Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Armpits and Other Points of Contention

My usual habit upon waking up is to scroll my social media feeds.   Whether this is a good or bad habit is better discussed another day.

This morning as I was looking through FB, I came upon a post with a vintage photo of Sofia Loren showing her armpits– which were, how shall I say, unshorn.    Following this photo were no less than 88 comments about her armpits.   Eighty-eight.   People were arguing over this.  Over Sofia Loren’s fuzzy armpits.

I am not going to summarize the arguments for or against.   My point is that I was just amazed that all these commenters had nothing better to argue about.   Seriously.  The comments got pretty ugly and personal.

We have war, climate change, racism, gender-equity issues, world health issues, corrupt politicians, and many other important and relevant topics.  But people fight over stupid stuff like this.   And it is not just armpits.   Look at your social media feeds.   People argue over many other silly things.  Another common area of conflict is what happens on your favorite binge-shows.   I want to jump in and say “People, it’s just a TV show!  It’s not real!”   But I know better.

I think some people just like being contentious.   Why is that? Personally, I think it is because folks feel like they can’t change the big things so they get anxious and start fussing about the little things.

People, just chill, will ya?

But look at me now:   I’m being contentious.    (SMH).

ljgloyd (c) 2022


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Distractions

What kind of things distract us? I think a lot of us would say that we spend too much time on social media. That’s me. Or we waste hours watching television or streaming our binge-favorites on Netflix.  Then there’s YouTube.  I have 253 YouTube subscriptions. 

Reading. “What? Books are good,” you are screaming at me.   Okay then, how many of you would rather read than spend time with your partner or friends?  Right. I thought so.

For me,  my imagination is a distraction. About ten years ago I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote a sci-fictiony short novel that takes place in an alternate reality on an alternate planet.  Even now I will take a dip back into that world that I created. I’ll come home from a hard shift on the day job and try to “meditate,” but instead imagine in my mind’s eye walking through that world interacting with my characters.  I waste quite a bit of time there.

What about writing and art-making? “Wait a minute,” you say, “that’s what I SHOULD be doing. Those are the things that I get distracted FROM.” Really? I say even these can be just as addictive as any other of the aforementioned activities. 

So it would seem that the more important question to ask is what are the things FROM which we are distracted?  Could it be that we engage in addictive distractions to keep us from dealing with the things that we fear or the activities that would better this world?  This is perfectly understandable. Who wouldn’t be afraid of global climate change? Or perhaps the start of World War III that will lead to nuclear annihilation?  Poverty, disease, racism?   And the things we fear don’t necessarily have to be on such a big scale. Maybe we are afraid to confront the deep traumas of our personal lives. Or perhaps we have been hurt so much by others that we are afraid to develop intimacy and community. 

I know even my saying this probably makes some people uncomfortable. I don’t mean to be critical because I deal with the same things. And I certainly do not have a remedy.

So if messing around on Twitter or Facebook, or losing yourself in a good trashy romance novel helps you cope, then by all means do it. But just consider the consequences.

 

ljg 2022


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One Year


One year ago today, I was in a local grocery store trying to stock up on supplies along with throngs of toilet paper panic-buyers.    It was the first day of my quarantine, a Friday the 13th.  I thought it would be only a few weeks of working at home.

One year later, I am still working at home.

Like many people I spent the year exploring new activities and hobbies. I’ve baked bread. (But only three times. Store-bought is better.)   I studied the Tao Teh Ching and read the Bhagavad Gita along with books on Buddhism and meditation. I got into doing at least one of the daily offices from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (okay, not every day, but enough so that it is somewhat a habit). I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen with vegetarian cooking.  (Beans, beans, the magical fruit….).   I have been gardening– you’ve seen plenty of pictures here– and I have been trying to establish art-making as a daily practice (except I spend more time arting in my bedroom where the light is better than in the studio I set up.)

I have not been writing much. I need to be out and about gathering experiences to write on. I have not been drumming. I cannot drum alone and zoom drumming is not an option.  I have not been exercising much.  Bad girl, bad!

I’ve spent way too much time on social media. The upside:  I’ve been cultivating virtual relationships with other artists and like-minded people in FaceBook groups. I have spent hours binge-watching series like Downton Abbey and The Good Witch. I have been taking crash courses in ancient history on YouTube. Technology has been a God-send:  I’ve gotten to know the people of my faith community and my work community a whole lot better through Zoom. I’ve had many “virtual happy hours” with my personal friends via text messaging.

And I’ve been reading and reading and reading fiction– especially in the genres of fluffy mysteries and magical realism.

I’ve been more politically aware thanks to 24/7 cable news.   I’d like to think I made a difference for the better with my vote.

But these activities, along with work, could not fill up all the hours of the day and night. So I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting:   Reflecting on heavy issues like death and dying. (Yes, Covid has touched very close to home). Reflecting on the difference between being alone and being lonely. (Not something you want to ponder at 3:30 in the morning). Reflecting on my own physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. (I’ve got some work to do there).

Tomorrow, God-willing and the creek don’t rise, I am supposed to get my first vaccine dose. Even though the pandemic is far from over and I still need to be careful for the sake of others, when I get my second dose, I will consider this journaling project over.  I will have survived.

This quarantine has been as if the Universe has given me a time out to sift through a lot of inner stuff.

And I am trying hard to be grateful for that.

Ljgloyd (c)


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Day 248: On Being an Open-Minded Skeptic

Tai Chi Chuan at the Beach, ljgloyd 2017

I believe in science.  I have little patience for flat-earthers who ignore basic, observable evidence, or those who won’t wear masks during a pandemic because …. well, I really don’t understand their “because”.    They make no sense.

That being said, I am open-minded enough to believe in the possibility of things that don’t have a readily available scientific explanation.

For example, I have, for decades, practiced various types of energetic practices such as qigong, tai chi chuan, and yoga– practices intended to move vital life force energy (Qi) through the body to optimize good health   I receive acupuncture treatments and take Chinese herbs for the same reason–they break up stagnant Qi.    I engage in these practices because I can observe the outcome: I feel better afterwards.

So for the time-being, I will be content to embrace the mystery and assume that one day our methods of scientific research will shed more light on the existence and operation of something so basic as our vital life force.

********

Here are two fascinating clips from the classic Bill Moyer’s documentary about Qi and traditional Chinese medicine.  In the second video, I appreciate the young man’s comments about advancing our methods of studying Qi.

ljgloyd (c) 2020

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/11/17/rdp-tuesday-qi/


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Day 220: Work/Life Balance

Way back in March when we started our work-at-home lockdown, I fussed a lot about having to stay at home all the time, enduring the “sameness” of every day. Of course, there is still a lot of that feeling, but I have come to appreciate the benefits.

The primary benefit for me is the work/life balance.  I don’t have to rush home to meet the handiman. I don’t have to spend my weekend or evenings doing laundry or vacuuming. No stress in dealing with commuter traffic. I can make a pot of tea and drink it like a civilized person instead of gulping it from a paper cup. I can go out and weed my garden on my lunch hour. And I don’t have to binge cook on Sunday afternoons. I have time to tend a simmering caldron of soup on a Thursday afternoon. And this morning, I roasted a kabocha squash while answering work emails and preparing for zoom meetings.

Yes, I can get used to this.  Wait, I think I have gotten used to this. 

kabocha squash roasted in olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and drizzled with maple syrup


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Day 115: The Zen of Airing My Laundry

Today is supposed to be a major holiday where I live. But there is no excitement for me today. It is going to be just like any other Saturday. I will work in my garden, do my laundry and get rid of some recyclables.  I may even vacuum.  It will be more of a day of quiet circumspection than a day for watching fireworks and eating barbecue.

Last week my dryer broke down.  Right now I am not inclined to get it fixed. There are several reasons for this, but basically I just don’t want to deal with it. It just seems so irrelevant in the middle of all the global chaos. Instead, I bought a clothesline and some old-fashioned wooden clothespins and this morning I hung my wet laundry out to dry in a discreet place in my yard.

I noticed right away that this is a slow process. It is not just throwing the clothes in a metal box and pressing a button. I had to take my time and hang things properly.  It was pleasant standing out in the warm summer sun. I was transported me back to my childhood before we had a dryer in the house and watched my mother tend to this task.   (I am sure my mother would not have seen this chore in the same way as I do now which is why I suspect we eventually got a dryer. And ask me my feelings about this again in January when I can’t hang my clothes out because of the freezing rain.).

But today in my yard near my sunflowers and ripening tomatoes, in the midst of a global pandemic, financial crisis, and social unrest, I am reflecting on the state of the world and finding a few minutes of serenity.  Or at least I will try.

Ljgloyd 2020

 

.https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/excitement/

 

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/your-daily-word-prompt-discretion-ydwordprompt-July-4-2020/

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/excitement/

 


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Day 26: Touching Base

It is Day 26 of my lock down.   And it is looking like this will continue at least through the month of April and probably into May.  And then, from what I hear, it is going to come around again in September.

The situation has been tolerable, but now I am hearing that we should not leave the house at all, not even to walk around for exercise for at least two weeks.   Now I know that is for my well-being and the safety of all around me.   And it is no big deal to be asked to lay on my couch all day.  So I will do it.

It will end.  It will. I have no doubt.  But how will I change and how will we all change when it is done?  Will we go back to the old normal of being selfish, shallow, materialistic, over-privileged jerks?   Or will be move giving, more reflective, more spiritual, more magnanimous individuals?

Maybe I will slip back to the old ways, though I hope not.  But I do know that I am grateful for a job, a roof over my head, food in my pantry, and so far — by the grace of God — good health.   If there is no other benefit than learning to be grateful, then I will have done well.

ljg 2020

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/grace/