordinary Americans and experts alike can discuss the important economic issues of our times.

The recent winner received $100,000 to develop his idea on imposing a “resource tax” on pollution, development, and fossil fuel to pay for development of renewable energy and environmental restoration.

So in messing with my earlier idea of Compassionate Activism, I came up with the possiblity of supporting Cultural Sustainability. Commpassionate Activism is the active part of Cultural Sustainablity. By focusing on sustaining culture, respecting and celebrating the spaces we all come from, we can move more effectively to be Compassionate Activists - activists able to do what The University of Bradford calls for:

Confronting Inequality : Celebrating Diversity.

I mentioned this idea at the local storytellers guild I hope to join and a member was intrigued by the possiblities presented by the concept. I realized then that I didn't have a really solid grasp on the topic, so I did what I always do, I Googled it. There is little on the topic, but what I did find was promising.

Most of what I found centered around Sustainability as a concept - one that is usually contextualized in relation to local economy and the environment.

The Washington Department of Ecology states:

At its most basic level, sustainable means "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This is Ecology's working definition of sustainability.

Northwest Policy Institute (University of Washington Graduate School of Public Affairs Seattle, Washington USA) as quoted by Sustainable Measures states:

"Sustainable communities foster commitment to place, promote vitality, build resilience to stress, act as stewards, and forge connections beyond the community"

While Sustainable Measures itself states:

There may be as many definitions of sustainability and sustainable development as there are groups trying to define it. All the definitions have to do with:

*Living within the limits
*Understanding the interconnections among economy, society, and environment
*Equitable distribution of resources and opportunities


Wikipedia's entry

Sustainability is a systemic concept, relating to the continuity of economic, social, institutional and environmental aspects of human society. It is intended to be a means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society, its members and its economies are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals indefinitely. Sustainability affects every level of organization, from the local neighborhood to the entire planet.

In Australia, the concept already has a presence. The City of Marion in the southwestern region of Australia gives the following definition and promotes programs which exemplify the practice:

cultural sustainability: developing, renewing and maintaining human cultures that create positive, enduring relationships with other peoples and the natural world.

There is even a checklist to evaluate cultural sustainability here.

In addition, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel has Cultural Sustainability in their mandate:

We call our initiative "Cultural Education <> Cultural Sustainability" (CE<>CS). CE<>CS refers to the educational efforts of groups to sustain their socio-historical heritage in the face of globalizing or nationalizing assimilatory power or other hegemonic homogenizing forces.

It's not surprising that the US has very little attention in Cultural Sustainability. The US already has a cultural lock on the world, in many ways, but it is a very constrained culture that is being disseminated and imposed. It lacks, much like the rest of the US economic system, the flexibility and diversity that sustainable cultures possess and as such, will likely suffer the same fate as its economic counterpart - a burgeoning debt ratio and fear-based policy making which create systems of oppression in an escalating and perpetual manner.

By focusing on the celebration and sharing of cultures and cultural traditions in a respectful (ie. non-aquisitive manner) the social structure of a given community is strengthened in the same way that the strength of local businesses decreases the impact of Big Box economy and creates a real-time economy based on equitible trade, rather than debt, either on the part of the consumer or on the producer/distributor.

Every action we take is in direct response to a conscious and/or unconscious understanding of how the world around us works. The aware person works toward understanding their own viewpoint, creating a direct link between their actions and their priorities. By making cultural sustainability the focus of our actions, Compassionate Activism has a frame within which great changes can be made in our communities.

For myself, this means supporting the efforts of the storytellers guild in gathering, archiving, and performing the stories of the people in my county. I hope that in the research I can find and perform the stories of the Filpinos and Indo Pinos that have lived and contributed to the community I live in.

2/03/2006

Eeek! I'm It!

I've been tagged by Ver And yeah, I'm feelin' pretty cooooool about it.

Three books I can read over and over (as many of you know by now):

1) Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Richard Bach)
2) Moonheart (Charles DeLint)
3) Green Grass, Running Water (Thomas King

Three places I've lived:
1) Federal Way, WA
2) Moscow, ID
3) Punahou District, Honolulu, HI

Three TV shows I love:
1) House
2) First Book of Daniel
3) Mythbusters

Three highly regarded and recommended TV shows that I've never watched a single minute of:
1) O.C (really)
2) Lost (no really)
3) 24 (yeah, I'm serious)

Three places I've vacationed:
1) Calapan, Oriental Mindoro
2) Juneau, AK
3) Black Hills, SD

Three of my favorite dishes:
1) Bangus and Fried Rice
2) Salmon Sinigang
3) Prawn Sushi

Three sites I visit daily:
1) Pearls Before Swine (comic)
2) Google
3) Comcast.net

Three places I would rather be right now:
1) Daly City, CA (with someone from my blogring so I'd know what to see/do)
2) My own office/studio doing my heart projects
3) Village Books reading

I hereby tag:

1) Chie
2) Sky
3) Ernesto

Overheard

"Officials said that water pistols would do just as well as karate."

Isn't that just the /best/ line? It just /begs/ for a backstory.

I took a fiction writing class once where the instructor had us carry around a batch of index cards with us all the time, so we could jot down interesting lines we overheard during our day.

Then each week, we would throw these cards into a hat and randomly pick one out as the basis for a story. It was incredibly fun and energizing. I once wrote a flash fiction piece based on the form of the Nutrition Information box found on foods and the line

"It fell between the crabs."

So, if you post me a flash piece with the water pistol line in it, along with your email, I'll backchan the /real/ story behind the line.

2/01/2006

Change of Pace

Was thrown a bit of a loop this last week while putting together my talk for the women’s conference next month. I was stuck trying to figure out how to compress 400+ years of Filipino colonial history into, say, three minutes, when I get an email from the organizer saying that they’d formalized the program.

It was a bit startling to see 3:50-5:30 Workshop Session 5 – Writing Workshop on the agenda. In my earlier conversations with the coordinator, I thought we were talking about me speaking on decolonization and my experience with the process. I had a very elaborate idea of how to present identity in relationship to story and symbol, and how, through the magic of semiology, a person could rewrite their future. There was going to be a slide presentation with alibata and other symbols superimposed on photographs my friend in Texas was to provide. It was going to be about an hour long. In my mind it was perfect and inspiring and all that sort of jazz that happens when I get too deep in my head. But of all things, it was going to be all talk. Me talking. Me storytelling. Me.

Ha! As we used to say back in the day – the Universe had other plans. Now, writing workshops I can do. I’ve taught the classes. I’ve got the notes and handouts. I can do the exercises and guide the meditations. But I really, really want to do the new stuff, the decolonization stuff. So...a new layer of complexity has been added and it’s made me stop and blink a bit, but I’m still really looking forward to giving this talk, ne’ workshop, ne’ Thing That Reb Does.

I think I’ll begin with a Leny’s Language Lessons, from A Book of Her Own:

Tao Po! I am a human being.

By declaring our humanity, we contextualize ourselves as having value, of being equal, as being not just worth recognition, but also honor in a spiritual sense. To be human is to recognize the layers of being – mind, heart, body, soul – both in self and in other.

Tuloy! Come into my sanctuary. Come into my space. Come into my awareness. Come into my heart.

Kumain ka na ba? Have you eaten? Do you need sustenance? How can I support you? What do you need that I can share?

Kumusta ka na? How have you been? How is your heart? What is happening in your world? Let us share our truth and experience here and now.

Halika na? Let’s go! Come with me. Come with us. Join us. Be one with us.

Writing as an act of Compassionate Activism. Honoring what we know, honoring what others share, and building respect through stories. Creating a Sustainable Culture.