Sweet Daydreams

 I have always sought to create another world.  A fantastic place of harmony and enchantment where dreams come alive.

Time stands still in the multiverse of my imagination.  Colors deepen and take on a vivid hue.  All is one and right and the atmosphere is steeped in loving peace and understanding. A wondrous a place comes into view.  I have been here before and every time I visit it becomes more beautiful.

It is a place where

 vines of crimson and gold grow over ancient  walls.  Ruins of stone spires shoot crazily out of a dense forest of deep green.   The sun is bright and warm and has just begun to fill the sky.  I take in a deep breath of the cool breeze coming from the west. The air holds the promise of the day.  It is a bright spring morning filled with fresh wonder.     

Rolling hills of emerald, soft and mossy give way to sweet-smelling apple orchards sprinkled with tiny white blossoms.  The warm spring rain tickles my eyelids and caresses my face.

I walk down a slate path into a soft misty velvet wood..  Sunbeams dance and play with shadows in the whispering breeze. Scarlet tipped hummingbirds dart through the leaves of the trees drinking in the honeysuckle nectar of the tall pineapple sage.

 I delight in the riotous songs of a forest full of life.  Flowers of a million hues dot the landscape.  Tiny white butterflies flutter and frolic among them. Visiting each one in a true perfection of form.  

The sun rises high in the sky of deep cerulean and cotton white.  I lie in the grass and gaze up in wonderment, not a care in the world….My mind begins to wander and the hours drift away…in senseless abandon… and dream a dream inside a dream….

Sweet Dreams    Strawberryindigo.

 

The power of magical thinking

Imagine the future, I dare you to look the future right in the face.  Imagine yourself 10 years from now….try to imagine.  Pretend you are gazing into a mirror, what do you see?

Are you pleased or petrified?  Does the future you envision make you feel happy and secure or does your future vision scare the wits out of you? Just being a rational person in this crazy world is enough to scare the toughest of us. There is no shame in fear.  Most of us do fear the unknown and the future is jam-packed full of the unknown.  While we have no control over future events, we have power over how we deal with them.  We have control over ourselves, more than some people believe.

What it takes is belief and the rest is easy.

I call it Magical Thinking and it is powerful.

It has changed me personally, profoundly.  Where once I walked in darkness, I now sing proudly in the light.  I have found magic in this simple thing, this simple belief. 

But it is more than a belief, it is much more.   It is a way of looking at the world.  It gives you control over your own destiny because you have that control.  The key is to conquer yourself. That, I believe is the hardest thing anyone can do.

I have spent much of my life in the shadows; shy, withdrawn, silent and lonely.  My self-esteem hit rock bottom and my only solace lie in the cold unforgiving brown glass of a beer bottle. I had a dark night of the soul, well… quite a number of them.  I looked at myself objectively for the first time and I couldn’t stand the sight of me.  How had I fallen so low?  More importantly, how do I crawl my way out?  I had all the reason in the world because by then I had 2 small kids and they needed me.

I needed to be strong for them. For the first time in my life I had to be strong for someone else even when I couldn’t be strong for myself.  I had no one to help me and so I began to help myself.  

I started slow.  I started to tell myself good things about me, even when I had to make things up.  I would set up little challenges for myself and then I would literally pat me on the back for a job well done.  I consumed the knowledge of a growing pile of books. I filled in some gaps and smoothed out my rough edges. 

You are stronger than you think.

I convinced myself of my self-worth and I started to actually like me for the first time ever.  The magical thinking continued.  I finally quit a twenty year drinking habit.  I became more confident and more capable all the while telling myself “Yes, you can.” The more and more I believed the stronger I became.

I started to meditate and through visualization I found that I had more control over my life than I ever thought possible.  I found that often in life you get what you expect and positive thinking can go a long way.  It is we who shape our future by what we are today.  We are all connected and we influence each other enormously.  A kind word or deed may come back to you in ways you’d never imagine.

It is magic and it is ready for the taking. All you need to do is believe. The more you practice it, the easier it gets and the more effective it becomes.  

  I believe that words can hold magic, the following words are a perfect example…..

“Your beliefs become your thoughts

Your thoughts become your words

Your words become your actions

Your actions become your habits

Your habits become your values

Your values become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi *******************

Have a magical day!     Strawberryindigo.

 

Sick

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S I C K... A RANT By Strawberryindigo…

This is usually the magical time of the year when one or both of my kids bring home from school something they did not take there; this comes as the form of a virus that if not carefully contained infects the entire household.

It all starts with a cough, just one, then another and another. The coughs get deeper and deeper.  I know, MM knows, we look at each other..”Oh no, not again.”  We know the drill, It happens every year, flu shot or not.

We are lucky enough to work at home so it is no problem keeping our kids in when they are sick.    This year it was my daughter who first fell victim.  I kept her home for 4 days.  She rested, took in lots of fluids and basically sat around waiting to get better.

On the morning of her last sick day I received a phone call from the school. To my surprise it was the school psychologist. She inquired about my daughter’s state of health.  I told her that my she had been ill but that she was “getting better and that she would be returning the next school day”.  The psychologist then, in a breezy offhand manner told me that “something was going around”… and then she became way too serious when she said that my daughter had stayed out longer than anyone else.

I was a bit surprised.  4 days?  This warrants a call from the school psychologist?

I said what she wanted to hear and  somehow I felt that I had barely passed some test of hers.  We said our goodbyes and the next day I sent my still coughing daughter to school.

The words of the psychologist echoed in my mind and the more I thought about it the angrier I became.  I thought back to the beginning of the year to a speech given by the Principal during Back to School Night.  She was bragging up the school’s achievements from last year and justifiably so. My daughter’s school is fantastic, it is one of the best  in the city and we are lucky to be able to have our daughter attend it.

It was something she said specifically about the school’s attendance record…”which was and still is…award-winning”?

Did I hear correctly?  The schools compete with attendance records, the ones with the fewest absences “win”.  What do they win?  The winning school and apparently the winning principal get bragging rights, which I say are well deserved… but in hindsight I can’t help but wonder if the school is a bit over-zealous in their commitment to achieve perfect attendance.

I thought of my daughter and all the make up work she must do just to catch up.  I think of all the valuable school days missed.  School is important and the quality of her education suffers when she must miss school because of illness.  However, I think my daughter’s health and the health of all the people in the school are more important than an attendance record.  It seems that this prevalent attitude among the schools fosters a climate that encourages families to send their sick children to school where they infect others…and the cycle continues.

It is amazing how one small seemingly insignificant action or non-action can affect so many.  One properly sick child can infect a roomful of people and through that action can affect so many more.  We are all connected, even in sickness.

I realise that many people have to work and have no choice but to send their sick kids to school as well as coming to work with obvious illness themselves.   Maybe an attitude adjustment would be appropriate for bosses and the bosses of bosses as well. Maybe an attitude adjustment for everyone, public school systems too.

We all know firsthand that sick people are not at their best and do not perform well, at school or on the job.  Sick people make more sick people.  This seems to have a snowball effect; making more people perform at sub par. It also turns people off.  When the teller at the bank sneezes on my money or the grocery clerk coughs all over my celery, I’m turned off.

What I’m trying to say, in a long-winded round-about way, trying not to offend anyone but I need to say, really plead….You. (you know who you are) If you are sick and you are able to, please stay home. If your child is sick, try to keep him or her at home, If you can’t do that please wash your hands and do what you can not to infect everyone.

And in a personal note to one school psychologist; keeping my daughter home when she is ill is a consideration to you as well as everyone else.

And so to everyone: Have a great and healthy day!  Strawberryindigo.

Sign of the Times

Great Depression: man dressed in worn coat lyi...

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Here I am sitting at this cheap plastic ash ridden table in front of my local chain supermarket.  I am writing in one of my famous spiral notebooks and drinking a grande black coffee while people watching.  This is, believe it or not, the perfect place for such an endeavor.

This is not my usual hangout, nor is it likely I will return. I’m growing fond of going to such strange but typical places to write.  At these places I can soak up the atmosphere and get a taste of a new perspective I wouldn’t have had otherwise. 

All sorts of people have been passing through the double doors to my right; a cross-section of humankind.  We are all different but we have much in common, like our need for food, and food shopping and how this damn economy is screwing us.

..and as a certain Mr. Dylan said…”..the times they are a-changin’…” 

 They see it, I see it.  It’s all around.  It’s the sign of the times and the signs are showing…more trash in the streets and buildings and streets in disrepair, the forlorn empty businesses, the foreclosed homes…..the homeless.  The face of homelessness is changing in our country. 

Before this economic doom and gloom, the homeless were usually people with severe emotional problems such as mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse.  Now there are families under the proverbial bridge, children, elderly.  People like you and I.  It seems wave after wave of hardships hit the beach.  All you can do is hang on and hope for the best.

I see the signs of high unemployment in the streets, in the parks, the railway station.  Everywhere.  Groups of young men in their twenties roaming around with backpacks and bedrolls.  They are short on opportunity and short on money, everything but time.

I see people with suitcases, your average American, huddled in corners with looks of bewilderment.  Some fall asleep sitting up at bus stops, all their belongings held tight against them, sheltering them from the chill night air.

This is the new face of homelessness. 

I see them, all these poor people trying to blend in, trying to not look homeless.   And what about the people two steps away from it?  

I could easily be one of them and it scares the hell out of me.

I intended this post to be a rant type post because when I started writing it, I was mad as hell.  Angry with our government, with corporate greed and just plain old-fashioned human stupidity.  I still am just as angry, but now upon reflection, I find that I am more afraid than anything else.

Afraid of what the future may bring, afraid of the dark unknown.  I think many people are afraid of the same things and this economy and the state of this crazy world have people white-knuckled terrified.

We were all brought up on tales of “The Great Depression.”  Pictures of Dust-bowl Oakies with dirty faces and vacant stares haunt the pages of old schoolbooks in my memory. We were taught to fear depressions, recessions and bank collapses…..

….It’s the sign of the times and here we are again and how it can ever get back to “normal” is beyond me. 

..so for now I’ll sit awhile and enjoy my coffee. Then appreciate the hell out of everything I can and hold on for dear life.

Wishing you blue skies

Strawberryindigo.

Love Thy Neighbor?

Love

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I saw a scene today.   It was a small moment, a common everyday boring kind of moment but it changed me and the way I will view people and life in general from now on.

The woman down the street, my neighbor and “Nemesis”, Mrs. Wheatgrass. A person I have written of before. A neurotic, stressed out person who reminds me of sun-baked straw.   If you have not yet heard of Mrs. Wheatgrass, you will.  She is a story and a half unto herself.

Today though I saw Mrs. Wheatgrass in a different light…

A pest control truck in the neighborhood is a dreaded sight indeed and when I saw the sight earlier today, I felt a small panic.  YIKES! Pests!  The bright green truck, with the environmental message on the side looked nice, and responsibly green and expensive. It was parked in front of the Wheatgrass house.

I laughed a little laugh as I imagined high-strung and snooty Mrs. Wheatgrass on a chair screaming down at a mouse. Or worse.

..And speak of the Devil…there she was.  She was walking the pest guy to his pest truck.  She did not look happy. She looked majorly stressed out.  Her straw-colored hair was practically standing on end as she listened to the pest guy talk.  He kept pointing to her roof and every time he did she looked sicker and sicker.

By the time he got to the shoulder shrugging portion at the end, she appeared frantically frazzled.  For a moment I felt glee.  A little part of me felt happy at her misfortune.  I hate to admit it but that is what happened. 

It didn’t feel right and as I said it lasted but a moment but that was enough. I started to think back…where had we gone wrong?  I remember when we first spied each other, the day she moved in 6 years ago.  It was like a scene out of a spaghetti western, I could swear I heard the music genius of Ennio Morricone in the background.   She walked past and we just stared at each other, not a word was uttered. We just stared. 

I guess I should have welcomed her to the neighborhood. I really have no excuse. I could say that I suffer from social phobia or that it’s not wise to talk to strangers; both are true but honestly, I think it was because of the way she looked at me.  She made me feel uncomfortable standing on my own front porch.  Her thin lips curled up in a sneer.  I couldn’t help but feel that I had wronged her in some way.

We eventually spoke and over the years and have had some strange conversations.  She likes to approach me with her odd and neurotic household problems and I think she expects me to have all the answers.

When I don’t have the insight she wants she turns on me and a whole new round of snubs and snide remarks begin.  I know this sounds paranoid, but once in a while I get these strange looks from her family.  I think she talks about me to them, I just get these vibes.

All this makes me feel bad.  I don’t want to be her friend.   I am Strawberryindgo, she is Mrs. Wheatgrass.  We have nothing in common…..I do however hate the mean looks she gives me.  I have feelings.

It’s easy to be nice to someone who likes you….on the other hand…it’s not difficult at all to hate someone back who hates you first.  It’s natural, its human nature.  I tried to justify how I felt.

Why should I care if she has something nesting in her roof? So what?  If her roof is falling apart and I know she needs a new one and can’t afford it. She has never been nice to me and makes snide remarks to me whenever she can.

I know if she saw me in the same situation as she is now, she would have no sympathy for me. I know she would use the occasion to come over and grill me, she is that type. It seems more and more people these days are that type.  It’s like they are waiting for an excuse to “take it out on someone else.”  They take pleasure in others misfortune and feed on negativity.  I don’t want to be like them. I refuse to be like them!

It was at that moment I realised that I must be stronger than any negativity that Mrs. Wheatgrass or anyone else could throw at me. Maybe if I look deep inside myself I can find some sympathy for one such as she although she has none for me.

Niceness begets niceness and hatred begets hatred.  It is difficult to turn the tide, but now I see the importance in trying. If I can’t get along with my bitchy neighbor, who can get along in this world?  

Although she doesn’t know it, Mrs. Wheatgrass taught me a lesson today.  I don’t think I could actually ever “love” her nor do I think I could even like her, she is after all, Mrs. Wheatgrass.  But I will try my damnest…..

….and so this brings me to a quote by “Tricky Dick” and how fitting….

“Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”

Richard M. Nixon (1974)

Have a great day!   Strawberryindigo.

  

We the People

Occupy Wallstreet 10-5-2011

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I have been watching with more than just a casual interest, the events unfolding in the streets of many cities across the United States.

It has been building for some time but this public vein has only just opened up recently, about three weeks or so ago, in New York City.

The Occupy Wall Street movement started there but it has spread like wildfire, now to my city as well as many others.  I’ve never  witnessed such a formation of people happen in such this way before.

I have heard many opinions on the phenomena, from television pundits, to neighbors and friends to the crackpots on the street corner.  Everyone has a take on it and everyone has it right on the money.  Again this is new to me, all this agreement.

We have much in common; We the people, We angry 99%.  The American dream, that long gone ideal that’s been shoved down our throats now seems like an impossibility. Our whole way of life is threatened and it’s like nothing will ever be the same.  We are on the losing end of a golden age and we can all feel it.

People are angry and confused.  They feel helpless.  All this marching, this “occupying” is at least something.  We elected a new president who promised us change.  We thought this new president would end the wars, we thought this new president would make us great again.  This new president is too much like the old president.

We elected him. As we have elected all the rest of them.  It is hard to swallow, but in that aspect we deserve them.  It is our system that elects those with the best sound bites and the most money.  It is the system we must change.

Marching will only get us so far, we all know.. but what else can we do?  We the People are at a crossroads and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

I see it in the faces, the desperate faces from all walks of life, marching in solidarity. this is a powerful thing, this unity.  Knowing you are not the only one effected by all this decline, this decay. In this way I think that all the marching has been good for the collective national soul.

This movement is in its infancy and without leadership it may die a premature death.    Never before have I witnessed such potential power in a group of people.

It is a shame that this power has no leadership.  We are in search for a leader once again, We are searching for someone to represent us, to speak for us; We The People, and not just the 99% but all 100%.

I don’t know how this all will play out.  Only time will tell…..

…and that reminds me of this quote:

“Waste no time with revolutions that do not remove the causes of your complaints but simply change the faces of those in charge.”

Francesco Guicciardini (1530)

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

For more revolutionary quotes; go to my FRESH QUOTES page

Viva la revolution!   StrawberryIndigo.

A slippery slope

Slippery Slope

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I find myself at a place in the road that requires concentration lest I fall off the side and into the mud.  I am learning that this writing “business” contains layers and facets that I am not well versed in.

Call it the human side of writing. The personal side.  The side that comes out at 3 a.m. on one of those long nights of the soul. That is a precious commodity.  It’s the voice, the one that whispers to me and then eventually screams.

It is this thing that I believe to be at the very core of artistic endeavor, it is carnal and raw but honest.  It can be ugly or scary or beautiful.  It is essential, it is like breath, but it is easily lost and with its loss comes a loss of ones true nature.

I have always prided myself an independent thinker. A person who went against the common tide and came up with my own unique take.  I’ve been wrong many times but I have always been true to myself and others.  I’m bull-headed but honest, I’m flawed but pure….

….It’s a slippery slope and it is easy to slide…..

I thought I had this quality in spades and my ego grew like a big fat balloon. This honesty I have always prided myself on, this writing from the heart was lost yesterday. I stopped listening to my heart.  I lost myself on the side of the road. I spilled my integrity all over the street and now I have mud all over me.

Saturday I sent out a post that was not up to my standards or anyone else’s for that matter. This fluff piece about a movie is garbage.  I am not qualified to write anything on the subject of movies, nor do I want to be qualified.   Just because I like a movie doesn’t mean I should expect anyone to read such insignificant tripe. I apologise to you and myself for this.

I was not being true to either one of us.  I am truly sorry. I promise that I will never write any such thing again.

From now on it’s just me.  No crappy junk, no compromise, no dumbing down, all the strange pages of weird stuff are going and I will just concentrate on what I do best.

 

Thanks for listening.  Strawberryindigo.

Harold and Maude and me

Cover of the Harold and Maude video, with lead...

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Harold and Maude is a hilarious black comedy from the Seventies.  It stars Bud Cort as Harold and Ruth Gordon as  Maude. 

It has slowly reached cult status since its release  in 1971.  I first saw this excellent film back in the mid eighties at a run down theatre on the south side of town.

This was a favor to a friend, I wasn’t the type to go see old movies about weird-looking bug-eyed dudes and old ladies.  I went for the company and the popcorn, nothing more.

I left that sticky theatre a bit altered.  From then on, Harold and Maude has remained on my list of all time favorite movies.  It is totally worth watching.

Harold (Bud Cort) is 20 and obsessed with death and freaking out his mom. (Vivian Pickles)  His theatrical suicides set up just for her benefit are some of the funniest scenes in the movie.  It is not called a black comedy for nothing.  

Harold meets Maude (Ruth Gordon) through their common love of going to stranger’s funerals.  Maude is 79 and a total trip.  Harold is pale and full of death, Maude is full of life.  They instantly click and a strange but wonderful relationship develops between the two. 

Maude teaches Harold and us all how to age with some gusto and  how to live life to its fullest.  It looks somewhat dated but the message is timeless. Cat Stevens, when he was still Cat Stevens, provides the music that sends this movie over the top and really makes it excellent.

This superb movie introduced me to the late Ruth Gordon who was a gem of an actress and a terrific role model.  She had quite a history as a writer as well.  Look for her in Rosemary’s Baby, she totally steals the movie. I want to be just like her when I grow up!

Harold and Maude in my opinion is one of the best movies ever made. You should check it out. It is Totally Worth Watching.

Harold and Maude (1971) Directed by Hal Ashby. starring Bud Cort, Ruth Gordon, Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack.  Screenplay by Colin Higgins.

Have a great day!       Strawberryindigo.