earth to sanity, come in, sanity…

I read an article this weekend, a piece on something called ‘earthing’. You’ll be forgiven if you don’t know this means walking in your bare feet. Outside.

It talked about how earthing makes us feel connected to the earth and how we instinctively know this is A Good Thing. Researchers (yes, researchers in walking barefoot) have named this knowledge “Unconscious Evolutionary Intelligence”. Because (I’m guessing) researchers like naming things. And if this isn’t exciting enough, it seems that science is now discovering what is happening to us, biochemically, when we earth. Early findings confirm what instinct has long instincted: walking about in nature feels nice.

The article goes on to say more research is needed (naturally!), to more fully understand how earthing works… but what they DO KNOW at this early stage is that, generally, it’s a good thing. (They used bigger words but that’s the gist.)

They cite health benefits and say that being in nature is becoming the new Vitamin N. (N for nature).

Health benefits. From nature.  Imagine.

Also… it appears that walking in nature is more relaxing  than the same amount of walking on concrete in a crowded city. Significant results in improved mood, for example. Apparently even just looking  at nature has some effect (as through a window with a view of trees vs a brick wall; studies show the tree people felt less stress).

Is your mind blown yet?

Or are you thinking: yeah, sure, it sounds good, but how do I do it??

Fortunately, the article ends with an instructional, telling us that if you want to “get grounded with our planet’s surface” all you need to do is (are you ready for this?)… simply sit, walk or play outdoors.

Am I going too fast?

Okay, more slowly this time.

Earthing 101:

Sit.

Walk.

Or play.

Outdoors.

In your bare feet.

But, FYI, if you’d rather not do it in bare feet, you can buy Earthing Shoes with conductive powers. Or if you’d rather not do it outside at all, there are Universal Earthing Pads to put under floor mats. Or Earthing Sheets and Mattresses. Or Earthing Auto Seat Pads if you’d prefer to connect with the earth from the comfort of your Chevy.

Otherwise, this weekend found me swimming in the rain to Brahms. I’m not sure what that’s called.

Also reading on the living room couch in a house with open windows while afore-mentioned rain continued most of the day and a door somewhere, slightly ajar, kept tap tapping against the frame, which made me remember the house I grew up in where windows were always open and doors often tapped like this. I associate the sound with fresh air. I have no idea if this activity has been named, or even discovered for that matter.

I planted pots of scented things on the patio… valerian and helitrope and meadow sweet and my favourite: apple geranium. All purchased from a grower who does not use neonic’d seeds.

Was I aromatizing?  Scentographing?  Maxi-fragrancing?

I cut chicory and arugula and kale for a salad lunch, and ate outside. We do have a name for this one; we call it “having lunch outside”.

And when the sun came out I hung laundry in the backyard (sheeting?).

Despite soggy conditions, I earthed while I did it.

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the art of nothing

 

I was googling the title to see if there were already a hundred things called this and it seems there are not. In the process I found a short film made by an actor posing as one Hans Freeberling, an artist installing a show about nothing. The gallery is empty. People come. They think it’s real, that the artist is real, and so they try not to scratch their wee wannabecultured noggins until, eventually, they make up Their Own Point for the point of the nothingness. Because there must be one, right??

As a satire, it’s gorgeous. Says so much about us. Most of which is questionable, but there’s this too: that faced with a blank canvas, real or metaphoric, we can choose to impose our own thoughts. This is a kind of art form in itself. Getting People To Think From Ground Zero, we might call it.

The lack of ‘something’ might also be compared to a one word poem. Or a single toilet cemented to a wall. I mean, we can have real discussions about these things. (I recently had a strangely satisfying time discussing the ‘poem’ balloon. One word. Discussion went along the lines of who says it has to have only two L’s and where’s the law about the emphasis remaining on the second syllable… and so on.)

There’s always the chance these chats will lead to… oh, something interesting or important even. Possibilities are always endless where conversation is concerned and, really, anything at all can be a prompt.

But because something serves as a prompt, or because it causes us to think in possibly new ways… is it art? And who gets to say?

And what isn’t  art?

And who gets to say?

I’m not looking for a definition. Or even an answer. Is there even an answer? Tons of opinions. And all manner of conversation and argument and (most sadly of all) very little light-heartedness about things, including toilets, so I’ve decided to stop asking. In fact this whole ramble is a digression.

**

What I meant to write about is nothing, the art of it.

Which leads me directly to my dad, a chap who would not have called himself an artist though he played with paint, on both canvas and walls. He built our first house then spent decades renovating the second. The garden too. Rockeries and rose beds. Our hedge was almost a topiary. If he wanted a fence, he’d go down to the beach, find some driftwood and make one. Then he’d make a driftwood coffee table, an end table, a floor lamp. He made bookshelves. A fireplace, a BBQ and a bird bath out of stone and in the rec room he painted a wall to wall, floor to ceiling mural of a favourite spot under a tree on a beach in Barbados. He included my mother’s striped beach bag hanging from a branch. (The people who bought the house after my parents died, said the mural was a selling point.) He built two patios and a car port, refashioned our front door, and the back one too, to look more Spanish, a style he liked. And then he began making the inside look more Spanish too. To his mind anyway.

He did all this after his day job, and on weekends. Mostly in Hawaiian shirts, paint splattered pants and shoes with no laces.

This was his thing, this making.

I used to wonder how he thought up all this stuff. How could a wall that looked perfectly fine to me in its bareness or with a few holiday pennants hammered on, to him scream: paint a beach scene!!! don’t forget the bag.

He did a lot of sitting in-between the making. This was all before busy-ness was invented, when people really were   busy, doing real things without an abundance of appliances and before nannies and dog-walkers. These ancient busy people, it seems, made time to sit, have a coffee, light a pipe, and if you were to join them, say, at the picnic table on the handmade patio, they wouldn’t talk about being busy, they would say something about squirrels or sedimentary rocks or have you noticed how many buds are on the apricot tree this year? You might be wearing pedal pushers and drinking Koolaid when you ask if there’s such as thing as UFOs and they might draw a few times on their pipe, think for a minute, let the smoke out nice and slow as they say could be, who the hell knows…

My dad would be surprised to learn that the most important thing he taught me was not to make sure the vice on my workbench was closed at night or how properly to wash a car, but how to love what you do, to do it as well as you can and, most importantly, to take time for the nothing. In fact, he’d be surprised to know he even did it.

Some of my favourite moments, those nothing ones. Still are. I realize in my own nothings that that’s where we re-fuel, where we find our next mural.

A whole different kind of art.

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it is not saying yes to a dream or illusion

[Our] ‘yes’ to life may initially be a passive ‘yes’, born of lassitude and of regrets, but it can eventually become a ‘yes’ of openness, of acceptance, a ‘yes’ of joy. This ‘yes’ to life, which springs from the deepest part of us, is not a naïve or idealistic ‘yes’’; it is not saying yes to a dream or illusion. It is a ‘yes’ to our deepest self, a ‘yes’ to our past, to our body, to our family, a ‘yes’ to our inner storms, our winters, our pain; a ‘yes’ also to the beauty of life, to sunshine, to fresh air, to running water, to children’s faces, to the song of birds. It is the ‘yes’, to our destiny and our growth. It is the ‘yes’ to our own true beauty, even if, at certain times, we cannot see it. 

~ from the beautiful spirit of Jean Vanier
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pawsing the mantra

When—cross-legged on the living floor, palms up, silently reciting my ohms—I hear a rustling in the tissue paper next to me… I open my eyes and count this as part of my meditation.

And when tail and paws and one side of striped and whiskered face are sufficiently clean, another shuffle and re-shifting in cardboard nest is followed by stillness… then a deep breath is drawn—and we both close our eyes, Zen master and student.
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inject into rattling discourse as necessary

Am cheating today and scooping a little something that was sent to me— thought it might come in handy should you be socializing any time soon and require bon mots or merely questions to change conversational direction or stop people rattling on about pet bunnies [or equivalent]…

You’re welcome.

1.  IF A TURTLE DOESN’T HAVE A SHELL, IS IT HOMELESS OR NAKED?

2.  IF YOU GO INTO A BOOKSTORE AND ASK WHERE THE SELF-HELP SECTION IS, DOESN’T THAT DEFEAT THE PURPOSE?

3.  WHAT IF THERE WERE NO HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS?

4.  IS THERE ANOTHER WORD FOR SYNONYM?

5.  WHERE DO FOREST RANGERS GO TO “GET AWAY FROM IT ALL?”

6.  IS IT OKAY FOR ENDANGERED ANIMALS TO EAT ENDANGERED PLANTS?

7.  WOULD A FLY WITHOUT WINGS BE CALLED A WALK?

8. CAN VEGETARIANS EAT ANIMAL CRACKERS?

9. WHAT WAS THE BEST THING BEFORE SLICED BREAD?

10. ONE NICE THING ABOUT EGOTISTS: THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.

11. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A CIVIL WAR?

12. IF YOU TRY TO FAIL, AND SUCCEED, WHICH HAVE YOU DONE?

13. WHOSE CRUEL IDEA WAS IT FOR THE WORD ‘LISP’ TO HAVE ‘S’ IN IT?

14. WHY IS THERE AN EXPIRATION DATE ON SOUR CREAM?

15. CAN AN ATHEIST GET INSURANCE AGAINST AN ACT OF GOD?
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what’s not litter

1.  A green tennis ball stuck to the ice, immoveable, which is just as well once I realize that a gallumping, tail-wagging, tongue-lolling beast will likely be back tonight or tomorrow to look for it. And if it’s not IN ITS PLACE there will be hell to pay.IMG_0298

2. Anything red and ribbony and tied to a tree.IMG_0300IMG_0301IMG_0303Or indeed any ribbony colour.IMG_0324
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3. Things on TOP of a garbage bin.IMG_0314Especially if that thing turns out to be a full Timmy’s.IMG_0316

4. See #1 above. [No ice but same reasoning applies.]IMG_0335