Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Seafest behind the scenes

Great white wings of tents like butterflies of impossible dimension on the lawn of Gorge Harbour Marina.  Lines of neighbors helping neighbors and new friends.  Movement and aroma and shifting colors everywhere. This is what I imagine Seafest to be like for those who attend, and for those who serve.

My experience is slightly different. 
The to-do list begins during the first week of April 
and picks up speed and pressure approaching THE day.

The day before Seafest begins quietly enough.  
Certainly someone needs to have instructions 
for how to assemble all those tent parts,

and it is amazing to discover 
how many baby bok choy fit in a 30 lb box,
 how long it takes to peel 5 lbs of mandarin oranges,
 and how sore hands can get dicing 24 English cucumbers.

Seafest seems to thrive on tradition, and a few years ago 
some beautiful island children entertained themselves
 drawing pictures on foamboard so Dad could help put up tents. 

The tradition lives on as new art becomes attached
 to the original drawings, even if some of its creators 
would rather eat the sharpies.

Everything transforms on Seafest morning, at 11:30, when the line
 of eager lunch guests start moving down the 76 feet of tables 
containing cooked and barbecued oysters, sauted prawns, 
steamed clams, artisan salad and garlic toast.

Probably only at a seafood festival would you find the sound man 
being accompanied by a plate of oysters atop the equipment.

The excellent music never seems to last long enough,

the cooks become a bit loopy,

and I focus on equipment more than on the crowds. 

What matters most is that everyone enjoys 
great food while being together in community.

And when it is over it is not over. 
My house looks like a distribution centre
for kitchen equipment;
and the memories make it a pleasure
to tidy a few dishes. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Praying for rain during climate change

I am so aware that the indications of the approaching climate change disaster here in coastal BC are stunningly trivial compared to what many geographical regions of the globe are already facing.

Still, it is difficult to watch our salal dying 
as it is such an iconic plant species on this Canadian coast. 

And the beaked and step moss are struggling, and losing, 
against a dry, cold winter and dry spring.

Water levels drop daily, and there is not enough water in the cisterns 
to spend it unwisely replenishing the ponds.  

As one of the Journey Oracle card stories says

my friend

this is how they are
there is not enough food
one of you has to go
there is not enough food
my friend

there is not enough food
survival of the species
my friend
one of you has to go


A strange poem that gives an unsettled feeling; 

everything is manifestation of causes and conditions, 
and we have caused this due to our
 conditional greed and delusion.   

So I think I will pray for rain.

But of course, Seafest is just a week away, and 600 people may want to come to a gourmet lunch in a fabulous oceanside setting with beautiful music to accompany their seafood delight.  But maybe not  if it rains. 

We humans are such a piece of work, I declare.   
How about rain soon but not on Saturday May 18? 
Is this conditional greed and delusion?

I think I'll send prayers of gratitude to be alive 
on such a beautiful, long-suffering Mother planet.
I learned this song many decades ago, and now it glows into my awareness:

The earth is my sister.
I love her daily grace, her silent daring,
and how loved I am.
All that we suffer, and all that we provide
and all that we know.
And I am struck by this beauty
and I do not forget,
what she is to me and what I am to her
The earth is my sister. 

The wind has shifted to the southeast.
Stirring a coolness along with the temple bells
outside the back door.
I think I go say thank you to whatever is coming.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Help making a difficult decision

The consequences of the decisions I make now will become the conditions that surround and shape my next decisions.  This is a fundamental understanding in Buddhist teaching, that everything is dependent for its origination on something else.  And now my difficult decision is about accepting an offer to work with a Buddhist teacher whose path and view are different than mine.

I am deciding to do a Journey Oracle card reading to help me understand the situation, and my experience surrounding this invitation.  Unlike many of the Journey Oracle readings that I share in this blog, I am going to do a one card reading for this topic to demonstrate how I sometimes use one oracle card instead of four when I work with the Journey Oracle. 

I love this card.  It is #22 in the Journey Oracle deck: the card representing Mystery.  How perfect for my one card reading.  I see a creature hanging upside down, perhaps a bird or bat, or maybe a spider. Brilliantly coloured rays move out to the rim from around the creature; the red ones are especially intense and out of focus.  This situation does have me feeling "upside down" with intense feeling tones.  This card is about finding truth, wisdom and has this message: a glimmering.


This situation began by being not the place.
The prevailing energy of this situation is warm from the south.
The core energy pattern of this situation is brilliant.
The Mother of this situation is helpful.
The Father of this situation is radiating warmth.

Your relationship to the prevailing energy is as a hunter.       
Your perception of the situation is unbound.
The impact of your perception is strong colors for protection.
The connection between the core energy pattern and the situation
 is felt as dance.
The momentum of this situation is fed by being a safe place.

These are the Oracle pronouncements about my situation.  I am especially drawn to the first and last: being not the place, and being a safe place. Even though the overall impression of the situation is quite warm, I think these capture my feelings of uncertainty and  caution. 

To do a one card oracle reading I now turn the card over and look at the other side. This image represents my experience in this situation.  How fuzzy and unclear is that! Do I say yes or no?  Am I curious or resistant?  Why does it matter?




my friend
this is how they are
there is not enough food
one of you has to go
there is not enough food
my friend

there is not enough food
survival of the species
my friend
one of you has to go


An exterior or support system for the situation is feathered edges.

These are the Oracle's statements about my experience.  The poem about the situation experienced gives me a sense of foreboding but nothing very specific to reflect upon.  However, the Exterior Support of feathered edges feels like it says it is important for me not to think of the situation in terms of opposites: yes/no, go/don't go but rather with a softer focus.

When using just one oracle card, I now turn the card back to the first side and re-look at the image, this time pondering the third aspect of a Journey Oracle reading: the change that is calling me. In the process of dancing the card back and forth I changed the orientation, and so this is my view.  What a peculiar hybrid creature--a bird and a spider (with a tail?) The expression is also quite compelling--detached yet aware, focused, quiet.  Now the many coloured rays seem to be coming from the creature itself as if these are changing views or energies.  


 The power needed to shift this situation will be a sound of a drum chant.
Change will come by being in a hard place.
Your relationship to the change in this situation is haunting.
The moment of letting go into the change will smell of lavender.
The concern to be avoided within this change will taste of water.

The wisdom of being a quiet place will empower the transformation.
Completed transformation will be felt as a quality of sunrise.


Are you happy here?         



These are the Oracle's statements about change in this situation.  I am especially caught by two  statements: of how change will come by being in a hard place, and of the wisdom of being a quiet place.  How profound is the notion of being a quiet place instead of being IN a quiet place. I can choose what teaching I receive, and how, and when.  

Again I turn the card to its other side and look into the image for insight about the resolution to my situation. I am startled to see a relationship between two bird forms, where when I first looked at this side of the card I only saw fuzzy pink, grey, and red.  

The first bird is large and posturing with its wing and body stance.  Seems quite dramatic.  

The second, smaller bird, perhaps something like a penguin, has a smile.   But you have to look closely for it, above the faint red line that traces the edge of the downward pointing beak. 

The Journey Oracle story that is part of this card's wisdom is about seeing what is loved.  When the teaching is true and the teacher is honest, it is possible to see what is loved--everywhere. 

A Journey Oracle fairy tale
A pair of robins built a nest outside a woman’s kitchen window. Back and forth the sleek, strong parents flew, and yet she did not much attend to the new life’s manifestation that might be curling inside that twiggy bowl. Then one day she saw a wee curving form and a flash of translucent orange greet an adult bird’s arrival. The gaping mouths wavering on rubbery stalks counted three, and from that moment the woman’s attention often rested on the little family.
The hatchlings grew until their jostling with each other for the offered morsels threatened to send one over the edge. The woman began to wonder what she would do if a chick fell out, or if the nest itself came down. She plotted how to keep the birds safe, but always stopped short of action because it seemed this is how they are, even when the chicks were so big that they would teeter on the edge of the nest, buzzing their wings like whirligigs, reaching out always to say there is not enough food.
One morning the woman saw a chick sitting on a branch near the nest, receiving a morsel from its skinny overworked parent. It was weaving a bit on its untrained feet and rebalancing frequently with wild flutterings. “How can this be?” The woman thought in alarm. “Surely it’s not time yet for the survival of the species story.” But she resisted trying to help and just kept watching. And then, as if someone said “one of you has to go”—all the birds were gone. No chicks were left in the nest, the one on the branch could not be seen, and the parents no longer came.
         The woman went outside, and saw a robin a distance away in the garden. Then another flew past in the yard. A third dropped to the ground at the edge of the forest. “Is that you, my friend,” she wondered, “or maybe your child?” Suddenly the woman was seeing what she loved everywhere.