“… a warrior could not avoid pain and grief but only the indulging in them...”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

A Bike Workshop in Sao Luis, Portugal

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Annelieke took me to this delicious space in Sao Luis … a guy who can fix anything in a space that was once used for roller skating and dance:

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Portugal – Vila Nova de Milfontes

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Wonderful weather on a walk to the beach at Vila Nova de Milfontes, 15km from Sao Luis

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Portugal – Sao Luis

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I am with Annelieke in Portugal in her new home in Sao Luis … some images from a walk around the village:

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Improved Democracy Coming from Kurds in Rojava?

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For context you may want to first watch this video (and if you wish others like it available online):

As I understand it Kurds in northern Syria are caught in a war and geopolitical mess. They live in three geographically separated cantons which they have declared as an autonomus entity named Rojava.

They seem to have come together (and to global attention) around the basic need to protect themselves from ISIS in the south. Their militia seems to have substantial effect on ISIS’s ability to move and spread in the region. However they also have problems from the north due to historical tensions between Kurds (both living in these regions and inside Turkey) and Turkey. According to mainstream media Turkey’s Erodgan government has been bombing Kurdish targets and in doing so strengethening ISIS positions in the area. Lacking any central government, and geographical discontinuity, the Kurds need to and are trying to self-organize.

Amidst all this comes an Introduction To The Political And Social Structures Of Democratic Autonomy In Rojava … get ready for some fascinating social / democractic innovation being implemented as you read these words … usually when I read such words they come from a western culture dreaming of better social organization in some distant future! While I have some reservations about subtle points in the view described in the article, I am impressed by what they have achieved so far.

” … the newly established institutions which under the title of the Movement for a Democratic Society (KCK, called MED-VET in Rojava) are organizing all the events and fields in Rojava … In Rojava, all roads lead to Abdullah Öcalan … the ideological leader … Öcalan proposes the idea of a democracy without a state as an alternative for the capitalistic modernity … KCK … attempts to realize a society in which everything is carried on with direct partnership …

… the first step toward forming the democratic ecologic society is to create various communes in the quarters, villages, counties and big and small cities in Rojava … Each commune has six separate committees that each committee deals with the issues related to it  … social committee, the youth committee, the women committee, the peace committee , the self-defense committee and the economic committee are the six committees which currently are active in the communes.

Communes are managed in a co-leadership manner (a man and a woman) … hold weekly sessions and record and discuss their monthly reports … The selection of the co-leaders and the committee formations are done by means of direct elections among the commune members … The time of election, depends on the need and the situation, not on a written law

Several communes in a certain region gather in another place called “People’s House” … The big decisions are made in the People’s Houses …

… In Qamishli City, there are 7 People’s Houses and 97 communes. Each communes covers about 350 families. The aim is to create more commune as dividing the society into smaller units can enhance the quality and the efficiency of their performances … there have been no communes n the Christian quarters, yet …

… sessions started with the speech on the previous sessions of the communes and then they would ask the people’s ideas about some local issues … The value of the commune signature is more that the ministry’s signature, as the minister cannot do anything if the commune does not approve it formerly, they said what clan are you from? Now everyone should ask, which commune do you belong to?

… We want to have a system that acts from base to top … The chief of the commune can apply pressure by presenting the correct education and this does not mean a negative pressure or imposition … I ask him what is it that prevents from domination, and he answers: “Ethics, not law.”

… Usually, small projects such as creating a park is done by the communes themselves, but macro projects like road building, because of the current status of Rojava, are executed either by the autonomy of the cantons or with the cooperation of cantons and the communes. For instance, currently shortage of power and electricity is an essential problem in Rojava. Each commune has bought a generator, by the money collected from the families to the extent they could afford. The autonomous cantons have also helped them in repairing the power cables and in this way, the issue has been solved.

… it was just some weeks ago, that we changed the commune chiefs of 9 communes, as they lacked the necessary capacities …  long lasting presuppositions of the former regimes [are] the main obstacle in the process of institutionalizing the communes in Rojava

… there have been many cases where two tribes had disputes on a piece of land whose legal process would had taken about 15 years, while it was resolved in less than one months in the communes … state courts of Baath Regime in some cities of Rojava, which are being closed down as of inefficiency and because most of people trust in the newly established communes more … Serious cases such as assassination or selling heavy weapons cannot be discussed in communes and are referred to public courts …

one of the commonest problems which makes people go to courts, are the cases of women being tortured by their husbands or brothers …with having institutions such as the House of Women … the women feel safer … the issue is investigated in the Peace Committee … In the next step, the issue is referred to the court … in this very short while, so many men have been called on courts and have felt remorseful for their actions, and even they have apologized from their wives in the court. He says that the new law is not based on the Islamic Sharia, and hence the Kurdish men are frightful and fear the punishments.

Of course, the communes mostly recommend and suggest rather than making decisions. Since in some cases such as assassination, criminal and judicial decisions require expertise, we should investigate the cases with especial care and accuracy based on the civil procedures …

The public law would be discussed in the Legislative Parliament in Amuda, and in which cases that are against ecology or gender freedom, will be regarded as crime

The limit of presence [representation] of women must not be below 40 percent, which means that if the Justice Bureau consists of 7 people, at least 3 of them must be women …

Cantons are a model of social and political governing which besides decentralism, insists on the empowerment of public decision-making and expanding direct democracy … Cantons have their own constitution, government, parliament, municipal, and courts whose tasks and duties are defined in the Social Contract … There is also an assembly for coordinating the three cantons of Jazira, Kobani and Afrin.

Economy cannot be left on its own as other fields, so that the profit and capital accumulation are realized in it. The autonomous economy is a model in which the profit and accumulated capital are reduced to the minimum level … the democratic autonomy is not an idea that can be practices in one day; rather, it is a process which goes on with reason and education; it is a lifelong revolution which will linger on.

… The approved laws in the cantons are filtered in the communes. Which means that the lowest levels are taking part in the macro level of making decisions, and the decision-making design is a bottom-up one. This is a developed effort in order to eliminate the governance and the role of the state, which requires the institutionalization of democracy not only among the masses, but also in the movement itself which guards the idea of communes.”

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Why Futurism Has a Cultural Blindspot

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“… when it comes to culture we tend to believe … that the future will be … roughly the same … It turns out that predicting who we will be is harder than predicting what we will be able to do.

we notice what varies and changes more than what plays a larger role but doesn’t change. We rely more on water than on cell phones, but because water does not change and cell phones do, we are prone to thinking that cell phones play a larger role than they do … As Amazon experiments with aerial drone delivery, its “same day” products are being moved through New York City thanks to that 19th-century killer app: the bicycle …

… “The horse,” he writes, “made a greater contribution to Nazi conquest than the V2.” We noticed what was invented more than what was actually used

… We expect more change than actually happens in the future because we imagine our lives have changed more than they actually have …

… Ideas, not technology, have driven the biggest historical changes. When technology changes people, it is often not in the ways one might expect … The washing machine freed women from labor … and … could have sparked a revolution in gender roles and relations. But … middle-class women did not take advantage of the freed-up time … to rebel against structures or even to capitalize on their independence.” Instead … the women simply assumed the jobs once held by their servants … Take away the object from the historical view, and you lose sight of the historical behavior. Projecting the future often presents a similar problem: The object is foregrounded, while the behavioral impact is occluded.

Why is cultural change so hard to predict? For one, we have long tended to forget that it does change … and when culture does change, the precipitating events can be surprisingly random and small … one of the landmark events in the evolution of gay rights in the U.S. was a change, by the Library of Congress, from classifying books about the gay movement as “Abnormal Sexual Relations, Including Sexual Crimes,” to “Homosexuality, Lesbianism—Gay Liberation, Homophile Movement.” This seemingly minor change, much touted by activists, helped pave the way for other, larger changes … Small wins do not combine in a neat, serial form, with each step being a demonstrable step closer to some predetermined goal.”

source

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Ibrahim Maalouf live in Istanbul

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A while back I came across this fresh and surprising piece by Ibrahim Maalouf … and then a couple of days ago I stumbled onto this full performance … it left me speechless. Such rich integration … cultures, energies, rhythms … I don’t think I’ve ever heard a trumpet played this way … and he has such a pleasant presence … and so generous … and what a band with him. So impressive in an online video … I can’t imagine what he is like live … and if I have the courage to journey to Bucharest I may not have to since he is appearing there this November.

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Revolt of the Caring Classes

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David Greaber on Bullshit Jobs

“… I’m thinking of a labor movement, but one very different than the kind we’ve already seen. A labor movement that manages to finally ditch all traces of the ideology that says that work is a value in itself, but rather redefines labor as caring for other people … Call it the revolt of the caring classes. Because, after all, the working classes have always been the caring classes really … So I think we need to start by redefining labor itself, maybe, start with classic ‘women’s work,’ nurturing children, looking after things, as the paradigm for labor itself and then it will be much harder to be confused about what’s really valuable and what isn’t.”

source

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Damien Rice – One Man on Stage

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Damien Rice has been touring again after releasing My Favourite Faded Fantasy and this is a glimpse to what his show is like (I’m guessing that this performance, being part of a festival, is not a complete concert). Mind and heart blowing what one man can do on stage:

The final song where he uses live recorded tracks to build up an entire band is jaw-dropping … and explains why there is a drum-set with no drummer (for most of his show I though it was either left overs or preparation for another of the festival performances … not so!) … watched it again before publishing this post … and so moved by it even knowing whats coming:

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David Graeber Reflects on Visiting the West Bank

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“… the settlements. They were originally the project of a relatively isolated, if well-funded, collection of religious zealots. Now everything seems to be organized around them. The government pours in endless resources. Why? The answer seems to be that since at least the ‘90s, rightwing politicians in Israel have figured out that the settlements are a kind of political magic. The more money gets funneled into them, the more the Jewish electorate turns to the Right … Settlements are, in their own way, giant engines for the production of right-wing consciousness. It is very difficult for someone placed in hostile territory, given training in automatic weapons and warned to be constantly on one’s guard against a local population seething over the fact that your next-door neighbors have been killing their sheep and destroying their olive trees, not to gradually see ethno-nationalism as common sense. As a result, with every election, the old Left electorate further dissipates, and a host of religious, fascist, or semi-fascist parties win a larger and larger stake of the vote.

… What sort of Palestinians, then, are the occupation authorities trying to create? … The only answer that makes sense is that the Israel forces want the Palestinians to seethe; they want there to be resistance; but the also want to ensure that political resistance is completely ineffective. They want a population that is compliant on a day-to-day basis, but that periodically explodes,individually or collectively, in a unstrategic and uncoordinated fashion that can represented to the outside world as irrational demonic madness.

… And why would they wish to do this? Almost every Arab political analyst I talked to considered the answer self-evident. Israel’s economy has become largely dependent on the high-tech arms trade, and the supply of complex electronic “security” systems. Israel is today the world’s fourth largest arms exporter, after the US, Russia, and UK (it has recently pushed back France to #5) … This is actually quite a feat for such a tiny country. But as everyone also hastens to add: Israeli arms and security systems have an enormous advantage over their rivals, one Israeli firms never fail to emphasize in their promotional literature. They are extensively field-tested … Arab resistance has become a key economic resource for Israeli capital, and were it to completely quiet down, the export economy would take an immediate hit.”

source by David Graeber

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Glass Floor

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The report, from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, found that children from wealthier families but with less academic ability are 35% more likely to become high earners than more talented children from poor families.”

source

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David Graeber on where we are and moving forward

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Wonderfully rich, diverse yet integrated and cohesive talk with David Graeber (author of Debt the First 5000 Years), much of which is in response to questions from the audience with precious small nuggets of practical advice on how to stay true to a new story while still immersed in an old story:

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Yoga On the Mat Practice: Summer 2015

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It’s been over a year since I wrote about my practice. It has been a period of regular practice but not of regular writing (which I guess reflects on my state of being too).

I made a conscious choice to travel less (than I did in the previous period). That made for less interruptions in the continuity of my practice. There have been short disruptions in practice like when Annelieke arrives for a visit (though that has become less disruptive as we settle into a known rhythm of being together) or when I went away to give a yoga weekend workshop.

During periods of disruption I don’t usually practice. In the past I sometimes tried to but I came to realize that I was pushing myself into a mode of struggling and overcoming myself and that neither works nor is something I want to nourish in myself. They effect of me in a subtle but noticeable way. While the practice itself has been robust, my life feels more fragile. I need to be stable and settled to get on the mat. Disruptions resonate strongly inside me.

My practice was severely disrupted when my spring allergy kicked in at the beginning of June. I was able to resume an irregular practice in July and am just now starting to settle back in to a continuous daily rhythm.

In February I visited Israel for a 4 day home retreat with Paul. I had a one-on-one session with Paul during which he offered me a vinyasa of Pranayama practices (see below or details).

Asana Practice

I have been living with the same asana practice (with slight modifications) for almost two years. I am sometimes surprised that it still engages me.

ronen-november-2013

  • I feel strength and stability in practice.
  • My base breathing throughout most of the practice sequence is either 8.0.8.0 and evolving towards 8.0.10.0 and beyond.
  • The breathing it what engages me most. When my attention lapses my breath is the first thing to be affected. When my attention is stable my breathing is full, consistent and spacious. It is my main avenue of exploration and development in the more stimulating asana like utkatasana, adhomukha svanasana and the raised leg sequence.
  • I have settled into a bhavana of opening / expanding the chest. It is predominantly noticeable in the standing and lying twists. It is present in all the forward bends … both in preparing to go into the bend and in coming out. It is present in adhomukha svanasana and in dandasana.

I have experimented with and introduced a few modifications:

  • The trikonasana sequence has been elaborated. Initially by my teacher who suggested I do 2x regular + 2x twisted + 2x regular. I have also added a stay of 1 breath on each side of the last couple of (regular) movements.
  • When I felt steady and established in utkatasana I experimented with a krama going down stopping for a short pause (with BK) in ardha utkatasana. Though it felt like a good modification it was demanding and I was only able to contain it during stable and continuous and undisturbed periods of at least 2 or 3 weeks of practice. Because of disruptions I decided to set it aside. Instead I have returned to a tried-and-true focus of refining and extending the exhale which, with stable attention, can go to 10 or even 12 seconds (without collapsing at the end of the 6x repeat).
  • I have introduced a breathing ratio in adhomukha svanasana of 2×8.0.10.0 + 2×10.0.10.0. This has been a remarkable evolution. When I started this sequence I was struggling with 4.0.4.0. The evolution of this asana has been all breath. Whenever I tried to focus on physicality I felt effort and tension building up. Whenever I focus on breath I find it leads to physical development (including spaciousness in torso allowing for elaborate directional breathing, hips loosening and lowering of ankles).
  • In urdhva prasrta padasna I raise my legs to 90deg and then with each movement gradually increase the angle to which I lower my legs: ~80, 45, 10 and back down.
  • In jathara parivrtti there are two modifications. I have gone back to the S1/2/3 variation and I have settled into a breathing vinyasa resulting in: S1/_ 6.0.8.0, S2/_ 8.0.8.0, S3/_ 8.0.10.0.
  • I explored for a few days with introducing a mild back-bend sequence. My physical body welcomed it. However it did seem to have a slight but noticeable agitating effect (at the time) which effected my pranayama and my sleep. I’m looking forward to reintroducing this … maybe later this summer when I re-settle into stability.
  • I have changed the dandasana sequence from repeat 4 times to repeat 2 times with stay 1 breath. This brings into focus for me opening of the chest, sustained extension of the spine and spaciousness in my shoulder and shoulder-blades.
  • In janusirsasana I have been gradually able to open up my hip joint more and more. Coming out of the allergy I have been gradually resolving a tension in my lower back and hips (which I believe is also related to the knee-pains I experienced while coming out of the allergy).

There has also been a subtle shift in my relationship with savasana. It is no longer a trap I prefer to avoid, fearing it my capture me and send me into heaviness. It serves me well. Many times a short stay is all that is needed. Sometimes I will stay longer. On rare ocassions, usually in or near illness, it may become the end of a practice session (meaning that I do not complete the practice) but that is not because of a feeling a heaviness but because of a good stay in savasana itself.

Pranayama

My teacher gave me the following practice sequence:

  1. 5.0.10.0 x8br anuloma ujjayi
    10.0.10.0 x12br pratiloma ujjayi
    5.0.10.0 x8br anuloma ujjayi
    5.0.5.0 x4br ujjayi
  2. 8.0.8.0 x8br pratiloma ujjayi
    10.0.10.0 x12br pratiloma ujjayi
    8.0.8.0 x8br pratiloma ujjayi
    5.0.5.0 x4br ujjayi
  3. 8.0.12.0 x8br anuloma ujjayi
    12.0.12.0 x12br pratiloma ujjayi
    6.0.12.0 x8br anuloma ujjayi
    6.0.6.0 x4br ujjayi
  4. 8.0.8.0 x4br pratiloma ujjayi
    10.0.10.0 x4br pratiloma ujjayi
    12.0.12.0 x12br pratiloma ujjayi
    8.0.8.0 x4br pratiloma ujjayi
    4.0.4.0 x4br ujjayi

I stayed with the first sequence for almost 2 months – until ~mid-April. It took time for a stability and quality to manifest in the practice. Then things seemed to move fast. I moved into the 2nd sequence in mid April and then into the 3rd in Mid May. I was thinking of moving into the 4th sequence but then allergy crashed into my practice.

To my surprise (given how compromised my breathing was during the allergy period) to find that I could resume the 3rd sequence which is where I am. I have still not come back to a finesse I experienced before the allergy crash. I am still experiencing some blockage in my nasal passages and some irritation in my chest which are effecting my overall practice and especially the quality of my pranayama practice.

Also, I don’t know for how long this has been going on (it could be from when I recent got back to practice, but I really can’t say): I misread the practice sequence and I have been doing all pratiloma ujjayi instead of combined anuloma ujjayi (in the 3rd sequence that I am currently practicing).

On the Mat and Off the Mat

During the last couple of months I’ve been keeping busy by taking in a bulding project (building a wooden deck with a roof over it to create an outside space for me to be in and a summer kitchen). It filled my days.

Just this year I realized that the recurring allergy comes at exactly the time when gardening peaks and is having an accumulative effect. The allergy not only prevents me from being there at the right time. It also prevents me from going there because by the time I do weeds have taken over. Over the years this has inhibited me from forming a nourishing relationship with gardening. It has also created an avoidance since I do not enjoy “battling” weeds and I am interested in transforming the story of weeds from something I need to battle to something that nourishes and support me. So once, again the garden is mostly out of control … though there is some nice yield from plants that managed to get along without my intervention.

Many days my on-the-mat practice feels like the only substantial thing I do. Many days I feel that I live a purposeless life. I am also practicing living a life of rest and spaciousness. However there is also a part of me that is still looking to engage. If I let that part of me expand I end up hurting emotionally … and I don’t want to shut-off that part of me. Living with feels like a precarious balancing act. When I lose balance, my on-the-mat practice suffers and a negative feedback loop begins. Getting that balance is key to me arriving well at the mat and staying in an neutral loop and an overall feeling of equanimity and balance (=not falling into emotional pain).

In a way, the question of “why practice? what for?” is lurking in the background looking to make an appearance. I don’t feel it is a constructive question that has real substance to it. But I can’t really avoid it … it seems I can only try not falling into it.

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Greece: Firesale Phase

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… and so it begins … and though it may seem like I don’t think this the end game … it is the beginning of the end game … a systemically destructive chess game:

“But the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, dismissed that view, supported by a number of northern and eastern European states. “These proposals cannot build the basis for a completely new, three-year [bailout] programme, as requested by Greece,” said a German finance ministry paper. It called for Greece to be expelled from the eurozone for a minimum of five years and demanded that the Greek government transfer €50bn of state assets to an outside agency for sell-off.”

source

For me the greatest irony is that everyone is probably right … the Greek measures are not enough … and any bailout money is going to disappear together with the previous bailouts … there aren’t measures that are enough.

The computer I am typing this on (and the desk it is sitting on) I got second hand from a company in Cluj that closed its doors. They liquidated what they could. This is what the Eurogroup is trying to do with Greece … but Greece isn’t a company, its a country … and whats left behind isn’t an empty space but an empty people.

… and what does “demanded” mean?

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Bernard Lietaer on Greece: Two Currencies?

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Bernard Lietaer is in a position to offer a refreshing perspective because he is both a mainstream economist who was involved in the creation of the Euro and a thought leader in the world of alternative currencies. In this interview you will hear him bring up interesting points:

  1. That the original design of the Euro did not include a change in the relationships between central banks and governments … that was a last minute addition (I wonder what political machinations brought that development about).
  2. There are examples of countries operating with two currencies. One example is Switzerland with its national currency and an 80 year old business-to-business currency called the WIR. The other example is the UK where businesses can manage their books in both pounds and euros.
  3. Iceland took another approach to the economic crisis: it allowed banks to go under, put bankers in jail and is now operating a government controlled currency (instead of a bank-debt-based currency).
  4. The ubiquity of mobile phones means that a door is open for new alternative currencies based on information technology.

Almost every answer he gives challenges the mainstream conversation and introduces outside-the-box thinking:

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Greece and (economic) Growth

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“… a sustainable debt reduction is only feasible if the economy grows …”

source

but what if growth is over or nearly over? even the robust German economy may be showing signs of slowing down … so what can be expected of Greece? could that also explain the position of people like the German finance minister … are they catching a glimpse of the coming storm and heading into their national shelters (and leaving Greece to fend for itself)?

Greek leaders are making an effort to reframe this crisis in a European context (which I believe is a correct effort) however what if you go beyond that and look at a global context that also goes beyond just money and finance? That is what I was hinting at when I wondered if Greek leaders are aware of the depth of the challenge they are facing. I suspect that even a complete, unconditional debt forgiveness will not qualitatively change the situation (though it may buy a delusional period of relief). I suspect that the Greeks are maybe the first to taste the end of growth and its social, political, financial and cultural implications.

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Nature & Shopping Malls

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A somewhat ironic realization came to me from my experience of living close to nature. I enjoy having nature around me (much more than an urban environment). However I enjoy it more while being indoors. I don’t feel welcome in nature, I feel discomfort. Sometimes I even feel threatened by nature. Nature is not a familiar environment for me … though I am working on it (I am writing this on a new roofed deck I built where I be somewhere in between outside and inside.

That irony was amplified when I realized something about my relationship with shopping malls. My visits to the city are rare and functional … I only go when I need to do something or bring something from the city. Frequently my visits will include a stop in a shopping mall (though I avoid them if I can) due to the comfort of having several kinds of shops in one place. When I enter a shopping mall my legs become heavy and I move fast so I can leave as soon as possible. Yet at the same time there is something comfortable about it for me. The shopping mall is a familiar environment to me. Even though I don’t like it, I know how it works, I know how to make it work for me … I can get around in it.

In many ways these two realizations frame a transition I am experiencing in life. From something familiar that I dislike and distrust to something in which I feel at home but I don’t know my way around yet.

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Power of Story: Knee, Knowledge, Faith

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Over the years I have come to believe that illness moves through my body. It may initially manifest in in place with primary symptoms and then it travels inside my body (with symptoms changing and manifesting in different places) until it leaves (often through my digestive system). I don’t visit doctors and don’t use western medications. I do, when I can, support my body through nutrition and natural products (teas, salves, etc.).

A couple of weeks ago I started feeling relief from my month of allergy (slight symptoms are still with me but reducing every day). The “travels” began when my throat and to of my mouth started feeling agitated, eating and swallowing was uncomfortable. There was a day or two of slight, barely noticeable improvement, but then the next day it was suddenly all better.

That same day something happened to my left knee. It started hurting a lot. I could move around however any movement in my knee caused immediate, sharp breath-taking pains. As long as it was still, in many positions, it was fine, but moving it, even the slightest bit, was extremely painful.

Side note: I lay down to explore the knee with some movement. When lying on my back, folding the knee and bringing it in over my chest was an impossible task. However, lying on my side, I could repeat that movement, with care, with almost no pain.

I managed to get myself through the day and bring myself to rest in the evening. It had gotten worst. When I sat down on the couch I wasn’t sure I would be able to get up again (I could, but had to avoid moving my knee doing it).

Then came night. I was still carrying a certain restlessness from many sleep deprived or disrupted nights due to the allergy. Now I had to be careful not to move … any unconscious movement resultd in immediate pain. I had many waking hours that night. During those hours my mind had to plenty of opportunity to kick in and I witnessed a fascinating dance between two stories that I apparently carry with me.

One story is the western / medical / anatomical / biological view. My Yoga training had given me enough knowledge to appreciate what an elaborate and subtle joint the knee is and what the pains I was experiencing could indicate. My speculative conclusions were frightening. I don’t trust doctors and medicine. I have no medical insurance and it would take a lot of suffering to expose myself to them especially here in Romania. I was scared.

Another story if a spiritual outlook that my body and consciousness are constantly striving towards health and wellness. I have faith in that. Faith is something else that I got from my Yoga training and practice. This story came to the surface as if to meet the first story that was scaring me.

These two stories danced inside me all night. I was fascinated by their power regardless of what was actually happening inside me and manifesting through my knee. The western story was inducing fear, worry and tension. The spiritual story as inducing faith, trust and relaxation … and I went back and forth between them all night.

I also realized that my life settings are more supportive and bringing out the spiritual story. Because I don’t have (easy) access to doctors and medical care I can’t intervene and act … the default doing is therefor caring, giving attention and waiting (instead of running to the doctor, diagnosing and intervening).

I may never know what happened to my knee. I do know that these two stories are inside me and can effect me greatly.

The next day was another day of knee pain. The following day the pains disappeared as suddenly as they came. A softer version of the pain appeared a few days ago and there is still an echo of it in my knee.

Posted in About, Expanding, inside, Myself | Tagged | You are welcome to add your comment

Society and Science through the lens of Climate Change

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More evidence that the objectivity of science is more elusive then most people want to believe:

“… climate scientists have been so distracted and intimidated by the relentless campaign against them that they tend to avoid any statements that might get them labeled “alarmists”

The problem was that Box was now working for the Danish government, and even though Denmark may be the most progressive nation in the world on climate issues, its leaders still did not take kindly to one of its scientists distressing the populace with visions of global destruction. Convinced his job was in jeopardy only a year after he uprooted his young family and moved to a distant country, Box was summoned before the entire board of directors at his research institute. So now, when he gets an e-mail asking for a phone call to discuss his “recent gloomy statements,” he doesn’t answer it.

… ‘I think most scientists must be burying overt recognition of the awful truths of climate change in a protective layer of denial (not the same kind of denial coming from conservatives, of course)’ …

… and for their pains the scientists themselves—the cruelest blow of all—have been the targets of an unrelenting and well-organized attack that includes death threats, summonses from a hostile Congress, attempts to get them fired, legal harassment, and intrusive discovery demands so severe they had to start their own legal-defense fund, all amplified by a relentless propaganda campaign nakedly financed by the fossil-fuel companies.

… consumption and growth have become so central to our sense of personal identity and the fear of economic loss creates such numbing anxiety, we literally cannot imagine making the necessary changes. Worse, accepting the facts threatens us with a loss of faith in the fundamental order of the universe.

… there’s a growing, ever-stronger antiscience sentiment in the U. S. A. People get really angry and really nasty.”

source

Still, I believe this perspective deserves more depth. According to Robert Pirsig during the 20th century a battle was fought between social morality (superficial politeness, political correctness, etc.) and intellectual morality (acting based on what you think is right instead of based on what others think is right and as a consequence what others will think of you).

“A society that tries to restrain the truth for it’s own purpose is a lower form of evolution than a truth that restrains society for it’s own purpose. Victorians repressed the truth whenever it seemed socially unacceptable …”

Social status was supposed to be replaced by intellectual status but social moral resisted. The opposite happened … intellectual status was dragged down to social status (a PhD became more of an honorary social badge then an indicator of intellectual pursuit) leaving us with both corrupt social morals AND corrupt intellect (the hippie movement rebelled and undermined both!) … and that is where we are stuck. Caught in a corrupted, deluded intellect, feeling nice about ourselves while dangerously misinformed (and acting accordingly).

To me this isn’t just theory. It points to where actions can be best leveraged. It demonstrates that issues such as American racism and climate change have common root-causes. It indicates that we need to reject superficiality and niceties and replace them with depth and purpose. We need to respect that this kind of mental shift is more accessible earlier in life then later. I, in my early forties, who have placed my life into demanding and challenging change, can already sense, even if slight, an inclination to slow down and settle into established patterns. This means that younger generations are key to change. It isn’t political discourse, even amidst undeniable crisis, that is going to create political critical mass for change. It is in conversations over family dinners where a younger generation equipped with depth, knowledge, care and (non-violent) communication skills will replace empty, cynical, repeating political arguments with meaningful, insightful dialogue. As I write this I think of disassociated youth and realize they are a sign of progress – they are no longer buying into empty superficiality. The question is then how to introduce them to meaningful purpose … how to inspire?

However this is a double-edged sword. Intellect needs to be liberated from society, but at the same time it needs to be placed in the service of heart … otherwise intellects runs amok.

 

Posted in AltEco, Intake, Intellect Run Amok, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Successful Customer Support

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“… Even the most reactive, labor-intensive ticket represents an opportunity to earn goodwill with your customers. When you nail that experience you can create a ripple effect across revenue, social media, and the broader marketplace. That is customer support … Customer support, when done well, is a career. Every conversation, whether it’s reactive or proactive, is an opportunity to learn from your customers. “

Andrew Spittle via Matt Mullenweg

Posted in AltEco, Business, Intake, Open Source, outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to add your comment

Debt is Risk

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It is amazing how this basic truth, that every capitalist knows, about debt is veiled from public consciousness when it suits creditors:

“From the beginning, Merkel and the EU have operated from the position that because Greece took on debt, Greece now needs to pay it back. That position assumed — bizarrely, in hindsight — that debt works only one way: If you lend someone money, that money is repaid.

But that is NOT how free markets work.

Debt is not a guarantee of future payments in full. Rather, it is a risk that creditors take, in hopes of maybe being paid tomorrow.

The key word there is “risk.”

If you’re willing to take the risk, you’ll get a premium — in the form of interest.

But the downside of that risk is that you lose your money. And Greece just called Germany’s bluff.”

source

Posted in Business, Greece, Intake, Money, outside | Tagged | You are welcome to add your comment