Earth Day, 2011 aka Retirement Month: Seven/Eight aka 52 Weeks

The Bromeliad I got when I began 52 Weeks to Awesome is still alive! And that's Awesome!

I distinctly remember where I was on the first Earth Day in 1970. Topanga Canyon, a mild, sunny day; listening to the coverage on NPR and thinking how great it was to be a gypsy musician hanging out in the canyons loving the Earth. It was also in 1970 that a wildfire threatened our little canyon which prompted one of my earliest-published poems. That might be putting too grandiose a cover on it--it was a college underground newspaper. Ah, the 70's. Especially after those heady 60's.

And that somehow brings me to fear. The universe has thrown some clear directions to pay attention. People I trust have blogged about fear. 52 Weeks is into fear evolving into self-trust. Ryan talked about it and we sang about it last Friday and Saturday. Mark Silver, Havi Brooks, shoot, a big stack of writers are talking about it in this particular nexus of time.

The hard fact is that we have not been treating our Mother Earth or Our Own Sweet Selves very well at all. I look back in my mind's eye to 1970 and the urgent destruction we knew we were headed for. Forty-one years later and I despair for the time we've lost. I never dreamed back then that we would let it get this bad. Let Earth Day remind us that we need to take care of our earth's resources, including ourselves, every day.

The fear thing. Looking back through the Retirement posts, I'm reminded of what stark terror feels like. And have gained the space to be curious about it. Examine it. See what I can find out or learn about it. And if it's not working for me, banish it. Poof.

Here it is post-tax day and I'm not a bag lady. So what if Teacher Retirement and Social Security don't even cover monthly expenses? Working smaller gigs has been fun rather than work, so no complaints about that. Not to mention meeting new people, which always sparks my brain. I can finally let go of that ghastly vision of me pushing a grocery cart under the bridges and along the creeks of Austin, living with the stray cats and dogs. Yeah, I really thought I'd end up that way. Not this year, though.

Kyeli (as we begin Module the Second of 52 Weeks to Awesome in which we learn to work through fear (!) and trust ourselves), reminded me of mindfulness, talking about hurting her knee and having to slow down a bit. Running a cognitive behavioral thought record through when that old fear creeps up my back. Is this a familiar or even a friendly fear? when I get that gut feeling that I should absolutely NOT do something...but I do it anyway, and learn, once again, that we ignore our instincts at our own risk.

If we've already come to some agreement, I just smile, wave, and move on. I can go incognito and walk around a new fear for quite some time, just hanging in a safe place, watching. That's what I was doing with this bag lady fear, until folks started showing up with new ways to think about and deal with fear. Bam, bam, bam, one right after another.

Singing about it was surely the most helpful this time around. Yeah, life is messy, all stuck together with wars and greedy, uncaring people and governments. Flow with it. Turn whatever you touch into the most hopeful, compassionate experience you can. Sunday's concert took place right across the street from the ACC-Pinnacle wildfire. I could look out the entryway and see the plumes of smoke rising overhead. I felt not one pang of panic--not one iota of distraction. Oddly enough, I think I was inspired to sing even better. Pumping healing vibrations and hopeful words directly into the fire, along with the helicopters overhead dumping flame retardant.

I have been through wildfires. You don't live in SoCal or Australia or Texas or any other dry environment without them running into you. So in a mangled way, my head mashed fear, wildfires, Earth Day, nostalgia, music, retirement, and a bunch of bright bloggers all into one messy post. 

Speaking of messes, The Great Unmessing of 2011 is galloping along, thanks to Bonnie. Fifteen + boxes emptied, car packed full of stuff to give away, rough plans for space usage, the rugs are even washed. I am loving it big time. Next project: take photos of stuff, both to sell and to archive. So many projects...

It's also sparked me to go walkies around the neighborhood.  Awesome.

The Randy Dude stats--read them and be totally awed.


Anonymous said...

Happy Saturday, KoKo!

"The Great Unmessing" ~ I love that project name! Can I borrow it?
I've got years-an-years worth of boxes and stuff to unmess. (I am making steady progress - even if I can't quantify it by 'how many boxes', I can definitely 'see' (and feel) the improvements.)

Today's mantra: "Spring IS coming! Spring IS coming!" 'Twas in the 40's again this week, in Chicago.

Have a great weekend! Karen

kokopelliwoman said...

Howdy, howdy! Wish we could ship some of this record heat to you.

You can absolutely use the project name! And thanks so much for the reminder about Sue Rasmussen and Bechtel for unmessing and giving myself permissions!