Saturday, January 31, 2015

Slow to medium, slowed to medium: Pace for the long haul

"I write fantasy because it's there. I have no other excuse for sitting down for several hours a day indulging my imagination. Daydreaming. Thinking up imaginary people, impossible places. Imagination is the golden-eyed monster that never sleeps. It must be fed; it cannot be ignored. Making it tell the same tale over again makes it thin and whining; its scales begin to fall off; its fiery breath becomes a trickle of smoke. It is best fed by reality, an odd diet for something nonexistant; there are few details of daily life and its broad range of emotional context that can't transformed into food for the imagination...(read the entire quote the post "Dreaming Awake"on Terri Windling's blog Myth & Moor) - Patricia A. McKillip

An early winter snow turned to freeze in our Forest Lane World

This is a very different sort of winter. As if winter could be only one way. It makes me shiver to think I might put that thought out into the atmosphere where Lonomakua could rub it between his elemental palms and blow the mana'o the thought like so much fog into the world. Taking it from my tiny writer's hut and telling my secrets, I wonder what would become of such a piece of speculation.

THERE, in those three sentences is the start of what can happen when a writer, this one, takes a bit of information, in this case, famous fantasy writer Patricia A. McKillip's quotation and rub it against the sides of my imagination. Follow if you can ... This is a very different sort of winter. It is! In the real time of winters this one is my fifth in these woods. The Tall Trees around have grown even taller. Through the foggy moisture that is one of this winter's favorite dressing gowns the cedar blurs outside the Quonset. A breeze stirs and rakes the bamboo pole outside my rippling plastic window. The antennae making possible an ether-connection sways, but, the signal stays. Late January and some place nearby the temperature will reach 50 degrees. Near Spring? Not really, but the illusion could tempt the hearty ones into shorts and short-sleeves that only cover their biceps. Not me, oh no, I am layered with thermal top and two shirts, a hoodie and my worn but warm quilted coat. Snow and freeze came early this winter. Short but fierce for this environment. The fog has taken hold instead, Lonomakua the elemental God we name in my home islands is the Atmosphere in Winter. There or here, I recognize the game, the dance he plays with this Island Earth.
A twirling little girl climbed out my fingers to shake and shimmy while the snow and frost came

It makes me shake and shimmy to think about what might happen if I weave the reality of my experiences as a Hawaiian-Islands woman observing the interaction of Lono here, two thousand five hundred miles from the culture that has named him, with the fluidity of my imagination. That shiver is however, the first bite in the slow to medium process that I am coming to know more intimately as I live my art, live my kuleana as writer and storyteller over the long haul. As McKillip has written it is reality that feds the tales of imagination. It is the floating knowledge, mana'o lana as Manu Meyer translates the phrase that hovers in the atmosphere accessible to any, but, only a passing fog until someone eats the fog and transforms it into something sustaining. Food for the writer. Food for one reader. At this point, on this morning just before noon on this winter Saturday this writer has slowed to medium. Slowed the thinking or formation of floating knowledge long enough to consider eating it slowly, writing it medium, practicing the art of rubbing mana'o lana against the cave walls of my imagination.

I can feel the possibility of a mythic tale (I might grow it in some other place ... ), but, something grabs my fingers for a moment and I write ...

This is a different sort of winter. The fifth one for me, my man, my cat. We have come to know the woods, the trees, the creatures of the night, the winged ones who come and teach me how to speak their language. CAW. CAW. Gallump. As more and more trees are felled to make way for human occupation, they, the Ravens come to us more frequently. They track us. They follow the old turquoise Dodge truck, and swoop above the forest green Subaru. They watch us wherever we go, and talk to me when I climb from the driver's seat. I don't make up what they are saying to me. I imitate their language as best I can. I give me a C+ for mimicry. Sometimes a B+. They seem to like that I engage. We are outdoors so often. Few among the humans stay out side the roofed places. Raven come to know us. Are they losing tree top roosts with every tree fall? More than likely, given the pace at which the trees fall, not from wind but from saws, is not slow to medium.

This is a different sort of winter. The medicine stories begun two winters previous have rooted me sufficiently and I weather the new vulnerabilities triggered by the illness with the name MCS. I have no new story finished this winter. But. A space where the stories can be heated up and served to the real community where we live fuels me as I move slow to medium, or, in other cases I am slowed to medium because I forget that my natural pace at sixty-seven is a different sort of pace. It is a different sort of winter. Pausing to consider an ending the myth and the application of floating knowledge drums slowly in me. How many winters it has taken for me to recognize that I love the splits in the road, the possible ways words and tales might make themselves told ... over time. Fed well and often my imagination will remember the words and meanings of my Ancestors, and make sense of them in a different way. A way that accounts for the dozens of journeys I have taken in and out of the portal from the valley of my girlhood. Once was not enough to say, "Out I go. The pot too tight for me." Oh not, but then I was a girl a maiden fresh and firm-of-breast seeking new land.

This is a different sort of winter when I view the journey that began when first I remembered the feel of the letter A, or felt the surface of lined newsprint against my palm, relishing my Big Chief red notebook from the shelf of the Rexall Drug Store in Aina Haina. I was eight or ten, an age many girls were being initiated into their kuleana. Did I, could I have known, those were my early winter initiations as writer? No. I did not. But from this vantage point, I can say to that little brownie with eyes that really need glasses for a brighter future, "There will be different sorts of winters in your future. Keep practicing, Titi. Keep that fire burning there is more to come. Promise me?" I am glad I have kept practicing, pacing for the long haul. Mythic and fiction or a stab at noticing how the weaving and the feeding of a story could ramble like this.

What sort of winter is it for you? I'd love to hear your version of pacing for the long haul.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Continue to do the practice ... Indigenous practices are those that endure over time: Manu Meyer in Aotearoa (New Zealand)

Mana Moana: Pasifika rising

e iho ana o luna
e pii ana o lalo
e hui ana na moku
e ku ana ka paia

that which is above will come down
that which is below will rise
the island nations will gather
and animate the world

Another related post that might interest you dear Readers is this story of my Kumu Aunty Betty Kawohiokalani Jenkins. The post originally entitled "Ke ala a ke ku'uku'u: "path of the spider" speaks of how spiders spin their webs; how knowledge has passed to me ... the practices of Makua o'o.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

'Radical Brownies'

Oakland's 'Radical Brownies'
Long ago when I was green
I had a dream
A dream of being a Brownie
Long ago that dream
Didn't, couldn't fit
The dusty closet
That housed me

Long ago I dreamed
in closed circles
Afraid to be 'seen'
Confused about
Being Filipino
And Hawaiian
Oh, the Chinese ?
Good with money right

Long ago the dream
to be a Brownie
lived along-side
All the destinations
Of distraction:
Teach a little, move a lot
Climb a corporate ladder

Long ago the badges
mounted, weighed me down
but who could know
that later, oh so much later
I would find a place
when a Filipino-Hawaiian-Chinese
'Brownie' spied an old, old dream
come true.

The 'other city' by the Bay
has room and space
for that dream.

Oakland by the Bay
has room and space
for 'Radical Brownies'
and aim at fundraising
for a banner and ... a megaphone!

I had a dream, and it came true in Oakland!

Monday, January 19, 2015

New Moon in Aquarius (tomorrow), January 20, 2015

" ... On Tuesday, there's a shift that will be palpable to most. The Sun and Moon will leave Capricorn for Aquarius together. The new moon takes place at zero degrees Aquarius. It's hard to think this is not *special*.
... in just a few words, think about leaving your (Capricorn) burden behind under the new moon." - from Elsa P's Newsletter today
The Aquarius New Moon takes place in my First House I like the suggestion Elsa gives for those of us with the New Moon in the First House, " Change your appearance. Present yourself as a humanitarian." Another astrologer (Eric Francis) wrote "... It may have taken your entire ancestral lineage to produce you, who has figured out that you are responsible for what you say, think, do and feel. You are responsible for what happens in your environment. But this only becomes a burden if you pretend it’s not true — then suddenly you’re under everyone’s thumb..."


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Preparing to climb: notes from and for The Goat (Capricorn and Wood Goat)

"Saturn conjunction Jupiter: Weather forecast

Mid-February 2015 until mid-November 2015: This influence can represent different things to different people. It can be an opportunity for very careful sustained growth through patient endeavor. Or it can be a period of extreme restlessness and impatience.

During this time you may expect any of the following: a change of residence; a change in financial status, often for the worse; withdrawal from others in order to work; fondness for solitude; industry and perseverance..."

A good pal sent me an email the other day, she was checking on me because I've been absent from my blogs and not showing up at my on-line writers group. I told her I was recovering from exposures and was doing a lot of reading but not much writing. It's the truth. When I go through the recuperative process it can get messy. Maybe it's the Capricorn (Saturn ruled) Sea Goat traits or just the thing that can happen as my senses and my internal navigational devices (synapses and soul markers) are recalibrated after absorbing too many smells. Maybe, put more simply, my backpack's been dumped out and the recouping bit means I must get my bearings again; check to see if the stuff I have is what I really need/want; repack; and keep climbing. The thing is ... we Goats don't have a choice about having to climb. It's what goats do. It's genetic, soul-bounded commitment.
Timing-wise the Solar New Year has begun, our calendars tell us it's mid-January 2015. Parties and cookies, and Solstice have marked an old year completed. It's still the dark season, still dark and wet and cold but still there's that mountain to climb.  
Lunar New Year, February 19, 2015 ... Year of the Wood Goat
The astrological weather forecast from Robert Hand that I use to open this post gives me something to set my course, or understand my current threshing. Saturn is newly into Sagittarius. "Slow and steady" is the password for navigating this two and a half year journey. I consider the password, attune to the itchiness I feel and recognize the tug and pull of wanting new territory, new friends and a bigger landscape. But, the journey will have to be done by this real life goat with spindly legs. Ever notice? Goats' legs are spindly.
I'm not sure about how goats 'feel' about their destiny as climbers. But I'm not going to try assigning human values to a great four-legged beast, or a Sea Goat who is half-mammal half-fish for that matter. What I am trying to do is to express the slowly dawning awareness and feelings within this Capricorn (Moon). The New Lunar Year begins in just over a month's time. By reckoning of time according to my Chinese ancestors, the sun and moon have equal input as far as the new year goes. Winter Solstice (when we on Earth experience the shortest Sun light) is one marker. Two New Moons (when the moon is in the sky during the day, and 'invisible' at night) following Winter Solstice marks the Lunar New Year. Around this time of year I admit to fumbling or juggling way too many balls in my mind. My dreams are epic; I visit the past; I am visited by the dead; I close my eyes to go to sleep and am way, way, way too awake to sleep ... to let go. Here at the keys I am attempting to clarify: Solar New Year. Lunar New Year. I sift through the astrology and find one of my favorite posts from Elsa Panizzon about Sun and Moon, "Live you Sun, Satisfy your Moon."
" Your Sun, its sign, its house placement, and its aspects show what you have to do to feel vitally alive. Your Moon sign, its house and its aspects, show what you need to feel nurtured. Your emotional state. Together they are a natural pair...The Vedics (Indian astrologers) consider the aspects to the Moon to be more important than the sun. The Sun is an afterthought in compare. They judge the quality of a life by the Moon because they do not think a life is worth much if you have to live it feeling like crap even if you are rich, or hugely successful in some way..."
To satisfy my emotions I do need to feel secure on my feet, my spindly legs tingle with anticipation. Grateful to have my cozy den of a vardo I hunker down, pull an old favorite book under the covers with me and re-read the story of tall and spindly marmalade-haired Elfrida Phipps as she ventures to the North of Scotland. For fourteen years I have read this book, carrying my own version of the paperback from Kuliouou Valley back on O'ahu imagining the possibility that I could reinvent and create a secure and stable home from the termite eaten childhood home I found myself occupying at fifty. That book, and those years of trying to satisfy my Capricorn Moon allowed me to build a life that would change significantly over and over again. Funny how the Universe, the director of potential, lays out the odd connections. The book I have carried, or found again, at our local library is WINTER SOLSTICE by Rosamunde Pilcher. I allow for the seeping of osmosis to claim the pieces of myself that fit the characters and plot of favorite territory penned by a writer. There is comfort in all of it, all the art of story. I satisfy my moon's needs.
The ghosts and the choices I made since first I read WINTER SOLSTICE in the bedroom that was my girlhood bedroom, they come to be with me in dreams. In the dark nights they swirl and tamper with clarity. It is not yet time for the light. It will come, but, not quite yet. That is the thing isn't it. It is not about forcing the light to come, even as we who live with the conveniences of a light switch and hot water heaters believe we are entitled to immediate satisfaction.
The Capricorn Goat Moon (mine) is partnered with a Scorpio Sun sign. In many ways the two are complimentary. Deep and Serious describes them both. As I age, and am given one more day, another night, a week, a month, a Lunar New Year I come to appreciate the long time it takes to learn to love more. To love the sh*t out of every moment. One last bit of astrology demands attention as I clamber to the shaded hillside of this ramble. The Chiron placement. For me, Chiron (the bridge between the outer and inner planets) is in the 10th House in the sign of Scorpio. The 'wound that will not heal' that is one way to describe Chiron's signature, is conjunct the way I communicate, and the way I 'shine' as my sun is also in Scorpio. I glean more and more understanding about my Chiron placement. And for those who may find Chiron beckoning to you, I recommend reading Satori's posts here, and here for insight.

Back to Chiron and a final note from and for The Goat. The ancient wound that I carry has to do with my Career or Reputation (10th House). In 1997 when Pete my husband and I returned to my home of origin the house was badly in need of repairs. It was 'wounded' and eaten by many termites, and it was our choice to repair it and live in it. By this time my career as a corporate teacher/trainer/facilitator was ending. But, it would be a few years before I completely stopped working 'at it.' Full-time corporate though was slowly and steadily becoming a past life. That year 1997 was my Chiron Return. My path would become one of climbing the mountain of a more spiritually infused commitment.

My public reputation as the girl who used to live in this house would be challenged. My health would start to deteriorate, losses would mount, and by 2004 Pete and I had done as much as we could to rebuild the old place. I sold the home in the spring of 2004 and the wound of Chiron has challenged me with little conscious awareness on my part. It is now, more than ten years later, that I appreciate and consider the 'superpower' bit that Satori wrote about here:

"It was Superman’s alien physiology that made him “super” but what was his wound? It was being an alien among humans. He would have just been an average Joe on Krypton. Batman was frightened by an onslaught of bats and traumatized by the murder of his parents; he put these together and manifested his superhero greatness. Spiderman was just a nerd till he was bitten by a radioactive spider. If you want to know your superpower, look no further than your Chiron placement. Once you figure that out you can work with it and enhance your superpower rather than sitting around in your metaphorical wheelchair bemoaning your wound..."

I mourn the loss of my girlhood dreams not satisfied, but reflect appreciatively on the clambering Goat path that brought me back to that girl's dream. I brought help with me (a Cancer Sun with a Libra Moon) and my Ma's ghost checked him out as he finished remodeling her kitchen. He will never forget that meeting!The grief and the loss is real, the wound real too. I wished so hard to be able to live in that house for the rest of my life. I know I couldn't and didn't.  I bleed. I know I am vulnerable to the smells and chemicals that cannot be prevented wholesale. But as I wrap up this post, it feels like a new bandage anointed with the elixir produced from that Chiron wound prepares me to clamber on.

We have a heaven's worth of markers to guide our personal clambering. The myth, the story, the cookies and the bandages make for a unique passage from here to there. I appreciate my dear friend's concern, I've milked an expression from the breast of a she-goat and put it here. For what it's worth I love that it comes as the first New Moon after Winter Solstice approaches (January 20, 2015) leaving me another cycle of the moon to prepare for a Lunar New Year Celebration where my husband and I open the doors of The Safety Pin Café and welcome The Year of the Wood Goat. We have pinned together a life of wounds and blessings. And count them all as the real life being lived.

Thank you jt!

Thursday, January 8, 2015


There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe. The horizontal threads are in space. The vertical threads are in time. At every crossing of the threads, there is an individual, and every individual is a crystal bead. And every crystal bead reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net, but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.
-Rig Veda

The quotation above was today's WORD OF THE DAY from Gratefulness.Org.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Many ways to be human

"Here’s a little known fact in astrology – Uranus sensitizes a person..." - ElsaElsa "Distaste & Intolerance for a person's humanness"
Elsa continues with that post, "We’ll try to not be so nosy. Right? Everybody stay out of Elsa’s business. She’ll tell us what’s going on when she feels like it.”
I looked over and nodded. “Okay. I’m sorry. I’m just trying to think...”
People rarely give the other allowance of this kind anymore. They won’t let people be human and individual. Instead they try to perfect them according to their own design and standard. I think this could be the new definition of “insane”."
The beginning of tiny home life, 2008
Most regular readers of Makua o'o know I live with a condition called MCS, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Though I don't focus on this reality in the writing I do on this blog it is an underlying thread that tugs at the definition of me, and my humanness everyday. My husband Pete and I were featured in a recent article written in the Fall/Winter 2014 newsletter for volunteers who serve the South Whidbey Island community Good Cheer Food Bank. The piece entitled "Pete and Moki Helping Pin together a Community of Compassion." begins, "What is it like to have a story to tell but not be able to get close enough to tell it because it could harm you? That is the question Mokihana Calizar must answer every day. Moki has Multiple Chemical Sensitivity where she cannot be near fragrances and chemical odors. This is very limiting in the ways she can be of service to her community but she has spent the last 7 years figuring out how to do just that."

The short article was accompanied by a photograph taken on a sunny late fall afternoon in Langley. The words used to describe us surprised me, Pete did not read the article for several weeks. When he did read it he said, "That was good!" surprised as well that others did understand (to some degree) what it takes for us to contribute to our community regardless of the challenges and "life circumstances." Yes, in the last 7 years figuring out how to contribute to our South Whidbey Island community has challenged me to stretch my comfort zone without agitating the fine line or border of health that maintains an immune system strong, and resilient enough to cope with too much fragrance, or an overload of stimulation. As I write this post I have just come through a day and night of exposures that frazzled my mind and body: an exuberant Happy New Year hug from a friend who was loaded with strong fragrance began a downward spiral of illness. Unless you or someone dear to you has initiated you into the protocol necessary to be with someone living with heightened sensitivities the special care necessary to 'deal' with my sort of humanness is as foreign as Francais is to a non-Francophile.

One of our "Sensitive Friends" had a birthday party this summer. In an email sent to all her guests she included this request (which I've edited a bit to fit this post)."

"You are welcome to bring anyone with you that you'd like to--with the proviso that they be somewhere between largely and entirely unscented.  (No dryer sheets, strongly-scented detergents, lotions, deodorants, SUNSCREEN, etc.)  In other words, come smelling as much like a person as possible.  I WILL SUPPLY PLENTY OF UNSCENTED SUNSCREEN--please do not bring your own, as there will be at least three chemically sensitive people here (2 that live here, and one or two guests), and that stuff tends to shut all of us down at about 40 paces.  (Even outdoors.  Yes, really.  :-)
Yesterday's experience with the very fragranced bear hug was something that happened so quickly neither Pete nor I responded with the usually outstretched hands-off or hands in prayer position to fend the approaching 'bear.' Thing is, sometimes we will put down our guard when a friend who is usually unscented gets close. It's that one time when the usually unscented encounter is NOT that truly can, and did, shut us down. Pete manages exposures differently, able to weather the experience with less ill-effects. Both Pete and I shampooed and bathed the scent from our hair and bodies; our clothes (coats, scarves and jacket) are soaking in a washing tub. My night was filled with anxiety and the fall-through -the dark and black hole that is something I experience when exposed to fragrance and chemical exposures. "Take something for it" is not a cure or fix, though I do call on all my Ancestors and practices to aid me as I detoxify the emotions, sensations and adrenaline overload. I held my citrine crystal to ground me as I said my prayers and meditations to calm, and welcomed my helping spirits who took me into the dreams that would reclaim parts of my lost soul. The night passed. I am here. I breathe. I live. I write.  
Today, the symptoms and anxiety are easing. We are grateful for the tiny spaces where we can recuperate and rest. Seven years ago we did not have these spaces to do what is necessary to be the humans we are ... differently able to live with the "norm" of a very fragranced and chemically intense society. A few more people know what it takes for us to be the people we are, aware that their habits and preferences could harm us, the process is a slow and as Elsa wrote in her article "Distaste & Intolerance for a person's humanness" there is that sense of entitlement she describes. "They won’t let people be human and individual. Instead they try to perfect them according to their own design and standard. I think this could be the new definition of “insane”." On both ends of the tug-of-war rope we Sensitives could expect all others to amend themselves to our standards, our protocol for a fragrance and chemical free inter-change. While on the other end, the community of the collective could be insensitive to the reality of our humanness and our unique needs.
I'm writing this today to say this is what makes me human, and chemically sensitive. Uranus, the planet that sensitizes is in the sign of Aries (first-person focused) for all Earthlings. In my case, Aries is in my Third House (communication and siblings/neighbors). I am sensitized in my communications of all sorts, and while Pluto in Capricorn squares Aries, my Capricorn Moon in the Twelfth House feels deeply. It's my journey. My blog. And, I live in the collective community on a planet billions of years old. In the scheme of Earth's long-life mine is a mere mini-grain of sand on the shore. But, it's my own glorious lifetime this time through and if one or two words or thoughts cross the cyberbridge and ring a bell for you? Hurrah, we have a win and chock one up for tolerance and compassion.