Life Forensics:


Because the unexamined
life is not worth living

  August 1, 2007

A week later and everything still feels funky, as though I am just going through motions.  It's not a particularly timely feeling.  Today is the first day of Harvest (Happy Lammas, by the way) and I should feel tired and accomplished and celebratory and ready to take a breath before getting busy on the work of bringing in the crops from the field.

Instead, I feel tired and antsy and as though I am out of place, out of sync and out of time.

The moment will come when I can right everything again and of course, after careful consideration, I know exactly why I feel that way and there isn't a lot I can do to fix it at this point.

As with most things in the year, it all comes back to what I planted this year.  As many of you know, Eric and I are very "hands on" with our spirituality.  We believe in, study and practice the immense value of psychology in spirituality.  People internalize more with experiences. 

Dale's Cone of Experience (click above) tells us that the most retained experiences are the ones in which you yourself are a participant rather than just reading something or listening to someone speak or seeing someone do something.  For that reason, we feel that rituals of "doing" are the most important ways in which to engage the Divine/God/Goddess.

I have taken some flack from people for embracing the idea of GodDESS in addition to GOD.  To my mind, NOT embracing the idea that God can work as male, female, both, either or whatever God chooses to be when interacting with us is a reduction of God's power.  I believe God can embody whatever God chooses to embody.  In the Bible, God has appeared as a bush...foliage, for crying out loud.  Why not as a Goddess? 

As humans, we feel an inherent need to humanize an image of God.  As children, we picture an old man with his hand to his ear, keeping track of all we do and say.  We want to hang a label on God and define God in life as we know it, Male-Female, Good-Bad, Up-Down...  It's difficult to imagine that God can be everything and everywhere without limit or boundary or definition.  It's almost impossible to conceive that any time that we attempt to define God in some way, we limit God and God is limitless.

In other words, we need to be far more involved with experiencing God than in defining God.  Trying to define God in one of the very few totally impossible tasks in life while experiencing God is one of the easiest and most rewarding tasks in life. 

Religions are very dedicated to defining God in terms that elevate their own God experience above all others.  Christian, Jewish, Pagan (By "Pagan" I in no way mean "godless," but as in "People of the Earth"), Muslim... Each needs to be certain that they are right and to put rules and definitions onto our interactions with God.  Any time we do that, we purposely or inadvertently limit our own access to experience God in a very real and personal way.

Because of negative connotations achieved through the ages, the word "ritual" leaves a lot of people antsy, especially when associated with spirituality.  To me, ritual is a delicious word that puts Dale's Cone of Experience into very practical and appreciable utilization on a spiritual level.  In short, a minister can preach a wonderful and moving sermon that affects us for the rest of our life, but if we somehow actively participate in that experience , we will benefit from it even more greatly, which brings me back to the whole "hands on" approach to spirituality.

The word "ritual" is more closely associated with Paganism in practice; however, all religions utilize ritual.  When my Baptist church congregation used to stand together every Sunday morning and sing the Doxology, that was a ritual.  When we washed one another's feet as a sign of humility, that was a ritual.  When we would partake of communion together, that was ritual.  Even baptism is a ritual.

It is the active participation in a repeated activity in order to generate a more meaningful experience, resulting in deeper and more personal retention of the memory created.

That's my definition, not Webster's.

All that being said, Eric and I take our spirituality very seriously, especially now that we have separated out from the definition of being associated with any particular spiritual path.  It was our experience that any religion we'd ever been involved in limited our contact with God in some way, so we chose to let that go and interact with God without the labels and instructions imposed by others. 

We believe that God wants us to grow and prosper and learn and progress positively in our lives.  To that end, each Spring, we each "plant" a new goal in our life.  (I know some of you have heard this before, but skim it if you have)

This gives us focus for the "active" part of the year when our ancestors would have been leaving the home and Winter to begin their work in the fields that would sustain them in the coming Winter.  We believe that the well-worn paths our ancestors have created are still imbedded in our DNA as a natural way of being in the world for humans and when we follow those cycles, we are working in sync and in harmony with Nature.

Since Nature is a physical way in which God in expressed to us in our human existence, it also means we are working in harmony with God.

So here we go each Spring, having spent the cold of Winter contemplating how we want our lives to be different the following Harvest, planting the goals in our lives that will bring about those positive changes.

That brings us to this year and that long-assed missive above was to get us here and explain why I feel out of sorts.

We actually do plant a seed to represent our goals, usually a bean.  We tend the sprout and the plant and care for it as a representation of the care we will give to the goals we have planted.

This year, I planted 3 beans.  One was for continued financial stability.  One was for my friend, Jennifer, who had a really shit year last year and who I wanted to have a wonderful year this year.  One was for healthy weight loss.

I only had one of my beans come up and it grew up straight and tall and wound all the way up the kitchen blinds.  Eric's grew full and bushy and had two big fat beans. (He did two electrical jobs this summer:  Beale AFB and the Mormon Temple)  His plant came up fast, flowered fast, beaned fast and died fast.  Delena's just went nuts all over the place with beans everywhere.

Delena's Beans

My tall, pretty, slender bean

...and the bean at the top of it.

Eric's plant with the two beans

Eric planted one thing:  Financial prosperity, as opposed to "stability," which pretty much canceled out my bean because he thinks bigger than I do, which has benefited us many times.

Jennifer planted her own joy, so didn't need my bean.

The tall, slender stalk was my weight loss bean.

I got a nice bean off the plant for harvest. I let it dry and took out the bean to plant for next year.  The plant is still growing and going strong, even though Delena and Eric's plants are long dead.  I have had 3 tiny beans show up and just crisp out on the vine.  I have another bean that is growing nicely.

I have learned the immense value of exercise this year and know that I can maintain it.  I have learned how to eat properly and keep track of my calories.  I have learned to take the right supplements and drink plenty of water.  I have seen my own strength and my own ability to succeed with this goal.

I did not, however, come close to accomplishing this goal.  In fact, I weigh and measure the same as I did when I started this earlier in the year.  I feel good.  I am happy.  I bought new clothes and got a great hairstyle and color so that I look good.  I did not, however, apply what I learned to succeed.

The reason I feel antsy and out of sync is that I did not follow through and there is no harvest.  It's as simple as that.

My bean believes in me and I believe in me and I know I have all of the tools I need to make it happen.  I'll go to Harvest Summer School and make it happen.  I have already made plans to get back on track a week from Monday when the kids go back to school.  Full steam ahead (again).  The good news is that Eric DID do his work and completed the Mormon project today, which will give him enough money to take a couple of months off from the electrical work and just be a mail carrier.  That gives him hours a day to do what he wants to do.  I get to party off of Eric's Harvest, which is lovely.  He will have made enough to purchase an additional used car (we're a one car family now, which is challenging) and make the changes he wants to make to the house and yard before we refinance in October. 

In re-reading this, it sounds to me as if I feel sad or remorseful or pitiful or something and that is far from the truth.  It is what it is and whatever happens is inevitably for our own greatest good.  I still believe 100% that I can do this and I am dedicated to giving it my all this late summer, fall and winter so that I have accomplished enough by Spring that I don't need to focus on it as a primary goal any more.  I feel very optimistic and joyful about the whole thing now that I understand it better.

Now, in other worlds...

Life is good for the most part.  The kids go back to school on the 13th and are excited at the prospect, although Nathan is nervous about moving into the 3rd-5th grade room.  It will definitely be a change for him over the K-2nd room.  He's bright and he's motivated, so I think he will do well and I adore the teacher.  She'll work very well with his personality.

Delena is ready for 10th grade after a very active July.  She went to Anime Expo in Long Beach with her Dad and Stepmom, to the GH Fan Club Weekend with me and last Friday, went to the Projekt Revolution concert with Eric (an all day and into the night event).  She misses her friends and is eager to see them.  She dropped Drama in favor of Foods because she loves to cook (hurray!), but hopes that someone else in her group will be willing to do the raw meat touching.  She  has issues with touching raw meat. 

With Eric off the electrical bit for a while, his need for me to do the mail in Grizzly Flats will be minimal, so I will almost have my old life back.  The GFORCE ladies and I are eagerly planning Founder's Day, our big event of the year.  I am excited for what the rest of the year brings and look forward to living it out loud.

Eric and I will have our 10th wedding anniversary on November 13th.  We were going to renew our vows, but that just isn't working out for a lot of reasons (none bad ones). 

Much like my laundry and housekeeping today, which also appears to not be working out.  I should likely get to that.

I think I have a greater resistance to it because of yesterday.  Eric was leaving around 8am or so and I noticed that the front window was pretty dirty, not just that kind that you let go for a few days until you feel like cleaning it, but that "My grandbabies were just here and someone must have been eating yogurt" kind of dirty.  So I grabbed the Windex and went out to do my duty.  About 5-6 swipes into it, I felt something odd happening in my hair and realized that a swarm of bees had just jumped right in there.

I bent over gently, letting my hair move back and forth and assuring the bees that I meant no harm, just go on out and don't be scared and leave me the hell alone please.  They all did except for one tenacious little bastard who dug in and stung the complete hell out of the top of my head. I felt pain radiating in big stripes all down my face and into my shoulders and still, I tried to stay calm because he just would NOT let go.  My face was getting all tingly and weird feeling and so I eased into the house, dropped the Windex I was still holding and all I could find was the stupid dog brush.  I gently brushed into my hair and I guess he finally let go because although I didn't see him fall out, I couldn't feel him in there any more with my fingers.   I did, of course, feel the giant, throbbing lump on my nog.  I got some Sting Eze (great stuff) and doused my head with it and that helped a little. 

Since then, my head has wafted between aching and itching.  It's about to drive me crazy.  Having grown up in Ky, I've been stung about a bazillion times, but not at all in the past several years.  I knew I didn't have any kind of allergy, but that still does not make it a particularly pleasant experience, plus now I hate my front porch.

Yes, that is my big event for the week.  I guess my hairstyle is a "beehive" now.

I'm off to clean (I must be off to clean).  I wish I had servants to do this for me because laws, I do hate it so.  Grrrr.

Be Particular,

Name: Katrina Rasbold
Location: Grizzly Flats, California

I am a happily married broad of a particular age who lives in a rural mountain community on the edge of the El Dorado National Forest.  Grizzly Flats was once a thriving mining town (think "Deadwood"), but is now a quiet, remote town with a few hundred year-round residents and several city folks with a country home up here where they come to rough it a few times a year.  No more saloons or hotels or livery stables, just an unmanned fire station, a 2 room schoolhouse, a ranger station and a post office. 

It's heaven.

I am a writer and webmaster.  I am also a rural route mail carrier and a student of life and the world around us. 

I deeply honor all religions and whatever (harming none) path others use to reach God and their most sacred selves.  I completely reject the premise that there is one path/ one religion that "fits all" and is the "right" one.  Just as people speak in different languages to one another, I believe God also speaks to us in different languages.  God knows us well enough to understand that our spirits vibrate on different levels and must be accessed in different ways with different words and practices. 

Mike Rowe ("Dirty Jobs"):  "Are you a religious man?"

Septic Tank Cleaner:  "No, but I am a spiritual man."