Solstice: Hexagram 36 Darkening of the Light

The latest crinkle in my total life change Doberman Project is money. One of my required sources of income has been sold, and I’ve not been offered a contract for 2017. So I face a new challenge in this time of waiting and planning.

Looking for guidance from the dao using the I Ching, this dame turns to hexagram 36, Ming I, in the Wilhelm translation, darkening of the light.

Solstice has long been a time of wonder and miracles with customs that go back even before recorded time.

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The Dao of Standstill Is Gratitude

Waiting seems like standstill. It is uncomfortable for this old dame.

I started The Doberman Project eager to press forward with my tlotal Life change.  I was full of concrete plans and an end-of-year deadline to enact them.

Future Is Unknown and Unpredictable

Circumstances beyond my control have intervened in my retirement plans.

Indeed the whole world is waiting to see whether the USA plunges into fascism, or the president-elect sparks a nuclear holocaust, or if the world economy goes into a tailspin as a result of the nativist tendencies sweeping the world.

movie still from All Quiet on Western Front
From film All Quiet on the Western Front.

The antidote to standstill is gratitude.

Gratitude is the antidote for any ill that befalls us. In the smallest pleasures of life we find redemption.

It reminds me of the soldier’s hand stretching from the foxhole for the tiny singing bird in the great film All Quiet on the Western Front (novel by Erich Maria Remarque). This last act of remarking beauty and life becomes his death.

Hexagram 12: Standstill or Stagnation

The 12th hexagram, P’i, in the I Ching is Standstill or Stagnation. The powers of heaven and earth are out of balance and pulling away from each other.

P'i: Standstill or Stagnation

“The way of inferior people is in ascent; . . . But the superior people do not allow themselves to be turned from their principles. If the possibility of exerting influence is close to them, they nevertheless remain faithful to their principles and withdraw into seclusion.”

I have been even more reclusive than usual. Having a Doberman to train and exercise would do me a world of good. An intelligent Doberman Pinscher is a true companion dog, noble, watchful, and protective.

The notion of standstill and stagnation appears repulsive. Yet smelly things transform in stagnation; from compost come the best fruits, vegetables, and flower.

From Stagnation Comes Transformation

P’i, read in its entirety, is a hexagram of hope.

Man in prayer

Line Three states, in the Wilhelm translation, “Inferior people have risen to power illegitimately do not feel equal to the responsibility.”

Fifteen USA security agencies say Russia meddled in the US election that has put this ignorant narcissist into office.

“In their hearts they begin to be ashamed, although at first they do not show it outwardly. This marks a turn for the better.”

The final three lines promise, “First standstill, then good fortune.”

I have a comfortable apartment.  I am in good health.

I mostly enjoy my teaching job and the chance to be with my terrific, hard-w0rking, hopeful students. I can increase my savings for The Doberman Project, retirement, and my total life change.

A few close friends and family are a treasure.  All my needs are met, by the grace of the Dao. I give thanks.

If It Isn’t One Damn Dream, It’s Another

I used to drink, rather a lot. A persistent fantasy during this time was that someday, after my newspaper career, I’d be a blowsy old barkeep.

Some alcoholic private eye would run his business out of my little hole-in-the-wall tavern.

Every once in a while, I might even get laid.

At age 40, I got clean and sober. It wasn’t a goal, and it wasn’t my idea of how to march into old age as a fabulous old dame.

Funny story: I may be the only person in the world who was blackmailed into treatment by her physician for overdosing on a nutritional supplement — L-Tryptophan.

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The Dao of Despair

My retirement plans are in shambles since the Election last Tuesday. My dreams and goals have become of little interest, like something from someone else’s life.

Change is always challenging for me to navigating.

Navigating the installation of a white supremacist in the White House is a change I find disgusting. I am not sure the Republic can survive this.

I researched many countries to which I might emigrate for many months this year as part of my retirement planning. There are places with large expatriate communities.

I am fond of my comforts in the USA. I don’t wish to die alone in a strange country.

It would be easier to move if I had a partner, be it lover or close friend, to negotiate such a thing.

I have an ongoing stomach ache, headache, and fatigue. All that seemed bright and shiny and full of hope when I started this blog is sucked dry of meaning.

The dao teaches us there are times of fullness and times when the tide goes out.

This Dame is grieving this repudiation of the values of my country.

Two Things L’Ombre Taught Himself

I’ve burned a lot of pots boiling water for tea since L’Ombre died.  He taught himself several things, and one of them was coming to get me when water started boiling.

The breeder, Linda Coggins, whose name shall forever be blessed on my lips, had me start him off by mixing his crunchy food with canned food and hot water. So he came to associate boiling water with meals. Realizing he had prevented me from ruining another pan, he always got lavish praise for this.

 

How L’Ombre Came into My Life

I never really thought of myself as owning L’Ombre.  It was more like he just “came into my life” in the way that friends and lovers and mentors show up. Kismet. We were a symbiotic team. He protected me, and he had a great life going places most people can’t bring their ill-behaved hounds. He was invited to parties,

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The Dao of Duration: Hexagram 32

This old dame has been studying the I Ching for a long time — sometimes often, then for years . Some of the principles have seeped into my soul by this long acquaintanceship.

Hexagrams diagrammed, my early notes
Hexagrams diagrammed, my early notes

This is a challenging time in putting my total life change plans into motion, yet not stagnation (Hexagram 12). Lots is going on, like the gentle wind trigram beneath the thunder trigam in the hexgram of duration.

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Fear and Total Life Change

Fear is the enemy of total life change.

 

Woman wearing makeup mask
Total Life Makeover or Fantasy Mask?

My fantasies are rich and elaborate.

They rarely come true. One did. I was a very good reporter. I led an exciting and interesting life meeting and socializing with artistic, intelligent, and amusing people.

I haven’t lived a dream in a long time. Youth is a time of hopes and dreams. Old age is a time of maturing through recognition and acceptance of limitations – in health, income, opportunities of many kinds.

As my house hunting cracks into the reality of how little there is in my price range in safe, attractive neighborhoods, fear creeps into the schism between fantasy and reality.

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The Dao, Patience, and Planning

The dao of moving forward toward my goal of total life change — making a home for

Roselane Bull ceramic object
Roselane Bull

a Doberman Pinscher companion and me — is testing my patience. My astrological avatar, Taurus the Bull, is supposedly both patient and a bit lazy.

 

I plead guilty to the latter. Dog obedience training helped me develop patience. How can anyone be mad when a Doberman is so eager to please and fixes me with those soulful brown eyes?

 

I have been looking for home opportunities online. Home buying isn’t easy in my low price range. Satellite street view is my friend surveying neighborhoods.

Patience and Information Gathering

Another part of my total life change planning is contacting Training Clubs up and down the Florida East Coast and

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The Dao of GPS

Many colored cars lost in a maze, and a sign marked Find Your Way helps point the way
GPS makes it easy to find your way.

I welcomed myself to the 21st century in May by buying a GPS for the car. As a result, I discovered the DAO of the GPS. It is so much easier to focus on driving with this device.

I have wasted too much time missing an exit and having to take a long way around, or being lost in a neighborhood trying to find a house for sale.

South Florida is laid out on an East-West/North-South grid. If you know where the sun rises and sets, it’s hard to go too far wrong — unless you are in suburban neighborhoods of endlessly curling lanes.

It usually takes me by surprise when anyone says they don’t know the difference between the southwest corner of an intersection or the northeast, because they don’t know directions. How can that be in South Florida?

Mountain communities like the one in which I grew up are a little different. Roads follow the paths of rivers and old trails, some of these as ancient at the Native Americans. I planned to drive through at least four Florida communities, taking a glance at homes for sale. I decided I couldn’t do that efficiently with maps.

This Magellan GPS that does not include voice activation is wonderful. It got all the directions correctly to the local places where I was going.

When I changed the route home, however, the device relentlessly repeated that I should make a U-turn in 150 yards at 67th Street . . . . in one-quarter mile at 90 street . . . and so on until the device fell silent, no doubt sulking because it didn’t get its own way. It is rather like an annoying passenger in that regard.

It points out stoplight cameras.

I think I’ve decided on St. Augustine, but that market may be a bit overheated and out of my reach.

So I’m pulling out the GPS again for a peak at some places up in Martin County and beyond. The dao of the GPS is the dao of finding my place and the one where I can have the last great love of my life.

AKC Dog Shows: Sporting Fun if You Are Prepared

I launched my experiences at AKC dog shows by illustrating the old Firesign Theater line: “She’s no fun. She fell right over,” (which appeared with masculine pronouns in the original).

Frightened man supporting fainting woman
She’s no fun; she fell right over.

Dog show information for the clueless, like me, does not include such preventatives for fainting as

  • Bring your own small folding chair
  • Hydrate
  • Snacks, especially if you shy away from hamburg and hot-dog fare.

Avoid Fainting if You Are Older

You do not want to faint when you are old, because people will be afraid you are going to die on them.

Everyone at the show was very kind, including the five workmen who were standing over me when I awoke with my chin flat on the gravel, grateful that the tunnel of white light wasn’t a portal to forever and feeling like an ass.

“Are you hurt?”

“Only my pride.”

To become better informed about Doberman Pinscher conformation, I happily rode off to the three-day AKC Dog Shows at the Orlando fairgrounds recently.

How Attending Shows Helps You Learn

I ran into a breeder I knew from the Facebook Doberman Pinschers breeders’ page. She took me under her wing, generous with her dog show information about what to look for in conformation.

A show is sporting fun for breed enthusiasts, and I learned some useful things.

For example, in obedience training, I want the dog to look at me; in conformation, the animal must look straight ahead so that the set of the legs and gait may be properly evaluated.

I left home early for me — 9-ish — with a bracing mug of hot tea. I didn’t stop until I reached the Orlando Fair Grounds and found the building where the Doberman Pinschers would exhibit on the first Friday of these AKC Dog Shows.

Waiting for ring time, so I wandered over to the catering truck. I didn’t think about buying something to drink. This was my First Mistake.

Tattoo Stay Hydrated on the Backs of Your Eyelids

Anyone who has lived in Florida as long as I have should have “Stay Hydrated” tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

Temperatures were soaring to around Heat Index 100 with nary a breeze to relieve the suffocating heat in this inland location.

I was hungry, but seeing the menu, I decided to wait until after I saw the Dobes to find a restaurant. After all, my new GPS would provide me with an array of choices.

That was my Second Mistake.

Further intensifying my dehydration and lack of food, the air conditioning wasn’t working in the building housing the Dobes’ competition.

To Wrap It All Up

So lesson learned: When attending AKC dog shows, for sporting fun go with everything you need to stay safe.

The dog show information that may save you from being that person who is no fun because she fell right over — bring a chair, bring water, bring snacks, and have a good time.