Searching for the perfect organizing solution – Part 1

I’ll say this right at the start. I think it’s mathematically impossible, because the variables are too numerous. I mean, I’ve broken this down into categories, types, contexts and availabilities… and there’s more. And beyond each of those, there are sub-headings. And beyond those there are considerations and exceptions. And it never ends. I want to write about all of it here.

If I haven’t lost you yet, good! Let me first describe what I’m trying to do here. I’m trying to take all the information that flows into and out of my life and organize it somehow. What information am I talking about? Well, for instance, an appointment on my calendar. Or a reminder to call my bank about a recent problem, or all the usernames and passwords for all the websites I have. There is a lot more. Way way more. Chances are you’ve experienced this as well.

So I’m trying to find the best solution to organize it in a way that is easy to dump it into, and easy to retrieve it from. It has to be readily accessible, via my phone, or my home computer, or my laptop, or my work computer. Maybe on the web, or stored and available offline, or both.

So you see? Let’s start looking at this. We’ll start with context.

What’s context? It’s the realm of information. Basically, for me, there are a few options. Work, home (personal), and home (family). Is the information pertinent to work or home, or maybe both?  Pretty much everything I am involved in falls under these few contexts. If you also go to school, that might be another context. The information you have will make sense within the context from which it comes.

Coming up next, we’ll discuss the next entity, availability.

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Unschooling, even in school.

My children were unschooled for most of their schooling years. My daughter was unschooled right up until she decided to go to school in 10th grade. She jumped righ into high school, from having no formal curriculum, no history of textbooks, study, homework or anything normally associated with school. Yet, from grade 10 through grade 12, she excelled at her work and consistently placed on the deans list. She is now set to graduate with high honors.

Why? Because unschooling is a uniquely independent approach to learning. It allows the child to observe and discover on their own, without the need to “switch gears” in the middle of a thought (as is done when, in class, a bell rings to indicate it’s time to move to the next class, regardless of what was happening in the present class). In unschooling, a child learns by necessity. So when life events require it, the learning happens. For instance, when planning a road trip, it may be good to know how long the trip will take if the distance is x and the speed is y. This one calculation, based on a real event in the child’s life that actually has meaning to her, is more impactful that a few weeks of studying the concept of division for an hour a day.

My son was also unschooled, but started trying out school in the middle of 7th grade at a local Waldorf School. Waldorf fit him well. It had the pace and flow that fit him best. His method of learning during his unschooling years amazed me. Somehow, he went from not reading at all to voraciously reading books one after the other. He learned to read late, and I was concerned. But as he encountered “reading,” mainly through playing video games, he was learning. It culminated in a young man who can read and write at levels well above grade.

Where he might have struggles is in study skills. Waldorf, as most schools do, requires certain things to be done on certain schedules. Homework, assignments, and projects need to be done and he needs to work on it, but he finds the discipline hard to come by at times.

But he still shows great talent, interest and curiosity. He still learns on his own, maybe more than through any homework assignment. He still has the mind of an unschooler, just like my daughter. They put more confidence in themselves and their own abilities than in the “system.” They know that everything is open for debate, and that formal education isn’t the only way to learn. They did not have to suffer the endless years of rote learning that comes with a lifetime in the early school years. I’ve seen how this can demoralize kids, and how it can deaden their attitude toward learning. They no longer depend on themselves, and instead expect others to impart learning upon them.

It doesn’t hurt that their mom and I practiced attachment parenting. We did not let them “cry it out” or leave them in a crib to experience needless fear, loneliness or abandonment. We co-slept and it was a lovely thing. They left that nest when they were ready, and they were stronger for it. They actually gained greater independence as a result, because they learned to depend on their own judgments.

We did not have the need to hit or even punish our kids, because we were able to communicate what we needed when we needed. Respect was mutual and flowed both ways. And now, as young adults, even though as a family we’ve gone through some difficult times, I have the greatest faith in the abilities of my children to make it in this world. Yes, they are still gathering their skills, but they get it.

They got it.

 

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A Brief History of Letters

The other day, my daughter asked my why we need a letter “x”. Or “q” or “c” for that matter.

Good questions, especially when she was giving alternate spellings for words that normally have those letters. For instance, xylophone or pretty much any word that begins the letter “x” can usually just begin with the seemingly more appropriate letter “z”. Or take “q”. It’s pretty useless without a “u” immediately following it and pretty much always sounds like “kw”. And “c” has such a multiple personality disorder with it sometimes sounding like as “s” (circus), or a “k”, or (um, circus) a “ch” or even “sh”, all on its own.

So I thought about all these strange letter issues and began to relate to my daughter the complex history of the letter business.

For instance, the letter “x” was once owned by a very wealthy, reclusive, oil baron back in the early 1900’s. During that time, he put a lot of money and effort in getting his letter “x” more exposure. One of his big victories is when he was able to convince a powerful government word regulation group to start using “x” at the beginning of some words that previously began with “z”. “X” had often been found inside of words, but not until this guy and his efforts to promote the letter did “x” start appearing first in words.

Later, this same man ended up buying “z” and several other offbeat letters (he could never get “q” though he tried; that is another interesting story involving another powerful mogul). Through his acquisitions he was able to get some of his letters promoted to greater visibility, but it wasn’t until he started making deals with other industries such as the auto industry, one of his most successful engagements, that he was really able to get his letters moving.

The man just happened to own two letters that the auto industry wanted, and he was able to make several deals involving his prized “x” and “z” as key letters in automobile model names. As an aside, when the Ford Model T came out, the letter T was in the public domain and available to any party, for private or commercial use.

Anyway, “x” and “z” were later used in many car name such as Nissan’s “z” series, some BMW models, and many American models over the years. His business was international, which is why he was able to reach across national boundaries. Of course, not every country uses z or x, so he was limited in some ways. As much as he tried to get his letters into foreign markets, his efforts didn’t always result in success.

But after years of this man’s efforts, and others like him during the early part of the 20th century, many letters came to prominence and others started to be used in many new and different ways. The letter ‘c’ was one of those letters (no company was able to own vowels). ‘C’ was not actually very useful since other letters did the job quite well. Through the efforts of another wealthy industrialist, the letter ‘c’ started to be found in words where ‘s’ was always used just fine. Then, it started being used in place of ‘ch’ and ‘sh’.

The whole thing started getting out of control until in the mid 1970’s the government started regulating private ownership of letters. Soon, after much public outcry and more stringent regulations, the ownership of letters became too bothersome and wasn’t as lucrative as it once was. Indeed, the business reasons for owning letters had pretty much been drying up over the years. Partly because of letters entering into public domain after certain periods of private ownership, and partly because of lack of new markets and products (no new letters had been discovered over the past 100 years, and innovation had crawled to a halt).

In the early 80’s, Congress passed the Letter Reconciliation Act (LETRA) which opened all remaining privately owned letters to the public. Since then, the effects of what was done in all the previous years by the corporations that owned them had pretty much stuck. Dictionaries and educators were not in any hurry to start rewriting word spellings.

And that’s why words have the letters they have now. So when you come to a word that is oddly spelled or looks like it could be spelled much better with more obvious letters, remember that there was probably a letter baron behind it somewhere.

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The Fates (a probabalistic model)

What are the fates? What is your fate?

The fates are probabilities. Let me put it this way: what if you are going from your living room to your kitchen to get a glass of water. What is the probability that you will get to the kitchen? What is the probability that you will get to the kitchen and get a glass of water? What is the probability that you will do that AND get back to the living room?

In each instance, the probability is very close to 100%, decreasing ever so slightly at each step of the process. I mean, considering what could happen at each point, whether it’s an earthquake, or a stroke, or a fall, or just something diverting your attention, the sum of all the probabilities of anything happening that gets in the way of you getting your water, is very low.

So the Fates would say you would get your glass of water and return to your living room. The probabilities are very high. Such high probabilities are hard to manipulate. Cue magic, the Witch’s Magick.

What does magic have to do with this? It can manipulate the fates. It can influence the probabilities. But only so much, depending on how gifted you are, or, in other words, how much influence your magic can assert on the fates. And what is magic? It is at its core, a blend of intention and will.

Let’s look at the lottery. The lottery is something that has very, very high odds against any single individual from actually winning. Add to that every person who is playing the lottery with the intention of winning it, and you have fates that are very distributed. If 10 million people play a lottery in which 1 out of every 10 billion tickets win (drawing 6 balls from a lot of 70 uniquely numbered balls results in almost 95 billion combinations), the odds are for any single person winning are very low. The overall odds of *anyone* winning are higher. What influence would a Witch have, who may be able to manipulate the fates? If the odds are 10,000,000 to 1 that an individual would win, then a Witch would have to have a very strong influence indeed upon the fates to turn the outcome in her or his favor. Add to that every individuals desire (will/intention) to win, then you have an even higher hurdle.

Everyone exerts will and intention upon the fates. Witches do it with consciousness. Others do it through unknown desire. Some do it through prayer or superstitions. They truly want to win the lottery. I’m only using this as an example, since I couldn’t say that everyone wants to win the lottery or that every Witch works magic to win such things. But when you have 10,000,000 people playing the lottery, all of them hoping to win to some degree or another, then the fates are muddled with intent, influenced probability, and an order of chaos. Absolute randomness may be driven from the system, even though the end result may seem random. In the end, there is always another lottery draw next week.

An aside

Quantum mechanics, the behavior of matter at a subatomic level, is described using probability. In any given moment, a particle being observed can be at any position, energy level (or whatever else is measured) based on a statistical model that looks like an elongated cos(x) plot from -x/2 to x/2, rotated around the x axis (it looks like that, but that is not the equation that defines it). The highest probability represented by the y axis, meaning that at the point of measurement, the state of the quantum particle would most likely be at the center, but could be at any point along the horizontal axis, decreasing in probability as it moves away from the center. Once measured though, the function changes (via Fourier Transform). This is the wave function of quantum mechanics. It defines the likelihood of a particles place in space and time.

The bottom line is: the building blocks of the very universe are based on probability. Not deterministic. Not stochastic either, since it isn’t random. Everything that can happen in a given moment, has a chance of happening, however small. Every QM measurement that can result has a chance of happening, however small.

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When Religion Rules

I’ve found the main difference between religion and spirituality. The latter is deeply personal, free (as in freedom) and more self directed. It allows one to determine what is right for her or himself. The former is social, legal, and controlled. It does not allow personal self directed beliefs. The social aspect of religion, is the human desire to share experience. In this case it’s the experience of spirituality. But the laws and controls are the nasty, yet unnecessary side effects. No one or no thing should or could dictate how we experience divinity. Yet it seems that is the role religion does and has played for as long as it has been around.

Religion has gotten a bad rap over the years. But its definition is pretty simple: “a belief in a supernatural controlling power.” That definition does not imply a group controlling your thoughts or a group mentality. It does not refer to a specific religion or belief system. So why is it so maligned over spirituality? Maybe it’s because it represents (in today’s culture) organized, established, mind-controlled, fundamentalist religion. Whereas spirituality refers to organic, flowing, Oprah, sunshine speckled fields of fruity happy white clothed yoga vegan people?

Well, I’m not sure where I fit in that since I am partly atheist, partly Pagan and partly whatever. I hear talk of “God” and think, “WTF, you have no clue!” Then I think, “WTF, neither do I!” So there’s that. But, seriously (if there’s such a thing), NO ONE KNOWS GOD! We’ve made all that up! No single person has seen with their physical body and eyes GOD. We create what we do not know! We imagine what we cannot fathom! We make up what we want to. And we eat way too much candy when it sits in a bag right next to us.

Sooo, the point is, who are we to speak of an all powerful creator-being when we can barely imagine the strange lifeforms under the sea? Or stop eating the candy? Or figure out the complexities of the Universe? Who are we to make god in our image? Which, of course we do. Bottom line? We are imaginative, but it does not equate to knowing a higher being, especially when that being is anthropomorphized. Obviously.

Sigh.

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Today I channeled beauty

On my bike ride today around North Hero and Grand Isle VT, I was simply struck by the beauty around me. I felt blessed appreciation. I truly felt it at a deeper than visual level. It was as if I took in the beauty and sent it back into the world as love. That’s what beauty is. It is there (it’s everywhere), but when I (or any person) become conscious of it, it enters reality or becomes reality. It becomes. And my consciousness of it brings it into existence, adding energy to the consciousness that is humanity. Becoming conscious of it transformed it into — a spark of Creation!

Allow me to put it this way: The Universe experienced Beauty through me. Just as it experiences Compassion, Love, and Joy through me. Everything I experience is the Universe experiencing through me.

But the Universe also experiences pain through me. My struggles and misery, my sickness and grief… all of it. And for me to deny it would be to deny the Universe’s moment to experience those feelings through me. To repress and bind such feelings is to keep the natural flow of Universe experiencing through me locked. That’s why it’s so important to let go into the experience, whether it is painful, or pleasurable. Let go fully into it and be in it. That keeps you free and available to all that is.

And when we let go so fully into something like that (and believe me, I am not there yet), we are healthier people overall. And we radiate the energy that so easily flows though us.

As Eckhart Tolle said: We are the Universe becoming aware of Itself.

May I be the channel through which that happens.

Note: The Universe? All That Is, “God”, Spirit, Goddess, Eternity, Ether, Stillness.

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My View of the Dead (A Samhain Post)

Ghosts, spirits, apparitions… oh my!

What do you think these are? Are they really disembodied spirits? The souls of those who have died, somehow left behind to roam the earth until freed from such bondage? And what implications does that have for us and our own afterlife?

I have a different view of this. I think that in some ways, whatever it was over human history that has caused people to believe in ghosts, that there is truth to these experiences. However, I don’t believe it is truly the actual soul of a dead person. I think it is the psychic shell of a person who has passed on. What is a psychic shell? It is the layer of all our mental, emotional and spiritual baggage that is shed once we leave this world. It is a form fitting shell, like papier mache over a balloon. When you pop the balloon and remove it, the papier mache is still there, in the same shape and form it was in when it covered the balloon. The thicker the material, the stronger the shell and the more chance it has to stay intact. The less material, the more easily it will dissolve and fade away. That is what the psychic shell is like. Except the psychic shell is energy. It is the remnants of the person’s on-earth personality. It is the remainder of all their hopes, dreams, and fears. All the things that are stripped from us when we die. It is the stuff we do not — and cannot — take with us as we move into the next realm.

But more than that, it is the sum of our intention and will. Were our intentions good while we lived? If so, the remnant energy would be benign and possibly disperse easily and quickly. If malicious, then the energy might not disperse and could be troublesome. The energy does not have consciousness per se. But it does have “memory”. It has a pattern and was formed by repetitive reinforcement. So it “behaves” in a certain way… in a way that is consistent with the person who used to fill the shell. That’s why when we encounter this energy, we may feel a familiar spirit, if we knew the person while they lived. Maybe our old Aunt Mabel. It’s because we are familiar with that part of Aunt Mabel — her energy is what we encountered most, so that is what we recognize and feel first.

That, then, would be her “ghost”. And it is not her soul, that is gone. It can’t be commanded to leave or told that it’s dead, so go to the other-world. No, it is intact energy that, if not dispersed, could hang around for a while. And what doesn’t help is if people feed the energy with their own fear, or anger or constant memories of Aunt Mabel. Such thoughts and emotions can keep the energy as it is. Seances, ghost hunts and other supernatural practices only serve to keep the energetic form going.

Say there is a house where a woman was killed or died a mysterious death. And lets say, the woman was troubled or led a reclusive life (to add wind to the flame!). After her death, people in the town would possibly think of the house as haunted, and through their combined thoughts would provide the intention to bolster the energy of whatever shell the woman left behind. It could have been that no energy was left behind. Or maybe there was, but the people’s thoughts and emotions around the house and the woman would only help to keep the energy intact.

For the most part, such energy is heavy and suffocating. And the person who lived with it was probably dour and unhappy (but maybe not I suppose). If this energy was to be encountered by a living being, especially someone sensitive to such things, the experience of it would be palpable.

So how does one disperse this old energy. First let me say, that when a person dies in true peace, which to me is a final letting go of all the earthly worries, then that person could dissolve much of the psychic shell right then. But people don’t always get the chance (such as in a sudden death, which is why we equate sudden deaths with ghosts), or they are not able to let go before they die, so the energy remains. Ways to dissolve the energy involve thoughts that are counter to those that formed the energy. If the person was truly a miserable, angry, unpleasant person, then the dissolution would involve having several people (who are good at this) get together to mediate in a positive and affirming state with the appropriate incense and crystals. Life positive attitudes, compassion and love can disperse this energy. There is much more to this, but you get the general idea. There are rituals, preparations, proper steps, etc. that would all need to be done.

Is there a danger if something goes wrong? Definitely. If a person is not sincere, or not properly grounded, or shielded, then encountering malicious energy head on might not be the safest thing to do. Remember, this energy is a shell. It could envelop a person who is focused on it. It could become their shell. Such a thing could be undone, but it is best to avoid it in the first place. Having such a heavy overbearing psychic shell overtake your own psychic space would certainly affect you! If left to linger on you, it could really cause problems. But remember, this is not a conscious form. It’s just energy. It flows to where the channels lead. So by your encountering this energy (by trying to disperse it) you are opening a channel for the energy to flow toward you. That’s why it’s always good to have several people working together. At least 3 people. When you think of a channel, think of a puddle being the energy, and the channel is a stick drawn through the mud toward you. The puddle would trickle down the stick drawn channel in your direction, and become a puddle around you! Again, much more that could be said about this, but you get the idea.

So that’s my theory of ghosts. I have not (yet) actually encountered a ghost, but I think they are out there. But they are only remnant energy, left intact by the concentration (or build-up) of years of the accumulation of psychic baggage. What do you think?

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This New Feeling

I’m not used to this new energy that courses through me in bolts and waves. I’ve never had this sort of pain linked to loss linked to love linked to my universe.

I’ve had pain before, but not the constant, grinding, nagging, persistent pain that I am feeling today.

How is it that so much can change so quickly? Over the weekend, I was in another world for a time. Now, I am back to the decay that is our relationship. It is so like the leaves… shedding from the trees at the slightest breeze. There is nothing that can stop them. They will fall, they will fall more rapidly as time goes on, until just a few remain. Those few stolen remnants that will not be forgotten; brown, dried, skeletons, not what they once were. Up in barren trees they flutter about in colder and grayer winds. It isn’t sometimes until the newness of spring’s NEW leaves, that the old, faded from months of bittered darkness, finally give way. Memories of the past finally letting go into whatever vast portal they go, to be reclaimed, taken back, and transformed.

My heart jumps and flutters, but it is the opposite of the jumping and fluttering of love found. It is pain linked to loss linked to love linked to my universe.

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The Control Illusion

Why I don’t want my daughter to go to a Black Eyed Peas concert.

I want to get honest. I admit my tendency to “control.” It’s about fear. I am scared that my innocent, precious little girl will actually grow up and learn about the pain in this world, the pain that has touched me, that has undoubtedly touched so many of us. Maybe its instinct gone awry. As her father, I want to protect her, shield her, never see that spark of wonder leave her brilliant eyes. But who am I to do that? If I am acting out of my own fears, I am doing it for completely selfish reasons. If I can stop her from learning about sex, or swear words, or violence, misogyny, terror, hate, racism, drugs, addiction, abuse, rape, suffering, and so much more, I can somehow save her. But it is really me I want to save.

I know I know I know… I have to let her go. I have to release her into this world and allow her to be herself. “But not yet” I scream inside. She’s too young, she’s only 11! She should know nothing of Sept 11, she shouldn’t know of war or suicide or genocide. Not until she’s 16. Or maybe 21. How about 30.

Every day I walk this unschooling path is another day of encountering myself. Facing what I hate about myself, facing the foundation of my fears. It comes up when I feel the resistance. Then I see my chance to right all the wrongs done to me, and I turn to my children. No, I can’t use them for that. They can not be my redeemers, and I can not be their savior.
But why does it hurt so much? To let go? My wife knows the “look” all too well. When something comes on the TV, I look at her with the “change the channel” look, or the “why are you letting her watch this are you crazy” look. I mean, isn’t my wife supposed to be with me on this?

We all like the main-stream Black Eyed Peas songs, but I don’t think any of us has heard much more of their stuff. They let the s**t and f**k words fly. Will my daughter start saying “f**k” every time she drops something, in the same self-punishing way that I sometimes do (I never swear around my kids, mostly at work). I don’t want her to hate herself for dropping something.

Listen to me! OMG the control! I have no control over whether she hates herself! What I can control is me (and even that has its limits). Control IS an illusion. It keeps me in a false world, one that *I* create. In that world, I know what’s coming next. In that world, I can keep the pain away.

I’m unlearning 40 years of doing it the way I’ve been doing it. Maybe during the next 40 years, I’ll have unlearned all of it, so I can start fresh. By then, my kids will have kids (or not), and I’ll have fully embraced the gift of letting go. Until then, I’ll keep taking the steps. Things like this concert might just end up being my unteachers. And who knows, maybe it won’t take 40 years to unlearn.

Thanks for letting me get this out.

Fear is never about what is, and always about what isn’t

-me

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The power behind sex!

The power is that it deeply involves ALL of the five sacred elements intertwined and intermingled:

  • Earth (north) – body, flesh, bone, structure, terra firma
  • Air (east) -breath, the space between, the atmosphere around, scent and sound
  • Fire (south) – passion, energy, heat, friction, force, movement
  • Water (west) – sweat, rushing blood, juices, fluid, slippery
  • Spirit (center) – soul sharing, intimacy, unity, vulnerability

And then I realized… that is the power of THIS LIFE. It isn’t just about sex, it’s about our very lives! And THAT must be why sex, in it’s purest, most beautiful and unadulterated form is so powerful. It mirrors this LIFE. And that’s why, when sex is messed up, it’s messed up BIG time. It reaches so deep into our very being, and is a significant part of us (or more accurately, a mirror of our LIFE).

And that is why new LIFE is created by an act of sex!  And that is why sexual abuse in all it’s many forms is so rampant. Because to have the illusion of control over someone else’s sexuality, is to have power over their very soul. But it is just an illusion, because by nature, one can never have power over another’s essence.

And that is why sexual healing is so important and so incredibly powerful. Healing from abuse or trauma is like becoming a new person.

So, if you are recovering from sexual abuse or trauma, I encourage you to incorporate rituals which call upon and honor the five sacred elements. Bring balance back into your life.

May all be healed, may you find freedom and may you find what awaits you in this life.

Peace and blessings of the Elements be yours.

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