Despite my disappointment in January, I continued to plot, plan, scheme, and strategize how to achieve my goal of living with a well-trained, well-bred Doberman Pinscher.
Seeds grow in the darkness. They need the rest of night to germinate life.
Witches and magicians warn against revealing plans prematurely. Such disclosures invite malignant forces, naysaying, and may dissipate creative energy in unproductive spiels.
I have been making progress.
“You have fallen into a fit of despondency, and there is not the least need. In fact, it encourages one to believe that there is nothing to be done, when all that is wanted is a bit of resolve to bring matters to a happy conclusion.” — The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.