K’un, The Receptive: An Epiphany

I don’t so much throw the I Ching anymore as look for a hexagram that resonates. I am an Earth sign, and a female, and it is the start of a new year. It seems appropriate to go to the beginning of the hexagrams to seek wisdom: K’un, the Creative, Hexagram Two.

A Magician Pen and Ink George Hayter
Sir George Hayter. c. 1826

I had many plans for the start of this year. I expected to be in a new home receptive for training my new Doberman Pinscher companion. The political dangers confronting our Republic militate against this.

I find myself receptive to new paths in life. All dreams and goals are on hold as I explore a total life change more total and sweeping than I dreamed a year ago.

I am exploring ways that I can support and participate in the Resistance to the current treasonous efforts overthrow to our institutions that are underway.

The Receptive Complements The Creative

The Creative, Hexagram One, associated with traditional so-called masculine energies, exists not as a duality with the Receptive but as a complementarity.

The Judgment in the Wilhelm translation of the I Ching specifies sublime success follows from guidance.

I, who have lived alone as a mystic and recluse for the past dozen years, am suddenly in the position of believing Resistance can be accomplished only in association with others.  This is a strange turn for what I foresaw as my future only a short time ago — a future I planned for most of last year.

Today also is the Feast of Epiphany. In the Roman Catholic tradition, we did not take down the Christmas tree and creche until this day. According to legend, this is when the Three Wise Men, or three magicians, reached Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of the Christ.

Epiphany and The Receptive

Epiphany is a sudden insight or revelation in common language.

An epiphany is more likely to happen if one is receptive. The Magi were receptive to the guidance of a star that shone brightly in the sky. The undertook a long and perilous journey with their gifts.

Mine usually occur after a long journey of research, meditation, and prayer. They are sudden only to the extent that once guidance blossoms, it is whole, complete, and redoubtable.

I am reading about Moveon.org, the New Jim Crow, the surveillance society, the encroachments of financial institutions into every area of our lives through debt and fees, and many dimensions of political and communication theory I abandoned after my research career was ended.

An epiphany is often only for part of my journey, perhaps only the next step to be taken. Then I must remain receptive to the next step and the one after that.

Best Wishes for Your Healthy and Happy New Year

I wish anyone who read this a happy and healthy year. May you be receptive to your own special guidance, and may your epiphanies show you the way forward.

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 Despair and Hope

Rembrandt studio, woman walking to the left
Studio of Rembrandt van Rijn, Beggar Walking to the Left, Rosenwald Collection

The election of a racist, misogynist, narcissist as president has shaken to my core.

Knowing that one half my fellow Americans think it’s okay for a man who shamed a handicapped reporter from the stage to be president earns my contempt for them.

There is no place to run and hide. A wave of far-right narrowly nationalist fervor is sweeping the planet, from India to England.

When I started this blog, I was inspired with a sense of purpose and energy for how to spend my retirement: I would find a home with a yard appropriate for me and a Doberman. I would participate in training to the highest level of excellence possible for the animal and me.

A simple plan for a total life change.

Then, whoosh, despair for the future of our great Republic swamped me — despair that so many people choose to put illusions of self-benefit above civility, the Constitution, compassion, and the law.

One person suggested that I need therapy. I think not.

Swamplands of the Soul: New Life in Dismal Places (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts)

“The ultimate purpose of psychotherapy is not so much the archaeology exploration of infantile sentiments as it is learning gradually and with much effort to accept your own limits and to carry the weight of suffering on our own shoulders for the rest of our lives. Psychological work, instead of providing liberation from the causes of serious discomfort, increases it, teaching the patient to become adult and, for the first time in [her] life actively face the feeling of being alone with [her] pain and abandoned by the world” in Swamplands of the Soul, Hollis, a Jungian, quoting Carotenuto (The Difficult Art), p. 15.

After a certain age — and a certain age (often posited as post-50) is barely a shadow in the rear view mirror of life — and a certain amount of counseling and spiritual seeking, therapy is only a way of escaping the difficult realization that I am all I have.Oddly, I find these ostensibly cheerless words comforting. I even find a glimmer of hope and renewed purpose in them.

Figure walking, from back, Vuillard
Edouard Vuillard, Walking Figure Seen from Behind, c. 1894, Gift of Benjamin and Lillian Hertzberg

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

TS Eliot, Little Gidding, the last of The Four Quartets (http://www.coldbacon.com/poems/fq.html)

I was greatly influenced by The Quartets, a meditation on time, often as an undergraduate at New York University back in the days when Bob Dylan sightings at local cafes often turned out to be true. I listened to Eliot intone the words in a flat, gravely voice, on the now archaic invention of a long-playing album.

After decades of exploration, I cannot say that I know this place in life — despair — at all. I can say my current despair is a situational adjustment issue, as a therapist would frame it, and not the inner angst of youth that goaded my early consultations of this poem.

Woman working in garden, Pissarro
Camille Pissarro (French, 1830 – 1903 ), Woman Working in a Garden, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection

A Sufi notion suggests sometimes we are in the garden where life pleases us, and sometimes we are in the fire, where we are tested. Both are places where inner lessons may be learned.

TS Eliot reached the same idea in the final lines of The Quartets:

“And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.”

In such stoic acceptance of reality, I find hope.

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.

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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Fantasy Meets Reality: The Dao of Pushing Through

Four hours, a dozen properties, an intense drive through the neighborhood I favor, and fantasy meets reality. I have arrived at the dao of pushing through.

Staircase with Trophies, NYPL Digital Collection
Staircase with Trophies, NYPL Digital Collection

Goals and dreams are the wellspring of vitality. Without them, a person might as well be dead. It’s important in late life to have another project on the horizon.

The desire that illuminates my quest is having a well-trained, well-bred Doberman Pinscher.

Affordable homes for myself and my faithful companion are, so far, underwhelming. A home can look good when the photograph crops out every undesirable aspect.

One is next-door to a double-wide mobile with a platoon of kiddies’ bikes and a tree house on the property line.

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Dao of House-Hunting under Retrograde Mercury in Virgo

Dao of Endless Portals
Portals and Paths

The dao of house-hunting continues. I will soon start another round of house-hunting. I have been scouting neighborhoods up to this point. Now the quest is sign a contract for a home for me and my Doberman.

Each time I complete one step of this journey, I pass through another of the endless portals toward living my dao.

My excitement is growing.

I have taken this condo apartment as far as I can, unless I spend big money for a new kitchen and bath to make the place sparkle.

Those are not cost-effective investments.

I love the thrill of the chase in finding things to turn my home into a Bohemian fantasy. Enjoying the dao of the journey is more magical and fulfilling than reaching a goal.

Proof: I have a made-to-order sofa and loveseat purchased when I and a life partner were making good money. It wasn’t nearly as much fun as finding quirky resales.  Imagining what I might do in my next home delights my imagination.

Astrology, Synchronicity, and My Dao

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Mess & Metamorphosis: The Dao of Preparation

One of the things I struggle with is keeping my home organized.

Getting ready to move (as part of my retirement planning) has provided a lesson in the dao of preparation for my total life change.

Cotton boll has many transformations
Cotton boll undergoes many transformations in its growth-use cycle.

Moving has been my excuse for letting things pile up. There was no reason to think that packing a mess is easier than packing well-organized possessions; the opposite is true.

Mail on the dining room table has become a pinwheel of papers. Notebooks and receipts, thick envelopes and catalogs swirl in dizzying disorganization.

Closets are easier to keep organized than rooms.

I can label the shelves, baskets, and other organizers. I put clothes where they belong no matter how tired I am, because labels make it easy.

Mail is the biggest time waster.

Some people say to chuck everything you don’t need to read on the spot. I don’t want to read anything on the spot when I get home late.  And I often forget or avoid it later.

As I searched for my phone book beneath the current cache of political ads, needless paperwork from various vendors, and miscellaneous ephemera — I noticed the melange was loosely arranged in three piles from less urgent to most.  Not bad for a subconscious sorting mechanism.

Out of this stew, a total life change is being formed. The caterpillar metamorphoses into a gooey mess before emerging as a butterfly. We often don’t like to think about the deep chthonic stew from which life emerges: ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  Except ashes and dust are euphemisms for the ooze, gunk, and stink that fertilize transformation.

We avert our eyes and our noses; only the brave investigator of the soul confronts such reality. Meditating on life’s inevitable changes — those that may be part of life or retirement planning and those that take us by surprise —

are part of wisdom.

Realizations such as this one are rewarding parts of the journey and confirm that for now this is my dao.

 

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.