Monday, June 26, 2017

Drift Creek Trail 2017

It was one of those Sunday mornings that occur now and then for me.  It was the urge to get out of the house and head for the hills!  I put a few things together for a hike and headed toward the Oregon Coast, where I most often go when the “get out of the house” message strikes. Since it was going to be another day of 100+ heat in the valley, it would be great to avoid it if possible.
Several years ago I discovered the Drift Creek Falls Trail.  The trailhead is located on a mountain road about 12 miles east of Hwy 101 and about seven miles west of Rose Lodge.  The road varied from paved, to gravel, to one lane or almost two.  It was a typical mountain road with low maintenance.  Portions of it, I discovered, had been recently repaved.  It wasn’t any wider, but at least a relatively comfortable drive.
I should mention here before going further into my story, that in my opinion there are some drivers that should never be allowed on these mountain roads.  The many sharp curves with limited views ahead require patience and low speeds.  Some “weekenders” seem to think they are the only ones on the road until they roar around a curve and are face to face with me!  I found that only a couple of those drivers were willing to slow and yield an inch of road.  I was the one who pulled to the right, off the road edge, to allow passage.
When I arrived at the trailhead, there were already a number of carloads of hikers there.  The trail descends around 500+ feet with a few “ups” but mostly “downs” until one reaches the 240-foot suspension bridge hanging 100 feet above the canyon floor.  Of course, that meant the return hike was mostly uphill, with a few refreshing downhill sections.
The first time I took this trail, I was unaware of the cardiovascular condition that I was developing.  I became concerned as I headed back up the trail.  I had not paid attention to how long it took to reach the falls, so had no real sense of how long it might take to reach the parking lot at the trailhead.  I was about to think I wouldn’t make it when around the next turn I was at the lot.  I was never so glad to see my truck!  At the time I really believed a miracle had taken place that transported me from where I was down the trail to the parking lot.
This time, with a good heart and cleaner arteries after triple bypass surgery on January 31, 2017, the trip was much easier, but I was still surprised at that last turn in the trail that brought me to the parking area.
Once back on the road I headed on down to the coast, hoping to arrive at Mo’s restaurant for a great seafood lunch.  I almost never go to the coast without eating at one of the several Mo’s.  Unfortunately, it was the prime lunch period.  I visited three different locations along the coast only to find long lines outside waiting to get in to eat.  I ended up driving home and poaching my own salmon for dinner.  Not nearly as good as what Mo’s puts on the table!
All things considered, it was a wonderful day in the Oregon country.  This beautiful state has a little bit of everything that makes living here a real joy.
I assure my friend, and fitness trainer, Jackie, that I hydrated appropriately as she would have urged me to do.  And I apologize to my friend, Judy, for taking the hike without her, since we had planned on doing it together.  Maybe next time (if I risk another trek).
I hope you will enjoy the photo review of the hike. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Engagement Is A Two-Way Effort

Not much new to say here except that if you want interaction with someone or some activity, it will require engagement.  By definition, engagement means interaction and involvement, which, of course, means taking part.  When you take part in something, you are engaged, involved.

There is a school of thought that suggests a person only has to do his/her personal inner work in order for relationships—with people or activities—to work out for the best.  In other words, it doesn’t make any difference what others do in that relationship or activity.  I am here to dispute this.  It DOES make a difference if others in a relationship or activity also DO something that shows their involvement.  All parties need to be engaged if a relationship or activity is to be resolved to the benefit of each of those parties.

You can do your work on your own.  You can gain a measure of satisfaction as you do your own work.  You can feel resolved.  However, a relationship involves more than one party, so it requires all parties to be actively engaged in securing the best possible outcome for each person.  The same is true for any activity involving more than one person.

You cannot make someone else engage.  When the other party or parties do not choose to engage, one of two things happens.  Either, it becomes clear that the relationship no longer exists in actual terms, so you turn your attention to releasing the other party.  Or, you hold fast to your work lovingly embracing the other party until such time as a light begins to dawn in his/her own mind and heart. That can lead to reaching back regardless of whatever risk one may feel.

In his book, “Anger,” Thich Nhat Hanh uses an example of a parent/child relationship to illustrate engagement.
My dear child, I know you suffer a lot.  For many years, you have suffered a lot.  When you suffer, I suffer, too.  How can I be happy when my child suffers? So I recognize that both you and I suffer.  Can we do something about it?  Can we come together and search for a solution?  Can we talk?  I really want to restore communication, but alone, I cannot do much.  I need your help. 
It is often a risk to reach out to another person with whom there has been a long-standing separation due to disagreements or other issues.  For satisfactory resolution for each party, sooner or later that risk may need to be taken.

The bottom line:  ENGAGEMENT IS A TWO-WAY EFFORT ultimately.  Until a way for engagement occurs, hold fast to your love and your dream of healing and happiness.  You will always benefit from your effort.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Time For Change

In my 80+ years on this planet and as a citizen of the United States of America, sadly, I have done very little in terms of social/political action, other than support emotionally those causes with which I identified.


It has taken the utter shock of the election of a racist, misogynistic, degenerate liar to bring me to a point where I can no longer simply sympathize with those who are on the front lines actively seeking social/political justice.  I am committing myself to doing something from here on until sanity and integrity and social justice are fully embodied in the government as a whole and the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court in particular.

It is an absolute disgrace that we have now in the highest office of our country, as the supposed leader of the free world, such an ignorant, arrogant, careless and self-absorbed individual as Donald Trump.  The world has taken notice.  It will not suffer the misjudgments and critical actions of this despot seeking self-aggrandizement at the expense of literally every single citizen of this country.

We have seen in the Women’s Marches around the world, and particularly in Washington, DC, that we will not stand for the agenda this miscreant is attempting to foist upon us all.  Now, as never before, we are all called upon to STAND UP, SPEAK OUT, and ACT POSITIVELY to correct the outrageous error in judgment demonstrated by the election, without a majority of the popular vote, of Donald Trump.

To begin with, I plan to engage in follow up activity generated by the Women’s Marches.  I know I will have compatriots in this venture.  I invite each of you who have taken the time to read this far to find an activity that you can commit yourself to supporting.  Do it financially.  Do it emotionally.  Do it in person.  JUST DO SOMETHING!

We can no longer sit on our hands waiting for SOMEONE ELSE to make things right.  We cannot trust our representatives in any level of government to automatically act on our behalf.  They ALL have too much commitment to the moneychangers who support their candidacy for office.  As a registered member of the Independent Party of Oregon, I expect to do what I can to discover, encourage and support individuals for a variety of offices—from school boards to the State House—who genuinely have my interests at heart.

Who are YOU waiting for to take action on YOUR behalf?  Find your own cause and take your own actions.  That is the only way the change YOU WANT can ever come closer to manifest reality.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

MY PERSONAL MANTRA: Its Application and Results

In the process of my current reading of Hindu religious philosophy and about the subject of personal mantras, I suddenly became aware of my own.  It was quite simple, yet personally powerful.
I began immediately to use the mantra.  As thoughts or feelings would arise I would speak my mantra, either within my mind or outwardly through my voice.  As I lay down for a nap, a usual string of thoughts about people in my life or events I was experiencing would flow into mind.  In response, I spoke my mantra.  It was like a light then surrounded those persons or events and a kind of release occurred.
This morning I first began my meditation with relaxed breathing.  Next, I found my attention directed to a fantasy process that was very familiar to me since it had been the basis of many meditations in years past.  In the fantasy I was walking down a path into a valley.  My senses became inwardly alert as I approached a huge boulder and I reached out to touch the rock gently.  I spoke my mantra and the rock came alive. 
I continued down into the valley, finding each of my senses quickened by some place in the journey.  Finally, I arrived at a favorite meditation spot, a grass covered piece of Mother Earth beside a bubbling stream.  I spoke my mantra and felt more alive than I have for a long time.  It was as though the stream, passing by, but remaining ever the same, was actually flowing through me.
As often happened in this meditation I would notice in the distance a person coming toward me as he or she walked along the stream.  I spoke my mantra silently toward the man as he approached.  Then, I saw that it was my son, David.  Again I silently spoke my mantra.  Our relationship has been broken for a number of years, finally resulting in complete separation.  In the speaking of my mantra, it became crystal clear to me what I needed to do.  My working out of the karma of this relationship was revealed.  In a very real sense it had nothing to do with what my son might or might not do. 
Almost as quickly as the realization came to me, there suddenly appeared with David, his wife, Christina.  My relationship with her was at even greater odds than with David.  I spoke my mantra silently several times.  Then a soft but powerful light enveloped them both as the vision slowly receded.
I was again alone in my meditation, but I was not the same.  A path had been revealed to me.  If I follow this path, as I allow my mantra to go with me and before me, the result will be resolution.  Simply “seeing” a possibility where I was unable to see one before, gives hope.
In Hindu philosophy all is Brahman, absolute God.  Brahman is primal Self and is personal self—All in All. The continuum from Creator to the created is the stream of life that flows through each of us moving us inevitably through all cycles of life.  Everything that occurs in that process—people, events, knowledge—is Brahman.  A mantra is designed to help the student become clear and balanced and “attain the state devoid of differentiation between knower, knowable and knowledge.  This culmination of meditation is samadhi.”  -- “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,” Sri Swami Satchidananda          
Regardless of my years, I am a novice, perhaps far from samadhi. A light has begun to break through a crack in the wall of self that has held me in the box of my own determination. I speak my mantra to that crack in the wall and my Real Self sees the sides of the box fall flat revealing the fullness of All That Is—Brahman.